Victory Over The Cake Poppers

4th of July Cake Poppers

I made patriotic cake poppers! I’m always afraid of over-using food coloring so I went a little light on coloring the cakes. Turns out, I probably went too light as they both look a wee pastel. HOWEVER, they are still AWESOME, aren’t they? Yes. Yes, they are.

I made them earlier this week because I knew with evening boot camps and E finally coming back from Seattle, it would be harder to find time closer to Sunday when we’re having our Family dinner. Therefore, the ENTIRE TRAY of these gorgeous cake poppers has been hanging out in the fridge TAUNTING me every day since Monday. So far? I’ve only had ONE. ONE! Yay, Me! Last night I was TOTALLY craving something sweet and those thing were just calling my name. But I know…once I get the taste of one, it goes downhill from there. This was how the conversation was going in my head all night last night:

Just ONE won’t hurt you. You worked hard! Have one!
But when have you EVER eaten JUST ONE? It will be FIVE before you know it.
But you went to boot camp tonight! You can spare a few calories!
But you’ve had three GOOD days of non-binge eating. If you slip tonight you will start a downward spiral at least until Tuesday.
No you won’t! You’re stronger than that! JUST EAT ONE.
No. You are not stronger than that. Food is weakness. DO NOT GIVE IN.

What? You don’t have long arguments with yourself over food? Lucky.

But I did it. I stayed strong. Didn’t even have ONE. I had two apples, but no treats. I kept trying to allow myself some treat.

What about those chips? You should have a few of those.
NO.
What about a beer? Haven’t you earned that?
NO.

Because, if you’re like me, you know how it works. With any night of gluttony I can pinpoint ONE act that started it. ONE cake popper that led to 5 more AND THEN a beer AND THEN the chips. If you’re an emotional eater and you start that spiral, you don’t stop until you’ve made yourself sick. Last night was bad. I really WANTED to binge. I was stressing, there was twitter drama making me cringe (What? You don’t stress eat for OTHER PEOPLE? Lucky.) and housework I was avoiding. I WANTED TO EAT.

But I didn’t! I was a good girl who had her dinner before boot camp and then a post-workout snack…and then went to bed without adding any more to that at the end of the day. It really is the small victories you have to celebrate when you’re trying to make big changes in your life. And avoiding those gorgeous red, white and blue bites of evil last night? HUGE VICTORY.

Using His Cuteness For Evil

Have you seen my kid? He’s kinda cute. Each of my kids have had their own implements of evil in terms of cuteness. E had this adorable head of curly hair and a dreamy sweet disposition. Nikki had this sassy personality, even as a toddler. Wes? Has giant blue eyes. All of these traits have allowed my children to manipulate adults they have brief interactions with. Nikki actually managed to score MONEY out of a stranger one time. THREE WHOLE QUARTERS from an elderly gentleman who chatted with us outside a Mexican Restaurant. E never had to take a nap at preschool because he was just so sweet that the teachers would let him stay up and hang out with them. And Wes? Wes had an entire pediatrician’s office on the verge of tears yesterday over his stitches.

I knew getting the stitches out was not going to be EASY. I hoped it wouldn’t hurt as bad as getting them in, but I figured we’d get some tears. I had to hold him down while he got the stitches, I just assumed I’d have to help hold him down while they took them out. Holding my child down for medical procedures has never bothered me like it does some parents. I think it’s because I’m always of the mindset: JUST GET IT OVER WITH. If holding a screaming child down makes it go faster? Let’s do it. And if someone HAS to hold my child down? I want it to be me, because at least then I’m a soothing voice of comfort amidst the wails.

SO…I was ready. I was expecting I’d hold him down, they’d yank them out. Then end.

But NOOOO…Wes had to go be all adorable and Nurse #1 point blank said, “I’m going to let the doctor do it, I don’t want to hurt him.” She tried for a minute and he winced, and that was enough heartbreak for her. Then she gave him a sticker. AND SHE HADN’T EVEN DONE ANYTHING.

Nurse #2, the higher ranked nurse who I’d just assume see most days over the pediatrician – she’s that good, came in. She too fell victim to my son’s blue eyes and exceptional manners. For the record: He seems to only use those manners without prompt when there is something to be gained. He has NEVER been as sweet and proper to ME as he was to that nurse yesterday. So, she goes in and at least got the scissors under the stitch but as she yanked and tried to cut, it didn’t happen easily and Wes called out (not even a cry, yet) and she stopped. She tried a different pair of scissors, hoping it would cut better, but the same thing happened. So, she stopped again. Didn’t want to make him actually CRY of course.

At this point I even mentioned that I was EXPECTING him to cry and that was OKAY BY ME. She said, “We’ll just wait for the doctor.” And then she brought him a sucker. At this point? The kid has scored a sticker AND a sucker for NOTHING.

The doctor came in and she was all business. Usually she chats with the kids a bit but you could tell she knew what was going on. She knew she had entered a room with a child capable of manipulating her entire staff so she just looked at the stitches, came up with a plan of attack and we went for it. I held him down, he screamed and cried — FOR LESS THAN ONE MINUTE. She was done. Stitches out. Wes stopped crying the second the last stitch was out and sweetly asked for another sucker. “A green one!”

And of course, he got it.

First: A Strange Rant. Second: Why I Love Photoshop.

I saw this clip on ABC New (I believe that’s who it was) the other day when I was getting my car serviced. (Otherwise, I wouldn’t be watching the news. It irritates me most days.) They were doing a segment about how film is on it’s way out in terms of photography. They decided the best people to discuss this with, was a bunch of hipsters from Parsons School of Design. Now, I like Hipsters. They’re way cooler than I am. But like any segment of the population, there are the extreme versions that are just caricatures of real people trapped in an image. These kids? Those extremes. And they were ALL using film and basically denouncing all things digital.

While these guys kinda made me giggle a bit, they didn’t bother me. I respect their idealism and their cool black frame glasses.

HOWEVER, they also interviewed some lady who has been working in the Photography department at TIME magazine for 40+ years. She was discussing why film is better and she made this one point: She knows photographers who go back through their negatives years later and suddenly discover a frame they didn’t notice before and it’s AMAZING and if that had been digital? Those photos would have just been deleted.

Um. WHAT? That doesn’t make any sense. Yes. I delete them off the CAMERA, but I (and most people I know who obsess with photos) keep every picture I take that has even the most REMOTE essence of quality. If everything is blurred? No. But if one person or object is kinda is clear? It gets stored on my computer and one of two external hard drives. FOREVER. And you know what else is great about having those digital pictures to go back through? You can change your mind. AND you can go through them without a light table. I think she is just an example of someone who likes things a certain way and picks the best reason she can think of to justify it. THIS IS FINE. But she needs to pick a better reason. Do what most people I know do and just say you LIKE IT BETTER. That’s fine! I know people who are hardcore about listening to music on vinyl. I’m kinda snobby about using my hand-mixer when I cook. We all do things a certain way because we LIKE them. But she justified it with the craziest idea ever.

Unless I’m the only person in the world who saves her photos. Which I’m 99% certain I’m not.

My point of this was actually just to show you why I love Photoshop. Somehow my brain drifted back to that lady and suddenly this became a rebuttal to some lady interviewed on ABC News. I APOLOGIZE, LADY!

NOW…on to the REAL entry about WHY I LOVE PHOTOSHOP.

I took this photo last weekend:

Original

AH! Both kids looking at the camera! It’s a miracle! Too bad I snapped it as I was falling over. Or maybe there was an earthquake? I don’t know. It’s crooked! Enter…PHOTOSHOP.

DSC_4493

Straightened it out. Cropped it in closer and sharped it a bit. Now? TOTALLY FRAMEWORTHY. Then, a couple days later I thought it might be good in a Black and White frame I’m working on. I never take pictures in Black and White, it’s always a post-processing Photoshop thing.

Black and White

PERFECT. That one photo I can now do about a million things with. Which is good since it’s one of the ONLY photos where both kids are looking AT the camera and NOT making a “silly” face. Now, imagine if they were SMILING. I’d blow that thing up and turn it into a bedspread at Wal-Mart. Which you can do. Although I think it would funnier to use THIS edited photo to turn into a bedspread. Who wouldn’t want that Homicidal Glare keeping them warm every night.

Before After

Truth In Advertising Part III

I read a lot of blogs from crafty chefs who create beautiful things by hand. I get inspired and often try to recreate what they’ve done with their kids or in their kitchen. I then come and show these successful attempts to you. But I want to make one thing clear: I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER PEOPLE.

Example: Rainbow Pasta!

I found the idea on Pinterest of course (I think I still have invites if you want one!) and set out to do this with the kids this weekend. Look a the great pictures of the project!

Rainbow Pasta

Rainbow Pasta

Rainbow Pasta

BUT…Here’s the thing. On those blogs I talked about before they show these great photos of the kids working and the final products and everything is all colorful and crisp and just lovely. This is what it REALLY looks like.

Truth in Advertising

My workspaces are dreadful. I’m pretty organized, but while we’re working? Eh. It’s a disaster area. In that photo you can see the midpoint of some 4th of July projects we’re working on too. Oh, and do we want to talk about how I decided this weekend to learn how to use my sewing machine? I did okay, I guess. Got the needles threaded and sewed some practice stitches. But have I made anything yet? Hell no. No where close to that. But look at my lovely sewing nook!

Truth in Advertising

I’ve been saving fabric for a year (curtains, shirts, etc) because I knew someday I’d learn to sew. I’m also saving some of the stuff I had bagged up for Goodwill because I found so many cute idea for old t-shirts and I want to pull some out of the bags before I take them. This is also the same table our only (and ancient) Windows computer sits at because it has the router and is upstairs for better wireless reception. In other words? This area will NEVER be those adorable sewing tables you see on all of these tutorial blogs. HOW DO THOSE PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THAT?

I just want to make sure with all of my project sharing lately, that you guys didn’t think I had turned into one of those people who is all creative and artistic and beautiful in every corner of their lives. Nope. I do fun stuff with the kids sometimes and I’ve made some neat things lately. But in those corners? I’m still totally the girl with the stains on her shirt and a pen she forgot about stuck somewhere in her hair.

(And for those of you not around before, I’ve done other entries pointing out the truth behind the photos here and here, because I evidently don’t want anyone to ever think I live an orderly and clean life behind the scenes of my project photos.)