Turning Four

Clara started off her fourth year practicing some life skills. After all, it’s never to early to start.

First up was how to climb without falling out of a tree and giving yourself a black eye. Clara on climbing wall

I did not take this picture, as the only thing that I’d like less than watching my family crawl up the side of a wall is doing it myself. Jane and I stayed home while John and Clara were joined by another Dad/Daughter duo for the adventure. So, while I’ve no stories of my own to share I can tell you that the girls came back all smiles and giggles. I heard about how they got to climb “ROCKS AND ROPES MOM!” They showed me just how very high their dads climbed (At least as high as a newly four year old standing on the back of a couch can reach.) and I heard all about how there are “rules about climbing.”

No falling, no black eyes, happy kids. Life skills progressing well.

After a day of play we met John at his work for dinner, cake and presents and Clara worked on life skill number two for the day.

How to open gifts at a wedding shower.

Clara opened each present with her mouth wide and girly squealing sounds coming out of it. Then she’d see what was inside – “I love it! It’s just what I always wanted!”…”What is it?”Clara fourth birthday

I figure she’s about half way there. Which is further than I have ever made it with that particular skill.

Finally I must add that I made Clara a moth cake. It’s been confusing more than a few people, they think they can’t understand what she is saying but it’s true. I made her a moth cake.  A Rosy Maple Moth cake to be completely accurate -because I like being accurate and Clara likes chocolate cake with pink frosting – and moths.

The cake looked like this, which I thought was pretty darn good for a moth.moth cake

But Clara’s face when she saw it was even better!Clara fourth birthday cake

In her list of life skills she’s working on she can cross “how to melt her mothers heart” right off, she’s got that one down pat!

Happy Birthday Clara!

The Golf Ball Birthday

For the last two months we’ve been asking Clara what she would like for her birthday and the answer has been:

“Golf balls, all colors.”

Every time.

This kind of consistency  from a girl who can’t decide what shoes she’s going to put on and stick with that decision all the way out the door- we got the hint. John and I spread the word and today the gift that got the biggest squeal was the one that also had her exclaiming: “My golf balls!!! They are all colors!!!”

Clara is now officially three years old and the proud and happy owner of at least 28 golf balls.

And because I know you are on the verge of asking, no, I have no idea why she wanted golf balls or where she got the idea. But, after today I can tell you what Clara will do with them. She will carry them around in her shirt, she will pretend to juggle them, she will “sell” them to people, she will “buy” them back, she will roll them, she will fill her new baby cradle with them and put her new doll to sleep on top of them, she will put them in bags, she will take them out of bags and before bed she will pick the perfect spot that her golf balls “want to be” before she crawls into bed herself!

Happy birthday Clara! I hope I never forget your happy squeals over your golf balls because I have a sinking suspicion that we are going to be finding them in odd places for about the next 28 years!

Searching for Recipes

Eating on a diet without wheat, corn, rice, oats, lamb, green beans, chicken…. it gets boring.

Really boring.

Fortunately we are starting to successfully add foods back into Clara’s diet (Hooray for tomatoes and cane sugar!) but it’s a slow process.

As exciting as tomatoes are the food we are eating is still pretty boring. Venison roast with vegetables sounds great, unless you eat it at least once a week. Poor Ivy has been begging, for pizza, noodles and dessert and so I’ve been looking and sleuthing online trying to come up with something different. Trying to do a regular Google search for recipes was frustrating. Even using different cooking websites and their recipe sorters was hard, lists of recipe names that I then had to open and double check ingredients seemed like a great idea but was tedious to carry out. Then I found Pinterest. While I’m still a little sketchy on the point of the whole thing and have no plans of creating my own Pinterest account (because what would I do with it?) I discovered you can look at things just from the Food and Drink category. There you can see pages and pages of good looking pictures of food. The brilliant part?  I can glance at a picture and make a much better quick guess if it will work than looking at a recipe name. So as long as I can avoid drooling over the oodles of lovely looking food we can’t have I have been able to sort through and find some new ideas.

We’ve tried Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs, which were excellent though next time we’ll be making the sauce separate on more of them, it was “too spicy” according to Ivy. Then I found Chocolate-Covered Katie and Clara friendly dessert made a more regular appearance and life was good.

Previously making dessert was more of an ordeal, we had found a good chocolate cake recipe and a few good cookie recipes, but very few quick desserts or easy snacks. Last week we made Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Cookie Dough Dip with just a few differences to make it Clara friendly.  Clara and Ivy helped me dump the ingredients into the food processor and blend it up. I opened the top, told Clara that yes she could taste it and turned to get a bowl. When I turned back she had two handfuls of it.

Needless to say the Cookie Dough Dip was a hit!

I feel I should also mention that this dip has a base of chickpeas.

I have never willingly ate more than a single bite of a chickpea containing food before.

Of course I also never had them with chocolate chips.

Chocolate, it makes everything better!

Diet Coke Gets Even Better

I know, I know, you are thinking this is impossible.

You are thinking that Diet Coke is perfect, and you can’t make perfect better.

But, as I’m sure you all know, the only thing that can compete with Diet Coke is chocolate.

Please watch Ivy’s demonstration on how to make Diet Coke even better.

Take one chocolate cake mix,

and one can of Diet Coke,

combine,

and mix.

Pour into a pan and bake.

Then all that’s left is to frost,

(and don’t let your little sister help, she puts the frosting in the wrong places.)

and decorate.

And there you have it Diet Coke made even better.

It is possible that because Ivy made me a birthday cake all by herself I’m a bit biased as to the results.

But hey, that’s my daughter,  it’s my birthday, and I think the cake was awesome!