Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Everyone's A Winner, Babe.

Whoops.  I'm a few days late posting the winner of the Goody Bag Give-away.  Nugget, the sushi-loving Mika, chose titaniumhip, the sushi-loving Meeka.  Confusing?  Maybe.  Meeka, your goody bag will be mailed out on Saturday!

My big brother, Ranyl, was in the Vancouver Sun today.  He's like the poster boy for the BCIT Bachelor of Technology's games development option, because he made an Xbox game.  You can read about him here and here .  He was also interviewed on CBC Radio this afternoon.  Yep, we're pretty proud.  You should buy his game here

Today is the last day for WipeOut Canada phone calls.  Sadly, Rutty did not make the cut.  There's always next year, right?  Right?

Nugget's back to school next week.  It will be her first day at the Main School.  Woohoo!

Got some really positive feedback on my Etsy shop for some of the viking hat orders I sent out a few weeks ago.  This is going to sound super lame but I have to say, it's really quite gratifying to know everyone is so happy with their viking hats.  I'm finishing off one viking hat this week and my Alchemy request which I will post a photo of when it's totally finished.  I made a pair of mitts for my Etsy shop but Nugget claimed it as her birthday mitts.  This is them...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nugget's 9th Bday Party And A Giveaway!

The last week flew by so quickly that Nugget's birthday party snuck up on me.  As much as I tried planning everything ahead of time,  there were still a few details that got left to the last minute.  One of the details was the cake.  I knew I wanted to make a sushi-themed cake to go with her Sushi/Japanese theme party and I had a few ideas that I researched and thought about.  Most of the cake ideas were so grand and beyond the baking abilities of a non-baker like myself, that it didn't go further than me thinking about it.  I thought I had time last week to do a test run but didn't.  Things were running so smoothly at work I wasn't anticipating such a draining week.  Her party was fast approaching and I thought about just picking up cupcakes from the Cupcake shop on Denman.  But Nugget loved the idea of a sushi cake.  She kept throwing out ideas for how to make it that I felt I HAD to at least try.  So the night before the party, after spending the morning at our Misty Island movie premiere, the afternoon at my nephew's birthday party and the evening cleaning the apartment, I hauled my butt down to Safeway and picked up some supplies.  I baked the cake just before Nugget and her cousin went to bed (again, thank you Duncan Hines) and I set to work decorating it this morning after I fed the dog.  It was so very last minute, it showed.  I have much appreciation for the organized moms, like my sister-in-law, who plan, cook, bake and pull off such awesome parties for their kids without a hitch.  Despite all my efforts, I seem to always fall short.  Here is my attempt at a sushi cake.

I used coconut for the rice which was a total pain to get on the sides.  Surely there is a better technique than trying to press shaved coconut onto the iced sides with a spatula.  The coconut just kept falling leaving little piles around the bottom.  I opted to use strawberries, honeydew melon and cantaloupe to represent the contents of the sushi roll instead of Nugget's suggestion of gummy candies because I wanted to limit the amount of sugar.  The cake kind of worked.  If you look at the photo from far away it almost looks like a California roll.  Kind of, right? 

The snack spread for the party consisted of veggies and dip, fruit, nuts, crackers and cheese... yes, very Japanese.  The edamame never made it out of the freezer.  I wanted to keep the food selection healthy partly because Nugget turns into a scary beast when she has too much sugar.  Being stuck in an 850sf apartment with five little girls hopped up on sugar was a nightmare I wanted to avoid, hence veggies and dip.  Yeah party food!  Maybe for 30 year- olds.  Whatever, they liked it.

I also wanted to avoid giving them pop to drink.  Again, sugar is bad.  I made them virgin Bellinis, which were basically orange slushies with grenadine.  I know, totally Japanese.

The original plan for the party was to order take out sushi and have lunch on the back deck on the custom picnic table Rutty ordered from a lady on Craigslist.  The picnic table would also be the setting for origami folding.  But the Craigslist custom picnic table that was supposed to be delivered last Thursday was now going to be delivered four days AFTER the party.  Huge fail.  My back up plan for bad weather and lack of picnic table was to take the girls upstairs to Jenn's empty apartment which would only work if the weather was crappy because Jenn's apartment during sunny weather is an oven.  Today was sunny and very warm.  I opted to take the girls to a restaurant instead which worked out well.  We walked up to Oysi Oysi and the girls ordered what they wanted to eat and even got icecream for dessert.  The best part was I didn't have to clean it up. 

The other detail that ended up falling by the wayside was decorations.  A few weeks ago I had this totally wacked out idea that I could fold 1000 paper cranes and string them together to make the best origami garland ever and I would hang those somewhere to decorate for the party.  That was about a month ago and I calculated that I would have to fold thirty paper cranes a day in order to make them in time.  I think I made one.  This orange silk parasol was the extent of my decorating for the party and I didn't even think of it.  Nana had given it to Nugget a while back and Nugget pulled it out of her room this morning and said "Can we put this somewhere?"

After we got back from sushi we arrived to find Hurley peed all around the apartment.  I don't think I've ever seen so much pee on my floor.  There was a stream down the hall, around the living room and into the kitchen, like he tried to write "Happy Birthday" in piss but realized he didn't know how to spell because he's a dog.  Apparently he went to the door and sat there waiting to be taken outside to relieve himself but Rutty misread his signal for him waiting for us to come back.  So much pee to mop up...  

When all that was cleand up the girls voted on opening presents first and then origami.  I printed some instructions that I found online and gave them to the girls.  This didn't work out so well.  Most of the instructions were so difficult to follow the girls gave up.  This was as far as Maya got with the owl. 

The party was to end at 4PM but the girls wanted to stay longer so I said 5PM was fine but I had no other activities planned.  The girls decided to play Hide and Seek which probably was not the best choice of games in a small apartment with very limited hiding options.  Isabelle had the best hiding spot.  She piled a bunch of cushions on top of herself, behind the cofee table while Maya lay on top of the cushions looking as casual as one does when they're awkwardly balanced on a precarious heap of cushions and their sister.   

Then it was cake time.  After the very subdued (probably from the lack of sugar) singing of "Happy Birthday", Nugget blew out her candles, nine plus one for good luck.

After the girls had cake, their dads came to pick them up.  The goody bags were distributed and the party came to an end. Success?

So to share in the celebration of the day I popped out my darling daughter,  I am doing my first Giveaway.
The prize is a goody bag, just like the girls got at Nugget's party.  A canvas bag containing the following:
*A pair of chopsticks
*A pack of hand-cut sushi stickers
*A sushi eraser
*Origami paper
*A cherry blossom notebook
*A handmade sushi barrette, like the ones I sell in my Etsy shop.

To enter write a birthday Haiku in the comments section and I'll get Nugget to select her favourite.

The Giveaway closes Thursday, August 26th (when our picnic table is supposed to be delivered) and the winner will be announced on Friday, August, 27th.  Please also include your email address with your Haiku so I can contact you for shipping info if you win.  Thanks!  I look forward to reading your Haikus.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nine Year Old Nugget

Today my baby turns 9 years old.  Just one more year then she hits the double digits. Already she's as tall as my shoulders.  It won't be long before we're the same height and then she surpasses me, which really won't take much since I'm only 5 ft tall.

When Nugget first started talking she had a little scratchy voice that sounded odd for such a little girl and I used to call her Froggy. She used to have eczema so bad it covered nearly 70% of her body and the ritual of putting lotions and ointments on her would be so painful it broke my heart.  

Nugget has since grown into her voice and grew out of the eczema and is growing into a pretty young lady and a really cool kid.  She has a great sense of humour and has pretty good comedic timing.  She likes school and brings home good report cards.  At parent-teacher meetings I always get nervous that I'm going to hear that my kid is a jerk because she can be that way at home, but it's always the opposite.  Nugget is great at school.  She's helpful, responsible, she takes care of the younger kids and helps with the special needs kids.  She enjoys taking on leadership roles (Playground Leader, Library Helper, Junior Leader) and voluntarily checks the other kids lunches and bitches them out if they brought anything with nuts in it.  When she told me she did this, I said "Jeez.  Do you have any friends?".  Her response to me was a glare and a punch in the arm.  I bug her about being nerdy in a Lisa Simpson kind of way but only because I was the same way.  I'm very proud of her being so conscientious.  She takes nut allergies very seriously because there are kids in the school and at daycare that could die if they even saw a peanut.  She jokes that I'm not allowed at her school.  Get it?  Because my name is Peanut.

My Nugget has gone through a lot.  She's watched her dad and I split up, she's been passed back and forth as per custody agreements.  Through it all I've worried about how she would handle it and how much it would screw her up but she's tough and well adjusted.  Sometimes I think moreso than I am.  She's very open and honest about what she's thinking and feeling, an ability I envy and hope she never loses.  

Every night when I tuck her in for bed, we sing the "Good Night Miss Mika" song then we talk about her day.  It's the part of the day I look forward to the most.  Partly because it means she's finally going to bed but mostly because that's our special time together.  Now that she's nine, I have to wonder how much longer she's going to want to do that before she thinks it's super lame.  How much longer before she thinks I'm super lame?  Judging from some of the looks she gives me, she already thinks it but she loves me anyway.  She always says she loves me more than I love her and we argue about it and Rutty gags because it's annoying.  It really is annoying.  But whatever, I love her more.  Shut up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Scattered Mix of Current Events in No Particular Order

My Nugget's birthday is in four days.  She's been reminding us since May.  Her little party isn't until Sunday and she's already planning her party for next year.  I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do about a cake.  Here's a preview of one of her goody bag items.  I made some hand-cut stickers from the sushi designs that I used on the goody bags and the invites and made little sticker packs.

Saturday is our Friends and Family Screening for our second Thomas movie:  Misty Island Rescue.  Last year we missed seeing our first Thomas movie on the big screen so I'm kind of excited about this.  You know, as excited as one gets for a preschool movie.  It'll be fun to see the kids' reactions in the theater if anything.

Then after the screening we're off to my nephew's first birthday.  It sounds like it will be a teddy bear picnic in the park if the weather cooperates.

We're making attempt #2 to see Scott Pilgrim tomorrow night.  We bought tickets for opening night last Friday.  We were in line an hour early and snagged some good seats.  But during the wait in line poor Nugget was hit with pee problems.  She was needing to go literally every five minutes which made me think UTI.  While we sat waiting for the movie to start she had to go to the bathroom a couple more times before it was evident that no one was going to enjoy this movie with a little girl getting up every five minutes to run to the can.  We decided to go home so Nugget could be close to a toilet and have some cranberry pills.  A trip to Children's Hospital the next day proved it was not a UTI, her pee was perfect.  The doctor could only diagnose it as Pediatric Urinary Frequency, which apparently is common in girls Nugget's age and usually lasts a couple of days.  Weird.  She seems fine now.  And she insists she's definitely well enough for Scott Pilgrim tomorrow night.  She is very excited.

I believe I am now up to date on my viking hat orders.  I shipped the last one today!  Woohoo!  This is an incredible feat for someone that took nearly eight months to fill an order of seven viking hats last year.  I thought about posting some more viking hat photos but at this point, if you've seen one of my viking hats, you've seen them all except some are slightly larger or smaller. 
I have my first Etsy Alchemy request that I'm itching to start on but I'm waiting for a package to come in the mail before I can start.  My fingers are getting antsy.

The much anticipated meeting of Rutty's parents meeting my parents last Saturday went well.  Rutty and I have known each other for over a decade and have been a couple for almost three years and no, this doesn't mean we're making any major announcements.  It just means it was about bloody time our folks met.  And Rutty's parents even got to meet Nana and Papa, who I pretty much consider my other parents.

Jenn and Teen left for Singapore last Friday.  Jenn is starting her glamourous career as a lead animator on Clone Wars for LucasFilm.  While I am very proud of my little roundy headed friend for scoring such a gig, I'm sad that they're so far away for such a long time.  Our Sunday brunches, Buffy nights and trips to Tofino will not be the same till they come home.  I am happy that we have access to their washer/dryer until ours gets fixed.

Another thing I'm kind of sad about...the end of Meat Watch 2010.  Why?  I'm still trying to figure it out.

And since my mind is about as scattered as this post right now, here are a couple of completely random things that made me go WTF today.  It's not as cool as a rotting pile of meat but very few things are. 

Baby Ligers from Taiwan.

A giant cat couch.  It kind of looks like it's made of chocolate cookie dough.  We have cookie dough in the freezer from Jenn and Teen.  We baked some last night but I couldn't eat the cookies without crying.  Just kidding, I was only sobbing a little. I didn't want my cookie to get soggy... and salty.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Busy With Birthdays

July and August are busy months for me because that's when my two favourite people celebrate their birthdays.  A few weeks ago we celebrated Rutty's birthday by hiking up the Chief and barbecuing in Langley. I'm just a little late to post about it.

At the top of the second peak of the Chief in Squamish.

The view from the top.

This is the cake I baked for Rutty.  The original plan was to have a Scott Pilgrim themed party in August to coincide with the release of the movie but things changed partly because Jubbs and Teeners leave for Singapore in a few days, but that's a whole other heartache that I may elaborate on later.  Anyway, Rutty was very specific about his Scott Pilgrim cake.  I had the image printed on a sheet of icing from Picture Your Cake and I put it on a double chocolate cake a la Duncan Hines.  I am not a baker. 

Now it's August which means it's prep time for Nugget's birthday.  We try to keep her birthday parties small, only five little girls this year, and I try to do something special with her goody bags.  This year Nugget wanted a Sushi themed party so I designed some cute sushi characters that I put on her invites and made iron on transfers that I put on little canvas bags.  

With all my viking hat orders (I finished two hats and shipped them in the last two weeks!) I wanted to get as much of Nugget's birthday things done ahead of time to avoid panic and disappointment.  Most of the planning is done.  I will have more photos after her party.