Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Great Bake V

I managed to find time away from today's Iron Mom, dealing with my appliances and the related fall out to continue with a little baking. Since I'm on nights for the next two, I'm not sure how much more baking I can get done before our big thing this weekend. Nevertheless, we press on.

My mom used to make these every Christmas. The whole house would smell wonderful from the toasty coconut and almond flavours. She usually puts a small cherry bit on top of each mound, but I omitted that part this year. (Sean will be disappointed as he likes them to look like boobs.) I need my cherries for another recipe and quite frankly, I didn't feel like chopping the damn things up this morning. You can garnish as you will.

These lovely coconut confections are so seventies, and so very yummy. I've watched quite a few doubters as they take their first bite and then five minutes later I've had to smack their hands away from the tin. Don't worry loves, I can hook you up... the first one is always free.

Coconut Macaroons

You will need:

3 pkgs (200g ea.) flaked coconut
1 can condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C). In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut, milk, vanilla and almond extract, mix well. Drop by rounded spoonful onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake on middle rack of oven, 12 @ a time, 10-12 mins or until browned on the edges. Cool slightly. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes about 4 dozen.


Chocolate: Omit almond extract. Add 4 squares (28g ea) unsweetened chocolate, melted. Proceed as above

Chocolate Chip: omit almond extract. Add 1c mini chocolate chips. Proceed as above.

Coconut Macaroons
Lightly Toasty Coco-nutty Loveliness


Four bloody ingredients, does it get any simpler?

You will want to squish them together and mound them up a bit as they never seem to drop from the spoon intact. Again, I use parchment paper for everything which is handy for these as you don't want the bottoms to be anything more than slightly toasted.

My bed and then duty await.

Happy noshing.

"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may work." ~ Anonymous

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Great Bake IV

I'm taking a small break from what will now be referred to forever more as "The Christmas Light Catastrophe of 2009" whilst Honey goes to Canadian Tire again. I'm sure it will look lovely when we are done... next March.

Here's hoping that typing about my latest baking effort will bring the circulation back to my hands. Why I insist on puttering around outside in subzero weather in bare feet and Crocs is a totally different matter.

My mother made this recipe a lot when we were growing up. In high school, after I got my braces removed, they left me with a permanent retainer on the back of my bottom teeth. I permanently bent it out of shape eating these squares right out of the freezer. They are that good... and when I say good, I mean "OMG, I need insulin and my stomach pumped". Yes, that good.

Magic Cookie Bars

1/c butter
1 1/2 c graham wafer crumbs
1 can condensed milk
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c flaked coconut
1 c chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 325 degrees if using a glass dish. In a 13x9" baking pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle crumbs into butter, mix together and press into pan. Pour milk evenly over crumbs. Sprinkle with chips, then coconut and then nuts; press down firmly. Bake 20-30 minutes. or until lightly browned. Cool well before cutting. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Makes 24 bars

Magic Cookie Bars
These are Hubby's fave so far...


These should also be served only to people you like. Pressing down in the pan is important so that all the layers meld together a bit before you put it in the oven. Check it frequently, to make sure the coconut isn't getting too brown.

With any luck, I'll get to more tomorrow. However, with our current plans of "put up the tree", I highly doubt it. That never goes smoothly either.

"Broken cookies don't have calories" ~ Unknown

The Great Bake III

This one is a "two-fer"...

I have been looking for a good gingersnap recipe for a while... one that gives you the snap that you are looking for, but is safe enough for my kid to eat without crying. Like chilies, you really have to titrate the ginger to your own/your guests tastes... to me, what I made are wimpy as I cut the ginger a bit, but you can feel free to let her out to dance.

I have a fantastic Gingerbread Person recipe from my Aunt Linda, but that dough is a different consistency and made for rolling and cutting out. This is softer and chewier and fantastic with a cup of tea. I found this recipe somewheres on the in-tarwebs. If I find the link, I will post credit where due...

Gingersnap Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, vegetable shortening or margarine, room temperature
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses
2 1/4 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Granulated sugar (for rolling in)

Lightly grease or spray (with non-stick cooking spray) your measuring cup before adding the molasses. This prevents the molasses from sticking to the cup.

In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; stir or beat until well blended. Cover the dough and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls of dough into the granulated sugar, coating them thoroughly. Place balls, 3 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown (cookies will puff slightly and then collapse slightly, and tops will be covereed with little cracks). Remove from oven and cool on wire racks

(Makes 3 dozen or so)

Ginger Snaps
Mmm.... we're completely snap-happy here


The spacing on the pan is very important. These cookies spread a lot and you will be breaking them apart otherwise. I forgot that, so a few of mine have small break marks on one side. I used everyday sugar on them, so in low lighting, they twinkle. You can use a larger grain for really visible sugar.

My son won't leave them alone!

As promised, this installment is in fact, a two-fer. After Quinn went to bed last night, I made some Kentucky bourbon balls. Guess what I used for bourbon? ;) However, after the addition of Tennesee's finest and some Georgia pecans, I'm not sure what makes them "Kentucky" balls... food for thought over a glass of the amber nectar... These are a new addition to the recipe book this year and are an instant inclusion in my list of holiday classics. One year Vic and I made rum balls (I have a good recipe for that too), but it didn't make a lot for the effort put into it. To stretch it out, we rolled them small. Her husband Steve dubbed them "Christmas Pills", which they have remained since, despite how big I roll them. Well, if those are pills, these are certainly Mommy's Little Helpers. These should not be eaten and then get behind the wheel. These should not be given to those pregnant and breastfeeding. These should be served only to people you like, or better yet, hide them in the linen closet and use them to get through the holidays. Inlawsh? Wat inlawsh?

No Bake Kentucky Bourbon Balls

4 T unsweetened cocoa
2 c + 1/2 c powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 c good quality bourbon whiskey
1/4 c light corn syrup
2 1/2 c crushed vanilla wafers (cookies)
1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or hazel nuts)

In a large bowl, sift cocoa and 2c of the powdered sugar together. Add the whiskey and corn syrup; mix well until blended. Fold in crushed vanilla wafers and nuts and mix thoroughly.

Roll dough into small balls and then roll in 1/2 c powdered sugar. Store in an air tight container.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Yes, I have combined my love of chocolate and Jack. Help me.

Jeebus Crispy in a rowboat these are good! As you let them sit (if you can resist them that long), the booze will permeate throughout the cookie more and the white sugar will fade. I opened the tin this morning to take this shot and a snootful of deliciousness greeted my nostrils.

These may not make it to Christmas. I'm just throwing that out there now.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Great Bake II

As with most things, my first installment in the Great Bake of 2009 is useless without pictures.

This occured to me as I was carefully storing them in plastic containers to freeze. And it was night, and no natural light, so the pics are pretty useless too. C'est la vie. In any event, as I wait for my butter to come to room temperature to make some very snappy Ginger Snaps, this is how the Chocolate Drop Cookies turn out...

Chocolate Drop Cookies
Addictive lumps of chocolatey goodness.... *drool*

That night, I made a batch of old fashioned cornstarch shortbread. These are short. Very short. This recipe came to me from Karen Stadnyk, a nurse I used to work with on Mental Health Intensive and who now calls me occasionally in the MHESU to send me a "package" from Headwaters. I'll forgive her, if only because of these cookies.

Shortbread Cookies

1/2 lb butter
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c icing sugar
1 c flour

Beat butter until light and add remaining ingredients one @ a time, beating after each addition. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork.

Bake @ 300 degrees F for 30 mins

(Makes 3 dozen)

The extended baking time is assuming you make little squished balls. If you are like me and like actual cut out shapes you will want to chill the dough a bit and then roll it out 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick on a floured surface to cut them out and then put them on a pan. I also cook most of my cookies on parchment paper so that the bottoms don't get too brown from my "well loved" cookie sheets. Sprinkle on coloured sugar or add cherry bits or whatever your heart desires and bake for about 20 mins or less, depending on the thickness of the cookie and your oven.

Some of mine turned out a bit overdone (they should not be brown) as I forgot the less than 20 minute rule and the stars... well the dough got a bit too warm and the stars ended up looking like Patrick from SpongeBob. I separated what was a keeper and let my family eat the rest. Which they did... They descended on them like a pack of starving dogs.

Slightly Overdone Shortbread
Slightly overdone and wonky... will have to make another batch.

Ehhh... That's how the cookie crumbles, as they say.

Next up, ginger snaps...

"I always had the will to win. I felt it baking cookies. They had to be the best cookies anyone baked. " ~ Bette Davis

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pre-Schooler Christmas Activities

My son loves doing crafts. One of the biggest pieces of leverage we have these days is the threat of having his craft time taken away. Hey, whatever works...

The weather has been crappy and cold on our days off together recently, so naturally an indoor craft would be appropriate. Since Christmas is looming, why not a Christmas craft? It seemed pretty reasonable at first, until I started scouting around on the intar-weeb for some ideas.

Finding "crafts for preschoolers that hopefully won't be duplicated at day care that are cheap and easy for Christmas" is one hell of a search string. I found a few things, but for older kids. Quinn is three and although he thinks and acts like a 5+ year old most of the time, he still has the attention span of a three year old boy. Paper chains, although probably a necessity, are really hum drum and I'll leave the construction paper weirdness to daycare. I thought making little sled ornaments out of popsicle sticks would be cute, but as a word of caution do not attempt this craft! We got to learn about all sorts of fun things that day, like blood, where it comes from, new interesting words that Mommy shouted out at random... things like that. To add a little pressure to this, I had decided earlier in November that our family Christmas tree could go in the basement this year and Quinn and I could decorate a little tree in the living room... key point here... and make all the ornaments ourselves! What the hell was I thinking? Why do I do this to myself? And most importantly, where is Mommy's whiskey?

So, I scouted around some more, took an idea from here, stole an idea from there and these, so far, is what I've come up with. Setting up ahead of time really helped. I've also added a handy rating scale (out of 10) to help you out.

Pony Bead and Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes

You will need:
Pony beads (we used white with a few silver scattered in for fun)
pipecleaners (we used white)

Your turn: Wrap one pipe cleaner around another in the centre to make a + shape. Turn and repeat, wrapping each pipe cleaner tightly in the middle. You will end up with what looks like an 8 legged white spider.

Their turn: String the pony beads on the pipe cleaner stems, either in a pattern or at random.

Your turn: When you have reached the desired length for each stem, fold the end of the pipe cleaner around the last bead and tuck it in. To make the "hanger", make a loop on the last piece and wrap the end tightly under the loop to make a little noose. Hang on tree. Serve snack.

Preschooler Craft - Snowflake Ornament
Our snowflake ornaments...

Easy: 8 Awww: 7 Cheap: 10 Fast: 8 Clean: 8

Pony Bead and Pipe Cleaner Christmas Trees

You will need:
Green Pony beads (scatter in a few different coloured ones for the "ornaments")
Pipe cleaners (we used all green but you could use brown for the trunk, etc)

Your turn: Take one pipe cleaner and make a loop at the end, wrapping the end around the stem to make a little noose. Fold the length of the pipe cleaner back up to the noose, wrapping the end around the noose part again. You will now have a pipe cleaner, folded on itself, that is half the length and doubled so that it is twice as strong. Take another pipe cleaner, wrap it around the "trunk" and trim to the appropriate length. Repeat this step at least three times. Trim each level of pipe cleaner so that each "branch" level is slightly longer than the last.

Their turn: String the pony beads on the branches of the tree at random.

Your turn: When you reach the end of a row, take the end of the pipe cleaner and fold it over the last bead and tuck it in. When the tree is completed, shape it however you want and hang it on the tree. High fives all around.

Preschooler Craft - Christmas Tree Ornaments
Our Christmas Trees

Easy: 7 Awww: 7 Cheap: 10 Fast: 7 Clean: 8

Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes

You will need:
Red and white pipe cleaners
A couple of red or white beads for the ends.

Your turn: Wrap a red and white pipe cleaner together tightly at one end.

Their turn: Wrap the pipe cleaners around each other so it looks like a candy cane.

Your turn: Trim ends. Put a bead on the ends just to tart it up a bit and to hide the pokey bits. Hang on tree and admire your handiwork.

Preschooler Craft - Candy Cane Ornaments
Yay! Candy Canes!

Easy: 10 Awww: 9 Cheap: 10 Fast: 10 Clean: 10

More to come... other than a red and white paper chain and a pipe cleaner star that I threw together yesterday (based on the snowflake design), the tree is still mainly naked. Cute, but naked. Even with the (bastard!) popsicle stick sleds. We also have quite a few more Mommy and Quinn days until Christmas, so stay tuned.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great Bake

Oh Blogosphere, how long has it been?

Too long, by my records.

The garden eased it's way into fall nicely with the killer frost some time in October. Now with November's warm rainy weather (and I'm not complaining TOO loudly, mind!), all the bulbs I planted are starting to grow. My grass is still green. It's going to be an interesting winter.

November has almost slipped away and our minds have naturally turned to the upcoming Holiday season. In this house, that means Christmas. Lots of family, lots of stress, and most importantly, lots of $$$. Well, we have an abundance of the first two and very little of the last one. Try and act surprised at what you get this year, K?

Back in my days of yore, I used to bake everyone gifts. I love to bake and it provided a needed outlet from school and life stress. That eventually evolved into baking with others, splitting costs and having memorable visits with a few dear ones. I can still smell the shortbread in the air at Vic's old place in Newmarket as we cleaned up quickly to head outside for a sneaky smoke. I can also remember baking gingerbread with my Mother in law and laughing at each other's attempts as we tried to place teeny candies on each cookie. So many good memories, so much time has passed. The BFF now lives in Windsor with her delightful, raucous family and Marg is sadly no longer with us. Over the years I have baked less and less, spending what time I had on shopping, babies and getting Christmas dinner together for my immediate family. I think last year I made a batch of shortbread and a package of Pillsbury reindeer cookies. Yes, I had sunk to that level...

This year, Sean's Mom's family is trying something new. We're all convening in Kincardine before Christmas to have a meal and a visit with Grandma. Each family is assigned to bring something different; I got "a dessert tray of assorted cookies and squares". Once my initial panic settled down and I had consulted my schedule (I'm working actual Christmas this year and nights for the two weeks leading up to it) the (small!) sane part of my brain thought "F@#k it, I'll just go to a bakery". Sometime after I had considered all the functions we are invited to and the actual dinner I have to cook for my family, my pride welled up and throttled that small sane part of my prefrontal cortex. Bakery be dammed! Get the sifter honey, we's is havin' an old fashioned bake off!

But what to make? I do have an adventurous palate, but I recognize that many in my life do not. To be honest, I've almost had it with pretentious baking as well. Your poppyseed bran concoctions with lentil glaze and rice flour may taste good initally, but I'm tired of trying to be diet conscious, fat free and "healthy". It's a cookie dammit! It is supposed to have sugar and fat in it. Martha's OCD can also take a long hard one on my ever-widening ass. Her food is lovely but her recipes should include a crate of mood stablizers with each ingredient list. So, what to do?

In the last two weeks I've compiled a tome of my favourite recipes. Some are more homespun than others, granted, but they are all simple foods that are easy, reasonably inexpensive and can be made with one eye watching a small child. I've decided to get back to basics... no fondant, no exotic spices. Just old fashioned yummy treats that I and anyone else can whip up in no time flat. Some are childhood favourites, others I have picked up along the way from family and friends. Like the ornaments on my tree, each is a thread in the tapestry of my lang syne.

Today I made my first batch and started with the most simple and arguably the tastiest recipe of all. My Mom's chocolate drop cookies. If you really want the super slueth award, yes, there is fibre in them.

Chocolate Drop Cookies

(These take 5 mins to make)

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly:
1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter
6 T cocoa
2 c white sugar

Remove from heat and add:

3 c rolled oats
1c fine coconut
1/2 c walnuts (optional... I never add them)

Mix well and drop by teaspoon on waxed paper.

Does it get any simpler? One tip I will add: wait a few minutes before beginning to drop them onto the waxed paper. You want them gooey, not runny. In a few minutes they will harden into sweet chocolate loveliness. Hide them from your family. You will want to make a second batch to replace the one you just ate.

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o`clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap." ~ Al Hutchinson

I will add more (and images too) as time allows. I also have a series of pre-schooler crafts that at least a few of you will appreciate. Now if you will excuse me, it is time for a nap.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

September Garden Update

You know, I really did mean to update more often regarding the garden. Those of you that have access to my Facebook page have been kept a little more up to date photographically. But, time being what it is, eternally in short supply, here we are in the first week of September rehashing most of the growing season.

In my last update, June saw the recent creation of the new garden and many seedlings. July was a good growing month, despite all the rain and lack of sunshine. One of my favourite discoveries in July was my Himalayan Lilies... they were an intoxicating addition to the garden, if only for a short time. Red lily beetles became a real problem and I lost the battle with that one. If they (and the rest of my lilies) come up next year, I am well prepared to battle the little red buggers.

They've Finally Bloomed!
Himalayan Lilies

Once I got the twirly animal deterrants up, the corn had a chance to grow. In July, the garden made leaps and bounds with all the humidity.

Yummy greenery

What a Difference!
Corn as high as a preschoolers eye...

You can see my crazy dasies there in the foreground. I will either have to remove them all together or dial them back significantly next year as they threatened to take over the whole flower garden.

Crazy Daisies
Crazy Daisies

My pots on the front porch also took off in July. The nicotiana, slow to start, did catch up and offered up some breathtaking colours (and scents!).

Lime Nicotiana

August brought some sunshine and some sorrow. The sun finally did come out and we had many warm sunny days to advance our growing. By August 14, the corn was as high as an elephant's eye, we had eaten two "taster" cobs already, the cucumbers had produced half a dozen full size cucumbers (yum!) and the tomato plants needed more support as they were just laden with green tomatoes. You can also see the addition of the Echinacea, which as of this writing are still blooming, albeit near the end of their time.

Not to be outdone, are the tomato plants.
The corn is higher than the fence!

The sunflowers began to bloom shortly after this. They are simply gorgeous, although a shorter variety than I was anticipating. Next year I plan to plant a taller variety as a backdrop to some of the flower gardens. Who knows... maybe I'll surround the front porch in them. The bees will keep away unwanted salespeople while friends and family can use the side door. Ok... maybe not...

Jerusalem Gold Sunflower
Jerusalem Gold Sunflower

Near the end of August, I went outside to harvest a few cobs of corn for dinner and found all my hard work destroyed. It seems raccoons (or possibly squirrels) got to the corn first and stripped it clean. I was devestated as I had to pull out all the broken stalks and clean up the mess that they had made. I planted carrots in their stead and transplanted a few black cherry tomato plants that my Mother had sent home; hopefully there will be enough time for them before the first frost. I had to redo my chive/onion trick to keep the animals from digging up the carrot seeds. Needless to say, "varmint" may be on the menu soon.

Chewed Cob
The flies add that extra sense of pathos...

In the meantime, I've harvested quite a few cherry tomatoes, both Ildi and Tiny Tim. Aside from munching on them whenever I pass the bowl, I've made two small tomato vinegrette and feta salads with them. They are sweet and fantasitc. I also have two green peppers on my counter awating my tastebuds... I may just slice those up and eat them raw.

Next on the garden menu? Hopefully my beefsteak tomatoes will ripen in time for us to have a true Tomatopia (I love them fried for breakfast!). I have quite a few peppers on the vine and my Butternut squash vines seem to have finally taken off. Peeping under the leaves yesterday, I was delighted to see two tiny squash starting to grow! There are a few more cherry tomatoes left to go and the cucumbers may give up a few more before completely shutting down. I'm also looking for some morning glory blossoms... the vines have completely taken over the one side of the Zeebo, but alas, no blooms as of yet. My beans are also far from done yet, so I look forward to a few more of those.

There is still a lot of life in the garden yet before the first frost. Despite the little setbacks, I am still looking forward to what is yet to come.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mystic Summer 2009

Just a quick entry here... have a few more things to update.

Two weekends ago saw our happy band trekking northeasterly to visit my parents. Summer had finally decided to show up, so it was very warm and sunny and perfect to be at the lake. There were quite a few lilies around; if you know anything about me by now, you'll know I can never refuse a water lily.

Watercolour Waterlily
Watercolour Waterlily... it had to be done, ok?

The dragonflies didn't let me down either, as I captured a blue widow skimmer on Mom's hydrangea bush and one of the little zippy red ones (I'm not sure what kind they are) on one of the tomato cages on the "upper" garden. For the record: Dad made those tomato cages out of rebar wire when I was in 5 or so. They are rusted hulks, but still going.

Blue Widow Skimmer
Blue Widow Skimmer

Red Dragonfly Macro
Red Dragonfly Macro

Quinn had a fantastic time splashing in his little wading pool. It's amazing how something as simple as a plastic squeeze bottle and a pail and shovel can keep a preschooler busy for hours. Just add water.

Exploring Fluid Dynamics
Exploring Fluid Dynamics

When he grew tired of that, he insisted we go in the lake. I'm glad he did. He and I had a great time splashing about and keeping cool. The water was warm and felt like silk. After lunch we went back in and my Mom joined us for an unprecedented dip.

More Mommy and Quinn
It's a big lake for Mommy and Quinn

Three Generations Swim
Mom joined us for a swim. Seriously... I don't think this has ever happened before.

Quinn was exhausted! After refusing a nap and spending a chunk of the morning and a good portion of the afternoon in or around the water, he did not have the energy to walk back to the house. Daddy was only happy to oblige.

Dad's Got it Covered
Got boy... got beer. Basics covered...

We had a fantastic day... topped off by an enormous paella. My Dad had picked up an enormous cast iron pan at a yard sale (it's almost the size of a stovetop) and has been itching to make one for a while. It was a mixed paella; it had shrimp, chicken, spicy sausage, loads of tomatoes, hunks of roasted garlic, peppers, bomba rice and spices grown in the garden. We were in hog heaven! After a day of swimming, we started out with wine and salty snacks (kalamata olives, crackers, cheese, pickled roasted peppers) and then feasted. I stopped after seconds, but I saw a few thirds go around. There was still enough left in that huge pan for Mom and Dad to have leftovers for dinner the next night and we brought home a container as well. It and the wine went down very well... Mmm.... I'm hungry just thinking about it.

After dinner, Sean and I had a little fire. The parents stayed up in the house with Quinn and we trundled down lakeside for my annual pyro fest. Seriously, it's a family joke at this point. I got some interesting shots while poor Sean nodded off. It had been a long day of beer consumption for him. Here are a few of my favourites.





It was a good visit. I hope to get back up there in September, but I'm not sure how feasable that will be with our new scheduling and whatnot. This may be our last Mystic Summer, so I hope we can make it possible.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Point Farms 2009

After the success of last years 'venture, we wanted to go camping at least once this summer. All year, Quinn would recount his trip in a typical preschooler way; random events at random intervals. He remembered "eating cheeseburgers in the blue house" and of course, "the beach!". In fact when we moved into our new house last November, he spent months playing "beach" in the basement on our sandy coloured Berber. He'd whip his shirt off and pretend to build castles and pretend to splash around in the water. How could we not go?

I had originally envisioned just the three of us, but I came home from work one day to find out that the BFF and husband had hatched a plan for all of us to go! Great! There were only two small problems with that scenario however: 1) We all have hellish schedules (especially them) and 2) Did I mention that Vic HATES camping? I must admit I was kinda puzzled at first myself, since she's more of a five star hotel in the tropics kinda gal. The poolside chick with the cats eye sunglasses and impeccable pedicure who's waving around a margarita as she's instructing the poolboy to rub her feet? That's my girl. But, as she explained to me later, it's really for the kids and I'm the only person she knows who would go camping with her and still talk to her afterwards. Ok, fine then... we're going camping.

Once again, we started this process late and had a bit of a time trying to book a site at a camp that was approximately halfway between Brampton and Windsor. Point Farms had been a consideration last year when we tried to plan this joint venture and they actually had some sites left. After pouring over the maps, we picked our site, booked it and started planning our woodsy getaway.

Thankfully, we were still well stocked (gear-wise) from last years shopping trips and I was delighted to find that all the camping stuff was not buried in the garage as I had feared. There were a few changes this year to consider... Quinn is three now and is far too big for his playpen. We would have to pick up a sleeping bag and air mattress for him. There was also the potty to consider. He's also a lot busier these days, so we would have to bring more things for him to do. That included "rainy day" activities; although I'm pretty lucky with the weather when we are camping, there is always that possibility of spending a very long afternoon in a soggy shelter with a bunch of whiny kids. I went to the dollar store and picked up some crayons, markers, age appropriate colouring books, stickers and temporary tattoos for the kids, just in case of a washout. We also found cheap bag of toys with some plastic balls, some jai alai scoops, horseshoes and badminton racquets and (one of my favourite words!) shuttlecocks. Perfect!

In all our planning, I kept reasurring Sean (perhaps erroneously) that we would have more room in The Aforementioned Ion. We were minus one playpen, but plus one potty... minus a bunch of blankets, but plus one sleeping bag/mattress combo. Our friends were bringing half the food...we would do a liquor run in Goderich... we were plus more toys but minus more diapers and the like. I felt it would balance out and we would not have to resort to making jerky out of our clothes again.

Well, I was wrong. I'll admit it. We opted at the last minute to use our huge suitcase for all our clothes and the car ended up being loaded to the roof again.

Are we there yet?
"Are we there yet?" A sleepy boy in the driveway...

The trip down was a bit hairy as we opted for the 401 route to Stratford and then up. It was supposedly the faster route, but I have to say, I'm not a fan. We got there in just under three hours and set up our tent under two beautiful beech trees. Yeah, I know, +1 for shade but -a million for common sense in a lightning storm. My theory was that there were way taller trees around that would be hit first. Luckily we didn't have to test my theory.

We had the first night to ourselves and once set up, whomped up some bacon wrapped tenderloin, rice and carrots. Yum... Everything tastes better outside. After breakfast, a trip to Zellers to get Mommy a new chair (don't ask!) and a bit of a nap the next day (Quinn and I had a hard time sleeping due to our respective throat infections), Vic, Steve and the kids arrived and set up their camp.

Welcome to Camp Logan-Lehmann!
Welcome to Camp Logan-Lehmann! Yes, that is Vic on her cellphone...

Now there were two things to consider... one, we had 7 people and the site was max. 6. My argument there is that my kid doesn't count as he still gets in free a lot of places. Two, we had one more "shelter" on the site than allowed. Both are fine-able, both could get us kicked out. But, we hid the boys little tent behind the big one and I was prepared to hide a kid if need be. Devious, yes... but if you had seen some of the sites I've seen where you can't move for tents and there's a ton of people and kids running around... forgeddaboutit! To the beach!

By this point in our trip, Sean and I could not help comparing the two parks. MacGregor had bigger sites that were, on the whole, more private. Point Farms was busier and had a lot more yelly kids. Both had trails, the one behind our current spot apparently lead to Mordor.

The Trail of Doom
Seriously... I would not even go down there with two brave hobbits and an elf.

The trip to the beach is what did us in. Point Farms is touted as being "perched on a bluff that offers spectacular views of the blue waters and beautiful sunsets of Lake Huron." I guess the old neurons weren't firing as I thought "hill" and was therefore not expecting an endless descent down an Escherian staircase to presumably, Purgatory. I was pooped by the time we got to the bottom (it was also a million degrees out), but was much better after a dip in the freezing waters of Lake Huron and soaking in the scenery for a while.

Lake Huron
Lake Huron with a bit of a breeze. The beach was fantastic and you could almost forgive the Baatan Death March to get there...

It really wasn't too much of a stretch the next day to agree to Sean's suggestion that we drive down to the beach. Especially since he had to carry Quinn on his shoulders all the way back up those stairs.

One of my work friends had cautioned me that the undertows were wicked if there was even a bit of a breeze. Quinn had quite a few unexpected duckings, and I nearly lost him at one point. We were in calf deep water (for me) and a big wave came along and snatched him right out of my hand. I must have had him a few seconds later, but it seemed like an eternity while I terrifiedly watched him speed away from me, face down under the surface of the water. It took a couple of tries to get him back (as the waves were still knocking me over) but I finally hauled him up, sputtering. His first words after I had pounded the water out of him, all the while walking to shore were "No Mommy!! I want to swim some more!! I had to reassure my little trooper that we would go back in, as soon as Mommy was convinced she wasn't having an MI.

Quinn in the Surf
It was almost impossible to keep him out of the water!

There was a lot of nature to see... beautiful trees, chipmunks, squirrels and yes, even my much hated raccoons. They were awful at MacGregor Point last year, but other than a few sightings deep in the woods at night (and an obvious set of footprints), we didn't see much of them.

Nightly Visitor
Rocky says hi...

We were in bear country, so we were extra careful about our scraps and whatnot, and the food went in the trunks of the cars at night. There was a bit of an awkward moment when one of the kids asked me what all the ropes hanging from the high branches at all the sites were for... but I answered them truthfully and nobody had a freakout (they're for hanging your food packs, in case you are wondering... keeps them away from the bears). We saw one skunk during our last campfire... that pretty much did Vic in. However, he stayed away from us and we got to enjoy our last night under the stars.

Rising Moon
Moon Rise... Look Ma! No Tripod!

Overall, I think we all had fun (even Vic). Yes, camping is a lot of work, but it appeals to me so much more than hanging poolside with piles of narcissistic plastic. The fresh air, the quiet, the birdsong, the stars... it all stills the mind and enriches the soul. Even sleeping in a tent... it's like being a kid again. Everything is so simple when you are camping. It's a wonderful retreat from this ridiculously complicated world that we live in.

I'd go to Point Farms again... I didn't get a chance to wander the old barn and check out some of the old gnarled orchards. I would have also liked to go down to the beach to see the sunset. The beach itself is simply fantastic, but I think I'd camp closer or perhaps drive to it again.

And bathe. I think I'd do that at least once next time. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Funniest Email in a Long Time

Shout out to Skye for sending me this! I thought I was going to actually fall of the chair laughing.
"This is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to an American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women.

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants...
Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick freak, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local WalMart armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out of your ass man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong.'

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit.
And that's a promise I will keep. Always.


Wendi Aarons Austin , TX"


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Best News All Week

I'm in a little bit of a celebratory mood.

Not only did the surgery go well (and my nose is looking even better than it did yesterday), I got some good news regarding Moley.

On dissection, it was found to be an interdermal nevus, not basal cell carcinoma. So in other words, just a mole. (In the handy little reference I've linked above, it specifically mentions these nevi being mistaken for that type of skin cancer.)

It's a little bit of a happy ending to a stressful couple of weeks.

Still, you should wear your damn sunscreen. :)

Moley, Moley, Moley - Surgery Update - A Stitch In Time - The Best News All Week

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Stitch in Time...

Just a few shots of the healing process...

I did a few more self portraits 4 days post-op. You can really see that it has started to heal very nicely

Post-Op Day 4 (Crop)
Day 4 Crop

Post-Op Day 4
Day 4

You can see the marks that the bandages were leaving on my face. I was afraid that the rest of the skin around the site would start to break down, but luckily it did not.

Today I got the stitches out. My surgeon was very pleased with my progress. So am I; I can't believe it's the same nose.

7 Days Post Op - Crop
7 days post-op

Has it been a week already?
Complete with "after work shook out ponytail hair". Please do not feed the hair...

I was advised that none of the "scar reducing creams" would do any good. Instead, I should apply a moisturizer and stimulate the circulation in the area by rubbing it in small circles. Also, to ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN and makeup with an SPF. Roger Wilco, Dr. Ma'am!

It still aches a bit (and having the stitches removed was not pleasant), but I'm glad that it's all over. I'm looking forward to what it will look like in 6 months or so. I'm also looking forward to maybe some pictures of myself with makeup on... Eek!

Moley, Moley, Moley - Surgery Update - A Stitch In Time - The Best News All Week

Monday, July 6, 2009

Drinkin' and Swearin'

I swear a lot.

A fuck of a lot.

Most people swear, I know, but I like to think of myself as a vulgarian. One of the last True Vulgarians. My friend Tracy and I are the last of this dying breed; we string together profanity as naturally as a stoned hippy strings beads. Not many people live in a Cockafuckatropolous, but by god, I do.

I have come by my swearing honestly enough: Dad was an electrician and dabbled a bit with the profanity himself. He once called my brother a "Bastardass" and liked to come out with things like "Holy Jumpin' Syph'd up Christ!" Truly, the genes come from his side. Nursing brought me to a whole new level of profanity. I didn't start using the "C" word (yes, THAT one!) until I became an RN... now I let it fly with an alarming frequency. I used to go into the med room and kick things and swear my head off. Now I have my "own" office. Unfortunately, there is a big window and some of my patients can read lips. Whatfuckingever.

Now I'm a MOM. I tried really hard when he was a baby to tone it down, but I always managed to rationalize it by "he's too little to understand". Now he repeats things like a demented parrot and I'm still trying to clean up my act. The other morning at breakfast was a perfect example. Hubby made Eggs Benny (yay!) and the Hollandaise ladle was there for any takers. Quinn gave it a good go and then offered what was left to his Dad. "Lick it, Daddy!", he said, innocent eyes shining. "Yeah! Lick it up, Bitch!" is what flew out of my mouth.

It hung in the air like a shot duck before it plummeted to the table. Without missing a beat, my son said "Yeah Daddy! Lick IT UP BITCH!!". Yes he did. My darling little cherub, with his eyes still shining, repeated it at the top of his lungs, with the window open. Over and over and OVER again for no kidding, 20 mins.

He already calls Schoolhouse Rock "The Grown Up DVD". When Children's Aid finally comes to the door, I know how this is going to play out... He learned the phrase "lick it up bitch" from Mommy and Daddy and then we all sat down to watch the grown up movie. We're fucked.

I can't drink that much any more, but you better believe that there are days when it calls. Loudly. That's why I was so happy to find my latest addition to my recomended read list: Moms Who Drink and Swear. It started out as a Facebook group (one that I will be as sure-as-shit joining as soon as I get home) and swelled quickly to the monster it is now. It is funny. There are T-shirts.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Surgery Update

Yesterday we bid adieu to the lump on my nose.

After almost missing my call in (I was zoned out listening to Dark Side of the Moon), they escorted me into one of the day surgery suites. Everything was going swimmingly... the surgeon drew all over my nose, we chatted... and then she shoved what felt like a tree trunk into my face.

I am no stranger to pain; I live with it daily. For the record, however, having the local anesthetic applied was the worst pain I have ever felt, bar none! Worse than the C section, worse than a tattoo, worse than the kidney stones... combined! When you get hit in the nose, you see stars; I saw through time. It was awful and lasted over a minute and a half. Thank goodness for Lamaze breathing and Bach! She slid the needle under the skin over and over, liposuction style and then jabbed it in my nose in various spots. Yeeeooowch! Once the blessed numbness came, the rest was a cakewalk.

I had a moist towel over my eyes to protect them from the light. It slipped a bit over my right eye, so I got to see most of the surgery. I chose to avoid the mole removal part, but was facsinated by the repositioning of bits of flesh to patch the hole. It was amazing to watch her needle flash as she created what is currently Franken-nose.

Up Close and Personal
One day post-op. I dare you to post your blackheads on the internet...

I was out and down in MHESU calling home in less than 45 mins. Truly amazing. I was sporting (and will be for a while) one of those four-prong knuckle bandages on my nose. That's it.

I tried to take a few more raw self portraits this morning, if only for the sake of documentary. It was a bit challenging as my smile is still crooked due to the swelling (that, and I have yucky morning hair).

The Harsh Light of Morning...  :)
Ahhh... The harsh light of morning...

I go back to work tonight... so it should be interesting to see the reactions to the giant bandage on my nose. The official story is "bar fight". I may use "Pier six brawl" or "slobberknocker" as well.

Grrr! (The obligatory shot...)

I'm to keep Polysporin (and a bandage if I wish) on it until I see her next Tuesday to get the stitches out. It still aches a bit, but haven't taken any pain meds since last night. I'm sure I'll tuck my T3's into my purse for tonight, just in case. With any luck, it will be a quiet night.

Or at least, I won't get hit in the face...

Moley, Moley, Moley - Surgery Update - A Stitch In Time - The Best News All Week

Monday, June 29, 2009

Moley Moley Moley...

I'm sitting here at the computer, on my third Floyd Album, just trying to main-taaaiin.

It was a lousy weekend at work. The busy kind of lousy, not the dangerous or the incident ridden kind. Too many MHA apprehensions, too many crackheads. God, I love the crackheads; always a cheery smile and a flattering appraisal of you and your gifts. They are nature's way of keeping you humble, really. Now that its summer again, the rain keeps washing them up to the front door.

I looked at myself in the mirror when I got up today and saw an old woman. I've seen her before, in flashes, but Time is rapidly becoming that frienemy who tells y'all that my ass looks fat in these pants. My acne however, helps me keep my youthful glow. Ugh.

Since I had Quinn, the mole population on my body has exploded. Some are skin tags that my son helpfully rips off once and a while, some are sun damage spots. (Ok, a lot are sun damage spots. I spent many years a sun bunny and quite a few in tanning salons.) I've had a few moles for a long time, one of which started out as a small spot on my nose in my middle to late teens. For years, people mistook it for a piercing (including my own father, who, I will add, has a mole in the same spot). I really didn't spend too much time correcting them. I've even been known to dab a little sparkle on it before I go out. It has gotten noticibly larger over the last few years and I've toyed with the idea of getting it zapped off. Like everything else, it got sidelined for more important things.

A few weeks ago I lightly rubbed my itchy nose and my hand came away covered in blood. Upon examination, the mole had begun to tear away from my nose and was bleeding profusely. It healed pretty quickly, but I headed to my family doc to see if he could rip it off for good. If I missed it, I was gonna get that piercing.

My family doctor referred me to a plastic surgeon on the 19th, who took one look at it, measured it and sat down to have "the talk" with me. My mole, as it turns out, is not a mole. It is skin cancer. Specifically, basal cell carcinoma.

A Self Portrait.
An honest self-portrait...

Now, in all fairness, to activate the logic based defense mechanisms, if you are going to get skin cancer, this is the one to get. It's generally non-invasive and usually easy to fix with surgery. The non-logic parts of my psyche would like to remind you that it is still cancer. They would also like to add that after the thyroid and the cervix, this would be my third brush with this word.

My plastic surgeon (I just love saying that) went on to describe some sort of flappy closure thing that they would do to fill in the hole with skin from the side of my nose. I told her at the time that I didn't care what she did as long as I didn't end up with Michael Jackson's nose. (Oh settle down, he was still using it at the time.) She added that it would probably take a very long time to heal, probably upwards to a year and that there would be a bump there and it could look like a small bit of swelling. She also added that if I had still been a smoker, it would probably never heal. Good to know.

So, tomorrow morning, I go to day surgery for a little bit and get it over with. I'm sure it will go fine and I'll spend the afternoon on painkillers eating KD and watching cartoons. I'm returning to work Wednesday night with a few exceptions. The surgeon was horrified (as people usually are) when she found out what I do for a living, so she added a few disclaimers. Stuff like "try not to bend too much", and my all time favourite, "Don't get hit in the face".

I'll try not to.

Moley, Moley, Moley - Surgery Update - A Stitch In Time - The Best News All Week

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Garden Update

I was updating my Flickr page today with some new photos of the garden in preparation for this entry and I realized that my garden has really changed in the last month. I've been frustrated with it at times... especially when I would go out in the morning and find something savaged by a squirrel or bird. I've replanted my sunflowers several times and had to replant and reseed a few other things. I still haven't gotten any squash to sprout. However, my tomatoes have really grown and what corn wasn't pulled out is doing very well. The rest has to just catch up a bit.

Tomatopia: Ildi and Tiny Tim.

My cucumbers are doing well. My plan is to grow them up the gazebo once they get going. My leftover tomato and pepper plants seem to be doing very well too.

Busy Corner
Salad Bush Cucumbers, Peppers, Big Beef Tomatoes and Oregano

The new vegetable garden needed a few additions. Since the birds and squirrels keep having a go at it, I decided to fight back. I went to the dollar store and spent $20 on twisty, flappy, noisy things that would move in the wind and generally keep the critters out of my corn. So far so good. Quinn thinks they are marvellous.

On Guard
Motion Sensor Guard Froggie

All in all, it's coming along. You can see one variety of lettuce is doing pretty well, while the other is busy annoying the hell out of me (I grew both in a box on a balcony last year without much light and they did fine, so I have no idea why ideal conditions are not working for it). You will also notice a lot of specks in the garden; those aren't weeds, rather they are bits of chives and onions that I chopped up to help with the pest control. It worked pretty well actually until I was able to hit the dollar store for my whirly treasures.

Coming along...
It's coming along...

I noticed on the way to work tonight that one of my planter boxes on the porch is sporting a few lobelia flowers. I look forward to the nicotiana and asters blooming as well. I planted some morning glory seeds in a cedar barrel a few days ago and they are already a few inches high (they are destined to grow up the side of the zeebo). I'm also pleased that my lawn is looking a lot less patchy these days... you can add watering the lawn to my list of simple pleasures. For some reason, after a busy night shift, it's very soothing to go out and water everything. I'm so tired by that point that my mind stops whirling and I can listen to the birds and the windchimes and really hit that state of zen before going to bed. I look forward to doing that tomorrow (well, today)...

I know, it's not one of my more exciting notes... but then again, you're probably not a gardener. :)

"Garden writing is often very tame, a real waste when you think how opinionated, inquisitive, irreverent and lascivious gardeners themselves tend to be. Nobody talks much about the muscular limbs, dark, swollen buds, strip-tease trees and unholy beauty that have made us all slaves of the Goddess Flora." ~Ketzel Levine's

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adventures with Quinn

“Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world.” -- Sylvia Plath

It was a big weekend at our place.

For months now, we have been preparing Quinn for the eventual disappearance of his bottles ("babas") and soothers ("tookies"). He's over three now, and I know he's way old for both in some circles. In our defence however, the bottle at night and sometimes one in the morning were tools that helped combat the absentee mother. Let's face it, 12 hour shiftwork does not make for consistant parenting. He's up early in the morning, stuffed with breakfast, quickly dressed and in the car before he has a chance to really wake up most days. It's not easy for me, let alone a pre-schooler. The tookies had been relegated solely to nap and bedtimes and only at home, not at daycare. He can drink from a cup and sleep without a soother... it was time for them to go.

The "Soother Fairy" was a stroke of genius from the BFF. Her daughter Erin (of kitty cat pancake fame) had difficulty letting go of her soothers as well, until one day, the Soother Fairy came and took them away. I can't remember if she left presents or if she gave the soothers to less fortunate children or what... I just remember it made it easier than having her beloved pacifiers just disappearing one day or some of the awful things I've heard over the years. Things like; "You're too big for that", "Only babies need those. Are you a sucky baby?" to me are just mean, but then again, so is "the dog ate them" (I heard that from a mother in a store one day) or the direct "I threw them in the garbage". The Soother Fairy would have to put our family on her list.

We started small with Quinn. We explained that the "Tookie" Fairy took the soothers and the bottles away. This rattled around in his head a bit unil he would say, at random, often to complete strangers "The Tookie Fairy takes away the bottles and the tookies, for babies!" (we added a little bit of social consciousness in there, as the Tookie Fairy does like to help the less fourtunate). She evolved in his mind as time went on. I personally don't know what she looks like, but "She's a real girl Mom! A nice girl. And beau-ti-ful!" After a few months, it was time for her to put in an appearance.

But what could she leave in their stead? Daddy-o and I have been checking out wagons for over two years now, pricing this one above that, checking out durability, weight ratings, customer reviews... it's insane, really. I think we spent less time checking out our car. I found one recently that would suit our needs. Unfortunatly, it's a little costly and I would still have to custom order the canopy for it (remember: my son and husband need an SPF rating of "asbestos" to go out in the sun). Luckily, my frequent searches of Kijiji would pay off; there was a lady not too far from us that was selling a "gently used" one for half the price. Sold!

Daddy-o got an email on Friday: the Tookie Fairy was going to be in town over the weekend. Saturday, we got another email, letting us know that she would be visiting us that night. Quinn wasn't all that happy about it, but he had his last "bedtime baba" and helped Mommy put out all the bottles and baby-ish sippy cups and his beloved tookie on the counter. It was a restless night, punctuated with a lot of sadness from my son, but it had to be done.

Sunday morning, Quinn awoke early and we went downstairs together. The bottles were gone! In the living room however, was a wonderful red wagon. He was very pleased... so much so in fact, that he would not stop playing with it and even ate his breakfast in one of the comfy red seats. Before we headed outdoors for our "adventure", he had already been "camping" with Bear, been to the moon twice, and had a Wonder Pets adventure where they saved some poor creature from imminent doom.

I Has a Wagon!
I has a wagon!

Our first adventure of the day was a walk around our neighbourhood. Since we moved in at the end of November, we haven't been out walking around much, I must confess. It was fun trundling along, checking out all the pretty flowers in the neighbourhood and ending up at the park.

Because That's How I Roll...
Because that's how I roll...

It turned out to be a surprisingly nice day. Surprising only as The Weather Network was evidently on crack again as it had advised rain for five days straight. The sun came out as we reached the park and we had fun climbing and trying out some of the "bigger kid" stuff.

Lonely Boy
Lonely boy on the swings... Awww!

When we got home, it quickly became apparent that napping was out of the question. Tookie withdrawl, I would imagine. After several failed attempts, we went outside to play. There he discovered another new addition to the yard, a sandbox courtesy of Skye and Erik. It's a double sided thing, one for water and one for sand and that's how it started out. It ended completely different tho' and Quinn spent a glorious hour and a half making mudpies, islands and himself a delightful mess.

He got a whole lot muddier before he was through, trust me!

Quinn was soaked and sandy from his head to his toes by the time he was done. One change of clothes, a cup of milk and an episode of Thomas later, he was an unconscious heap on the couch.

All in all, it was a weekend of discovery. I know there have been many like this before and we have many more to come... this weekend just seemed special. I guess it is one more step towards child instead of baby. It is also a little more freedom for he and I; since we have moved away from using the stroller, it will be easier to use the wagon for our "store adventures". I also discovered something about myself... it wasn't just him clinging on to his tookies and babas. My little baby is very much a little boy and he's growing up way too fast. He will be doing so many more amazing things before we know it.

Maybe our next adventure will be potty training. One can only hope.