Sunday, September 28, 2008

Waving Goodbye to Babyhood

I know I keep mentioning it but every day Jackson learns something new and it makes me a little sad that he is no longer my little baby boy but just my little boy as he grows up right before my eyes.

Today he learned to fully wave when someone else waved to him. Scott was not able to see this great new milestone so we quickly grabbed the camera and shot a little video just for him.
It made me a little teary to see this new achievement but still a very proud mama of such a smart little man!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Three Cake Kinda Day

Today is Scott's birthday.
Happy 31st Birthday Scott!
And to celebrate in true Scott all day long. And not just your average run of the mill cuisine, but birthday fare at every meal. Namely... birthday cake!
Yes, our birthday boy celebrated with a delightfully, delicious dessert at each meal time.
The first meal of the day consisted of the cake that I was originally going to make for his birthday, Yellow cake with Vanilla frosting. Just your basic everyday mix cake with no great flares. This was Scott's first choice until he remembered a certain cake that he craved more than the basics. But no big deal since the cake stuck to the pan and did not come out as planned. So I didn't mind making another cake. But what to do with a light, fluffy yellow cake in pieces. Scott stated that it was not to waste as he would eat it as it was and so he did. What better way to start your birthday than a big breakfast. Of course, to make it more breakfasty (is that even a real word?) we added some Cool Whip and sliced bananas. It is his birthday and you may as well go big or go home.

Next came lunch at Scott's parents' home.
And it was just as he remembered when he was a kid. His mom pulled out all the stops and recreated his favourite birthday meal just as he requested every year of his adolescence. Piggies in a blanket with cheese (hot dogs and cheese slices in wiener/crescent roll dough), smiley face fries and whipped cherry jello with cool whip. The smiley fries are a new addition to this year but just as cute for his little family party. The kitchen table was even decorated with the help of his nephew Travis with balloons, loot bags and a chocolate birthday cake with a little toy fire station stuck to the top of it. Lunch was fun and nostalgic and very filling. And just as the saying goes, there was just enough room for jello but alas we did not have even an inch of space for the cake so we keep it for our next celebration in the evening. Two done one more to go for this sugar coated day of cake and dessert!

Our final confection of the day was the afore mentioned last minute craving to replace the botched yellow cake. It's official recipe name is Glazed English Toffee Cake from the Hershery's website but we just call it the Skor Cake. And it 'Skor'ed big reviews at our dinner party. My favourite part is how the crunchy Skor pieces become chewy and soft when added to the creamy middle layer. Mmmm, so yummy! No wonder there was hardly any left. Good to the last crumb.

Jackson even got in on the cake fest with a little mini chocolate cupcake all to himself. He was pretty partied out by the end of the night. The little guy didn't get much napping in that day, but we are hoping for a great night sleep all the way through for the lot of us.
Happy Birthday Scott!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mmmm...Mashed Potatoes

Only a parent can love a messy, sticky, mucky little munchkin when they are covered in mashed potatoes from their ears to their elbows.

And he is just as cute when he is clean!

Enjoy these tater encrusted photos of my little spud.

Gotta capture them when you can.

They grow up to be big potato heads too quickly!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Balancing Rock

Have you heard of GeoCaching?
Well if you've read my earlier blog entry you would know all about this fun, inexpensive outdoor entertainment. We love to get out when we can and check out any new caches as they pop up. We have even been known to check the website for some extra curricular activities when planning a vacation. These scavenger type hunts are planted everywhere, you should check your neighborhood!

Lately we have been so busy with Jackson that we have neglected the caches we personally have created in our local little Smalliver. So upon reading that there were a few unsuccessful attempts to locate our bounty, we ventured into the great wilderness with our little one to check the status of our hidden treasure. Great day to cache as no muggles were sited as we entered the site.

We have named our GeoCache 'Balancing Rock', I think the photo speaks for it's self as to why. We love this place and couldn't wait to set up a cache here as soon as we discovered this 'game'. This is Jackson's first time to Balancing Rock, not counting in utero of course. We just had to get the customary pic of trying to push the rock over. It's a marvel of nature! You swear that if you push it just right it will go tumbling down the hill. But Scott says that his high school geology teacher figures it has been in place since the glacier melts in the ice age. And that's a loooong time considering we live in the only pocket desert in Canada.

Well the Johnny Cachers ( that's our geocaching handle) have secured the prize and all is well. The cache was there all along, we are just especially good at this game of hide and seek. We hope to have inspired you to take a look at our favourite family oriented outdoor adventure sport.
Happy Caching!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What to do with Green Tomatoes...

I have never claimed to be much of a gardener nor have I ever possessed a green thumb, but when presented with a couple of baby tomato plants I figured why not! At least it will be fun to watch them grow with Jackson this summer. And did they ever grow! Those two little seedlings sprouted into this huge overgrown bush that I just couldn't keep contained. We tried tomato cages but they busted out of those. Then we tried tying them up and back but the bush was mightier than the string. So I just surrendered to the wild and we went 'au naturale'.

Given that we let the tomatoes 'win', we were rewarded with a bounty of flowers which in turn mean tons of fruit. Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, I am not agriculturally inclined so our tomatoes are not in a prime sun seeking location and with all the 'free growth' there is a lot of shading so we have a multitude of big luscious Green tomatoes. Ah yes, I have tried picking them and placing them on a warm sunny windowsill but so far only two have started to turn red after over a week in the sun. I have too many tomatoes to deal with and not enough windowsills and daylight hours. So another solution needed to be found. When in doubt, cook 'em up! Off to the internet for some green tomato recipes. Here's what I found besides your standard 'Fried Green Tomatoes' that initially come to mind (of which I am not overly passionate)...

There are so many more recipes out there but these are the ones that caught my eye. So to the kitchen to lighten our bushel of greenies. The first recipe to be tested was the Spice Loaf. I figured that you can't go too wrong with a quick bread similar to zucchini or carrot loaf.

Very yummy! Loved the spice mix and moistness of the cake. I only had pecans in the house for nuts but will try raisins next time. And when Scott was offered a warm slice slathered in butter he didn't even detect that he was eating tomatoes. I actually had to tell him a few times that he was indeed munching on tomato loaf as he was in disbelief. This recipe will definitely be added to my recipe keeper for next year's harvest if needed.

Then came a more experimental trip on the gastronomy wild side...
Green Tomato Jelly.
It is a very simple recipe and there are some good comments about this particular version as well as other very similar variations so here goes nothing...
As I was chopping up the tomatoes and adding the sugar to the pot, I thought to myself that this seemed like a very unusual concoction I was mixing up. But the smell was actually not too bad especially once the jello flavoring was added to give it a more familiar appearance. I have not tasted it yet as it hasn't quite set. But Scott says it looks like jam and smell likes jam and this is from a guy that rarely eats the stuff so I am hopeful and keeping my fingers crossed for success or at least it being edible.

There are still more fruit on the vines waiting to be picked so I may be attempting a few more recipes until the harvest is fully consumed. Here's wishing me luck on the next batch...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Busy Busy Weekend

Started Friday morning with a Gentle Pilates class with my SIL Sheri. Followed by a great session of salsa making with our good friends the Schafer's. It was my first time making salsa from scratch and from home grown ingredients, especially those spicy peppers that give it such a great kick!

Jackson got in some great playtime with his Aunty Joy & Uncle Scott who are visiting from the coast, before going to bed to rest up for a full Saturday of fun.
It began with a morning run for our coastal Aunty & Uncle, followed by some prune plum picking for Daddy and Uncle Scott. Gotta stock up on that seasonal fruit while it's ripe.
Then we packed up to head to Rattlesnake Canyon for fun with the cousins, Sophie and Fynn.
Go Carts was the first activity of choice for the big kids. And the spectators got quite a show with those dare devil drivers in the hot seat!

Then time to hit the mini golf course for the bunch of us. Sophie had an excellent round with at least one hole in one. Watch out! Future LPGA contender in the making. Aunty Joy got her games mixed up just a little bit. Silly Aunty Joy!

I am so glad that Jackson has a little cousin the same age. Scott had often told me about the great fun (aka trouble) he used to have with his cousin growing up. We hope these two little monkeys become good buddies.

Then it was home after an exhausting afternoon of so much fun and fresh air. Jackson was so pooped after playing with the cousins. And on that note; Uncle Scott had his first experience with 'poop'. Great job on your first diaper change! Especially with our extra squirmy wiggle monster. Not bad, Uncle Scott, you are more than welcome to get as much practice as you want on Jackson. Notice how he pulled Jackson's pants off while still leaving the shoes on... now that's talent!

Sunday was yet another packed day of activities.
Nothing starts the day better than a great breakfast. So it was pancakes and peaches for everyone. Jackson downed six whole silver dollar pancakes and his small jar of homemade peaches. Man my boy can pack it away!

Then after our goodbyes to our coastal family, we headed to Jackson's second birthday party in less than three weeks time. Yes, we have a little social butterfly on our hands. If it weren't for our great family organizer calender we would never be able to keep track of all his important dates and appointments. It was the fourth birthday of our 'fire family' friend, Kael. An ice skating party for this big hockey fan was the perfect activity for the kids and parents. I have been picking up some great tips while at these past two parties. Kael's loot bags were simple but sweet. A new sippy/sports bottle (all cleaned and party ready to use) and a homemade hockey stick cookie for each kid with their name on their cups. I love it! Because half the time you end up with candies or toys that's you don't ready need. And at the last party we received a kid sized T-shirt transfer with instructions in the Backyardigans theme. Very cool!

I better start cracking on party favour ideas for Jackson's birthday, as I only have three more months left to plan his big luau extravaganza. Can't believe that he will be one already...
Every day Jackson is losing more and more of his 'babyness'. I love the little boy he is becoming, but I miss his 'littleness' as time steals a bit of it each day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Got the World on a Swing...

Jackson was invited to his first birthday party last week. So much fun with the great Backyardigans theme and a great day of sun to play outside. We helped celebrate Kaysen's first birthday with our friends the Grahams. Jackson had his first taste of birthday cake. Rode in a super cool go cart and went down the slide of the jungle gym. A lot of first for our little guy on this day.

But he especially fell in love with this great toddler swing. He was so relaxed and just chilling as he rocked back and forth in the breeze. So we scouted out one of our own for the back yard. He has been in it everyday since we sent it up. He is so relaxed in it that he even fell asleep in it today for his afternoon nap. Such a great little investment for our little swinger!