Tuesday, April 24, 2012

R is for Rabbit

Again, R was fun.  We were planning on a trip down to the city anyway, to see my parents, so we thought of a few things that we could do down in the city.

The biggest adventure was "Riding the Rocket" (a slogan that has been around for years advertising the public transit system).  We hit "Queen St." for Q, we "rode the rocket" for R and covered s for subway and t for train.  It was great.  Pk loved it and LB thought it was pretty wonderful, too, given that he loves anything to do with transportation.  My brother teased me repeatedly that I am now truly a hick tourist when I visit the city, given that I am taking photos of everything.

R is also for Rory (spelled Ruaraidh, the Gaelic spellling).  As I am sure you understand, we kept it to "Rory" for Pk's book for school!

R for "rabbity".  Rabbity is a favourite stuffy who has a bad habit of getting lost in the middle of the night and then, we have to launch a search at 3 a.m.  It amazes me that an animal who isn't capable of movement manages to hide so effectively.  We had a prolonged loss of Rabbity about a month ago and we were all despairing.  I was sitting on the computer, after a significant amount of time online looking for a new rabbity and was in the process of entering my VISA number to order the new one when Rabbity reappeared.  I couldn't believe that we found her before my card was charged.

R is for Rudolph.  We have quite a collection of Rudolph kitsch in the house as Pk loves him and wants to be Rudolph for next Halloween (and insists that LB has to be Santa, regardless of his feelings on the matter).

R is for roast beef, cooked by Daddy on the rotisserie on the barbecue.  Yum!

R is for rabbit - in this case, Mr. Lola, who resides at my school.  "He" was originally called Lola until a vet visit revealed that there had been some confusion about his gender.

R is for R and R, good friends of our family.

R is for ride, something Pk adores.  A ride isn't the easiest thing to find in the middle of winter!

Happy R week!

Little Treats...

I received a wonderful surprise today.  A good friend dropped in who has been away for a few days and we have been dog sitting for her (in our home that is already canine-madness, one more orange and white beast really makes very little difference).  When she arrived, she had a wonderful treat for me - the above mug.  Now, as a teacher, there have been many gifts of mugs in my life, all well-intended and kind but none as lovely or as thoughtful as this one.  I had admired this at my friend's home (I have developed quite a thing for birds over the last few years, especially either winter birds like cardinals and blue jays or English birds).  She got her friend, who was coming over from England, to bring one to Canada for me.  I love it!  It's lovely and it's also deep and holds a lot and when I drink tea, I want more than two sips.

It's little surprises like this that mean so much.  What a reminder to me of the pleasure that a small but well-thought out gift can bring to someone.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Q is for Quiche

  At first, Q seemed like it was going to be really difficult but then, I came up with a wonderful plan.  My b.i.l. works in a town that begins with Q and I came up with the idea of picking him up a tea (a steeped tea with milk and 3 sugars - his choice, not mine) and taking it to him at work.  It was great.  Pk was thrilled to see him and he was thrilled for the surprise visit.
Our next stop was the Q country store.  It's a lovely place with an eclectic selection of items - yummy cheese, dog food, gardening tools and outdoor clothing.  They had a wood stove burning the most wonderful smelling wood.  We bought a bag of chicken feed for our friend A and Pk's chickens up at the farm... It was rather funny since we had no idea how to buy chicken feed.
 Another Q idea (and one that ended up being a flop) was quinoa.  I've wanted to try it and Dh and I enjoyed it but unfortunately, the kids refused to try it.  Frankly, while it tasted good, id didn't look especially edible.
 Q is also for quiche.  I love this recipe - it's easy and yummy.  We usually do it with homemade pastry and turkey sausage.
We couldn't do Q without including a quilt.  I am a great lover of quilts and even did a bit of quilting myself.  I haven't done much - I don't have a sewing machine and the hand quilting takes FOREVER.  I had fun making this quilt for Pk when I was pregnant with her and we both love it.
I'll try to get R up tomorrow evening.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I haven't been around here much lately.  I haven't really figured out where blogging fits into my life.  I don't have many readers and I don't really have a direction around here.  On the other hand, I don't really want to let this go, either.  I always been a journal-er and I love this online form of journaling.  I love getting comments and that helps me to feel connected.  Life is so busy and I don't always get to talk to friends about the things that are important to me.

This post is just going to be a collection of "stuff".  It's been a bit of a tough couple of weeks and lots of things have been flitting around in my mind.  I don't have a chance to write a post about each of them and, frankly, you probably wouldn't want to read them anyway, but I have to get them off my mind.

1.  Funerals.  When I die, I don't want a bleak funeral.  Two weeks ago, the 23-year-old daughter of a colleague killed herself.  This colleague is prickly and none of us know her that well but we all wanted to go to offer support.  I gather the daughter (the one who died) was a bit of a troubled soul, battling depression and she had a four year old daughter (who, thankfully, lives most of the time with her paternal grandparents and so wasn't there for this).  The funeral truly was bleak - lots of people but very little sense of who the girl was who died.  It seemed to me to be more about how she died than how she had lived.  They read a letter from a former school friend who hadn't seen her in years and her mother spoke but it was mostly about her troubles in the last year.  The worst?  The parents (who are divorced) have such poor relations that they had two separate services.  Wait, it gets worse.  The police notified the father, who said he would notify his ex-wife but he didn't.  She found out about her daughter's deal from a condolence text from a friend.  What makes people act like that????

I came home and told dh, I don't want anyone to wear black when I go, I want people to wear what makes them feel good (and frankly, if they want to have a pyjama party, that works for me).  I want pretty wedding flowers and NO lilies.  I want people to sing "Thine be the Glory" and "It is well with my soul."  Please remember my crazy moments and eat ice cream.  Read my favourite Bible texts - Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 91 and Micah 6:8.  A bit of Louis and Ella and Latin Jazz would work for me, too.

2.  My friend M got baptised last weekend along with her two daughters.  We come from a tradition that baptises babies and I love that but I must say, watching M done was incredibly moving.  Surprise, surprise, I cried through the entire thing.  Lovely!

3.  Do you ever have times when you feel like God brings you down just so He can lift you up again and show you how lucky you are?  That was me, this week.  On Friday, my check-engine light came on in my mini-van.  To many people, that's no biggie.  To me, it's disaster.  I think it comes from when I was a kid and my mom would panic when there were financial issues.  It probably comes from HER childhood, growing up as a minister's kid, knowing that they had no savings and were always one problem away from being out on the street.  I'm the same.  We have been really struggling with debt since my second mat leave and while the bills all get paid and we have some extra, I suppose, I never feel secure.  I had an unexpected car repair 4 weeks ago that cost $800 and really hurt the money plan.  I was despairing when the light came back on.  I didn't know when I would get it fixed and how we would pay for it.  The one thing I held onto is that I am married to man who always solves those problems for me.  Yet again, my knight rode in, thinking clearly, and pointed out that the work was under warranty and came up with a plan to get it back to the mechanic.  It was fixed for free, they were wonderful, I got to take Pk with me to LB's music class since Dh wouldn't and had a wonderful morning with my kids and a chance to say thanks to my Dh.  Funny how a problem can lead to such blessing.

4.  I just got an email from someone from work who's more than an acquaintance but not quite a friend, if you know what I mean.  She had a miscarriage on Thursday night.  I can't believe how many people I know with fertility issues and how little I understood about it all before we had our kids.  Honestly, other than the time delay in conceiving LB which we ultimately figured out, we have been so lucky and I can't believe how many women I know who have had horrible, horrible, horrible experiences.  We do each other such a disservice by not talking more about it all.  We never know how to be there for each other and say such stupid things, just because we are all so unfamiliar with it all.  Honestly, why do we not share more honestly with each other?

5.  On the sappy front, we are getting lots of affection between the two kids these days.  It really warms my heart.

6.  I heard an interesting study on CBC the other day about how being out in nature activates different parts of the brain than being in a largely urban environment (which apparently activates the stress centres of the brain).  I know, at least for me, walks with the dogs always lower my stress level.  Last week, we took the kids for a walk with a friend and her kids.  Perhaps my friend's stress level wasn't lowered all that much since her daughter fell into the stream but the kids had such fun!

 7.  Last night was our monthly "friends dinner".  This month, we hosted and the theme was Greek.  We made souvlaki, lemon roasted potatoes and Greek lemon rice (which we decided was more risotto-like than rice-like, I am afraid).  I was pretty proud, it was fairly close to restaurant quality, especially when J brought such a great salad.

 The "big kids" table
 Given our husbands and their senses of humour, I would call this the "bigger kids" table, rather than the adult table.
 We decided that, since none of us are great fans on baklava, we went to chocolate cupcakes and blueberry pie (which was divine!) instead.  Needless to say, M worked her usual magic on the sweets and everyone was in heaven.

 The host usually arranges some kind of activity for the kids (although it often doesn't really get done).  In honour of Earth Day, we decided that each child would get to plant.  I had started tomato plants and morning glories and almost everyone picked the morning glories.

8.  I've finally found some time and some mojo for scrapbooking.  I do theme albums usually, these days, so I got the Halloween and fall entries for 2011 done in the fall album and Pk's fourth birthday done in her birthday album.  I'm not a huge scrapbooker but I do love patterns and paper and, most especially, trips down memory lane!  I always do very photo-heavy layouts.

9.  Pk is hugely into the reading and writing these days the teacher in me is totally getting off on it.  She's constantly writing words on the fridge ("hey mummy, I wrote muppets!")  Most of it is phonetic but it's totally independent.  I love this story - the other day, she started pulling books off the shelf downstairs.  When Dh asked what she was doing, she said she was being a librarian.  Dh told her that librarians shelve books, too.  She went and got a piece of paper and a marker and started writing.  When we went to have a look, she had written, "Librerie is cosd."  Not bad for 4!

 10.  Finally, in honour of Earth Day, we got trees for planting at school.  I love this idea.  I was able to get one for each child, too.  We already have one from 3 years ago and it's amazing to see how much it has already grown.

I'm going to try to get in here with a few short posts this week.  We'll see if it actually happens.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Celebrations Part 2

These silly photos uploaded out of order but I can't be bothered to move them.  Here are some snippets of our Easter:

1.  Going to McDonalds after the egg hunt with our friends.  It was a good way to get over the fact that the town egg hunt ran out of treats even though we pre-registered so, while our kids had fun on the walk and gathering plastic eggs, we had to break it to them that there were no Easter bunny treats.  I was so proud of Pk - she didn't make any kind of fuss at all.

2.  Visit to Gran and Momis in the City.  Of course, we had to visit the park!

3.  Their favourite coffee shop.  Their neighbourhood has undergone a massive gentrification.  It used to be rather grotty but now, the houses go for extreme prices and the shops are all a bit full of themselves.  This is the local coffee place.  For a while, they called themselves "I-deal Coffee" as their upstairs neighbour was dealing something else and they got tired of being asked.

4.  Uncle J's new t.v.

5.  The view at the wonderful S.A. sunrise service to which we took the kids.  There is nothing I love better than a sunrise service at Easter.

6.  After church, we took flowers, cards and treats to a few special friends in town.  Fun!

7.  When we got home, we had a special breakfast of hot cross buns and bacon.  These ones were really good - not too raisin-y.  I like to make them but I didn't have time this year.

8.  Before we went out again, we did our Easter decorating.  I don't like to decorate before Easter morning. It just seems wrong.

I have laminated cards with the Easter story on them that we read.

Our "Names of Jesus" garland - I got the idea from Monica at "The Homespun Heart".  I don't have a lot of time to do link-ups right now but if you check my Easter posts from last year and the year before, you will find her directions.

Our eggs - some made with the kids this year and some knit last year.

One of our favourite Easter stories.

Our "Resurrection Eggs" - Pk is now independently telling the entire Easter story using the eggs and she asks to play with them all the time.

Various Easter stuff.

I wrote "Jesus Christ is Risen1" on our window in markers.

8.  A good friend invited us for an egg hunt and her farm and for lunch.  It was lovely and the weather couldn't have been better.

Pk got a new shirt that she loved from Grandma and Grandpa.

Some kids like chocolate - mine seems to like rawhide.

LB's new jammies he got from Grandma and Grandpa.  He's a huge Thomas fan at the moment and this is what he does when asked to smile.  Dh says that it's because he's so used to having a flash in his face.

9.  The town egg hunt with friends.  Pk was keen to show us that she isn't afraid of the Easter Bunny anymore (she was terrified two years ago when we took her on the E.B. train ride).

Stay tuned for our egg hunt at home.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter celebration, filled with friends, family and faith!