Thursday, August 21, 2014

Our Day (subtitled: Thanks Scammers, I have nothing better to do with my time.....)

Today I took Big Boy back to Wonderwilder.  I was hesitant because a day after our last play session my shoulders were so sore that I couldn't lift my arms above my head.  I spent far too much time on the Tarzan rope!  My abs were also sore from driving around the pedal go-kart.

We had a blast!  I actually stopped in Ross on the way over and bought some athletic (yoga-style) capris* so that I could play with him on the equipment.  We arrived and I changed while he decided what he wanted to play on first.  We had fun bouncing on the trampoline pillow for a while and then drove in the cars.  

Then we went onto the ropes course....and I fell!  We played for about 15 minutes and then when I was coming down from the top level on a rope mesh ladder my foot slipped out of its hold and I fell down the mesh and bit through my lip.  It bled pretty hard and swelled up, but thank goodness Big Boy and I were the only people on the playground so no-one else saw (it was very embarrassing).

I cleaned myself up and we rode the go-karts some more before other kids started showing up about an hour after we had arrived.  Then I sat down on the bench with the other mothers and found a lady to chat with.  

Big Boy found some great kids to play with today and we waited until the last minute to leave.

After I left I picked up Baby Boy from his school and found out that he had a perfect potty day at school! (This is jumping forward, but it actually ended up being a perfect potty day all day....!) I was so pleased.  To celebrate we picked up lunch from El Ray.  That was a bit of a mistake.  I got green salsa in my lip hole and it burned until I cried....so I washed it out under the tap.  Now I know how much that sucks!

As we were sorting out lunch I looked at my phone and there was a message about my car insurance.  I called back and it was from Allstate.  The message was that my auto insurance payment was overdue and they would send a notice of cancellation if I didn't pay $84 immediately.  I'm not in charge of paying that bill in our household so I started to panic because I wasn't sure if we had accidentally forgotten to pay.

I pushed the buttons to navigate the system because I wanted to ask a few questions - the amount didn't match any of our usual payments, so I was wondering what it covered.  I couldn't find a "human" to talk to.  Then it dawned on me that we don't use Allstate for our car insurance.  I quickly rang up our own insurance company and confirmed that I didn't owe anything....the lady just laughed and told me to be careful of these scams.  What a waste of time!  And it's disappointing because it all sounded so legitimate and professional.

After the kids took naps (...maybe I napped too) we walked over to pick up Little Boy with plans to go swimming. Unfortunately the pool was closed due to mechanical issues so we couldn't swim.  

We had supper and then went to Big Boy's "Meet the Teacher" night.  We signed up for activities and met his teacher before hurrying off to karate....what a busy day!

As I'm writing this I'm exhausted....and also I can feel my shoulder muscles and back muscles starting to get sore....maybe I should learn to act my age.




*Just an aside - I love these yoga capris.  They are a brand called "The Girls" (http://www.thegirlsapparel.com/index.asp) and they are very nicely made.  

The capris are comfortable with a high enough waist to remain modest whilst bouncing on a trampoline or swinging on a Tarzan rope but they are also modern looking. They are not sheer at all but the fabric is lightweight and sweat-wicking (I sweated a lot at the play centre today so I tested this feature!).  I am comfortable with the price point of this brand and I will look for it in the future.  Their products are also available in "tall" - not an issue for me, but I know some people who get excited about "tall" clothing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wonderwild - Houston Heights Location

Yesterday I took Big Boy for a play at Wonderwild in the Heights (http://gowonderwild.com/index.php/the-heights/).  Wonderwild is an indoor play centre.  It is divided into two sides - Wonderwild for younger children (ages 8 and under) and Wonderwilder for older children (ages 5-11).  You pay admission based on whether your child can walk and which side your child will play on.  I paid for Big Boy to play only on the equipment for older children and the admission cost was $10.00.  That seemed a little steep when I was paying it, but after seeing the facility I think it's pretty good value (assuming your child wants to stay a while).  The facility has free wifi with the password prominently posted at the front desk.  There are beverages for sale for $1.00 but no cafe or other food services.

The play area is a large warehouse bay divided with a coated chain link fence to separate Wonderwild and Wonderwilder.  Wonderwild had a 20' inflated slide, a very large climbing area, a jumping pillow, a soft play area, and bike track.  I'm sure there are other attractions but this is what I could see from the Wonderwilder side.  There are also benches for parents and some cubbies to store your stuff.  The smaller kids seemed very happy playing here.

Wonderwilder consisted of a jumping pillow, a bike/go-kart track, a soft play area with blocks that looked like enormous 3D tetris pieces, and a multi-story rope and net play area.  We were the first ones at the play centre yesterday morning morning and we were alone for about an hour so I tried out all of the attractions with Big Boy.

I loved the jumping pillow.  Big Boy and I spent a long time making up "fancy" jumps (like a jumping jack or toe touch) and trying to bounce across the pillow.  I found the go-karts difficult to drive (yes....some of them were big enough for me) and after trying to maneuver one around for a few minutes I noticed that the rules sign said adults were not allowed on the go-karts.  I got off the kart but Big Boy loved driving around and around the track.

The ropes play area was amazing.  It was fun swinging like Tarzan, faux tightrope walking, and scaling a wall.  Some of the ropes tunnels were not exactly adult-sized but I managed to fit through all of them.  I couldn't figure out what we were supposed to do on the tyres.....

I was least excited by the soft play area, but Big Boy loved putting together the giant tetris pieces.  I honestly could not see the appeal, but he would have played there for hours.

Once other children started arriving I stopped playing and took a seat on the benches with the other mothers.  I am hurting today....I think my body is not used to playing like a kid!

Overall, Big Boy had 2 hours of solid, sweaty, fun at Wonderwild and I hope I can take him back soon.  He had a great time and so did I.











I tried these karts - quite tough!

Big Boy loved these go-karts.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Big Boy and Harry Potter

Last night, Big Boy finished reading "Harry Potter at the Philosopher's Stone" (the first "Harry Potter" book).  I am so proud of him - it's a major reading accomplishment!   

Reading the book (on Kindle) has taken him about 6 weeks (he started on the airplane on the way to Calgary), but he has also read other books and comics during that period.  (He's like his mother - he enjoys having multiple books on the go at the same time.)

I think this is the modern "boy" equivalent to reading "Anne of Green Gables" when I was young.* I'm guessing most little Canadian girls of a certain age read "Anne" as one if their first novels - it was a pivotal read for me.  "Anne" and "Harry" are confidence-building reads that pave the way for a series of books with increasing length and difficulty. A first step for any serious reader!

"Anne" and "Harry" are very similar stories.   In both, an orphan marked by a distinguishing physical feature (red hair and a lightening bolt scar) journeys into a better life filled with friendship and adventure.   Both protagonists enjoy a bit of mischief and become central to their new community.  It's interesting that two stories published in such different times and places are so similar ("Anne" was published in 1908 in the U.S.A. (although it is set in Canada) and "Harry" was published in the U.K. in 1997). 

*Perhaps this is a bit narrow - Harry Potter is appealing to both genders but I can't help but to see it as a "boy" book. 


Measure Once, Cut Twice.....Right?

Today I set to a sewing task....making Little Boy a pillow case for his nap pillow at school.  Over the weekend I purchased and washed the fabric and today I just needed to cut, iron, pin, and sew.  I didn't bother with a patterns because I assumed it would be simple.  Right.....

I measured and cut out the fabric and sewed a really nice edge.  I was about to fold it over and sew it into a tube shape when I noticed that it looked too small.   I measured again and figured out that I had cut enough for one side, not the whole case!

I pulled out my beautifully straight seam and cut another piece then ironed and pinned the pieces together.   It was a quick job to sew it together.  I reinforced the seams but gave up on the fancy cuff so that I could spend some time with the kids.   I compromised by sewing a decorative double seam around the mouth of the pillow case.  

The end product is not perfect but it is definitely usable and tidy.   I haven't used a sewing machine to do anything but hem trousers in a long time, so I need more practice!


My "decorative double seam"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baby Boy is Learning

Baby Boy is very curious about food.  He has a nibble of everything I eat to see if he likes it.  When we are eating he wants to try all of the sauces and spices we add to the food, whether appropriate for a toddler or not!  

Tonight for supper we had hamburgers.  I served him a plate identical to his brothers - the hamburger was sliced in half and had a piece of cheese on the patty and ketchup as the only condiment.  He saw me and my husband adding other toppings to our burgers and he had to add them all as well and he wanted them to be on the burger in the same order as on my husband's burger.

Then my husband picked up his loaded burger with both hands and bit it in the middle.  Baby Boy did the same thing.  Then they both placed them back on their plates.

My husband noticed his parroting and started to mess with him.  He added some lettuce.  So did Baby Boy.  He patted the burger down....so did Baby Boy.  Finally he squished the burger flat and Baby Boy did too.  It was so cute!

Then they both ate!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken (....and then Chicken Corn Chowder)

I cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker this week.  It was my first time cooking a whole chicken this way....I reviewed a bunch of recipes first and I combined them and made up my own recipe and method.  I cut up an onion and laid it in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I placed the chicken on top of the onion and then covered it with another onion, sliced garlic, dried rosemary, salt and pepper.  Right before turning on the slow cooker I added about a cup of water.

The chicken barely fit in the slow cooker - I had to rearrange the bits of onion on top a few times so that the lid would fit.  I left the chicken to cook on low about 6 hours and when I came back to it the chicken and onions had browned and the slow cooker was nearly full of broth.  I used silicone-tipped tongs (2 sets) to lift the chicken carefully out of the pot, and, despite my care, it came apart when I lifted it.  I put it into a dish and then placed it under the broiler for about 4 minutes to crisp up the skin.  I preserved the lovely broth.

We had a nice supper, but overall I was not pleased with how this chicken came out.  It had that slow cooker meat issue - it fell off the bone but was still dry in texture.  The skin was crispy and flavourful.  Also the broth was perfect - tasty and rich.

The best part of the slow cooker chicken was the chicken corn chowder I made a couple of days later - it was wonderful with fresh cheddar biscuits.

The raw chicken.

Nicely brown.
Oh no - broken chicken!

Browned chicken.

Rich broth.

A nice supper overall even if the chicken wasn't perfect.

This chicken corn chowder was perfect - it made the whole exercise worthwhile!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Baby Boy's First Day of School

This morning Baby Boy was a mess.  He woke up very early and was super grouchy.  He had a tantrum at my feet while I was making lunches and he was fussy.  Once I dressed him for school and put on his backpack he had grown quiet - I think he was actually a bit tired.  On the way to his school he just sat and stared out the car window.

We pulled him out of the truck and took a few pictures and then took him into the school.  I had the wrong building at first.  After a while we found his classroom and he whined a bit while his teacher took him, then she walked him into a room filled with toys and he was happy.

I got a call from his teacher mid morning - he had a nose bleed but was otherwise happy.  When I picked him up he had eaten most of his snack and he hadn't cried except when he had a nosebleed....I'd say that was a pretty good first day!