Islands in the Glass

I remember when my backyard looked like this:

garden pic




At least, I think I do. Here we are, a full week into “spring”, and all I see when I look out into my backyard is this:

back yard is this really spring Mar 27'15


Fortunately, I found a little antidote to my prolonged-winter-induced crankiness via Smitten Kitchen: The Consolation Prize Mocktail. It’s described as a blend of a mojito and a pina colada. (I’m not a fan of mint unless it’s on its own or with chocolate, so I left that out.)

The Consolation Prize ingredients

The Consolation Prize with ice

The Consolation Prize full glasses

The Consolation Prize pouring

The Consolation Prize cheers!

Slainte! Turns out this wasn’t a hit with Teeny Man, so this poorly-timed shot captures his imminent disappointment.

Ahh…a taste of the tropics! It made me feel all summery and like it was time to dig out the sunscreen:

"Suntan lotion is good for me! "

“Suntan lotion is good for me! “

I remain hopeful that tomorrow will be a little warmer, or at least snow-free. If all else fails, I’ve got more pineapple juice on standby…





Beware the End of March (Break), Part 2

After two days of driving (being a passenger wears me out!), I was quite happy to spend Wednesday at home. As luck would have it, the library’s theme of the day was birds, and so we were able to have three days in a row of all creatures great and small! The morning session had us learning about feathers and matching feathers to birds. Then, we made a bird craft:

peregrine falcon craft Mar 18'15

Teeny Man’s favourite bird: the peregrine falcon






The afternoon session kicked it up a notch and had real birds from the Ontario Specialized Species Centre: a hawk, a peregrine falcon, a snowy owl, and a great horned owl:


I got to pet a great horned owl!

Fun fact: Hedwig is a female in the Harry Potter novels, but in the films, they use a male. Only male snowy owls are white. The females are brown to blend in to their filthy, ground-level nests (this guys sure knows how to keep a young audience’s attention: talk about POOP!).

Thursday saw us on the road again (cue Willy Nelson now), but this time we were headed to the nation’s capital, Kanata! Wait…I mean, Ottawa!

“Beg pardon, Sir, but I think the word he used…I think it really means those houses down there.” “No, believe me: I know the word. It means ‘nation’ and Ca-na-da is its name.” “But I’m sure it means the houses…the village.”

This was Teeny Man’s first stay in a hotel (no Super 8 tonight, sweetie!), and there was even a children’s pool. We were the only people there save for a couple of people swimming laps. I had seen lots of kids earlier on in the lobby, so I think all the big kids were at tournaments when we were swimming. Score!  (pun absolutely intended)

On Friday, we went to the Parliament building. Then we wandered down to the ByWard Market. It was very chilly, so we popped into the Moulin de Provence bakery, famous for its Obama cookies (guys, he ate a red frosted maple leaf-shaped shortbread there!). At first, Teeny Man wanted a green Easter egg cookie, but then he changed his mind and got an Obama cookie. ‘Murica! Marshall opted for a chocolatine (a chocolate filled croissant-like object), and I had a croissant aux amandes that was loaded with marzipan and why can’t we just eat marzipan all day long, every day, marzipan, marzipan, marzipan…..wait, what just happened? 😉

I also popped into Heaven, aka Tea Store. I picked up two of my favourites: Queen Mary (a stout black tea) and this one:


Afternoon Skate: “A delightful sweet and spicy blend of cinnamon, vanilla, coriander, caramel, and almond”

A dear friend of mine gave me some a few years ago, and it was so delightful that I have thought about it ever since.

On our way back to the car, I spotted some very strange sculptures outside the British High Commission:


I am the Egg Man….woooo!

A little tree stump, tree, and shrub with legs and feet. They both frightened me and made me feel like I was in an Alice adventure (which, come to think of it, is also frightening…).

It’s no secret to Marshall that my favourite pastime on long drives is napping. This time, however, I brought my crocheting with me and started and finished a very cute little project that I will be giving Vinda tonight. I missed him a lot and was so happy to see him again today.

Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto!



On Saturday and Sunday, Marshall continued working on our family room renovation. We had a leak in the roof, and removed the drywall to uncover some mould. It has since been cleaned up and reinsulated. Drywall is now up and ready to be mudded and taped!

drywall up mar 22'15

No more nicotine-stained drywall!

So, here we are. We have come to the end of the March Break. Lunches are packed, and I am preparing myself to head back to work tomorrow. I know it’s a blessing to have had this time off with my family, but I would be fibbing if I said I was chomping at the bit to head back to class. Hey, wouldn’t you know? I can relate to teenagers! Well, at least on this matter, anyway. 🙂

I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight…








Beware the End of March (Break), Part 1

March Break was a whirlwind this year. Only one day, plunked smack down in the middle, was spent at home.

On Monday, we headed to the Metro Zoo. Even after leaving the Durham region, we kept up our membership because it pays for itself after only two visits. It’s open 364 days a year, so we make trips in every season. Getting there right when it opens is the best because just as we’re leaving, the incredibly long line must feel like this:

The afternoon was spent celebrating Marshall’s birthday (belated) with our Durham family. We also went to Costco and purchased an obscenely large container of mixed nuts and a giant block of cheese. Mmm, health food! Vinda left for his skiing adventures with his dad.

Tuesday was a Toronto Adventure day. We started our day at…


I had never been there before (or so I thought…more on that later…), and Teeny Man *loves* all things animalia, so we were thrilled to see:


6 day-old twin Cotswold lambs


Posing by the quiet goats is easier. Mama Cotswold bleated so loudly when we entered the barn that he did not want his picture taken by the lambs.



This little gem is tucked into a very lovely neighbourhood in Cabbagetown, and it’s FREE! We didn’t even get to see everything it has to offer, as much of it was closed off due to icy pathways. When I told my mom about our trip, she informed me that that wasn’t my first visit to the farm. In fact, I was about 2 or 3 when I went there with her, she told me. It was the first time I saw a black person, apparently. (I am from a very white town, which, over 30 years ago, was even whiter, so please excuse what I said as an “out of the mouths of babes from very white towns” moment.) Fortunately for my mom, the man was out of earshot when I noticed him and exclaimed incredulously, “Mommy! That man is made of chocolate!” Oh, my.

Our next adventure was walking to The Second City to see a children’s production: Big Bad Wolf Vs Lord Underwearface Von Schtinker. It was a hilarious production that included some improv with the audience, and given the average age was about 8, you can imagine that those bits involved boogers and nose-picking.

What we weren’t expecting, however, was the Adventure En Route from A to B. Our google pedestrian map had us cut through a park where we discovered this:


Allen Gardens Conservatory-a wonderful respite during a cold and blustery walk

I had no idea this place even existed! Everywhere we turned, there was another room full of plants, cacti, trees, even some little turtles.




PS Happy St Patrick’s Day!

I almost forgot that it was not quite spring, and still very cold outside. It was lovely to smell hyacinth in full bloom!

More fun and adventures to come! Stay tuned…