The Panda Cubs are Growing (and so is everything else)

Phew, it’s been a busy few days in the Panda Cage. (Fun new name for my house, right?)

Maverick’s lessons this week are centered around “Mardi Gras”. For those of you who don’t know, Mardi Gras is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, a celebration of revelry before lent. For people in Louisiana, “Mardi Gras Season” begins January 15, on the epiphany (for Catholics). This week we’ve done lots of crafts to celebrate. (Mardi Gras fall on February 21st this year).

Mardi Gras parades are one of the best things to happen during Mardi Gras season. Maverick LOVES them, the music, beads, toys, people, everything about a parade. So, we made a miniature Mardi Gras float on Monday.

Shoebox float

This craft is incredibly easy for anyone to do. We printed from the internet a picture of a Mardi Gras jester, and Maverick colored it. We used an old shoebox, covered it with construction paper and thin cuts of tissue paper. The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green, and gold, so we stuck with that theme for the most part. The “stage” on top is just the lid to the shoebox cut to look like stages on Mardi Gras floats.



The big project for this week, though, was our Mardi Gras Cupcakes! These were so much fun to make.

Below is a photo tutorial of how we made them:


Split your cake batter into three bowls, and color each bowl whatever color you like. We used purple, green, and yellow, for Mardi Gras. Just layer the batter by spoon fulls into muffin cups until you have filled each up about 3/4 of the way. Follow the directions your cake batter comes with for baking.


Let your cupcakes cool before frosting, obviously. This is what the tops looked like after baking.


Hollow out the tops of the cupcakes and fill with whatever you like. We used blueberry pie filling.


Frost and decorate. We also colored our frosting and used gold crystal sugar and green sugar to top them off. This colorful cupcake can be done with any batter, we plan on doing them again but with valentines day colors and maybe trying for a striped effect!


Aren't these ADORABLE? You can see some of the coloring under the icing on the green one.

In addition to all these Mardi Gras goings-on, I think both boys are in a growth spurt. I can’t stop either one of them from eating everything in sight. Ethan is noticeably taller and Maverick’s waist seems bigger, I had to adjust the drawstring on his pants (adjustable waist bands for thin children!) this morning because he couldn’t button them. They’re both getting so big, so quickly.

My insomnia has returned, full-force, and as such I’ve become holly hobby the gardener. I converted an old footlocker into a cold frame for my tomato plants, and today I’m going to transform my rock garden outside into a flower bed. I’m pretty excited about everything I just wrote. For those who are wondering, here is the cold frame:


I drilled a fluorescent light into the lid so that it hangs inches above the plants, and lined the inside with reflective insulation so that they get the maximum amount of sunlight possible. They're only a week old and thriving in here.The whole project cost me about 15 dollars (light, fixture, and insulation) with lots of insulation left over in case I find something else I can convert into another one. The small planter is full of viola seedlings I'm trying to encourage and the terra cotta planter off to the side has basil seedlings.

Later this week we are making home-made Valentine’s Day gifts for Maverick’s favorite people, and making sweetheart cupcakes! I’ll post progress on those, too. Have a happy Wednesday!


Lie Bumps

Maverick's illustration of his lie bumps.

Tonight, Maverick came up to me while I was working on a writing project and stuck his tongue out at me with more fervor than I’ve ever seen. Shocked, I laughed and said “Why are you sticking your tongue out?” With it still hanging out of his mouth he whined, “my tum hurr”. “It hurts, Maverick?” He nods his head. Upon closer inspection I see three tiny white pimple-esque dots on the tip of his tongue. LIE BUMPS! For those of you that don’t know, a “lie bump” is really just an inflamed taste bud with no confirmed reason for existence. There are multiple theories but those don’t matter. What matters is, you get to tell your child “Those happen every time you tell a lie!” and IMMEDIATELY find out what lies they’ve been telling. Maverick confessed to hitting Ethan, not finishing his dinner, and breaking the toy of a child at his babysitter’s house. He then said “I’m never gonna lie again, mom!” That’s right parents: instill the fear of lie bumps early. Those of you who have never had one do not know the burning, itching, irritation these things cause, for approximately a week if they aren’t left alone. A five year old is not going to leave it alone. I’m convinced the whole reason we lose our first set of teeth is because of our compulsion to “play” with anything that changes in our mouth, or feels different. If we just let them be loose they’d probably never fall out! In fact, I knew someone once who had their entire set of baby teeth still in tact, along with their adult teeth. CRAZY.

ANYWAY, Maverick has sworn to never lie again. He also brought me this drawing you see above. At first I had no idea what I was looking at… until he excitedly told me “THIS IS MY FACE AND THAT IS MY TONGUE AND THAT IS THE LIE BUMPS AND THIS IS A BUMP THAT FALLS OFF TOMORROW CAUSE I WON’T LIE.”

Have I mentioned how AWESOME Maverick is?