Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Haul

Are you guys swimming in sweet treats? How many mini chocolate bars have you devoured? Haha! I was so looking forward to Halloween, so I could reap the benefits of having a kid... FREE candy!
Unfortunately, it was quite windy today so we only made it down the block and back! Yules was also sleepy and confused and had no idea what was going on! Haha! Therefore not that much candy for us! Plus, we had a bazillion trick-or-treaters and I almost ran out of candy! Yikes! So seriously not much candy left for me to stuff my face with! BOO!

Yules was Spidey for Halloween...

But it is much too cold to wear that outside, so she went as herself... a MONSTER...
Her Halloween haul...

She also got to eat candy for the first time...

 I think she liked it...
Hope you all had a Happy Halloween too! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween

Kalbs & Yules wishes everyone a happy and safe Halloween!
Yules will be out trick or treating for the first time! Wish us luck and hopefully there will be LOTS of sweet treats for Mama ahem Yulli to enjoy!
Hope you all have a frightastic fun time today!!

Cake Smear!

Was just reminded that I never actually posted pics of Yulli's cake smash! So here you are... enjoy!

The Cake...
Gently removing the candle...
Quite pleased with the sensory experience (who says she doesn't get sensory play haha)...
Deconstructing the layers...
Investigating further...
Had enough...
Then decided it would be a great idea to smear cake and icing ALL over the floor and kitchen island...
Trusty Kalbster to the rescue to help clean up...

Yulli's Corner Store!

Yulli's play nook got a mini reno a little while ago. We added some house numbers... 2012 in honor of her birthday! A friend suggested that it would be cute if we added a doorbell. I found a wireless doorbell at Home Depot that was perfect. Yulli never knew that it existed until her friends came over and played with it. Now all she wants to do is ring the doorbell over and over and....... over!!

We also recently turned the nook from a house to a store! Yulli loves to play with empty containers. I've been saving all sorts of containers... from snack containers to baby food tubs to lotion tubes. Husband hates having "junk" all over but the Yules loves it! Plus there is no need to buy new toys when clean, empty containers will entertain her just fine! She loves to open and close them and fill them with things and take them out!
The reason I bring this up is because, these empty containers are perfect to fill the shelves of our new store! The best ones are mini shampoo/conditioner bottles... the kind you get from hotels! They are perfect for little hands! I simply peel the labels off the containers and add my own label... pink of course. I left the labels blank so it doesn't limit her imagination as to what these little containers can be! So next time you need to entertain the kiddos, give them a box of empty containers!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sensory Play

Working in early learning, I definitely know the importance of play and sensory experiences for the kiddos. Unfortunately the Yules hasn't had a chance to have much sensory play. Why you ask? Because her mother is lazy and it usually involves a mess and me having to clean it and her! But that's a sad excuse and the Yules deserves sensory play for sure! So to make up for it, we've been milking the last few warm days of autumn and going to the park lots and letting the monster play in the sand! I think she's finally over eating sand and gets that is doesn't taste good!! haha!

I've also been wanting Husband to build her a sensory table and it was on his to-do list since Summer. Well obviously Summer has come and gone but the opportunity and need for sensory play is still here! So I gave my Dad a new project and he happily and quickly built the monster a sensory table. I bought a plastic storage container with a lid and my Dad built a frame for it! I love the idea of the storage container because you can have one for sand and another one for water. It can easily be washed and filled with other things as well like shaving cream, rice, pumpkin guts etc etc. We currently have it inside our garage, because its much too cold to play with it outside. I'm looking to get a little electric heater so she can still play with it all winter long. She can make a mess all she wants in the garage! And come Summer, it can easily be moved outside! I love that it's the perfect height for her and that it's not plastic and colourful! Haha you know how much I love colorful plastic things!! I wanted to show you all a pic of her actually playing with it, but a 1 year old on the move doesn't stay still long enough for you to take a decent picture! She LOVED playing with the water and splashing around and making a mess. And I LOVED not having to clean up the water!! Haha!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The "S" Word

The dirty-dirty-bad-no-good-S-word is back! I'm talking about SNOW of course! Autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year, unfortunately it lasts for about 5 days and then comes the snow! BOO! There is only 3 good things that come with snow... Christmas, Snuggles and Soup!
It snowed for the first time this weekend, so we were in desperate need of some belly warming soup! I made PHO! I like to think that I make a mean pho... well I haven't gotten any complaints! But I guess if you complain than you don't get invited back! Haha! Anyways, I often get asked for my pho recipe and my answer is always "I don't have one"! I add a little of this and a little of that, but if you want specific quantities of ingredients then you can just forget it! I have no idea! There are lots of great recipes online, so google away if you want to try and make your own soup! I do have a few tips for you guys though!

1. Parboil your bones. Add the bones to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let it boil away for a good 5-10mins and then dump and rinse. This helps get rid of the yuckies that you don't want polluting your soup.

2. Most pho recipes call for just onion and ginger. I also like to add carrots and daikon. This helps sweeten the broth naturally so you don't have to add as much sugar! (Rock sugar is best for Pho btw) Actually I like to add carrots and daikon to most broths that I make! They make an amazing team! Don't be cheap on the ginger either... a good broth leaves behind a good-slow-clear-your-sinuses-good-for-your-soul-kind-of-burn and that is achieved from the ginger!

3. Give your veggies a little char. Lucky for me, our range has a grill, so giving the vegg a little char is super easy. But don't fret if you don't have a grill, you can get the same results by running outside to the BBQ haha or moving your oven rack to the top and giving the vegg a nice broil. I have no idea why this makes your soup better, but that little extra love seriously makes soooooooo much difference.

4. While you're at it grilling and broiling away, go ahead and roast your bones too! Again, I don't know the science behind it, but it makes a difference. You can compare it to making soup from roast chicken and how it tastes so much fuller than just regular chicken bones! Don't question it, just do it!

5. Toast your spices. Again a little extra love goes a long way. That little toast brings out the essential oils in the spices and smells heavenly. I use star anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander and cinnamon. Not those pretty looking cinnamon sticks but the Cassia cinnamon that seriously looks like a piece of tree bark. Some peeps only use star anise, some add fennel seeds and this and that... you can do whatever you want... you're the chef! Most people also think that you should add the spices at the beginning... but I actually add it towards the end. Again, I don't know why, but it works. Compare it to cooking something and adding garlic... if you want subtle garlic taste add garlic first, but if you want strong garlic taste add it towards the end.

6. Cook your soup at a slow simmer and don't rush it. Don't boil on high in hopes that it will cook faster, good things are worth the wait. Some people think that after 3 hours of simmering, the bones have given you all they have to offer. But I totally disagree... the longer you simmer, the better!

7. Make a lot!! There is no point in pouring all that time and love into one little bowl. Make a giant pot and invite your friends! Good food always tastes better when shared with good friends!

Okay those are my tips for a Phobulous soup! Haha are you guys feeling overwhelmed? If so, save yourself the trouble and head on over to a Viet restaurant. Or ask nicely and I'll save you a bowl next time!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Yulli's Play Loft

It's been a while since I've posted, so today I will share a special place with you! This is Yulli's second favourite place to play: Her Loft!
There was a little spot in the basement that I knew would be a great spot for a loft! Husband really wanted to put a golf simulator there, but wife always wins!! Happy Wife, Happy Life! Husband is a smart man! Anyways, I designed this loft as a play space that she can grow into and that can be transformed into anything her imagination wants it to be! I love the idea of having different levels for play. Plus, with our long cold winters, it's a perfect place to play indoors! One side has a ladder and the other is complete with a slide! The slide is super steep and super scary. The little kids and the big kids (aka mums and dads) are deathly afraid, but the in-between kids LOVE it! I considered transforming it to a rock climbing wall, but I figured Yules can grow into it. Plus she loves going down it (with help of course) so much already! Right now, we have it set up as a cozy reading spot up top, guarded by a friendly gorilla family (random, I know). My hope is that Yulli will use her imagination to turn it into an airplane or spaceship! How fun would that be? When she's older it can simply be a place where she can lay up top and read or be EMO by herself when she's mad at the world!

Under the nook is currently set up as the "classroom"! Books are one of my passions, so naturally there is a book shelf on one side! I like to change the books out seasonally. Right now we have Autumn/Thanksgiving/Halloween books displayed! This is the home of the new old desks that I shared with you a little while ago! Husband installed a giant whiteboard for the classroom. I'm not quite ready to give Yules markers, (cause I'm not crazy or dumb) so right now just magnets for learning! How cute are these wooden alphabet magnets? Speaking of wooden, did you know that ...ahem I mean Yulli LOVES wooden toys!  The other side of the classroom is for "hands-on" learning... aka FUN! Yulli loves this loft soooooooooooo much! I am super glad that I fought husband for the space and Yules can have such a special place to play! ENJOY!