Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Ramblings – at Grandma Camp

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Since Reid is at Grandma Camp for three weeks, I have to rely on people to send me updates on what she has been up to. Occasionally – very occasionally – we manage to speak with Reid on the phone but she doesn’t like to tell us much. What happens at Grandma Camp apparently must stay there. This post comes courtesy of Aunt Karin.

On Sunday Reid and I walked up to Jacks for lunch, I voted for Car Barn but lost.  She had a chicken and bacon snack wrap and fries and cranberry juice to drink.  Before arriving at Jacks we had to go in the dollar store to look around.  She got a pair of flip flops like Sulienne and Lacey’s and a Canada Day fold out fan.  She could only eat half her wrap because she had to save room for triple chocolate ice cream in a cup for desert.  Uncle Dave was grateful for the left overs.

We came home and the heat and humidity were horrendous so Reid thought she should watch some TV.  Her and Dave immediately started watching some Science show on Public Television.  I said if they were watching TV I was going to lay down for an hour.  When I got up an hour later Dave had her on the computer playing games from tvo television about all the places in Ontario.  He said she wanted to do crafts but he told her he hasn’t had crafts in his house in 20 years.  She then asked him for a snack so he gave her a bear paw cookie and lime aid.  She was thrilled with the snack but only ate half the cookie and drank half the drink.

Dave had to go fix his mom’s computer and asked Reid if when he got back she would want to go for a drive along the lake all the way to Windsor to Suli and Ry’s, since she hadn’t been in the car long enough on Saturday, she thought this would be a cool idea.  We left our house at 3:30.  Before we left Wheatley, Dave stopped at Hillman Marsh beach (by the shoe tree) and Reid and I went wading while Dave skipped some rocks for her and found her a hundreds of millions of year old fossil (which they looked up on the computer the next day)  They found a great big yellow smiley faced Wal-Mart ball which they took turns kicking far out into the water but it kept coming back.  Dave showed her Point Pelee from this vantage point then it was time to move on but not far, we stopped in the thick of the marsh to admire some cranes then on again we went.  We tried to see Pelee Island when we got to the Municipal park in Leamington but we couldn’t make it out.

We meandered on to Kingsville where we had to get coffee at Tim Horton’s and of course Reid thought she should have another snack because it was already 5 o’clock and we still had a long way to go and maybe many stops to make before we made it to Windsor and Dave’s promised McDonalds supper (barf!)  So anyway she had a blueberry muffin and a small raspberry lemonade.  Not far out of Kingsville Dave again pulled over at a beach to show Reid Old Hen Island and explain to her about the Hen and Chicks Islands by Pelee Island.  He also pointed out Point Pelee from this vantage point.

On we go down back roads hugging the lake, through Colchester and by Aunt Pam’s house where we saw Donald’s new black car and Uncle John’s yellow truck but not Aunt Pam’s car.  Approaching Amherstburg we stopped at the mouth of the Detroit River where it spills into Lake Erie so Dave could show her a lake freighter and tell her how when they come up the Detroit River they displace so much water that were she standing at the rivers edge the water would rise past her knees as the freighter went by.  He showed her how strong the current in the Detroit River is that all the buoys are on an awful slant.  Finally into Amherstburg and Reid and Dave decided since it was 6:30 already we should just eat our supper at this McDonalds.  Reid ordered a Hamburger Happy Meal with her hamburger plain, it came with everything on it and she said “Oh well” and ate it without complaint, Dave and I were impressed.

We got back in the car and headed straight for Suli and Ry’s, where we visited on the back deck, played Holey board and got Reid’s bangs cut by Sulienne.  It was a late night but she survived.

Monday morning I had to take Carmel to the vet for a check-up (drop her off and pick up after work) and Reid to Uncle Chris’s. Boy did that bring back memories of having to drop kids at daycare and school before going to work.  Forgot her car seat in my car so her and Cheyenne had to walk to Melissa’s to play with the boys.  I took her car seat to Chris and Dar’s after work and she couldn’t even give me the time of day because she was too busy.  (A good thing that didn’t bother me in the least)  She stayed at Chris and Dar’s Monday night and Tuesday night and went to Melissa’s everyday with Cheyenne.

Tonight after work, I went to Timmie’s and got her a blueberry muffin to have her candle in because I know she doesn’t like cake, this made her happy.  She got a delicate watch with a picture of a dog on it from Sari, (Sari said she tried to find one with a cat but couldn’t), stickers from Linda and Jerry, a book, a Crayola craft thing and a journal from me, (she was impressed with the journal and immediately asked me for a pen)  The book is Diary of a Dork or some such thing, hope it meets with your approval.  Everyone else gave her money which I sent home with Mom along with all her cards.  I left the party before Reid did, but she is off to Aunt Pam’s till Saturday when Roger or I will go get her, oh and she misses you both terribly, lol, lol, lol.

Happy 7th Birthday, Reid Elizabeth

Monday, July 25th, 2011

We hosted a birthday party for Reid and her friends at 4Cats Hintonburg. It deserves a post of it’s own but on her birthday, Reid deserves to have a couple of pictures posted.

cupcakes and a candle 

Paint in syringe

Happy Birthday, my precious child. You bring so much energy and joy with you wherever you are. You are a delight to have in my life.

Three reasons life is better at Grandma Joyce’s

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I took Reid to Wheatley last Friday for two weeks of “Grandma Camp”, as she calls it. Reid cried a bit when we left Ken and told me that she was missing him a couple of times on Friday. Aunt Karin told me about a conversation that she had with Reid:

Aunt Karin: So, you’re not going to see your mother for fourteen days.
Reid: know and I don’t care

I’m sure that she does care, at least a little bit, but not in a worried she’ll miss me kind of way. In any case, there were at least three points where I noticed that life would be better at Grandma Joyce’s. 

  1. Grandma buys ultra-soft, super-deluxe toilet paper. Don’t think, “quilted”, think “duvet”. The first tme she touched it, Reid exclaimed, “Mom, it’s so soft!” and then she added, “it’s fresh.” (I didn’t understand that, really.) If Will and Kate use softer toilet paper, it’s made of actual cloth.
  2. Grandma serves grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread. They’re golden brown, made with higher fat cheese and available on demand. Reid’s mama buys whole wheat bread and light cheese. She is boring.
  3. Grandma’s world is populated with many teens and adults who have, between them, lots of time to dedicate to Reid. She loves adult attention and having a teen talk to you is like having a rockstar speak with y0ou, when you’re not-quite-seven.

Life is better at Grandma Joyce’s. I hope that Reid still believes this at the end of 14 days. It’ll be okay if she is at least a bit glad to see Ken and me when we arrive, though.

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.

Santa Claus is coming soon

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Last year, Andrea at Peek Inside the Fishbowl posted a picture for each hour of Christmas Day. I must confess that I usually enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day. I love the anticipation and preparation. I’ve decided to try the picture an hour approach, with updates to this post as the day passes.

3:50 – Do I really have to wait until tomorrow to eat this?

Pumpkin pie

2:54 – Poppa Howard’s memorial angel

2:54 - Dad’s angel

1:45 – Skates off – Uncle Roger and Reid

1:45 - Uncle Roger taking Reid’s skates off

12:50 – Skates on – Dylan and Brianna

12:50 - Brianna helping Dylan with his skates

11:56 – Browsing the toy aisle, I don’t know why

11:56 - browsing the toy aisle

10:54 – On the way to get those last few things

10:50 - to Leamington for last minute gifts

9:50 – Watching Christmas specials

Watching Christmas specials 

8:53 – Grandma and Reid watching Portable North Pole video message from Santa

Watching Portable North Pole video from Santa

7:51 – Aunt Karin and Reid at work on cherry pies

Aunt Karin and Reid making cherry pies 

6:52 – pie dough waiting

Pie dough waiting to be rolled


Thursday, November 11th, 2010

When your husband is a military historian (but not in the military, let me be clear), you don’t remember soldiers only on Remembrance Day. You talk about them at the dinner table, you discuss Vimy Ridge Day and Battle of the Atlantic Sunday and so many other anniversaries. When there is an article in the newspaper, you follow along and listen to the context of the events presented. When the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is discussed, you are proud to know that your husband and his colleagues worked to bring the Unknown Soldier home, to represent all the soldiers  - named and unknown - who lie in graves on foreign soil. You are proud as well, that your husband has contributed to the identification of soldiers who were unknown for decades but through historical, genealogical and DNA research, have been restored their identity so long after their deaths.

 But on Remembrance Day, when everyone is remembering the armed forces personnel that have died and been injured in military conflicts, when your historian husband is in Kandahar working to gather the documents that will allow people decades from now to understand the history of the present conflict, you think of the families of those soldiers, sailors and armed forces personnel who were so worried for so long about the safety of their loved ones. You try not to imagine their sense of loss when they didn’t come back.

My husband is in a war zone. He is relatively safe. I know this. I know also that he has a helmet and flak vest to wear during rocket attacks. I know that he received training on gas attacks. I want him to come home. I am proud that he is committed to preserving the history of the sacrifices that our soldiers are making. I am sorry that there are so many family members of these soldiers who are mourning the loss or injury of their loved one and I want to say that my family will not forget – that my husband is working to ensure that our country will not forget.

 We remember.

Halloween 2010 – The pictures

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Cleaning pumpkin guts

Jack o’lantern and inspiration
Witch and tree

Ready for cold weather trick or treating

View More Wordless Wednesday Participants, look at my previous Wordless Wednesday entries, or check out the cute babies and kids at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Halloween 2010 – The story

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Reid wore her costume to the Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat concert at the National Arts Centre on Saturday. There were many other kids in costume and even most of the orchestra members were dressed in costumes. I restrained myself to a usual outfit plus a headband with witch’s hat and purple braids attached. On Sunday we went to a Kids in the Capital Halloween party at Boston Pizza and so I put my costume on to be a wizard to Reid’s witch. (For reasons not clear to me, Reid decided that a wizard was a witch’s helper and, since she is the star of the show – I.e. our life – I was the wizard.) A lovely lady named Julie took Reid’s picture and I’m hoping one turned out well. We arrived late (surprise) and so our food came later than the others. I had to coax Reid to eat a bit but her food looked good. The other kids were more interesting, though. After lunch, I called and invited Ben to see Opera Lyra Ottawa‘s Hansel and Gretel with us. It was a good choice – just a bit scary – for Halloween afternoon. We drove straight to Melissa and Peter’s for supper.

After supper, Peter and I took the four kids out trick or treating while Melissa passed out candy. I hadn’t planned ahead well enough and was without boots on a night with snow on the ground and an icy wind. Fortunately, I was able to get my feet in Melissa’s boots or I’m sure I’d still be complaining ;+) The kids resisted staying in a group but threats of returning home convinced them that togetherness has its merits. The only real hiccup was that both Reid and Ben like to ring the doorbell and he is faster than her. She complained because, as an only child, ringing the bell is usually her prerogative. He resisted because, as the youngest in his family, ringing the bell is usually his prerogative. Turn-taking ensued (more or less smoothly). I learned, though, that witch hats aren’t practical for windy night. Reid’s kept blowing off and I was soon carrying it. About half-way through our trip, Reid said her wings were uncomfortable and I carried them, too. She was surprised that people asked her what she was, wearing only a purple and black tutu, wild colours in her hair and a snowsuit. She’d answer, “I’m a witch,” as though it were perfectly obvious. Sometimes I’d show the hat but mostly I didn’t.

Back at the house, Reid chose a treat to eat, had her picture taken a couple of times and then we headed for home. She fell asleep on the way – win! – and stayed that way while I carried her to bed. I resisted the urge to raid her treats bag.  Double win!

On Monday morning, I asked if Reid thought it would be okay if she took candy to school. She wasn’t sure and asked my opinion. I told her I think it’ll be okay this week. I hope the teacher agrees. Once supper was cleaned up, I suggested that Reid dump her treats on the table to see what she’d received. The treats in the big bag were even more impressive when they were spread out. We sorted them into chocolate, chewy (gum), sugary (most candies) and round (Swedish berries, Smarties, m&m’s) according to Reid’s direction. I suggested that she should be identifying candy that she could give away. Reid pointed at the entire chocolate pile and declared, “I don’t like that. I don’t like chocolate.” She even separated the round pile into candy and chocolate and put the chocolate-based candies in the giveaway pile. I pulled the plain chocolate bars out for fondue (because I’m cheap that way) and saved a sandwich bag-full of chocolate bars for Ken and me. The rest are destined for the Ottawa Food Bank. Okay, I should confess to having eaten a Coffee Crisp, a pack of Reece’s pieces and 2 mini marshmallow broom – my favourites.  I felt queasy by the end but I’m done eating Halloween candy and I enjoyed what I had.

There are so many types of candy that Reid has never eaten before. She took Starburst Chews for a treat today. She’d never had them but I like them enough for both of us. There are other gummy candies and gumdrops that she’s never had, too. It’s good that Halloween is a learning experience, even after it’s over.

I’ll close with a joke Sarah told me while we were out trick or treating:
Q: What do bloggers do on Halloween?
A: They trick or tweet.

(I suspect Peter had a hand in that but have no evidence.)

A party because *you* are here

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Grandma Joyce brought her old punch bowl for me when she came to visit recently. Reid loved unwrapping each of the small cups and hanging each on its hook around the rim of the bowl. Since we were having Melissa and her kids to supper on Saturday night, Reid asked to make punch. Grandma Joyce washed all of the pieces and Aunt Pam provided the recipe and supervised preparations. We set the tables with good china and fancy silverware (but plastic glasses, because they’re less tippy than wine glasses). Reid loves getting out the “good dishes”, as Grandma Joyce calls them. They make an ordinary meal a bit more

When Melissa saw the punch bowl, she asked what special event I was planning. I told her that having dinner with her family *was* the special event. If your best friend’s family isn’t worth getting out your best dishes, who is?

Disclosure: Grandma Joyce taught me that one should use one’s good dishes despite the risk of breakage. rather than keeping them “safe” and unappreciated in a cupboard.

Aunt Pam’s punch recipe

4 cups sherbert – lime or rainbow, if you’re feeling fancy(1 litre)
4 cups ginger ale (1 litre)
4 cups pineapple juice (1 litre)
1 lime

Mix all these together. (Originally served for st pattys day, pretty green colour)

10 Photos for 10-10-10

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Andrea over at Peak inside the Fishbowl inspired The 10photos Project. Throughout the day, I took a photo at the top of each hour for 10 hours, starting 7:00 am EST. The earliest photos are at the bottom. I’m also uploading to the 10Photos Project Flickr Group.

ETA – It seems I can’t count. This is actually a 10+1 photo project. I couldn’t bear to delete Reid’s cousin’s arrival pic. She, too, is a special kid.

 5:00 pm – Cousin arrives at Grandma Barb’s

Cousin arrives

4:00 pm – Walking in Brockville

Walking in Brockville

3:00 pm - On the road to Grandma Barb’s

On the road to Grandma Barb’s

2:00 pm – In front of the Shenkman Arts Centre

In front of the Shenkman Centre

1:00 pm – Making pumpkins in pottery class

Pottery pumpkins

12:00 pm – Finally, a shower

Finally, a shower

11:00 am – I’m no longer invited in

No longer invited in

10:00 am – We fruitlessly searched for butterflies (we found them eventually but the line was too long)

Fruitlessly searching for butterflies

9:00 am – On the run with my running group

On the run

8:00 am - Taking care of her pearly whites

Pearly whites

7:00 am - Almost time to wake up

Almost time to wake up