Monthly Archives: February 2010

Birthday business (part 2)

As I write this cool things are still happening in the kitchen.  We need to head off to worship team practice before too long so we are going to have half a birthday dinner before we go.  We did the same thing last week when it was Andrew’s birthday.  The girls asked if they could cook his birthday dinner and of course I agreed.  L15 did cherry tomatoes stuffed with goat’s cheese for starters followed by fettucine in a creamy seafood sauce.  After we arrived home from worship team A13 had a carrot cake with cream cheese icing ready for us.

It is now night and we have done all our eating.  A13 did the starter and main tonight and L15 made dessert.  A13 knows I love Chinese and she did a spectacular job; we had Pork Wontons followed by Hunan Chicken and Stir-fried Bokchoy on steamed rice.  Once we got back from music practice we ate the delicious Lemon Meringue Pie that Laura had made, but not before the younger two children had sucked helium out of a birthday balloon and sung “Happy Birthday”.

While much of this wonderful food was being prepared this afternoon I was indulging in my current favourite pastime, watercolour painting.  I have been teaching art on Friday mornings to the Group of 3, so I have had the watercolours out along with a  huge pile of books on watercolour painting from the library.   Today I sat down to try something a little different from the paintings I have been doing, but ended up doing yet another snow scene.  Now is the perfect time to mention the gift my  children bought me.  The first thing I pulled out of  the gift bag was a flyer for a sale at Wallacks art store…the other thing I pulled out was a gift card to Wallacks art store.  Sale ends Saturday.  Here’s this afternoon’s art. ( you can click to see actual size)

This account of birthday business would not be complete without a peek into the world of a sound technician.  My job doing sound for the worship team Andrew and L are in has recently gained a  higher profile.  Instead of being tucked away in a room off in the back left hand corner of the church I now get to sit  in a booth at the back of the church which is raised a couple of feet higher than everyone in the congregation.  No hiding now when some unexpected and inexplicable technical hitch occurs.   That is not the only change; gone is the 16 channel sound board which used to surprise me in many and varied ways.  In its place is a pretty new thing with a few hundred  gizmos and thingamajigs to do any number of clever and exciting things.  I know that is fairly technical jargon, but I think you get the idea!  All went smoothly tonight and L15 snapped a few shots to show you the cool new board and my equally cool new travel mug.

Birthday business has been very sweet indeed today,  I received a lovely collection of calls, emails and cards from very special people and was totally spoiled and blessed by my  family.

Birthday business

On account of it being my birthday today I thought that I should not do any school so that gives me time to document the whole day for your reading pleasure.  The day started very early this morning when, although I was tucked up in bed, there were still noises coming from the kitchen.  My girls were making preparations of some sort.

At a much more reasonable hour I came down to breakfast:  pancakes made by L15 with a pile of presents on the side.  The presents are all lovely and some will be featured in this post as I put them to use during the day.   One such present was just crying out to be used straight after breakfast.  Although it was my birthday and I shouldn’t really be doing the dishes, my children kindly allowed me to try out my new rubber gloves, not ordinary rubber gloves but cool ones with pretty “business” on the ends.

My kids are good like that, after I had washed the dishes they also let me clean the stove!  Rubber gloves with business are a big hit.

The morning progressed with the girls getting down to work, it’s not their birthday after all, but not B9.   He is under the impression that my birthday is like the Queen’s birthday, a public holiday for all.  That being the case I decided to put him to work helping me bake Butterscotch Chip Dreams.

While I was at the computer updating the birthday business, B9 was setting out yet another edible treat.  The jelly turtle has always been a favorite of his, but this time it took on a new look becoming instead the jelly lagoon complete with kiwifruit  flotsam and jetsam.

I was planning to head out around midday to do my birthday laps at the pool but time got away over lunch and next thing I knew the window of opportunity had closed.  Despite what one of my children suggested I do not yet qualify for the 50+ Vitality swim!  Had I swum I would have put to good use another of my birthday gifts.  Whenever I swim I usually return home wearing the alluring fragrance of chlorine. That is about to change.

I received a delightful selection of potions from a very pretty store.  It came wrapped very prettily also.  Apparently business was rather slow when my husband made the purchases and the woman who helped him was only too happy to gift wrap for him.  The contents of the box came in a cute little bag (with ribbon) which lay amongst scads of tissue paper in a beautiful silver box (also with ribbon) which was placed in a gorgeous silver bag, which would have been topped off with more tissue paper had not my husband put a stop to it!  I think she would have even written the card if asked.

Serious business is going on in my kitchen right now  and I am not a part of it.  Children who are happy in the kitchen are a very wonderful thing.  (Birthday business part 2 coming soon)

Double Deckers

I just finished a reading a book to B9 which we both enjoyed, “Dessert First” by Hallie Durand.  It turns out the main character’s name is Dessert, but the book is concerned with dessert also, along with fondue, temptation and making sacrifices.  We were a few chapters in when B9 asked to move onto a new book.  I did not want to move on because I hadn’t found out yet how the child came to be called “Dessert”!

I thought he would like it as it was, in some ways, like the “Clementine” books we had read last year and enjoyed.  His comment part way through was interesting  as he said it was “trying to be like the Clementine books” but apparently it did not quite measure up.  We continued and were drawn in by the awful secret Dessert was carrying around.

What inspired B9 the most was the  recipe for Double Deckers.  Included on the back cover, he was very keen to try it out.  Finally I had all the ingredients and he made it last week.  It is indeed rich and delicious.  He cut it into 30 portions and is determined that no-one will have more than one a day.  I tried several angles to be awarded a second serve, apparently the girls did too, but it didn’t happen!

I’m not sure what the deal is with those sleepy eyes of his.  He certainly was not sleepy after eating a sugar loaded “Double D”!

Highschool literature group

Remember the Group of 4?  This year one of our families has left the group to attend school so we are now the group of three.  Of the eight children in the Group of 3, six attend Writing classes on Friday, classes the mothers (and I believe, the participants) are very happy with.  When planning for this year I spoke to a few mothers of  highschoolers about creating a literature component to supplement the writing classes.  Our writing teacher does a fabulous job and points the students to examples of great writing from great literature but does not require the reading of entire works as part of her writing course.  We wanted to make sure our highschoolers were reading some great literature but didn’t want to add another full subject to their load.

So the literature class, club, group was born.  Initially I was calling it a class but it isn’t; it is more of a discussion group.   We decided to meet once a month to discuss the book just read.  Each month one parent/child team takes responsibility for preparing questions and background then leads the discussion.

We are now onto our fourth book and it seems to be going well.  I don’t think we have chosen a book yet which everyone has loved but that isn’t surprising.  We began with Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird which L15 really enjoyed.  I had not read it in a long time and I also enjoyed it.  Unfortunately L was sick the night of the discussion but we were able to attend a few weeks later when the group got together to watch the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck.

The following month we read Animal Farm by George Orwell.  As far as I could tell the boys in the group really enjoyed it and the girls did not.  The discussion, however was very interesting as we talked about the likelihood of being able to stand against the current when all around are being brainwashed and led astray.  Although we talked about the Russian revolution we did not dwell on the historic figures being portrayed by the animals, but talked more about the type of people they were and the character traits they exhibited.  There were quite a few comments which began, “If only they had…”

A few weeks ago we met to discuss Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot.  Naturally the conversation was quite different as we were discussing a biography.  Some members of the group really appreciated the fact that in the book a plane was a plane, it didn’t represent anything else!  Even though the story is now over fifty years old the testimony of the five missionaries’ lives impacted everyone in the group.  We discussed singlemindedness, commitment to eternal things and the incredible trust each man and his wife had in the sovereignty of God.

Currently we are reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  Unlike the three previous books I had never read this.  I did not know what to expect and found that it drew me in and disturbed me at the same time.  L15 is not too far in yet.

In April we will read Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and then May, which is the month L15 and I are responsible for, has been left for a contemporary novel.  I am currently searching for something appropriate.  There are a couple I think might be good but L has read them already and I would prefer to find something new to her.


As well as skating on the rink in the local park (above) we took Luke to a nearby outdoor speed skating rink (below) with a couple of outdoor hockey rinks next door.

I mentioned in another post that he and the girls skated on the canal as soon as it opened, the following day Ben joined them when they skated again after a visit to the Art Gallery.  Unfortunately the weather had warmed up considerably so the conditions were not great.

And, just so his skating experience would be complete, we took him to an indoor rink also (below).   Ottawa is full of indoor rinks, well Canada is full of rinks, indoor, outdoor, they’re everywhere.  It’s like swimming pools in Australia.

It’s in the details

Stellae Boreales is touring this year, so the girls will be going to New York in May.  We were told back in September to make sure we have passports.   Well, I know we have passports so I didn’t think any more about them.  It turns out that our passports do not have the mandatory six months left on them so we need new ones.

Even though Stellae Boreales is made up of violinists of many nationalities it turns out that my girls are the only ones who are not Canadian citizens.   That means they need extra documentation to get back in the country.  And, yes, those cards have expired too.   Details.

We went to get photos first.  For Australian passports the photos have to be a different size to those for Canadian passports, not the usual for the photographers.  Forms next, a guarantor, witness, supporting documents, details, details.

Today I took it all to the High Commission only to find that I had failed to get some signatures…the passport owners’ signatures!  Also it turns out that A13’s photo was not the right size as we had measured from chin to top of head instead of chin to crown of head.  Mere details.

Despite the missing details I quite enjoyed being downtown on a pleasant winter’s day.  The air was not too cold, the sun was shining, preparations for Winterlude were evident and I fantasized about being part of the corporate world.   I imagined myself eating lunch in the atrium that I had walked through, listening to the jazz band playing, wearing nice boots and a classy long winter coat.  A job?  The children at home?  Details.

I found it odd that the times the buses arrived did not coincide with the times advertised on the timetables.  Perhaps that’s just a minor detail.  We’ll see when I wrap up the last details with another trip tomorrow…