Sunday, August 26, 2012

From the Cottage to the AGO to Cityline

So taking a vacation is exactly what the doctor ordered!  This past week was a lot of fun! It all started last Friday when my friend V and I drove up to A's Cottage for a Girls Weekend. It was heaven. A bunch of great ladies, good food, and beautiful scenary.

Here's a view from the dock

A is my crafty gal pal so she made some chimes out of old spoons

We ended up learning how to shoot.  8 gals with a .22 calibre rifle.  Yup.  I did pretty good too! 

We had a lobsterfest on the dock with lots and lots of butter.  There was no dieting on this trip!

The night was so clear and beautiful.  I saw 3 shooting stars!  (And no, they were not satellites.  Real shooting stars!)  I made 3 wishes too!

I really missed hubby and the kids.  Baby bunny missed me a lot too.  I have to give kudos to hubby for watching the kids for the 3 days.

Later in the week, we went to the Art Gallery of Ontario.  I don't even bother trying to get them to smile.  One is always coming from one direction while the other is going the other way.    I saw the Picasso exhibit but through the eyes of my little ones.  I heard things like "he's naked!" and "what's that?" and "she's sad!"  I took the kids in the middle of the week because once Joshie starts school in September, we will only be able to visit on weekends :(  The kids also love going to the AGO because it means going to the Chinatown bakery beforehand for sticky buns and cookies.

By the end of the week, I was exhausted but my cousin had tickets to go to Fashion Fridays on Cityline so 4 of us went down to be audience members.  This has been a tradition for the last 3 years!  I ended up downtown at 8:20am - record time ever!  I missed my GO train so I ended up driving and got there at the same time as the train.

Here's a pic of Dundas Square... I can't believe how much it has changed over the years.   I remember when there were no ads and no big retailers.

Next week will be our chillaxing week before school starts.  I'd better get started on kiddo's new backpack!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recipe: Tomato, Chicken and Basil Rigatoni

Summer is slowly starting to come to an end and this is usually when I try to eat whatever we have grown in the garden. This recipe is so easy to make and it's perfect for lunch or dinner outside.

Here's what you need:
1 or 2 tomatoes from the garden
4-5 basil leaves
Left over grilled chicken cut into chunks
Sliced mushrooms

1.  Bring a pot of salted water to boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions
2.  Chop your tomatoes, basil, chicken and mushrooms
3.  Add some olive oil to a medium sized pot and cook your tomatoes and basil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.  Stir.  Add mushrooms and continue to stir.  Add chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes.  If the mixture gets a little dry, add some water or another tomato.
4.  Add cooked pasta and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. 
5.  Serve!

It's so nice with some salad

So healthy and fresh tasting.  I love summer cooking.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Garbage Truck Backpack for J

So it seems like most of the boys I sew backpacks for have names like Jason, James, Joshua... is it a coincidence that I am always sewing for "J" kids?

Here's the latest/last backpack I made for the summer.   This one will be for little J as he's going to preschool.

This will be the first time someone has ordered two side pockets and I think it's a great idea!

Overall it's got the same look and feel as this one or this one.  I really like the look of the quilted bottom vs a flat bottom.  It's soft but has structure.

I love little boys and their backpacks!  Can't wait to see a pic of little J in his backpack!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tutorial: Chair Sling

Today we are turning on the TV for the kiddies and sewing a very basic chair sling. By the time the kids finish watching Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs, Dragon, and Thomas, we will have a nice new chair sling to hold stuff like bibs or Baby Bunny's eating tray.

Some highchairs will come with a sling underneath the chair. But, if you've graduated to a booster seat like the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster chair, there's no chair sling because the booster connects to a regular chair. Now that Baby Bunny likes to climb into his chair, he will throw his tray on the floor. We have so many dents from falling forks, trays, cups, lego, etc. We can actually tell where he's been based on the marks on our hardwood floor. 

Skill Level: Easy
Items Needed: Fabric, Measuring Tape, Snaps, Chair that has two bars underneath  
Average Time: 20 minutes

Measure your chair... L and W from bar to bar.  Measure the width of the bar.

Cut your fabric and add 4" to the length (the front part of the chair) and 1/4" to each of the width measurement:  The amount you will add for the length is dependent on how much fabric you would like to have to fold over and under the bar.

Cut one piece:  L + 4" (this is where measuring the bar comes in handy) x W + 0.5"

My fabric was non-fraying so I didn't really need to finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch.  But since I already cut out the fabric, I folded and pressed 1/4" and then used a zig zag to stitch it on.  Once it's done, place it on the chair rails and mark where the snaps should go.  Insert your snaps and you are done!

We put some bibs in there and some toys.  Overall, I prefer keeping the tray under the chair.  Keeps it tidy and helps out with the dent problems.

I'm pretty sure I could have enjoyed one or two sips of tea if I didn't waste my time finishing the edge.  Lesson learned for next time...

Still trying to keep the house clean,

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

2012 Scarborough Ribfest

Scarborough Ribfest at Thomson Park is an annual tradition for us. It's held over the August long weekend and runs from Friday to Monday. Pre-kids, we would go every day with a different group of friends. We live relatively close to Thomson Park and have many ways of getting there on foot. One way which is rarely used, is to cut through Amberdale Park. It looks like a tiny parkette but when you walk through it, it's actually a really cool trail that leads right to Thomson Park.

We always like to go for opening lunch because it's relatively empty and allows us to have our pick of the table and not have to worry so much about the kids getting lost. Most of the ribbers were the same this year but I did notice that the Thirsty Cactus was missing from the line up. That's too bad because the kids really wanted to ride their mechanical pig like last year.

As always, every ribber had a sign saying they were #1 for one reason or another (best sauce, best ribs, best chicken, etc). Makes it hard to choose but we didn't choose wrong this year. We ate at Crabby's and had the chicken and ribs.  I would totally go back again!

The next time we went, we ate at Blazin'BBQ. I like to go there because they are the only ones who serve beef ribs. Their sauce has a bite to it so we didn't feed their ribs to the kids.

We let Joshie play the ducks game (he remembered it from the time we went to Taste of Lawrence) but Matteo refused to play at the last minute.  He was a little bit scared from all of the noise.

Next up was roll a ball.  I was really surprised at how good Joshie was at playing the game. He was able to move his little cow forward but just wasn't as fast as the adults. My heart broke a little when he discovered that he didn't win. He actually whispered to me "Mama, why didn't I win?".

The big event was Joshie's first Carousel ride. He was a little nervous at first but by Monday, he was smiling and waving like a pro. Baby Bunny refused to get on the carousel but by Monday, he was ready to try.  By the time the ride was over, he wouldn't get off the horse!

Everyone was a little hyper upon our return home.  But as the kids went to bed, I promised them that I would try to make them a homemade roll a ball game out of their diaper boxes.  DIY never ends!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Date Night: Jesus & Mary Chain at the Phoenix, Toronto

Note:  This post has nothing to do with crafting, sewing, or cooking.  I was going to write a post about the value of having date nights with your spouse (so necessary!).  Then I thought about a DIY concert shirt but didn't make one in time.   Then I thought about not writing anything at all.  But, I just went to a show for my favourite band from when I was a teenager (and now as an adult) and it was so awesome that I wanted to write about the experience.  So read on if you want to learn more about a great band!!

So as mentioned above, one of my fave bands of all time is the Jesus & Mary Chain.   I loved them so much when I was in high school.   They were so unique and so different than what was on the radio at the time.  My first intro to the band was through the album Psychocandy, arguably one of the best albums of all time.

Best Album Ever!  (Image Source:  Wikipedia)
The first and only time I saw them play live was back in 1992.  They played a show at the Skydome for their Rollercoaster tour and I was thrilled that it was an all ages show (finally!!).  Then they broke up in 1998 (boo!).  In 2007,  I wanted to go to see them at Coachella but it was 2 weeks away from our wedding and we had way too much to do.  Then a couple of months ago, a friend told me that the Jesus & Mary Chain were coming back to Toronto. I didn't think I would ever see them live again unless I hopped on a plane.  Naturally, I was really excited to see the show.  But, with everything happening with the kids and my shop (more on that another day), I forgot to buy tickets. Seriously.  So last week I found myself without tickets and totally bummed out.   As it turns out though, I was lucky enough to find a pair at the last minute (what would I do without the internet??)

Hubby and I now had plans for our first date night since Joshie was born.  It was totally overdue!  We dropped the kids off earlier at the ILs and prepped them for their very first sleepover.  It was so nice being able to leave the house with keys, money, and our tickets.  No diaper bag!  No sippy cups!  No toys!  We can actually hold hands!!!!  We are old enough to drive and not take the TTC! 

The show was held at the Phoenix which is probably one of the only clubs in Toronto that hasn't gone through 10 name changes.  It's still kinda dive-y but a great place to be.  Hubby and I used to go there on Saturday nights for Club 102 retro nights.  Aah... the memories.  Two noticeable changes for us were: 1) there was no need for I.D.  2) there was no "pat down".  I was a little surprised that there was no frisk given the recent gun violence going on in the world.  Not complaining, just saying...

We arrived at around 9:45 pm but still caught about 4 songs from the opening band Nightbox.  The room was less than 1/2 full.  By showtime, the room was pretty packed.  I was hoping the Reid brothers weren't going to fight onstage and disappear because 20 years is a long time to wait to see a band live.

Just Like Honey is probably one of their most popular songs:

I wish they played April Skies instead of Sometimes Always.

I wish they also played "You Trip me Up"

There were a couple of restarts and there were times when I was sure some mumbling was happening because I couldn't hear Jim sing actual words.  It had nothing to do with my makeshift tissue paper ear plugs!  

I decided not to bring a phone or a camera but totally regretted it afterwards.  But again, due to the wonderful world of the internet, I guess I didn't really have to!  Jessica Paré from Mad Men was a guest vocalist which was kind of cool!  

Set List:
Head On
Far Gone and Out
Between Planets
Blues From A Gun
Teenage Lust
Cracking Up
All Things Must Pass
Some Candy Talking
Happy When It Rains
Halfway to Crazy
Just Like Honey (With Jessica Paré)
Sometimes Always  (With Jessica Paré)

Encore 1:
The Hardest Walk
Taste Of Cindy
Never Understand - after this song, Jim said thanks and "this is it".

Encore 2
Sidewalking - After leaving the stage for a minute or two, they returned.  They apparently forgot to play this song in Buffalo so they came back to sing it and then said again "this is it".  I assumed this would be the last encore so we left (also hoping our car wasn't towed since we were past the allowable free parking time).

We got home a little before 1am and it was so worth it.  I only wish we could have driven to Montreal for Osheaga so we could've seen them again.  But, it was back to reality for us.  The next morning we picked up our happy kids.  I enjoyed my evening but missed their cute little faces the next morning.  Baby bunny screamed happily when he saw us and never left my side.  Joshie was excited to see us too but he's more independent now.  The two slept in the same bed the night before and Joshie told me that when they went to bed, he slept with his foot touching baby bunny to make sure he was safe.  What an amazing big brother!

Me thinks hubby and I need to do more date nights sans enfants.  Wonder what our next adventure will be?  Suggestions?

p.s. for fans of the group, they released a photo book called The Jesus and Mary Chain (photos by Andrew Catlin) which is available for preview on Blurb.  Apparently they might be writing songs again so hopefully there will be a new album coming:!!??!!??