Sunday, October 31, 2010

actual veggie tales in our home

Inspired by a small video clip featuring a man from Michigan, a carver, who perfects the art of pumpkin carving each year. As he ate his lunch during his interview, he carved an apple, and the rest they say, for us, is now history.

As the children carved their orange friends, this mother began making an early dinner.

As the potato peeler ran up and down, an alert signaled in my brain, creating a small reminder of carving done as an art, no matter the product used.

This friendly potato became my canvas. And what was just a spontaneous bit of fun, I must confess, the idea turned into an ongoing and
"true veggie tale of the day"!

Next came carving a mandarin orange, a mini pumpkin as the children announced. Not an easy task, as one had to carve the orange without cutting into the pith, so the sticky juice didn't run down an arm.

Now, that made two veggies with friendly faces.

Should they not become friends?

Or friends at least with similar colored and shapes?

Next up?

An apple.

A Macintosh apple that is.

The children discovered using an apple corer to create round noses and such, so out it came for the veggie carving.

Well, hello little friend...

Oh, we mustn't forget this bright orange guy..." Carlyle the Carrot"

And then "Bob, the tomato" came to visit, a real bug-eyed Bob for sure! And, he brought along a wee friend, otherwise known as "Shorty, the carrot top".

What fun we had!

So many possibilities await in the kitchen for creating art masterpieces with food.

Just an idea for a fun lunch together; Why not place a few carving tools on your counter top, along with a few possibilities for characters to come alive and visit you. It's similar to playing with playdoh (smiles), an art activity at best using suitable tools and offering supervision for the activity. Hang out in your kitchen while forming, sculpting and molding, though in the end, lunch is made and all projects are then edible.

Your children will gobble them all up with pleasure, and beg you for more when all visual signs of their artistic carvings but disappear.

Oops, just a tip; take a few pictures before they consume their projects.

little traditional reminders

With personalized artistic design ideas nearby, our two youngest were eager to begin carving up the two larger pumpkins on hand.
First things first...
... fetching the icy cold ones from the front porch, the two that have offered a bit of autumn decor with dollar store accessories beneath them for even more added color.

Next up...
...someone has to do this, and this year it wasn't going to be me! :)

As the work continued...
... and as we had enjoyed seeing other carvings around cyberworld over the course of the week, I threw the acceptable (I thought) query out there... and this little conversation ensued;

Mom; "Do you want to change things up a bit this year and find some of those great patterns online to try?"

Kids; "No, (they said in shocked unison), we want only handmade, you know, like we always do.

Mom; "Well having a pattern is only an idea, what you do with it becomes handmade...

Kids; "No mom, we want our usual family tradition of only carving our special faces we've drawn out to use.

Mom; "Okay then"; I said with a huge grin on my face, "Let's just stick with tradition!" :)

Normally within that "family tradition", these two usually produce ultra happy-faced drawings and carved pumpkins galore.

This year their drawings differed with little artistic changes.

I laughed at our daughter's for a second when comparing the photo of her in carving action, tongue sticking out just like her drawing.

What they discovered by the end of the activity was just how difficult "carving" really is, how to improvise, how to perfect their technique and allow for error control, like tongue, tooth and inner eyeball preferences for optimal results.

Back outside perched atop the ledge on front porch, they are ready for the candle glowing ceremony.

A little scarier than in the past, but no matter what - they are absolutely "homemade".

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

These grackle birds came by the thousands, along with the wind storm that stole our colorful leaves from our trees.

Together in this huge cluster, they were super noisy and made one feel like a spectator in the live movie from years back called; "The Byrds".

Kind of crazy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

autumn sure passes quickly...

Autumn is quickly coming to a close.
Out with the colorful palette of lovely, and into more of the duller prelude to winter landscapes.

~ The most colorful of outdoor items beyond the sill and pane of my back windows seems to be these two very fun garden scarecrows, the ones I was able to pick up this year at our local dollar store.

Yep, dollar store!

I figured even if (for some reason) I only got one year out of them, that's quite alright.

~ It took over three weeks to fully appreciate the final budding coming to fruition for these mum flowers I planted in my two concrete garden containers at the front of our property.

At long last, we had pretty and dark autumn colored red florals out front, such lovely added color for really enhancing the growing blah-ness of the landscape.

~ As these have continued to blossom and bloom since they first budded, I so very much enjoy gazing outdoors to spot them resting there, like they are teasing and winking at me to appreciate them even more day to day.

But, just as soon as these dark red beauties did "pop" out of their buds, they've offered total a wonderful color infusion, that is until - the wind storms began late last week, the leaves were tousled and began to pour similarly with the rains, down to the ground, and there they have remained while dying off and turning browner every moment of the day.

~ Very shortly after the wind storms, white frosty and very cold snow blanketed the earth here, and with those sloppy falling wet flakes, more leaves were lost resulting in an exhibition of supreme thinning in the denseness of our surrounding forest.

~ Chipmunks, squirrels and many other assorted forest friend have been scurrying about, dashing all around while having to dive frequently for safety, as blue jays squawk, tattling their whereabouts to the low flying hawks, and other assorted birds of prey swooping down to dine on and gobble them up.

So, while shaking my head in disbelief, may I humbly ask;
Where, oh where did our autumn go?

It sure is beginning to look like the initial stages of a dormant winter time in to our midst.

~ We're expecting a huge storm here overnight, one of supreme wind proportions via the midwest from earlier today. Extreme winds and a tornado warning in the news media makes me wonder which season our property will resemble more by morning - the final end days of autumn or stark contrasts of winter ushered inward?

~ Luckily, with a little child manpower today, all the rest of the outdoor furniture, hockey nets, garden hoses, flower pots, wicket baskets and doggie toys are now inside.

Honestly, there can't be much left out there to blow around tonight. A good thing.

In this photo below, I noticed this unique splash of color and felt a bit sad, almost disturbed.

I already miss the beauty of this short season, swiftly whisking by and almost gone already.


... Enjoy what's left everyone!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

pretty in pink

My Daughter Grows Up

Life is fleeting, years rush past...

and little girls grow up so fast!
Let me take time out to be
glad that mine's still here with me.

And though I'm busy through the day,
let me take time out to play...
Let me take time out to smile,
to linger with her for a while...

To invite her under the table for tea
and dress up silly as can be.
Let me take time out to sing
and dance and skip
and twirl and swing...

To splash in puddles when it rains
and make her fancy daisy chains.
Let me take time out to hear
about the things that she holds dear.

Let me tuck her in at night,
hear her prayers, turn off the light.
And for one more moment let me pray
and thank God that we shared this day!

~ Laurie Dawson

Saturday, October 23, 2010

here for a while, back home safe and sound

And so...

the visit with my parents is now but a wonderful memory.

Wow, our time together zoomed by, and what amazing weather we had to usher them eastward and share our days with one another.

Autumn vistas met us wherever we went, true to the east's reputation for having tremendous blasts of fall color everywhere!

Several excursions were possible, with sun to kiss our cheeks along the way and roads dry for our travels.

Visiting the "Holy Martyrs Shrine" three times in a row with recent out of town guests (my parents, our son, my brother), I would have to assume this was also a highlight for my parents when we had summertime temperatures to make it possible.

Last year during the Christmas season, I drove them up to the Shrine area, closed for winter but viewing made possible when across the street from the venue.

I remember telling them they should get out of the vehicle, to walk on "holy ground" where "saints also once lived". This time they were able to venture inside the compounds and really take in the entire story as history unfolded right before their eyes.

History indeed does comes alive when one is able to gulp back the almost overwhelming idea of those who set foot on these premises, the men who ventured here to preach the good news and evangelize the new world, and also to learn of the native tribes who either befriended or murdered them to become the "martyrs" they are known to be today.

Holy Martyrs indeed!

Attending our daughter's horse show events at a local country fair in similar summertime weather conditions, made for an interesting day when having to move to the shade from extreme heat.

It was the most wonderful country fair parade and horse show day, with so many prizes and additional fun events not seen before.

Our daughter loved sharing this day with her grandparents and her daddy.

When two women get together, often times they are able to enjoy what my friend "Allison" calls something akin to; "Estrogen-filled moments".

My mother and I had a few opportunities to enjoy some of those
"womanly moments" together while she remained with us for an extra week.

This one below was one of my and pedicure day.

One thing is for sure.

When out of town guests arrive to stay with us for a time, there is action in abundance around here, oftentimes things become ultra busy for our family as our schedule dictates the timing in and out of the house.

One has to be willing to go with the (sometimes) super busy flow of eventful days, rolling along with our normal family life as it is, as we aren't always able to drop everything due to the fact, company might be in town.

This is something my parents know well, roll with the flow well, assist anywhere they can (my mom likes to iron, grin, grin), and when it became time to get on the road, they swiftly complied by donning their jackets and shoes yet again, to tag along and join in the taxi riding pleasures.

Good sports I would say, even though sometimes I think we completely wore them out and an afternoon nap for them often seemed like a great idea. Besides, they were on vacation right? :)

For example, while my parents were here;
  • We were able to pick up at the airport because the timing worked well when we were already in the big city with medical stuff. Due to distance and timing, often we encourage our out of town guests to use alternative transportation to get to our home if arriving on the weekends, just too far to travel when not already city bound during the weekdays. So my parent's arrival and departure timings were planned ahead in conjunction with our schedules, just perfect and all ended up working well for everyone.
  • We attended the country fair parade, and our daughter's horse show event for several hours the day after their arrival.
  • We held "neighborhood hang out visits" as per usual when they occurred, children and teens here often in our midst.
  • We were able to get to the Holy Martyrs Shrine, a highlight for them this visit.
  • We hosted a girl's weekend, birthday party and gal movements to town.
  • We ran teens to and from work as the scheduling dictated.
  • We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with family in our home for the first time since moving to the east.
  • We saw a great movie all together - "Secretariat" and what a movie for horse crazy girls to see! Shhhh, don't tell anyone but my dad enjoyed it so much, he saw it again. Twice. Once with my brother when he was in town to visit with him. LOL
  • We took my parents for dinner to celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary. Indian food no less, new to all and so very yummy!
  • We took in a homeschooling day with several parishioners, our once per month activity.
  • We went to mass for the thanksgiving weekend, thankful for our time with one another.
  • We still managed to complete schooling lessons for the most part.
  • We managed to keep our regularly scheduled everything-else rolling; ice hockey, optometrist appointments, french classes, horse riding, and guitar lessons.
  • Anywhere time allowed, we escaped around things for taking tea, shopping, exploring, waterside gazing, more shopping, more tea shops, and even more kid pickups when necessary.
  • We had to part our ways and say so long for now when our visit came to an end.
Love you! And, loved having you visit us the east!

Rest up now, and see you again, next time....

Georgian Bay, Ontario

birthday girl celebrations

Eighteen candles rested atop this birthday cake.

Birthday plans were made well in advance. Somehow we ourselves had managed to travel to these two gals homes for their birthdays this year, making a road trip event for it to be possible each time.

In return, they made promises to travel here for our daughter's birthday, a weekend where dreams were shared, memories made, and forever bestie friendships cemented deeper.

The ice cream birthday cake request was fulfilled, though decorated in an unusual way, but oh so perfect for what had transpired here shortly before this day.

One of our daughter's friends had a photo assignment in her photography class, and our daughter posed for her with the colorful autumn leaves around her. The teacher chose the actual one to further enhance via photoshop programming, and when I saw this cake, I knew it had to be for her. She loved it!

(Thanks Kara for the great photography to spur on the cake idea. :)

Yes, the girls arrived safely thanks to one of my friends (one of the girl's mothers), and the reunion began with all so happy to be here.

One gal was so sweet and thoughtful when she handed me a container with homemade chocolate chip cookies for us (she knows they are our very favorite).

The other sweet gal could not stop giving hugs to all of us, taking her photo with everyone, and both were so happy and eager to share in their time together.

Decorating the kitchen became quite something, so many streamers from cupboards to central lighting fixture, around posts at the breakfast bar, around table legs and around the doorway.

Three girls, the three amigos had our youngest daughter play photographer out yonder, taking full advantage of the colorful autumn background of our property forest.

Meanwhile, a few friends arrived for a bonfire cookout, birthday cake, soccer matches, Wii game challenges, guitar singsong around the fire, and glow in the dark creations.

What fun when offering all here these glow in the dark thingies.

It was something else to watch them become quite creative, making headbands, bracelets and all sorts of interesting shapes for their return into the darkness for their continued bonfire gathering.

The weekend was full of celebration, filled with exuberance, plenty of hearty laughter and very tired girls by the end who were to have their road trip return back home again.

Happy Birthday to our daughter, and you two lovely gals come back to visit again anytime....