Monday, November 30, 2009

Peace & legos, jam sandwiches & cups of tea...

I'm the first to admit that life around our little patch is not all sunshine and roses...theres' that whole misconception that just because two siblings are close in age that they'll automatically be best chums {which, in a fit of starry-eyed foolishness I bought into}. So yeah, our two Shinies fight a lot....less than they used to...but they do fight. I've come to the conclusion that it's a grand karmic punishment for my own wretched big sisterness...but that's a whole other navel-gazing session.

SO...when peace does reign in our house, 'tis a lovely thing.....

Peace comes in the form of legos and pattern blocks and Candyland strewn around the floor of the Bat Cave....with Snowbell in the thick of things...naturally.

Of course, there's the ceremonial breaking of bread...which in this case are jam sandwiches -- all the rage around here of late, they just can't get enough of 'em....

Behold...the fruits of their labours.....{it's two horses attached to a cart, in case you couldn't tell}. Okay, so that was Savannah's contribution, Sebastian is all about building high towers. There were other constructions but they fell to ruin as part of some complex scenario involving dinosaurs and a remote-controlled tarantula taking over the world....

And what does the mama do when all is quiet and Zen?  Why this....

Ah....sweet serenity....

Monday, November 23, 2009

Retro viewing....

Sebastian is currently on a VHS bender. Yes, they do still exist.

Sadly, the Henry's Amazing Animals videos he dearly loves are ONLY available in VHS...yeah, so what's THAT all about?!?! But he's also excavated some ancient Blue's Clues tapes (from the Steve era!!), which I believe were around when my soon-to-be 14 year old niece was a tot. 

And whoever said children's television isn't educational has evidently not seen the Blue's Clues episode where they learn the planets...I can now recite (actually sing in a jaunty little tune) the planets in order from closest to the sun...which, I might add, I couldn't do before watching this program. And so can the kids. So there.

So YAY for retro video tapes....but not so YAY for all that rewinding....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Countdown 2009

In a shameless pilfering of Other People's Ideas, we've decided to do a holiday countdown...sort of an advent calendar-esque type thing.  It took some convincing as Savannah is rather fond of the shitey chocolates that come in the shitey-yet-ever-so-fabulous cardboard calendars that we've added to our repertoire in the past, so we negotiated the additional creation of a  Countdown Jar of Chocolate which we will fill with some yummy niblets and sample each day as we ponder our assignments.

Absolutely determined not to make a Huge Production out of the thing, we just made-do with what we had around the house (as my mind soared off in all sorts of grand and crafty directions of how we could make each envelope a fragment of Divinity itself)....thusly we used construction paper scavenged from the Art Cave and glossy flyers of a Christmassy theme we found by rummaging through the recycling bin.

'Twas also a shameless opportunity for Savannah to practice scribing her numbers...particularly those which she has trouble with....2, 3 and 5.  We made up some silly rhymes to remember how to draw them and by the end, after each one was the proclamation... "Look!!! It's the perfect..{insert number here}!!!!"

Our little pile of lopsided envelopes grew over the course of the template was a bit off, trying to be as frugal as possible with our paper, I'm wonky on a good day.

Then, Savannah stuck the numbers onto each envelope....we went from 1-25, deciding not to go past into the days past Christmas. It was harder than I thought, when factoring in work-days and times when we would want B to be around etc, but in the end I was quite happy with The List.

And here's our list:

1.Max-out our library cards on holiday books and movies (you're allowed 5 items per card)
2. Get out our own collection of holiday books and read one each night.  See how much of the Do You See What I See? Christmas book we can finish this year.
3. Decorate the windows with paper snowflakes.
4. Go to see the Festival of Lights at Spencer Smith Park.
5. Family dinner tonight at Auntie B's! Bake something to take for dessert.
6. Use up last year's Blockbuster gift cards on a previously-viewed movie.
7. Go to the mall with Nanna to see the decorations. Put our gift(s) in the Toy Drive Bin. Eat lunch in the Food Court.
8. Make a holiday parcel for the Food Bank.
9. Choose a gift from Heifer Int'l or Plan Canada.
10. Change over our nature table. Listen to some holiday music while we do it.
11. Drive along Lakeshore to see all the lights on the fancy rich people's houses.
12. Happy Hanukkah! Shop for some yummy snacks for movie night!!! Go up the surprise. {a copy of the new 'Buddies' movie}
13. Go to Kerncliff for a winter hike. Gather evergreens for our decorations.
14. Decorate the house.
15. Make Solstice lanterns.
16. String popcorn for the tree.
17. Make edible gifts for Bushy and her friends and the birds.
18. Choose the Best Tree Ever.
19.  Decorate the tree; dinner at Nanna and Granda's house! Don't forget to take your homemade gifts for the kid's exchange.
20.  Christmas party at the Navy Club!  Light our Solstice lanterns and leave our edible gifts out for our animal friends.
21. Happy Winter Solstice!! Welcome back the Sun and be thankful for our warm, cozy house and our cupboards full of food.  Prepare a festive dinner and open our Solstice gifts when Daddy gets home from work.
22.Make a batch of cookies for all the family dogs.
23. Watch holiday specials/movies. (Mommy votes for It's a Wonderful Life...please?)
24.  It's Christmas Eve!! Bake cookies to eat while we read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Don't forget to leave the magick key out for Santa.
25.  Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful day filled with laughter and joy and the love of family and friends.

 I shall perhaps unleash my creative urges on the Chocolate Jar.....currently masquerading as an empty Mason jar smelling slightly of the pasta sauce that used to occupy's sitting in the middle of the table, just waiting for inspiration....

Puddles, puppets and hot cups of tea

November has been a very kind month so far....above-normal to downright balmy temperatures and noticeable lack of rain...or as the case sometimes is...The Other (aka, the S-word - just can't bring myself to say it).

But, into every life, a little rain must fall...and so it did...making for a damp and dreary sort of day. So I  wandered out into our little garden patch to take some pictures of the greenery which has finally decided to give up it's green in favour of something a little more red...


Our outdoor *offering* basket....we decorated it with our painted pumpkins left from Thanksgiving...sadly, it seems that our visitors are not overly fond of the grapes, but *someone* ate the apple...

One of our Gargoyles....cozying up with some leaves...perhaps I should knit them scarves for the winter...

I did manage to convince my fairweather friends that we should get out for a walk with the dogs between rainshowers and we managed to do just that, getting home just in time for another downpour. At which point it was decided that it was a good day to stay inside and make sock one does when it's raining and cold outside.

Savannah has an aversion to wearing any brand of socks other than Happy Feet socks -- being the sensitive soul she is -- thusly, she has a drawer full of failed experiments in acceptable foot coverings..which lend themselves nicely to becoming an entire theatre troupe of sock puppets.

We're working on some Glamour Shots....because every budding thespian needs a Glamour Shot, right? There are murmurings of a holiday puppet theatre performance of Rapunzel...which apparently will require elaborate set decorations and the sub-contracting out of the *extras*.....
In the midst of this creative frenzy, I managed to do a *final* edit on my manuscript, only to discover it is about thirty pages over the maximum to be entered in the contest I had my eye on...*sigh* instead of weeping with frustration, I made tea. Lots of it. Maple tea, to be're thinking "Eww",which is what I thought until I tried's quite delicious....and suitable for wallowing in creative self-pity.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Of mice and math

Math is not my friend.

I have a deep psychological scar about math that I've traced back to an incident in my early school years involving a recitation of my times tables. *shudder*.  Oh, I get by...I even did reasonably well in university-level calculus (thanks to a great professor), but in general, math makes me queasy.

Sadly, however, it's one of those necessary skills....

Early last week Savannah expressed an interest in earning some extra coin (she's saving up to buy a horse, btw)  so an opportunity to start doing some basic math arose. So what's a math-o-phobe to do? Why, find some computer software, of course!  {in my defense, it is her preferred method for doing new things -- it's all about being able to puzzle it out on her own} And from her experience playing Fairy-o-poly, I figured she'd grasp it quite easily when put into a *real* context, rather than faffing about with abstracts.

So now she's buying scooter accessories and making change in a virtual store where the shopkeeper is a rather obnoxious little mouse with a nerve-jarring  Frosted-Lucky-Charms Irish brogue. And when she got frustrated with the horrible rodent, she went off to make pizzas and has grasped fractions with amazing alacrity...amazing only because it took me until adulthood and I was riding fast horses in a circle to truly grasp fractions...


And one of the best parts about this kind of learning, is that you get much cuddlier seat-mates than you'd find at conventional school...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stack-Rat Tuesday...

The main road we walk along to get to the library is....well....fairly hideous. Nothing really that you could put your finger's just old and ugly and completely lacks character.  Thusly, the stark and dismal sight of these huddling pigeons completely captures the feel of it...especially since a rather biting wind was tunnelling through...

We rather enjoy our little neighbourhood branch. Sure it's not as fancy as some of the larger branches and sure, you pretty much have to put holds on most of the books you might want...but it's small and rarely busy and the librarians are very sweet and helpful.

So we prowled for 'next-ones' of some of the series books we're reading (getting all giddy when we discovered they were actually On The Shelf as opposed to at the branch across town), Sebastian played on the computer, amusing us greatly with his earphones-on Loud Talking and Savannah did the provided craft.

As per usual, after we pillage the stacks for our reading material for the's a short (and chilly) walk to the coffee shop for our traditional apres library snack.  Today was cold enough to merit a hot chocolate in lieu of coffee...and...of course....

Ye Olde Gingerbread cookie..all dressed for the season

Sebastian enjoyed the polar bear version....

The remains of a nest that we spotted on the walk home...we went a more scenic way for the trip back.

Finally, windswept and runny-nosed, we retired to the warmth for an afternoon with our stash......

Monday, November 16, 2009

In which we paint in our pajamas...

Sometimes you just have to listen when the Muse calls you.....even if you haven't had breakfast yet.

from the Smiley-Face collection

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weiner love....

Sometimes, a little sausage-dog love, is all a girl needs when she's feelin' blue....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stream of Dreams...

Whereupon a group assembles to learn of the perils of putting crap down the storm drains and how washing their cars with vile soapy concoctions do unfathomable things to the Earth and the Water and our friends, the fishes....

...and when they have completed the aforementioned learnings, great fun is had painting wooden fishes and attaching them to otherwise ugly fences...

my favourite


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catching up,....November 9

Introducing... Sir Oscar....our latest foster-dog. (we added the title to distinguish him from our own he's a rather refined gentleman, worthy of a peerage).  He's a gem, a love-bug, but a sad and broken-hearted little soul. He's been let down a lot in the past but has finally reached safe-haven.

the healing power of love

I'm happy to report that, as of today (November 12) it seems that Sir Oscar has found his forever home.....and as sad as we will be to see him go, we know that he will be loved and cared for and need never worry about being left behind again....

An even happier that we'll still get to see him because we happen to be tight with his new family...:)  

Catching up - October 31

Savannah sporting her Halloween costume....she added the ghost to her hat herself. The Trick or Treat haul was unbelievable....I've personally never seen so much candy in one place before.  As per usual, Sebastian tagged along, uncostumed, for a short spell before retiring back to his lair.

Earlier in the day....we took our Samhain stroll in a local cemetery, leaving an apple behind as an offering for any spirits that were wandering through.

Catching up - October 19

Happy 80th Birthday Grampsie!!!

And this is one of the 'evil ladybugs' that have taken over the world....

Catching up - October 18

So I decided I wanted to take up knitting....long story involving my left-handed handicap, various frustrating attempts to teach me and my own bloody-mindedness....suffice it to say,at the ripe old age of 38 I finally 'got it'. 

Behold my practice swatch....stunning, isn't it?

Which does quite well as a warm, woolly blanket for a toy horse.....

Thank you Savannah, your support and generosity made it possible for this inaugural piece to find a useful purpose....

Catching up - October 15

Long absence...yes.....moving on. Lots of catching up photos - still way behind on our holiday pics which, sadly, seems like a lifetime ago. Perhaps I'll just throw one in from time to time to jazz up the everyday stuff. Now that I've got our internet thingy sorted out - a dire case of the router being too close to the cordless phone...hence the sluggish uploads and my subsequent lack of patience...hopefully I shall be more diligent. No promises though.

Pumpkin of my few forays into the kitchen arts these days always seems to involve pumpkin. Not sure why, but there you have it. I had a spare shell so I tried to relive my own childhood and toss in a jam tart.  It bubbled a lot, overflowed, gummed up my cookie sheet but the kitchen smelled lovely.  Sadly, the taste was nothing like I remembered.

Not sadly, no-one else in the family likes pumpkin-anything (with the exception of my pumpkin soup - B, and my pumpkin pancakes - Sebastian) so I got to eat them all myself.