Monday, February 28, 2011

Girl-chick: Indoor playground

Living in the coldest capital city in the world, there are bound to be days when it is too cold out to play and yet, the thought of another evening cooped up in the basement, watching yet another Princess movie leaves us yearning for warmer weather. Or enough space in the house to build an indoor gym.

That's already been thought of.

We went to an indoor playground for the second time ever the other day. The first time was several years ago when a little friend had her birthday party at a Cosmic Adventures clear across town. The one we went to the other day was on a much smaller scale, it wasn't total chaos and close to the house.

Here are some pics of the frenetic activities there - on the catwalk:

Going up the down slide:

Ye olde Ball Pit...

Friday, February 25, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

*** ***

Thursday, February 24, 2011

PIF: Hooded towels

When the new year started, I put on my Facebook status the following phrase: "Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment here. They must in turn post this and send something they make to the first 5 people who comment on their status. *The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011."

I got quite a few reponses from my friends and family who don't already receive handmade from me. Truthfully, I was quite glad to see that the ones who normally did receive handmade did not ask. Anyway, they are out of sync because the person who was #1, I'm still working on ideas...

This is #2, going to a co-worker of Da Man's.

I asked all the responders basic questions to get a feel for what they would like, for themselves, for the house or for the kids...

Kym asked for something for her little man who is a HUGE Senators fan. I searched everywhere for decent sources of Sens material and couldn't find anything. So, I went with a reliable stand-by.

Hooded towels. I love hooded towels. They keep the kiddies wrapped up and warm. The only thing about hooded towels is that they come in baby sizes at generic and chain stores and you have to be prepared to fork out loads of dough for the larger ones. So, I found a neat tutorial and followed it. Then I made some changes...

First off, I do not like raw edges so I enclose the seams in the hood by doubling the hooded layer, with a decorative cotton or a jersey liner. Then, I sandwich the main towel body in between the double layers, turning as I go to enclose those seams!

Hope you like them Kym!! I made one with a jersey liner and the logo off a t-shirt I found at Zellers (that would be the red one). The other one, I cut up another t-shirt I found in another store and made the Sens logo the outer hood and then cut a B with a sports jersey font and put that in the middle of the towel.

*Updated to add a pic of the recipient wearing his towel*

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Received: Second swap package

Look what I got in my mail!!

I received this wonderful collection of scraps from my swap partner, Melissa. Thank you Melissa!

I can't wait for Tara to set up some sewing projects for these scraps!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Family games

Last weekend, while the Tater was getting over yet another bout of yucky ears, we decided to stay put and not do much. Keeping it low-key.

We played games!

Girl-chick received this game for her 3rd birthday (but we only got around to opening it the other day):

We had a blast! Da Man kept his running record of longest chain ev-ah with all twelve on the chain.

Girl-chick loved the challenge of stringing them up in chains:
The Tater made the game her own, grabbing at two at random and sticking them together with her hands. She's 2 - whaddaya do??

Eventually, Tater lost interest and moved on to another game. One more her speed...

Now, this one she can do!

We're thinking of adding more to our game repertoire. We have the Simpson's Monopoly and Simpson's Clue but those are a leetle too old for the kiddies just yet...
What games do you play?

Friday, February 18, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

***   ***

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** *** ***

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Valentine's that was...

Happy Valentine's Day to you all!!

I apologize for being one day late.

Mondays are normally bad for me because I have to go into the city for work. So it's rushrushrush from the get-go in the morning. And the kids just get shuffled along and then work gets done and by the end of the day, I am done!

Last night, after we had put the kids to bed and I had settled in to do some more non-work-related work, the Tater woke up screaming and absolutely would not settle. So, I took her into my bed and settled in for the night.

The poor Tater finished up her first course of meds for her ears last weekend and this past weekend found the Tater and Da Man back at the after-hours. Her ears did not heal over and was starting to get all manky again. Ah. That would explain the 104 fever on Friday night. So, now she is on some stronger meds.

The girls did go into daycare on Monday. We dropped them off in their new criss-cross tunics along with a handful of pencils to give to the other kids. They came home with a small bag of cards each.

A few weeks ago, Girl-chick's teacher sent me an e-mail about how she stumbled upon a suitcase full of fabrics she had been hoarding for a while with the intention of making things with it. Well, 20 years down the road, nothing had been made with these fabrics and she is packing for her monumental move to the other coast and she gave it all to me. (Muahahahahaaa...)

These tunics are made entirely from some pieces of that stash! The hearts (got lots left!) paired up with a neon pink lips fabric for the Tater and the other side of Girl-chick's is a floral, chintzy purple. Reversible. Love. What I really enjoyed about sewing these up was the speed in which it worked up (2 hours total from cutting to complete and top-stitched - for both.) What I loved about sewing these up was the little Mobius strip-like way in which the whole design worked! I started top stitching at one point and just ended back up at the same spot! How. Cool. Is. That?!?

Here's a parting shot of the kids wearing their tunics:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Da-Man: How we met

February 11, 1994 is a date I will never forget. That was the first "date" we went on. It was blizzarding in St. John's and we drove around aimlessly in his dad's black Chevy S-10.

We met in Computer Programming 2602 in the Fall of 1993. I was the geeky chick who sat in the front row amongst my other geeky Biology friends. He was the boy who walked all the way to the back of the class and only contributed by snoring gently.

How did he attract my attention? He was wearing the most colorful jacket I'd ever seen! (I was an eighteen-year-old in my drab military phase)

Weeks later, I stumbled upon him in the back of the library where the VAX terminals were and I was desperately trying to figure out my first piece of FORTRAN programming assignment (due in... 20 minutes!). And, recognizing the jacket, I got up the courage to ask him if we could "compare" assignments. To which he replied, "Sure, there's a billion copies downstairs by the printer."

Turns out he -did- accidentally send a billion copies to the giant old daisy-wheel down in the basement (where another 15 of my frantic classmates were swearing under their breath waiting for *their* printouts!).

Of course, his story is that he picked me! He came to me a few weeks after we "compared" assignments asking me for help. I was a nerdy first-year doing second-year courses in Math and Statistics. He was still trying to pass first-year Math. So he asked me for tutoring help and I, of course, said yes!

We discovered this online game called Battletech 3056 - folks, this was when there were no graphics or a fancy mouse pointer! This ran on an old VAX/VMS system and it was all CLI, all the way! I can remember that Windows 3.1 was making its debut around that time on the University systems (and you had to be a CS student to have access (or a letter from God Himself)) but we cut our little computer teeth on VAX/VMS; we could Gopher anything and Finger anybody!

Good times...

Anyway, we used to hang out on weekends too, going downtown to the comic book place and hanging out by the war memorial. We used to have long conversations on the phone - OK, it was more of a shared listen to static but such was our budding relationship.

Finally, he did ask me out on a date in February the following year. And, since then, we have not turned back. He is my best friend, we've known each other since we were sappy idealistic teenagers, and I can't imagine a better man to spend the rest of my life with!

Happy anniversary my love. Almost half our life eh?

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** *** ***

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Received: My first swap ever!!

Lookee what I got in the mail the other day!

I had written about a scrap swap organized by Tara the other day and I agonized over what to send and how much of it. In the end, I crammed a padded mailer full of stuff and sent it off to my fellow swappers.

The other day, I received one of my swap boxes. It was packaged cute and everything (not like the way I CRAMMED everything into a plain boring yellow envelope... will work on the finesse, promise!)

I only had the Tater at home because it was after supper and the other two had gone to the park to play with MrG and YoungMasterG (Tater not a big fan of cold, winter nights!) so she was privy to the opening of the package. And, she's already claimed a piece of it!

I think she likes it - thank you Janee!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tater: Words my Tater says

At almost 2 and a half, my Tater is going through her language explosion. We don't compare our kids because at the same age, Girl-chick was running circles around adults with her impressive language skills. That child could string up 5 to 7 word sentences and make profound statements with the oddest but most apropos words ever! Fr'instance, she could talk at length about her allergies and what foods she could and could not have. Once, when she was struggling with the zippers on her snowsuit (just a little past 2), she exclaimed, "I am quite FUSTRATED with this zipper!".
Tater, on the other hand, is more reticent with her language but we have picked up some gems from her!
Last night we had "blocowi" {broccoli} with our "pous-pous" (and sometimes "kung-kung") {couscous} and for "dedert" {dessert} we offered them some "boobewwies" {blueberries}.
A week ago, she declared, "I'm MAD at-choo!"
Her favorite saying is, "What-choo SAY?!?"

Gotta love that kid.

Art smocks for the kiddoes

The kids love to do arts and crafts.

I picked up an IKEA pillowcase at the ValueVillage many years ago. With the intention of making art smocks a la Kellie Wulfsohn. I fell for the butterfly and the price tag... $1.

It laid around the house and got moved from box to box to house to house. The other day I pulled it out and started making things up as I went along...

First I unpicked it and (surprise!) it turned out to be one whole piece of fabric!! Wow am I ever pleased.

Some judicious divvying up of the material left me with two butterflies and a beetle and a dragonfly. They were on the skinny long side which isn't a bad thing but I want these smocks to last! So I added a 4 inch strip of broadcloth on each side. I also had a small strip leftover after divvying (I was trying to be fussy and cut out only the cute bugs) and I cut it into four long strips and incorporated them as ties. Not an inch of that pillowcase remains..... From the same color broadcloth, I also cut long sleeves. Unfortunately, in the cutting of those sleeves, I did not take into consideration the extra four inches I added on each side. D'oh! No worries, expert kludger that I am, I kludged the panel up and the sleeves into something roomy and comfy. I want these babies to last for a while!!

I used the rough dimensions of a top from the Ruffled Neckline Dresses, making up the sleeves as I went along.... Just a basic peasant is what I was aiming for and I knew that the neckline was going to be forgiving.

And ta da!! This is what I came up with:

And... on to crafting!!

Girl-chick is a free-ranging kind of crafter, preferring to do her own thing with her own ideas rather than use a kit. We encourage that form of creativity and stock up on all the essential supplies like glitter glue and squeeze paints and a forest full of paper (we do recycle the backs of old pieces of paper too!).

Tater is still in the scribbling-circles-in-random-fashion stage of crafting. She loves, get this, unrolling painter's tape (of which we have LOTS!) and cutting them into strips to line up on the edge of a table. No idea what her eventual plans are with that. She wanders off after a few strips.

And what would a post about art be like without some art itself?

 Girl-Chick's "Pickle"

Tater's "Flower"

More sliding pictures!

We had a little bit of snow over the last week and on Friday, it kinda got warm (and more snow of the heavy, wet variety came down). Warm enough to melt the white stuff just a little bit to create more of the snowman snow that the kids love. We don't have any snowmen yet.

But..... we did go sliding!

We went to the big hill and it was surprisingly empty. Only two other families there. It did get busy about an hour in but the kids were done and wanted to go home for lunch by then.

So, without further ado.... pictures of sliding!

Friday, February 4, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

*** *** ***

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Updates on the Craft front

Just a quick mish-mash of crafty stuff happening here. I have my hands on several things at once including cute crochet hats for Easter, dresses for the summer and the ever-growing birthday present list. I also did a small Pay It Forward on Facebook and have lists of things to make and send (I shan't tell you about those until after they are sent)!

So, what's been completed this week (Note I said completed - some of these were cut out and started on weeks ago!)

1) I finally got around to my mend pile and saw this on the top so I finished it. It is a Sandi Henderson Claire which I don't think they sell any more. I made this for a theme week at daycare maybe two summers ago but I didn't think to read sizing and it fit Girl-Chick snug and ran on the small side (and my Girl-Chick is tiny!). She outgrew it toot-sweet and I brought it down to fix up for the Tater for this summer. Hopefully it fits her :).
2) Some Ruffled Neckline Dresses for the nestlings and cousins - the two on the left belong to Girl-Chick and Tater. They often come into the office, play around the piles of fabric and pick out what they want ("shopping"). Girl-chick picked out the combinations on Rememberance Day last year:

3) Some Emily pleated dresses for the same girls (except the two middle ones - the brown and pink one is bespoken by the Tater and the yellow monkey one was her first birthday dress and it is still kicking around from 2009!). Also cut out and started around Christmas (meant to be Christmas presents that just never made it! Easter?):

 4) Some simple belts because their trousers are always falling off!

Mostly I am trying to clean out this stash:

And face the horror of this ironing surface (while working on some shorts for a little cuz in Cali):

And... preparing to start on the February project for this:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Storm: What storm?

(Apologies to all my friends and family in Oz who are buckling down for Yasi. My heart is with you all today and you will be remembered in our prayers tonight!)

We have a little "storm" out here too in our part of the northern wonderland. The weather network has issued a weather alert since Tuesday morning, all day I have been receiving messages in my work Inbox (yes, I do work!) about offices closing down in the United States for "unsafe driving conditions" and my house is a little colder than usual (the thermostat is allowed to dip the house down to 16 Celcius in the day in winter).

So, prepared for the worst, we looked out the window 15 minutes earlier today and we still woke up the kids (a little earlier too) and dressed them and took them to daycare. Da Man drove into town to his contract on Sussex Drive. I even pushed the snow (whilst wearing just a sweater!) accumulating on the top of our driveway further down the middle for the plow to take it away (we have a service - best $200 we spend all winter!).

They cancelled school buses. School kids are still expected to go to school. School kids have been streaming into the school across the street. The express bus going into the city was stil whooshing by to take people to work downtown. As far as I can tell, all my friends are at work today. No one is snowed in or unable to get in to work some how. I have no idea what the rate of accidents out there is as I don't watch news and I don't listen to the radio when I am working.

All I see are small flakes falling down to the ground from the sky. All I hear is the hushed creaking of the trees on my street. And I smell crisp clear air. Aahhh.

So, what is the big deal about this "storm"? Get with it guys, we live in Canada. As far as I know, it's somewhere up north on the 49th parallel. I don't recall this city being perched near the equator. Snow happens. I can remember a year it snowed in July (1995 in Newfoundland)! (And we won't even talk about the Canada Day less than 10 years ago (2002) when it was below zero!).  Yes, we have to be aware of snow coming our way, yes we have to be extra careful and vigilant when driving out there. Yes, if we can avoid going out there, we should stay home in our warm jammies and hide out for a day. But we have bills to pay, children to feed; we have to work. As Da Man would say, "Suck it up buttercup". And go put on a snowsuit.

The picture taking opportunities are going to be abundant later on. I wonder if I will be able to capture some of it?

The kiddies are going to be upset when they come home tonight because it's not snowman snow but the soft fluffy stuff that is dead easy to shovel and great for sliding. Maybe we will...

**Update: The rest of the nest came home early and we did get to play outside in the snow before supper-time**

There was some digging in the snow in the front:

And then, being good Canucks and never letting a little snow stop us from the outside, we went to the back.


We dug out the barbecue, cos you never know when the desire may strike you! (Don't laugh, we have been known to throw steaks on the Q in the middle of freezing rain, blowing snow, 40BelowZero....)

It's really that important to us!

And then, there was drying off by the fire:

Ahhh... good times!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tater: Getting better


This is short and sweet.

Most of you know that the poor Tater was under the weather last week. Nothing big, no drama. She's much better now that she has had some meds in her.

Wednesday she was boiling with a temp of 104 and it sort of hovered around there for days. This was a common sight:

We did finally take her to the walk-in on Sunday and it turned out to be her ears yet again.

The Tater does not complain. My sister-in-law thinks it is because she already has to deal with her sore hands all the time that another ache or hurt doesn't faze her. Could be. So, through the many bouts of oozy ears already we have learned to recognize the smell of an icky ear. We caught a whiff of this quite serendipitously the summer she was a babe. Sweet, sickly rot. And we wondered what it was for days because, like I said, the Tater does not complain! That time, we found out during a routine 1-year check-up for the Tater. Turns out the smell is the stench of pus, oozing out of her ear. Ewwwwwww..

Anyway, every time she's got the snots or just plain feelin' or lookin' icky, we sniff her ears. She thinks it is funny...

This time round, there was no smell which is why we left it so late.

PLUS, something is going around this city. When I went to register the Girl-chick for school, the hallways were lined with all the ill children waiting to go home! And the walk-in had a wait time of 3 hours! On a Sunday!

But, the good news is she's getting back to her old piss and vinegar self...