February 28, 2012

Elizabeth is very proud of being three. She's "really big" now and "doesn't need help". In the mornings she wakes up, goes to the washroom, picks her clothes and puts them on without assistance or even prompting. She can even button and zip, though some clothing is "a bit twicky". She likes stripes and fancy socks. She likes matching. Getting to pick out (matching) clothing for Mommy and Daddy is a coveted treat, though she believes we have a serious shortage of pink underwear, especially Daddy.


She also likes to match her babies. Playing with babies is still a big thing (sigh), but she pretends to BE a baby less and less often. Now she pretends to go to museums, to the doctor, and shopping.  The shopping is almost always at "Ome Depot". The sick usually are "not feeling well" or "have a sore back". The doctor usually prescribes rest or vitamins. The basement is still her favourite place in the world, assuming that there is "someone to look after me". She likes to play with trains and cars, especially if she can make the cars zoom down an incline. Cutting, colouring and stickers are also popular.


She usually wakes by 6:30am or 7, eats breakfast at 8am, snack at 10am, lunch at 11:15am, afternoon nap at 1ish, snack at 3pm, supper at 5pm, bed by 7 or 7:30pm. It's unusual for her to wake up at night, unless she's not feeling well.


Elizabeth knows most, if not all of her letters, and quite a number of them can be matched to sounds. She loves to point out the letters that belong to various family members, though she's not super happy about having to share "her" E with Erika. She also knows a lot of her numbers, but she consistently recognizes "3" as an "M". 


Elizabeth is a little chatterbox, though she still has a tendency to clam up around strangers. She's starting to talk in french too, even whole sentences. Most of her favourite lullabies at night are in french, though sometimes she has to sing them to me so that I understand what the heck she's asking me to sing.


On the eating front, she still likes pasta, cheese, rice, meat, fish and bread. No potatoes (not even French Fries), and she can detect microscopic forms of onion. She's not keen on vegetables, except for corn and peas. "Greens" and broccoli is hit and miss. She also doesn't eat berries or pretty much any fruit unless it's an apple, orange, banana, peach or grapefruit. Or if it's a raisin / cranberry. On the other hand, she ate several bites of chili tonight and six beans. Promises of "vity-yums" (gummy vitamin D) and "yert" (dessert) are usually enough to get her to try new things, but she's very suspicious of anything she doesn't recognize, even if it's her beloved chocolate. Still, there's light at the end of the tunnel... We also recently learned that she eats LOTS more things than a truly picky eater - nothing like a roomful of parents discussing toddler eating problems to get some perspective! 


On the whole she's a lot of fun. At prayer time she tells God what she's worried about ("Dogs, cats, alligators and frogs") and what she's been "naughty about" during the day, which usually involves not listening to Mommy or Daddy. But some days she says: "Dear God, I was PRETTY good today." We think she's pretty good most of the time.

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February 27, 2012
Cardboard Castles
There's a castle in our basement...
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February 26, 2012
Natural Rainbow Cake

There's a rainbow cake recipe online that's quite popular and pretty, but Brendan took one look at it and declared it inedible. I figured we'd be getting more than our monthly quota of food colouring in the jello anyway, so I was easily convinced that I should at least try a natural version.


We use natural dyes for our Easter eggs, so I've experimented with a number of different kinds. We use cabbage for blue, tumeric for yellow, onion for red/brown and a mix for green. None of those sounded particularly appetizing in a cake. Blueberry doesn't work well on eggs (though come to think of it I've never tried hardboiling first and then dipping in blueberry), but I know it works in cake. Carrot cake is pretty orange and Grandma J thought I should try saffron for yellow. 


I discovered that kiwi (green) and saffron (yellow) cake is not to my liking at all. Also, kiwi cake is not green. Broccoli cake is green, but it also smells distinctly like broccoli. My taste testers agreed this is really weird with chocolate frosting, though I might try a broccoli-cheese muffin someday.


Matcha (powdered green tea) definitely can colour a cake green, but I only had a couple of small packets. They weren't sufficient to change the cake colour, but the green tea flavour was noticeable. Nori wasn't uniformly green, and my test tasters weren't brave enough to even try eating it. I liked it, but then again I didn't find the broccoli as objectionable as the rest!

But celery? It's green, mild flavoured and doesn't smell or taste like broccoli in the cake! I'd use a food processor if you have one that is capable of cutting celery up without shredding it into a stringy mess.


We ended up with a raspberry (pink), carrot (orange), egg yolk (yellow), celery (green), blueberry (blue), purple carrot (purple) cake. I know that's only six but it was already iffy as to whether I could get all those into one muffin cup (and I have no idea what I'd have used for indigo)


It was okay, but to be honest I was disappointed with the results. It seemed that the blueberry layer tended to bleed into the others. Elizabeth loved the effect though. And I have to admit that I had fun making the cakes. So much fun that I'm probably going to try again sometime...

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February 25, 2012
Rainbow party

We asked Elizabeth what she wanted to do for her birthday party.


"A rainbow cake. With candles and chocolate chips on top. And all my cousins." she replied. It's getting tricky to schedule all the cousins at once, especially since Auntie Janice works weekends and Auntie Heather, Josie and Daniel are only available weekends. In looking up whether there was such a thing as a rainbow cake, Mommy tripped across numerous rainbow party ideas. Daddy is now firmly convinced that Pinterest is very, very dangerous. (Pinterest is a website that lets you virtually clip or "pin" pictures out of other websites and group them together on a virtual bulletin board)


In addition to the rainbow cake, we had rainbow balloons (with paper hats to cover up the bridal shower messages). We had seven tablecloths in the colour of a rainbow. We had rainbow fruit, rainbow jello, rainbow napkins, rainbow clothes and rainbow fruit and vegetable juice. Auntie Janice's rainbow costume was especially amusing. Elizabeth had a secondary Hello Kitty theme going too, because wearing that Kitty dress was one of the things on her list of what will happen "when I'm three"!


The rainbows on the cake didn't stand up the way they did on Pinterest, but then I had trouble finding something that was gluten-free! The chocolate chips say "Happy BDay".


I was very pleased with how the jello turned out. Angie brings us proper English jelly when she visits so I had all the colours except blue. Turns out someone had brought blue powdered jello here to make water for Gingerbread (hi Lorraine!) a few years ago. I made a cherry cheesecake base for the white layer, which was by far the most time-consuming part of the dessert. Soften cream cheese. Mix milk and gelatin. Mix together with cream and then frantically pour into each cup before it solidifies into non-pourable blob.  I also learned that jello that has set prematurely due to overaggressive use of ice cubes can be reheated and it will reset. (But don't try that trick with cheesecake base!) I found making individual cups much easier than a giant dessert, once Janice made me put them all onto a tray. I don't like tasting fridge in my jello, so I *always* cover it. But covering and uncovering seventeen separate glasses was a real pain. Janice came to my rescue again with Glad Press 'n Seal plastic which we bought by accident a couple of years ago. So that's what it's good for!!!


Grandma and Grandpa H attended by Skype and Uncle Mark sent greetings (he was sleeping on the other side of the world). The kids had to complete a treasure hunt for each present.


Elizabeth was very concerned that I would forget the words to Happy Birthday, so she made Mommy and Daddy practice a few times in the days leading up to her party. "Don't forget to say dear ELIVABEF" she would say, very earnestly. Then she'd sing the whole thing so that I would get the idea.


We did sing, and I resisted the temptation to insert a different name at the appropriate time. Elizabeth blew out her candles on a big cake, but gave everyone their own individual cupcake. That meant I didn't have to make a separate cake for her actual birthday a few days later and the guests (especially Jesse) didn't have to worry about "baby spit". Win win!


After the party we went sledding with Josie and Daniel. Even Daddy slid down the hill.

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February 24, 2012
Rainbow windows

Elizabeth and I spent a lovely afternoon painting rainbows on the dining room windows with a mixture of food colouring, corn starch and shampoo (yes, these are the same ingredients we use for our bath paints, although I used more corn starch for the windows!)


Daddy even helped at the end by helping Elizabeth put rainbow handprints "way up high". If I were doing this again I might have tried painting a sponge with rainbows and letting Elizabeth wipe rainbow patterns onto the window! Elizabeth painted a horse and people coming to her party under the rainbow.

Afterwards she had a painting bath to "clean up".


I would definitely do this again - the "paint" came off really easily. Auntie Karen and I gently scraped the paint off and vacuumed up the bits. Then I rinsed the soap residue off with water and wiped dry. Voila! Clean window, at least on the inside...

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