fun

I'm Not Pregnant, I'm Just Fat!

This past winter, I was tickled to discover composer/songwriter Katie Thompson's music. Whenever I need a "pick me up", I search YouTube for some of her stuff.

I'm not the only one who loves her, and there are usually many options of performances to choose from for the same song. One of the things I love about her music (besides it's quirky humour) is that it is so visual. Yep. It's actually better if you can watch the performer. And if the performer has great comedic timing.

Katie's music is funny and irreverent and so, so true to what we all really think (but don't usually put to music. ;-D)

Here are a couple of my faves:

I love Kate Jaeger's rendition of "I'm Not Pregnant, I'm Just Fat!" Not only is this the best recording of this song, it is also the best comedic performance of it I have seen. However, I also have to give a shout-out to Bonnie Milligan for her version (and her amazing voice!)

"I'm Too Pretty" was the song that introduced me to Katie's work, and Frankie Grande was the first person I heard sing it. I have watched several talented female performers do it, too, and they all did great. However, even though it is not the best recording, I still love Frankie's version, because the added irony of a male singing the song (and his amazing comedic timing) makes it even more hilarious. However, shout-outs to Marriand Torres for her amazing vocal and comedic performance and also Claire Buchignani. (This song has a LOT of versions on YouTube, and I have not had time to watch many of them. Go 'head--knock yourself out in the "related videos" suggestions.)

Happy Friday, folks! Which one was your favourite?

And so it starts...

I am very thankful to say that 2015 has started with some family time, some fun time, and some rest time for me.

December felt especially frantic, and I was very much looking forward to some "down time" over the last couple of weeks while Jason and the kids were on holidays. Unfortunately, that didn't really happen. I got the flu bug from Levi and had to have Jason take an extra day off of work to help with the kids, as I couldn't really function. However, as soon as I could move again, it felt like I was pushing through water the rest of the week to accomplish the things that needed to be done--cleaning, cooking for the family, last night of Hanukkah, a family dinner, working on my store, working on patterns, working on a worship service, working, working, working...

I had intended to have my "days off" the following week (the one just past), but life threw a few extra curves at me that precluded that. That's okay--life is like that. But it just meant that by Friday of this week, I was ex.haus.ted. So I very firmly decided that this weekend would be a complete "off" weekend for me, especially as none of us had any responsibilities at church (which is a welcome breather).

Last Saturday, I was asked to photograph a sleigh ride at Mom and Mike's for a group whose other photographer had cancelled at the last minute. I was a little stressed out about it, as I have never taken pictures in a professional capacity before (other than for my pattern photos--and the only one to answer to there is me, so I can just keep snapping and tweaking until I am satisfied). Also, I have had a notoriously difficult time taking photos in SNOW that I was happy with. And thanks to the month of fog that we have experienced in the north, plus a little snow on Christmas Day, the trees were all crusted with an inch-thick layer of hoar frost. It was beautiful. And very, very white.

I was thankful that when I was photographing my "Honey Tree" flip-top mittens, my model--the very accomplished photographer Amanda Monette, for whom I made them--also gave me some tips about photographing in snow. So, for the first time ever, I shot the day almost exclusively in Manual mode and put into practice the tips she shared. Here are some of the results:

Drew's team, ready and waiting

Drew's team again

Drew driving the team

Mike and his team of Belgians

Mike and his girls

Trish and Ariel

Then, on New Year's Day, our family and the Magnussons also got a hayride at the Eastons'. Unfortunately, it was much colder, and the hoar frost had all disappeared during some warmer weather we had earlier in the week. That's okay--the kids hooked up a couple of sleds to the back of the sleigh and had fun riding, piling on top of each other, pushing each other off, and racing to catch up the entire time--they were plenty warm!

There was much less of this...

... than this...

... or this...

... or this!

Good times had by all--especially the adults watching and laughing!

The photographer gets shot!

And since I wasn't the only photographer there, I got to be in front of the lens at least once this time. :-)

Happy January, friends! I hope yours is off to a great start, too! How did you bring in the new year?

Adding to the Fun...

Last Saturday, while Jason and our two friends Brian and Darryl spent the entire day risking life and limb getting our addition from There to Here, the kids and I got to go on buggy rides.

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Brian's wife, daughter and grandson got to go with us. I know it doesn't really seem fair that we were having fun while the guys were working harder than they usually have to on their days off. However, it helped take all of our minds off of worrying that something might go wrong a little bit.

On a one-horse buggy.

The lovely lady driving the buggy is Irinel Agapow, and the noble steed is a young Halflinger she is training named Simmel (I think?). The buggy is an antique belonging to my step-dad, and we were invited on the whole adventure by my mom (who was holding the camera, therefore not pictured.)

Since it was really only a one-seater buggy, which we still managed to squeeze two adults and two children onto, the rest of us were entertaining ourselves while we waited for our turns. While he was waiting, Noah found a frog, which he decided needed to go into his pocket. This is him, pointing to the frog's location inside his pants:

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Later, Jenn and Laverna took the frog to their place, where they have a little aquarium for him to live in. We get to pick him up the next time we go. (Assuming he is still alive, I guess!)

As far as the men-folk, they made it home safely, racing the setting sun to get the addition off the trailer before dark. On the next two days, Brian graciously came back to help Jason in sucking the addition in next to the trailer and getting it levelled.

So, that means we now have our addition. Last Friday, Mike and his friend Jerry had brought up our deck, stairs, and fuel tank (the trailer is set up to run on diesel heating fuel), which are laying in random places in our yard (still). The addition is not "hooked up" yet, meaning no power, and we are climbing in and out on a stepladder, but AT LEAST IT'S HERE!!

The walls in there were circa-1970s dark faux-wood panel board, never painted, so this week in between the +30C heat wave and getting started schooling my younger two boys, I also managed to prime the porch. That's about as far as I got, though!

I am feeling the pressure of the impending and unknown date that it will get cold and miserable and white outside like an unknown but inevitable execution date. My head is constantly filled with all of things that I have yet to do, and knocking off the in-essentials that I simply won't have time for this year. I didn't get much canning done, since I rarely had time to go to the store to buy fruit, and didn't have much time to can, either! I managed to keep on top of the plentiful crop of peas I had, which is good, since last weekend the neighbour's horses got out and destroyed most of the vines. Fortunately, I will get a few seed peas for next year from what is still remaining. (The horses also ruined all but about 5 stalks of corn and ate quite a few of my sunflowers. It was a tearful moment for me when I discovered that.) Most of my garden is still in the ground, so as soon as it cools back down to fall weather I need to dig that up.

So, here are a few things still on my "before-the-snow-flies" To-Do list:

  • Finish the permanent chicken run we began in May
  • Winterize my chicken coop
  • By the first week of October, butcher about 12 Rhode Island Red roos
  • Finish painting the addition
  • Finish moving in to my house
  • Finish harvesting the garden
  • Clean up the holiday trailer we borrowed to live in while we were "in transition" this summer

I'm sure there's more that I have temporarily forgotten.

On Jason's To-Do list:

  • Skirt the trailer (huge job)
  • Hook up the addition
  • Attach the deck
  • Build new stairs, since we have the trailer blocked significantly higher than the previous owners did
  • Plus more...

However, on the more positive side:

At the end of August, I had only a few tomatoes on any of my plants--the plants were strong and lush from all the rain, but there had not been enough heat to produce fruit on many of them. I was disappointed, but since this is my first year growing tomatoes, I tried not to take it too personally. However, there are now tomatoes on nearly every plant I have. Even the lone rare strain of Oxheart that I received from my friend Doug F. produced one lonely, large, though misshapen fruit. I hope the seeds are fertile. (It looks like it grew around the clover, or something!)

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Potatoes Au Gratin

Well, my onions were miniature. I obviously haven't figured out the trick for growing them. My peas were mediocre--we got a few good ones, but I'm going to have to study up on those a bit more.

My potatoes, however--I think I may have gotten them figured out!

Jabin with Bob the Potato 1

au grat·in

/ˌō ˈgrätn,ˈgratn,graˈtaN/

adjective

Covered with bread crumbs and sometimes butter and grated cheese, and then browned in an oven:

potatoes au gratin.

Would you like some cheese with that?

Jabin with Bob the Potato 2

Day At The Races

Every year, the AWANA club has a Grand Prix race. The cars are created out of a hunk of wood, some plastic wheels and some ingenuity.

This year, our boys knew what they wanted. Jude sanded and painted his (except for the lightning bolt and the windows), and was quite proud of the stripes. He placed 6th in his class for Originality.

Jabin did his own blue/purple base coat, and I filled in the details.

Noah, the perfectionist, knew he wanted Mario Kart, but would rather have left his car blank than painted it imperfectly himself. So I painted it. He was beyond thrilled with the results. It was worth it.

Of the three, Noah's was also the fastest!

Ready to Race!

Down in the Arkin, Down in the Arkin, Down in the Arkansas...

I don't have a lot of time for typing today, but I finally uploaded the photos from our trip, so this will be a photo blog of our recent adventures. I do not have internet access at the house (yet), so I only get to get on my computer and the internet once a day on weekdays when I drive over to the shop--about fifteen minutes away.

Because there will be so many photos, I am posting them all as "small", but you can click on any photo to see it larger.

Double rainbow over Saskatchewan.

My gorgeous friend Dawn

The most eccentric toaster I have ever seen--leopard print. Found in our motel room in Kenmare,North Dakota.

One of a few "famous" places we visited--Fargo. Also, I believe we crossed the Red River. See below for more.

The tallest park slide I have ever seen, found in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Jabin gets to know his second-cousin Avery.

Because, apparently, my boys don't know how to take a non-goofy photo.

Crossing the Mississippi River at it's headwaters (Lake Itasca).

A scale map of the Mississippi--we still had to travel most of the way to it's end when I took this photo.

See what I mean? Goofy.

Taken at a park while visiting my friends, the Ericksons. Cool swing chair!

Only in the South can you find a vintage shortening container that once held 110 pounds of the stuff!

Noah and Tuffy on our way out of the Easton driveway for a walk after the rain.

Mom and Mike's horses.

Some damp roadside lushness.

Beatboxin' Sesame

Watched "Stranger Than Fiction" tonight. Cool movie. Good point.

But this is still the coolest thing I saw today. Enjoy!