I signed the kids up for a valentine's exchange on the theory it would be good writing practice and they'd get real mail (better do it now while we still have door-to-door delivery!)
I thought that there were only nine kids and figured it would be easy enough to make nine valentines, completely forgetting that we'd actually have to make 18. Multiplication not my strong suit, apparently...
Then it turned out we actually had to make 18 valentines EACH! I'm still not quite sure how that happened. I ended up helping Elizabeth with some of the cutting but otherwise they gamely completed the task with very little assistance from me aside from the extensive cheerleading that was required. Matthew was more enthusiastic than Elizabeth - all I had to say was "Colour two more cards and you can play with the scissors again" and a great flurry of "rawing" (drawing) would ensue. Elizabeth mainly just wanted to make sure she was done ahead of Matthew ;)
Angie came from England for her much anticipated Winterlude visit. Elizabeth counted for many days beforehand - she apparently wanted to show off her skating and also Angie is "more fun" to play with than Mom or Dad.
Matthew didn't remember her last visit but warmed up almost instantly. He adored the little train and book she gave him so much that he insisted on taking them to bed with him. He also learned a new word: "MINE"
Some years the weather has been too mild and the ice wasn't very skateable, but this year was almost too cold to skate some days. I didn't actually get out skating with Angie at all myself - left it too late and then was felled by stomach flu - but I hear she did have some nice skating weather. Next year!
Elizabeth and Matthew dragged her to the Nature Museum. They posed in front of their favourite birds, showed her the Arctic exhibit and Elizabeth even got to dig for real dinosaur bones again. Matthew was still too little, so the paleontologist gave him a ball to keep! He was super happy.
We went out for dinner at the Works and we partied with Dave and Karen and the kids and we were very sorry when Angie had to go home. "But she just got here!" said Elizabeth. "Awwww" said Matthew.
It's Angie's annual visit time - more on that soon - so Daddy, Angie and Elizabeth skated home from church today despite a windchill approaching -26C. Elizabeth skinned her knee falling down the stairs playing with her friends right before skating. We thought maybe skating wasn't going to happen but Pastor Michelle prayed for her and averted a crisis.
On the way to skating we stopped to look at the ice sculptures and Elizabeth and Matthew got to help build one out of coloured ice cubes. In retrospect it wasn't smart to let the Winterlude staff pour water over her mittens even to make beautiful art...
Elizabeth was bitterly disappointed not to have beavertails on the skate home from church, but it was just too cold. We had promised we would, but then Daddy saw that the line ups were long, the chalets were overcrowded and she'd been complaining about her cold, cold hands. She cried all the way home - apparently she hadn't understood that they weren't going to stop after all when Daddy told her there'd be hot chocolate at home instead.
Luckily Auntie Janice came to the rescue with homemade beavertails that were even gluten free!
Sift 2c flour
0.25c milk powder
3tsp baking powder
Mix and add: 0.25c oil, 1 egg and 3/4 c water.
Stir with a fork until mixed.
Press between two pieces of parchment paper until shaped like a beavertail (or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes). The thinner, the better!
Cook in heated oil for 3 min at 375 (or just flick a piece of dough into the oil and see when it cooks).
Fry until golden.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, or spread with melted chocolate (why use Nutella at home when we can use the good stuff?)
I have a collection of random photos that I can't quite make up my mind to delete but that don't really deserve their own post.
-From last summer during a mega rain storm... photographic proof that we still need to improve our drainage (although the floods receded within a couple of hours and thankfully not into our house)
-The kids adore doing science experiments
-Home Depot is the best place ever
-Matthew was terrified of frogs. People found this hilarious, because I ... um... collect frogs and used to keep quite a number of live ones too. So I have a very large collection of frog themed stuff. Matthew in particular did not appreciate the numerous semi-realistic plastic frogs with which I thoughtfully provided my children and would insist that we put them away if he noticed them while playing. If they got too close to him, he often would take a hammer to them (to try and squish them?). There is one stuffie we have in particular that he found particularly scary because it has a zipper mouth in which you can put finger puppet bugs. Luckily he seems to be getting over his trauma, although he still regards them with great suspicion.