Saturday, 31 March 2012

Party Preparations

The boys got up early and thumped around the house waking the whole Hamlet! Huffle slept on. I got up and cleared the debris from the night before. I helped Smallest make his new Bionicle.

He came home from school with 'Henry' yesterday so after a Croissant breakfast (birthday tradition) we set about writing on the book, playing the games, reading the books and taking photos of Henry doing different things.

Smallest did the alphabet (eventually) and then spelt his name - Henry looks on

Smallest opened some more presents and was especially delighted when he opened a remotecomertroll (his words) remote control car. We all got washed and dressed and played on the drive with the car and then he drove it to The Royals so they could see it.

Look at that concentration

We had a game of hockey and played with the Nerf Guns. We had Skype calls from Grandma, Moo and HB and Aunt Pear. Aren't we popular? (or maybe Smallest is!).

What a funny face! Sorry Moo, I know you won't like it but the screen froze for ages like this and Huffle made me take a photo. Moo stayed with us for ages on Skype this afternoon. Small played face games with her and Huffle and her were target practice for the boys with their guns.

Huffle and I cut a piece of the piñata out and stuffed it with candy and toys, taped it up, stuck the two bits together, painted it blue and added eyes. Finally added tissue paper to finish it off.

Sitting on the front porch in the sunshine finishing off Cookie Monster
I think I preferred it without the tissue paper

We sat for too long in the same position and both got Pins and needles in our legs, Huffle is trying to carry the piñata inside but I kept making his legs fizz by tapping them and he was laughing. He can't laugh and carry things at the same time (strange man) and he was threatening to bite me if I didn't stop. Silly billy.

Huffle and I also made the Elmo cake. It was hard work as we didn't really have enough red fondant but we managed in the end and I think we made a pretty good job of it.

We had take away pizza because it got to 4pm and no-one had eaten since breakfast. Huffle and I managed a few peaceful minutes on the front porch in the last of the sunshine. The boys argued loads, I could hear "I hate you" & "well I hate you" coming from the basement. One broke the Lego, one lost a Nerf bullet, someone got punched so the other one punched him back. I had to go downstairs and mend some Lego and build a Bionicle. Smallest watched his new Bee Movie and Small watched the wrestling.

Huffle made some plain scones and some flapjack while I decorated some tiny fairy cakes. A very tiring day.

As I put Smallest to bed this evening and read him a story, he turned to me and said "I love you, now I want my party to be really good tomorrow okay?"

Right then - I've had my orders!!!!



Friday, 30 March 2012



OMG. Kasabian Rock Baby!

What an absolute fantastic gig. In a small venue. We were SOOOOOOO close. They rocked! Days are Forgotten, Velociraptor (which I woke up singing!), Underdog, Club Foot (of course - we met the 'club foot fan club' - crazy boys only there because of club foot!!!), Empire, Fire. Loads more. The place was pumping. This morning my feet hurt so much and my ears are ringing. Throat's a little sore from singing, shouting, whooping. I had the best time - thank you so much Mr Burlington Bertie. You are a star.

I had to drive to our local town, park, get the bus to Dowtown (all by myself - aren't I brave?). Mr Burlington Bertie was waiting for me in the bus terminal 'hungry', so we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory. It was lovely. Great place to take the kids next time we are there. It was very Art Deco'y. Lots of stained glass light shades. Carousel horses and an old tram you could sit and eat in. There was a massive chandelier in the foyer and posters and pictures everywhere. Must go back just to take some photos. Food was fab. Waiter was funny. MrBB and I didn't spill any food - good effort!

Toronto at night

MrBB had spaghetti and meatballs and I had butternut and Brie ravioli in a white wine sauce - ummm um.

We walked to the venue, queued a bit to get wrist bands (to confirm we were old enough to drink). The band that was supporting were called Hacienda. Very good. Rocky. A bit beardy. We got a good spot. The place was quite small so it didn't matter where we stood, we would have seen them perfectly.

Hacienda - a Texas band

Kasabian came on late, people started pushing towards the front and we edged just a little bit back. We got talking to some strange people. We had pot smokers in front of us and I was trying hard not to inhale their unwanted smoke. It wasn't a rough gig. There wasn't too much shoving. Lots of dancing but in a good way. By the end Mr BB and I were jumping up and down with the best of them. FABULOUS. Did I mention they were from my hometown Leicester?

Sergio Pizzorno

Tom Meighan


So, back to reality, it is Smallest's birthday. He is a little confused! "was I five when I was in still in my bed this morning?". "so, when I have my party on Sunday, will I be six?". "oh no Grandma, I'm not five today" - Grandma Skyped him this morning and sang Happy Birthday (beautifully!?) to him. He only got time to open one present this morning and it was from Grandma and Grandad. A Lego Bionicle. There were some Easter chocs for us all to share too - thank you Grandma.

I had about four and a half hours sleep (not enough - look saggy!)

The boys got ready quickly (Small went to school too, felt he was okay to go now, he looks much better and after all his silliness yesterday, he is better at school than under my feet). The boys got on the bus with their coats today as it has forecast snow for the next three days, I tell you, what a bloomin' country. Spring, hot summer days and then snow! WHAT!

I followed the bus to school and then had to turn around. Not only had I forgotten to put the recycling out but I hadn't put my mascara on - what was I thinking. Went back home, sorted the recycling, put face on and drove back to school. I handed Smallest's teacher a tin of Cookie Monsters for his class. The kids were all sitting around Smallest in the cloakroom singing Happy Birthday, are you 1, are you 2, are you three, etc etc. apparently they announce birthdays over the tannoy. Ahhhh bless.

Anyway I went to a coffee shop, had a large coffee filled with caffeine and a toasted bagel and sat and wrote some of this post, before setting off on a shopping trip for party food and cake supplies. Breathe.

I had a sneaky peek in the thrifty store (just because I was near) and found some lovely wool and a book on knitting afghans and blankets. Cool. One day!

I went off to bulk barn and bought loads of baking supplies for cakes for the rest of the year probably. I met a lady in there who asked if I was a cake decorator. I wish. I popped off to Walmart for more supplies, candy for piñata, birthday cards etc and I bumped into a neighbour and mum from school. She was helping me to find various things. I then bumped into the lady I met at Bulk Barn. She was lovely, so friendly and we talked about cake decorating. I gave her my blog name so she could see the cakes I made when in England. I told her to keep in touch so that one day when she opens her cake decorating business (or I do), we can get together and trade secrets. I meet some lovely people all over the place. I don't know if they hear my accent or are just naturally friendly. Nice.

Had an idea whilst in the shop about buying an ice cream cake (Mr Royal mentioned it was the thing to do over here), so checked google and found a Baskins & Robbins nearby. Bought a cake for tonight, just a small one but I think Smallest will be chuffed.

Finally got home, unpacked the shopping, skyped Moo whilst eating lunch and told her how wonderful Kasabian was, (played Kasabian all afternoon really loud and danced and sang whilst clearing and wrapping and sorting, he he he he, don't know why because my head hurts from lack of sleep!).

This is the lovely man I was talking about the other day who was Irish, called me Pet and rode around in a Horse and Cart.

Had some packages delivered today. Smallest will open them all when Huffle gets home. Blew up some balloon and popped them on the gate for when he got home (Smallest not Huffle).

I have had lots of emails, comments, texts, Skype messages all wishing Smallest a Happy Birhday. Ahhhhh. His Moral Guardian Aunty Miaow sent us this picture......

This is the Magnolia bush we bought when Smallest was born to flower on his birthday, and look it has! We gave this to Aunty Miaow and Uncle Tuc. This bought a tear to my ear (I left this in because it made me laugh, obviously it bought a tear to my eye). We are thinking of buying another one of these for our new garden, doesn't it look lovely?


We had a Skype from HB and Aunt and Unc Pear with a guest appearance from PestM. We had a Skype call from Grandad with a guest appearance from Grandma. W even had a Skype call from The Royals. It is their son's birthday too so we all sang Happy Birthday to each other!

"wow look at all these presents Mummy"

There was a lot of card and present opening. We had a roast dinner (Smallest's favourite) and finished with an ice-cream cake - yum.


Smallest came home with "Henry in a bag", lots of toys, books, things to do and a scrapbook. We have to take photos, draw pictures, write in the book about the weekend spent with Henry. I'm sure we will fit it in somewhere!

Henry being wrapped up by Smallest

After much excitement and shooting of Nerf Guns and looking through presents, we finally got them off to bed. I have a thumping headache and am so tired. I have cakes to make and a Piñata to finish and Huffle has just informed me that we are going out tomorrow for Smallest's birthday. arrrgggghhhh need a famfa clone quick. Make it two!










Thursday, 29 March 2012

Wednesday & Thursday

Yesterday was obviously a sad day for us. We felt so far away and so useless. The divide was great. Family members tried to ring us without much luck. I realise there will be times like this when we feel far removed from our family.


Huffle went off to work as usual knowing that his meeting to sort out his 'stresses' would be happening first thing. He had a message to ring his brother, Uncle Grump, and then got the sad news about Uncle Dermott. He then rang me and I told the kids. Smallest didn't really understand but Small was sad and hugged me.

I sent them both off to school and was about to start the last coat of paint in Small's room when I had a phone call from my neighbour Mrs Royal asking if I wanted to go for a walk. Yes I most certainly did. I had been in for three days. I walked with her and another neighbour for about forty minutes. Met another neighbour on the way back who has a horse and cart and said we could ride in it anytime. He was Irish, kept calling me pet and was a lovely man.

I got back and started painting, I decided I would do a full clean of his room too and reorganise it but halfway through I got a Skype call from Moo telling me that Grandad was desperate to talk to me. So I rang him and talked to him about Uncle Dermott, family, contact numbers etc. Then I skyped Moo back and we had a good chat. While I was on to her I had a call on my mobile (cell) from the school to say that Small wasn't feeling well and wanted to come home.

I got changed quickly out of my painting gear, and drove to the school, picked him up and tried to find a walk-in clinic. The one in Town that has a huge sign saying walk-in clinic was no longer a walk-in and they weren't taking new patients. So I found a pharmacist who told me about a place attached to the hospital about thirty minutes away. I asked the pharmacist to check him out anyway and she said she thought he had strep throat as it was doing the rounds at the moment. Also the fact he was having nightmares and sleep walking (he looked at me and said "am i?") could have something to do with the infection but to definitely get it checked out. I knew I wouldn't have time to go there and be back in time for Smallest getting off the bus, so I went back to the Royals and asked for their help. (I think we struck gold moving here, the neighbours are just the best, so helpful, so kind and thoughtful, Moo said earlier that she has lived in her street for twenty years and no-one gives a damn about her!). Mrs Royal offered Mr Royal's services to keep an eye out for Smallest getting off the bus if I wasn't back. I decided to wait for Smallest to get off the bus and then we all went in search of the walk-in clinic.

We followed my GPS and found the place easily. I was dreading huge lines of poorly people coughing and spluttering over us with limbs bleeding (great imagination!) but instead it was a very clean, empty room with chairs and a friendly receptionist. I handed over Small's medical card, gave a brief description of his problem, my address and telephone numbers and was told to sit and wait till we were called.

Five minutes later we were ushered into what looked like a room full of curtained cubicles. Then we saw a nurse/trainee doc who asked questions, took notes and took Small's temperature (normal) and a swab from his tonsils (which he hated and cried, I think because he was scared and didn't know what was going on). Then a doctor came in, told us he had no fever but did have Strep Throat which he said is like Tonsilitus. He prescribed anti-biotics for ten days. He talked to me about getting a family doctor and where a practice was taking new patients (although forgotten where he said now) but that we were always welcome there whenever we wanted. He told us that Small should stay off school for 24 hours after starting the anti-biotics.

We went next door to a supermarket (very nice one) and went to the pharmacy. We have a health insurance card and it should cover us for prescriptions so I handed it over but the pharmacist couldn't process it and suggested I pay now and claim it back later. His medicine (bearing in mind it is free in the UK for children) was $30. OMG I didn't expect that much!

We stopped off at the fish and chip shop on the way home as it was getting late. Huffle was playing football so the three of us sat in front of the TV eating Chips. They weren't the best (certainly not compared to our lovely chip van back home) but the woman in there was really nice and chatty.

Huffle came home after football, weary, sad, a bit smelly (well so would you be if you had ran around for over an hour with a load of sweaty men!). We had a cup of tea (always helps) and then put the kids to bed. Huffle had a long soak in the bath while I watched my programmes on the TV. He had his meeting and it looks like he may be getting some help - Good, it seems his boss is quite understanding. We scoured our pictures to find ones of Uncle Dermott and thought of stories to tell. We have many more stories and many more pictures but it was important we published the post that night and didn't leave it. I hope we did him justice. We had such lovely emails and kind comments. Thank you to all x


Today's agenda. More Piñata. Tidy Basement. Library!? Bake cakes for school tomorrow for Smallest's birthday. Kasabian - yay.

Small obviously stayed off from school again today although he seems a lot brighter and is starting to annoy Smallest much more. GREAT. Smallest was in a very strange mood this morning. He had a huge tantrum because I asked him to remove his breakfast things. He decided he didn't know where to put anything and refused to do anything. I won in the end but it took some doing!

The boys went and played (they were supposed to be tidying away) in the basement while I tidied the rest of the house, did some washing, got showered and dressed. In the end they made a good job of tidying. They keep telling me "it's our space Mummy and we can make it messy if we want!" which is fair enough but we have to walk through it and constantly trip over cars and stand on Lego - ouch!

Smallest noticed that we had mail so he went to fetch it. Look at his grumpy face because he thought it was for me.........

It wasn't, he saw 'Master' and thought it said Mummy. Then he was happier.


We drove to the library, chose some books. The Library lady gave Smallest a card and present which was really sweet of her. She got an almost-hug. She let him open the present, some Lego, he was very happy.

Next we went for a sticky cheese sandwich at the cafe. Small is definitely going back to school tomorrow. He is certainly on the mend! Driving me up the wall!!!!!!

W came home and started making the cakes for tomorrow. Smallest requested Cookie Monster Cakes and as the kids in his class are really small, I though I would make really small cakes for them.


I had to buy the icing in a tube (which is not what I would normally do) as I was a bit stressed and in a hurry last night. I will shop for his proper cake tomorrow when I have the day to myself. Although I have just been given a free ticket to the One of a Kind show. Would love to go but not sure I can fit it in yet. Will see.

I had to clear up the big mess I made. Kids watched TV and made a list for the party. Small wrote some forfeits for the pass the parcel.

I had to send the kids in separate rooms today because they were absolutely hyper. On their own, they are angels but together they turn into whirling dervishes (is that right, it sounds wrong!). Spoke to Yahoo earlier on Skype and she heard me shouting at them, she said she was relieved as my blog makes everything sound like I do stuff with the boys and they behave all the time and are always happy. NO THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Sometimes they are horrible. To me. To each other. To Huffle. We are normal (ish).


Smallest made his new Lego, then it all fell apart and then I made it again. Then they sat in the basement and argued and shouted and fought and got annoyed with each other. Huffle came home early and tried to sort them calmly.

Calmly didn't work. So we ignored them and let them sort things out for themselves.

Oh well, I'm off to see Kasabian. HYYHHHYAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Goodbye Uncle Dermott

Today's post is postponed due the passing away of our Uncle Dermott.

Instead, I want to tell you about him.

This is him (mid 1970s) playing a bedpan in Quiver (last place that god created!)

The first time I met him was on Christmas Day 1998. It was at his and Aunty Plant's house. A lovely big farm house. I remember a long drive, a big welcoming kitchen with an Aga. When Huffle and I got there he was out at the pub with Grandad.

When they came back from the pub, Uncle Dermott walked into the dining room (we were all seated at this point) wearing an all in one rompa suit, it was striped black and red. I thought it was a joke because I was there, but apparently it was his lounge wear. When he found out I was a vegetarian he took the 'mickey' out of me constantly. In fact I think I was the butt of his jokes for the rest of the day.

He spent the next 12 years doing just that but I learnt to fight back. I thought he was a chauvenist but it didn't take me long to realise he was a big softy.

He was a big man, tall, not slim but really by big, I mean a big personality. He filled the room wherever he was. He loved his sport and took Huffle and Mr Gator to the Ryder Cup in the mid 80's at the Belfry. He has been a shop owner, a landlord, owned a golf range. He loved going to America to see his son Mr Gator and his wife Mrs Gator. America was a place (in Huffle's view) that matched his personality.

Moo remembers him being constantly 'waited on', him expecting the women to run around after him. A man of a bygone era. He loved to take the Mickey out of her too. She always fell for it though and bit back!

Huffle remembers one of his sayings being :"Deary me today tomorrow". Which Huffle still uses to this day. When Huffle and Mr Gator were very young, Huffle vaguely remembers some bells being rung outside their window (Christmas Eve), he swears it was Uncle Dermott.

Mrs Gator's brother 'Perry' told us about a game of golf he once had with him. uncle Dermott got hit on the head by a golf ball, it was bleeding, but he carried on and finished the game. Competitive!!!!!!!!! He was not the type of person who would let you win, you had to earn it.

Him and Aunty Plant visited us in our old house inthe Uk before we came over. He told us a story............

He was eight, it was close to Christmas, and he sneaked into his parents room and found a bike stored away in the back of a cupboard. He thought it was for him. He knew he couldn't say anything else he would get into trouble for sneaking into their room. He knew he had to be really good else it could be taken away. He was especially good right up until Christmas morning. He looked under the tree and there was no bike. It turned out to be for a neighbours son and his parents were hiding it for them. He couldn't say anything because again he would get into trouble for sneaking into their room so he had to stay silent, and sad!

I asked the boys what they remembered about him and mainly they remember the trophies he won at the gardening show he did each year. There was a carrot shaped like a pair of trousers and a pumpkin that we had to carry in Smallest's pushchair - it was soooo heavy. He liked to look surprised when they shouted his name and said he had won (even though we think he knew he had won most things).

This is at the garden show - Smallest is telling him he hasn't won a trophy. I can almost hear Uncle Dermott saying "You what??????"

This is his pumpkin (also won a prize) but too heavy to carry, we turfed Smallest out and made him walk so we could carry the 'precious'.

The last time he visited us was in our old house in the UK (probably weeks before we relocated). We had a fish and chip supper. The boys played with him lots. Smallest brought his big bear 'pooh' down to see him (Uncle Dermott and Aunty Plant bought it for him three years ago and it still has pride of place on his bed).






Our thoughts and love are sent back to the family.

Today is a sad day for all who knew him.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Help! A ball of money............

In the night, Small woke up screaming. I thought there was something terribly wrong and that he was in serious pain, however he had had a nightmare. He dreamt that there was a massive ball of money trying to run him over. He was really upset but once we talked it through he saw the funny side of it. He went back to sleep and we didn't hear from him again till the morning.

We decided to keep him off school again. He looked a bit brighter and seemed more like the old Small but he is still not right. So that meant I had both of them at home today. No chance of getting anything done today then!

At the weekend we put out the compost bin with a bag of peelings, leftovers etc. It has been out since we cleared the Sun Room and no critters have bothered it! Until a few days ago when it was tipped up, bag ripped open and much food strewn around the garden. The only reason we noticed it was because there was a half eaten apple on the grass. (Small takes an apple to school and nibbles around it like a squirrel). Small's comment when he saw his apple on the grass was "the raccoon has eaten more of the apple than I do"!. So the day before yesterday we moved the compost bin to the corner, added a couple of bricks on top and made sure it was shut properly. Yesterday it was untouched. Great. Today, the bin was knocked over,the bricks pushed aside, the bag completely missing but no mess! Until you looked in the middle of the grass and there was a small pile of compost! Not much left though. More thought needed for tonight - I don't want to keep it inside if we can help it. I tried this............

Wedged between a heavy pot and the big gates, with two bricks on top!

We had breakfast and while the boys were watching TV, Grandma skyped me. She is not very happy with me because I said how awful the English beaches were and because I made out we were Truly Canadian now. I would like to explain: there are a lot of lovely beaches in England, however the one in the picture is not a lovely beach when there are millions of people on it. I was in no way saying 'don't go to England 'cos the beaches are rubbish!'. The 'Truly Canadian' quote was relating to the fact that in one day we had had a fire pit and played street hockey, both very Canadian things to do. We are still English and very proud of it. There, that's that sorted.

Everyone we invited to the party is coming. How lovely. I hope we can make it special and that Smallest doesn't miss the family too much. However, Canadians don't seem to know what Pass the Parcel is, so that should be fun!

I decided that I would attempt to make a Piñata for Smallest's birthday. So, we got some balloons, made a glue out of flour and water and ripped up some newspaper.

I was the only one happy to get my hands in a mess, so Small ripped the paper, Smallest slapped the paper on and I glued my hands together. Between the two boys they managed to get the string, find the scissors, cut the string and tie it round the end of the balloons. We hung them up to dry before the next layers.

We then had a game of Magnetic Fishing (horror - we have lost Ducky!) and then a game of Monopoly Deal.

Next we got some jigsaws out, while we were jigsawing, we had a visit from ClownRose and BabyMo. They were bringing a tin back (and put some cookies in for us - nice). They stayed for a coffee and a chat and then went on their way.

Sleepy little BabyMo.

Smallest went and collected the mail. Ooh it was for him!

"Ooh is it for me?"

We had a bit of lunch whilst watching Toy Story 3.

At times today, the boys played really nicely together, and then the other times they just annoyed each other.

Small went for a lie down and Smallest payed with his cars in the basement. I was clearing away all the piñata mess and I heard these words from Smallest - "ahhhhh there's a really big spider in here, bigger than in England, really really big"! Now I don't like spiders so this is not something I wanted to deal with! However, I needn't have worried as it was the size of a small pea! Not a problem for me. I scooped it in a tin and put it outside. "Kill it! kill it!" said Smallest. Oh no, I can't do that!

I had another go at doing a layer of paper mâché on the balloons, Small passed me the paper again but Smallest wasn't interested!

My Little Chefs helped me to make fish cakes. Smallest thought the fish felt funny all wibbly, he wanted to batter it (not bash it but put batter on it). The boys took it in turns to make the breadcrumbs in the processor, and each cracked an egg for the breadcrumbs to stick to.

Fish Cakes were yum (all thanks to the many hands that helped make them of course). Small was sent for a relaxing bath to see if he feels ready for school tomorrow. Smallest and I finished one jigsaw and then started another.

Huffle came home a little bit early (he cheated and used the 407 - we have to pay for this road but it is quicker and nicer). Poor Huffle is very stressed at the moment with work. Too much to do, too little time, and problems too big to solve all by himself. He is getting himself in a bit of a state about it too. He is having a meeting with his boss tomorrow so hopefully some things can be sorted out then. In the meantime I am sending him for a relaxing bath too with some expensive bath salts I bought him for his birthday. Soothe your cares away please Huffle.