Thursday, July 30, 2009

harvest helper

we have been enjoying beans, peas, and even this gnarled tomato. the other night we had a roasted baby beet salad. new crops of onions, carrots, parsnips, spinach, and lettuce have been planted and are doing well. the herbs are all growing and being enjoyed. little man helped sort everything and when i turned my back for a second, he dumped the shucked peas on the grass. at least he helped pick them up - a real exercise in manual dexterity.
it is disgustingly hot - a record temperature of 33.8 celsius for Vancouver yesterday but i swear that was the temp in our house and the yard must have been 36. i took the kids to the nearest shopping mall to make use of the free air conditioning. little man is not coping well with the heat. i know this because he refused an ice cream cone. seriously, what two year old would pass on ice cream? today he has been lying in front of the fan dressed only in a diaper.
i am in the throes of summer house purge '09. we pulled everything out of the manshed/garage and put everything we couldn't donate in the alley with a big 'free' sign. the husband grumbled about how much we could have made by doing a garage sale but he still managed to buy himself a case of beer with all the empties he returned. took a few nice suits/shoes/bags to dress for success. a ton of kids stuff and toiletries went to crabtree corner. there are outgrown clothes put aside for smaller friends. i am getting it together, heat permitting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ahoy maties and mermaids

just prior to the arrival of 18 kids we took a little lunch break. attractive, no? it's the only picture i have (argh!) of 'mermaid village'. one must look beyond the exhausted mother to the castle, pirate ship, and mermaid cave. i spent a few days with my box cutter, some very large and sturdy bbq boxes, and a lot of latex paint. the kids loved it. i may have handled the decorations but the kid wrangling/entertainment credit goes to the husband. he even went so far as to grow a pirate mustache.
that's my happy mermaid in the pink skull shirt sporting her pirate bandana, seaweed skirt, and carrying her loot bag. for the treasure hunt the dads spread gold coins and marbles all over the hillside and the kids had to collect them in their loot bags. two lovely teenagers presided over the goodie table - sticker packs, rubber balls, hair clips, bracelets etc. - for the price of 5 marbles or doubloons. it seems to be promoting consumerism but i'm going with building math skills and sheer entertainment. we followed with cake and a pinata ... and a big nap.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

making mermaids

the girl is having her fifth birthday this saturday and it has been non-stop making at our house. the theme this year is mermaids and pirates. she insisted on me making mermaid tails for all the girls but we reached a compromise with 'seaweed skirts'. a mobility issue - we couldn't have a bunch of mermaids falling face first while the pirates made off with all the treasure.
instructions for 14 seaweed skirts:
i got several yards of 42" wide tulle in 3 sea-like colours and cut it into 20 inch lengths. i then cut it into strips approximately 8 inches wide. i cut a piece of 1" wide ribbon to be 40" long and marked 10-12" on either side of the centre. then i folded the 8" side of each piece of tulle into fourths and starting at one mark on the ribbon, i attached alternating strips of the tulle to the ribbon with a wide zigzag stitch until i reached the second mark. i made sure to sew with the right side of the ribbon on the bottom and the tulle as the top layer - nothing like a tulle tangle in the throat plate. the girls can tie the skirts around their waists and 'swim' to their hearts content. not exactly my finest quality sewing but good enough for an afternoon of fantasy play.
then of course there are 10 stripey bandanas for the pirates and enough eye patches for all the guests. i can't take credit for the loot bag idea - that goes to lovelydesign. i simplified a bit by using a length of twill tape for a handle instead of a drawstring and printed off some clipart onto t-shirt transfer paper. my results are not nearly so lovely as Sharilyn's but this is some serious volume with 20+ kids. my fingers have blisters.
and i still have to make the cardboard castle, pirate ship, and mermaid cave....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

grown-up girl time

sporadic blogging due to some not so fun medical testing. but tonight i will leave the messy house to see handmade nation with this creative handmaker. i wonder if the theatre serves beer... regardless, it will be great to visit with another grown up who is not a relative or a nurse/doctor/orderly.