Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu has arrived...

Presently there are 2 known cases in Alberta (one in the North and one in Calgary). No reported cases in Edmonton...although someone on a local forum has spilled the beans that there is someone in isolation in a local hospital, with a suspected case. Great.

Today, at the kid's school, there were signs all over the place stating not to enter if you had any flu like symptoms. I'm starting to freak, just a little bit...but then I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, I'll admit.

...and right now the kids are watching a cartoon on The Disney Channel called "The Replacements". One of the characters is visiting Canada, and the Canadian family ends every sentence with 'eh', they call pancakes 'flapjacks' and their bacon 'is all kinds of crazy' lol. Never mind their pet caribou. That stuff drives me nuts lol. Now the kid is running away because he can't get corn dogs in Canada.

He can come to my house, my freezer is full of corn dogs :D . But I don't have any of that crazy bacon they're talking about, we just have the regular kind :D .

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mmmm...syrup-y goodness...

A couple of recipes to start your week off :)


Put on the kettle to boil 1 cup of water.

Place a saucepan on the stove. Add 2 cups white sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and a pinch of salt.

When the water comes to a boil, measure one cup of water and pour it over the dry ingredients in your pot. Stir to thoroughly combine, then turn the heat under the pot to medium.

Continue to stir while the mixture comes to a boil. When it reaches the boiling point, allow to bubble gently for one minute without stirring. After the minute is up, remove from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

After the mixture cools, store it in the fridge...preferably in the empty bottle from the last time you bought chocolate syrup. Enjoy in a glass of milk, over ice cream or my favourite...squirted over a bowl of bananas and light vanilla yogurt. Yum. We haven't bought chocolate syrup in 4 years :)


...prepare just like the chocolate syrup above, but omit the cocoa and increase the vanilla to two tablespoons.

So good in a glass of milk...tastes like vanilla ice cream in a glass.

Can't wait to try the vanilla syrup in iced cappuccinos this summer!

If summer ever comes, that is...for crying out loud...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beanbag Chairs

It is so frustrating to get anything done around here lately...total of two sewing machines and one serger, and they all need to be serviced!!! Argh!!! I'm toying with the thought of buying a new machine, but I'm had the same one for 24 years and I just don't think they make them the same as they used to.

Anway, two beanbag chairs made from this tutorial . And they were made super-duper cheap:

  • $12 total including zippers and fabric for the outer bag (there is an inner and outer bag for each chair)
  • inner bags were made from 2 old queen-size sheets that I had stuck in the back of my linen closet
  • the beans were found for free online: if you Google ground expanded polystyrene beads (ground EPS) in your area, you may find a business in the industrial area of your town that is just begging to give away the biggest friggin' bags of the junk you've ever seen. Really, with all of the seats down in my minivan, I could only fit *2* of these things in. It's so messy, though...my gosh, that junk flys everywhere!!!

Kylie wanted to help with this project, but she's just getting to that age where nothing is as fun as hanging out with her freinds. Oh, well lol.



Kylie's chair is some sort of sparkly pink/purple lycra from Fabricland's clearance section. Jake's chair is seersucker (much, much easier to sew than the lycra!) .

Now to go clean up the mess that Kylie and I made in the garage when we filled the chairs with EPS...

Monday, April 20, 2009

A guest post!

Poetry Corner

-featuring poetry by-

Princess Kagura, Forgotten Ruler of the World


Hi, I'm Courtney Blue
and I live in your shoe.
Yes, I do...
'cause I'm Courtney Blue.

Hi, I'm Courtney Yellow
and I live in your jello.
Yes, I do...
'cause I'm Courtney Yellow.

Hi, I'm Courtney Green
and I jump on your trampoline.
Yes, I do...
'cause I'm Courtney Green.


I wanna be a hardcore singer in a rock 'n roll band
with pink bunny ears
and plastic Wolverine hands.

Princess Kagura will now take questions and comments from her public.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Full Knee Patching

I love mending. I think I could do it all the live-long day, if I was able to. But alas, I have to clean the house occasionally...drat.

I would like to share with you my method for full-knee patching, which I first discovered while reading The Tightwad Gazette. Love that book. Anyhoo, it takes a bit of finagling, but I find that the patches generally outlive the jeans that I repair. The whole process takes me a little less than half an hour from start to finish...as long as everybody leaves me the cryin' heck alone. Gah.

So you start out with this...a pair of pants with compromised knees. Usually, Jake comes home with a full-knee blow-out, but I figured I might as well patch this pair. Mind you, had I made the pre-emptive strike of adding an iron-on patch to the inside of the knee to begin with, I probably wouldn't be patching this pair right now.
Anyway, if the hole is really, really bad, I'll repair it a bit first with a bit of a zigzag stitch, but I hardly ever do that.

First thing, figure out which leg seam you will be ripping open. I suppose if you have a free-arm machine, then you are lucky and may get to skip this part. On these jeans in particular, the inside seam is not reinforced, and will be the one that I open. Do it carefully and take your time so as not to rip the fabric.

Note that you should start 2" from the bottom hem and stop 2" from the crotch. This just makes it a bit easier when you sew the seam shut when all is said and done.

I always keep old jeans and t-shirts specifically for patching jobs. Find a piece in your stash that matches the pants the best. I've patched Kylie's yoga pants with one of Scott's old t-shirts...just as long as it's basically the same type of fabric and the same colour so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. You will need 2 rectangular patches that are slightly bigger than a DVD case for a child's pair of size 7 jeans (maybe the width of a DVD case and a bit longer)...just make sure that the patch extends at least 1/2" over each side seam. Measure your pants across the knee to figure out how wide you need that patch to be and add an inch for seam allowances.

I like to slip a small cutting board inside the pant leg and use the DVD case as a measuring guide...make sure that the patch is the same height from the bottom hem on both sides. Pin the patch in the middle with a few pins so that it doesn't shift as you are pinning the perimeter.

Turn under 3/8" at the top, bottom and 'B' side of the patch, as noted in the picture. The 'B' side of the patch is not quite touching the reinforced double stitching of the outer leg seam. Leave the 'A' side of the patch extended over the open leg seam.

When you're all done pinning, carefully top-stitch the patch in place using a matching thread. I use a zipper foot so that when I reach side 'B' of the patch, I can carefully stitch the patch without fear of getting stuck in that awful, fortified seam.

Remove the pins and re-sew the seam that you opened. Repeat for the next leg, making sure that both patches are the same distance away from their respective bottom hems.

And you're done! I can almost guarantee the hems on these jeans will be all stringy and nasty before the knees give out again. What a saucy little man I have, sticking his tongue out for all of the Internet to see :) .

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Easter pics


Did I post this pic before??? I don't think so. I loved, loved, loved this fabric when I first bought it, and trimmed it with a brown polka-dot fabric to match the big brown dots...now it's a touch crazy for my tastes. And my sister pointed out that it was a bit pysanka-ish, so perfect for an Easter dress lol!


This is Uncle Terry, Scott's brother, colouring eggs with Jacob. He's such a cool uncle...always has time to play with Jacob, when some people forget that the poor little guy even exists :( . Jacob lubs him to pieces. He's such a cool uncle that he brought this for my kids for Easter:



Yes, that's right: an entire case of Cream Eggs, and an entire case of Mini Eggs. He works at a warehouse and got a good deal or something...anyway, it's all in the freezer now to go into lunches. It should carry Jake into junior high, right? Jacob is still saying, "Mom, remember when Uncle Terry brought us all that chocolate? Remember?" . Yes, buddy, it was just 2 days ago...

I don't remember if I posted this before, either...Uncle Terry's old Spiderman t-shirts upcycled into a cozy blanket for Jacob. Jacob wouldn't let me wash it for a while, because he said it "smelled like Uncle Terry". Goofball kid lol.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's Friday already! Back to work tomorrow...

Today, we decorated eggs. I always did it as a child, and now we do it with our kids. Scott's sister and brother also partook (is that a word?)in the festivities.

Wanna know how to get the perfect hard-boiled egg?

This is how we do it:

  • In a large stock pot, cover a single layer of cold eggs with cold water. Add a couple of splashes of vinegar (it keeps the shells from cracking, although we did have one out of 36 that cracked anyway).

  • Put the pot on the stove, uncovered, and turn the burner to medium-heat.

  • Wait for what seems like forever for the water to come to a light boil.

  • When the water starts to boil, turn off the burner and cover the pot. Set the timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the pot off the stove and drain it. Set it somewhere for the eggs to cool.

  • Store the cool eggs in the fridge until you're ready to colour them.

Now to dye them:

  • add 1/2 cup of cold water to a bunch of old coffee mugs. The dye might stain, so be forewarned.

  • add 3 tbsp of vinegar to each cup. Add a few drops of food colouring and stir.

  • draw designs on the eggs with wax crayons or pencil crayons, then lightly place your egg in a cup of dye for a minute or so. Remove with a spoon. Drain on paper towels.





This year was the first year that I had a store-bought kit for egg decorating...silly me, I thought my kids would like it. It turned out to be super-useless, as it had one red dye and 3 purple dyes...where the heck was the yellow? The green? Didn't matter anyway, Kylie said "those kits are dumb, Mom"...rolling her eyes, as if I didn't know that already!!! Little bugger...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not dead. Yet.

Just wanted to drop a note here...still around, just a busy gal. Work is going awesome...I love it there. Actually, I'm not sure which I like more, the work or the scrubs that I get to wear. It feels like I'm in PJs all day long on Saturdays lol.

Spring break is over, and the kids are back to school today for a short week. Jake had some day camps during the week (my social bunny) while Kylie, Sam and I just sorta hung out. Kylie and I even spent one entire day in our pyjamas, just bumming around the house, which she loved. On Thursday we went to China Town, and spent the afternoon perusing the shops. Kylie bought a bunch of junk food at Lucky 97 (which is misleading...it's so ridiculously expensive in there, not one item at 97c...it's just on 97th street). She also bought herself a "Learn to Write Chinese" book, the sort of thing a preschooler would use, tracing the dotted line to make the character, etc...and she bought some neat Hello Kitty origami things. There is one shop called Cutie Land that never seems to be open when we go by...and they have the neatest stuff in the window. Oh well...maybe this summer.

We spent one day shopping for miscellanious stuff; Kylie wanted pink skinny jeans of all things. And to think...there was a day when skinnies were "just gross and nasty" and now that's all she'll wear. We stopped by a couple of bakeries looking for day-old bread, and when I complained about the parking lot being so full, Kylie exclaimed, "Well, of course it's full! Every mother in the world is here, looking for old bread! What is it with you people, anyway???" That made me laugh pretty hard...

This weekend we are colouring eggs for Easter, and hopefully this week I'll get those stupid bean bag chairs finished. I f'd up my serger and my sewing machine last week...and I just couldn't bare to sit and try to fix them :( . Just didn't have it in me this week.

So now I'm off to Sobey's...turkeys are $1.19 a pound this week, so I'm buying 2, and having the butcher cut them in half and re-wrap them for my freezer. That's cheaper than ground beef!!!

Gotta tute for patching in the works, and some pics of other things that need to be uploaded. Still working on PAC reports this week (argh). Busy, busy.

Later, taters!