She's The Best

Now that Mila has "graduated" from preschool, she moved over to a different room at daycare. It's a ratio thing, more or less, and basically just means she should be able to handle herself around older kids. She no longer gets lumped with 3 and 4-year olds, but instead she's in with kids ages 5 up to 2nd grade.

Given how she "handles" herself around her big sister, I think maybe the older kids should be scared. A lot scared.


That move means she is out of luck if she wants an afternoon nap. That doesn't seem like a big deal for a five-year old, but Mila is no ordinary five-year old. That girl LOVES naps. Still. She has never outgrown her adoration for a 2-hour nap after lunch. You can go ahead and hate me that I got five years of good naps out of that kid, but then I'm going to introduce you to the other one who NEVER was a good sleeper and remind you that the universe owes me. The universe is nowhere near paying its debt in full, in fact. I'm still waiting for Alexis to learn to sleep like a normal human, so Mila needs to exceed all expectations.

Not getting a nap is wrecking the kid. She's falling asleep in the car on the way home after school, which never leads anywhere good. Today it led to a kid who was OUT when we pulled into soccer. Now, she LOVES soccer. She seems to love all sports that involve a lot of running, so I wasn't going to skip just because she was taking a late-day nap. I woke her little butt up and drug her inside, which led to a total and complete meltdown.


I have video of said meltdown because it was THAT amazing. There was kicking and screaming and all sorts of fun things. Mila hasn't quite figured out that I don't bluff when I say things like, "You can either quit screaming right now or leave," which just leads to her getting madder and whatever. She can go ahead and lose her mind. I'll stand over here with my arms crossed and rolling my eyes.

The trick to getting her to snap out of her fit was to exploit one of her weaknesses. The kid is SO competitive. I've never seen anything quite like it. So while we were sitting on the sidelines and she was refusing to participate, I was commenting on how good some of the kids were doing.

"Look at that little boy! He's really good at kicking the ball!"

"Look at how fast that girl is running! She's the fastest!"

And so on.

Mila's response to every nice thing I said about any kid was along the lines of, "I'm better at kicking the ball" or "I'm the fastest!" She legit got ANGRY at the notion that she may not be the best at something. Not quite angry enough to run out on the field, but still angry.

I won when I said, "That girl is THE BEST at scoring goals! Look how good she is playing!"

Mila jumped out of my lap, stormed onto the field, and promptly began kicking the ball LIKE A BOSS. Whatever. I won the battle. Someday she will learn to be happy for other peoples' successes and to not be such a sore loser. Someday.

Later when we got in the car, I commented that I was glad Mila decided to give in and play. She legit did a good job of turning her bad mood into a fun day. Her response to my compliment says it all, though.

"Mom, I had to go play. Those kids were never going to get a goal without me."




Whatever Makes Her Happy

Mila likes to hit all of her milestones that make me feel old in rapid succession, so we topped birthday/kindergarten screening/dance recital week with preschool graduation. Because of course we did.

I have opinions about preschool graduation, by the way. Lots of opinions. Most of them revolve around BUT WHY ARE WE MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF EXISTING? I mean, kids don't do anything to earn graduating from preschool except maybe managing to stay alive, and they can't really take credit for that feat. They get a LOT of help, or maybe that's just Miss I Do My Own Stunts Mila.

Regardless, I managed to think preschool graduation was dumb at the exact same time that I was annoyed that our preschool/daycare went all sorts of lazy on preschool graduation. I never said I make sense. I especially don't make sense when I'm annoyed that something that shouldn't be a big deal isn't a big deal.

ANYWAY. Despite the fact that I personally have paid over $30,000 to this particular preschool (child care expenses suuuuuuuuuck), their idea of a graduation "ceremony" was tiny caps and gowns (cute!) and ... that's about it. Mila's teacher was fantastic and wonderful, but clearly the person who owns the center and kept the majority of that money I pay didn't feel the need to invest in ... anything. No real chairs. No extra teachers to help keep things organized. Just the bare minimum, and she did it during work hours because why would graduation happen after work? Of course I should leave work at 2:00 for graduation when the reason Mila has a graduation is that I pay someone to watch her at 2:00 every day ... o_O

Adding insult to injury, Mila got freaked out about something during the graduation and spent the entire thing sobbing. She was hurt about something, though I never quite managed to pry a valid explanation out of her. I do know that she was completely fine at her dance recital earlier in the week, so it wasn't that she didn't like an audience. I guess she didn't like THAT audience? I don't know. She was clearly very unhappy with everyone and everything.


Except the candy table.

There was a little table with bowls of candy on it for the graduation. That candy included Ring Pops, so basically it was THE BEST THING EVER. I have heard about how great the candy table was approximately 824985134 times. That table meant so much to Mila that I have already mentally scheduled a candy table for her high school graduation, wedding (instead of a cookie table!), and I probably should set one up for the birth of her first child as well.

The kid really knows how to party.


S'mores Cupcakes

Mila had a birthday party at some point, so of course that means I made a ridiculous cake. It's my thing, you know.


It was RIDICULOUS. And easy. It was a very basic White Almond layered cake with White Almond Buttercream Frosting and melted marshmallow for the spider web. As in, I microwaved some marshmallows and then messily pulled them into strings and wrapped them around the cake. My hands were a disaster, but the cake turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.


Considering Mila asked for a Spider Gwen birthday cake and I was all, "Uuuuuh ... such a thing doesn't really exist" it all worked out in the end. So take that, Pinterest. Thanks but no thanks for failing me this time. I SHOWED YOU.


I can't stick to just one challenge, so of course I also made cupcakes. S'mores Cupcakes to be exact.




S'mores Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcake Batter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crushed graham crackers

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and throw cupcake liners in a pan.

2. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir it all up with a whisk.

3. Add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir with a fork until the chunks are gone. It took me about two minutes.

4. Place the chocolate cupcake mix in your cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 of the way.

5. Carefully add a heaping spoonful of graham cracker crumbs on top of the chocolate cupcakes. Then top with a tablespoon or so of cake batter to seal the graham crackers in a bit.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 22 minutes for mini cupcakes or 25 minutes for full-sized cupcakes. Set on a wire rack to cool before frosting.

Marshmallow Frosting

4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Fill a large pot with water and heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.

2. In a large heat-proof bowl (I used a metal mixing bowl), whisk the eggs together with the sugar. Place on top of the pot of water so that the bowl doesn't actually touch the water, but does get warmed up. Continue whisking. Add the cream of tartar and salt and whisk some more. Keep whisking and heating until the mixture reaches 110 degrees.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat and turn on that mixer. Mix at high speed until peaks form, about 7-9 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix a little more. (If you're changing the color of the frosting, add gel food coloring with the vanilla and mix.)

4. Place the frosting in a piping bag and make swirlies or whatever on top of your cupcakes. To reduce the sticky of the frosting, place in the oven on high broil for 1-2 minutes or until the marshmallow juuuuuust starts to toast.