Saturday, February 28, 2009

Photo of the Day February 28th

I can hear the countdown clock ticking... I'm only two days away from a "girls getaway" vacation to the Dominican Republic with my mother, and I'm very excited! So excited in fact, that my suitcase has been packed for almost a week - I've been opening it every other day or so as I remember extra things I would like to bring. I'm pleased that there's still room for some other last-minute items, but I'm not looking forward to telling Chris and Sophie that no matter how hard they try to squish in there simply isn't room in there for them to stow away!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo of the Day February 27th

It was one heck of a cold, blustery day today... I almost lost both my hat and umbrella a couple of times just walking Sophie to and from preschool! By the time we got home after school we were both frozen and wind-blown, and we thought hot chocolate would be the perfect cure for our shivers... here's Sophie's (with marshmallows, of course) in her special bunny cup, waiting to be enjoyed.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Photo of the Day February 26th

My Grandmother, when telling her grandkids that we needed to go outside to play, used to say we needed to "get the stink blown off us"... well today was one of those days around our house! The weather is pretty mild despite the snow and the sun is shining - with Rhys, Rowan and Sophie all bursting with energy our porch and yard beckoned. The kids had a blast with all their traditional imagination games (Let's be butterflies!!! Let's be puppies!!!) and we took advantage of the clear walkway to play a game of marbles - I'm sure I'll find many of the ones we lost once spring comes and the snow melts. I captured this shot of Rhys (who has barely taken off his sunglasses since arriving this morning) and Sophie between a round of marbles. Back inside now, we're all distinctly free of stink and settling into quiet activities while Rowan naps before lunch.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photo of the Day February 25th

Oh, how I love the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas"! Jack Skellington is one of my all-time favourite movie characters, and more often than not you'll find me sipping my morning coffee from a giant mug shaped like his head (that might just be a future photo-of-the-day in that image!) For Christmas this year my husband gave me this amazing bust of Jack, which came complete with a secret coffin-handled drawer in the back holding DVDs of the movie (with a ridiculous number of extras and bonus features!) and a removable Santa hat and Beard for when Jack's feeling festive. It's such a silly, unnecessary thing that I would never have dared buy for myself - which is exactly why I love it! So much of our energy and time is devoted to doing the things we need to do, fulfilling our commitments, living up to expectations (both ours and others), and just generally running the daily treadmill without proiritizing anything special to reward ourselves for all our hard work. How nice is it to have something completely frivolous, for no reason than that it makes you happy? My wish for each of you is that you go out and get yourself something both wonderful and unnecessary today... we all deserve it!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Photo of the Day February 24th

As I'm sure many of you did, our family settled down for a pancake supper this evening. It's a tradition that I've always enjoyed, but surprising Sophie with one of her favourite breakfasts for dinner was especially fun this year - she was thrilled! Chris made two different kinds of pancakes - one was a traditional plain fluffy pancake and the other was buttermilk with dried cranberries. We enjoyed them with some vegetarian breakfast sausages, Ontario maple syrup and a big bowl of strawberries so glossy and perfect that I had to snap a picture. Too bad the pancakes went down too quickly for me to get photos of them too!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Photo of the Day February 23rd

A cold and snowy day can provide inspiration for wintery activities both inside and outside the house... today we chose to stay cozy and warm in our dining room while we created an iconic winter symbol: the snowman. He may be three inches tall and completely edible... but he made us feel wintery anyway (before he "melted away" in Sophie's mouth!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photo of the Day February 22nd

Happy Oscar Night!

The Academy Awards were always a big deal in my family... I grew up with the idea that every February families all over hosted big parties complete with fancy snacks, borrowed TV's in several rooms, a bar, and often a theme meal. I've since realized that we were not in the majority, and I have so many great memories of this unique event. There were usually dozens of people in attendance, and everyone got a ballot on their way in the door to make their guesses as to who would take home awards that night. At the end of the evening the ballots were tallied and the person with the highest number of correct guesses would be the recipient of the Oscar Jones Award, an very dignified gold statue worth just slightly less than the real thing. The winner's name would be engraved on the base along with all the previous years winners, and they would get to take Oscar home on the promise of returning him for the ceremony next year. It's been several years since Oscar made his rounds, and he lives with Chris and I now. We bring him out every Academy Awards evening and put him in the front room so he can watch the show... and one year I think we'll start the tradition again.

Photo of the Day February 21st

I snapped this shot of Sophie just after breakfast as we were getting ready for our very busy day. She's going to her first kid's birthday party today, and is so excited to help her school friend Lily celebrate her special day. The party is at Kidscape, and they're going to be doing some ceramic painting and playing at the indoor playground in addition to the traditional cake and presents - it should be a hoot! From a kid-filled afternoon I'm excited to transition to a grownup-filled evening, as I'm on my way to the 40th annual St. Anne's Wine & Cheese in St. Thomas. It's a crazy ladies-only potluck dinner and show, peppered with lots of singing, women in drag, a chorus line, and the occasional naughty joke. Some of the participants have been working on the show for its entire 40 year history, and to watch them leap up on stage in full KISS costume and makeup to lipsynch to "I Want To Rock And Roll All Night"... well, I should be so lucky to have half their energy!

Photo of the Day February 20th

I've spent the past eight months or so as a blonde - it's a colour I gravitate towards when the weather gets warmer and usually lasts just for the summer months. This year I held onto it for longer, and was officially sick of the look and antsy for a change. Luckily I was able to make an appointment with my wonderful friend Erin at Jaz and she fixed me up with a great, layered cut and some rich new colour. Before the appointment I asked Sophie what colour I should dye my hair and she said it should be red like hers - so I'm back to being a brunette, but with highlights and lowlights in shades of red. Each morning since my appointment she's woken up and said "You still have the red hair!" as soon as she sees me - very cute!

Photo of the Day February 19th

I gave Sophie one heck of a good laugh today... she was doing something especially silly (not uncommon) and I called her a little monkey because of it. A short while later I asked her if I could take her picture, and as always, she wanted to see the picture as soon as I had taken it (the advantage to a digital camera). I quickly pulled up this photo of her favourite sock monkey instead of the one I had just taken and handed her the camera saying "here you go - I told you you were being a monkey today!" The look on her face was priceless...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photo of the Day February 18

Flowers are a great reminder that somewhere out there spring is sleeping, waiting to come back to us. Chris bought me a beautiful bunch of pink and white tulips on Valentines Day and they've fully bloomed now... the ones the cats didn't eat, anyway! I had to be creative with some of the flowers whose stems were mysteriously broken (and marked with little kitty teeth... hmmmm), and now have small vases and bowls of flower heads scattered throughout the house. It's kind of nice actually - one large bunch of tulips has turned into four vases of them... That's the kind of multiplication I like!

Photo of the Day February 17th

After Sophie went to bed I got out my scrapbooking supplies and started working on some pages I began with Emily at Tecumseh's Community School program. The school offers lots of Adult-Ed classes (much like the Sushi-Making class I taught), and I try to take advantage of them whenever possible. I have a few pages I designed during the Scrapbooking workshop that were waiting for photos and embellishments, so I got to work last night finishing them off. I'm pretty happy with the results, and am looking forward to making even more time for scrapping!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Photo of the Day February 16th

We spent Friday evening searching for owls with the McIlwraith Feild Naturalists of London, a tour that took us out to the country with our field glasses and camera on a very cold winter evening. On our three stops we managed to see a Snowy Owl and hear the call of the Screech Owl (despite not seeing one). It was a fun outdoors evening, but the next time we join this kind of expedition I think it will have to be warmer!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Photo of the Day February 15th

"All Aboard!"
. .
Sophie's had trains on the brain lately, insisting as we make our way through the grocery store that I make "chuga chuga chuga chuga, choo choo!" sounds while the cart is in motion and a good train-stopping "screeeeeeeeeeeeeeech" when we stop to pick something up. The game has now progressed to the point that she likes to get out of the cart and have the train take off without her, just so she can chase it - apparently she likes the rush of catching the train just in the nick of time (hmmmm... future Amazing Race contestant???) Since we were at home today we were unable to railroad our way through the grocery store, prompting Sophie to pull out her Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train set for play time. We made about 5 different track configurations before I had to "chuga chuga" my way off to the kitchen to make dinner!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Photo of the Day February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you're spending it with the people you love, be it your family, friends, or "that special someone"...
One of my special little someones (Sophie) has been asking for pancakes for breakfast for the better part of a week, but we either didn't have the time (school mornings aren't conducive to making "from-scratch" breakfasts) or the ingredients. I made sure to plan ahead for this morning so she could not only enjoy the pancakes she's been craving but I could use them as part of our Valentine celebration. The pancakes, heart-shaped strawberries, and pink milk made for a perfect love-themed breakfast for my little love... now my only challenge will be how to continue the theme at lunch!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Photo of the Day February 13th

Sophie got to play postman this morning at preschool, delivering all our Valentines to her classmates. She loved filling everyone's bag with their tiny cards, and was absolutely thrilled to open her own bag when we got home and look at all the Valentines that she received. I may like Valentines day for the opportunity (or excuse) to tell my sweetheart how much I love him, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you have a child... Valentine's day has never felt so sweet to me!

Photo of the Day February 12th

I spent the evening getting Sophie's Valentines ready for her to take to preschool tomorrow... there's nothing like pretty pink cards and delicate hearts to get you in the mood for February 14th!
Valentines day will probably not be a big extravagant romantic occasion this year, as Chris is working much of the day itself and dinner will be a family affair. My poor husband is definitely not enjoying the snow and cold of winter this year, so I'm making a special "summer time" dinner for him on Saturday night (which I won't get into here just in case Chris checks the blog between now and then). I hope Valentine's day finds you warm and cozy this year as well...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Photo of the Day February 11th

I'm teaching a Sushi-making class at Tecumseh Community School this evening, which means my afternoon has been taken up almost completely with making rice (shown above). Sushi rice is very different than standard white rice, or even basmati or jasmine - it's sticky in a way that rivals spackling putty, and you just can't substitute any other kind when making sushi. The class I teach is Sushi for Beginners (an unconscious nod to a book I read years ago), and it's a class that focuses on making sushi without the use of any raw fish ingredients. In fact, the only fish-based ingredient we use at all is crab, and it's actually the simulated crab made from pollock. Nice and gentle for those interested in tip-toeing into the world of sushi without jumping all the way to Ahi Tuna!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photo of the Day February 10th

I'm a hoarder... I have trouble letting things go, and I can admit it. But there are some things I'm ready and willing to part with, including a unique assortment of ceramic pieces that came to me when my Grandmother moved to a nursing home following her stroke. It's a fascinating collection, complete with puppy figurines, geisha's, plaques and some very politically incorrect east-Indian themed lamps. If you know anyone interested in accenting their livingroom or bedroom with some classic kitch, please send them my way!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Photo of the Day February 9th

Ah, our book case... my home within my home. Shown here are a mix of both Chris's and my books - our whole family loves reading, and I'm often exposed to books I may not have read otherwise thanks to my friends and the influence of my book club "How Novel". This month we're reading (or in my case, rereading) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert... coming up shortly we'll be reading Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (shown above), which was my suggestion for our monthly club. I learned a lot about architect Frank Lloyd Wright from the book, and was completely absorbed by the era, the characters and the story. I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks of it!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Photo of the Day February 8th

Going to a park to feed the animals has always been one of our favourite quiet activities - Chris even proposed to me at Victoria Park under the guise of feeding the squirrels! Sophie absolutely loves it too, and in the Winter we try to hit the parks where Canadian geese, swans, or ducks live. The Arva Flour Mill sells 50lb & 100lb bags of dried corn, and we always have at least a half a bag of it in our trunk for these occasions. The geese in Springbank park were so hungry that if we hadn't stuck to our guns they would have climbed right into the trunk to get at the 20+ lbs of corn we didn't feed them!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Photo of the Day February 7th

Today was a big day for our young lady - we took her to the bank to open her first bank account. The lead-up was lots of fun... emptying one of her piggy banks, separating all the different kinds of coins, and counting them up. It was a good lesson in how money works too, as we talked about how a nickle is worth 5 pennies, a dime is worth 10 pennies or 2 nickles, and so on. Sophie, shown here with her purse full of coins at the teller's desk, did great at the bank. I had to raise an eyebrow when she was asked what she was saving her money for and her answer was "toys" (because we don't have enough???) 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Photo of the Day February 6th

Thank God for sunny days! This winter has been cold, snowy, windy and seemingly an overcast most of the time... so the days of sun we've had sprinkled throughout have been welcome to say the least! A quick trip to Springbank park revealed this clean and crisp shadow from a lone leafless tree - a perfect reminder to look for the beauty in what can sometimes feel like an awfully long winter.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Photo of the Day February 5th

When I have both our friends Rhys and Rowan here along with Sophie, the juggle of nap times can be a bit of a challenge. To help cut down on the chaos, I'll often turn on the TV to keep the older two kids entertained while I sneak away to put Rowan down for his morning nap. I snapped this pic of Rhys absorbed in "Bo on the Go" when I came back from getting Rowan settled... he's the picture of concentration.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Photo of the Day February 4th

Needing to visit our travel agent, Sophie and I ran out to Westmount Mall this afternoon. When we had a bit of a wait I found myself drawn to the the bright yellow "SALE" signs all over Sears, and despite Sophie's objections I managed to pop us into a change room and get her to try some things on. We came home with new six shirts and two pairs of pants, which due to her current growth spurt she was really in need of. The best part? All 8 items were $32.00 including tax... if you have little ones in need of some new clothes take a few minutes to run over and check out Sears Westmount for some amazing deals!
And no, Sears isn't paying me a commission for this post. Darn it.

Photo of the Day February 3rd

Okay - this one is a bit different than the norm. Using the online photo editing tool available at Photo Funia, I created this great picture of Sophie seemingly made out of Lego blocks... when I have some free time (ha ha ha!) I'll start doing some more of them - it's a fun way to present some favourite images in a new and playful way!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Photo of the Day February 2nd

Sophie's Nanny joined us as we took her to dance class after dinner this evening, and we so enjoyed watching the classroom full of little girls practice their ballet moves in their tutus! The class is normally "closed" to parents, but on week #4 (today) and week #8 we're invited into the room to watch. It was hysterical, and charming, and heartwarming - and naturally we took lots of photos as a result. Here our little ballerina waves hello to her adoring fans during the class.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Photo(s) of the Day February 1st

Not one photo today, but a series of four photos - all taken at bed time while Sophie read one of her current favourite books: "Bad Kitty" (thanks to Jen, Nic and Calvin!) When she's concentrating she looks so serious... I can only imagine the look she's going to have on her face once she can actually read the words!