Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Fun

My grandkids here in Edmonton are on spring break this week and are bored already.  Since I won't be here with them at Easter, I decided to spend half a day with them doing Easter crafts. 

So eight of them gathered at Sara's house and I arrived with my goodies in hand, and the fun (and mess) began.  They ranged in age from 3 to 10.

We started with the messiest craft first - making Easter eggs by winding yarn around inflated balloons and coating them with ModPodge.  sticky, sticky, sticky.  And I forgot to take pictures of the finished products.  Oh well!  This one was a challenge.

Elly very carefully coated her balloon with ModPodge

Kenzie, with her wrapped balloon, all ready for the final coat of ModPodge

Charlie, always the clown, pretended to eat her partially wrapped balloon.

While I cleaned up that mess and had the 'eggs' hanging to dry, the kids colored Easter pages that I had printed out for them.

Sydney working carefully on her picture.

Charlie, Kenzie, Elly and Syd working on the kitchen island.

Our next craft was to make pretzel treats using pretzels, melting candy, and Smarties (M&Ms)  The kids loved this one, sneaking bits of candy into their mouths when they thought I wasn't looking.

Happy kids on a sugar high.
Aidan, Elly, Tate, Quinn
Kenzie, Charlie, Max, Sydney
While the 'big kids' went downstairs to dance off some energy, the little ones stayed with me and we stuck glue dots and tape on hard boiled eggs and dipped the sticky dotted parts in fine glitter to make pretty pastel eggs. 

Elly and Aidan with their eggs. 
 The pretty sparkly dots don't show up here but trust me, they were cute.

Quinn was very serious about getting her dots on just
right and using all the colors of sprinkles.
They loved doing this and we used all the eggs before the big kids came back upstairs.  It's all right though because by then it was time for Amy's kids to go home, and an exhausted Grammie left soon after.

A fun way to spend a day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Spring Everyone!

Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it...polar bear it, that is.

Today is the second official day of spring.  Here in Alberta it's the second coming of winter...without its ever having left us.

We are in the midst of the worst snow storm of the 2012-2013 winter season, and it's not even winter anymore, officially.

Here are some shots I've copied from the local news stations...

This is taken just south of Edmonton on the QE2 highway.  There was a 60 car pileup, including semi tractor trailers, cattle trucks and every other type of vehicle imaginable.  30 people were taken to the hospital, none with really serious injuries, thank goodness.   

Same highway, same general location.  At one point the RCMP had to close the QE2. People were stranded for 3 hours or more until it was safe to move on.  One of the east/west highways was also closed.  City police reported, at last count, 132 accidents in the city.

 This next one was taken by my friend, Mickey, in her back yard.  The picture isn't fuzzy...the snow was coming down so hard that it's very visible in the air.

Edmonton is classed as a 'winter city' and as such, Edmontonians are generally resigned to the fact that we have long winters and learn to love tolerate the snow and enthusiastically resign themselves to participating in appropriate winter events, namely shoveling snow, pushing cars out of snowbanks, skating, skiing and hockey.  But when winter extends, and worsens, into spring, it's hard not to feel a bit frustrated and put upon. 

The snow seems to have stopped now (just after midnight) and we'll have a few days of sub-zero temperatures but then it'll warm up and by the end of April we should have the first few flowers of spring.  Unless it snows again.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Comfort Food

Yesterday was a day for comfort food.  Lloyd spent the afternoon helping our son Rob and his family move to their new house.  He was heading north the next day (today) and we had a quiet evening at home planned.  So while he was with Rob, I spent the afternoon preparing our favorite comfort food meal.

Boston Baked Beans, Scalloped Potatoes, and Ham

What is it about some food that turns them from just a regular meal and upgrades it to the position of "comfort" food?  For me, it usually has connections to good memories and home.  In this case, memories of Saturday dinners at home when we were kids.  In the Maritime provinces of Canada, where both Lloyd and I were raised, Saturday night was traditionally the night for Boson Baked Beans, cooked all day in a bean crock in the oven.  When I was a young mother and feeding our family of nine, I stretched the Saturday bean night to include scalloped potatoes and ham.  And we didn't have it every Saturday because some of the kids decided they didn't like beans.  So now when we have this meal, even if it's just Lloyd and me now, it's a reminder of home and family.  And it's Lloyd's favorite meal.

Beans 'baked' in the slow cooker

 Mum used to accompany the beans with the most delicious home made brown bread (molasses).  It was incredibly good!  I have the recipe but don't make it very often.  My daughter Amy makes it though and it's just as good as Mum's.

Since my bean crock got a nasty chip in it the last time I used it, yesterday I decided to try cooking my beans in the slow cooker.  I'm pleased to report that the beans turned out just as good cooked that way than in the oven, with the added benefit of freeing up my oven for the scalloped potatoes and ham to cook.  Bonus!

Scalloped potatoes with cheese and bacon.

And to top it off, I tried something new.  My youngest daughter Emily and her husband have opted for a healthy lifestyle and have been eating a gluten-free, sugar-free diet for quite awhile now, with wonderful health benefits for both of them.  I took a recipe she posted on her blog for banana bread made without flour or sugar.  It was delicious, rich and moist.  I haven't had it enough to elevate it to the status of comfort food, but given time, I'm sure it'll rate up there with beans, ham and scalloped potatoes.

Emily's gluten-free, sugar-free banana bread. 

It's a bit raggedy on the sides because I baked it in a foil pan that
had grooves along the inside.
So what's your favorite comfort food?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


We had a sudden snowstorm here in Lethbridge on Sunday...wind and snow with zero visibility on icy roads.  Our son Mike and his family had come into town before the storm started and quickly found themselves stranded.

Luckily we were here at the time so they came to our place because the roads were so bad Mike didn't think he'd be able to make it to the small town they lived in.  In fact, the RCMP closed all of the highways out of Lethbridge because of bad road conditions and poor visibility.  Up until Sunday, there wasn't a trace of snow in this area.

So we hunkered down for the duration of the storm.  The kids thought it was great fun.  They know where I keep all the toys and kid stuff so they were happy.  And Kenny got out the deck of cards so he and I could have our customary game of War.

Middle son, Alex, cosied up to Papa right away and 'helped' him look through a car magazine.

When it came time to put the kids to bed, because they came unprepared with overnight clothes, they each wore a t-shirt belonging to their grandparents.  They kind of floated in them and Hannah's arms kept coming out of the too wide sleeves.  They thought it was great fun though.

Alex, Hannah and Kenny.  Poor Kenny had an ear ache so wasn't feeling too perky.

Alex and Hannah

And finally, with the extra beds made up, Avril settled down with the little ones and read to them until they were ready to go to sleep.

By Monday the roads were passable, visibility was once again good, and life got back to normal.

It's not so bad being snowbound for a day or so.  Especially at this time of year when you know the snow will soon disappear.