Sunday, November 23, 2014

Party Weekend!

This weekend we partied!

On Saturday night we went to a Thanksgiving dinner party at our friend's house.  We had lots of fun.  Now that the kids are a little older, they can all amuse themselves for a while at a party so the parents can relax a bit.

I made an apple crumble to take to the party.  When will I learn that I don't like baked apple desserts?  I don't love apple pie and this was really no better.  We had some lovely vanilla ice cream with it, and that made up for the baked apples.  My husband said it was good.  I also made dad's cookies with chocolate chips.   They were a hit, I think Baby Boy ate about 5.

When we were driving home a dramatic lightening storm lit up the sky.  It was amazing to watch but I'm glad I wasn't driving.  There was water spray coming off all of the tyres onto our windshield.  It was really hard to see.

We got the kids to bed after 10:00 p.m. (basically midnight for kids) and a few hours later Baby Boy woke up my husband...he was throwing up.  Maybe it was all the cookies.  Besides eating a pile of dad's cookies he also had a bunch of Christmas Oreos, mac n' cheese (the gooey rich stuff from Costco), and parma ham rolled with cheese.  I was lucky, he didn't wake me up!

The next morning we got up and prepared our house for Baby Boy's birthday party.  We had 4 families come over at 10:00 a.m.  The kids played with toys, ate lunch, played party games, and had cake.  I'm always surprised that party games are such a hit.  The party was Batman themed and we played a Batman version of "pin the tail on the donkey".  The kids loved it.  They actually kept playing after the game was over.

The party broke up around nap time and we had a pretty easy clean up.  It certainly helped that my husband did most of the cleaning as well as cooking the pizza for the party.

After the party Baby Boy opened his gifts.  I am so embarrassed...I have been chronically under-gifting. Baby Boy received spectacular (and expensive) gifts.  One thoughtful guest actually wrapped a whole bag of unlabelled packages for the boys to share.  She must have known Little Boy would be jealous of Baby Boy!  I definitely need to raise my game in the gifting department.

Friday, November 21, 2014


This week we celebrated Baby Boy's second birthday.   Little Boy felt nothing but jealousy.  He was jealous of the birthday banner I put up and green with envy over the presents and special attention.  He cried virtually all day....he didn't even want to go to school.  I am so thankful for his amazing teacher - she did a special project with him and they made a birthday card with stickers for Baby Boy.

We gave Baby Boy three gifts and two of them are toys that all of the boys will play with.  Little Boy recognized this, but he was still sick with jealousy.  He didn't even finish his slice of birthday cake.  

We had this problem with Big Boy when he was younger as well.  I'm not sure what the solution is.  I can see that they grow out of it, but it is heartbreaking to watch Little Boy feeling so unhappy but also acting so unreasonably.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Baby Boy is obsessed with Batman.   He loves everything to do with Batman - comics, pictures, toys, books, and clothes.   He even insisted on saving the tag on the Batman shirt I got him for his birthday.  

I find this obsession troubling.  Batman is a very dark character with a troubled past and violent backstory.  It's entirely inappropriate for kids - especially as young as Baby Boy.   Even Big Boy just learned what "orphan" meant when he was reading Harry Potter. 

Baby Boy, of course, doesn't understand any of this.  He thinks Batman is a hero and he likes is voice, cape, and mask.  The tiny snippets he's seen of Batman on T.V. were all age-appropriate and they scared him anyway.  

I don't think this Batman obsession is doing Baby Boy any harm, but I am surprised that manufacturers of children's products are marketing such a dark character to small children.   But I suppose they will produce whatever sells.  

Second Date Update

Here in Houston I have a new guilty pleasure in the mornings.  If I have the radio on, I love listening to "Second Date Update."  Second Date Update is a feature on 93Q, a local country radio station.  On the show they have a caller who had a first date but was rejected when proposing a second date (or ignored completely).  The show calls up the person that they dated to talk about why the second date was denied.  The person explains what the issue was and then the radio hosts try to fix the issues and offer the couple an all-expense-paid second date.

This bit can be funny, interesting, and sometimes just downright sad.  But I love listening no matter what....I think it's compelling in the same way that reality television is - you get a peek into someone else's life for your own entertainment.  Maybe I'm a bit pathetic but I do find it entertaining.

If you want to give it a listen, here is a link:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!!

Baby Boy turns 2 today!  I can't believe how time has flown.  He is such a little man....he follows his big brothers everywhere and there isn't much that he can't do (or at least try....).

To celebrate his birthday I decided to do things that he enjoys (what a concept!).  So, we started off the day by having a treat - he picked a donut.  Then we visited the big, new playground at the mall and met a friend, one of his favourite people.  

Once he was all played out, we wandered over to the food court, where he picked his favourite lunch - teriyaki shrimp with noodles and dumplings.  He shovelled in a few mouthfuls of shrimp and broccoli and then we went on the carousel.  I bought a token, but when the lady operating the carousel saw that it was his birthday (he wore a birthday shirt today), she gave it get a free ride on your birthday!  He loves the carousel in theory but he is a bit hesitant in person.  We had a nice ride, but he really started to enjoy it at the end.

He finished his lunch and then we went on the carousel again for a birthday treat.  He had a blast on the second ride.

We picked up Big Boy early from school and Baby Boy is napping now.  We are planning a small celebration for him this evening...he loves Batman so I tried my hand at a "batcake."  What do you think of it?   (I hate to be horrible, but the crumbs in the icing are not my fault.  Big Boy helped me ice the cake and he had a few crumb issues.  Instead of stomping on his confidence I decided to leave it and pretend it's all good.  Unfortunately I'm obsessed with detail and it drives me nuts!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weekend Away - Livingston, Texas

We have had house guests for a couple of weeks and we decided to take advantage of them and go away for a few nights without the kids.  Picking a destination was tough!  We didn't have enough time to fly somewhere and we didn't want a terribly long drive.  We also weren't interested in re-visiting any of the places we've already travelled near Houston.  We finally decided to go to Livingston, Texas.

Livingston is a very small community about an hour north of Houston. Livingston is laid out along the highway.  There is no way to walk through most of the town.  We found a few lovely places to eat but otherwise we didn't spend much time in Livingston.  On Saturday afternoon we drove into Huntsville, another town near Lake Livingston, for a late lunch. 

The only real draw in the area is the Lake Livingston State Park (  The state park is a typical lake park....a large, clean lake with campgrounds surrounding it and some hiking (maybe "walking" is a more appropraite description) paths.  On Saturday we drove out to the park and spent the morning walking all of the trails.  It was a perfect morning - there was a chill in the air and only a few people in the park.  We saw some gorgeous red and blue birds and a handful of deer.  As you can see from the photos below, the sky was grey but bright - I think it was perfect, because it didn't get too hot.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Livingston (  We picked this hotel because my husband has points at the Hilton chain and we could redeem them for our nights.  

After the initial check-in experience, the hotel was better than I had expected.  When we went to check in, the clerk announced loudly (and almost with some glee) that she couldn't find our reservation.  In other circumstances this would have worried me, but this is how stuff operates here in Texas.  She made a big fuss and then figured out that the reservation was on her screen the whole time.  Apparently the issue was that the reservation was showing at the top of the screen and she did look there...what?  Anyways, it was all uphill from that point.

The room was pleasant and clean.  There was a problem with the bathtub drain and they fixed it quickly.  The hotel cleaners replaced the towels and coffee supplies that we used and they cleaned our room early in the day.  I only had one other nit pick...someone spilled fruit loops in the stairwell on Saturday morning.  Although a "caution" sign was placed by them, they still had not been cleaned up on Sunday when we left.

Overall we had a nice weekend, and we do plan to take the kids to Lake Livingston State Park on a camping trip.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Body Wrap from It Works!

A few weeks back I won a FaceBook competition and the prize was a body wrap from It Works!.  A few days later the wrap arrived in the mail and this week I finally had the chance to try it out.  Here is the website for the It Works! distributer that I won the wrap from if you want to check it out:

The wrap is basically a plastic sheet with a cream on it that you apply to part of your body and leave on for 45 minutes.  The idea is that after 45 minutes the area beneath the wrap will have smoother and tauter skin and you may even experience a reduction in size.  The wraps are a single-use product and you can use them as frequently as every 72 hours.

The specific wrap that I won is one that is meant to be applied to the abdomen.  I showered and then applied the wrap.  Application was easy, I took the wrap out of the packet, unfolded it, laid it over my mid-section, and then smoothed it out.  The wrap had a lovely scent and a tingling feeling - I felt like I was in a nice spa during the treatment.

After 45 minutes I removed the wrap and threw it away and then I rubbed in the excess cream left behind.  I was surprised at the results.  My skin was smoother, particularly in an area where I have a few scars from having shingles.  My skin was also tighter and my waist measured slightly smaller after the wrap.    It seemed like it sort of "pulled" my skin tighter so that it looked and felt firmer.

Overall I liked this product.  It did exactly what it promised and it was easy to use.  There was nothing awkward or painful about using it and I liked the scent.  They sell different wraps for different areas of your body (stomach, legs, etc.).  I could see using it as a confidence booster to tighten up wobbly bits before a trip to the beach or a night out!