Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Although Hallowe'en has never been my favorite holiday, I always like the costumes that kids are dressed up in. I remember when we were kids very few people bought ready made costumes. Instead we'd rummage through closets looking for something that could make an improvised costume - sheets for ghosts, parts of Dad's army uniform, home made masks, etc. My favorite thing to be was a gypsy. All it took was one of Mum's skirts and a frilly blouse, a kerchief for our head, a shawl and whatever jewellery we could find...and of course red lipstick for our cheeks and mouths. I'm sure we were beautiful although there's no pictures in existence to prove my claim.

After an hour of prowling the neighbourhood we'd come home with our bag full of apples, candy kisses and gum. Wendy and I would dump our loot out, being careful to keep it separate from one another's stash, and would proceed to trade. I liked one kind of candy kiss and she liked another so the trading was even. It always bugged me though that her stash would last till Christmas while mine was gone in a week!

I had a hard time improvising costumes for my little kids so one year I made two clown costumes and one witch.

Amy, Jenny and Rob

The kids loved them. Those costumes lasted for years and were handed down from kid to kid until all seven wore at least one of them once or twice. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the grown-up kids still has one of the clowns stashed away someplace.

Jenny (the witch in the picture above) made a small clown costume seen here worn by her 4th son Micah.

I don't know who these characters represent. Jenn's husband Anders gets a kick out of dressing up and taking the boys out trick or treating.

Clowns don't seem to be as popular a costume choice now though. And costumes have become a lot more sophisticated in design and manufacture. Over the past few years our grandchildren have been:

Max as a dinosaur

baby Max as a spider

Max as a teddy bear and Layla as a bunny (with Charlie as a sulky fairy princess)

Elly as an elephant

Aidan as a fearsome shark

and Baby Aidan as a timid lion with Charlie as a concerned kangaroo with a joey of her own.

They've also been HEROS, super and otherwise,

I don't know what superhero sydney was last year

Max was an astronaut

and Charlie was WonderWoman
Then, of course, there's the ever popular PRINCESS costume

all worn by Kenzie for the past three years. Any guesses as to what she's dressing up as this year?
I'll be sure to be taking pictures of them all though. Have fun kids.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Own Supplier

The tradition lives on. Fifty years ago I sold my first box of Girl Guide (Canada's version of Girl Scouts) cookies. It was very simple back then...we each got a carton of cookies and went door to door with a partner in our uniforms to sell them. I did this for the three years I was in Guides, including the year we lived in Germany when I was 12. We didn't have any official cookies so the pack mothers baked hundreds of them, put them in bags and gave them to us to sell. Now I look forward to cookie season and never pass up an opportunity to buy them.

Last night my oldest granddaughter, 6-year old Kenzie, who just joined Brownies a couple of weeks ago, came over to sell us some Girl Guide cookies

I bought two boxes, and will undoubtedly buy more as long as I have granddaughters who are selling them. Thanks Kenzie.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Carrot Casserole

Do you have fussy eaters in your family? Ones who won't eat cooked carrots, like some of mine? Maybe this recipe will help. I wish I had it when the kids were growing up.

When Lloyd and I went to Winnipeg in May, Wendy served this delicious carrot casserole. I couldn't get enough of it. As soon as we got home I went out and bought a package of Velveeta so I'd have it on hand when I felt like trying this recipe myself.

I don't know where Wendy got it, but I'm going to share it with you here. Excuse the fuzziness of some of the pictures. I forgot about the macro setting. You'll get the idea though.

Carrot Casserole
2 pounds of carrots, sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 cup processed American cheese, cubed (Velveeta)
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/2 cup crushed saltines (about 15 crackers)
Place carrots in a saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; place in a greased 1.5 quart baking dish.

In a small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and the cheese, stirring often.

Stir in dill.

Pour over the carrots.

Crush the saltines

and melt the remaining 1/4 c. butter

Toss the saltines with the melted butter...

Sprinkle over carrots.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve and enjoy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Lloyd

What does a 60-year old man do to celebrate his birthday? I don't know about other men, but Lloyd and I spent a lovely day hanging out together. We went out for an early lunch and then spent a couple hours shopping. We ended up with a nice collection of birthday presents for him.

At 4:00 the family (the 21 local ones anyway) met at Lloyd's favorite buffet restaurant where I had reserved a party room for us. This way the kids could run and play without bothering any of the other restaurant patrons. After everyone was fed, Lloyd opened gifts from the kids.

Every 60-year old needs a lava lamp so we can relive the hippie aspect of our late teens - the 1960s were such a great time to be alive!

It's always nice to get a calendar filled with pictures of the family (and a schedule of the Oilers hockey games!)

Although the Winnipeg Jets no longer exist as an NHL team (they were moved south and are now the Phoenix Coyotes) Rob was able to find a Jersey like they used to wear. He was also given an Oilers t-shirt and an Edmonton Eskimos CFL football jersey.

Then back to the house for cake and more gifts.

I had prepared a "How Well Do You Know Lloyd MacKenzie" 20-question quiz for our adult kids and in-laws to work on...each one had a copy, but some of the couples opted to work together on them.

Amy and Curtis completed separate quizzes together, but the winner was our oldest daughter, Jenny, who correctly answered 13 of the 20 questions. The next runner-up only had 8 correct. Either I made the quiz too hard, or the kids didn't listen all those years when their dad talked about his childhood.
Then to end the day, the men sat around our television and watched the Oilers lose badly to their worse rivals, the Calgary Flames...but even that didn't diminish the good day we had. Happy Birthday Lloyd.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So What's in Your Purse?

  • Are you one of those women who carry everything you think you'll ever need with you when you leave the house?

  • Is your purse bulging at the seams with things you never use from one month to another, yet when it comes time to change purses, you just transfer everything into the new one?

  • Or are you a minimalist and just carry the bare essentials?

  • I think I fall somewhere in between.

Here's what I emptied out of my purse, everything is essential (I think).

  • Camera
  • Wallet
  • Comb
  • Lip Gloss
  • Gum
  • Cheque books
  • Credit/debit/reward Card holder
  • Car keys
  • Keys to home, Lethbridge house and Arizona house
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Notebook
  • Six pens
  • Old grocery list
  • Bill to mail
  • Mints
  • Motrin in pill box
  • Tissue packet
  • Appointment cards
So how does that compare to yours? I admit that there are one or two things I could get rid of but most of it is essential.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Visit to Gardner Springs

We went to Gardner Springs this afternoon to visit with our family members who live out there - Lloyd's sister Joyce and her husband Duane and two of their children, Noah and Heidi, Rachel and Kirk, and their families. It's way out in the country - the three families living in separate homes on the large parcel of land - very peaceful - no neighbours in sight, but not so isolated that they feel cut off out there.

After dinner some of us took a walk around the area - Rachel's three girls, Ivory, Lily and Scarlett, accompanied Cheryl and I while Rachel ran back to her mother's house to get carrots to feed the donkey.

This is a handy vehicle Rachel uses to travel between her house and Joyce's.

This is Melvin, the donkey. I don't know what his purpose is but the kids like feeding him.

Rachel and the girls gathered armsful of hay to hand feed Melvin.

Ivory, being careful not to fall over backwards into the corral.

The barn. The girls told me they saw an owl in it one day, so I had to go and see if I could get a picture of it. I love owls. However, that bird had flown so I missed getting a picture.

Inside the barn there are no animals (that we could see anyway) - instead Duane had stored 14 motorcycles in it.

Ivory posing on one of the cycles.

This little tree was planted on the property as a memorial to our niece Tania's son, MacKenzie Fisher, who died on New Year's Day 2009 from a brain tumor at the age of 12.

It's a lovely spot to sit and reflect on a peaceful day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mark Everett in Concert

Lloyd and I are down in Lethbridge again this weekend...mainly because he has a meeting here on Monday...and also because it's warm and snow-free after last weekend's weather disaster and he's able to get another golf game in...and also because last night our nephew Mark was in a country western program in Raymond and we wanted to see him perform.

As I've mentioned here before, Mark is in the process of launching his music career and is gradually getting air time with his CD, mostly in the US Southwest, but also here in Alberta. He already has some fans in the community here, and this concert enabled him to show his stuff to a larger audience.

The Broadway reference comes from the venue - downtown Raymond is a particularly broad street named Broadway. The concert hall is a lovely large brick building that is used for all kinds of musical programs, plays, etc. Last night's concert was a sell-out and I believe tonight's is as well.

Mark's musical partner, Cory Rasmussen, overcame his dislike to country western music and provided excellent backup for Mark's guitar and voice.

It was fun to go and see the enthusiasm with which an audience that wasn't entirely his family responded to his performance.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lethbridge Weekend

The morning after arriving home from sunny Arizona, Lloyd and I headed to our home in Lethbridge for the long weekend. The weather here is unseasonably cold, which has everybody grumbling. We stopped in Lacombe on our way down and had lunch with Jenny and her two pre-schoolers. We were sorry to miss seeing the other three boys, but we'll save that for another time. It was amazing to see how much food 4-year old Micah could put away!

Here's the view out of our front window in Lethbridge on October 9.

We usually don't have snow until November here. Nasty stuff.

It wasn't all bad though. My sister, Wendy, and her husband, Randy, arrived from Winnipeg for a two day visit with us shortly after we got here. Randy had brought his golf clubs and he and Lloyd had a couple tee times set up, but the snow ruined those plans. They went bowling instead while Wendy and I shopped. Wendy is looking for a mother-of-the-bride outfit to wear to her youngest daughter's wedding in January. We found nothing! No panic though, she still has time to look.

Lloyd's sisters, Cheryl and Joyce, wanted to celebrate his 60th birthday while he was here. He turns 60 on the 24th. So we, along with Duane, Tania, Ron, Wendy, Randy, and Richard, all went out to dinner at Luigi's and had a great time visiting and eating.

Cheryl, Lloyd, Joyce, Duane. Lloyd is looking at one of his birthday gifts from the girls.

Then on Sunday, Amy, Curtis and the kids, who were visiting Curtis' parents in Claresholm for the weekend, came over for a visit. It's always nice to have them visit us at our Lethbridge home. We live in their basement suite in Edmonton so it's good to remind the kids that Grammie and Papa have a home that is not part of their house. The kids love playing hide-and-seek here because there are so many 'secret' nooks and crannies and storage areas for them to hide in. We went out to a Chinese buffet for lunch. Sydney was too excited to eat but when Kenzie realized there was sushi, that' all she wanted.

I don't know many kids who like sushi, but Kenzie loves it.

Mike and his family came over for dinner Sunday night. Kenny and Alex are such sweet little boys, full of energy and fun. I forgot to get the camera out when they were here.

So we had a busy weekend visiting with all of our siblings and a couple of our kids and their families. We'll be making the 5 hour trip back home to Edmonton later today.