Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedding wear challenge wrap-up

This was our second-last wedding, and the last one of the summer. Hubby and I emceed, it was on our anniversary, baby D was in attendance, and we had a great time! I borrowed a vintage peach dress from travelling sis, and am shown wearing it with baby sis, beautiful bride and handsome groom. (Sidenote: this was the most excited bride ever! She couldn't wait to get through the vows. It was so sweet. And the groom couldn't stop grinning.)

Then our most recent wedding was about three weeks ago now (on 10/10/10). I made a last-minute decision on the dress this time; we had church in the morning (as it was a Sunday), and the ceremony was due to start about an hour and a half after the 11 o'clock service ended. I wouldn't have time to change. So I wore a super fancy vintage dress. Luckily I wasn't nursing or feeding D any snacks, so I managed not to spill anything on myself.

The super fancy vintage dress in question: the one I thought would never fit me again! I needed some help with the zipper, but I successfully wore it without inflicting any damage on myself or the garment. Even if I have three more kids and never fit into it again, I'm glad I had the chance to wear it one more time. Plus the wedding was Egyptian, so I was not remotely underdressed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How bazaar, how bazaar

Sometimes I think I'm an old woman at heart, and other times I know I am. I like to eat dinner early. I enjoy writing letters (this is more recent, thanks to university friends). Hubby would like you to believe that my knitting habit makes me old, but most people know better than that now. It would make me middle-aged at most.

I look forward to fall bazaars. In the past, I have come home with all kinds of great finds: William Shatner's Up Til Now; a glass jug; a 2$ wall clock, battery included; a number of fancy tea cups. All of these have proved tremendously useful/entertaining. (Hubby took to reading aloud select passages of Shatner's autobiographical stream-of-consciousness prose.) Tomorrow, what can only be described as empirically the best fall bazaar in Ottawa is taking place: that's right, I'm talking about the Woodroffe United Bazaar. It's a stone's throw from where I grew up, and even though I never attended the church, I always run into people I know there. Last year, it marked my first solo outing since baby D's birth. My companions this year will include my very own mom and a good friend who also thoroughly enjoys bazaars and bargains.

Pictures of tomorrow's deals to follow. Here's a picture of what keeps me young:

And another one, because she's laughing with you, not at you:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fun fall picnic

Today, baby D and I are enjoying a rare day at home: it's just the two of us, we have no errands to run, and the house is pretty clean. We slept in til 8, and after breakfast, we had a relaxing morning of playing, reading and knitting. Here's baby D modelling a hat I just finished for my sister's best friend Candice.

For lunch, I decided to do something I've wanted to do every sunny day this autumn: have a picnic out on our front porch. Hubby and his dad extended it by a good three feet this spring, and baby D and I sat out there quite a bit in the summer (she in an exersaucer, I in a camp chair- we're not classy enough for proper deck furniture yet). I fixed lunch while D waited patiently in her booster seat, making little squeaks to encourage my haste. As soon as lunch was ready, I moved her outside to the porch, then brought out our food. For her: tiny cheese planks, tofu in a tomato reduction, baked apples with cinnamon, and grapes. For me: vegetable soup, crackers and cheese, apple crisp (generously doled out because that was the last of it), and tea.

It started out wonderfully, as we were sitting in the sun, but then the winds picked up and it became unpleasantly cold. Rather than admitting defeat and heading inside, we adjourned to the garage, which Hubby had recently tidied out in order to fit my car during the winter months. We still had a fair bit of sun to keep us warm, and we were sheltered from the wind, so there we finished up our lunch and sat for a bit before coming back inside to get cleaned up. Another huge benefit was that D ate almost all of her lunch! She didn't have much of an appetite this weekend, after eating everything she could get her mitts on in the past couple of weeks.

I'm a little sad we didn't do this sooner, but at least we got one little picnic in before it got too cold! That being said, baby D's hands are still very chilly and her nose is running a bit... but she didn't complain when we were outside!

Finally, just so you don't think our day has been all sunshine and fun, from the fact that D is refusing to sit down as well as a certain distinct smell, I can confirm that she has dirtied her third diaper of the day. This may be some kind of record.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hubby and I just had the best date in ages! And, although it will probably never happen this way again, it was quite inexpensive.
Here's what made our evening special:
-my parents babysat for baby D, and even though she didn't nap or eat much today (she gets like that sometimes), she was still great! Also, my dad lent us his Mustang.
-when my father-in-law was here on a visit a few weeks ago, he left us his remaining Canadian dollars to treat us to a date (or several, as the case has been). We ordered pizza and watched a movie last night, and today we went to our favourite Thai restaurant (Pad Ki Mow for both of us) and then a place in Little Italy for dessert (pumpkin cheesecake for me, a chocolate eclair for the Hubs)
-I won tickets from a local radio station to a concert I wanted to see anyway! This never happens. It's like when my mom found her ideal shoes in her size and on sale. Plus the venue was one that I'd heard good things about, and it's operated by a family in our church.
-the concert was amazing! The opening act was Isobelle Gunn, a fantastic folk trio from Southern Ontario. I would have bought their CD if I'd had any cash on me. Jacob Moon was the main act, and even though I've seen him a couple of times before, he just gets better and better. He doesn't play with a band (although he jammed with Isobelle Gunn on a few songs), but rather loops his guitar to make intricate patterns that back him up. He did a jazz song that was mind-blowing, a bunch of neat covers (Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes, Emmylou Harris' The Pearl-my personal fave, and Bill Hornsby's Changes-Hubby's personal fave), and of course lots of originals along with the stories that inspired them
-an unexpected bonus: one of our favourite couples was in attendance, so we sat with them and had a grand time
-at dinner and in the car, Hubby and I did not restrict our conversation to baby D, but discussed a wide range of topics, including the arts, the place of government funding in general, the upcoming municipal election, how cool my dad's car is (a monologue by Hubby), and more.

Sometimes everything just comes together beautifully, and tonight was one of those times! Thanks, parents, parents-in-law, and especially Hubby!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicken stock for dunces

And I include myself in the dunce category when it comes to chicken stock. I love me a good roast chicken (or beer can chicken), especially when it only costs me 6$. You can get at least two meals from the meat alone, and maybe one or two more from any stock. Every time I've tried to make stock from the carcass of a leftover chicken or turkey, I mess it up. Either it's too watery, or the pot boils dry, or something like that. Well, no more. I enlisted my crockpot, stuck the old bag of bones in it, covered it with water, and set it to high for 4 hours. My crockpot is kind of for dunces, too: the settings are 4 hrs on high, 6 hrs on high, 8 hrs on low or 10 hrs on low. In case you were wondering, here are some of the many uses for chicken stock:

-flavouring soups (and soup season is upon us, people! Bring on the root vegetables!)
-making chicken pot pie filling
-cooking rice/barley
-making gravy (for hot chicken sandwich leftovers, or homemade poutine)
-anything involving cooking something in water that would taste more delicious if chicken were involved

Also works for turkey, except it yields way more stock. I will be freezing mine once it's done in an hour.
Here's a cuter chicken that I would never roast:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sweater clinic

Hopefully, if all goes well, I will be headed out to knit night at my friend Jasmine's, for the first time in ages! I always get this desire to knit really warm things like sweaters, mittens and scarves in the fall, but this is the time to be wearing them, not knitting them. The thing is, who wants to settle in with a pile of wool in the sweltering heat of summer to have a new sweater come autumn? Not usually me. So before I cast on a new sweater (although I will probably do that, too), I examined the sweaters I have already knitted for myself. This took no time at all, being that there are only four of them:

The death jacket (actually a bed jacket, but it was nicknamed thusly by a friend after I explained that bed jackets were something an invalid or dying person would wear)

The off-shoulder sweater

The Vintage Cardigan:

The one I actually wear

My plan, during this year of no new yarn, even though I have enough yarn to make myself a couple of tops, is to figure out what exactly it is about the former three pieces that precludes me from wearing them, and fix that up. For instance, the off-shoulder sweater has too tight a cast-off at the neck, so it looks weird. And the collar isn't long enough to be worn as a cowl. Hence, I have an extra ball of the same yarn to add length to the collar so it can just be a cowl-neck sweater. I plan on seeking advice from a few fellow knitters (in person, but maybe on Ravelry later).

And now, to enjoy the day with family and friends, including a one-year-old chicken who loved her birthday cake!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the eve of baby D's first birthday

Our sweet baby D is about to turn one year old tomorrow! I've been thinking about her birthday party since the summer, and planning for a couple of months now. I got her presents, made invitations, knitted a hat, ordered balloons and, just tonight, bought her a dress. At the same time, I didn't want to go overboard, since her party is really for us. (I have it on reliable authority, as a former baby myself, that she will remember none of this.)

When I began shopping, I took issue with the kind of decorations I was expected to buy, if retailers are to be believed. Everything is Disney Princesses and Dora for girls, and Cars for boys. Sesame Street is considered gender neutral. The problem from where I stand is that these are all licensed characters and not particularly original. Otherwise, a local party store offered a pile of 1st-birthday-specific items (hats, streamers, banners, buttons, loot bags, etc), but only in pink or blue, and all fairly expensive. My only other option seemed to be to create my own theme, specific to Baby D, and shop around to find what I wanted. Here's where we ended up:

Theme: Sweet little chicken (one of our many nicknames for her)
Colours: Brown and pink
Invitations: Brown cardstock eggshells with white cardstock back, and stickers spelling out "Breaking News!" on the front (Dollarama, 7$ for 15 invites)
Decorations: Pink and brown helium balloons and streamers (Party Mart, 20$ for 2 rolls of streamers and 10 balloons); 32 handmade pink and brown paper chickens to be hung with clothespins and repurposed as thank-you cards (Dollarama, 1$); brown and white gingham tablecloth, pink napkins, white plates and white cups (Dollarama, 4$)
Food: Chicken nuggets, homemade potato wedges, veggie tray, pink cake with chocolate icing, Neapolitan ice cream and punch (Food Basics, prices to be determined)

Not including food or presents, this party has so far only cost me 32$. I'm okay with that. Also, I'm already considering a fall foliage theme for next year's party, since those colours are way easier to find at this time of year!

By the way, this is what D will be wearing to the festivities: