Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Happy birthday to Reid!

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Reid is at Grandma Joyce’s today, in the middle of an almost two week visit. I’m home alone and am remembering how much she has changed in her six (six!) years. I have to say that my collection of Reid’s birthday pictures doesn’t represent the best pics I’ve ever taken, may even show some of the worst ones, but here they are:

Ice cream baby

2004 – July 25ishReid seemed so tiny when she was born, despite being 8 pounds, 8 ounces.

Birthday cake monster

For Reid’s 1st birthday, we had pizza (the proof is one her face). Her grin shows that she was eager to get her fingers into her cake.

Birthday dress 
The American Girl princess dress Reid received for her 2nd birthday was very well received.

Birthday boots
These yellow boots with a firefighters’ emblem on them were the hit of Reid’s 3rd birthday.

Birthday with Daddy
We were in Toronto to send Ken off on his first Afghanistan mission for Reid’s 4th birthday.

Birthday pie

Once Reid stopped playing in her cake, she decided she didn’t like it. Pie was on the menu for Reid’s 5th birthday.
Jumping for joy
This isn’t Reid’s 6th birthday picture but since I’m here and she is there, I’ll stare at this one a bit.

Advice in advance of Reid’s 6th birthday

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

My sister Karin, usually known here as “Aunt Karin” wrote this story in an email to Ken and then decided to send it to me, too. I wanted to capture it here because it’s very funny because Reid is 6 instead of 16. I’m not considering that it might be foreshadowing anything.

On Tuesday, Dave called me at work and in a  DEADLY CALM VOICE asks me If I’ve seen Shea’s nipple.  Shea has had swollen lymph nodes due to mono so I thought great, now he has a swollen boob?  I said, “No, I’ve haven’t seen it, what’s wrong?”  Dave said, “He got his nipple pierced, I told him to pack his bags”, still calm.  I said, “Dave, there’s worse things than that” then my phone rings and I have to go. I called Dave back when I could and said, “Calm down.”  He said, “I’ve always been calm,” then he said “I guess there are worse things.”  

Shea had been to Grand Bend overnight and a friend, who already has both nipples pierced, told Shea (who’s a big chicken) that if he got it done right then and there that he would pay for it. Shea asked the man how much it. When he found out it cost $100, he told his friend to pay and he would do it. I think he thought his friend would back down and if not then Shea would do it.  I asked him who signed his permission form and he informed me that at 16 you don’t need parental permission for a piercing, but tattoos can’t be done without parental consent till age 18. Good to know!

Since your daughter is fast approaching her 16th birthday, I thought I’d share my story.

A rainbow cake for Reid and others

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Reid’s daycare teacher decided to celebrate the birthdays of all of the kids whose birthdays fall in the summer tomorrow. I immediately volunteered to bake the cake that they would share. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try my hand at a rainbow cake, like the one Amy at Muddy Boots made. I doubt I’d enjoy the additional stress in the midst of planning for a real party but without the rest, I was keen. I started the cakes at 6 and finished by 11:25. I’m so wired from the sugar – mmmm, marshmallow fondant – and I’ve got a second wind, that I decided to write down what I did.

I followed Amy’s directions for the rainbow cake -basically, I added gel icing colouring to white cake mixes – and also followed her directions for marshmallow fondant. Her instruction to grease your hands with Crisco was critical to success!

Adding the food colouring to the cake batter was a bit like making playdough. I loved the vivid colours.

Stirring in the food colouring

Just look at them! You know the cakes are going to be amazing.

Six colours of cake batter

In order to avoid baking 6 cakes – 2 at a time in my little oven -I put two colours in each pan. Another time, I think I’ll try 6 cakes.

Pouring a second colour into the pan

I need to learn how to bake cakes with flat tops. I had to cut the rounded parts off of the first two cakes. Of course, this meant that I had to try the cakes, just in case.

Cakes ready for marshmallow fondant

I melted a small bag of marshmallows in the microwave in only 1 minute and added about half of the 1 kilogram bag of icing sugar before remembering to add the 2 tablespoons of water called for in the recipe.

Stirring icing sugar into marshmallows

The water kneaded in easily and I added probably 3 tablespoons when all was said and done.

Marshmallow fondant ready to roll

Amy mentioned chilling the fondant overnight but I didn’t have the time and it rolled like a charm still warm.

Marshmallow fondant rolled out

I measure against theh top of my cake-taker to see the size of marshmallow fondant I would need and then draped it over the cake. Marshmallow fondant is much more forgiving of irregularities in the stacked cakes than regular icing. If only I could figure out how to make cream cheese-flavoured fondant, I’d switch to it entirely.

Cake draped

I used some more icing gel to colour more marshamallow fondant to decorate the top of the cake. Reid has been very interested in rainbows lately, thanks in part to They Might Be Giants’ ROY G BIV, a song about the colours in a rainbow. I couldn’t manage indigo. She’ll have to tell the kids its ROY G BV instead.

Coloured marshmallow fondant

And here is the final product. Ta da! (If I can get a teacher to take a picture of the cake once it’s cut, I’ll post it, too.)

Finished cake

Edited to add: I asked Reid’s teacher to take a pic of the cake once it was cut since I couldn’t see the inside. She sent this piece home with Reid. You can’t taste the food colouring.
Slice of rainbow cake

Happy St Patrick’s Day from the Tattooed Lady – Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

St Patrick’s Day Tattoes

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.

Happy (belated) Robbie Burns Day

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

On Sunday night, we had a scaled-down version of a traditional Robbie Burns dinner. Notably absent were the guests, toast to the lassies, Ode to the Haggis and (gasp) whiskey. We did manage haggis, mash-ed tatties, and bash-ed neeps. I added carrots to the turnips to make them less bitter and also broccoli because it seems dinner needs actual vegetables to go with the meat and starches. I also recited the Selkirk Grace*. Reid was less-than-impressed my old Scots accent.

As we sat down to our feast, Reid noticed the mashed turnip-carrot mixture and declared her opposition to mashed carrots. Fortunately for her, I’d kept some unmashed for Ken, who disregards tradition in favour of personal taste. Reid didn’t mind the carrots but asked resentfully why she had to eat the turnips. Before I could explain the dish was steeped in tradition, a response I was sure would resonate with Reid, Ken answered, “Because I do,” in a tone that brooked no argument. It’s good when your husband has your back ;+)

I’m not sure why Ken and I didn’t have a bit of the “water of life” with our supper. It seems like the least I can do for a guy who eats turnips once each year to satisfy my whims.

*Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat
Some would eat that want it
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit

If you were wondering about us

Friday, December 25th, 2009

A friend suggested that I should take a photo every hour to document the “waiting for Santa” feeling on Christmas Eve and another said that it was even better to do hourly photos on Christmas day. I took a bunch of photos each day but I wasn’t organized enough to produce an hourly visual record. I’ve produced a written one, though, if wondered what we’ve been up to.

Christmas Eve
6:30 Daddy pokes his head to check if we’re awake. I am. Reid isn’t. Quite.
7:30 We’ve kissed Daddy good bye and are bathing in a tepid bath. Why did the hot water heater choose this morning to be persnickety?
8:30 Reid and I have donned our festive clothing – Reid in a Mrs Santa dress; me in red-and-white striped socks with fake fur at the top, Christmas tree on my red t-shirt and skirt – and are in the car, heading to a Christmas party where I work. (Well, sort of where I work. My division isn’t located with the rest of the branch. I suspect that Reid thinks I spend all of my time in the boardroom since I never show her an office with a desk and all of the rest.)
9:30 – Reid is settled into a comfy office chair – that is too big and moves too easily for her to climb into on her own – and is making a foam gingerbread man. She has tried smiling and making eye contact with the little girl in the next chair but she is even more shy than Reid. Reid is confident at the party, this being her third time attending.
10:30 – Santa arrived about 10:00 and since then the kids have been sitting on the floor in front of him. They sang a couple of songs and he started calling names for the kids to come forward to get a present. Reid’s waiting patiently to hear her name.
11:30 – Once Santa left, the party started winding down pretty quickly. Reid and I went to Michael’s to buy embroidery floss for Grandma Joyce. We wouldn’t otherwise have gone shopping on Christmas Eve but Grandma Joyce does a lot for us.
12:30 – At St Laurent Mall to pick up a parcel. I waited until the last minute in case other parcels arrived but they didn’t. Reid decided a last minute visit to Santa was in order. The line was short and there were igloos to play in and slides to slide down while we waited.
1:30 – On our way home from Melissa’s, where we left Reid’s coat on Thursday night.
2:30 – Home at last with Daddy. Stories to be read, cuddles to be had.
3:30 – In the tub once more, this time the water is hot.
4:30 – Reid and I are wearing our matching blue-and-snowflake pajamas that Grandma Joyce made us. 4:00 didn’t seem to early for jammies under the circumstances. Reid and I play the train dominos game that Santa gave her this morning. There are as many as 12 dots on each domino, which makes recognizing the patterns and numbers more complex.
5:30 – Frozen pizzas are out of the oven and on our plates. Reid wanted “Mexican pizza”. At my blank look, she added “with pineapple”. I suggested that she might mean “Hawaiian” and she nodded vigorously. I told her to choose between meatlovers’ or veggie. With a look that suggested veggie pizzas are an affront to pizzas everywhere, she chose to share Daddy’s meatlovers’.
6:30 – Time to set out cookies and juice for Santa.
7:30 – Sleeping time. Not actually sleeping but getting close. Whispering questions in the dark about how Christmas Day would unfold.
8:30-4:30 – Mostly restful sleep with the snuffles and heavy breathing that indicate Reid is starting a cold.

Christmas Day
4:30 – Reid asks if it’s morning yet and gets an emphatic “not yet” in reply.
5:33 – Reid simply “can’t sleep anymore”. I read to her until 6:03 and then we wake up Daddy.
6:30 – Well into present opening. Reid figured out that the large object under the Santa presents was a sled, unwrapped it first, and opened her other presents while sitting in her sled. Ken and I stayed in our chairs.
7:30 – I’m making pancakes for breakfast, my able assistant by my side.
8:30 – Finishing eating our breakfast. I’m wishing for peameal bacon. Unfortunately I didn’t think of that family tradition while shopping on the weekend. Reid remembered that she’d made Ken a “C” at pottery and so he got an extra present with breakfast. I’m not sure what one does with a “C” the size of a man’s hand with the fingers splayed but Reid is sure Ken will like it.
9:30 – Time to play Reid’s Bus Stop game. People get on and off according to the “plus” and “minus” signs on the board. The bus riders are a blend of ages, sexes, colours and religions (according to headwear). Reid wins with the most people on her bus. Ken and I tie but since he got to the bus station first, he says that I am third. I don’t think either of them was listening when I explained that it was a game of chance that anyone might win. ;+)
10:30 – I’m secretly thinking it’s time to undecorate the tree. Okay, not secretly since I say it out loud.
11:30 – Cutting cheese, searching for crackers and reheating spaghetti for lunch. It’s a bit unconventional as Christmas lunches go but Grandma Barb serves turkey at 4:00 or so and we don’t want to be too full for that.
12:30 – Packing the car for the trip to Grandma Barb and Grandpa Terry’s. Ken, Reid and I are all so happy that they are only an hourish away.
1:30 – Almost there. Reid fought sleep but succumbed. She wakes when we leave the highway – she has always preferred to sleep at 100 km/hr – and is groggy when we get in.
2:30 – Wearing her red-and-snowflake nightgown and matching pajama pants, Reid is unwrapping presents. I brought her beautiful blue Christmas dress but Reid cried when I tried to put it on her. Thank goodness I’d brought the nightgown, which was festive and free of pizza sauce.
3:30 – Reid is cuddling her new stuffed bear from Uncle Kevin and resisting my suggestion that she call the bear “Noir”. Many candies, nuts and chocolates are being consumed and I wonder if I should have offered a bigger lunch.
4:30 – Grandma Barb and Reid set the table and we all sit down to a Christmas feast. Reid mostly nibbles but I’m not wise enough to follow her example.
5:30 – I learn the secret of Grandma Barb’s dark pumpkin pie. Not only does she use fresh pumpkin (which I knew about) but she sweetens it with molasses. Reid was hesitant to try the pie but once she had a taste, she ate her whole piece.
6:30 – Reid is talking about being so tired because she got up so very early. What had been a point of pride earlier in the afternoon has become a burden.
7:30 – In the car, Ottawa-bound. Ken and I are talking quietly and Reid is resisting sleep, begging for the Sesame Street podcast videos on my iPod.
8:30 – Reid is taking Advil and the humidifier is humming and gurgling. Time to sleep.

We hope you’ve had a merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year!

Best-ever Christmas card from a parent for a daughter

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Ken often chooses sweet and loving cards for Reid but sometimes they are funny. The Christmas card that he gave her  fit squarely in the latter category. I had to share it with you. On the front it reads:
You’d better watch out
You’d better not cry
You’d better not pout
I’m telling you why …

(And inside it says:)

‘Cause that stuff just doesn’t work anymore.

I don’t think Reid laughed when I read it to her. I’m sure that she didn’t laugh as much as me. She will one day, though. But maybe not until she has her own daughter.

Riding the rails play-by-play

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

6:31 – We’re on the train, in our seats with the tables open in front of us. Reid has many questions, about how I knew what seats we were in, what the leather bits at the top of the seats are for (we called them antimacassars when I worked at Woodside National Historic Site but I don’t know if the Victorian term has stuck), whether the engineer wears a seatbelt and if so what if s/he needs to go to the bathroom. Reid was pleased that she has the window seat so that she can see out and so that she doesn’t have to sit beside someone she doesn’t know. She added that she does like to look at old people. I’m hoping the 50ish man across from us doesn’t realize she meant him when she said this.
6:40 I asked Reid if she could sing in a whisper. The look she gave me was equal parts surprise, insult and confusion. I explained that some people were probably trying to go back to sleep and mystification took over. Sleep, now? The adventure is just beginning!
6:46 And we’re off. The car we’re on is mostly full.
6:58 Reid has found markers in her backpack and is turning her garbage bag into a hand puppet.
7:01 The snack lady stopped by for a visit. We bought a chocolate chip-banana muffin (it almost seems healthy with the banana) and an apple juice. When the hand puppet is finished, the snack will provide a diversion. The man behind us chose a bag of chips. It seems a much less healthy choice for this time of the morning but I remember reading that people should think of muffins as “fat sponges” and maybe it’s no better than the chips.
7:17 Reid asks, “Mama, can I watch your iPod.” I remind her that she meant to say “may I” and she rephrases her question.
7:18 Before I’ve had a chance to take my iPod from my pocket, Reid is asking where “the” iPod is. Having been a student of French, I’m aware of the importance of articles. It’s a family resource now, I guess.
7:55 I convinced Reid to pause the video and come to the bathroom. Her bladder is much stronger than mine.
9:36 After Dora, Diego, Super Why and Sesame Street podcasts, the iPod has outlived its attraction. Its now time for Reid to recline her chair, adjust the tables, rinse and repeat.
10:43 Time for Princess to have a nap. Reid says she is going to have one, too, and I’m afraid she will. We’re too close to Toronto for her to sleep and awake refreshed. She’ll be grumpy if she falls asleep and I won’t be able to carry her and our bags.
11:11 We calculate that we have 15 minutes before our train is scheduled to arrive.
11:13 Reid hits the wall. When I refuse to let her change the rules of I Spy in the middle of my turn, she starts to cry.
11:18 I’m banned from playing again for seven months. Reid doesn’t know all of the months in order consequently, my punishment doesn’t include January, February, March, April, May or September. Next we’ll be talking about briar patches.
11:26 On time arrival in Toronto. Hooray.
11:36 Veggie burger for me, original for Reid, fries for both of us from Harvey’s. The 5-minute wait for a veggie burger dragged into 10. I complained and ended up with a free meal. We had to hurry to catch our train I would have rather paid and had my food in 5 minutes.
12:45 Nap time. Please, please, please.
1:13 Reid asks to sit on my lap
1:16 Must. Pee. Now. I thought she was faking but I don’t play Russian roulette.
1:21 Start of 15 snuggly minutes. No sleep but actual rest.
3:05 Reid has made friends with the 11-month-old girl in the seat in front of us. They’re non-napping comrades. We’re almost to Chatham and I am looking very forward to seeing Melissa and her boys.
3:31 We made it safely to Chatham. Now for the craziness that is my side of the family.

Speaking of the Nutcracker

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

On Saturday afternoon, Reid noticed some Nutcracker soldiers in a cabinet at the National Arts Centre. She pointed them out to me like this “Look, Mama, a Nutcracker. I’m kind of like that …” She paused and so I asked how she was like a Nutcracker. Reid answered, “I’m a gum cracker,” and she chomped loudly on her gum and grinned. And then she returned to chewing her gum quietly.

Birthday celebration at camp

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I went out to an event called Blog Out Loud Ottawa last Thursday night. It was as fun and interesting as it was poorly timed for me. I left an hour before it wrapped up to bake cupcakes for Reid to take to celebrate her birthday at camp. I planned for her to attend camp at her school this week so that she’d be able bring the cupcakes – every time one of the other kids brought something during the school year, Reid had asked if she’d be able to do so, too. All this being said, I left and caught a bus in a strange part of town but still made it home within the hour. Except the “hour” was 10:00 and I rarely stay up past 9:00 and, lately, have fallen asleep with Reid by 8:00.

I located the vegan cake recipe on the Instructables web site on the way home, just in case I was missing any ingredients. In addition to answering the “no eggs, no milk, no nuts” requirements for bringing food to school, it is a scrumptious chocolate cake that is super-easy to make. I made 32 mini-cupcakes, thinking the kids would like to have a couple each. One didn’t come out as it was supposed to and so I had to eat it. 31 wasn’t as good a number but I was too tired to make more. I did wait until they’d cooled completely before trying to take any others out of their spots. I piled them artfully on the base of my cake taker and sprinkled them with icing sugar. It looked pretty and was much less fiddly (not to mention faster) than icing a those mini cupcakes. Plus, my soy margarine has milk solids in it and it was too late to buy anything else for the frosting. Mostly I was going with the prettiness of the sugar dusting.  When I showed Reid in the morning, though, all of the icing sugar had been absorbed by the cupcakes. They were just too moist!

I’d promised Reid that I’d buy a candle in the shape of a “5″ but forget to do it. On Friday morning, I told Reid about my mistake and said we’d stop at the Metro on the way to camp. They had one “5″ candle on their rack but it was broke into two pieces. We checked at the Zellers and Food Basics in the same mall but they were both closed. Finally, I told Reid that we could wait and * maybe* find one at one of the other stores or she could use the five stick candles that we’d brought. Reid thought a moment and then said, “We should go to camp now, right, Mama.” I agreed that we should and we did. I was proud of her reasonableness in the face of disappointment. Maybe 5 is different than 4 (though she has been increasingly able to manage her disappointments over the last while).

After school on Friday, Reid reported that the kids and teachers had sung “Happy Birthday” and “Bonne fête”. They’d all had a cupcake but Reid said that none of the kids got a second one. I didn’t think to ask if she liked hers but, now that I know she didn’t eat her birthday cake or birthday pie, I probably should.