A Pirate Ship Birthday Cake

My boy is turning six this weekend! Today we are having a few family members over to celebrate with cake. I used Pinterest to help me find a cake design I could make. I chose five or six different cake ideas, and had my boy pick the one he wanted, and this morning it only took about half an hour to assemble his pirate ship cake.

Not spectacular, but at least it didn’t explode. I have one winter-born child, and two summer birthdays and the winter girl gets short-changed nearly every year. It is just so much easier to have a party in the summer. This year we won’t be having a big party for my boy – six is a big milestone, but it will be good for him to have a quieter celebration. He’s started thinking big parties are the norm, but I know he’ll enjoy today.

Since I took a break from teaching classes, things have been a lot more laid back around here. I’m loving it! Yesterday the kids and I filled in delivering newspapers for friends who are out of town. We haven’t helped them out this way for at least a year, and it was a disaster. Their current route is in a fairly steadily trafficked area, and my country kids have no clue as to when it is and isn’t safe to cross the street. My nine-year-old was the worst – she was so conscious of oncoming traffic that she wouldn’t cross if she could see a car coming two blocks away. And then when it got to her, it would stop and allow her to pass! And then the kids would all decide to cross, while the car waited, one at a time; dashing out; hesitating, then finally crossing, while I’m beating my head on the steering wheel. And their hesitation in navigation did not extend to their volume. Each with a fat, flyer-filled paper in hand, they’d head to their respective houses, and invariably one would end up hollering at top volume to another (usually on the opposite side of the street), “STOP! WE ALREADY DID THAT HOUSE!” or “THE MAILBOX! PUT IT IN THE MAILBOX! NO, NOT THAT WAY!” And yet despite all that vocality, my girls were still too self-conscious to approach a house if there were people on the porch. It was ninety minutes of torture, I tell you. But we got it done, and they each will earn about eight dollars, and we had a good discussion about what crosswalks are and when it is safe to cross the street. I think they’ll get it by the time they head to university. (Realizing that I opened this paragraph with the words “laid back” and then gave a description of a rather tense afternoon!)

After the triathlon I took two days off exercise but am back on the go again. I went biking with the bike club again yesterday. I’m realizing that I have spent a lot more time enjoying the outdoors since I started pursuing athletic ventures, and that I love. Today my legs are so tired, but I need to get my energy back because I have soccer tonight. I play on a co-ed team that includes my dad, brother, sister-in-law and one of my best friends, and the way the league is set up, we need two girls on the field at all times. Since one of our three female players is away, I’ll be on the field for the full 90 minutes. I usually play defense, and I like to think that while I’m not a good player, I’m a smart player and am usually in the right place at (almost) the right time. I love watching my brother and sister-in-law play. They both play for two soccer teams (they drive nearly 1 1/2 hours to come play on our team) and they are so good, they make it look easy.

Have a wonderful weekend!

A list, a triathlon update and a Gallery Idol card

1. Went shopping for summer capris on Saturday which was a wonderful experience. Note: when you are trying on bottoms and one pair fits two whole sizes smaller than your usual, BUY THEM. My triathlon training is paying off, and I get to eat without guilt, so it’s totally win-win.

2. Triathlon is two weeks away. I’m more excited than scared at this point and it’s because I joined the bike club on Tuesday and we cycled 30km. As I pedalled up the biggest hill, I kept repeating under my breath “I’m hardcore, I’m hardcore,” which is truly wishful thinking but it got me to the top and beating that hill has given me confidence that I will do fine with the cycle portion of the triathlon on June 3rd. Also it is much more fun to bike with others than alone. MUCH.

3. I entered several cards in Paper Crafts magazine’s Gallery Idol contest. Today I scrolled through many of the nearly 1100 entries and if I don’t place in the top 20 I won’t feel too hurt. Do you know how many cards that is? A card needs to be truly stellar to stand out among that many entries. Here’s one of the ones I entered of which I am most proud:

I love the collage effect and the embossed frame which is a Spellbinders die, uncut.

I enjoyed doing a lot of stamping on this card using Pink Paislee Spring Jubilee stamps.

I just love that bee! Tip: sometimes certain clear acrylic stamps will have issues with the ink beading. I learned from Jennifer McGuire via Twitter that a light sanding with a very fine grade of sandpaper will help them hold the ink evenly.

4. Wade built for the kids all weekend. He brought home a swing set, slide & play yard from work, and set it up in the yard. There’s even a fireman’s pole to slide down! And if that’s not enough, he also set up a rope swing in the very back of the yard. It’s the favourite so far.

This photo was taken last week and we do have leaves now! Finally. And though it snowed like crazy on Friday, Saturday was beautiful.

I even got a sunburn on Sunday.

have a great week friends!

Things I’m Working on This Week:

Click on pictures to link to projects and recipes.

This sewing pattern:

I love using the wool sweaters I thrifted and felted a couple of years ago!

One of these for a gift:

This recipe:

Balancing our business’s books and finishing up some year-end paperwork. Did you know that if you file the annual report for your corporation yourself (instead of getting the lawyer to do it), you pay $45 as compared to $350? And did you know the procedure involves pressing “next” about three times, and that’s it? I’m thankful for experienced business people who can give me advice like this as I learn to do the books for my husband’s business.

Meeting a brand new baby girl! One of my dearest friends gave birth to her fourth child yesterday and I’m excited about stopping by the hospital to see them both. As is my tradition, I always bring fruit to new moms – one of my friends brought me grapes when my second baby was born and they were the best grapes I’ve ever had.

Shovelling off the ice in my parents’ dugout so that the kids and I can skate. We tried it out on Sunday and it’s a little rough but just the right size. Wecco, our least experienced skater, took a few minutes to get his bearings but he’s doing great!

Heading out the door to help a friend clean. They are moving into their brand new house this weekend!

I always really want to get my camera out and photograph some of the stuff I’ve already finished – the kids and I did an ornament class with their friends last week, and I did a little project to jazz up their winter hoodies, and the tree looks so pretty I’d love to show it off too. So here’s hoping we get some sun!

Trying to Keep the Summer Alive

I kind of like stat holidays that don’t involve roast fowl. Yesterday Wade was home – I hesitate to say he had a long weekend since he got a lot of work-type stuff accomplished – but he was at least doing it from home. Unfortunately for me, when Wade is home, I feel driven to keep up with his hardworking pace, and it will never happen. He is a machine, and I am a little flakier than a butterfly when it comes to hard work.

I’m exaggerating. I do work hard, but I also like my breaks.

The girls’ room is (almost) finished. There is a reason Wade talked me out of repainting it for four years. The lovely light apple green I chose needed two coats of primer before it covered the old purple walls, and as I was rolling the green on, I thought, “It sure seems yellow.” Once dry, it was ALL GREEN. There is something about light apple green that reflects sunlight, did you know that? In the morning, when the light was indirect, the room was refreshing, spring-like and pretty, but with the afternoon sun coming through the window the result was more of a Day-Glo fluorescent green. The girls are happy with anything so long as it’s new, but as much as I tried to talk myself into just taking the masking tape down and sticking with the colour as it was, I couldn’t do it.

News flash: You would think that rolling a slightly toned-down-almost-exactly-the-same apple green would be easy to do, right? That it would cover the other green well, and any spots of first green peeping through would be camouflaged? Not in the least. Putting that second coat of paint on was an ordeal. In the end, I ran my roller across those walls FIVE TIMES. I actually think it seems smaller in there with all the layers of paint accumulating. And I still need to paint the ceiling. There’s grape chapstick up there.

Today I also made nine jars of apricot jam. There’s a half case of apricots left. Think I’ll get the second batch to seal? I am the jinx of jam jar sealing. No matter what I do (and I have heard all the tricks!) I cannot get more than a couple jars of jam to seal. As I told Wade, it’s my one weakness. (Have you not seen Larkrise to Candleford? Fabulous DVD series from BBC.)

We had a lovely afternoon at the river Sunday, just hanging with friends, pretending that we weren’t all aware that our group might not be together like that many more times, as more dear friends move this fall. I moved a lot as a kid, and the best thing about it is having friends all over the place to go visit. I love reconnecting and remembering just why we got along so well!

Life is good, but it’s August. Right about now is when I start wishing summer never had to end.

Mishmash

The field in front of our house may be poison to my hay fever afflicted son, but it’s paradise for the girls. It’s a beautiful tangle of pink & white & purple clover, blue-lavender harebells (my favourite) and dotted with wild strawberries. I’ve been getting daily bouquets that we put outside when Wade comes home – he’s allergic to clover too. So pretty…and I don’t have pictures. They wouldn’t do it justice.

It’s been about four years since we painted the girls’ room. I call the colour Grape Hubba Bubba and I was almost instantly sick of it. It’s a lot of work to repaint, especially over a dark colour, so I’ve waited this long, but I am waiting no longer. We have a pail of light apple green that might actually be yellow, and a lot of primer, and I’m going to be done by the weekend. I also need to paint over the purple chapstick smears on the ceiling. Hazards of having a bunkbed. I’d like to do a little makeover – window treatments, wall art, storage. Their room is so small that we’ve never had a good toy management plan. Last time they cleaned their room they decided it would just be easier to keep their toys in a garbage bag. That hasn’t worked so well, and I think any mom would not be surprised by that.

Sassy is reading novels now! I am so excited. She read a Judy Moody novel yesterday – the whole 160 page book in a day. She was very proud of herself, and Wade said, “You’re turning into your mom already?” I asked her why it took so long, after all, I’ve been me since birth. I don’t want to choose a book that is too much of a challenge, so I’m holding back from introducing anything more than the simplest chapter books, but soon she’ll make friends with Ramona! and Nancy Drew! and Encyclopedia Brown! and the Great Brain! and all the other novels I loved as a kid, and more besides. But I’m not sure what the years ahead will hold – a lot of screening for me – have you looked at what’s on offer for teen fiction lately?

It’s two coats of primer and one of paint later, and their room is GREEN! Or yellow, depending on the light. I think I like it. Tomorrow, the ceiling.