Thursday, April 23, 2009

Andy sings with his class

Sam and I went to Andy's K-Grade 5 assembly at school this morning, where his class sang a song for the other students and parents.

Waiting patiently for assembly to begin.

Handing out the puppets that accompany the song.

Andy's partner for the song was the skunk; his name is Oreo.

Madame explaining something before they sang. I was busy taking pictures and didn't hear what she said. I do know she was not explaining the song, because it was in English.

Does everyone have their puppets?

Okay, here we go....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunday stroll

We went to Bower Ponds after lunch on Sunday, with half a bag of stale bread in hand.

There were a few geese out, fewer ducks, and lots of seagulls.

While feeding the geese, I noticed a rippling in the water coming toward us along the edge of the dock area. It was a little disconcerting as I didn't know what was causing the ripple. I mean, I knew it wasn't Jaws, but still. It turned out to be a muskrat that wanted in on the bread action.

He was a hungry bugger; even put his little paws up anticipating his next bite.

We continued around the pond, and gathered some sticks along our way.

Andy tried to weave a basket, but the sticks were a little stiff.

There were these huge chunks of ice that had been pushed up all along the Red Deer River banks. They look like giant slabs of concrete.

We tried to give our last pieces of bread to the lone ducks we found, but they were scared of us and kept backing away the harder we tried to throw them the bread. The seagulls didn't mind stepping in for a free meal.

We also saw that there is a new playground being built. So not only will we be able to walk, run, feed the birds, pick up sticks, ride our bikes, paddle boat, and ice skate (not all in the same season), but we'll be able to hang from monkey bars and slide down slides, too!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Mommy, Sam's stuck in the mud!"

And I walked out to investigate yesterday afternoon just as Sam was trying to pull his leg out, but instead managed to pull his foot out of his shoe and land his sock in mud; still stuck. I had told them they could go in the back to blow bubbles. I didn't know our neighbors had a mud pit in their back yard; apparently an area that hasn't been sodded where the melting snow made some mighty sticky mud. Both sets of shoes were covered. Luckily Otto (and the boys earlier) had the hose out to wash the cars, so all that was required for cleanup was to put them on the grass and have Otto hose them down. I don't think I'll let them go out in the back again until the mud dries up, because I'm pretty sure they won't be able to help themselves. I think mud and little boys are like magnets to one another.

We spent our Easter weekend, rather untraditionally, in the mountains skiing. Or trying to. I bruised my tailbone pretty good the morning of the first day during my lesson and suffered through, but decided not to go back the next day. So Otto and Andy spent some quality time on the slopes while Sam and I spent some quality time walking around Banff. It was nice, but you don't get better at snowboarding by walking around town!

We discovered a lovely coffee shop/cafe called The Wild Flour. We ordered a ham panini with walnut pesto, and some fennel and apple slaw on the side, and headed to the Bow River for a little picnic. Sam ate most of the sandwich, which was fine because I was still full from the very good breakfast buffet at the hotel.

After lunch we walked to the other side of the river. And back.

Sam took this picture. He pointed out to me that he intentionally included the Canadian flag.
The next morning we had Easter brunch at The Bison. The food was DELICIOUS. Otto and I ordered variations of Eggs Benedict, and the boys shared pear and goat cheese crepes sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, served with a raspberry sauce.

Sam enjoying his chocolate milk.
This sugar and cream would make anyone crave a cup of coffee.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Good times, good eats, and a really large plant

Sam's buddy Owen had his birthday party on Saturday, and his mom emailed this picture over. There was another kid in the picture that I didn't know, so I cropped him out. No only because I didn't know him, but he wasn't looking at the camera either. Anyway, it's a cute picture. Thanks for sending it over, Mel!

The next evening Otto made dinner. Lamb roast stuffed with feta, prosciutto, and spinach served with asparagus...

with a homemade Saskatoon pie for dessert. It was all delicious. And this was just an average Sunday; I can't wait to see what he makes me for my birthday! Well, it was Palm Sunday, but I don't think he was factoring that into the menu planning.

Apparently string cheese offers an endless amount of comedic possibilities. I turned around today to see this, with an exclamation of, "I am Master Shifu!" (From Kung Fu Panda.) Cracked me up!

Here is the REAL Master Shifu for those who haven't seen the movie. The resemblance is uncanny. (Rats! The image doesn't seem to be showing up on the blog. You can see it here if you can't see this picture.)

And with the LOVELY weather we've had the past few days, I was inspired to buy some plants. Indoor, as it's still too cold to plant anything outside yet. One fits quite nicely where I had envisioned it going on the stair landing. I had intended the other, larger one to go behind our brown leather chair in the office, but it was too big. Anyone sitting in the chair would have palm leaves hanging over their face. It didn't look quite so big in the store. But I've bought the silly thing and replanted it in a pot already, so I need to find a spot. Does this look too odd?

That corner was awfully bare before. It was met with a "Whoa!" when Otto went upstairs after coming home from work this evening.

This is my side of the bed. I figure I'll give it a few days and see how many times I get poked in the eye by the pointy leaf tips while getting up, half asleep.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tostones, Spring, and cookies

For you non-Cuban readers, I thought I'd share a picture of a fairly common side dish that we make called tostones.

You take very green plantains (the large looking bananas, which thankfully they sell up here), cut them in ~1.5 inch slices, and fry them for about 5 minutes in 375 degree oil (we use our Fry Daddy). Take them out, smash them with a tostonera (this is the name I just found on the Internet, but for some reason I recollect a different name for this apparatus), or I read you could also use any item from the kitchen that could smash down, like the bottom of a glass. Then put the smashed plantains back in the oil for about another 5 minutes. Take them out and salt generously. Yummy. There are many other ways to prepare plantains. The other way we typically prepare them are when you wait until they are VERY ripe, slice diagonally in 1 inch pieces, and fry them up. These are called platanos maduros and are sweet, and oh so good.

And Spring IS coming. We're seeing more of the street surface now, and most of the sidewalks are clear of ice and snow. Sam and I took his scooter out the other day and went to the park.

Lastly, I made these cookies yesterday evening.

I was inspired by this post at Smitten Kitchen. We had some leftover ganache in the freezer, and the almond appealed to me, but I didn't want a meringuey cookie. So I went in search of a different recipe and decided on this one at because it called for ground almonds and not almond flour (had whole almonds and a mini Cuisinart), and didn't require almond extract, which I didn't have either. I cut the sugar by half so they are slightly sweet instead of SWEET, and I could have gotten away with a little less flour. The are VERY tasty, so if you're out and about, stop by and have one, or two or three!