Saturday, July 31, 2010

Busy, Busy!

Wow--it's been 10 days since my last post! Things get a little nutty around here at this time of year. The garden is starting to produce all kinds of cool things, and the bounty is coming in fast and furious. Before you know it, I'll be thrilling you with pictures of cucumbers and begging for all your best ideas for using up the last of our frozen tomatoes so I can make room for the new batch.

Speaking of pictures, last August, I took a self-portrait a day for the entire month. The results were really interesting. Well, at least to me. I get a little mid-life-crisis-y at this time of year. My birthday and wedding anniversary fall within a couple of weeks of each other and all those large numbers make me self-reflective. So I think another photo project might be in order. Of course, between Rosemary's Baby's daily therapy, the garden, the demolition project that is my house, Firstborn being on summer vacation, cats and dogs that are still a little leery of each other, and the Captain being on summer leave, I might just be cursing myself by day three.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

200!

It's my 200th post! And appropriately enough, this one will be about...absolutely nothing!

I'm pleased to announce that the cat is still alive. Mostly because we put a baby gate over the laundry room and when we want to have a dog/cat get-together, we make them sniff each other through the gate. The snapping is decreasing gradually, but it's clear that both dogs are still a little stressed about the whole situation, so we're taking things slowly. I am, however, secretly hoping that by October, I'll be able to dress all the animals up like little Victorian carolers and have one of those creepy pet portraits done for the Christmas cards.

In other news...SUCCESS! Rosemary's Baby has, for some time now, been on a gluten-free, dairy-free (flavour-free, convenience free...) diet. It's a horrible pain in the butt, but it has improved his behaviour so dramatically, that I could never go back to filling him full of processed chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers. Once I got used to dealing with this nightmare of a diet, I was able to make "safe" substitutes. So, instead of wheat crackers, I started giving him rice ones. Instead of cow's milk on his corn flakes, he gets rice milk. Stuff like that. But the one enormous difficulty I've encountered is with regular old bread.

If you have an intolerance to gluten, you probably know that a store-bought loaf of gluten-free bread, made with a rice or tapioca flour, is half the size of a normal loaf of bread, and costs three times the price. For the last 10 months, I have been regularly paying close to $7 for a piddly little loaf of bread so my kid can eat toast. And about half of the time, he decides he's just going to lick the peanut butter off and feed the rest to the dogs anyway. It's incredibly frustrating, and every gluten-free yeast bread recipe I've tried to make myself has turned out to be a better doorstop than food product.

But today, I made a quick bread that was received with such enthusiasm that not a crumb was left behind! So, in case maybe one of you out there is in need of a gluten-free, dairy-free bread, here's a recipe to try:

Mix well:
2 cups gluten-free flour (I like tapioca)
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
Add:
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice or soy milk
1/4 cup oil or shortening
1/2 cup raisins

Mix until well blended and pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes. On cooling, the loaf will sink a little (a common problem with all gluten-free baking, as far as I can tell), but this bread is actually edible! Makes good toast too! Let's hope the next loaf I make is as good, and this wasn't just some horrible cosmic practical joke.

And lastly, at dinner tonight, Firstborn was in quite a mood. It was one of those situations where he talked non-stop but made no sense whatsoever. And then suddenly he started singing at the top of his lungs.

"You say you wanna re-vo-lu-tio-o-on..."

The Captain rolled his eyes and said "Alright, John, George, Paul and Ringo."

Firstborn stopped singing abruptly.

"Who's THAT?!"


Thanks for joining me on my ride to nowhere, guys! Here's to the next 200!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

If Only the SPCA Had Wookiees


If I hear the Star Wars theme one more time, I'm going over to the dark side.

Firstborn has had a fascination with all things Star Wars for some time now. Star Wars Lego sets, Lego Star Wars video games, movies, music. You name it, if it pertains to intergalactic battle with a lightsaber, he's a big fan.

And speaking of intergalactic battle, I've been having some trouble with an alien species myself. Last fall, it became horrifyingly clear that we had something in our garage and workshop. It started by chewing through the hard plastic garbage cans and spreading the trash absolutely everywhere, so I set out a humane trap. Before I knew it, I'd caught close to a dozen rats, which come in from the fields when the hay bales are out. According to my neighbour, if you have one, there are probably 50 or 60 running around nearby. The whole thing makes me want to run screaming back to the big city, where you do still get an occasional rodent, but that's what exterminators are for.

A few days before the Captain returned home, I woke up at 5AM on a Saturday completely consumed by the idea that some old sheets of pink insulation out there, left over from our kitchen renovation, were the perfect spot for rats to nest. So I got out of bed, put on my Doc Marten boots and a mask and proceeded to pull it all out and load it up in the truck to take to the dump. I was right about the nesting and, suffice it to say, it was the most disgusting job I have ever performed, or ever will again. I decided that morning that far more drastic measures were going to have to be taken to keep the rats away.

It took 6 weeks, but today we have a new family member. Meet Anakin!!



And if my dogs' reaction is any indication, over the next few weeks, I'm going to need the patience and wisdom of Obi Wan and Yoda combined. May the force be with me!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Frazzled Friday

I know it's super-lame to just link to someone else's post as my post for the day (or as it's been lately, week!), but I've been meaning to pass this message along for days.

If you have, or know, a special needs child, Melanie Jane has a unique perspective on this issue, and her advice is good. So check out her post on this topic here.

And now, I'm going to go spend the rest of my Friday with my rapidly-greying hair flying out in all directions and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. AKA, business as usual.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Die, Swimwear, Die!

You know what I hate about this time of year? Every single magazine and catalogue devotes at least 30% of its pages to bathing suits. Stupid, stupid bathing suits.

Firstly, swimwear requires about a half a yard of fabric. So, we're being charged upwards of $100 (and sometimes more, depending on where you shop) for $5 worth of fabric and an hour (at the most) of cutting and sewing. This is even more infuriating to me than the current trend of women being charged full-price for ripped jeans. And you know how I feel about that, so no rant required.

Secondly, my body could be worse, but it could also be better, so just the idea of bikini-waxing myself and then exposing my pale, pasty, English skin, all stretch-marked and flabby, makes me want to rip my own head off and run around the beach shaking it at the buff and the beautiful.

I bought my most recent bathing suit 6 years ago in a fall sale for something like $20. It's the most unflattering thing you've ever seen--boy shorts and a tank top that covers as much as is humanly possible. And I only bought it because I had to take Firstborn to Aqua-Tots classes, where he routinely screamed for the first 45 minutes, then spent the last 15 asleep on my shoulder. I have absolutely no interest in replacing this degrading, unpleasant garment every single summer, and this is one area where I honestly cannot put myself in another woman's shoes. Judging by the amount of new bathing suits out there every spring and summer, there must be women who buy a new one every year. Can anyone tell me what motivates women to do this? Because I could buy myself 5 new summer dresses every week (if the Captain would let me, that is. He's a real party-pooper when it comes to me wanting to spend the grocery money on my wardrobe.), but nothing in the world makes me want to even spend 5 minutes looking at pictures of bathing suits.

So, let's hear it. Do you buy yourself a new swimsuit every year? And if so, for the love of Mike, WHY?!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Loot!


It's been a lucrative couple of weeks for me! First, I had my trip home and thrifted 'til could thrift no more. Here's what I snagged from Value Village:

I didn't realize until I got it home that this vest is reversible. I still prefer it red-side-out, but it's good to have options. It is the softest thing I own, and a steal at $4!


I must've been vest-crazy that day because I found this cute little denim number too. By the way, I'm not auditioning for a stage production of the Outsiders. I just chose to photograph myself in these items on the hottest day of the year, hence the rebellious tank-top/vest combo.


This Old Navy cardigan was a pasty pale pink when I bought it. One box of red dye later, I have a sweater I can live with!


Long cardigans often look a little like a bathrobe on me, but this one doesn't have a belt or buttons, so if I remember not to have the posture of a 90 year-old woman, I think it'll be okay.


And finally, one more cardigan in another bright colour. For some reason, I came home from the hottest place in Canada all decked out for winter. Go figure!

My best thrifty deal didn't come from Value Village. It came free from my mother's basement, which is actually a Value Village in its own right. We call it "Mom's Mini Mart" and if I'd had any more room in my bags, I'd have grabbed plenty more. Here's what I did come home with:

And here's what I've already made using some fabric she originally bought with curtains in mind:

I never let myself be limited by what fabric is supposed to be for. If I want a pair of skinny jeans made out of green-and-orange foam-backed upholstery fabric, then that's what I'm going to have!!

And on Canada Day we had our annual town fair. There's livestock, cotton candy and a hall full of homemade jams and baking and crafts. It's exactly like an episode of the Waltons...but with a demolition derby.

Firstborn and I once again entered some of our handiwork for judging. Bear in mind that in most categories, they don't often get more than 3 or 4 entries, but it's exciting to place anyway. We came home this year with a grand total of $10.25 in winnings!

Firstborn entered this original Lego creation and came second, which I thought was pretty great! Our neighbours' boys took first and third in the same category, so there's cause for celebration in our neighbourhood this weekend!


I entered this knitted toy and was flabbergasted to come first!


When I saw that my necklace had also come first in the jewellery category, I was tempted to go buy a lottery ticket before my luck ran out!! There were some great entries in all categories this year, and just walking around picking up inspiration from what other people have come up with is really the fun part of the town fair.

So there you have it! And now...I have some sewing to do!