Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween III

Halloween Number Three in Canada..............and it rained AGAIN. The kids went off with their costumes in their bags, poster all wrapped in plastic and wellies and waterproofs on. The thought of spending yet another Halloween Trick or Treat in the cold rain, standing around while the kids get far too many sweets that I will be eventually throwing away, fills me with about as much enthusiasm as a bath full of cold baked beans (with me in it).

Our school secretary

After they went to school I popped to get some carrots, knitting needles and a pattern for a Christmas present. I couldn't stay at knitting today as I had to see the kids parade around the school in their costumes. The Head wasn't dressed up this year as he said our community was half for Halloween and half against. This is obviously a religious thing. Silly but I know our school in The Village (UK) didn't do Halloween either because it was a Parachial School. I don't think the kids see it as a non-religious event, just a bit of fun, a time for dressing up, being with their friends and getting goodies. It's a shame. Apparently a lot of schools are now having Halloween as a Black and Orange day! Small is now in his last year of dressing up at school but Smallest has four more years.

The parade was held this year in the school gym. It started with the kindergarten kids walking to Grade 1 and picking them up and then Grade 2, etc etc until all grades up to 6 were parading in the hall. The PTA were there handing out lollipops and there were lots of people taking photos. My favourite costume was a tiny little boy who was dressed as a Mountie with a moose hat on - adorable. Smallest had lost his broomstick and Wizard Hat! Small was helping out with the little ones.

At home I made a huge soup for tonight to keep us warm. While I chopped the veg I Skyped Moo. Huffle and I had lunch together (did I mention he worked from home). We tasted the lemon and poppy seed muffins - yum. Huffle wants to give them a new name as they are a cupcake/muffin. He suggested Muffkin (sounds rude), Cuppin (is rude) - what about just cake - "would you like a cake?" See sounds perfect but not rude!

We had a scary visit from Mrs Royal with treats for the boys (actually she wasn't dressed up). Smallest and I went off to swimming leaving instructions for Huffle and Small to eat soup. Swimming was cancelled though (we have no idea why) so we came back and had dinner. The rain carried on falling and we sat and waited for the darkness to fall so we could go out.

Finally we got out about 6:45pm ish. We drove into the centre of the village. There were very few people about. We didn't know if it was because of the rain (though it seemed worse last year and there were hundreds out) or because we were slightly earlier. Still, it meant that people were offering the boys more 'candy' and even us adults because we were dressed up. The boys were very happy and even got to eat a few goodies.

We trundled along one road and then crossed onto another road where the houses started getting bigger. Small's aim was to go to the 'Millionaire House' as they were offering lots of 'candy' (so his friends said). We slowly made our way there and then Huffle decided to walk back to get the car as we were getting wetter and colder. While he was gone I got offered an adults treat which was either a Baileys or a Jelly Shot. I took a Baileys and we had a nice chat while I drank it.

We carried on walking and met up with Huffle and then we were both offered another Adults treat. This time it was a Chocolate Liquor and Vodka mix. Phew, I had to down mine and Huffle's (though the owner did say "don't worry if you're only driving through the Hamlet"! Naughty - we do still seem to be in the 70's as far as drink driving is concerned!). Warmed by our Vodka, we walked to the Millionaires house where they had a haunted house set up. Small and I (the scared wimps of the family) stayed outside while Huffle and Smallest went in. Huffle said we did right not to go in as we would have been scared. They loved it though. Chuckie-style dolls, ten people dressed in various outfits, clowns, zombies etc. Huffle said they had gone to a lot of effort. They got some goodies but not loads like Small's friends said! We were very cold and very wet and decided to call it a day and came home at just before 9pm.

Wet things thrown in the laundry, sweets counted and checked and the boys went to bed after seeing what they had collected. I am feeling all warm of face and fluffy round the edges from my Baileys and two quickly downed Vodkas and had to have a piece of toast to soak up the alcohol - light weight!

There may be some chocolate eaten tomorrow ;)




Thursday, 30 October 2014

mélanger le beurre........

Today I went to school for the morning and volunteered as part of Chef a l'ecole. This is where a Candian/French Teacher/Chef comes into the classrooms, makes all the children speak French and teaches them to cook. Today they learnt how to make Raspberry Tarts and Blueberry Tea. My job was to help set up before the kids came in which meant I had to be there before 9am, keep an eye on what the kids were doing and help them if they didn't understand or needed assistance, put the tarts in the oven and get them out and serve them. Easy Peasy? Not really. It is a very visual based learning and I could actually understand most of what she was saying because of the way she said things and the actions she did. However some of the kids didn't do so well. The making of the tarts was fairly straightforward (apart from when my group were supposed to make 24 equal blobs of pastry and we had to start again!). Each group was split into three girls and three boys and each one had a different task, including listening and repeating back the French she said to them. I had two groups to help, Small's group and another one. In between instructions we listened to music and played the spoons (part of the instruction!?). Putting the tarts in the oven proved difficult as the tarts were in silicon and the oven racks were spaced out so much that the silicon fell through and some of the filling spilt. Me and another mum managed to get them in the oven and then stood around waiting for them to cook. Eventually they came out scolding hot. Try taking silicon out of an oven wearing thick silicon gloves with the filling of the tarts spilling on the bottom of the hot oven! They were quite yummy though. Pastry with a blob of raspberry jam and a mixture of egg and brown sugar over the top. I didn't get to try the blueberry tea but Small said it was yuk! I should have finished there at 10:50 but I was still there way past 11am so I missed my forest walk with NoCustard.

I came home and made a start on the chilli which I made in the Slow Cooker. It seemed too small for the huge Crock Pot so while I was out picking up provisions I got some more mince and made double the mixture. It can always be frozen. I also picked up a few Christmas presents while I was out.

Back home I made a vegetarian chilli for me and had lunch whilst watching "Missing" on the BBC Iplayer. Very good.

I finished off the Halloween Jelly and made some Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins (promised to make these for Grandma and never really managed it when she was here). I iced them and thought they looked a bit 'witchy' so added some chocolate spiders.

When the kids came home they both did homework, had showers, practised piano and added enhancements to tomorrow's Halloween costumes.

This is Smallest's Rememberance Day Poster (last year he won 2nd prize). Small left his at school so hopefully will be finishing it there.

Huffle went to get his new Winter Tyres for his car. It was supposed to be a quick job but we think MrSnail's brother was working there. He finally got home - now he is ready for the snow forecast on Friday. The past Halloweens that we have had here (this is our third) it has rained so it will be nice if it doesn't rain, though perhaps not snow either!!!!

The chilli's worked well and were not too hot for anyone. The boys had their jelly and loved it. The muffins are for school lunch tomorrow. Maybe Huffle and I will have one with our tea later.




Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Does he keep his sarnies under his hat?

During the night (possibly around 1am), our train went past. The train track crosses the road about 350m away. There is no barrier but just a couple of lights that flash when the train is coming. It is a very slow train with many many carriages and it honks its horn every time it is near a road and it crosses many roads. When the wind is in the right direction (like it must have been last night) the honk can be heard from miles away. Last night/this morning it honked its way across Southern Ontario and kept us awake for at least half an hour. Bloomin' noisy thing. When we first looked at our house, our Realtor told us the train came once every fortnight (well she probably didn't say fortnight because that is not a word used here and I had forgotten about that word until now awwwwwww) and that we would probably never hear it. In reality, it probably comes once a day, sometimes more, and rather inconveniently, occasionally at silly times of the night. It ALWAYS comes on a Friday evening much to Small's annoyance. Bless him, when we lived in the UK Village, the sheep in the field across the road used to keep him awake and now it's a hulking big Canadian Train.

Huffle worked from home tiredly, the boys went to school on the bus and I went to aerobics feeling better than yesterday but very tired and achey from my gardening yesterday. I will hurt tomorrow I know!!! I had a visit from Mrs Royal and we sat and chatted over a cup of coffee.

After lunch with my Huffle, I baked Gingerbread and Flapjack for the Halloween Parties at school (only got asked this morning to prepare something!) Of course I put in a little more effort and made them into Halloween shapes and decorated them accordingly (well you have to don't you?). I was about to post a photo of them and then my TimeHop app showed me a photo from two years ago and I had made the same gingerbread but made a much better job than today BOOOOOO YOU HALLOWEEN!

I decided, on a whim, to go to school early pick to up Tuba (in order to miss the full car park, the huge buses taking all the space and the crazy mums picking up their Angels) and met the music teacher "Paddingtons Dad", who was really nice and helpful. He let me take the tuba, sign it out and then he carried it to my car for me. The boys came home on the bus and Small practised his tuba and piano while Smallest and Huffle went and got their Orthotics fitted in their shoes and boots.

I also made a Halloween Jelly today (well the start of it). It will be a two flavoured two layered one in the shape of a brain with jelly snakes coming out of it. Ummmm nice!!! This is for us not school.

Dinner was eaten and cleared away and the boys watched TV.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

One of those heads, y'know?

I woke up at 7am aware that it was still very dark and the rest of the house was fast asleep. I tried to stay awake and got up 30 minutes later, putting the landing light on to help stir the boys. I started on their lunches and shouted up to them when they still hadn't got up 15 minutes later - it's because it is soooo dark.

Huffle worked from home again and I nearly made the boys miss their bus as I didn't notice the time. They did make it but I was left holding Smallest's lunch bag so had to quickly get changed and drive off to school to give it to him. Luckily I noticed a friend/mum at the gates and she took it in for me, then I dashed home, sorted some washing and went to work.

It had rained during the night but the sun came out and we managed to work in the gardens. We cut down all the perennials in the walled garden (that's a lot) and it was back breaking work. We stopped for coffee and Jan had brought two types of cookies, one of which I wasn't allowed to eat. (It had bacon in it). We went back out and cleared some more perennials down to the ground in the main garden near the house. By 12:30, I was tired, headachey and felt really sick so I came home. It got darker and darker and threatened to rain. Huffle and I had lunch together and then when he went back to work I walked with Taff around the village. We were going to walk in the forest but we weren't convinced it was going to stay dry enough. We had a good walk and a cup of tea back home.

I made dinner, the boys came home and did their homework, put their clothes away (helping each other to get the task done quicker) and played on the IPads. Both came home with excellent results on last weeks homework.

We all had dinner and the boys practised piano before a couple of games of Deal Monopoly, TV and then bed.


Monday, 27 October 2014

Smash his face in

We were sent some photos by the photographer at yesterday's treetop adventure (who only stayed with the little ones) and also photos from the Fencing evening the bigger ones did.

Huffle went to work in a coat (first time this year). We realised how 'same' the seasons are here. I took a photograph of the leaves flying in the wind yesterday and my TimeHop app, which tells me which photos I posted that day one year ago or two years ago etc, told me that I had posted the very same photo. Same with when the trees are turning colour, when it's hot, snow, ice etc. the one thing in England we could never get the same each year was the weather. I find it fascinating that it is almost exactly the same, to the day, each year.

The boys both had long trousers on for school and Smallest complained that the Sun Room (I guess we should be calling the 3 seasons room now) was under the 10*C mark (at least it isn't minus anything YET!).

Today I had a free day all to myself, with nothing to do and no-one to meet so once the kids had gone to school and I had my breakfast, I poddled around the house tidying, washing and drying and then went off and did a bit of grocery shopping (and pumpkin carving sets for the kids to use at Beavers and Scouts tonight).

After lunch I made two soups, a batch of muffins for the kids lunch treats, rice pudding and a big seedy bread. Phew that took up all afternoon until the kids came home. They had both had good days and Small had got a B+ (best mark this term so far for Readers Response), and excellent for presentation and content for language homework.

Small played on the IPad, Smallest Skyped Grandma and Grandad and played the piano to them and I raked a bajillion leaves (that's an awful lot).

The boys had their piano lessons, we had dinner and then Huffle and I played tennis for an hour while the boys carved pumpkins at Beavers and Scouts. I have an issue with some of the leaders at Beavers/Cubs/Scouts but I'm not allowed to voice my feelings so I will do it here (as good a place as any and if they happen to read it - GOOD!). The leaders are all Dad's of their precious little lovelies, and the only reason (in my opinion) that they are leaders is because their Dads were leaders before them and their Dad's etc etc. also I think this is the only time they spend properly with their kids. So, this being the case, the leaders are only involved in their own kids and don't give any attention or help (from the words of Smallest) to any of the other kids. I personally don't think this is fair. Of course they would look after their own kids before others but why be a leader if you had no interest in any of the other kids there? When the photographer (one of the leaders) sent the photos of the fencing and the rope adventure, I noticed that there were very few photos of either of our kids and loads of their own (which is understandable that they should photograph throes first) and the other kids. There are a few leaders who don't do this, thank goodness, otherwise I might have to say something.

Anyway, rant over, Huffle and I took the kids to their respective meetings armed with their money for pumpkins and carving kits and we went off to play tennis. Huffle stood and pressed the light - it didn't come on. I tried but couldn't make it come on. We stood and swore and moaned and eventually came away and walked around the block hoping for it to magically work once we got back. It didn't. We walked around another bigger block and came back. This time I stood in the court while Huffle turned on the lights. Wahoo it worked. Has it got a sensor and knows when someone is in there? Or is it just coincidence? We will see.

We had a good run around and then picked the boys up and came home.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Whheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (Weeeeeeeee)

We all had to get up early this morning in order to get breakfast, lunch packed and ready to go off to the Treetops Eco Adventure Park. This was about 20 minutes drive away and we had to meet there at 9:30. It took awhile to get helmets and carabiners and harnesses and I think we finally started sometime after 10am.

The little ones went off with the Beavers Leaders to do the children's course. (Smallest's leader asked him if he needed the loo before he started - as he knows that he always wants to go in the most inopportune moments - he didn't). However, half way through he needed to go and finished the rest of the course with a pained expression on his little face. When he finished round one, Huffle took him to a faraway tree.

We stayed with Small and watched him have his introduction and instruction. It seems very complicated but he picked it all up very quickly. A quick go on the small role and then we walked into the forest to get to the first of three courses. We passed the little ones having their instruction.

The first part of Small's course was high it he did it very well. There was one Mum, one Dad and two leaders.

Smallest went round his course twice and then finished it all with a zip line. He thoroughly enjoyed it and wants to do it again.

The second part of Small's course was much higher and a lot more difficult. Huffle and I went further into the forest and watched Small climb higher and higher. It didn't bother him at all. His only problem was his hands hurt a bit.

One boy decided NOT to do the third course but Small carried on. Even higher and even more difficult but a lot of fun.

Three hours later and he finally came down the big zip line. They both had a wonderful time and did really well. Huffle and I enjoyed watching but were cold after much standing around. We left and came home to warm and have lunch in front of the end of Hocus Pocus.

We Skyped Grandma and Grandad and the boys played on the IPads. We all had a game of Mouse Trap which seemed to last for ages and ages. Small won in the end. Next we played a couple of games Monopoly Deal before sending the boys for showers while we made dinner.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Silent but deadly in Old Navy

A nice lie-in for the big people whose bed is comfy and warm and an early rise for the little people because they are just incapable of sleeping for too long past 7am. However they did get up quietly and put the TV on not too loudly and not argue too much.

After breakfast, Smallest finished his homework, Small did his piano practice and watched Football with Huffle until Smallest finished and then the pair went on the IPads. I sat upstairs with my newly downloaded music and sewed and Skype-chatted to Moo. I did the side hems of Small's curtains until Huffle informed me we were going out for dinner and to get some shopping jobs done.

Dinner done, we popped to Micahels to buy a frame for my birthday picture. It took a lot of choosing but eventually (and after much annoyance to the boys) we found just the right one.

Next we went looking for Winter Boots for the boys. This proved very difficult seeing as they are supposed to have the MOST supportive boots we can get but in a boot that needs to protect them from the snow, that isn't easy. We got some for Smallest (Huffle will take them with him to the foot people next week and we can see if they will help or hinder his feet). Next Small! Now here is where the system in Canada breaks down completely. He is a size 7 in kids shoes (the last size for children) but most shoe shops do not stock 7 kids so you have to go to Men's 7. Now Men's 7 is a different size to kids 7. So what does a child do when he is a size 7? I asked a shoe assistant. "Well yes, it's a problem!". NO ITS NOT A PROBLEM, YOU SEE YOU JUST TELL THE SHOE MANUFACTURES TO MAKE SHOES THAT FIT THE CHILDREN AND THEN CARRY ON THE SIZES INTO ADULT SHOES, IT CAN'T BE THAT HARD SURELY? We manage it in Britain don't we? I think the problem lies in the fact that kids sizes are different, men and women's sizes are different. WHY? Why make it so complicated? Anyway after another shoe shop where we broke the lace tightener on a pair of boots and refused a camouflage pair on the basis they looked like a redneck boot, we finally found Small a pair of Men's (more tax) pair of boots that are sturdy enough to double up as a walking boot when he grows out of his other walking boots (which I'm guessing will be soon judging by the amount he is growing at the moment, the big footed, tall thing!).

Next we went jeans shopping for Small. He is now in an age 14 due to his tallness. Earlier he was moaning about wearing jeans because he could only get his leg so high. When questioned why he would want to get his leg higher, he said because he wanted to tie his shoes!!??!!! (Whilst kicking?). We picked up some jeans with room, a fleece and gloves for Smallest and a Christmas Fleece too. Huffle and I went to the check out queue where the queue was divided in two. We stood in the middle hedging our bets as we didn't know which one was moving fastest. Two ladies (I say ladies.....) behind us obviously wanted to go in the faster queue and asked me which queue I was in. I HAVEN'T DECIDED YET. I'M WAITING TO SEE WHICH ONE MOVES THE QUICKEST. she obviously wasn't impressed with my answer but I couldn't be bothered to move so I said WE HAVE BEEN STANDING HERE FOR SO LONG ALREADY WE'LL SEE WHICH ONE COMES FREE FIRST. (She had only just joined the queue after all). She moved to another queue and shot daggers at me.

Next we meandered in the Sports shop looking for Tennis Racquet Tape and found a Snowboarding Helmet for Smallest and goggles for the boys (goggles for Christmas Presents). We rewarded ourselves with an ice cream and came home where the boys had their tea and I finished sewing Small's curtains.

Finally the boys went to bed and Huffle and I breathed a sigh and watched TV with our tea. Busy but productive day. No-one likes shopping for clothes/shoes in this family (except me but without the kids and Huffle around) so it has been a trying day all round.