Sunday, November 28, 2010

And this is why they get in free

After multiple readings of Franklin's Class Trip, I had the urge to take the kids to the Royal Ontario Museum.  I haven't been since it's been redesigned with all kinds of crazy angles, making it look as if a UFO landed on the old ROM. The building juts out at a diagonal now so when you're standing next to it you feel like it's going to fall over on you any second.  It's actually pretty cool.

We paid the extra ten bucks to see the chinese terracota empire exhibit.  See back in the day, the big shots had themselves buried with hundreds of statues of servants, warriors, farm animals, etc to help them in the afterlife.  Only now all the statues are in the museum, so somewhere out there some Emperors are saying to themselves "Dude!  Where are all my chickens?"

William kept asking to go to the dinosaurs from the moment we got there.  Jadzia, on the other hand, was interested in everything but by that I mean everything, including things that weren't necessarily exhibits.  Luckily they had some reproductions that you could touch, and I had fun showing her those, even with William constantly whining "Let's just go see something else".
The dinosaurs were awesome, enormous and fearsome the way dinosaurs should be.   You'd think William would be excited.  But no, we made the mistake of discussing the bat cave.  So while we were looking at the dinosaurs all he wanted to do was go there.
We got to the bat cave which is a dinky little reproduction of a dark cavern with rubber bats hanging from a ceiling and audio that plays only in French, no matter how vigorously one pushes the English button. We went through twice.

We spent most of the rest of our time in the children's area:

The highlight of the day (at least for the kids) was this stage Jadzia discoved in front of one of the video exhibits; great for dancing, jumping, and general goofiness.  I leave you with this video of their performance:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmassy Activities

Since my Christmas tree is up now, I've been inspired to do more Christmassing things.  This morning I got the kids into nice clothes and took them to see Santa.  As we were entering the mall I noticed that Jadzia had somehow managed to get pomegranate juice on her dress, even though I had fed them while they were still in their undies and pull-ups.  You can't see the stain in the picture, right guys?

Santa asked William and Jadzia what they wanted for Christmas.  William replied that he wanted Criss Cross Crash, his Hot Wheels toy request of the week.  Jadzia, who I was surprised answered the question at all, replied "Doggies!"  I only hope she doesn't mean a real one.

Jadzia started flipping out as soon as the candy canes ran out, but I'd promised William that we would stop at the Bulk Barn and get ingredients for a grahm cracker house.  Unwilling to accept the convention of purchasing candy before you eat it, Jadzia had a meltdown in the middle of the store.  I quickly grabbed the grahm crackers and icing mix, while William chose several candies for decoration.

After getting home and eating lunch, I was all gung ho to start the house construction.  I built Jadzia's house (minus the decorations) while William attempted to spread icing on one cracker.  William announced that he didn't want to build houses anymore and left the table.  He returned when I offered to build his house so he could decorate it. By the time I was done, Jadzia had calapsed her house and I had to rebuild it for her.  I showed William how to put icing on a candy so it would stick, but he refused to try it himself and instead instructed me on which candies to put where.  In between following William's commands, I arranged peanut M&Ms on Jadzia's house vaguely in the shape of a Christmas tree, and tried to stick on the gummy worms faster than she was eating them.

Here are the results of our efforts:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Extra Children: The Sequel

Natalie's boys are here again.  They'll be here over dinner today, which should be interesting due to a shortage of both chairs and dinner-enthusiastic children.  I have no delusions that any of the boys will eat supper as William, Luke, and Patrick are currently eating the sandwiches Natalie brought (and it's only 3:30).  Also Willliam never eats at dinner anyway.

Natalie has been gone about fifteen minutes and there's already been some hostility centering around William's Buzz Lightyear car that he got in California (and has recently resurfaced).  Some of the conflict I presume was the result of low blood sugar.  Hence, the sandwiches.

Tomorrow will be pay back time as I pawn my children off on Natalie so I can go to the dentist.  It's my first appointment in a decade, which I thought was long enough to forget how much I really hate the dentist.  It's not.  I'm not afraid or anything; that would be silly.  I just don't like when someone pokes at my gums with a pointy metal object and then claims it's my fault when they bleed.    And we pay good money for this.

I'm hoping I can convince them to take off my permanent retainer.  The secretary already tried to talk me out of it.  Apparently as soon as the thing comes off my teeth will sproing out of alignment and I'll be as buck tooth as I was when I was ten.  Instead, they'll cheerfully give me some floss threaders and encourage me to use them to torture myself every day, so that the torture in the dentist chair won't be so bad.

Mom/Auntie Jen duties I've performed since beginning this blog entry:
  • Comforted Luke because Willliam "hurt him".  I determined that this was another fight over the Buzz Lightyear car (even though we have a hundred similar hot wheels).  Suggested to William that he really doesn't need to hold on to his car while he uses the computer.
  • Moderated a disagreement between Luke and Patrick after Patrick claimed the chair that Luke was sitting on.  Since we only have two child-sized computer chairs, I stacked some throw pillows for Luke.  He seemed happy with that, though he stole the chair back at his earliest opportunity.
  • Put the Buzz Lightyear car away after the boys continued to fight over it.
  • Played blocks with Patrick.
  • Played Elmo videos on my iPod for Jadzia.
  • Changed Jadzia's poopy diaper.
  • Changed Patrick's poopy diaper.
  • Helped Luke on the potty.
  • Helped Jadzia brush her teeth (at her request).
The boys have now gotten the Buzz Lightyear car out by themselves (a process that involves climbing on a chair).  I told them if the can't share I'll take it away again. And now I must go.  Patrick is on the dining room table.

Edit: the boys won't be here for dinner after all.  Their sister's parent-teacher interview was finished early.  Both William and Luke were crying when Natalie walked in the door. Luke pushed William off a chair as his way of enforcing the "don't eat the cookie batter" guideline.  I was hailed babysitter of the year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thank You Natalie!

Natalie cleaned and organized my living room.  It looks awesome!!!! Check out the video.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra Children

Here's a video blog showing off the extra children I was watching today.  BTW:  Eat brie.  It tastes like butter and cheese had a baby.  Delicious!

Edit: For those of you who are so concerned.  I lied when I said that I don't know where Natalie went.  I know the details but it's none of your business.  Mwah ha ha!

Also, Luke did not seriously injure himself, he just needed a wee cuddle.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Miracle of Modern Slovenliness

I admit it, we're bad housekeepers.  I like to cook, but have become quite skilled at ignoring the large stack of smelly pots and pans that appears as a result.  Even when my husband and I do tackle the dishes and half-heartedly clean the kitchen, there's one place that we hate worst of all, one place where the stuck on food grime is unfaceable even when we're in a cleanly mood.  That's right, the stove.

And yes, ladies and gentleman, that is really my stove in all its grimy glory.  Yesterday my husband noticed that the clock on the stove was off.  An inspection revealed that none of the digital controls were working.  So, while we could still turn the dials to turn on the burners, the oven was unusable.

We grumbled about the inconvenience, but were secretly delighted.  We have long blamed the coil-top for our slovenliness.  After briefly considering calling a repair person, we headed to a nearby plaza saturated by range-selling retailers.

Being a gadget guy, Adam already knew about the latest jazzy stovetop technology: induction heating.  If you haven't heard about it, allow me to dazzle and amaze you.  Imagine if you could heat up a pot without heating up a stove, so that even gobs of orange bolognase would never bake on.  Imagine if you never had to worry about little hands touching the burners, because they would only ever get slightly warm.  Imagine if you accidentally left a container of margarine on a burner....and nothing melted!  These things are possible as you can tell by this eggcellent stock image:

This miracle technology comes with a hefty pricetag and, though we knew it would fit our lifestyle perfectly, for less than half the price we could get a non-gadgety oven similar to the one that broke.  Problem is, all other ovens looked the same to me.  We knew we were gettting a flat top instead of a coil, but other than that none of them stood out over all others.  Except, of course, for our friend the induction top.

We travelled across a rainy parking lot from FutureShop to Bad Boy and back again.  We got their sales people to duel (not with swords, although that would have been cool).  In the end we went with FutureShop.  They had a better return policy, could get us our stove within a week, and were much lower on the sleeziness radar.  Plus they gave us a free Blu-ray movie.

So we spent a million dollars that we don't have and went home clutching the most expensive DVD we've ever bought.  I can't wait until my new toy comes on Friday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Super Happy Hairdo

Another video blog entry! I show off my new hairdo while William tells everyone what he wants from Santa.

'Tis the Season

This morning my facebook friends reminded me that Santa Claus was coming to the mall by helicopter.  So we got the kids all ready and piled into the car, even though the moment we stepped outside it was fairly obvious that no helicopter would be flying today.  Fog on top of fog. 

We went anyway.  There was a crowd of people gathered in the Zellers parking lot.  Some random elves gave us foam red antlers and tiny candy canes.  Jadzia was in the middle of a two-day tantrum, and she wanted to wear her antlers, didn't want to wear her antlers, wanted to be picked up, didn't want to be held, wanted hats and mits, didn't want hats and mits.  She was momentarily appeased by the bagpipe band playing Christmas carols in kilts.  William was more excited to see his friend Leyla than the big man in red.

Santa arrived by fire truck.  Yawn.  We stuck around because Santa was walking down the line shaking everyone's hand.  Only when he got to our spot he just kept walking, skipping like ten little kids!  I promised the William and Jadzia that we would come back another day to visit Santa when he wasn't so busy, but honestly I was feeling more disappointed than they were.

I had planned to grab some socks for William while we were there, so we made the mistake of going into the mall.  Jadzia refused to be held but also wouldn't walk or do anything besides whine.  William behaved long enough to pick out his socks.  Before we left home we prepared him that we weren't going to buy any food or toys at the store.  Of course as soon as we passed the candy aisle he suddenly became REALLY REALLY HUNGRY and desperately needed candy and a hotwheels car.  He flipped out so bad I had to carry him out of the store kicking and screaming (literally, I'm not just using an expression here).

We were supposed to go out for lunch afterwards but instead we decided to cut out losses and head home.  Ho. Ho. Ho.

Thank goodness for Karaoke tonight.  I need it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me Video Blog Entry

Here's a totally pointless video that I made telling you all about my birthday presents.  Today I went to Bronte Creek with some friends and we had a playdate/birthday party.  I was going to mention that in the video, but I forgot.  I also forgot to mention the photo-made-to-look-like-a-painting of Jadzia and William and I that Adam made for me.  I know you're all interested in what a 31-year-old gets for her birthday, so check out the vid.

Also, this Saturday is Karaoke at St Louis bar and grill (in Burlington, on Appleby I think).  Join us!  (Since it's a public place, I can feel free to invite the entire internet).  Karaoke starts at 10.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

How to cook a pumpkin

Every halloween we buy a pumpkin to carve.  Every November, the pumpkin sits outside until it rots or is used in acts of vandelism by neighbourhood hoodlems.  This year, I looked at our two jack-o-lanterns and thought, these are vegetables.  I could cook these!

I consulted my health-guru friend Natalie about how to cook a pumpkin.  She told me to cut it up and put it in the microwave and.... I forget the rest.  Anyway, I got out my trusty serated knife and brought the Lion Jack-o-Lantern in from the front porch.  I don't know how Adam managed to carve these things (well, actually I do, with a dremel tool) but they are super hard to cut super pumpkins.  I couldn't get a dent in it with my weakling muscles and my trusty serated knife. 

Then I got an idea.  I would use the hedge trimmer, which is basically just a big serated knife only it's electric.  The extention cord situation in our yard is designed to faciliate using power tools housed in the shed, so the cords run from the house, behind our hedges along the length of the back yard, then through a hole in the shed.  I then plugged in another extension cord and ran it back up to the house from the shed.  The end result reminding me very much of the laryngeal nerve on a giraffe.

After about a second and a half of power-tooling with the hedge trimmer it became clear that a) the trimmer was not designed to cut through something this big, and b) I would probably make a big mess and break something if I tried.

So I brought the lion back inside.  I knew it wouldn't fit in my microwave as is, but if I removed one rack on the oven... huzzah!  It fit!  I set the oven to 350 degrees (universal temperature for anything you don't really know how to cook) and waited.  I figured that it would be easy to cut once it was soft (you know, like a sweet potato).

After I had played transformers, surfed youtube, and wrote this blog entry up until this point, the house began to smell like pumpkin.  I took the hot pumpkin out of the oven.  I put it on the cool oven rack on the floor.  My trusty knife redeemed itself by slicing easily through the shell.  The good bits came off easily, using a process which involved the knife, barbecue tongs, and a large spoon.  I declared it a success and put the other pumpkin in the oven.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with four mixing bowls full of pumpkin (two bowls from each jack-o-lantern if the second yields as much as the first).  So far, I've pureed some and put it into single serving zip-locks for freezing.  I also gave the kids each a small bowl of pumpkin with brown sugar and cinnamon in it.  They apparently "liked it" but neither of them ate the whole thing (and they were tiny bowls). I now have the food processor processor going pureeing more and the second jack-o-lantern (a robot) in the oven.

Unfortunately I've never been a big fan of pumpkin pie.  Recipes anyone?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


So after all the excitement leading up to Halloween you'd think I'd bother to write a post about the big day.  Well, here it is.  Complete with two pictures which I stole off my husband's facebook:

I took some photos of them trick-or-treating but they were too dark to really capture the cuteness.  Jadzia worked especially hard, climbing front step after front step in a skirt that went to just above her ankles.  She managed to finangle extra candy out of a few people too.  She just held out her hand and batted those big dark eyelashes, as if she just didn't understand that she could only have one.  Worked every time.

We didn't get to a lot of trick-or-treating in because it was SO COLD.  William not yet at the age that he wants to go candy-begging for hours regardless of the weather.  We hadn't even made it to the corner before he said "How about we just go home and eat our candy?"  Jadzia could have gone on for a few more kilometres I'm sure.

Happy November! (1 week until my birthday!)
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