Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Baluga remixed

This is what you do when you can't remember all of the words to an annoying, stick-in-your-brain, kid's song. You fix it with your own words. Or you fix it with words that your kids make up and repeat, repeat, repeat while you're camping with them.

It doesn't actually make the song any less annoying, but it produces more giggles.

(All to the tune of Baby Baluga by Raffi)

Baby Bison

Baby bison in the big green field
Runs so wild and runs so free.
Chewing his cud and sittin' on his butt,
Just a big, brown blob on the hill.

Ohhhh, baby bison,
oh, baby bison.
Don't charge at the cars.
Smile at their cameras.
Just sit sweetly...

(repeat repeat repeat)

Baby Tiger

Baby tiger with all your stripes,
You don't play on the organ pipes.
Your job is easier said than done,
But it still is lots of fun.

Ohhh, baby tiger,
oh baby tiger.
You growl lots of times.
These aren't very good rhymes,
But you are nice still...

(repeat repeat repeat)

Baby Puppy

Baby puppy on the comfy couch
Where you play with your pet mouse.
You will frolic and you will bark,
and you will leave your mark.

Baby puppy,
Oh baby puppy.
You are very sweet,
You do lots of eating,
And lots of peeing....

(repeat repeat repeat)

Baby Kitten

Baby kitten in your nice soft bed,
Where you lay and rest your head,
Cuddling and purring with your best friends.
Your fur grows with no end.

Baby kitten,
Oh baby kitten.
You are very cute
You may be slightly mute
And oh so pretty....

(repeat repeat repeat)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


There are a lot of things on my wish lish of things to own, but I hate shopping. That saves me money, but it also means that I live without things that I'd love.

Fortunately I've been blessed with a friend who loves to bargain shop, who can't pass a garage sale sign without stopping or regularly checking in at the thrift shops. She has my shopping list and watches out for things. Much of my furniture comes from her, either free or very cheap. Unfortunately, she (and I) always overestimate my time and ability to refurnish things so nothing matches. In my head I can picture it all looking like it was a planned decor. It's beautiful. Very 1960's like the house.

In the meantime I will continue to crop pictures so that you can't see much of it!

On my list was a cake stand. I've always loved the way beautifully iced cakes look on cake stands, or mountains of carefully placed cupcakes. Or even just one pretty cupcake placed in the middle. Last week I was gifted with one.

I love it. I love the way the school behind our house reflects in the glass ball handle.

I spent the afternoon thinking about how cool that was, and when I pointed it out to Yvon and the kids, someone said, "Umm... Mom, that's not the school. That's our bench." It's a sad day when you discover that your kids surpass your own brilliance. Whatever. I still like the smooth glass ball best about the stand, but it was cooler earlier in the day.

One of the things I remember growing up was what a great baker my eldest sister was. She could make the best brownies ever. The thing about her brownies was that she iced them. We didn't always have icing on our cakes and I save that specialty for birthdays myself. The best part about her icing was that she made beautiful little curls with the knife, swirling it through the icing. I swear it made the brownies taste better and it looked so fancy.

Well, I too can make swirls! Isn't it lovely?

My new cakestand needed a cake and this week the Pioneer Woman posted a yummy recipe for a coffee cake. Not a cake to eat with coffee, but a cake with a lot of coffee in it. I made it with decaf because of the kids, but it would be great to start the day with a big piece AND a cup of leaded coffee.

I won't always ice it, but it was great. It's already half gone and I'm trying to figure out how to pack the rest up to take camping with us. I've already told the kids about cake pops (which involves mixing up crumbled cake with the icing and sticking it on sticks) and we'll do that if it doesn't survive the trip.

Alice didn't care that it was moist and messy. She just sat on the table and picked it up with her fingers. We'll work on table manners later this year. I was in a rush to get it into my mouth too.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Missing Persons

It's been a sad week. A week of necessary cleaning and looking under beds.

Slider is one of the absolute favourites among the many stuffies in this house. He stands apart from the rest. He has a long history and so much love. I will continue to speak of him in the present tense because he must be here. He never leaves the house without Beth. And as he ages (like many people), he leaves the house less often than he used to.

In his very early days, he traveled across the ocean to be hand delivered to Beth. He was almost the same size as she was then. but he was one of the first toys she really liked and we started placing him in her crib with her, starting a long tradition that continued until last weekend.

If she's ever allowed only one toy to bring camping or to a sleepover, Slider is the one chosen. And now we have to leave the light on for Beth to go to sleep at night. She loved it totally dark last week. With Slider to protect her, who needs a light?
I found this a few months ago. He's the only toy to warrant a special mention in her will.

If you're reading this, Slider, please come home! You are sorely missed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible case of anxiety.

Nothing was wrong, except that I was at risk of missing my flight to Mexico in my dreams.

The feeling is continuing today. I hate it. It feels like I might be hungry, or about to take a really important exam, or all of the white cabbage moths in my garden have taken residence in my gut.

Eating breakfast made it worse. Picking produce in the garden didn't help a bit. A warm, relaxing bath was awful.

Maybe I'm just coming down with something, but otherwise I feel fine. If this is one of the symptoms of perimenopause, I am going to be a basketcase for years. This is just a warning.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More field trips

We went on two daytrips this week. One was to a wavepool on the southside of town. It felt like a field trip because it was so far away. We might as well have driven out of town. It was loads of fun though. We've broken through some sort of fear barrier and all three girls were allowed in the deep end and down the waterslide. And no one was afraid of the big waves, even after drinking a lot of the water.

The other trip was to the Valley Zoo. It's celebrating it's 50th anniversary.

I remember coming here as a child, probably 35 years ago. The trees have gotten bigger and the theme is no longer fairytale, but otherwise it hasn't changed much. I have a picture somewhere of our family and our cousins on this same train.

It still has an awful lot of "exotic" local animals.

This is our provincial bird, the Great Horned Owl. I did not know that, so even with the lack of real exotic animals I can still learn something. Beth of course knew that already.

The petting zoo is always a favourite spot to visit.

Everytime I see chickens I start googling easy chicken coops and city bylaws. Still no change here; I'm still not allowed to have them in my backyard.
In Australia, we did have some of this parrot's relatives in our backyard though.

Bob Barker (from The Price is Right) is trying to get our poor Lucy the Elephant out of the zoo. I don't get involved in stuff like that, but I do know that Lucy is very popular here. She used to paint and the zoo would sell her paintings. She goes for daily walks in the river valley to keep her arthritis and her weight in check and she seeems pretty interactive with the crowds.
Anyway it was a fun day and we spent many hours in the warm sun. I'm hoping that it's not the last of summer. We could see our breath this morning!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


No, I'm not talking about the garden this time. I've been alerted to the fact that Beth has had a bit of a growth spurt over the summer.

I'm not blind. I have indeed noticed the long legs, but with all of the shorts and capris over the summer, I didn't really think much of it. I just thought they were more exposed than usual.
Yesterday she got together with a school friend and it was quite obvious something besides my garden had been growing.

This is our growth chart. We don't have a cute painted giraffe with a long neck or anything. I never liked the cutesy designs and was too busy when the kids were little to shop around for something better. By the time I cared, I was missing out recording their heights at all. One day I just started lining them up against the wall. At least I didn't have to shop.

We last measured Beth in March. She decided to offer a prediction for her height in December. I remember saying that she'd slow down and wouldn't ever hit that mark.

This is me eating my words. (Please ignore the dirty fingernails. I can't seem to walk anywhere outside without pulling a few weeds. I do wash before preparing meals, although the extra nutrients probably wouldn't hurt anyone around here.)

4'11" as of today. I think she's got three more inches and she will have caught up to her paternal grandmother. I suspect she's got more maternal genes at work physically.
In other news, Alice lost her first tooth yesterday!

She may be gearing up to be the shortest of our girls, but she's the only one to have the guts to let her father pull her tooth.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rotten veggies

On my long summer list of projects was a rebuilding of our compost area. It's very rickety and has expanded in width so that I can't get the wheelbarrow in the tight space anymore.

Actually, I can. I have to open the gate and lift the wheel barrow over the compost bins. But then I'm stuck. I can lift the empty plastic barrow, but when I fill it, there's no way to get it out. I've taken to filling buckets with compost and carting it out to the garden as needed.

It's a problem, but not one that I fixed yesterday.

I've been reading an Australian blog and coincidentally she wrote about compost yesterday. She makes me want chickens even more than I already do. Her chickens scratch around in the compost and break it down in 4-6 weeks. I'd love that. It takes mine about a year to decompose, but I know that I don't do it properly.

That's the real reason I worked in the heap on rotten veggies yesterday. Our kitchen scraps far outweigh any leaves or grass clippings we have because I keep whittling away at the grass in favour of productive growing space. And I have no excess dirt to cover the smelly veggies. Our new neighbours were unfortunately having to smell my compost bins and it couldn't have been nice. I should make them some some sweet-smelling bread to compensate for other shortcomings they will have to tolerate.

To make a long story short, I emptied the finished side of our bin into the wheelbarrow using another neighbours screen.

One year he made these as Christmas presents for family and friends and just asked me if I wanted one. "No thanks, I'll just use yours once a year" thinking that not everyone needs to own a table with wire mesh. How do you wrap that and put it under a tree anyway?

Now that I've used it, yes I do want one of these for myself. It worked like a charm.

I now have a full barrow of great, moist, lovely compost. Trapped in the tight space between our houses and the bins. Hmm. That maybe wasn't the best idea.

I see big, fat, juicy raspberries for next year, and heathier beans and peas, maybe even a cabbage or two. In the past I would have helped out my flowerbeds, but now my mind is totally focussed on the vegetables.
Screening the good compost didn't actually solve my smelly problem. Then I scooped the fresh scraps into the now-empty bin, reversing the order of the bin in use. I'm happy to say that the smelly stuff is now covered up by almost-done compost from the bottom. Yay! Now they should have no reason to complain or think badly of me.
Now I still want to fix the rickety sidewalls of the bins and add a third bin, but that's a project for another day. I have to find out the best way to do this before launching in. I'm now dealing with my allergic reaction from the molds I stirred up. It's a good day to hang out in the library with a pile of soft hankies, reading clean books about dirty subjects.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm feeling lucky

Since losing my copy of Photoshop, I've been using Picassa to edit my photos. And my favourite action in Picassa is the "I'm feeling lucky" action. It usually improves the picture and then I can do smaller alterations to the shadows and such.

But that's not why I'm lucky.

I'm lucky that people think of me when they've got excess fruit hanging from their trees.

I'm lucky that I have friends to pick them with.

And I'm lucky that our girls all get along so well and are not afraid of standing on ladders.

I'm lucky that I have an extra freezer for when all of the produce from trees and gardens are ripe and ready.

I'm lucky that we don't mind pulp in our juice.

I'm lucky that my husband will pick, pit and process all day with me.

I'm lucky that my daughter is interested in baking. And is willing to share her baking with others (this one will go to the coffee hour after the church service tomorrow).

I'm lucky that the same daughter can make bread.

I'm lucky that she share my preference for whole grains over white flour.

I'm lucky that the whole family likes balsamic vinegar and olive oil because this loaf turned out particularly heavy and was turned into a flatbread.
And I also know that none of these things are really the product of "luck".

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Being Green

If you are what you eat, then we are green.

And it's not easy being green.

And it's not easy eating green. Every day. Day after day after day.

(Note: All that you read here is not necessarily the opinion of the editor. I love green, and I love eating green and wearing green and I've been daily trying to be a bit more ecofriendly too. And I love going to garden to gather supper. This post has been heavily influenced by the younger set in the household.)

We've eaten Swiss Chard. And peas.

And sugar snap peas. And beans, spinach, bok choi, beet tops and brocolli.

I don't even consider the Swiss Chard to be green. Look at these colors. Are they green?

I thought not. And this lettuce that coming up, maybe for eating next week.

Is that all green? Nope. I didn't think so.

But I will admit that most of the colours haven't arrived yet. We're just starting on the yellow zuchini, and yellow patapan squash. The potatoes and tomatoes will still be awhile. I have to start thinning the carrots soon I think and that is always a favourite with everyone here. And in the back of the garden is corn that actually looks pretty good this year.

And these. Why do the kids conveniently forget about all of these when they are complaining about supper?

Now that I've got kids of my own I'm sorry for my own complaining as a child when my mom gathered good meals from her garden, only to hear many voices of complaint. It's very late, but I'm sorry, Mom!

And the inspiration for this post comes from our pool. We returned from a weekend away to find Derby Duck floating in a surprisingly green pool. This hasn't happened before in our big pool and if I empty it at this point, I may just not fill it up again until next summer. Any ideas on how to clear it up?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


We had decided long before summer hit us that we would be hanging around home a lot this year. Financially it makes sense for us, but Yvon also doesn't really get many holidays from work and we wanted to spread them out over the course of the whole summer.

In the past I've also been a bit annoyed about missing gardening time and produce. We've missed the weeks of raspberries before, and the only weeks of fresh beans as well. With my garden increasing in size this year, I didn't want to miss that. We wait for so many months for good weather that I don't really want to spend all of it away from home. I like my home. And I love fresh raspberries. And fresh beans.

That meant scoping out good daytrips to keep the kids entertained. They aren't as thrilled with beans as I am.

One Saturday we all took a trip to an acreage of one of Yvon's colleagues. The main attraction: horses! I'm not sure if I know any child that doesn't like horses.

The kids all cleaned the horse before we got on. This was the most gentle, patient horse I've ever met. And very big. He allowed all of them to rub him down.

I thought this was unneccessary because he looked all smooth and shiny to begin with. Then I sat on him and rubbed him with my hand. A lot of sweaty, greasy dirt hides under that shiny coat! I should have taken a picture of my dusty butt, but that's a hard angle for me.

We all took turns walking the horse around the arena. Alice needed a bit of help because of her 5-year old legs, but I think this was her first horse ride. I don't count the mounties in Banff because they didn't move at all.

Laura and Beth loved it, but getting the big guy to obey commands from their relatively unauthorative voices took a bit of concentration. I was a bit better at it - I'm bigger and speak to my kids in the same demanding tone!

After the rides were over, we brushed him again, this time understanding why. We were pretty stinky and dirty by this point ourselves.

Even though we understood the need for the cleaning, we were in a rush to get it over with. I wanted to take the horse out of the arena around the paths through the stinging nettles that make up the rest of the acreage, but even I wanted to move onto the next part of our day.
These stinky little guys! They were rescued by a neighbour, their mother having been trapped or otherwise done away with before they were weaned.

Five of the cutest little skunks. They scampered around, letting us hold them and play with them. If I were even remotely tempted to ever get a cat, this visit would have changed my mind. I'd much prefer a de-scented skunk.

I'm sure they've been released into the country by this point (we saw them a few weeks ago), and may be able to use their stinky defense mechanism. I sure hope they survive in the wild. They were terribly cute!