Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shoe Horn Christmas Ornament

Since my last post, it has come to my attention that getting a shoe horn in a Christmas cracker is not the bizarre isolated incident I thought it was. As it turns  out, half of North America seems to have gotten one. This tells us two things: 1. All the crackers made on this continent must come from the same factory; and 2. Some marketing genius actually got paid to come up with that lame, pathetic idea. As I said before, next year I'll be making my own.

But in the hope of keeping a million useless, outdated objects out of the landfill, I felt it was my duty to find a creative use for the lowly Christmas cracker shoe horn. So here it is:

My picture isn't the best quality, but I think you get the idea. I went down to my craft room and proceeded to find anything I could that looked remotely Christmassy while the glue gun heated up. In the end, I stuck on a little red ribbon and the last of my red fabric flowers (usually used in card-making) with a decorative (read: dollar store) brad stuck through the middle. A bow on top and a little more ribbon strung through for a hanger, and we have what I believe might be the world's first shoe horn Christmas ornament. Will I pull this out of the box next December and wonder what the hell I was thinking? Time will tell!

In other news, it's my favourite day of the year! Today I will put on something sparkly, come up with a few resolutions, and have one last shameless gorge-fest before embarking on a healthier 2012.

Whatever you're doing tonight, may your new year be full of possibility!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

World's Laziest Family Celebrates Christmas

That week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is my favourite one of the whole year. I realized during a discussion with my brother this past weekend that you can tell an optimist from a pessimist by how he or she approaches New Year's Eve. For me, it's all about tying up the loose ends of the past year, and then starting fresh with a plan to change my life for the better. Is there anything more thrilling than that? However, if New Year's Eve reminds you of all the stuff you didn't accomplish this year and makes you want to drink a bottle of vodka before hanging yourself with the Christmas tinsel, that's equally justified. But you should probably be aware that if this is the case, you might be a pessimist.

Optimist or not, I don't think I could ever be accused of having an elegant holiday season:

The fact that RB put on underwear for Christmas dinner was about the best any of us could expect. And please note, this photo was taken at 2PM and I was the only one in it who had bathed or changed into clean clothes. Do you like my new scarf?

In addition to the scarf, I'm also the proud owner of my very own Kindle! I learned to use it by loading an Agatha Christie novel onto it. That woman was a hoot!

In other noteworthy Christmas news, the Captain got a shoe horn in his Christmas cracker. A SHOE HORN. I'm taking this as a sign that I need to just make my own crackers next year.

And now I have just under 4 days to finish everything I started in 2011 (and by this, I mean the dregs of that Bath and Body Works lotion sitting on my bathroom counter) and figure out my New Year's resolutions, what to wear for the big (quiet, stay-at-home) party, and plan the menu. I also have a date with Miss Marple.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends who will be celebrating it this weekend, a very Merry Christmas!

My friend, neighbour and fellow blogger Granny Bob stopped by this week with a beautiful package for me. Inside were a dozen of these:

The moral of the story is, when life hands you glitter-turds, blog about it. Your more talented friends will show up with much better-looking ornaments for your tree!

That same day, I received 4 of these from my next-door neighbour, who also happens to be Granny Bob's daughter. The crafty genes run strong in this family!

My tree is starting to look less naked! Now, if I can just keep RB's grubby little hands off of everything...

And just so you don't think I'm completely useless with the Christmas crafts, here's what I made following a tutorial my sister brought to my attention recently:

Cute, no? I need to go out next week and get some better felt colours, but you get the idea. If you'd like to make one, they're dead easy, and you can find the instructions here.

Because you've got nothing else going on at the moment, right?!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Do you ever see something beautiful online and think you could make something like it yourself at home? This weekend, I was trolling the internet for Christmas craft ideas to do with the kids and I came across these beautiful painted papier mache ornaments:

Gorgeous, no? And really, how hard could they be to make from scratch?!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2011 winner of the Holiday Decorating Innovation Award:

Psychedelic Glitter-Turds!

What's even more embarrassing is that I did 90% of the work on these horrendous things! At least if the kids had done them independently we could all ooh and ahh about how special they are. Firstborn lost interest after the first gooey layer of papier mache. RB loved every messy step, but in more of an I'm-going-to-dip-my-hands-in-paint-then-run-around-the-house-flapping-them kind of way. And the catch-22 is that because they did do that 10%, I'm going to have to display them proudly on the tree until January 1st!

I'm thinking I'll stick to baking with my kids from now on...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

I'm generally not one to complain when we get no snow. I am the exact person places like Florida and Mexico were made for. If I never saw another snowflake, I'd be a happy woman.

But something about the sight of my front yard this morning just seems really wrong:

I've now spent more than a decade of my life altogether living in the prairies, and this is not at all what I'm used to looking out and seeing in mid-December. I'm not complaining per se. Goodness knows, I'll have my fair share of the white stuff come January. But still seeing grass this close to Christmas is highly unusual out here, and a look at the forecast tells me it's quite possible we will not be having a white Christmas. If this happens, I'm told it'll be the first Christmas without snow here in Manitoba in about 15 years. I choose to count myself lucky to see such a rare phenomenon. And also not to have to shovel a path to the front door.

Despite this weird meteorological occurrence, I am well and truly into the holiday spirit! After the jerks at Avon sent me a defective holiday collectible brooch, I was not about to wait around all month to get it fixed and have some holiday bling to walk around in, so I whipped these earrings together instead:

Then, on a crafty roll, I decided I needed a new wreath for the door:

I made this in 5 minutes using a wire coat hanger, an old tinsel garland and some ribbon I had lying around my craft room.

Then I got to work fixing the napkin holder Sister #3 made for me in 7th grade:

Over the last few years, RB has pulled off every ornament on this tree, leaving only globs of dried glue behind. Not exactly festive. So, I carefully sanded off the glue, touched up the green paint and added a pretty, RB-proof layer of glitter. Now, every time I put it down, I get a sprinkling of it all over the table. But, people, if you can't go all vampire-sparkly during the holidays, when can you walk around covered in glitter?

And finally, the latest holiday decoration from RB. He did this pine cone Christmas tree at nursery school. I think it's a brilliant idea and, with a couple of candles added for ambiance, a perfect centerpiece for our table:

Brown or not, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Random Diabe-tastic December Post

Okay, I know I'm already about 4 posts behind in my new two-posts-a-week commitment, but people, it's December! Enough said.

I do at least have enough random fodder for 4 posts, which I will now roll into one condensed post.

I kicked off last week by going to the big city all by myself. First, I got my hair done:

Those are also new glasses ($15 from Zenni Optical. I'll never spend $400 at the optometrist's office again!).

Then, I headed to Value Village for my bi-monthly rummage through other people's old junk. Even though I'm not really a brooch-wearer, I was stopped dead in my tracks in the jewellery section by this:

My grandmother had something very similar on her cardigan when I was a kid. I expected to turn it over and find that it had been reproduced in a sweatshop in Taiwan, but was very surprised to see "Made in England" printed on the back. Brooch-wearer or not, at $4 I wasn't going to wrestle with my conscience over this one. It came home with me.

Later in the week, RB celebrated his 6th birthday! I wanted to try sticking to his diet this year, but gluten-free cake can be so rubbery, so I had the bright idea of icing rice crispy squares instead:

I was happy with the way they looked. The way they tasted, on the other hand, caused the Captain to coin a new term: "Diabe-tastic". The sugar headache the next morning was dreadful, as was RB's behaviour for the next 24 hours. Next year, I think it might be safer to just let the poor kid have a little wheat!

Though, as you can see, he really wasn't complaining...

Lots of holiday babble to come. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

They Don't Call it a "Mom Blog" for Nothing

Well ladies, I'm finally back and I've got something to brag about!

All girls love receiving jewellery, right? Even the most serious marriage-eschewing feminist wouldn't say no to a nice string of pearls, or a diamond-encrusted brooch. It's in our DNA!

So today, when a very important man in my life came home with a little something sparkly for me, I was obviously thrilled. I've been wearing it all day:

Yeah, that's right. RB made this beaded masterpiece for me in nursery school today. And it's one of a kind, so don't even think about trying to score one for yourself.

In all seriousness, considering the state of his fine motor skills a year ago, this is something special indeed!

I'll be wearing it with this chic accompaniment:

Firstborn made this bracelet for me for Mother's Day 2009. The instructions were to pick beads in Mom's favourite colours. But since Firstborn didn't know my favourite colours, he went with the most likely and obvious choice: the colours of Spider-Man. He's always thinking.

Anyone can look good in diamonds and pearls. Only the truly stylish can rock plastic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Satellite TV

I commit to writing two posts a week, and suddenly blog fodder is falling from the sky! And I mean that literally.

Last week, after eight years without any paid-for TV and two years without any TV at all (we gave up after RB broke his fourth set of rabbit ears), the Captain finally took the plunge and got us satellite TV. And it turned out to be an awful lot more exciting than I could have imagined.

We had two people here working with RB, and the satellite guy turned up just after lunch. He was about 70, but he knew far more about the whole thing than I did, so I was hardly going to argue. Off up the ladder he went and got to work installing the dish, and I busied myself cleaning the kitchen.

About halfway through the installation, I heard a thump and one of the girls in the living room suddenly yelled "CALL 911! HE'S FALLEN OFF THE ROOF!"

Are you frickin' kidding me?!

I grabbed the phone, dialed 911 and got...A RECORDED MESSAGE! Oh. My. God.

I was kept on hold for at least a minute before an operator was available to take my call. Meanwhile, I had an unconscious 70 year-old on my driveway!

By the time the ambulance arrived 10 minutes later (yes, you read that right. And from what I hear, this is a lightening-quick response time out here in the back of beyond. Just cross your fingers I never have a heart attack...), our satellite guy had come around, stood up (despite my anxious instructions to stay still), and was rolling his eyes at what a fuss we'd made over absolutely nothing. Bear in mind here that he had no recollection of one of the girls trying to get him to talk to her while he was out cold on the gravel.

The ambulance people gave him a good looking-over, determined that they thought he was okay, but recommended a ride to the hospital to see a doctor just in case. Our satellite guy refused, signed away his right to sue if he dropped dead in the next 24 hours (I guess at that point, suing wouldn't be his main concern anyway), and as the ambulance was backing out of our place, he was climbing back up the ladder to finish the job! I wanted to call the satellite company and recommend him for employee of the month, but as the accident happened because he didn't set his ladder up right, I was afraid I might get him into trouble instead. Still, that's one dedicated employee!

Everyone else just gets a guy out to set up their paid-for TV service. I got a story to go with it. And I'm thankful for that because, as I suspected all along, the installation was much more entertaining than what's actually on TV. I swear, if I see David Caruso take off his sunglasses one more time, or that stupid egg-boiling infomercial,  I'm climbing up there and ripping the dish down myself.

But don't worry. I'll call 911 before I get the ladder out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How To Keep That Poppy On

For years I have worn a poppy in early November to observe Remembrance Day. And for years, I have looked down several times each November to find that the poppy has fallen off my coat. From what I can gather, a lot of people have this problem.

A year or two ago, someone taught me an easy trick to eliminate the need to keep running back off to the store to buy another one, so if you already know this trick, forgive me for stating the obvious. But just in case a few of you out there don't know it, I'm going to share it with you.

When you pin your poppy on this year (on your left side--just a reminder), pull the pin back a little once it's attached to your coat and stick it through the side or bottom edge of the red part from the underside. Does my explanation make sense? If not, look at the picture. It's pretty self-explanatory.

You'll notice I have my poppy pinned to my leather jacket. On Friday, when I attend my local Remembrance Day service, I'll pin it to the lapel of my dressier wool coat. But it doesn't matter what kind of coat you wear. Leather, denim, fleece, wool, leopard-print, psychedelic tie-dye--the poppy goes with everything. And now, instead of worrying that it's fallen off, you can think about why it's there:

You wear a poppy because every decision you make--from the opinions you express, to the TV shows you watch, to the books you read, to the grilled cheese sandwich you'll have for lunch today--is yours, courtesy of all the men and women who have stood in harm's way to secure it for you.

Now go put one on.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Someone Hold Me Back!

I love my husband. I do. But over the years he has done a really thorough job of sucking the joy out of gift-giving for me.

To begin with, he is a man. As such, he is already impossible to buy for. Add to that the fact that the few things he is interested in--electronics, tools, coffee--he generally just buys for himself as and when he needs them. When he does want something, the thing that he wants is so specific, it almost guarantees that if I try to buy it for him, I'll screw it up.

Around Christmas 2006, we were just getting into the whole mp3 thing. The Captain had been away (as usual) all fall, so he hadn't had a chance to get online and do his requisite 60 hours of research into the matter, so out I went and got him what I figured was a decent deal on a new mp3 player. I was pleased with myself, and when he opened it on Christmas morning, he seemed perfectly happy with it too. It was a blissful 24 hours before he came to me, told me enthusiastically that he'd found a better one on sale, and kindly offered me his "old" one. The fact that I managed not to take a kitchen knife to his head can only be described as an act of divine intervention.

Five years, and many poorly-received gifts later, I came up with a couple of Christmas ideas that had me excited. The Captain has been talking for some time now about how a decade or so ago, I threw away his old, rusty pasta machine that was missing its handle. As I like to have my shopping done by the end of November so I can concentrate on leisurely baking (and relaxing) in December, I planned this month to go to the fancy kitchen store and get my husband a shiny new pasta machine to put under the tree. I also got my brother, who lives in beautiful New Mexico, to send me some hot sauce the Captain has been raving about ever since his last trip down south. Gift buying for the most impossible man on the planet had begun, and I was on a roll!

And then the inevitable happened.

On Saturday morning, the Captain came strolling in with that same self-satisfied look he always gets when he's scored himself a bargain, and informed me he'd just spend such-and such an amount on a great new pasta maker. I gritted my teeth and willed myself not to kill him as I explained my situation and asked him not to buy himself any more presents until after the holidays. He acted suitably regretful and I swallowed my rage.

But that wasn't the end of it.

Today at lunch, he informed me that there'd be a $65 charge to our credit card. That's right. He's ordered himself a large supply of that hard-to-find hot sauce.

At this point, the only thing I can think of to get him is a nice, vintage book. I'm leaning towards this one:

I think I've found the perfect gift.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Passport Photo

It occurred to me a while back that my passport had expired. This made me nervous. I like that secure feeling you get when you know that, no matter what happens, you can always leave the country.

I went about the rather lengthy business of filling out new paperwork and then off I went to the mall to have my picture taken. My last passport photo was, if not flattering, at least a fair representation of what I look like, minus glasses. So having my picture taken this time didn't seem like too big a deal. Until I got it back.

At first I thought they'd given me the wrong picture. The woman in it looked like she'd been picked up for robbing a 7-Eleven to support her Twinkie addiction and was trying to look remorseful for her mug shot. But since I could hardly go back and ask them to retake the picture because I didn't feel I looked pretty enough, I stuffed the photos in my purse and convinced myself I was being overly critical. No one likes how they look in pictures, right?

When I got home, the reality hit full-force. Upon seeing the photo, the Captain, who is an expert at not reacting to things because he's been married to me for 14 years, actually let out a loud gasp. At this point, I knew it was bad.

So you know I'm not exaggerating, here is the picture I'll be showing to customs officials around the world for the next 5 years:

Staycation, anyone?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's November?!

Is anyone else wondering where 2011 went?

I'm still kind of reeling that last night was Halloween already. We always go out with our neighbours and it makes it extra fun for everyone. The kids like having some friends to run around with, and I like having another adult present to keep me sane! Here's a shot of my boys before we headed out:

As you can clearly see, Lord Voldemort teamed up with the local fire chief for a bit of trick-or-treating. An odd pairing, I have to admit. Someone should've told Firstborn to look more evil. That grin made him look more like Uncle Fester than the dark lord, and he was wearing it all night. Luckily, I thought ahead and made him that Slytherin patch so people knew not to hold back on the candy, lest they fall victim to the Cruciatus Curse.

This is it, people. My blogging has hit an all-time low this year, and now it's November. I'm officially committing to two posts a week from now on to ease myself back in. If I don't kick my butt in gear now, it's all downhill, and my brain will be mush by the New Year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm Ba-ack!

A VERY belated thank you to Dimple for this lovely award:

The rules state that I have to tell you a few things about myself. Since I've been rather remiss in keeping you all updated lately, I'm going to tell you some recent things.

1. My Basement Oasis: I've spent a bit of time every day turning my grungy, unwelcoming basement into a place I want to be. No more dog hair tumbleweeds floating all over the place, or Hoarders-style piles of junk everywhere. I've moved the treadmill so it faces the TV (though oddly, no actual exercise has ensued) and begun the process of making my sewing and craft area a  functional space. My basement banishment is a success!

2. Just Call Me "Sporty":  I believe I might be the very first person on earth to have sustained a sports injury without actually engaging in any physical activity whatsoever. 2 weeks ago, my left arm started hurting for no apparent reason. At first I ignored it, and then, predictably, fell into my old habit of letting my overactive imagination start making diagnoses. Yesterday I felt it was time to go see a doctor. You know,  just in case it needed to be amputated. The doc did some bending and twisting and poking and prodding and then asked "Have you opened any particularly stubborn pickle jars lately?" to which I had to admit that most pickle jars (and jam jars, and even the pull-tab cat food can) are a bit of a challenge for me. How embarrassing.
He diagnosed an inflamed wrist tendon similar to what you might get with tennis elbow and the like, and suggested I go get myself a sports wrist/hand wrap thing and wear it until the pain goes away. You might think this is the end of the story, but unfortunately, I ran off to the pharmacy and bought the first thing I could find, only to have to skulk back in 5 minutes later and admit shiftily that I'd accidentally bought a right-handed one when it was actually my left hand that needed help. I'm pretty sure everyone in town groans when they see me coming.

3. Country Girls Don't Scream: I've had to admit to myself that despite loving where I live and never wanting to leave, spending the first 32 years of my life in a city has left a permanent imprint.
On Monday, I backed out of the garage to take Firstborn to his martial arts class in the city. When I got out of the car to close the garage door behind me, I made a gruesome discovery. A few feet away was the stray cat that had been hanging around our place for a few days, laying on his side, dead as a doornail. I have no idea how he died and I don't want to speculate. The only dead things I have ever seen are mice, rats and birds, along with the odd bit of road kill. On finding a pet-level animal (that I'd been very tempted for days to bring inside and start feeding) checked out on my driveway, I should've just gotten to work dealing with it, like a proper country-dweller. Instead, I let out a scream. You know at the beginning of Law and Order when someone finds a dead body and starts screaming? It was that kind of scream. The Captain came out to find out what on earth was going on, rolled his eyes and went for the garbage bags. So at least one of us has some rural-person instincts. I left him dealing with things, drove to the city, and had a half-fat latte to calm my nerves.

Happy Friday!

Friday, September 30, 2011

This Post Brought To You In 1-Minute Increments

Still alive out here in the middle of nowhere!

I've had some time-management issues this month that have made blogging and commenting near-impossible. The Captain has been away and Rosemary's Baby's tutor had to take a 3-week sick leave. Living where we do, there's no one to take over when our tutor gets sick. The major lesson I've learned from this is that MY KID NEEDS HIS THERAPY!

Holy cow, he's been a little terror! I literally cannot spend more than one minute at a time on the computer or I go back upstairs to find the little monkey either raiding the cupboards and fridge of things he shouldn't have, or in the garage, trying desperately to figure out how to back the car out of the driveway for a joyride. He's suddenly napping at weird hours and appearing in my room expecting breakfast at 3AM. No-therapy-RB is killing me!

However, all should return to normal next week and I am to be banished to the basement, as my presence on the main floor during therapy sessions has been deemed a "distraction". The ornery part of me might want to argue, but to be honest, my basement needs a good cleaning anyway, and since I have a TV, treadmill and computer down here, I'm pretty sure it'll actually end up being good for me too. Prepare to be sick of me by Christmas.

In the meantime, go visit my friend and fellow blogger Granny Bob for an update on the amazing autumn colours in our area at the moment.

Have a beautiful fall weekend, everyone. I really will be back soon!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomatoes, Spice Cake and Frost. Brrr.

I've been thinking that if I don't post again soon, you're all going to think that my last post was a suicide note. So, rest assured, I'm still alive and well. Just buried in tomatoes.

We got our first frost last night and it is CHILLY! There's still a lot to be harvested from the garden, and between that and having to do a lot more work than I'm used to for RB's program, time is at a bit of a premium for me right now. But I am slowly trying to make the rounds and leave some comments, and eventually I'll be back on track with my own posts. I hope...

Before I get back to chopping tomatoes, on another very grave and important topic, I heard some news that rocked my world this morning. Maybe you heard it too.


That's right. In the interests of preserving our already crippled environment, Hasbro has redesigned the classic first kitchen appliance of aspiring little chefs to include a proper heating element and more cooking space. The light bulb is being phased out! It's great news for 4 year-olds who are concerned that the 100-watt hot spot surrounded by some nominally warmer-than-room-temperature air might dry out their souffle before it's puffed up properly.

For those of us more worried about what an entire heating element will do to the moistness of our tiny round spice cakes, the jury is still out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Funeral, and Other F-Words

Between this morbid song playing every single morning on the radio and then running through my head all day long, and my recent birthday (which was AWESOME!), I'm forced to face my own mortality.

I've told the Captain many times that when I pop my cogs, there is to be no funeral, and that I'm to be disposed of in the cheapest way possible. But since stuffing me in a garbage bag and tossing me in the river (to loosely paraphrase the above mentioned song) could potentially get my family a hefty fine, and funerals are not so much for the dead as for the left-behind, I've decided I'm going to give them all an alternative option. I'm nothing if not flexible.

As I will likely have spent all my money at Old Navy, leaving nothing in the way of a will, the least I can do is insist that my kids have a bang-up send-off party for me. And the way we party in our family revolves entirely around the food. My favourite food (indeed, my favourite smell) is barbecue. I can think of no better way to leave this earthly existence than in a cloud of barbecue smoke. Steaks, pork chops, chicken, burgers. I truly don't care. Just slather it with sauce, make an otherwordly mess, and pray for my sake that the afterlife has a Bradley Smoker.

Classical music? Hymns? That morbid song I keep hearing on the radio? Absolutely not! At my funeral, I want a karaoke machine. And if no one performs Devo's "Whip It" as the guests file out, expect the walls to be bleeding when you get home.

Solemn black has its place, but not when I go to meet my maker. I feel strongly that here in North America, we simply do not get enough use out of our Halloween costumes. And for me, it just wouldn't be a funeral without Harry Potter, the pink Power Ranger, Batman and a life-sized M&M as pallbearers. Besides, nothing screams respect like a eulogy delivered by Big Bird.

If this seems like a lot to organize, I will completely understand if my family opts for Plan A. As the morbid song goes, toss me in the river and send me away with the words of a love song.

Just make sure it's this one:

Monday, August 15, 2011

On This Date In History

People born on August 15th:

Napoleon (had a bit of a complex)

Princess Anne (horsey, but her dogs are as badly behaved as mine, so she wins points for that)

Julia Child (my favourite!!)

ME! (my second favourite)

I'm taking off this morning to run a couple of errands and have a little 38th birthday fun, me-style (ie. rummaging through other people's junk at the thrift store). It's my gift to myself.

Have a great day. I know I will!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Big Are YOUR Rocks?

As the old adage goes, when the cat marks its territory in your combat helmet, throw it in a sink full of vinegar (the helmet, not the cat), and cross your fingers.

Wait, that's not a real adage?! Well it is now. As of today. At our house. If the smell doesn't come out, the Captain is just going to have to tell the Quartermaster he needs a new helmet because the old one has a bullet hole in it. Let's hope the Quartermaster doesn't call his bluff.

Here's something the animals have not yet ruined:

My kids had such a great time climbing on the fiberglass rocks at the zoo last month that I got it into my head that maybe I could buy a really big rock for the backyard. When I mentioned this plan to my fabulous neighbours, they laughed at me (I get laughed at out here a lot) and promptly drove me out to their pasture (closest I've ever been to a  huge herd of cows). It turns out the pasture is covered with huge rocks, and they told me to take my pick. Who knew?! Last night, they came over with the tractor and dumped down a huge pile of sand and two enormous rocks. Needless to say, my children are ecstatic.

I wanted to include a few photos of them both playing, but Rosemary's Baby took one look at his new sand box, ripped off all his clothes and went diving at it. When he learns to keep his clothes on, I'll get some internet-appropriate shots.

This has seriously saved me something like $800 on a new play structure, and brings the number of favours I owe next door to approximately one billion.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Staycation, Part 2

Staycation is over. Bring on the long weekend!

We had a fun time vacationing at home this year. It's not the same as going away, but it definitely has its perks. Not dealing with overstimulated kids in a hotel room every night is one of them!

The pictures:

A marshmallow roast and camping out for Firstborn and the Captain, some fun with tie-dyeing, and a little fiddling around on my sewing machine so my Harry Potter nut could have his own Hogwarts robes.

Various lunches in various locales. Taking the kids out to eat is so much less stressful than it used to be, and around here we can enjoy a scenic trip home down a back road. Firstborn won that disguise at the arcade in Booming Metropolis (scroll down for details) and insisted on wearing it for the rest of the day. We got some funny looks at the mall. Luckily we're very, very used to getting funny looks everywhere we go.

We have reptile gardens nearby and decided to check them out. The kids had a great time and got creepy-looking keychains from the gift shop at a very reasonable price (unlike some gift shops. Zoo, I'm looking in your overpriced direction). The whole visit lasted less than 30 minutes, but that was quite enough for me. Between the heebee-jeebees I always get around reptiles, and Rosemary's Baby trying to open the door to the anaconda exhibit, another 10 minutes would've done me in. The fact that no one got eaten is a minor miracle.

Booming Metropolis has a small arcade with lots of age-appropriate fun for both my kids. We went on a weekday morning and they pretty much had the run of the place. RB kept gravitating back to the same couple of games and Firstborn gave almost all of them a try. In the end, they won enough tickets to each pick themselves out a couple of prizes. You know it's a good setup when no one had to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

And that's Staycation 2011!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh No! Four-Oh!

Once upon a time when wrinkles and grey hair were things I associated with the elderly, I looked across a college classroom and saw this guy:

He was quiet and grouchy-looking and I kind of got the impression he didn't like me because he never smiled. But he was cute and he smoked cigarettes and wore flannel shirts and coats that looked like they belonged to someone's grandpa. Who wouldn't want to be invited to that party?!

Some 17 years later, he's off the cigarettes, but still as grouchy as ever. And today he turns 40.

Happy Birthday, Captain! You're still the party I want an invite to!

Just please, this time, wear a new shirt.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Staycation, Part 1

Well, our staycation is already more than halfway over. Here are a few shots to bring you up to speed:

We kicked off the holiday by painting some of our older, more filthy unwearable shirts. Firstborn decided it was time his imaginary band Days of Destruction had a concert t-shirt. I chose to highlight my British roots (please forgive my unbelievably dishevelled appearance. We had such a heatwave happening at the time, it's actually lucky you're not looking at a melted puddle with a Union Jack on top.), and RB just wanted to get his hands dirty. The kids had so much fun, we ended up also tie-dying some new shirts later in the staycation. But that's a whole other post.

We have a very small splash park on the base and we took the kids there last Sunday morning. They had the entire thing to themselves, but their favourite part of the entire experience was, of course, eating snacks on the bench after they were done. So we can probably just save ourselves the drive next time, set up some chairs in the backyard, and let them run through the sprinkler. If the snacks are good enough, they'll never know the difference!

The heatwave continued as we made our day trip to the big city and the zoo. I got too much sun and not enough water and ended up with a thumping headache, but not before I had a great trip around the big Value Village! Photos of my thrifty finds to come someday soon.

Lots more to share, but I know from being on the receiving end that vacation photos should be shared in small doses. So I'll spare you. For now.

Happy Sunday!