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Showing posts from 2011

Shoe Horn Christmas Ornament

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But in the hope of keeping a million useless, outdated objects out of the landfill, I felt it was my duty to find a creative use for the lowly Christmas cracker shoe horn.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

World's Laziest Family Celebrates Christmas

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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 …

Merry Christmas!

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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 th…

Yeesh!

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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&#…

I'm Dreaming of a Brown Christmas

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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 occurrenc…

The Random Diabe-tastic December Post

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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 hom…

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

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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 obvio…

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 a…

How To Keep That Poppy On

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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…

Someone Hold Me Back!

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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 …

Passport Photo

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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?

It's November?!

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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…

I'm Ba-ack!

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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…

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 th…

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.

THE EASY BAKE OVEN IS LOSING ITS LIGHT BULB!!!

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 an…

My Funeral, and Other F-Words

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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.

Food:
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 …

On This Date In History

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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!

How Big Are YOUR Rocks?

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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 …

Staycation, Part 2

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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-looki…

Oh No! Four-Oh!

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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.

Staycation, Part 1

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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, s…