Archive for March, 2011

Making pie with Aunt Karin

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Ever since Reid was small, she has looked forward to “helping” Aunt Karin make pie dough and the pies themselves. I think that Reid may actually be lessening the work now. Aunt Karin says that she is investing the time so that she won’t always be the one who must be “rolling out the dough” (like that guy in Perfect Strangers).

To be sure that the knowledge lives on, I’m offering Aunt Karin’s pie crust recipe and a how-to video.

 Pie crust

  • 5.5 cups all purpose flour (use 5.5 toothpicks to keep track of the flour as you put them in the bowl)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1 lb Tenderflake lard
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • cold water
  1. Mix together flour, salt and sugar.
  2. Cut in Tenderflake lard with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal.
  3. In a 1 cup measure, combine vinegar and egg. Add water to make 1 cup. Gradually stir liquid into lard mixture. Add only enough water to make dough cling together.
  4. Gather into a ball and divide into 6 portions. If desired, wrap unused portions and refrigerate or freeze.
  5. Good tip: Aunt Karin freezes the dough in pie-size portions in sandwich bags.
  6. Roll out each portion on lightly floured surface. If dough is sticking, chill 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Transfer dough to pie plate. Trim and flute shells or crusts and bake according to filling directions.
  8. For a perfect, golden crust, mix a bit of milk with coarse sugar and paint the crust carefully.

Here is a video of Reid demonstrating the most important steps.

Disney on Ice – Mickey and Minnie’s Magical Journey

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Ken, Reid and I took a fieldtrip to Scotiabank Place to watch Disney on Ice – Mickey and Minnie’s Magical Journey. (It really does feel like a field trip when we have to travel 33 kilometres from home.) I first thought we should consider going to the performance based on the draw of Mickey and Minnie – Reid has been enamoured of these mice for several months – but when we were getting ready, it was the Disney Princesses that determined wardrobe choices. Reid certainly pulled together a great outfit.

All dressed upDressed up and happy

Ken dressed a bit more low key but, when Reid’s cotton candy came with a foam rubber fish hat, he knew how to accessorize. (Which is good, I guess, since we paid $10 for the cotton candy.)

Dad in a fish hat

We watched Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy and Goofy as they travelled on a magical journey to see segments based on The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Peter Pan and Lilo & Stitch. We haven’t seen the movies in question, though we did see The Lion King: the Musical when we were in New York City and Reid has read stories that feature Ariel. Nonetheless, Reid was entranced by the drama on the ice.


Reid was also impressed by the evident effort that the skaters had put into training. In the midst of the first number, she said to me, “They really did practice!” Reid knows about such things thanks to the practice that she has been doing at CanSkate in preparation for the end of year Red Carpet Celebration.

Midway through, I figured out how to use the zoom on my camera and got a few shots of the performance. It was a magical morning.

PiratesSkaters 2Skaters 3Skaters 1

Another big cut

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Reid decided to get her hair cut. As I wrote, she has been taking care of her own hair and I left the decision to her. Once it was made, Reid was determined to execute it immediately. We headed to Melonheads, Reid’s preferred salon, with the plan of begging our way into an appointment since they weren’t answering the phone. Sometimes optimism doesn’t get you as far as it could, though.

Reid decided that a “regular” salon would do as long as they would cut her hair immediately. They could, they did and she was pleased with the results. I was disappointed that she didn’t have long enough hair to make another donation to A Child’s Voice Foundation: Angel Hair as she did for the first big cut but forcing her to grow it doesn’t seem in the spirit of charity.

All this hair business has made me nostalgic for Reid’s hair history. I took a walk down memory lane. Have a look…

Newborn hair Reid was born with a crazy amount of hair, especially for the child of a woman who resemble ET as a baby.

Unhappy ponytails Reid first got ponytails when she was just 6 months old.

Smiling and ponytailed But she liked having the hair out of her eyes, to be sure.

First hair cut After many, many, many questions about when Reid would finally get her hair cut – my answer was always “when she is one” – she got her hair cut just before her first birthday.

Braided beauty See those braids! That’s what you get when you only trim your child’s hair for the first four years of her life.

Delighted short-haired And when her long hair was finally cut, Reid was delighted.

Long, loose hair Almost two-and-a-half years later, Reid’s hair was again long and gorgeous. And doomed.

Short and polished But look at that smile and how polished she looks!

(Confession: I still miss the fancy hairstyles.)

Skiing lessons for Reid and Mama

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

When I first thought about signing Reid up for skiing lessons, I was mostly thinking about her being comfortable on school trips. Multiple trips to a local ski hill seem to be a ritual here in Ottawa for grades 3-8. We know lots of families that ski and it seemed like a basic living-in-Ottawa requirement. Then, I got thinking about what Reid would say if I signed her up for another sport that I can’t do. (I’ve never played ice hockey.) And I thought about how I write over at Losing it in Ottawa about the importance of being active.

And so it was, that Reid and I both started learn-to-ski lessons at Camp Fortune on January 9th. I had talked up my excitement about learning to ski at the same time Reid did and we were both keen on the way to our lessons. Ken came with us to help manage all of the newness. We were headed to the lesson meeting places, when Reid stopped suddenly. She had heard that I was going to the red flag and she was going to the blue flag. Reid had thought, I learned, that we were taking lessons with the same instructor. We coaxed Reid into going over to her class and Ken watched a bit while I hurried over to my own.

Reid’s class spent the first day on the bunny hill and magic carpet lift but made it onto a bigger slope the next week. The small kids ski without poles and also without fear. Reid can be a bit timid sometimes but skiing lessons aren’t one of those times. She learned how to make “pizzas” with her feet (snowplow) and eventually moved on to “french fries” (parallel skis). The kids link their turns to ski across the hill as they ski, just like adults do. Reid’s instructor – a teenage boy – is great with the kids. He’s playful and physically engages them but still keeps them in line. It’s pretty cool to see a line of 8 little kids snaking down the slope behind the instructor and even cooler when you recognize your own kid in the line. As we end our skiing lessons, Reid skis on the same four slopes as I do.

It’s a bit humbling to learn a new physical skill as an adult. I’d skiied a couple of times years ago but now that I’ve had 8 classes (we missed a weekend for Sulienne and Ryan’s wedding), I can’t imagine what I looked like that first day. I’ve learned so much and have so much yet to learn. During the first lesson, they taught us to snowplow and turn and took us to a slope. Okay, it was a gentle one but I was still scared. I fell 3 of the 4 times I got off the chairlift and several times on the hill. Thank goodness for the patience of my instructor and my own stubbornness!

As time went by, we left the two easiest slopes and went onto two slightly more challenging ones. Each was intimidating at first and became less as we practiced. Funny how new challenges work like that.

Last week, I noticed a near-empty slope at the top of a T-lift. Since the slope we were on was crowded and we’d never been on a T-lift, I asked if we could try it. The instructor – a substitute – agreed that we should go. I like to think our regular instructor would have reined in my enthusiasm. The slope was SO steep! It made me queasy to look down. Once you’re up at the top, though, you have to get down and walking looked like it would be as hard as skiing. I skied – scared – and fell several times but it was steep enough that standing back up was easy. At the bottom, I was victorious and humbled. We all headed happily back to our more familiar hill.

On the way, one of the women in my class told me that she thinks she’ll skip lessons next season and just buy a membership. I was surprised. That last hill had convinced me that I need lessons next year. Being able to ski on 4 slopes out of 23 doesn’t seem like a good time to stop.

Reid and I have much to tell Ken at the end of our ski trips. We’re both hoping that he’ll be persuaded to sign up for lessons next year.
It’ll be fun for our whole family!

Waiting for this moment

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Reid and I went skiing on Saturday night. Camp Fortune, the ski hill we go to, has night skiing from 4-10 and it’s 2-for-1 admission on Saturdays. Reid is free because she’s under 7 and I’m bold, so I approached a strange man and asked him to buy the 2-for-1 one deal with me.

We got to the chairlift about 4:30 and soon Reid was looking around, noticing that the sun was beginning to set. For the record, a sunset in the Gatineau hills is a beautiful thing. The lights came on before it was full dark and we admired the shapes and shadows they made and also the effect our goggles had on what we saw. We made several runs as it grew darker and then it was time for supper.

When we came out of the chalet after supper, Reid stopped suddenly and said reverently, “Mama, it’s beautiful.” After a short pause (while she appreciated the lights on the snow in the full dark), she added in a breathless voice, “I’ve been waiting for this moment!” We stood together in the moonlight, admiring the scene for a bit before going to the chairlift. As we rode up, Reid told me that she thought Ken and I should have had our wedding at Camp Fortune – after dark, presumably. Reid told me that she will get married at Camp Fortune and then they’ll go down the ski jumps. I can’t wait for the wedding!

On Sunday, I discovered an online business, called Tail Wags, that sells helmet covers. Reid’s been admiring covers on other people’s helmets and so have I. I decided to get one for Reid to wear in the parade on her last day. Reid had a great deal of difficulty choosing between the princess and the poodle options – I ruled out the bridal helmet cover because it seems unsafe to ski with a veil – but she decided on Fifi the Pink Poodle. It’s ears are so soft that even Clio and Leo forgive Reid for choosing a dog.

Now we just need the rain to stop and the snow to start to have a good last day of skiing lessons.