Friday, December 16, 2011

guimauves ches nous

in order to pre-christmas procrastinate yet more effectively,
i decided to take on an entirely new candymaking experiment...marshmallows!
it turned out to be well worth the fiddly pan preparation,
gelatine melting, egg-white whipping
and sugar syrup boiling.
the recipe i used
called for coating the squishy confections in chocolate.
(Canadian Living december 2011, pg.206)

according to edgar, that step was merely gilding the lily.
his perspective?
he gently cradled his in two hands, and exclaimed,
"SQUARES? i always wanted marshmallows in SQUARES!


 the combination of two fun projects led to another mesmerizing mixture!
one afternoon, we were decorating cookies.
the next day, we blew off a little steam with a baking soda and vinegar volcano...
the day after that, the sprinkles and vinegar (which happened to still be on the counter)
 plus a glug of oil turned into a kalidoscopic experiment! 

not suitable for a salad, but nourishing, none-the-less.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Thursday, December 08, 2011

let them eat cake (and cookies, and icing, and...)

edgar's 4th birthday was celebrated with days of sweetness...
on his actual birthday date, cake!
grandma's skills didn't disappoint...the request was for a star-wars-lego cake...
she managed to re-enact the battle on the snow planet,
complete with a stronghold of candy lego blocks that actually interlock!

for his 2nd 4th birthday party, it was ice your own cone-cakes, with lots of sprinkles and a candle!

then for good measure, we built a few gingerbread trees,
and decorated a few ginger-guys.

here is a closer glimpse of  rebel victory;
even though they are out-numbered,
i'm quite sure the "good guys" will win.
"use a fork, luke..."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

wild animals

this is huahui ( pronounced wa wee.)  he is edgar's favourite little stuffy buddy. 
i can't quite remember when huahui turned up,
or when he became  "THE CHIHUAHUA" in the boy's life,
but i do know that at one point we had two of him.  then we had one. 
and then i realized that one is the loneliest number when stuffed toys are involved.

this is bob. 
 esther found him under the tree last year; he was a christmas wish, fulfilled.  
until bob, she hadn't favoured any particular stuffy, but obviously, he is very special. 
david and i had joked about finding another bob, "just-in-case"...
"just-in-case" arrived a couple of weeks ago, during an overnight trip to the greater toronto area.
on the way home, the family had stopped at an amusement arcade
 in a large mall to participate in a birthday event. 
after all the fun, the kids were hungry, and we were in a rush;
we had to be back in ottawa at a very specific time.
we gathered ourselves up for the trip home.

while david forged the path, i negotiated the throng of mall shoppers with a child in each hand.
edgar was crying, disappointed by having to leave the play arcade, but at least the girl was doing o.k.
then esther said the words that chilled my heart...
"mama, did you remember to pack bob this morning?"
i held off anwering for a moment, trying to envision the near future...
was there any way i could possibly make this all work out tear-free...
i hadn't even realized that the monkey had been brought into the house the night before,
and was sure i had done my due diligence in packing up that morning...
but no. 
 bob was still in georgetown, mingling with a covy of esther's cousins' toys.
there was no way out.
i took the kids to the side, hunkered down,
eyeball to eyeball, and explained the situation as gently as i could.
not only was bob not packed, he was located  a 45 minute drive in the wrong direction...
we could not return for bob.
 horrible seconds passed as the news registered
with the girl...her face slowly crumpled into a mask of true tragedy.
then the wailing commenced.
edgar had just been settling out of his crying jag, but the contagion
of esthers' outburst renewed his noisy tears.
at this point, a person could be forgiven for assuming that 
david and i were particularly bold child abductionists...
this cascade of sorrow so overwhelmed the din of enthusiastic shoppers,
that i made for the nearest exit.
the van was parked other side of the mall, so while david hoofed it,
i sat on a bench, awaiting his return, with two squirminig, high volume, angry children.
children that hated me with all their hearts.
we eventually got everyone into van,
called to make arrangements for bob's return, and attempted to soothe
esther with the idea that he would have fun taking the bus back to ottawa...
and endured not a very peaceful 5 hour trip home.

this too, is bob.
esther spent a tearful night without him.
grandma had popped him on the first bus; he would arrive the following afternoon.
david hastened to the bus station to pick him up.
the bus, however, ran late that day!!!
                                          the bus-parcel office was closing, but the serviceman
offered to stay an extra 20 miniutes to check the tardy bus's packages for the missing monkey.
thank you, bus-parcel man...
thank you, thank you, thank you.
now to find another bob...

cure or cause?

these kids get hiccoughs often.
the girl even had them before she was born, so i have
tried many remedies
over the years. 
 the one that works?  a spoonful of sugar. 
that's right, a whole teaspoonful of sugar,  administered in one full dose to a small mouth. 
the child is advised to let it melt in his/her mouth, then swallow the resulting syrup.
the success could be caused by the shock of having one's mum willingly spoon sugar into one's head,
but it does work for these two.
this treatment, however, may be the scource of our newest affliction;

Friday, November 18, 2011

using her skull

she created this ouvre for the express purpose of scaring the boys...
y'know, i think it just might work!

Monday, November 14, 2011


i have been working with katan kitchens 
to help develop a few healthful, tasty, great-for-you meals...
i can't provide the recipe, but can encourage
the consumption of more millet!
yum. yum. yum.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

if you have 16 olives...

then make this. 
stovetop or slowcook.
simple, lots of veg, and comfort-food yummy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

um, Cowman?

a drink and a show

the girl, juice cups in hand, dragged her brother outside
 to enjoy last night's sunset.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

jumping with joy

thanksgiving holiday weekend up north...

the days were so beautiful, the nights so fresh,
only the yellowing aspens and amazed grown-ups whispered "october".
the sun, water, dogs and children still believed in august.

bluteau and holt

about a month and 1/2 ago, my beloved suggested that we host a house concert in october:
"this fellow, michael holt, is doing an around the world house-concert tour...whaddaya think?"
at the time, october seemed infinitely far away, so i agreed.
hey...what the???'s october!
and last weekend was the house-concert.

the lovely andre bluteau opened the show, 
and spellbound the crowd with earthy lyrics and gritty vocals.  
(hit his link and listen to 'morning mouth' for a taste.)

after an intermission of snacks, mulled wine and lively chatter, michael 
took over, and had the joint jumpin' in no time!

there was a great deal of inspired dancing,

even the stairwell was employed for it's acoustic and entertainment properties.
although this household is quite accustomed to impromptu musical interludes
and guitars cases in the hallway, the event made for an unusual
and especially lively sunday afternoon!
and i think mr. holt is still booking living-rooms near you...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

esther's menagerie

 dress-up time is a family favourite.
usually i am the one doing the facepainting, but this time,the girl decided 
to wield the face eye-liner pencil herself.
she fashioned a ferocious tiger, and fierce kitty-cat...
great job, girl!

edgar and b., in case the disguise is too convincing...
(very special thank-you to our patient and trusting guest!)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

good sport

edgar has been enjoying speech therapy at CHEO with his "big friend" sarah...

he is a gregarious little guy, and loves to joke around and share his ideas, but it has been tricky, even for me, to understand his point sometimes. 

we went outside to play a few weeks ago, and settled on a game of baseball.
i grabbed the ball, and he reached for the bat, saying "here, mom, i got the wackit!"
he tends to 'elmer fudd' his R sound, therfore,
i thought he must be confusing the game with tennis, and gently corrected him:
"sweetheart, it's called a bat."
"no, it a wakit."
"honey it is a bat...a baseball bat...not a tennis racket."
to which he replied, "no, mom, it is a WAKIT!"
as he swung the thing in a powerful arc around his body...
it was clear to me then that he really meantwhack-it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

rock hopper

lemieux island

a gorgeous autumn day.
we walked the trestle bridge across the river...

to a greenspace mostly used as dog park.  
the kids and canines both were
fascinated by the fresh water and the scent of fall.

we spent quite some time throwing rocks into the mighty ottawa,
trying for the biggest splashes,

drawn to the mesmerizing patterns those splashes carve on the still water.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

fairy cakes

esther and i thought it might be nice to have a few of the ladies over for tea...
we made a guest list,
she helped me set a lovely table.

there are occasions where only great grandma's china, and great-great grannie's tea set will do.
this was one of them.

the ladies were charming and polite;
discussion ranged from wiggly teeth,
(who has 'em)
the names of the third grade 1 teacher, 
(is it mme julie?)
to the villains on Wild Kratts.
("i'm sure it is Vector, not Victor...")

and they did leave the cupcakes for last.

and to make the party complete?
a visit from a clown.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"ugly but good"

is the translation of the name of these Italian confections...

i finally tried this recipe from the Complete Canadian Living Cookbook...
with dark chocolate, these are lactose free, and they lend themselves to a variety of add-ins...
chopped toasted nuts, nougat, dried fruit...
i think they should be called "simple yet fabulous" instead.
using a stand mixer for part two makes it even easier.

Brutti ma Buoni Cookies

4 egg whites
1 C granulated sugar

whisk these together in a double boiler
until the whites are glossy and opaque.
(about 10 minutes)
they needn't be whisked the whole time...
multitask, and chop up:

2 C good quality dark chocolate.

remove the eggwhite/sugar mix from heat, and
beat until cool and thickened
(about 7 minutes)
then gently fold in:

3 T flour
1 t vanilla
the chocolate.

drop by heaping tablespoons onto
parchment lined baking sheets.
bake, 1 sheet at a time, in the centre of a 350 degree oven
for about 25 minutes...
check at 20 minutes, your instincts.
cool on a wire rack, then store at room temperature.

that is it.  a special treat.  just keep an eye on your sneaky housemates.
especially the really short ones.

Friday, September 09, 2011

socks first, then shoes.

first week of school, and the girl is adapting to early mornings by using a
tried and true organization method...
check, and....check.

breakfast and...lunch?

this past weekend we hopped in the van to camp-out at our friend's farm near Perth.
it was the perfect evening for a bonfire and a glass of wine,
and the kids were shadowy giggles, roaming and exploring the dusk until tent-time.
in the morning, 
i tagged along with joanna to a neighbouring farm to pick up some bacon. 
while josh and david made pancakes, the four small people 
(once they had helped dig up and wash the potatoes) 
 got to relax on the "playground" until mealtime.

and later i was introduced to a future supper date...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

star wears

the girl (a.k.a. princess padme amidala) contrived a very convincing tough-girl costume
 while playing star wars with thomas and edgar.
(and none of these kids have even seen any of the films...)

little nuts

offering the kids peanuts in the shell was a bigger hit than i had imagined...
edgar joyfully cracked his apart by bashing two together 
while making super-hero/bomb noises;

 the girl nibbled at the nuts, then deftly turned 
each of her fingers into little shell-helmeted puppets.

and the squirrels could only observe, with hunger and bewilderment.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

mo willems

this kooky series has sparked a lot of fun and reading aloud around here lately...
mo, known for his Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon books,
has paired a neurotic elephant and an insouciant pig as the dearest of friends.
these friends get involved in situations like:

the stories are simple, but not stilted,
sweet, not cloying,
seriously.  my reluctant reader eagerly takes on each new book with 
an interest usually reserved for ice cream.

i dare you; go find yourself a kid, take it to the library to find an elephant and piggie story.
beware, take it home to read...or risked getting kicked out for your theatrics.

Monday, August 15, 2011

a little wilder

i thought the girl might enjoy a good pioneer story 
while we were "roughing it" at the cottage among the bears and blueberries, 
so i hit the library for a copy of little house in the big woods
 by laura ingalls wilder before we left.

not only did she enjoy the book, she especially embraced the idea of
 'rag-curls' featured in the chapter describing christmas finery...

once suitably curled-up before bed, she cuddled with grandma for just one more chapter.

Friday, August 12, 2011

out of (his) control....

"mama, why you not let me go to space?"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

gooey gunk

Q: what do you get when you mix
white glue, water, colouring and borax?
A: gooey gunk!  and a lot of indoor fun.

if stored in an airtight jar, this gloopy mess continues to be fun for weeks.
it does become more and more solid...much like silly putty.
trust the recipe...
it doesn't seem as though it will work, and yet, mysteriously, it does.

~how to do it~
in two bowls, prepare the following:

solution A
1 cup H2O
1 cup white glue
2 T liquid tempera paint 
(or a few drops of food colouring)

solution B:
1 1/3 cup warm H2O
4 t borax (laundry booster)
stir until borax is completely dissolved.

slowly pour solution A into bowl containing solution B (do not mix!!!)
roll solution A around in solution B 4-5 times.
lift solution A out of solution B and knead for 2-3 minutes.
play with it!  
(a tray underneath play area was very helpful)
store in an airtight container.

thanks again to the ultimate book of kid concoctions 
by john e. thomas and danita pagel !

 p.s.:it came out of clothes after a good soaking and laundering; 
anything stuck on hard surfaces came off with the scrape of a credit card...
but it was better to roll it up before it dried.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


little minnows swim,
sun doubling their numbers...
casting shark shadows.


it is practically impossible to convey the bounty of 
the wild blueberry season in black creek/matheson township this year.
each spring visit to the cottage, we carefully watch the berry bushes, blossoms, and the weather
in order to predict what sort of harvest may be in store.
even so, this year seems to have taken everyone by surprise...

the hillsides are simply laden with blue, 

 the fruit is large, sweet, and juicy, making for fast picking;

and the picking pails fill nearly as quickly as the bowls empty.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

worth waiting for.

the italian festival carnival has become  quite the draw...
the games, the rides...the anticipation!

a mitt-ful of tickets and a long wait will get you some rides,

as well as a flight to the moon,
and back.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

a taste of westfest 2011

we attended westboro's big party on saturday.
 owing to all the street snacks,

bouncy castles,


and more street snacks, we didn't even make it to the music venues...