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!

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Cookie Monsters

It wasn't raining when I woke up this morning so I got the kids set up in front of the TV with our new Wii game called Just Dance and ran out to mow the lawn. It's been cool and rainy the past week, so I wanted to take care of the lawn before the heavens opened up yet again. I couldn't believe how many mosquitoes there were! They were huge and hungry, like a flock of ravenous seagulls out for blood. I'm not wishing for snow, but the one really good thing about winter is the lack of mosquitoes. Somebody remind me of that when I'm shoveling through mountainous snow banks. On the other hand, never mind, I'd probably just get irritated by a comment like that!
This afternoon we made a batch of Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies. I found the recipe years ago on Allrecipes and it's been my go to cookie recipe since then. I usually only put in a scant 1/2 c. of butterscotch chips and the same with chocolate chips. The best of both worlds. I don't like cookies that ooze all over the place.
All of the kids "helped" today. The girls rolled all the cookies into balls. They did a great job! Quinn mostly ate little bits of dough and chips. This is the look of right before the cry that I am taking too long getting him his next bite. See the big mosquito welt on his forehead!
"Here sis, let me help you shove that cookie in a little further. It seems to be hanging out of your mouth!"
We had spinach and black bean quesadillas for supper tonight. I even ventured out into the muck hole that was once a garden to get the spinach. Mmmm....

Friday, 8 July 2011

Gathering Stones / Canada Day Fun

We spent last week at a reunion for Matt's side of the family. We spent the first half of the week in Waterton National Park. It was beautiful. My mother-in-law rented the Northland Lodge and we all stayed there. It really was ideal for us. Each family had their own space and there was a room for the teenage boys, teenage girls and the younger princess girls too. The management left so we had the whole place to ourselves. It is located just a few houses down from Cameron Falls, so we were able to take several walks down there with the kids. We had a blast.
It was great for the kids to get to know the cousins they had either never met, or rarely get to see.

We went to Red Rock Canyon and had a picnic there. The water was really high and much too swift to hike down the river bed like we did the last time we were there. Ooh, a bear crossed the road just in front of our SUV on our drive back to the Lodge after our picnic. It was fun for the kids (and me too!) to see. 

We had yummy S'mores. Q fell and scraped up his knee on the rocks. I only thought about taking a picture after he was all bandaged up.

Here he is with his cute cousin tossing rocks in the water. He loved watching the splash, didn't like it so much when he was splashed with icy cold mountain water.
All the kids liked playing on the rocky beaches.
The kids liked watching daddy skip rocks. I like watching him too... Yowza!
Matt and I went to fly kites with his sister and her husband on a grassy area next to the Prince of Whales hotel. We didn't bring the kids since, the hotel is on the side of a cliff. It was fun to steer the kite off the edge of the cliff, so that your kite was below your body.  If there's one thing that's constant in southern Alberta, it's wind. As we drove to Waterton, we passed through wind farms. The huge turbines are really amazing!
Here we are in front of Cameron Falls.
Later in the week we went to the tiny town of Raymond to watch the Canada Day parade. As the parade floats drove by they tossed candy and the kids raced to pick it up. We still have way too much candy left from that parade...

Matt's family lives all over the place, so we don't see each other very often. Two of Matt's 5 sisters and their families weren't able to make it. I hope that next time we will all be able to get together. That would have made it perfect!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sprinkler Fun

A couple of weeks ago I went to Saskatoon for a Zumba instructor class! It was, in one word, AWESOME!! The instructor who taught it was such a ball of energy and a fantastic dancer. The class started off with an hour long non-stop Master class. When that part was finished, I could hardly believe that an hour had passed. Zumba is exercise that doesn't feel like exercise. It's more like an hour long dance party! It really gave me something to aim for - teaching a class just like that!
The rest of the day we went over the moves for the 4 basic Zumba dance styles. So, we pretty much danced all day. I think there is a lot to be said for song selection. As I drove home, I listened to all the CD's we were given and tried to pick out the tunes I liked best. Hopefully my class will like them! I am lucky enough to be teaching a free class at the church, so nobody can complain if I mess up until I get used to the new dances!

Here's me in my new Zumba shirt. My arms weren't long enough to get the whole thing...

I have to give a big thank you to my parents and siblings and everyone who watched over the munchkins while I took off to Saskatoon for the day. They were all enjoying a family reunion together while I did this and Matt was back home working. Thanks again!!

After the class, I met up with the rest of the clan and got to meet a few distant cousins I had never met before. We went on a hayride together to the buffalo jump North of Duck Lake. Definitely not the most flattering photo...

The rest of the week was spent enjoying time with my parents at their home. The kids had a blast in the blow-up pool on the one day it was warm enough.

The kids chased frogs. Only my cute nephew was brave enough to touch one.


They played with the cool tire swing. Most of all the kids had fun playing in grandma's playhouse. I can't believe I don't have a picture of it. I also feel bad that I don't have any pics of the little guy, but the best time for me to take out the camera is when he is asleep. I'll have to work on that.

We stayed there for a week. My brother Matt (yes, my husband and my brother are both Matthew's) graduated from high school, so we stayed to celebrate with him. The kid surprised us all (and himself too, I think) and graduated with honors!! YeeHaw! Great job, Matt!

We had a fantastic week. The kids are already looking forward to seeing Grandma and Papa again.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Home again, Home again, Jiggity jig

Dear Old Light Fixture,
As soon as I saw you, I knew I had to have you. I knew that underneath that hideous exterior, was something very special. You were alone, neglected and unloved, but your time has come! You will be stunning again....

Over two weeks has slipped by since I last blogged and promised to show you what my plans were for my fabulous friend, shown above. Let me just say, it has been crazy busy, but the transformation is complete!

This light fixture was all held together with a rod through the centre and a bolt on either end. I just removed the chain and took off the bolts to slide the spindle piece from the light fixture.

 I bought a can of black satin spray paint, and then one night at about 10pm, I started spray painting all of these yard sale finds. I'm not sure why I start these projects at such a crazy hour, but it seems like that's when I get things done. My neighbors probably think I'm a nut, out on my front step until 11:30...

I found this little number at a thrift store. Isn't she a beaut!
I bought this tiny bottle of Gorilla Glue. It says you're supposed to clamp everything together, but I couldn't figure out how to clamp it, so I just stacked a bunch of heavy stuff on top. A little bit of glue still managed to escape between the pieces, but it's not really in a noticeable spot, so I just left it. The base used to be a wire fruit bowl with a wood bottom. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of it before I put it together.
Ready to see the finished product??

Ta-da!!! Isn't it lovely! I made a three of these babies on which to serve dessert for a friends bridal shower. Wanna see them in action?? Notice the three small bowls at the centre of the table. Those were painted black too. We weren't sure how food safe the spray paint was so we broke out the doilies to save ourselves from poisoning. As if the food wasn't unhealthy enough!

Mmmm! Just take a look at all that scrumptious unhealthy stuff. The backdrop is made by wrapping a piece of funky fabric around a piece of plywood and stuffed into a borrowed frame. I didn't want to wreck the frame, so it's precariously positioned and held in place with painters tape. As a side note, painters tape doesn't stick very well to fabric. Not very well at all...       

Here's some of the cookies. Two of my good friends and I got together to decorate these. My favorite is the leopard print. Yowza! This was a really fun project. Congratulations Christy and Dave!!

Anyone have any ideas for the other spindle pieces on the light fixture?