Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Spice of Life

I came up from the basement after doing some laundry yesterday to find that Miss C and Mr. Q had made a mess. They got into my spice drawer and dumped 7 or 8 bottles on the floor. They were having a grand time mixing them all together.
They did this once before, several months ago. I remember this event so well because I had just put a new bag into the vacuum before the wreck of the spice express, so every time I would vacuum, this faint smell of a weird spice blend would escape from the vacuum. Just last week, of course, I replaced the spice filled vacuum bag and I was looking forward to not having a spicy smell whenever I vacuumed. Sigh. So much for that.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

DIY Camera Case - my version

A couple of years ago, Matt bought me a camera for Christmas. It came with 2 lenses and we bought an inexpensive camera bag to store it in. It's nothing fancy, but it did the job. Then, one day, a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to a camera bag giveaway. I followed the link and was shocked by how pretty & functional a camera case could be. I fell in love with the Kelly Moore B-Hobo Bag, but I just can't imagine spending $169 on a purse. I am way too cheap for that. I liked the Kelly Moore Facebook page and whenever they do a bag giveaway, I enter the contest (along with probably about 20,000 other people...) hoping I'll be the lucky winner. Anyway, at some point in the last year, I saw this pin on Pinterest, showing how you can make your own camera case out of a purse. Later, I saw another pin with much easier-to-follow instructions, so I decided to give it a whirl.
I bought a cute purse from Winners with the intention of making a camera case out of it.Then, it hung on a hook by my back door for 2 months while I procrastinated. I tend to do that.
Finally, I got sick of seeing the bag sitting there and I decided to get it done. It took me a full day (with all 3 kids around to "help") and then a few hours the next day to hand-stitch the new purse lining in. It probably would have taken me less time if I knew how to hand-stitch. Ugh. That was the worst part, by far.

Here's how it looks. I love it! I love that I can adjust the foam dividers to fit my lenses, my wallet, whatever. Thanks Pinterest for a fantastic idea!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Viking Obsessed

I feel like I've been viking obsessed for the past couple of weeks getting ready for Halloween. Last year Miss A said she wanted to be Astrid from How to Train your Dragon for Halloween. I thought it would be a really cute, not quite so typical costume & then thought it would be fun for us all to dress up as vikings. Miss C wants to be the same as her sister, as usual. I thought about dressing up Mr. Q as a dragon, but decided to just stick with the viking theme.
Twice a year I go to this garage sale type of thing in St. Albert called the Share & Wear at the Alliance church. For the last couple of years, I have also volunteered at the event as well. It has been a great opportunity to help out the community and I get a lot of great clothes for my family there as well. There are areas for children, baby, ladies, & mens clothes, coats, toys, books, etc. set up and all the donations have to be sorted as they come in the door. This year, I wasn't able to help on the day of the event, so I went the night before to help with sorting. We sorted from 5:30-8 and then the organizers let us go through and "shop" for a few minutes before they closed the doors. I wasn't able to find much for clothes this year. I found lots of cute things, but they were in all the wrong sizes. Oh well, that's the way things go. On my way out, I looked at the coats and found a few coats that I thought would really make our viking costumes fantastic. I wish I took some before pictures, but I didn't think of it until too late.
Here's a picture of Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon, beside my little cuties.
Their shirts came from an XL size womens shirt that I refashioned into 2 smaller shirts. My sewing skills are not the greatest, but you can't really tell from a distance. Hahaha.
I cut the skirts out of a couple of the coats from the Share & Wear. I just put velcro on the ends and it wraps around & sticks together. The boot covers are from one of the same coats. I just cut off some of the fake fur, and sewed it in a cylinder. They just slide them on their legs before they put their boots on and then tug them down. The shoulder armour was made with craft foam & hot glue. Man, hot glue is amazing!
We made the skulls and spikes out of Crayola Air Dry Clay. We molded them and then let them dry and the girls painted them. Getting them to stick on the skirt was a challenge. We first tried hot glue. They fell off so quickly. I decided to try sealing the spikes with Mod Podge first. I tried hot glue again. Still didn't work. We tried Gorilla Glue next and that seems to work the best, though the glue bubbled out and you can see it around most of the spikes. Whatever. I still think it looked great!
Here's Mr. Q. in his costume. My brother's girlfriend Sarah crocheted the "helmet". Amazing!! She is really talented.
Matt and I also had costumes, but they were not nearly as extravagant. Of course, I don't have any pictures. Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A glimpse through our spooky windows...

After Halloween last year, I bought some spiderwebs in the clearance area at Superstore, and miracle of all miracles, I actually remembered I had it! Last night, I thought it would be fun to decorate the house with the kids, so we got to work creating monster window decorations, while Matt had a night out building something with one of his friends.I stole the idea from a friend of mine, Niki.
We used sheets of black poster board (which happened to fit in our windows perfectly!) and tissue paper from my wrapping/gift bag stash.  The poster board was 2/$1 at the dollar store, so the total cost was $4.50.
 We had a blast doing it. The kids kept pretending the hanging monster with the arms was going to grab them, and they'd squeal and run away. Too cute! They were especially happy that I let them stay up late to see how they looked from outside after dark.

Since I last posted, we had Miss A's 5th birthday. She wanted to have a makeover party, so we invited a few of her friends from school and had a great time. Here's her invitation:
Seven little girls showed up. The thought crossed my mind to invite all the girls in her class, but I decided that I'd probably go insane, especially if parents came and brought younger siblings... my house is not very big!
I couldn't really think of any traditional games that had anything to do with makeovers for the girls, but I came up with a few weird things that went over pretty well. First I put a dollop of Vaseline on the girls nose and they had to get cotton balls to stick to them. Miss A refused to do that one because she hates being dirty, and Vaseline is sticky. She is definitely Matt's daughter. I found these super long straws at the dollar store. I put a bowl full of water and dish soap inside a big plastic bin, the girls had to blow the straws until they filled the whole bin with bubbles. Then, I had a few balloons and the girls had to use a hair dryer to blow the balloons into a laundry basket tipped on its side. The bubbles was by far the most popular of the games.

My wonderful stylist friend Jen agreed to stay at the party to help me with the hair and nails. We put hair bling in the girls hair, as you can almost see in the photo of Miss A, and painted their nails. We also stuck a little jewel to most of their nails, but those didn't last too long. I was happy that the kids managed to keep their hands glued to the table until their nails were dry, for the most part, and I didn't have to deal with any nasty nail polish mishaps. I'm grateful for those cheap plastic tablecloths.
 The cake was a sad story. I stayed up until 4:30am and the fondant was a nightmare. My first batch had to be thrown out at 11:30pm, due to the paddles on my Bosch mixer exploding into shards through the fondant. My poor Bosch. I went ahead and made my second batch. For some reason, that batch never got to the right consistency probably due to an overtired-not-thinking-straight error on my part. Overall, it was a heartbreaking mess. Finally at about 4am, I decided I gave up and threw the ugly, bumpy, crumbly fondant on the cake and called it a night. It was supposed to look like a bottle of nail polish. Not one of my best cakes, that's for sure. Oh well, at least I tried.
 We were able to go to Saskatchewan for Thanksgiving and also for my great grandma Dorothy Palmer's 100th Birthday party. Her birthday isn't until next month, but you don't want to put off a party for this occasion too long. It was nice to be able to go and see her, though she doesn't remember us anymore due to Alzheimer's. Almost all of her descendents were able to be there.
Great grandma Dorothy lived a block down the street from me when I was growing up. I can remember watching the ants on the  peonies that lined the front of her home. I used to push our lawn mower to her house to mow the grass for her. I always remember her front room had bright red carpet and all sorts of trinkets that we weren't allowed to touch. She's a hard worker. She still washed her own floors (probably on her hands and knees) when she was 90. Grandma Dorothy hated wastefulness, and has a sweet tooth like no other. She had a tin foil collection in a drawer in the kitchen. Before the Alzheimer's struck, she had a great memory for peoples names and birthdays and who they married. I didn't inherit that trait, but my grandma sure did. Grandma Dorothy is a great woman whose legacy will last long beyond her time here. She only has one daughter, 5 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, I think there are 23 great-great grandkids (my kids fit here), and I know there are some great-great-great grandchildren now too.
Thanks for everything, Great Grandma Dorothy! We love you!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Little Miss Kindergarten!!

My baby is growing up. I don't know where the time has gone, but here I find my little girl starting kindergarten. I've had mixed emotions about her starting school, but I know she's ready and I needed to step back and let her take a leap.
I wanted it to be a special day for her, so I got up early and made a special breakfast of OJ, sausages and pancakes with peaches and whipped cream. Not the healthiest breakfast, but you only have your first day of school once, right?
Miss A has been really looking forward to taking the bus. I've been a bit hesitant to send her on the bus because all the kids in town ride a bus from home to a transfer station, where they have to get off the bus and get on another one which takes them to their school. After being assured by the transportation people that there were plenty of helpers at the transfer station, I decided to let her take it. Just before midnight on Monday night, I drove to the transfer station with my pail of sidewalk chalk and drew a big flower in front of the bus stop for the bus that takes her to the transfer station. Then, I drew a dashed line all the way to the bus stop for the bus that takes her to school, with another big flower in front of that bus stop. It was my attempt to help her get from one bus to the next without having to remember the bus numbers.
[I seem to remember a comic strip in the newspaper when I was a kid (probably in the late 80's or early 90's) that showed the path a little boy followed on his adventures. Does anyone remember that comic? Was it Dennis the Menace?]

Yesterday morning, I packed up the kids in the car so that I could follow the bus to school. I told Miss A about the flower path. I knew it would make her (or maybe it's just me...) feel more confident in that adventure if she knew I was nearby. As Miss A and I waited for the bus she seemed a little nervous, but when the bus actually arrived, she hugged and kissed me goodbye and hopped on the bus like she had been doing it forever. I was glad she was so excited.
 I hopped in the car and followed the bus along its route until it arrived at the transfer station. There were so many buses there that I couldn't even see her bus, let alone my little girl. I sat in the car across the street with tears in my eyes and prayed she wouldn't have any troubles getting on the right bus. We went to her school, to wait for her to arrive. By the time I got the other two munchkins and all of Miss A's school supplies into the stroller, she had already arrived at school and was standing outside the bus with her teacher, and a great big smile on her face. She did it! I was so relieved that everything went so well!
 We went to her classroom, where we got all her supplies organized, her stuff in her cubby and her new Barbie shoes on. She gave me a quick hug and ran to join her class for a song. Miss C really wanted to give her a hug, so she ran in and hugged her and then we were off. There were no tears at school, for any of us. The bus transfer was much more traumatic for me than leaving her at school. I knew she would be ok there.
Miss C and Mr. Q and I had a fun day at home together. Miss C kept asking when her sister would get home. I think she missed her. We read stories and baked cookies together. It was nice to have more one-on-one time with the younger two.
 After school we waited for Miss A at the bus stop. She had a fun ride home where she met a new friend who shared a candy with her. She was so excited to tell us about school. She unpacked her backpack right at the bus stop to show us a picture she drew, and couldn't wait to share. She told us about the butterfly in her lunch. I had packed her fruit pieces in a baggie, then wrapped the middle of the bag with a pipe cleaner and wrapped the pipe cleaner around a pen to make antennae. Miss A read stories at school and she got to paint a picture of her hand and a heart. She learned to say bonjour as she is attending a French school.
All in all, it was a fabulous day! I love seeing my kids grow and learn and try new things so courageously. I'm sure this new adventure will be a great one!

NOTE: I can't find the charger for my camera battery. If anyone knows where I've left it, please let me know. I'm getting sick of all my pictures being blurry from forgetting to wipe off the lens on my phone...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The breast cinnamon bun dough ever!

After church, Miss C had a snooze on daddy. Check out that outfit! That's what happens when a cute little 3 year old pics out her own clothes!!

I felt like baking today. Of course it had to be the hottest day of the summer when I felt the urge to whip out the Bosch. I asked Matt what he felt like and he said cinnamon buns. Miss A and I got to work. We put the wet ingredients into the mixer with the yeast and a couple of cups of flour and let it sit for a few minutes to proof the dough. When we came back, Autumn sat up on the counter and put 2 cups of flour into the mixer and suddenly exclaimed, pointing into the mixer bowl, "Mommy, You have two just like that!!!"
I looked into the mixer to see this:

I couldn't help but laugh. Hope you all had a fabulous Sunday!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Summer Lovin' - Had Me a Blast!!

Earlier this week, we got back from our summer holiday. Every year, we meet up with my side of the family and go camping together. This year, we met at Meeting Lake Regional Park in Saskatchewan. The kids had a blast playing on the beach with their cousins.
We went fishing together. My brother was nice enough to do the dirty work when he took all us girls out fishing. I caught 2 little Jack fish. Better than nothing. They are both back in the lake growing bigger, so I can catch them again next year. 
Monday, we planned on going to Blue Mountain, but we were really low on gas, and knew we needed to stop to fill up. This tiny little town called Rabbit Lake had a gas sign, but it was a misrepresentation. There was no service stations for 43 km in one direction and 76km in the other. We decided to attempt to drive to Blue Mountain and figure it out. We gave the owner of Blue Mountain some cash and they let us fill up from their big fuel tank. They saved the day. Nice people.
 Blue Mountain is between North Battleford and the campground we were staying at. It had a 500 meter zipline that we went on. The girls both had a fantastic ride down the hill, but Mr. Q started to cry every time we approached the tower, so we decided not to take him down. Miss C picked me a pretty flower. What a sweetheart!
Here we are flying down the zipline. Miss C and I went down together, sitting in the harnesses granny style. Matt and Miss A went down rodeo style. Miss C has asked me if we can go ziplining again about 10 times in the last half hour. The wind was really strong towards us, so Miss C and I didn't make it the whole way to the bottom and I had to pull us to the point where someone could grab onto my leg.
The top left picture is my grandma! I was really proud of her for making the leap. She is awesome! Way to go everyone! I thought this was such a fun, memorable activity. Thanks, Mom and Dad for such a fun outing.

I think my favorite part of the holiday was sitting around the campfire every night telling stories and talking with my family after the kids were tucked in bed, roasting marshmallows and looking at the stars. Gotta love that!
 Here's a blurry moment of peace on the way home. I do mean moment. It lasted all of 2 or 3 minutes. Mr Q was not a happy camper on the way home. We enjoyed the quiet while it lasted!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My Hottie Husband

We had a swimming birthday party & BBQ for Matt and his brother last night. The weather was beautiful while everyone was in the pool. We brought burgers, hotdogs and birthday cake/cupcakes and everyone else brought salads, drinks, veggies, fruit, chips, bread and dip. It was a great feast!
Clouds, lightening and wind rolled in, as soon as we finished eating. What great timing!
 I feel so lucky to have such a wonderful man for a husband! He holds down the fort twice a week so I can get away to work out for a couple of hours. Maybe that isn't such a big deal to others, but it does mean he has given up doing things he would like to do so that I can have some time to myself on a regular basis, and that means a lot to me. He folds the laundry and cleans up the kitchen after supper. He works hard supporting us, so I can stay home with the kids. He really is a wonderful father. I just asked the girls what they love most about him. Miss A said she loves cuddles, watching shows and when daddy plays music in the living room so she can dance. Miss C said she loves it when he makes her popcorn and when she gets to go swimming with him. He makes time for them, which I especially appreciate right when he gets home from work and I'm trying to make supper and have had a rough day. I love listening to the giggles and happy squeals when they have Wrestle Mania in the living room when he gets home from work. He is always dependable and does what he says he will do and reminds me when I forget something I've said I will do too.  I love it when he kisses me in front of the kids and they (mostly Miss A) say, "Daaadddy! Don't kiss Mommy!!!" and he always does it again. He is affectionate and sweet. I am lucky to have such a handsome and loving husband.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday, babe! I love you!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I pronounce the P in raspberry.

My sister, my mom and I picked raspberries yesterday. A lot of raspberries. We were raised to be gatherers. My grandma taught my mom and she taught us. I love eating jam that I've made from berries I picked. Here's a pic of our harvest.
 Today is Matt's Birthday so we made posters for him while he was at work and hung them on the fence so he would see them when he got home. We are going swimming tonight and having a BBQ to celebrate Matt & his brothers birthday. Hopefully we have a fun time and the weather cooperates!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Calling All Superheroes!!

Today is little C's 3rd birthday. We had a fun superhero themed party for her last week. Here's the invitation.
I tried to take a picture of all the little superheroes, but it was impossible. If someone knows how to get 9 kids 5 and under to stand still, in the same place, at the same time, for a picture, let me know! This pic has the most kids in it. The birthday girl was crying inside at this point, I believe, after whacking her head on the edge of the granite counter. It was a rough day for her, all around. 
I made capes & masks for the little superheroes, instead of giving out candy as treat bags. The capes were a bigger hit than the masks. I had a hard time judging the head sizes for the kids, and hardly any of the masks fit. I used my own children as templates and they have either abnormally large or small heads, so it didn't work out quite as well as I had hoped.
Here's a shot showing the capes. The kids all had their initial on the back. I was really happy with how cute they turned out. Miss C was still grumpy at this point and refused to look at the camera. Miss A is quite the ham, on the other hand.
We had an obstacle course of sorts where the kids raced marbles through pool noodles, threw a ball through hula hoops suspended in the tree, had to bounce on a ball with a handle around some traffic cones, then I was going to have the kids walk the plank (over the kiddie pool), but in the mad rush before the kids arrived, I forgot and then couldn't get it set up in time. I think they had fun anyway!
The kiddie pool had been filled with this homemade bubble concoction, which was basically water with 5 cups of Dawn dish soap and a little bottle of glycerine I bought at the drug store. When the wind had died down, it made some nice big bubbles. Of course, C sat down in the pool and got fantastically soapy and wet. She had a blast with the big bubbles!
We had rainbow themed food, since the superhero capes were a rainbow of colours. I bought a package of rainbow licorice and my (almost 3 year old) nephew probably ate 10 pieces. The rainbow jell-o was fun. I messed up on the bottom purple layer, but got the hang of it after that. It really looked cute! The rainbow fruit kabobs were also a hit. We had hotdogs and veggies, but I only took pictures of the rainbow foods.

Instead of doing a superhero cake, I decided to make a rainbow one. I bought a bottle of pink bubblegum flavoring at a little kitchen store in town and used that in the frosting instead of vanilla. What 3 year old doesn't like bubblegum? I personally thought that the cake looked a lot better than it tasted but whatever, it was a party for my little sweetie!
The birthday girl got to enjoy the first piece of birthday cake. Her favorite was the purple layer.
My sweet little "C" has been a joy to us since she joined our family 3 years ago. She has the most adorable tiny speaking voice and is always telling the rest of her family that she loves us. She is loving and kind. We gave her a package of 3 Lip Smackers lip balm (oh, how our girls love lip balm...) today and she let her sister choose which one she wanted, without us even suggesting her share it. What a sweetie! Happy Birthday, little missy! We love you!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Family and Food & Dancing

We had such a great evening last night. My sister and brother-in-law came over with their 3 little boys and Auntie Leah came over too. I invited my sisters family over last minute and hadn't marinated enough pork tenderloin for everyone, so when they offered to bring some crab over for supper, we were excited. Well, maybe all of us weren't excited. Auntie Leah doesn't eat seafood. I don't know if there is a term for that. Maybe anti-pescatarian?? Anyway, we had plenty of pork tenderloin for her!
We made our own salad rolls with rice paper wrappers, matchstick carrots, cucumbers, bean thread noodles, green onions, crab (Mmmm...) fresh basil from the garden (the mint isn't ready yet) and sesame oil. They were good. We made a dip with rice vinegar, brown sugar, grated gingerroot, minced garlic, cornstarch, soya sauce, and red pepper flakes.
We played Just Dance for a bit on the Wii. We were introduced to the game while we were at a family reunion a few weeks ago. Since we got it the girls have been loving it. Matt and I get some dancing in too...

For a 4 year old, A is pretty good at it! Maybe it's from hanging out with me at Zumba class!
It is just too fun! Who would be up for a girls Just Dance night?
Anyway, it was a fabulous Sunday afternoon. Thanks for coming, everyone!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

3 Years in our Home!

Three years ago today, we moved into our home. So much has changed in our little family since then.
Three weeks after we moved in sweet little C was born...

Eighteen months after that, Q joined our family.
Right around the time that C was born, we ripped out some walls and gutted the kitchen. I say 'we' very loosely here. Really, what happened was I took my little girl and sweet new baby and went to stay with my parents while Matt and his friends got the really dirty work finished. I'll always be glad I wasn't here for that. Washing dishes in the tub for 6 weeks was bad enough!
We've had our share of mischief in this home.

A lot of cuddles.
Giggles, squeals and grins.
We've even had a chicken, mermaid, crab, and a cute little giraffe stop by.
Here's how it looked after we had the new cabinets, counters and tile installed. We had yet to put grout in the tile. I just looked through all the albums on the computer and I don't have any photos of our current kitchen, with matching appliances. Another day...
We have some great memories of the last 3 years here. Here's to many more!

Oh yes, I know I've mentioned all the mosquitoes around here lately, but this proves it. Here is a little story from the local news about Edmonton being the mosquito capital of Canada. Of all things to be known for, this has got to be one of the least attractive. I finally ventured out to weed the garden this afternoon and had to come in to wash the blood streaks from off my arms from swatting so many. Lovely.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How Does my Garden Grow?

 I went outside today to snap a few pics of my flowers. They are looking so pretty right now. Most of them have been blooming for a while, but between the rain and the gigantic mosquitoes, I haven't been spending a whole lot of time outside. Hopefully it will be sunny for a few days so I can get the vegetable garden weeded.
Q was making silly faces at the camera today, so I snapped away. Here are a few of my handsome little guy.
C is definitely a little mama's girl. She is constantly on the move. It's nice to catch her in a quiet moment every once in a while. Cuddles with my kids are always brief, so I take them when I can get them.

We had a couple of little friends spend the day with us today. The kids rode bikes and blew bubbles in the garage. They also pulled all the cushions off the couches and had a bouncy good time in the living room. Who needs a bouncy house!

They played so nicely together that I just ignored the mess. That's hard for me to do. I'm glad I let them work off some energy, because they completely exhausted themselves! What a bunch of cuties!