Where to find sanity

Our days have been like this:
Well it's actually more like Atlas projectile vomiting on the white fabric couch while Castle makes accidents in his big boy undies all at that same time, but we won't talk about that.
I found this on Etsy recently and have been loving it - the poster, the design, and most importantly, every word. It's keeping me sane. God's word is keeping me sane. The blueberry scones help too. I bake when I'm stressed. Go figure... ...literally.

Potty Training Diaries: Round Two

It was so not my idea to start potty training again. So so not! Especially with a newborn around. I'm already tired enough, why add something so intensely agonizing into the mix? Mess, I mean mess.
 Oh the mess, the constant mess. I take my day one hour at a time now. Actually, it's more like 15 minutes at a time. I have 15 minutes right now, and I choose to blog.
The potty training started yesterday morning, when Castle chimed, "Potty now? No diaper. Underwear." Seriously?! Yes I know you are two and a half and probably ready but does it have to be RIGHT NOW?! Can't you see I'm breast feeding your super finicky baby brother that's been eating every 2 hours? Whom by the way is still not so good at nursing. (About that another time.) 
"Ok. Potty time. Here we go!" said I with a reluctant grin on my face. For the past two days Castle has gone without diapers except for naps and sleep. He had two accidents yesterday morning and none since. He is slowing getting better at telling me when he needs to go. I have to watch him like a hawk whenever he makes a face, or sticks his butt out, or some other weird sound/gesture that stops him in his tracks. We have a "good boy potty sticker chart". He gets a small sticker for sitting on the potty and a large one for doing something in it.
I'm happy to say that he has made good progress in two days, but as for me, trying to supervise this potty learning activity with one hand while nursing an infant with the other is getting a bit crazy. Plus coming up with new fresh fun things for Castle to do around our tiny apartment has been wonderfully exhausting.
He has learned how to use scissors, glue things by himself, paint with water on the chalk board wall using a sponge (a.k.a. cleaning), etc. etc. Anything to prevent boredom and sitting in front of a screen. He wasn't as impressed with his winter "gingerbread" scene as I thought he would be. He asked to make a gingerbread house, this was the next best thing. I think he very quickly caught on that there were no cookies or candies involved.

Little Helper in the Kitchen

Helping out with making dinner has been one of Castle's favourite activities.
 Every time we are in the kitchen doing something he pulls up a chair, climbs up, and see what's going on. "Castle do it?" A few months ago I started giving him tasks. He is really good at cutting soft fruits and vegetables, scooping ingredients, stirring, mixing, and pouring.
He takes great interest as we explain all the steps to him.
And when we sit down to eat he says, "Castle made it!" with a big smile on his face.
 He devoured these chicken veggie rice wraps with peanut sauce in no time.
This is a favourite around here. We improvise each time with the ingredients, but the method is the same, simply sauté everything with some fish sauce. We always include glass noodles and peanut sauce, made by Castle.

Learning how to Macaron, or should I say Macaronnage

Over the weekend I had three (3!) hours sans kiddies where I went to learn the art of French macarons. I have never tried making them but have always wanted to. Instead of spending hours and days trying to figure out this finicky cookie by myself, I opted to learn from a pro, a real French person, in fact.
 The class was at a bakery called French Made Baking, where everyone who works there actually speaks French. 
 It was good fun being surrounded by all these beautiful cookies.
 And oddly therapeutic, learning something new, doing something I love, with no kiddies to interrupt.
 There were also other delicious looking baked goods, of course.
We learned all the tricks to making macarons using two different methods, French and Italian meringue.
So what is the difference? Well you can see it right there, Italian meringue macarons are higher, the 'feet' of the macaron is straight, the biscuit is more dense, and they have a better texture compared to French macarons. They are also more finicky and labour intensive to make, involves boiling sugar syrup. A good macaron has a a crunchy crust on the outside and is marzipan-like on the inside. 

 After a demonstration, we got to work, using the easier method, French macaron.
I was a wee bit nervous when mixing the batter, this step is called macaronnage, it can make or break a macaron with a few less or a few extra folds.
 My batch had some visible air bubbles, but I was reassured that it was okay.
Here they are out of the oven! Looking good. A big sigh of relief.
 Matching tops and bottoms by shape and size.
 Time to ganache.
Here are some of the finished ones!
Then came the best part, eating them! But wait, they are not done yet, you have to let them age in the fridge for two days. What? I have to wait two days before devouring them?! Apparently, when a macaron is aged properly, all the flavours will meld together, and they will not pull apart. If you do try to pull it apart after it's been aged, this is what it will look like, the crunch top will come off, leaving chunks of paste behind.
Next we learned how to make macarons using the Italian meringue method.

The batter is thicker and more stiff.
So if you want to eat the best macarons in the world, and you don't want to make them, where do you go?
 Pierre Herme in Paris, that's where.
Will need to remember that one, for when we are in Paris... ...someday.
Thank you, my dear husband, for holding down the fort while I was out. You are much appreciated!

Extra Long Weekend

It was a fine time at Grandma and Grandpa's.
  The boys got their extra shares of playing and snuggles.
One boy in particular was excited about the ferry boat ride.
 We did manage to go outside when it wasn't raining.
 At the playground, my observant boy was being himself, standing around watching everyone else play.
We have to chase him to get him to run around.
 Yet he had no problems running around the dinning room on the ferry.
 The little one hung onto any and every warm body possible.
He loved it.
 It's going to take a few days to get back into the swing of things.
 Castle has already been asking when we are going back. "More Grandma and Grandpa's?"
 I don't blame him.
 Thanks for a fantastic time!

A conversation with my 2 year old

Castle: Where's God?
Mommy: God is in heaven.
Castle: Moses heard God?
Mommy: Yep, and Moses is in heaven too, with God.
Castle: Play toys?
Mommy: Yes, they might be playing toys. Do you want to play toys with God?
Castle: Play LEGOs with God?
Mommy: God would like that very much.
Castle: Build Mount Sinai with LEGOs?
(He then proceeded to build Mount Sinai with LEGOs.)
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