Tooth Fairy Business

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DSC07284My daughter has been itching to loose a baby tooth for quite some time. Most of her friends have lost at least one and she was feeling left out. Well, as of this evening she is now officially part of the gap-toothed smile club and she is thrilled, less so because she’s now part of the club and more so because she can eat normally again and nobody is trying to persuade her to yank it out. She has decided that the idea of having a loose tooth is more exciting than the actual experience.

For a solid 16 days this tooth extraction has been front and center on her mind. On the fourth of July I was laying in bed with her resting up before the festivities began and she casually mentioned she had a bump on the back of a tooth. I asked her to show me and was surprised/horrified to find an adult tooth already well above the gum line behind her baby teeth. Turns out she had been meaning to mention it to me for a while but kept forgetting. Frankly I don’t know how I missed it myself during the handful of times I helped brush her teeth.

I was worried since her baby teeth weren’t even loose yet so I scheduled a dentist appointment for the following week at which point the baby tooth was of course starting to wiggle. The dentist said all looked well and so my girl ramped up her attempts to get it out. She complained about how uncomfortable/annoying/odd it was while I complained about how we should start saving now for all the orthodontic work our children’s teeth are going to require. I myself went through two sets of braces with rubber bands, an expander, head gear and retainers to achieve my lovely grin (Thanks Mom!)

Anyways, throughout the last two weeks my girl continued to tell everyone she ran into that she had a loose tooth and would wiggle it for them all to see. She especially delighted in torturing her Grandma Maggie, who isn’t a big fan of loose teeth, by wiggling it extra enthusiastically in front of her every chance she got and there were many! Punk.

Thankfully the tooth came out tonight while she was brushing her teeth. The pure joy on her face was priceless and her siblings were super excited for her as well. We immediately found a little pouch to put the tooth in and placed it under her pillow. After reading a story I tucked my excited little 6 year old into bed and spent the next 10 minutes with her discussing Tooth Fairy specifics.

We speculated on how many Tooth Fairies there might be (she thinks maybe one per country since that would be a lot of teeth for one little fairy to collect each night), what the fairy does with the teeth (I suggested she uses them to build her castle) and where she lives (she suggested the fairy might be a drifter of sorts with homes/castles in every town). We talked about how cool and weird it is to have a hole in your gums and how when you stick your tongue in the hole it tastes a little metal-like. She would have continued talking but I had to cut her off and end her snuggle time because her brother was yelling from the bathroom that he need some  toilet paper to wipe his butt and her little sister was in the bathroom bothering him. Like older siblings d0 she rolled her eyes, giggled, said goodnight and promptly fell asleep.

These sure are some fun times being a mom and I can’t wait for the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

Black Raspberry Cake

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Ahh, what a weekend. No major obligations. Just quality family time doing whatever we wanted. We lounged, we went black raspberry picking again like last weekend, we swam in the rain and in the sunshine, we went to a movie and watched one at home and we celebrated our friend, Lesley’s, birthday which meant I spent a little time in the kitchen.

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I was a bit heavy handed with my dusting of powdered sugar and the edges were well done but it was still a well received cake.

Since I had 5 very ripe bananas sitting in the fridge I whipped up some chocolate chip banana muffins using my favorite Cooks Illustrated recipe for Ultimate Banana Bread. I blogged about this recipe way back in 2011 for the first time and included some terrible photos to boot. You can find those terrible photos and the recipe here and I highly recommend that you give it a whirl! Sorry I don’t have any improved pictures to post for you. The 12 normal sized and 24 mini muffins were annihilated before I thought to photograph them and it doesn’t help that my camera has been missing since the 4th…so that sucks.

Anyways, I didn’t think the muffins would be enough for our little birthday get together and I felt the birthday girl needed an actual cake for her candles so I whipped up one of my favorite little cakes that takes almost no time to throw together. I was turned on to this cake originally by my sister-in-law and can’t believe I haven’t shared it with you until now. It’s a pleasant alternative to a traditional birthday cake and is a crowd pleaser.

The recipe comes from Simply Recipes and it’s originally posted as a Blueberry Cake but since I failed to thaw my blueberries, was short on time and had a fridge full of freshly picked black raspberries it was a no-brainer to take a more seasonal approach to this cake.

Have a special function coming up?  Got a craving for something berry-filled and delicious? Give this cake a try! You’ll be glad that you did, I promise.

 

Blueberry or Black Raspberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon of flour (plus more for prepping cake pan)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups blueberries/black raspberries/any other berry, rinsed and drained (if using frozen berries, thaw and drain first)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with flour. Or use a 9-inch round cake pan, butter and dust with flour and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2 Combine 1 cup of flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.

3 Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, a couple minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

4 Combine the berries with the remaining teaspoon of flour and the lemon juice in a bowl. Spoon the berry mixture over the batter.

5 Bake on middle rack in oven for 1 hour at 350°F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully slide a thin knife around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan. Transfer the cake to a platter, berry side up. Dust the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

 

 

Beach Bums and Backyard Sleepers

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Yesterday we picked up Grandma and went to the beach. 2014-07-10 13.31.09We spent a glorious few hours soaking up the sun, playing Monkey in the Middle in the water, doing cartwheels and summersaults down the huge sand pile and failing miserably at building a sand castle worthy of any respect. It was great!

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She looks angry but was really just on a mission to get her goggles! Phew!

 

Then after piano lessons and dinner followed by more snow cones I tucked my minions into their tent for a second night of backyard camping.

This kid was bouncing off the walls but some how I finally got him settled down and ready to sleep.

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The longer you look at this picture the more it looks like I photo-shopped his head onto his body. Give it a second… See what I mean? Cracks me up.

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His sister was equally as squirrely so I issued a few threats about noise and getting out from under their covers and marching them up to their own beds which eventually got their attention.

With their lovies by their side they snuggled in.

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I kissed their faces and made a hasty exit, admiring the full moon above their tent, into the house and2014-07-10 20.55.01 upstairs to my comfy bed where I slept peacefully and uninterrupted all night long! I think their busy day at the beach must have worn them out since no one woke up with nightmares… at least none that I’m aware of, and that’s a win in my book!

Now it’s time to intervene and stop the arguing I hear outside as I type this. The kids are suppose to be cleaning out all their gear from the tent so we can put it away but this seems to be a herculean task for some reason… probably since they’re 4 and 6 year old punks.

Happy Friday, friends!

 

 

My Lodging Tonight

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Well, I woke up this morning from a crappy night of sleep (three kids woke me up 4 times between 11pm and 5:30 am) and I decided if I’m not going to get good sleep then there might as well be a solid reason for it! Thus the tent.

It only took me and the kids 45 minutes our so to get it up and by then we needed a little pick-me-up. Thus the snow cones.

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We’ll see how this goes tonight. I suspect it won’t be too bad butt I’d better get my air mattress blown up after dinner since there is no way this 6 month preggo chick is sleeping on the ground.

Woo hoo!

Spoils of Summer – Wild Berry Picking

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My guys went out for hair cuts this morning and when they came home they already had a plan set in2014-07-05 11.22.24 motion to go hunting for wild black raspberries that grow in the undeveloped land behind our house. They rallied us girls and we quickly set off with a couple neighbors to see how many we could find.

If you’re unaware, this is what wild black raspberries look like:

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It was quite a hike for the wee ones given the sleep deprivation they were rocking due to some major at-home pyrotechnics last night but with a few piggy-back rides, a healthy dose of competition and a bunch of hand holding we made it through an hour long journey with lots of berries, and some stained fingers of course!

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There are tons of berries that are still ripening so another adventure is sure to be in our future. Now I just need to figure out what I want to make with them although by the time I decide on something I’m sure we’ll have gobbled them up in their natural form which is just fine by me. I do think some French toast with black raspberries and fresh whipping cream will be on the breakfast menu tomorrow! For now, the house is quiet with everyone passed out. Maybe I’ll take a hint and close my eyes for a bit before our evening festivities begin.

Hope you’re all enjoying the holiday weekend!

Goofy Animals, Fantastic Friends and Wild Weather — Oh My!

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Zoos can be incredibly entertaining places to spend a few hours with the kids and today we visited the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, WI. I met one of my dearest girlfriends and her two lovely kiddos up there and we were not disappointed by the animals. We saw a pair of orangutans right off the bat that had the kids laughing as they taunted each other hiding in a large barrel and under a large sheet.

 

 

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What we realized an hour or so later was that their taunting behavior was actually foreplay because when we strolled by their enclosure before leaving they were putting on quite a show for everyone!

Also entertaining was the Harbor Seal that sounded like the kids’ fathers’ snoring when it came to the surface to breathe along with a kookaburra bird sitting in a tree tenderizing a mouse by vigorously shaking it into a limp, swallowable meal. My girlfriend, Amy, and I were much more interested in seeing this process play out than the kids but we forced them to stay in the exhibit while we subjected ourselves to the slightly nauseating albeit very intriguing food preparation procedure.

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We also saw a couple of frenemies (friends/enemies) that we thought were adorable but we’re also a bit bias. In true frenemy fashion this sweet moment only lasted about as long as it took to capture it on camera before the tides turned but we’ll take it.

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After our zoo trip the kids and I went to visit some friends, whom we use to live below in Chicago, at their new-ish house just a few minutes from the zoo. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures, probably because I was too bust admiring their awesome home and catching up.

We finally headed home around rush hour and about 45 minutes into our drive, just after hitting a torrential down pour on the expressway my husband called to inform me that tornadic weather conditions were being reported in the direction I was headed. Luckily I was just about to pass the exit to Amy’s house so we crashed her place to wait out the storm. En route I saw paramedics performing CPR on the side of the road. It was a first for me and if I wasn’t’ already convinced that we needed to get somewhere safe that visual certainly sealed the deal.

Amy fed us a home-cooked meal, instigated some shenanigans involving boxes of tissue with our sugar-high, sleep-deprived children and then we once more hit the road for home hoping the weather would cooperate. DSC07220The weather has been really nuts the past 24 hours. Last night at 2am the tornado sirens went off and we ran to grab the kids and huddled together in the basement until the threat had passed. Needless to say my oldest was a little on edge (and tired from disturbed sleep) during the drive home tonight and didn’t like the look of the clouds but we eventually made it safe and sound and exhausted but happy.

We’re headed to Brookfield Zoo in a few days so no doubt we’ll be doing a little comparison as to which zoo has the most entertaining animals. I think Madison’s zoo will be hard to beat with all the performances we were witness to today but I’m just hoping the weather straightens out by then!

Time to fall asleep to the lull of thunder and the flash of lightening as this little minion in my belly kicks the crap out of me. Woo hoo!

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Conquering the High Dive

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Ahhh, there’s nothing like walking into the city pool, taking a look around at the droves of kids and parents and the piss-water pool and feeling quite at home. I grew up on the swim team and with my house right up the street from the pool I was naturally a pool rat. Chlorine essentially runs through my veins but before I start getting all nostalgic for my water-logged childhood I’ll jump right to the point of this post.

My mom and I took the kids to my hometown city pool yesterday. We try to go a few times throughout the summer since it’s got two large slides, a handful of kiddie structures, zero depth entry and a separate lap pool with diving boards not to mention a large sandbox with playground equipment and a kiddie pool. It’s pretty legit and quite the fun time as long as I bring along an extra adult.

So, after my 2 year old learned that if you don’t fight for your spot in line at the slide you’ll never get down it but before I enjoyed the low-key nature of the baby pool I was impressed by the ballsiness of my 6 and 4 year old children. Today was the day they tackled the high dive and by tackled I mean took it by storm, showed no signs of fear and jumped as high off the board before plunging into the depths of the water and returning to the surface with a smile of victory on their faces. Of course I cheered and snapped photos while expressing to my mother my surprise that I didn’t have to go retrieve my boy from 3 meters up.

My mom, though surprised as well, simply said, “They are your children, Colleen. You were the same way. You scared me to death constantly.”

Ahh, how life come full circle.

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  He’s making sure I know just how stoked he is to be jumping off something so high.

My little lady is happy to watch. No need for any extreme behavior yet, thank goodness!

My little lady is happy to watch. No need for any extreme behavior yet, thank goodness!

 

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First, my girl.

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Then little man. He made sure to jump as high as possible before plummeting.