Friday, February 14, 2014

Toddlesworth's Tuesday: The Terrifying Tunes of Toddlesworth

Toddlesworth's love of all things zombie and monster continues to grow. He will often insist that we zombify/monsterify things, and lately that has extended to his lullabies.

He currently has several that he will ask for.

Based on "five little monkeys jumping on the bed" Lord Covington and I each made up a version on alternating nights putting him to bed.

My version:
"Five little zombies jumping on the bed.
One fell off and lost his head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said:
No more zombies jumping on the bed!"

Lord C's version:
"Five little zombies chomping on your head.
One fell down and now he's dead.
Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said:
No more zombies jumping on the bed!"

Then there is the one based on 'ten in the bed.'

"There were ten in the grave and the little one said 'roll over, roll over!'
They all rolled over and ate some brains. There were nine in the grave...."

Note that he fully understands it is zombies in the grave, even though the word itself is not mentioned.

Lately he has been singing "The itsy bitsy spider" and yesterday he requested I come up with a zombie version. And of course, there had to be associated hand movements.
Put on the spot (because he's never all that patient,) this is what I came up with. (During me brainstorming lyrics, he insisted that it be 'monster' instead of zombies.) :

"The itsy bitsy monster wanted to eat brains,                     (gobbling hand motions)
the itsy bitsy monster tried to be brave,                              (fists by face exaggerated scared acting)
Out came the mob and frightened him away,                     (angry mom motions)
and the itsy bitsy monster crawled back into his grave!"   (digging down motion)

He usually asks for each of these, in rotation, and sometimes requests that a different one of us take over the singing.

I worry sometimes that we are warping him somehow with this--I mean, I hope he doesn't realize one day in fifth grade that zombies are not real, the way some people realize narwhales *are.*  But I think we tell him often enough that zombies aren't real, and show him that we are pretending for him to get the gist of it. He is a pretty excellent pretend zombie, too.  At first we went with 'zombies tickle' approach, since we didn't want to encourage biting in a toddler. It was inevitable, though, that he eventually learned zombies bite. Now when he is playing zombie and I let him get the advantage, he will sometimes very gently zombie nom my face. This leads me to believe that he knows that there is a difference between real and pretend. He shows compassion i many other ways, so I am pretty sure we're not creating a tiny psychopath.

We can't be the only parents with a kiddo this weird, right? Maybe there are others and we should write a book with all of our zombie theme tunes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

White Trash Vegan Evolutions II : I Want My Damned Deep Fried Twinkie!

 This post should have been posted months ago. I'm going to post it now and attempt to back date it to approximately February.

By Lord C:

This post is about the perils and pitfalls of an earnest attempt to make healthy food choices when your whole being is crying out 'More Butter NAOW!"     There is more than a degree of discomfort with our abrupt transition. I have at any moment a dozen meals I can prepare from a decade back catalogue of vegan recipes.  The problem is, they are all fatty ,salty- scrum-didily-umptios piles of explosive flavor and : calories.  We used to grin and say we liked our white rice yellow.  We used to deep fry pizza toppings.  Oil cooking out and the stir fry is burning? Add more oil!    And for the better part of said decade I was perfectly happy to enjoy my after meal food coma of joy.  Insert pants here, only bigger ones this time.
     So now , I'm learning about how to make flavor without oil. I'm learning about sweet that doesnt require added anything ( cashews are totally sweet if you stop eating sugar! - who knew?) Turns out you can make carrots taste like hot dogs if you marinade them right ( Special thanks to {JC Pruitt FB and Jomio and Ruelietes FB for those) Hell, I am somehow learning that cabbage and brussel spouts can taste good ( Though to be fair curry anything is a treat for me.) It turns out it can be a joy of flavors without the build in heart attack, but it was more than a little intimidating at first. We have to relearn all the right auto pilots, and we havent always been sucessful.  I managed to make cayenne pepper oatmeal one moring I swore it was cinnamon, until Toddlesworth made a face, inhaled like a dragon and said " berry 'picy".  Lady Covington has been fighting an ongoing battle with the Lemon Poppy seed Muffin of Stubborness + 2.  She has had to work with only substitues : oat flour, Xylitol and or Stevia; and it just refuses to taste right. It feels like being in recipe kindergarden again, and I'm the paste eating kid. (We all knew that kid)
    And there is also the hunger.  Oh sweet Odin riding Sleipnir through the snow, the hunger is powerful.  The thing is, I remember being hungry as a kid.  That feeling after you've been galavanting off all over your imaginary secret kingdom, and you ar suddenly aware of a hollowness inside yourself.   Your body demands; Eat. Now.  I personally always enjoyed this sensation because the food was going to be the BEEEEEEST EEEEEVR.  Whatever I sit down to eat was going to be the most satisfying , mouth watering thing.  As an adult, when I could decide what and when I ate, I have not known this feeling much.  My portions have been completely out of control since I got to buy my own food.  I probably just wanted to prove to myself that I could eat-whatever-the-hell-I-wanted-now-Im-a grownup-dammit-don't-judge-me.  So there was just time to eat, whether I felt true hunger or not.  Now, when it's meal time, my childood friend- that void I mentioned-is sitting right next to me at the table.  Eat. Now.

Lady C wants to add: A quick google search will show you many resources that agree that it is harder for women to lose weight than men. This is largely due to men having more muscle mass. I am trying hard to keep within my calorie budget for each day, and it is frustrating when I am hungry immediately after breakfast and Lord C exclaims how happy he is with his oatmeal and how he feels full until lunch. There are only a few meals that we can afford, calorie wise, that actually keep me full until the next meal. While these are all good foods, they aren't my favorites. (Salad, curry cabbage, the tofu noodles are the ones that come to mind.) It is a bit sad to me that I would rather eat something I don't like as much rather than a favorite food just so I can not be hungry and prone to snacking until the next meal.
  Snacking is a huge issue for me. I don't have a surplus of willpower, and gluteny delicious treats aren't off limits to me like they are for Lord C. So, when I'm alone with my hunger and a box of wheat thins, it is easy to convince myself that one serving isn't that bad... only one becomes three, and then I've eaten enough calories for an average meal these days, and it hasn't done too much to decrease my hunger.
I am happy for my husband when he steps on the scale and triumphantly lists a weight several pounds lower than it was a couple days ago, but I am also dissapointed that mine still shows the same weight it did last week. I'm not even sure what emotion I would say this is.. I want to congratulate him on his triumphs, but I am jealous and frustrated that I'm not making the same headway.
He is being very supportive because he is awesome, and I know I just have to keep trying. It would definitely help if I could learn to react better to excessive levels of enthusiasm. Instead, I react like a night owl before their first cup of coffee, whose bed is being jumped on by a chipper morning person. That is to say, I feel like I can't possibly match his level of enthusiasm and I might as well not even try. Instead of feeling like I am competing with him, I need to focus on competing with myself and my own cravings and hunger pangs.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Made Arts!

Almost one year ago, I had been painting for only a bit over a month. I stumbled across the Stars of Texas juried art exhibit. It welcomes entries from artists from all over Texas and gets curators or artists from Texas museums or Universities to judge entries. It was my first exposure to art here in Brownwood, and it led me to finally discovering the Brownwood Art Association.  Lord Covington viewed the show with me, remarking that I was already better than some of the artists. I did not agree, but  I said that I hoped to be good enough in a year to try to get into the show.

One of the requirements is that your pieces must be framed and ready for hanging, so I used the majority of my paycheck’s ‘fun money’ to buy frames and enter two pieces into the show. I was prepared to be throwing money away, but had to take the chance. They didn’t both get in, but one of them did! It was my steampunk piece dubbed “Kinetic Kraken.”  I am proud to have achieved my goal of being in the show after painting for only a year. It was not something I was sure to achieve. I have an artist’s listing booklet that I will be adding to my portfolio of work, proud to see my name listed with many great local artists.

Here is the work in question:
Just yesterday I participated in a paint off associated with the Stars of Texas show. Artists joined together in the ballroom of the depot where the show is being displayed, set up easels and tables for artwork, and began painting as early as 9:30. I ran slightly behind and probably started painting at 10 am.  I finished my painting about 2:30; we were allotted until 3:30 if needed. In four and a half hours I painted the largest canvas I have painted. The canvas itself was a gift from a friend, which I saved for a special occasion. This was the final result:

I am pretty pleased with it. I did notice some things I would change, but overall I pulled off what I was going for and I wasn't sure I would be able to. All of the paintings were open for bidding for a 30 minute period before judging. Unfortunately there were very few bidders at the show, and only a few pieces were bid on. I do want to sell it, mostly because I'm not sure I have room to keep it (but if I can't sell it, I'll find room somehow!) The problem is that I really liked painting a huge canvas, so much so that I might get a few more to paint on. I'll really be in trouble if they start piling up!
 I have received tons of support from friends and family on my artwork, and I appreciate it greatly. It means a lot to me that all my wonderfully talented artist friends think I have talent!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chemistry Bathroom Makeover

Please forgive the lateness of this post. My computer crashed and is in the shop, and I began this post on Lord C's computer only to leave that one unplugged and lose everything. The good thing is that is wasn't a terribly long post.

I had been feeling the need recently to redo a room, and since we live in such a small space, the only really defined room is the bathroom. I went with a chemistry theme makeover because I had seen a few bathrooms done in that style in the past and since I knew I already had several great props, I felt I could knock it out of the park.

The centerpiece is this shower curtain, ordered from my favorite website, ThinkGeek you should go to only if you feel like being parted with some money.

You may notice here if you look closely, that our toilet paper holder is broken. We haven't gotten around to fixing it because when you have a toddler, the towel rack becomes the toilet paper holder.... unless you enjoy fishing entire rolls out of the toilet.
I used the colors from the curtain in other areas. I got green and blue bath mats, and a pink toilet cover which ended up not fitting. I plan to get some pink towels instead, maybe even customized with "11, C, Covington, 10.21". You get no pictures of the floor mats, because,well... they are bathroom floor mats. Suffice to say that they match pretty well and aren't spotless  : ).  

I'm sure you've seen the atomic symbol words that have been floating around the internet for some time now. I wanted some wall decor, so I made these: 

They wouldn't stick on the bathroom wall with my usual method of velcro command strips, probably due to it being a moist environment, so I bought some thumb tacks to keep them in place.

I also found a sign to liven up the boring bland brownish shower wall. I adjusted the color and got a cheap print out and laminate job (My thanks to an awesome Staples associate!)

And finally, the unveiling of the main event behind the curtain:

Each tube is filled with either shampoo, conditioner, body wash, or for the large blue bottle, bubble bath.  I had considered labeling them similarly to the wall art, but so far we've been able to keep track of what is what.  We already had many of the props thanks to Toddleworth's Mad Scientist photo shoot, all I bought was the chrome test tube holder, which is really just a toothbrush holder.

The only thing I still want to do is make chemistry-themed bath fizzes. I couldn't find citric acid locally, but I was able to get some online so I should be able to complete that project soon. In the meantime, I did make some homemade bath salt which turned out nice. (The green jar) As an aside, my collection of essential oils gathered in Corpus Christi (The Tango Tearoom is one of the best suppliers of essential oils I have ever found!)  leaked and dissolved the labels and thus became unrecognizable while in storage, so I am working with mystery oils. I cleaned them and smelled them, and sorted them as best I could to into similar scents: (something tree-like, some sort of citrus fruit, smells like a hippie store, etc...) I plan to use them up with bath products... it should lead to a few interesting presents.

I may do a slight extension of this theme to the sink area which holds our tooth brushes. If I do, I'll update afterwards.  It is not a perfectly executed theme, but I am very happy with the results.  

Do you have any themed rooms currently, or would you consider a themed room? If so, what theme?