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Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Bus Stop

Shortly after school started last fall, and my eldest baby began leaving me every day, all day, I received a phone call from our the Transportation Division of our local School Board.  Would I be willing to have the bus stop moved to our house?  The words were not cold on her lips before I enthusiastically cried "Yes!"  I think she thought I must be a little over excited about this turn of events.  Let me begin at the beginning.

The original bus stop was a WHOLE TWO DRIVEWAYS AWAY.  A 100 or so meters at best.  An incredibly long trudge, I assure you.  But it wasn't really about getting E1 to the bus stop.  It was the dilemma of what to do with E2 and E3 that caused the morning and afternoon angst.  Generally, they were OK left by themselves for 5 minutes or so.  But then again, timing it so they were not left alone one minute longer became a serious issue.

So, one of the best things about our neighbourhood was when the family that used to have the bus stop moved, and a retired couple, who love their lawn a great deal more than I, moved in, and asked that the bus stop be removed from their home.  Hallelujah!

But, I have found, even better than that, is the increased sense of community.  Every morning, half a dozen or so parents meet with their wee offspring to wait for the bus.  On bad weather days, we wait in our garage.  In better weather, we all wait outside.  Either way, we catch up since we last met, compare notes on what our children's classes are doing (there are 5 kindergarten classes at our school), and generally hang out.  One family has a key that allowed them to come and check on Sir Winston when we got snowed in a couple of weekends ago, a full hour and a half away, so the poor little guy could get outside to pee instead of using a couch leg.  The now communal skating frame is kept in our garage, whose door is always open, so anyone can go skating on the pond that has formed on the empty lot behind us.  Some dad will always make sure the ice is clear, even if it takes a snow blower.

Today, for instance, we are all working our way through the Flu, Pt II, and bracing for The Storm of the Century, scheduled for this Wednesday.  Which also happens to be a PD Day at our school.  We make plans with each other to make sure every child has a place to go, compare illness notes, and get on with our day.

In short, our driveway/bus stop has become a little mini-community within our little subdivision community, which is a pretty awesome place to be.
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Friday, January 28, 2011

We Were Rockin'

Recently, we went to the Mickey's Rockin' Road Show.  My niece had been given tickets to take her cousins, her mother (my sister) and myself to the show at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.  Woohoo.  The day, of course, was bitterly cold.  Because any day I have to be outside on a pre-determined date, will be unseasonably cold.

After paying for parking at a creepy little trailer with a old man with his one arm in a sling and his good hand holding one of several cigarettes that had obviously been consumed in that tiny, unventilated space, we made our way inside.

The kids loved the show.  The costumes were fantastic, everything you would have expected from a Disney production.  We did have floor seats, but I think some of the rink-side seats would have actually provided a better vantage point.

Goofy and Sheldon came out to host the show

Daffy was there, too

The first half of the show, the characters went about collecting more Disney characters to be in a talent show.  They used this ingenious little car to get around

When they needed to get over some terrain that wasn't exactly tire friendly, they used the built-in hot air balloon option

Now don't we all wish we had one of these features, especially during rush hour?

Admittedly, during the Cinderella portions, E1 kind of faded a bit.  More than a bit, really.  More like laid his head on the back of the chair and stared at the ceiling for a while.  But the girls were enthralled

Cinderella's Fairy Godmother came along and performed a magical costume change.  It was so well done that my sister and I didn't even really see it happen, only the sparkly results.

We are guessing that it's somewhere in the smoke and the dancers.  Cinderella looked surprised, too

Now there's a trick I think I'd like to master - poof!  Clean change of clothes.  Until then, I guess I'm stuck using the Big Reds :)

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things about Today

E1 woke up and declared that his tummy hurt

We, his ever vigilant and sympathetic parents, shrugged it off.

We took him more seriously when he said he was OK with staying home and having a nap in the afternoon

We took him even more seriously when he told us the story of Mikey, a boy in his class, who didn't make it to the garbage can yesterday and spit all over himself and his daddy had to come and get him because he didn't have a change of clothes

The deal was sealed at 10:05 am, when he projectile vomited all over the hardwood, his socks, a teddy bear, a skipping rope, and his dad's old Optimus Prime.

For good measure, he repeated the performance while I was out walking Sir Winston.  This time, all over the couch, where his sister had very thoughtfully removed the protective blanket to keep it safe.

Next time, I think I'll just take his word for it.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dinner and the Tub

These are two totally unrelated topics, I know  But they both happened on the same day, so here they are.

My eldest requested waffles for his birthday.  Oblivious of other time constraints, or the surefire recipe I keep in my handy dandy little black book, I chose to go in search of something more exotic.  Five year old taste buds are very sophisticated, you know.

And that is when I found a recipe for Gingerbread Pancakes.  Oh, scrum!  Delicious, if not a little disconcerting, due to their excessively bubbly nature.  And so, I ploughed ahead.  The bowl looked something like this:

It's hard to see from here, but the batter bubbles up considerably.  Not to worry, it's supposed to do that

The end result is scrumdillyicious:

Further reading perusal led to a recipe for Buttermilk sauce.  Oh, shezam!  It can be stored in the fridge and then re-heated to a pourable consistency as needed.  If there are leftovers at all.  Again, the mid-point looks a little scary:

And with any good waffle meal comes sausage.  Of course.

Such a messy meal necessitated a trip to the tub.

Is this where I insert the 'good clean fun' line?

E3 especially loves the water.  And bubbles  And anything that involved E1 and E2.  This is pretty much nirvana for him.

Here, just a final parting shot.  They are all pretty much perfect, don't you think?

Gingerbread Waffles

⅔ c Brown Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs, Yolks And Whites Separated
1-½ c Buttermilk (or regular milk soured with vinegar)
½ c Molasses
6 T Butter
2 c Flour
3 t Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soda
2 t Ground Ginger
1-½ t Ground Cinnamon
½ t Salt
¼ t Ground Cloves
¼ t Ground Nutmeg
¼ t Ground Cardamom

Preparation Instructions

In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and egg yolks until smooth and creamy. Stir in buttermilk, molasses, and butter.
Into a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom.
In a glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks have formed.
Add liquid mixture into sifted dry ingredients and stir together. Fold in egg whites.

And the credit goes to:  Emily of One Lovely Life

Essential Buttermilk Syrup

½ c Butter
1 c Sugar
½ c Buttermilk
1 T White Corn Syrup
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

In a LARGE pot, combine butter, sugar, buttermilk, and Karo syrup, and bring to a boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add baking soda and vanilla. Mixture will fizz to TWICE THE SIZE or more, so make sure you use a good-sized pot! Set it aside to thicken while stirring occasionally. Pour over waffles, pancakes, and French toast to make them oh. so. much. better!

And the credit goes to:  Liza's Kitchen

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Saturday, January 15, 2011