Thursday, February 28, 2013

That's What Chloe Said - February

I set an undesirable lunch in front of Chloe and she didn't want me hovering over her telling her to "take a bite" so she declared, "Mommy. I want you to go away."
"Chloe, that's not very nice."
"Mommy, will you please go away?"
I guess I should start using the word "polite" instead of "nice" when I want her to use manners...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hide And Seek

Chloe is awful at hide-and-go-seek. At first I thought, this isn't really fair. She just ran past me three times and couldn't see me but I would clear my throat and make some other small sound and she'd find me right away. She couldn't care less. She loves the game. We must have played for 45 minutes straight and she screeched with delight every time we found each other. Here are some examples of her hiding spots.

Behind the couch. She hid here about 6 times in a row and I kept trying to hint that she should hide elsewhere. "Is Chloe behind the couch AGAIN? She ALWAYS hides behind the couch," I would say as I "searched" for her. Every time I found her, though, the game quickly morphed into a mashup with tag as she crawled back and forth trying to get away from me. Finally, I banned behind the couch as a hiding spot to see if she could be creative.

She didn't care. She found new and "improved" couch-related hiding spots.

So then I banned the couch all together. She didn't care. She had the bestest spot of all in mind. Not only was she laying on her bed pretending to sleep but she was making snoring sounds to really throw me off her scent. LOL!
Priceless moment of the game: walking into my bedroom and seeing the curtains billowing and two tiny feet sticking out the bottom. Something about that sight just melted my heart. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We got hit by a skunk and we got hit hard. I've heard of dogs getting sprayed by a skunk and how awful that is. I had no idea that the smell would overtake our house for almost a week. Here's how it went down. 11pm Wednesday night (the night before Valentine's Day) I let the dogs out front for their bedtime potty break. When I opened the door to let them back in I noticed a skunky smell outside. It didn't startle me because we have a skunk that frequents our house and leaves his aroma outside on a fairly regular basis. I hadn't smelled him much this winter, though, so it caught my attention. Did I take note of the fact that I didn't smell skunk when I let the dogs out? No. Did I even consider the possibility that one of the dogs could have been sprayed by Pepe le Pew? No.

The dogs came in and Monty appeared to have something in his mouth. "Monty, what do you have? Drop it!" The lights were out and it took a moment before the smell hit me. As it turns out, close-up skunk smells very different from dead skunk on the road as you drive by. It's sort of like a super strong burning rubber. Monty was foaming at the mouth and doing his best to shake the Eu de Skunk out of his mouth. He flung skunk foam all over our entryway as I froze cursing, "Sh--! Sh--! Sh--!" Dave frantically asked, "What?!?" and I cursed a few more times before I could answer him. And then, instead of taking him back out the same door (because maybe the skunk was right there) I ran him all the way through the kitchen, fireplace room, and four seasons room to the back door. Stupid. Inexperienced. Clueless. If I knew what I know now I'd have acted a lot smarter from the get go. Well, maybe. Quick thinking under stress is not one of my strengths.

Here are some anecdotes to demonstrate how badly our house smelled:

  • Day 2: I apologized for being late to Chloe's class party and started to explain that I was cleaning when another class mom interrupted me, "Oh yes. We figured. We could all smell skunk and then realized it was coming off of Chloe's backpack.! It smelled so strong!" At the end of the class I opened Chloe's locker and was smacked in the face with skunk. I felt bad for the kid who shared Chloe's locker. That kid went home smelling funky that day.
  • Solana's teacher said that various people entered her classroom exclaiming, "What is that smell?!?"
  • Day 4: I entered the house of a Pampered Chef hostess to give a cooking demonstration. I had washed all my cooking tools that same day to try and remove the smell but I couldn't get it out of my bag. I sprayed the bag multiple times with vinegar and water. When I opened the bag in her house it reeked. I was horrified. What to do? Pretend like nothing's wrong and hope that she doesn't notice? I was forced to tell the tale and just hope that I didn't stink too bad. I had planned to make potato chips on our Microwave Chip Maker but, as it turns out, silicone absorbs odors and a simple wash in the sink doesn't take them out. We went without potato chips at that party.
  • Day 6: We took a 40 minute drive to eat lunch and go shopping in a quaint town of Yellow Springs. After two hours there we headed toward the van and stopped when Dave declares, "I smell skunk. And it isn't coming from us!" Woohoo! We did a little happy dance. Then I realize we're downwind and one car length away from our van. Sure 'nuff. The skunk was coming off the van! And why would the van even stink? Monty never even went near the van?!? Unbelievable.
  • After 7 days I think we're finally getting a handle on the skunk. I still smell it here and there and Monty still has it on his snout but at least it's no longer the overwhelming smell of our house.

Here are all the things we've done to get rid of it:

Dog Cleaner:
We did this the night Monty got hit. It seemed to work well but then the smell came back. We can't figure out if our noses were just tricking us (our whole house smelled so maybe we just couldn't discern the smell on Monty) or if he consumed a bunch of the skunk oil spray causing it to slowly release from his body over several days. We've bathed his head 5 times in all.
1 Quart Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
2 teaspoons liquid soap

Closet Deoderizer. The coat closet is very close to ground zero. I washed what I could but was concerned that everything would be super saturated in the smell. I put some baking soda and used coffee grounds in the bottom of the closet and this actually seemed to work really well. Every time I opened the coat closet I was greeted by a pleasant smell of coffee.

We covered the floor, carpet, and furniture (especially close to the entryway) with baking soda nightly. The smell seemed to have saturated into the fabrics even if they weren't touched by the skunk foam. This was my best effort at pulling it out. We're currently on our second Sam's Club size bag of baking soda and I'm crossing my fingers that our Dyson isn't getting too mad at us for all this abuse.
Limes: I heard that limes absorb paint fumes. Maybe they'd work with skunk fumes, too. So I cut up about 8 limes and placed them in every room of the house. They didn't help.

Bowls of vinegar: I read online to place bowls of distilled white vinegar around the house to absorb the smell. I used all the bowls we had and placed one in every room. It didn't seem to help.

I mopped the floors with straight vinegar. It's supposed to absorb odors. The vinegar smell goes away pretty quickly. But who could tell amongst the thick skunk smell?

I put off doing laundry as long as possible but I'm starting to wash clothes now. The washing machine will do double-duty as each load will go through one cycle with just vinegar and then a second cycle with detergent.

Fireplace: Dave had a fire going for two full days. I think this really helped to cycle air out of the house. It was difficult to air the house out considering the temperatures were in the 20's and low 30's all week.

Crock Pot Potporri - By day 4 we decided that neutralizing the smell wasn't enough. We needed to cover it up.  I set up two crock pots with sliced apples, limes, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. In combination with the fireplace these seemed to work well.

Incense: By day 5 we were ready to bring out the heavy hitters. Dave thought of incense and pulled out our old box. I do declare! Those hippies know a thing or two about covering up natural odors! That incense is much preferable to skunk and I'd rather smell like a hippie than a skunk! This box has been working overtime since Dave's great idea. I've never burned so much incense in my life!
Box Fans: With day 6 came the one day of warm weather we'd been waiting for. The temperature rose to a balmy 51degrees and we opened all the windows. Dave bought two of these box fans and we faced them toward the windows to try and circulate air out of our house. We left for Yellow Springs and returned about 3 hours later to the freshest smelling house we'd experienced in days! Of course, some of the smell came back after everything was shut up again but that 3 hours helped trememdously. 

Monty, you are so lucky we're not the kind of family to get rid of dogs. Between this and the almond butter incedent he has made us question our decision to get a second dog many time. He's lucky he's so adorable...

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! We had something awful happen at 11pm the night before Valentine's Day. It involved a skunk, Monty, and our entryway. But I'll detail that great adventure in another post. For this post I'll focus on Valentine's Day.

I love Valentine's Day. Probably more so because I have two girls and they are just adorable dressed up. Their outfits this year are sort of a mashup of everything pink, red, and hearts that we could find and I love it! They were pretty excited, too!

We started breakfast with some cottage cheese pancakes with strawberry dipping sauce. As cute as the pancakes look on the plate...they were raw in the middle. I first tried cottage cheese pancakes from my friend, Megan's, blog almost 3 years ago. (Could it really be that long ago?!? Wow!) I loved them and then found another cottage cheese pancake recipe in my Cook This Not That Book. Of course, the cookbook is more easily accessible to the kitchen so I keep making that one. I don't know why I do because this is the third time they came out raw in the middle. But the idea of cottage cheese pancakes is very appealing to me. I'm struggling with fast plummeting blood sugar (brought on by my increased running) and, since these pancakes have lots more protein than your regular pancake, they help regulate my blood sugar a little better. Anyway, I just printed Megan's recipe and it's going in my book for next time!!! Maybe even tomorrow... We took a picture and then the heart-shaped pancakes went into the trash. 

Valentine's Day breakfast number 2. Greek yogurt with strawberry puree and granola sprinkled on top. So much easier...Why didn't I do that to begin with? :-P

The girls went off to school and I went out for a quick run before Chloe's class party. I was a baking fool the day before. Brownies and Valentine Puppy Chow for Solana's class. Strawberry cupcakes for Chloe's class.

 I didn't take any pictures at Chloe's party but snapped a couple at Solana's party. Here's Chloe making herself at home as we arrived. Solana's an eager hostess when Chloe visits her classroom.
 Here they are participating in the activities. Solana's working on her answer for the guessing jar and Chloe's taking over at the white board.

We had some cheese fondue and yummy chocolates for dessert. The super secret mission was a success and I was thrilled to get my box of chocolates. In fact, I think I'm already sporting my first February pimple. The girls each got their own box, as well, and we all exchanged cards. Unfortunately, the day was tainted by our odorific problem and I was pretty stressed out about it all day but I think we made the most of it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Preparation

Dave and Solana have visited the local chocolate shop together the past couple of years to "secretly" buy me chocolates for Valentine's Day. This year Chloe joined in on the annual tradition and they all took off last night after dinner to sample and buy me some yummy Valentine's Day treats. Somehow, their big secret mission is never secret but I feign ignorance and we're all happy. Chloe burst the bubble on our pretend secret last night, though, when she rushed into the house and announced, "Mommy! We bought you some CHOCOLATES!" It was just about the cutest blown pretend surprise ever. I'll still act surprised tomorrow and Valentine's Day will survive. 

It's funny how we all pretend it's a secret but all know very well that it isn't. Why do we do this? And how is it still fun year after year? I have no idea. But the chocolates are yummy so I'm playing along!