Parenthood
June 20, 2010
Happy Father's Day
Being a father is wonderful.  There is really nothing quite like watching Elizabeth discovering the world around her and being there to hold her hand, make her giggle and catch her when she falls.  Sure it is exhausting and changes you in ways you would never have imagined (I'm now frequently up, showered and breakfasted before I used to even be aware that daylight had poked its nose in the window).  It also has it share of frustrations and heart-breaking moments, but I still wouldn't trade being a Dad for anything else on earth.  I look forward to many more years of teaching Elizabeth about the wonders of the world and the God who made them all (including her).
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June 19, 2010
Strawberry Season

Strawberry season has begun!  Elizabeth, Grandma J and I took our new car to Rideau Pines farm for the first fruits of the season yesterday afternoon.

 

Elizabeth's stroller was slightly too wide for the strawberry aisles but we perservered with a minimum of fruit crushing.  After a while she decided to come out and pick too.  She doesn't seem to like eating strawberries although squooshing them in her fingers was briefly entertaining.  Mostly she wanted to carry around my basket and put berries in it.  I spent a lot of time handing her one berry at a time.  Unfortunately, it turns out that she also likes taking berries out of the basket.  Preferably by dumping it completely upside down...

 

We still managed to get two baskets.  Some of the berries are now freezer jam, some are in the freezer waiting to become berry tapioca pudding when strawberry season is a distant memory, and the rest are in my tummy!

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June 18, 2010
Happy Birthday Uncle Chris!

We celebrated Uncle Chris' birthday today with BBQ and gluten-free Sachertorte.

 

c. butter                                                

1 c. gluten free flour

7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate                        

10 egg whites, stiffly beaten

c. sugar                                                

c. apricot jam

8 egg yolks                                               

pint whipping cream, whipped

 

Beat butter until creamy.  Melt 6 oz. chocolate.  Add sugar and chocolate to butter; stir.  Add egg yolks one at a time.  Add flour.  Fold in egg whites.  Grease and flour 8\u201310\u201d round pan, (preferably spring form).  Pour mixture in.  Bake in 275 degree oven about one hour.  Test with toothpick.  Cool.  Slice into 2 layers and spread apricot jam between.  Cover with whipped cream and the remaining oz. chocolate, coarsely grated.

 

To make the original Sachertorte, recipe courtesy of Mrs. Anna Sacher, prepare cake as directed above but do not split into layers.  Spread 2 T. apricot jam over top of cake and cover with the following icing:

 

1 c. sugar

1/3 c. water

7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

 

Cook sugar and water to thin thread.  Melt chocolate in top of double boiler.  Add sugar gradually to chocolate.  Stir constantly until icing coats the spoon.  Pour on top of cake.  Serve with whipped cream.

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June 17, 2010
OEYC Toy Library

These days, Elizabeth loves climbing into chairs of all kinds, sitting back and chilling.  It's about the only way she sits still.  When faced with a room full of chairs she will point to each one in turn and go from chair to chair to chair (and back again sometimes).  Many chairs she can now even climb onto herself.  This greatly frightens her parents who watched her climb onto a chair right next to the dining room table and realized that the remaining distance up to the table top was far less than the distance from the floor to the chair.  The other type of "chair" that she loves to sit on is the moving sort.  We've borrowed a number of ride on devices from the OEYC toy library and she absolutely loves to ride around on them.  Somehow the lion just seemed right...

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June 16, 2010
Bessie has a new coat

I mentioned that Elizabeth is very keen on cars at the moment.  She likes to push anything with wheels but little toy cars are a particular favourite ever since our Ford dealer gave her a Tonka truck to play with while they tried to convince us to buy an SUV.

 

We've had a Ford Focus Wagon or hatchback for nearly a decade but Ford's decision to stop selling the non-sedan version of the Focus in North America coupled with their exit from the leasing business for vehicles in our price range ultimately outweighed our liking for our dealership.

 

We now have a brand new Volkswagen Golf Wagon (gas not diesel for those who might care).  In many ways it reminds us of our first car (the Ford Focus Wagon).  Wagons are really a very practical design.  You get amazing amounts of space in the back for whatever you may be hauling around without the extra weight of an SUV.  In our case comparing the Ford Escape compact SUV with the VW Golf Wagon you get about the same engine in both but the Escape drags itself around whereas the Golf feels like it could take off if you're not careful (170 hp - our first wagon had 110).  Now given that the two differ by only a few liters in terms of cargo capacity it really is quite easy to pick one over the other if you care at all about having a little fun while you are out for a drive.

 

Once we got over the majority of the emotional trauma of switching brands we discovered that a lot has changed since our last car.  Our last three cars have basically been identical and had very little in the way of improvements over each other.  Bessie's new coat makes up for this lack of change and then some.  Two pixel based digital displays (one is a touch screen), funky fading lights, USB, SDHC and iPod music connectors, compass, temperature, tire pressure monitoring, low washer fluid, bluetooth handsfree phone support and the coolest ever ellectronic stability control system.  During the test drive the sales guy took us down an 80 km road, pulled over so that two wheels were on the gravel shoulder, said "don't try this in any other car" and jammed on the brakes.  After a brief moment of "great the sales guy is going to kill us here" we realized that the car had just come to a stop in a straight line without so much as a wiggle.  After that there were lots of other cool things that he showed us but it didn't really matter because we were sold.

 

Oh and Elizabeth screamed less in the VW than the Ford during the test drives (despite, or perhaps because of, the crazy moves).

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