the birthday girl came home from school with a rainbow the week before her birthday.
her painting inspired her rainbow cake!
the top is a cloud of seven minute frosting with a fondant sun.
my girl, and a good friend
for Asa's birthday party this year his dad took him and 8 friends out into the wilds for an afternoon and evening of boy stuff. tree climbing, getting really dirty, running around, building fires, roasting hot dogs, etc.
as for the cake, here's a warning>>>> don't look any further if you don't want to be really grossed out.
Asa requested a cat litter box cake (he and his brother saw it somewhere). I could comply as there would be no grown-ups at his party! (except for his dad, who when he saw it was pretty much speechless)
melted tootsie rolls and smashed chocolate gravel candy make one disgusting cake:
Lee made monkey cupcakes (100% by himself!) for Asa to take to school on his birthday
a monkey for a monkey
these cupcakes were from the book Hello, Cupcake!. I can't tell you how many hours my kids have spent poring over this book- dreaming of birthday possibilities.
Lee used my go-to chocolate cake recipe. it is a baking soda and vinegar leavened cake (vs butter-sugar-eggs creamed together) so it is a great recipe for beginning bakers. he was, however, shocked to find out how much work it is to decorate cupcakes and took back his offer to make dog cupcakes for Maxine to bring to school....
okay, so i have abondoned my blog-every-day-in-March effort due to our new family member, Emmy Lou (see previous post) She is SO MUCH MORE WORK THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED!!! i think having a puppy is sort of like childbirth- you can't imagine what it's like to go through until you actually experience it!
BUT! i wanted to say happy spring! to you all.
we have had some glorious weather the last few days- my face is a bit sunburned- and it feels great. (at least in the short term- the last 3 days have been record breaking high temperatures in Toronto- which is sort of spooky when you think about it)
tonight we are heading out to our annual spring equinox bonfire- more on that tomorrow!
i have been meaning to post this awesome change since the fall when we did it...
our living room (which basically means the whole house) has been a gorgeous golden ochre colour since we moved in in 1999. And the living room before that was the same colour. Sort of a Van Gogh wheat field colour. i was getting pretty sick of it.
for a few years i have been wanting to paint and have been looking for the perfect green. We found it in Benjamin Moore's Jalepeno Pepper.
so here it is:
(with these photos you get a little taste of 'corners of my home'- do you remember that meme on the domesticity-crafty blogs? it was so nice. i always wanted to do it but my corners are too dirty...)
the day after my man finished painting he was in the city and he saw this street car go by:
paint the town GREEN! it is my favourite colour....
from this little guy
to this big one
faster than i would have thought possible
you are growing into a fantastic young man. Even though I can't take (too much!) credit for what a great kid you are, when I see you out in the world i feel we are doing something right. i thought I would be sad as you left babyhood- but i love having an older child. Dad and I are so lucky to have you, our eccentric roommate.
PS--for Lee's birthday party with his friends, i couldn't resist making him something fun- I made these cake pops
i am embarrassed to tell you how long it took me, and how many batches of white chocolate i ruined trying to melt and dip them before giving up and dipping them in icing sugar frosting... hats off to those bakers who make those perfect looking cake pops!! they are harder than they look!
you might remember this monster suit from a few years ago? (he looks so little!!) well, it's finally too small.
(photo shoot at the St. Lawrence Market!)
and I have to share this video- a perfect job for grown-up Asa!!!
it is really funny- it has one swear (the B word) in it but otherwise child friendly (well, if you don't mind hot half-naked men- but in a good way) and the kids LOVE IT!!
we were feeding a neighbour's cats over the holidays- I had the brilliant idea (pat pat) to set up all my sewing stuff over there so I could work on my Christmas sewing. It was so great! I didn't have to worry about curious children or leaving a mess out- just work and then walk away leaving it all set up. must be what it's like to have a spacious studio...
aside from the Christmas jammies and bathrobe,
a dog coat for my mom's dog (Butterick 4885)
i learned that dogs are even harder to photograph than children
i also sewed matching dresses for Maxine and her new dolly
this (sort of dark) picture is the only one I have as Maxine tried it on only the once: unfortunately as a pattern for Maxine's dress I used one of her dresses that is basically too small and I hadn't realized it. so that is a shame unless I can get some more fabric. it was from Joann's and it's this super cute owl print corduroy:
Maxine's new dolly is a Canadian girl (well, they're actually Maplea Girls but the are the equivalent of the you know-who-dolls in the USA).
she LOVES HER!!!!!
her name is Saila and she is from Nunavit. (The girls are all from different provinces) Max also got a bunch of clothes for 'her girl' (she calls her 'my girl'!) and spends hours daily dressing and undressing her, and making up stories about her. I enjoy brushing her hair. (someone else in the family also enjoys braiding her hair but he won't let me say who.) and i have to say I'm looking forward to making more clothes.
someone asked me, under his breath, 'live vicariously much?' and this may be completely true, but who cares?
Our neighbour gave us a bag of old half-used candles and we melted them down, added some crayons for colour, and poured them into our sand and rock molds. (the wax has to be hotter than usual to stick to the sand a bit- this is not a bad tutorial)
When I was a kid (Lee's age actually) I went through a phase of being obsessed with candlemaking. I remember making sand candles, ice cube candles (also fun!), using crayons to colour them, and setting a pan of wax on fire. whoops!
These candles were a lot of fun- I'd like to try to make some with beeswax.
i love Christmas, but i love it to start about a week before the actual big day- no sooner.
my one exception is advent calendars. i find it helps kids who are WAITING so patiently for Christmas when they have a little tiny thing to open every day. in the past we have always gotten the Playmobil or Lego ones. This year we got Asa the Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar - i couldn't resist. He is such a fan. I didn't see anything especially nice for Maxine, so Lee and I had fun wrapping a bunch of little prezzies and hanging them on ribbons.
the cat likes them too.
As Lee and I were working, he said, "Mama- I bet you have an advent calendar for me too. You just want to surprise me!" Ugg. No I didn't! At 10, he's at that in between age- too old for most toy presents, but young enough to care if he's not getting them. A promise of a movie date with me or his dad before xmas solved the problem...
I love this annual event!
I've written about it here so many times, and it's really not very different from year-to-year, that i almost didn't write about it again. BUT someone got a new iPod Touch (not me- Asa! Can you believe? my 7 y-o has fancier gadgets than his parents...) and I finally got to try Hipstamatic (i know- so 2009) so suddenly the Royal Winter Fair photos seemed different from the last 4 years of posts.
(I love how the Hipstamatic app makes everything look so soft and painterly!)
(Also, I had to laugh when i re-read one of the posts above that said we had cereal and fried eggs for dinner- guess what we had tonight?)
our Island community had a pumpkin carving party on Saturday
Lee and Asa made Jack-O-Lanterns 100% by themselves and I helped Maxine (she drew the design, I carved)
What was interesting to me was how completely each pumpkin said something about each child's personality:
Maxine's (far left) is all about the eyeballs. People with defined eyeballs are what she loves to draw lately. Plus her pumpkin is just really cute.
Lee's pumpkin (middle) is quirky just like him.
Asa's abstract Jack-O-Lantern (far right) is slightly perverse and different from everyone else's (notice the knife stuck in the side)
I don't want to put the children into little boxes by analyzing them this way- I just love how each child shines through in his/her creative expression!
to you from my Steampunk Bandit, Zombie Princess (such an improvement on the typical 4 y.o. girl princess theme obsession, don't you think?) and Griffin (mythical half-lion and half-eagle). as usual, ridiculous amounts of time were spent by both parents on costume making but, also as usual, it was worth it for the kids! (i am especially pleased with the griffin mask fashioned out of plaster cast material and wire- you can click on the photo to see it bigger!)
Tuesday, last week: Asa about to head off for his first day of Grade 2 and Lee staying home for his first day of Grade 5. yes, we are homeschooling again! (just Lee) Maxine is still in her jammies because her first day of kindergarten !! was later in the week due to a staggered entry.
Thursday, last week: Maxine's first day of junior kindergarten!!! Don't let her serious expression fool you. This kid was EXCITED for school to start!!
(i got to go with her on the first day- so much fun!! is this not the classic kindergarten shot?)
she loves it- and I'm not surprised as she is an insanely social creature. every day she wakes up asking "Is it school today Mama?" (she goes 2.5 days a week so unfortunately she is disappointed more often than not...)
big kids and big changes.
let's pretend i posted this in mid- August, okay? that's what i meant to do...
the love part: my man and I met 20 years ago this summer at the Bread and Puppet Theatre festival. (we've been together half our lives!)
(image via Bread and Puppet website)
(crappy image via me 20 years ago!! the rest are various photos i found elsewhere- all kosher i believe!)
Bread and Puppet are a theatre group/community in Vermont known for their giant puppets and their political message.
(image via this blog- a nice post describing what shows are like now)
I grew up going to Bread and Puppet every summer of the 1970s and 80s with my family. New York transplants from way back, Peter and Elke Schumann and their family have a year round farm/art/theatre community and museum in the very rural Northeast Kingdom in Vermont.
you may have seen their puppets at marches, or recognize their influence in the work of JulieTaymor- a B&P protege.
one of their philosophies is Cheap Art:
here's some nice cheap art.
for many years on one weekend in August, the Schumanns, their people, and the town of Glover, VT would host a free 2 day festival. (in 1998 they stopped the weekend event- it had gotten too large and unruly) The day started with the Domestic Resurrection Circus.
image via Bread and Puppet website
The audience sits around on the grass in a natural amphitheatre, and the B&P bus pulls in with most of the company sitting on top- dressed in white, waving large flags with prints of every day objects and and words underneath- "Brother Frying Pan," "Sister Toothbrush." A band accompanied the performers- and always Uncle Sam on sky high stilts and silly 'animal' (people in animal costumes) routines. (here's a good video of a recent Circus performance)
image via flickr
At dusk, there was the Pageant. Silent and serious- the audience would wait as performers would appear from over the hills with bird puppets. The theme was always serious and something always got burned at the end. (our Island Fire Parade organizers are Bread and Puppet alums- small world!- and we always burn something at the end of the Fire Parade.)
image via Bread and Puppet website
image via Chazz
i haven't gone back since they stopped doing the weekend festival- but i think we must next year.
and the garlic? it's puppets- and BREAD. a delicious part of the Bread and Puppet experience is the FREE hearty fresh baked bread with a raw garlic spread. my man and i met in the queue for bread-- love and bliss ever since!! :)
i've been growing garlic in my little garden.
i love to eat it spread on bread with oil, salt and pepper. I don't know what exactly they put in it at Bread and Puppet, but i find that my version reminds me of those days.
so- Love and Garlic- two of the best things I have going for me. i raise my garlic bread to you my man.