Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back in the day

I accompanied Andy's class a few weeks ago to Sunnybrook Farms. We came here last summer with my mom, but this experience was different because the students were included in a tour of activities, and last year we just roamed around. First stop was in the kitchen of the old homestead house to make bannock on the wood-fired stove.

We used wheat flour with lard, water, and salt, and I volunteered to cook it while our little group moved on to making butter. These were basically white man's version of tortillas.

When I caught up with the pack, they were washing socks. Then it was on to visit some of the farm animals,
milk the pretend cow, and go on a tractor ride. As they disembarked the tractor to get back on the school bus, they were served a couple pieces of bannock with butter they made. Adults got some too - pretty tasty!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Haircuts, Bike Rides, and Happy Victoria Day

I normally cut the boys' hair myself, on a weekend due to having to drag the stool up from the basement, put it back, and the time it takes to vacuum up all the hair. We ran out of time last weekend, and I just couldn't take another week of their wild hair (mostly Andy's wild hair), so I took them to Beaners. It's a place just for kids to get their hair cut, where they can play in a ball pit while they wait, choose which vehicle they want to sit in, and watch a movie while the deed is being done. They also have colored gel which they guys thought was uber cool.

And we went for our first family bike ride of the season yesterday. Otto made sure the tires were properly pumped.

Otto and Andy riding through the trail from Heritage Ranch to Bower Ponds. Sam and I are right behind them!

We stopped on the bridge to check out the river below.

The ice is all gone!

I bought this 1/2 bike addition (I think it's called The Co-Pilot) for the back of my bike so Sam could feel more like a participant on our rides. He was growing frustrated with sitting in the trailer at the end of last season, while Andy would be peddling away. His legs aren't quite long enough to help me peddle, or not effectively anyway. But he's sure enjoying the ride!

And tomorrow Otto has work off (and the boys are off school) for Victoria Day. You can read more about that here. Essentially it boils down to a nice, long weekend. Woo hoo! Especially when the weather is as beautiful as it has been the last two days. Unfortunately, the high tomorrow is supposed to be 0 degrees C with snow. Darn the luck. Maybe we'll go see a movie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A few packages of food and Mother's Day

Does something look odd here?

How about here?

Look reeeeeeeeeal close.

Just who is this 'Mr. Christie' person (if that's his real name), and what has he done with Nabisco?! There is something innately wrong to me about a package of Oreos without 'Nabisco' in the corner. This is the first package that I've bought since we've been here, and I did a double take when I picked it up. They do taste the same.

The macaroni and cheese I've been exposed to for nearly a year now, so it doesn't seem so strange anymore. It does say 'Kraft' in big letters. But everyone up here calls it 'Kraft Dinner', just like it says on the box. I haven't heard anyone refer to it as 'mac&cheese'. Maybe because there is a distinct difference between Kraft macaroni and cheese, and real macaroni and cheese. Maybe they're more particular about just what they label as mac&cheese. But come to think of it, I haven't heard anyone talk about mac&cheese, Kraft or not. Just 'Kraft Dinner'. Or maybe it's just that there are less syllables to say in 'Kraft Dinner'. It tastes the same, too.

Due to large Indian, Filipino, Dutch, Ukrainian and a few other populations, there are a couple aisles of interesting ethnic foods at The Real Canadian Superstore. (Does anyone remember The Real Superstore that used to be in New Orleans on Airline Hwy out by where Zephyr Stadium is now? This is the same place - you have to deposit some money to get your shopping cart here, too.) Every couple months if I have a little extra time, I take a stroll down these aisles to see what new and different things I can find. A couple weeks ago I picked these up.

They taste about as good as they sound. They aren't bad, really (well, Otto and the boys may contest that), just overly salty in my opinion. And they take a while to chew. They're a bit straw-like in texture after the first few chews, at which time you feel kinda' like a cow chewing cud. Hey, I figured a few years ago if someone had mentioned that I'd be munching on pumpkin seeds, I'd think they were as silly as if they said watermelon seeds. Maybe watermelon seeds are the new pumpkin seeds. Well, not these. Next time we'll try the pickled mango!

And here's a picture of me and my little angels this morning, sporting the gifts they made me for Mother's Day. I wore my visor and necklace to Wal-Mart. And I didn't think about the fact, until after I ran across the store to get a few things while Otto was with the boys on the other side, that I really should have one of them with me when dressed this way. :o)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sam the gardner, and hula-hooper

A few weeks ago, to celebrate Earth Day I believe, Sam planted some seeds in cups with his playgroup. Last week they started to sprout up out of the dirt and he was astonished and elated.

And look at them today! As much as I complain about this being the cold, dark side of the house, there appears to be adequate lighting to cajole seeds to come out, and flourish!

The really fun part is that they had a variety of different flower and vegetable seeds, and Sam chose them all. So he tells me that the cup pictured on the left are all flowers and the one in the middle are various vegetables. The vegetables appear to include (based on what Sam can remember and what our neighbor could identify) a corn plant, a few carrots, a pea shoot, some type of bean, and one mystery plant. Pretty soon we'll have to put them in bigger, separate pots, because they're growing like crazy. There is also a cup with just grass, which is rather peaceful to look at. Maybe I'll keep that one in the window.

And the plant at the very right is a magic message bean plant that I think my mom gave Andy for his birthday last year (or was it Christmas?). Anyway, I thought it would be a good time to pull it out and water it since we had the other cups going. Once the bean sprouts there is a message on it; I'll let you know what it says once it presents itself.

And lastly, a clip of Sam hula-hooping. He was getting a little frustrated that he couldn't hula as well as Andy. But before we took Andy to school this morning he showed Sam how to whip it around his body with his hands so that it circled around several times before falling to the floor. That made him feel a little better; a little more accomplished. (Oh, I didn't think about not being able to rotate the video image, so I guess you'll have to turn your head - sorry!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Andy is SEVEN

Wow - Andy turned seven today. I rolled over as Otto and I were going to sleep last night, right about midnight, and reminded him that seven years earlier we were heading to the hospital so that I could be induced. What an exciting time that was - and what a great day when we had him! He was pretty cute. And I knew instantly, and was completely shocked, that he looked like my side of the family. We didn't have a digital camera yet when he was first born, but here's a shot from when he was 2 or 3 months old.

The birthday party went off without a hitch yesterday.

Eight boys running around turned out to be manageable.



After everyone left we all crashed on the sofa for a group nap. No picture available. He did tell me after the party "Mommy, that was a really fun birthday party." Mission accomplished!

This morning he opened his gifts from us. Here he is sporting his new wristwatch AND swingin' his new hula hoop, while Sam squirts a still-filled water gun from the party yesterday. And yes, it was reasonably warm outside this morning! :o)

What a duo - we should take them on the road.

And the two of them with the soccer cake toppers and candles, as arranged by Andy, on the leftover cake so that we could sing to him again on his actual birthday.

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Another person in the house turns 35!

Happy Birthday, Me! I turned 35 last Friday. Here's a family shot before Otto and I headed out to a dinner theater with some people from Dow. The boys stayed home with a babysitter, Rebecca. It was a fun evening for all of us, as the next morning Sam sighed and said, "I love babysitting." Andy agreed.

We fixed buttermilk blueberry pancakes that morning. Plain 'ole pancakes I can pass up, no problem. But add bananas, blueberries, or sweet potatoes (and probably several other things we haven't tried yet), and I'm THERE! (Do I talk about pancakes too much?)

Here's my birthday present! With some Swiss chard added for additional beauty.

When I told Otto what I wanted, he came back after a couple days of research and asked, "Do you know how much one of those costs?!" I didn't know exactly, but I did know I was asking for one of the most expensive birthday presents I have ever requested. Well, besides the diamond earrings I asked for one year. In college. He laughed at that one. FINE! The genuine faux diamonds that I wear from JCPenny's work well enough. At least I don't have a heart attack when I lose one.

Anyway, back to the beautiful flamin' orange Le Creuset pot that I now own. It cooks things nicely so far. I christened it by boiling ravioli - not very exciting. Then came some chili, then chard the other night. It's larger than my dutch oven, but smaller than the REALLY big pot that we have. I think it will be perfect for the double recipes of various dishes that I make that come just up the rim of my other pot. Especially as the boys grow. (I hear eventually they will eat me out of house and home.) And it's HEAVY. I can feel my arm muscles growing whenever I wash and dry it. Presently it's a pretty addition in the kitchen because the few cabinets we have are full. It may very well have a home on the stove top permanently. And I'm even getting ANOTHER present, which has yet to arrive. The sound track to Vicki Christina Barcelona. I can't wait to hear those beautiful Spanish guitar pieces again.

I'm one lucky girl to have those three handsome boys to wrap my arms around, blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and a pretty pot in which to cook dinner, while pleasant music waifs through the air. Very blessed, indeed.