Archive for the 'Adventures' Category

Follow the leader (with my recipe)

After weeks of eating completely healthy 100% of the timemostly healthy 85% of the time, something was bound to give.  I had turned myself into a regular Betty Crocker in months previous, after all, so a stick of pure butter, several cups of sugar, and a couple of egg yolks were bound to find their own way into a bowl, mix themselves together, fload their way into the oven and bake themselves into cookies.  And wouldn’t it be rude if I didn’t eat them all after they went to so much trouble?  I think it would be terribly ungrateful of me not to eat them all.

Ok, so no magic cookies, but after reading this, I felt compelled by the power of Jesus to whip up a batch of my World’s Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookies.  By the way, how much do you have to change a recipe before you can officially call them  your own?  ‘Cause I’ve done quite a bit of tweaking to this recipe and I feel rightful in calling them “my” cookies.  Especially when they are so darn delicious and irresistable.  Just ask Carly’s husband.

Carly called them Devil Cookies, which I completely disagree with.  Not only are they not Devil Cookies, but I think they were sent down by a higher power, in a gift basket, with a card signed “Enjoy – G.”  I’m just saying…they are that good.  In fact, I’ll be right back…

*burp*

In an attempt to escape doing puzzles for the entire morning on Saturday, Eirinn and I decided to make these together.  It went much better than I expected.  Nothing “accidentally” broke.  “No one” had a fit.  And I think she enjoyed herself.  Mostly she watched me while asking “You need this?” of every measuring spoon, mixing utensil, and ingredient.  She helped me pour in the chocolate chips, receiving a handful of chips as a reward.

picture-357.jpg  She was an excellent chocolate chip pourer.  She didn’t spill one.  Or at least she ate up her mess before I saw it.

picture-362.jpg  Then we waited the long, torturous 15 minutes of baking time.  That heavenly smell was enough to send Eirinn into madness.

picture-363.jpg  See?  This is what she was driven to do while we waited.  Soccer in oven mitts.  Not an act of a sane person.  Is anyone else mesmerized by the Doras on her pants?  They are hypnotizing me into eating more cookies…

picture-365.jpg  And the prize for waiting?  Yummy cookies.  Well, at least yummy, melty chocolate chips.  She ate the cookie part about two hours later.

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Last week was fairly uneventful here in Tornado Alley.  The usual crazy, crazy, but nothing really note-worthy.  Or blog post-worthy, as the case may be.

Today we, as in all three of us, drove north (where they had snow!) to have dinner with our good friends Carly, Eric, and Loooocy.  You have to say the ‘oooo’ with great, big, duck lips to get the correct sound.  It was a long drive during which time I heard “Mommy?  We see Loooocy?” approximately 1,000 times.  And no less, would be my guess.  She never once asked Daddy because Daddy was driving, making Mommy the navigator and the navigator is the One Who Knows Where We’re Going.  I may not always know the directions to get there, but I am the leading expert on our intended destination.  I think she was just so excited to see her friend.  And to play with her toys.

Lucy and Eirinn are complete personality opposites, as has been the case since they first met when they were wee 5 month olds.  Back then, Eirinn slept as little as possible, cried as much as possible, and had to be held while not sleeping and crying.  Lucy, on the other hand, slept for hours on end and was content most of the time.  Now that they are 20 months old, Eirinn has extreme highs and lows, moments of hysteria, both good and bad, has more energy than 10 toddlers would know what to do with, and is not afraid to let the neighbourhood know how she’s feeling at any given moment (read: she’s LOUD).  Lucy, still, is on a permanent even keel.  She’s shy (which Eirinn is not), and quiet (which Eirinn most certainly is not), and she is very well behaved (which Eirinn is, but only when she feels like it). 

But these two get along like Jenny and Forrest (like peas and carrots).  They both love running.  They both like Dora, although Eirinn LOVES Dora; Lucy is a bigger Elmo fan.  They both think being naughty is hilarious.  They are too cute together.

Here Eirinn is teaching Lucy the Macarena.  They just finished the “Hey!  Macarena!” part.

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This shot is a tradition.  Nearly everytime we visit Carly and Lucy we take a picture of the girls in this chair.  It never fails that one of them is throwing a fit.  The first time Eirinn was crying because I wasn’t holding her.  The next time Eirinn was crying because Lucy stole her soother.  This time was Lucy’s turn.  I think she was just sticking it to the Man for telling her where to sit.  She’ll sit where she wants to sit, when she wants to sit there.  Power to the People.

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I hope our two girls stay friends forever.  What a great story to be able to tell.  To have a friend you’ve known almost literally your entire life?  That would be wonderful.  That way, if they’re friends forever, that means Carly and I have stayed friends forever.  And I hope for nothing less.

(ps, Carly, thanks for dinner!  It was delicioso.)

Blog Action Day

“On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.”

Relating to their own topic?  My topic is Eirinn and how, because of her, Anonymous Husband, Bosco and I now live in Tornado Alley.  My topic is how she, through good times and a few bad, has changed our life into something that is so remarkably different than what it started out as.  For the better.  Even though I complain about how little sleep I get, or how draining she can be, physically, mentally and emotionally, it’s always for the better.  I wouldn’t trade even the worst temper tantrum or sleepless night for one day without her.  The thought has never even crossed my mind.

I digress.  How do I relate my topic to the environment? That is proving to be harder than it sounds.  I could write about what I do: recycle, compost, turn out lights when I’m not in the room (usually…it’s a new habit I’m trying to get into), bought a fuel efficient car, live where I work, use reusable Tupperware containers instead of disposable Ziplock bags.  But then in the spirit of fairness, I would also have to admit to those less-than-environmentally-stellar things that I also do: run our air conditioning when perhaps it isn’t necessary, buy bottled water, use disposable diapers, take 20 minute showers. 

All this thinking took place at work and when my mind wandered from this to *surprise* work, I remembered that I am a secretary for the management advisory committee for one of our local nature areas.  Hey, that’s kind of environment related.  Kind of, as in TOTALLY.  So I’m going to plug and advertise and fish and in the end I’m going to do some crazy voodoo spin to somehow relate it to my topic – Eirinn.

Our nature area is called the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area and I love it.  It’s the most beautiful 77 hectares of land I know of.  There is meadow lands, bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario, Wilmot Creek meandering through, a large marsh, and several beautifully maintained trails.  The Lion’s Club has created a memorial forest in one section which, in a few years, will be a gorgeous, mature forest and at each tree is a little plaque with a dedication to those to be remembered.

If you walk through the nature area in the summer, you’re sure to find a gorgeous landscape of trees, flowers, and grasslands inhabited by songbirds, butterflies, and small mammals.  Head down to the creek to see salmon jumping or watch for an osprey in it’s nest in the middle of the marsh or see the mute swans lazily swim by. 

Since the advisory committee was formed, we have had a large gazebo installed near the bluffs with a viewfinder, an information kiosk was just put in at one of the entrances, many interpretive signs scattered throughout the area, two platforms on either side of the marsh, we’ve created three trails with benches along them.  We also have a maintenance sub-committee to help keep the area clean, a communications sub-committee which puts together our newsletter and organizes special events, and a newly formed habitat sub-committee which will ensure the area’s various landscape types are retained.  I have created a PowerPoint Presentation for the communications sub-committee to take to schools and user groups for education and to corporations and local businesses for fundraising.

Not only is the nature area a beautifully preserved and ever-improving retreat for hikers, photographers, and naturalists, it’s a wonderful place to take a walk with the kids (see the Eirinn tie-in?) or dogs (on a leash and scoop the poop, please).  I’ve taken Eirinn and Bosco just once (and we all know how wonderfully that turned out), but I plan on making it a regular place to go as she gets older.  While it’s important to teach our kids about recycling and composting and reusing, I think it’s also imperative that we show them why it’s so important.  To give them examples of what our earth used to look like when it was clean and natural and untouched.  And examples of why we should care about preserving those little spots left that are so rare and hard to find in a world full of highways and sky scrapers.

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Friday Five – One Day Late

So we’ll make it a Saturday Six?  Deal. 

This weeks Friday Five Saturday Six is – What We Did On Saturday.

  1. “We” (as in Eirinn by choice and Mommy by default) woke up at 5 am.  “We” had wet through “our” diaper and onto “our” pants and shirt.  “We” then tried (unsuccessfully) to remove “our” wet shirt, but could only get one arm out because “we’re” only 19 months old and “we” haven’t been given this lesson yet.  This ignorance led to an hour and a half of moaning and groaning before Mommy begrudgingly dragged her half asleep butt out of bed to see what the problem was.  Soaking wet toddler = awake toddler = awake household.  This would never have happened if “we” hadn’t chugged three (3) sippy cups of water and then a bottle of milk right before bed.  Mommy says “lesson learned” and won’t be watering the toddler like she was a dying cactus.
  2. Our friends Carly and Lucy came for a visit!  Carly and I see each other every Wednesday for Durham Mom’s Night Out, but Eirinn and Lucy hadn’t played together for a couple of months.  It’s always a treat to see these two together because they can be so different, but still get along like peas and carrots.  Where Eirinn is boysterous and energetic and outgoing, Lucy is quiet and thoughtful and sweet.
  3. For the very first time, Eirinn rode the bus.  By herself.  Just kidding, Carly, Lucy and I were there, too.  Eirinn got her own seat and we sang “The Wheels on the Bus” loud enough to annoy the weird guy with wiry, dandruff-y, badly dyed hair sitting in front of us.  Why bother using public transit if you’re not going to make other people wish they hadn’t? 
  4. The four of us were taking the bus to Apple Fest, which is an annual tradition I have yet to miss.  Love it.  LOOOOVE.  IT.  Why so much love?  Four words – cider, dumplings, fritters and fudge.  The line up for the fritters was too long given the minus 30 degree weather, but I was all over the other three like flies on…maybe a bad analogy when talking about food.
  5. Lunch was delicious world famous pancakes as made by Anonymous Husband.  AH played the role of Wicked Cool, Kick-Arse Husband today.  Not only was he Master Chef of the Griddle, but he also woke up early on his sleep-in day so I could shower and he drove to his parents so I would have a stroller to shuttle Eirinn around the tundra in.  Sank-coo, AH.
  6. Little People were played with and books were coloured in by Eirinn and Lucy during the hour between lunch and nap.  It was the cutest thing watching them interact.  As an illustration of their differences, while colouring, Eirinn talked all of us through what she was doing and demanded invited us to colour with her.  Lucy, meanwhile, was quietly examining the Magic Markers, figuring out the science behind their magic-ness, assembling and re-assembling them, all without so much as a whisper.                                                                                    picture-254.jpgpicture-258.jpgpicture-261.jpg
  7. Absolutely conked out from all the early-waking, friend-visiting, bus-riding, Apple-festing, can-cake-eating, play-play-playing, Eirinn slept from 1:30 to 4:45, and only woke up because my face was all up in her grill saying “WAKE UP, LAZY, OR YOU WON’T SLEEP TONIGHT.”
  8. And last but not least.  Her time after dinner was spent doing…whatever this is.  I don’t know.

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Ok, so because I a) felt guilty for missing Friday or b) talk too much, we ended up with a Friday Five, Saturday Six, Sunday Seven, A List With Eight Points And No Catchy Title Because There Isn’t A Day Of The Week That Starts With ‘E’.

Simply in her nature

At the local second hand store yesterday with my mom, Eirinn perused the shoe department and spotted *cue trumpets* a pair of Dora shoes in her size.  Of course she had to have them, so she took them off the shelf herself (how she knew they were her size, I don’t know…) and carried them around the store, to the front counter.  She plopped them on the counter and turned to my mom.

“Bugba.  Money,” and held out her hand.

My mom handed her the money, which she placed on the counter for the cashier.  The cashier put the shoes in a bag and handed it to her.  She hooked the bag onto her arm like a little purse and led my mom out of the store.

All of this without any prompting.  It just came naturally.  Like proper shopping etiquette and protocol is in her blood.  I think there is one ‘Bugba’ and one ‘Bubba’ who will be very proud.

Zoo Adventures

Today’s vacation adventure was the Peterborough Zoo, formally named the Riverview Park and Zoo.  Say we lived in Peterborough, this place would rock as a day trip for a kidlet Eirinn’s age.  Besides the zoo, there is a massive playground with twirly slides, spring-activated see-saws, tubes to climb through, climby things.  There is a good sized water park for young ones (no water slides, but lots of sprayers and wading pools) and a little train that takes you on a ten minute mini Disney-inspired adventure, although I think it was even a little juvenile for Eirinn (a snake clearly fashioned out of dryer hose?), but they tried and that’s what counts.  The grounds are immaculate with mature trees, pretty landscaping and beautiful architecture.  The zoo animals are pretty basic, but that’s ok because the goat we saw first and a donkey were tied for Eirinn’s favourite.  I also love that the zoo is one of the highest ranked by Zoocheck, a watchdog organization that monitors zoo’s ethical treatment of animals, and receives their praise; the zoo in our town never fares very well in these rankings, which is disappointing. 

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 Keep in mind I said ‘Say we lived in Peterborough…’ because it is about 45 minutes to an hour to get there from our place.  And 45 minutes to an hour in a hot car with a screaming, crusty, mega-beast is not, I repeat, NOT fun.  Oh, and we had to do that twice because, like it or not, we had to get home somehow.  She whined literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) the whole way there.  She would have whined the whole way home if I hadn’t got into the back seat, which, in itself, was a hilariously embarrassing story. 

After dealing with the crust for about 3 minutes, Anonymous Husband suggested I jump out of the car while at a red light and get into the back in order to a) entertain her on the way home and b) make sure she stays awake so she can have a proper length nap when we get there.  Well, I got out and ran lightening speed to the back, not out of fear of being run over while running through stopped traffic, but I didn’t want to annoy anyone by taking too long in case the light changed.  When I got to the back door, lo and behold, it was locked.  Gah!  I ran to the front and got back in to tear a strip off the now-hysterical AH.  In a panic (and the light was still red), he unlocked the door and I made the trip again, this time noticing the car behind us was filled with similarily hysterical men. 

Ha, ha, ha.  Laugh it up, boys.  Laugh it up.

Girl’s Day Out

Eirinn and I made the monstrous trip up northwest for our first visit to our best friends’s’s new house yesterday.  Carly and Lucy (and Eric and Spencer Dog) just moved into a fabulous quaker style house with a huge backyard, perfect for hyper toddlers to wear themselves out play in.  This was pretty much the first playdate the girls have had where they actually played together.  First they were too young to even play, then they were busy either beating each other up (Eirinn…) or stealing soothers (Lucy…), then they were at the stage where they liked to play beside one another but not with one another. 

Yesterday they had a blast playing in a blow up pool, on Lucy’s baby jungle gym, chasing bubbles, collecting rocks, kick-kicking a beach ball.  But the highlight of the day was – wait for it – Dance Party!!!  Carly fired on some uncensored House of Pain (with the windows open – what the neighbours must think…), a retro Kriss Kross remix, and Van Halen (all ‘Jump’ songs, the best for Retro Boogie Baby Dance Parties), and the girls were giggling and jumping and head-bopping and having an absolutely wonderful time.  So much fun.  If I could have captured that much joy, I would have bottled it and sold it on Ebay as an anti-depressant because, Ho Mama!, it was pure magic.

The girls had so much fun they pooped themselves out for a good hour and 45 minute nap while Carly and I chatted and drank fancy schmancy tea and ate delicious peanut buttery-chocolate chippy bars, like real grown ups should.  It was a perfect way to spend a whole day of vacation.  And Anonymous Husband probably thought the same thing.  He spent the day making out with  playing video games on his new girlfriend computer.

Thanks for an awesome day, Carly and Lucy. 

Love, your friends, Jen and Eirinn!