Saturday, 28 November 2009
My kind mother spent absolutely hours cutting and sewing and recovering, and the new covers and curtains were finally ready.
What a difference fresh, clean, bright fabric makes to this room! It really looks pretty and cottagey, and I'm delighted with it.
There's still a long way to go, but our outdoors is looking instantly neater, wider, and full of possibilities!
Thursday, 26 November 2009
When the kids arrived they set about decorating brown bags to fill with popcorn, and Boo gave each a movie ticket, marked "Admit One". The children all enjoyed the morning, although by the end of the movie most had wandered out and were colouring Mary Poppins printouts, playing in the garden, or playing with toys. But all in all, it was a successful morning -- the mums all voted to have a "mum's only movie night" at our place before long!
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
... and the instructions: "6 Quests await ... will they succeed? Proceed to the mall, park, and then OPEN THIS ENVELOPE". We were both intrigued, but I knew that whatever hardships we would face, best of all it was a day out with Natalie (who is incredible fun to be around) -- and I knew it would include a child-free lunch at a cafe.
Inside the large envelope were 6 smaller ones, and we'd been told to open each in turn ... and not to open another until we'd completed the previous task.
The envelope marked Quest No 1 displayed the message: "Good luck to both of you! You can do this!" Inside was quite a large amount of cash, and the note: "Buy one pair of shoes of your choice. If you achieve this open envelope No 2. Carry any money not spent over to envelope no 3."
Now by this stage you might well need some background information. Does any girl (at least one with a pulse) need help and infact encouragement when it comes to buying shoes?
The answer, strangely, in my case, is "Yes". Infact, to put it bluntly I have no dress sense, no interest in clothes, no desire to buy any, and am happy to rummage through the thrift store to find neat, clean garments in unobtrusive colours. I don't think I look like a hobo -- I'm neither fat nor thin, nor particularly odd looking -- and I can scrub up nicely and look quite pretty if I make the effort. I just don't see the point in putting time into my looks when I can be reading or baking or sewing or gardening or cleaning. Blowdrying my hair or putting on makeup is just boring! And spending money on clothes when I can save, buy homewares, purchase interesting and delicious exotic foods or craft supplies, makes no sense in my mind.
All this drives my mother to distraction! She dresses well, brightly and with enthusiasm, and despairs of me. And Natalie's uncommonly fashionable dress sense, good nature, and keenness for shopping is why the poor dear was sent with me.
It didn't take my friend long to realise what she was up against. I determined to go to the orthopaedic shoe shop, and only buy brown or black shoes that fitted my supports. And this is when Natalie's charm and good nature came to the fore. She accepted my demands, but steered me away from the grandma styles and towards pretty, cool, and actually fashionable styles which were also comfortable and practical. I bought shoes that I really, really liked ... and which I can wear all day and not have sore feet.
Quest 2 was to find a cafe and have tea and chat -- which is the kind of quest I enjoy.
No 3 was the biggie, and the envelope sported this message: "This is the big one. If you falter, lean on Natalie. Chin up, do not falter, persistence pays off. You too can be a winner! Quest No 4 is your reward. Note to Natalie: Please be kind but firm."
And the warnings were well founded, as we were instructed to buy dresses, tops, nighties and a cardigan. Horrors! My idea of a nightmare!
Again Natalie followed the instructions to the letter, and I really did try to get into the swing of things. Besides, it was fun having lots of cash and someone to chivvy me along.
So we shopped ... and shopped ... and shopped. And tried on every single thing in the shop (at least that's what it felt like). And I was constantly surprised that if I was willing to try on styles that I never otherwise would, sometimes they looked ok. Or better than ok. And through all this Natalie managed to fit in with my likes and dislikes, and I managed to think a little outside my usual Quaker-modest choices in tree-colours.
Finally it was time for lunch (Quest 4), then a scoot about for belt, hat and sunglasses (Quest 5).
We ran out of time for Quest 6, but the envelope read: "The spoils of war! Finish this and you will return as superheroes!" Inside was another wad of cash and the instructions to spend it on homewares at one of my favourite stores -- but I don't have any trouble buying pretty things for the house, so we decided that I'd be able to do this alone sometime.
We returned home exhausted but with a sense of accomplishment ... and a little bit of wonder on my part when I looked at the mountains of bags holding clothing. Nat had to go home to kiddies, and I had tea and did a fashion-parade to show my parents what I had bought (all was approved of).
This morning I woke up and looked at my straining wardrobe with awe, and set about hurling away the worst of my second-hand rags.
It is rather exciting to have new clothes ... but the thing that will stay with me forever about this adventure is how special it made me feel. How incredibly kind my parents were to conceive the whole scheme, set it up and make it so exciting! How very generous of them to give me so much money to spend, and with such enthusiasm. And I'll always treasure Natalie's good nature, kindness, patience, innate dress-sense, and generousity in giving up a whole precious day of her time to concentrate on my needs.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
So we brought two soft little babies home yesterday: Reddy Red (a Rhode Island Red) and Whitey White (a White Leghorn).
I'm enchanted by their soft, tiny bodies, clockwork hops and continuous trills and peeps. Boo sits and watches them (pats them and picks them up, too), and even Jumps is setting up elaborate structures of lights and blankets for their night accomodation.
It's always a treat to have babies in the house!
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
He's very sweet with sharing his treats, will do jobs willingly to help me, and is generous with kisses and cuddles.
As an example, yesterday Papa had a fall from a ladder. Luckily it wasn't serious (and it could easily have been, as he was dangling from the top of the watertank at one point, until Jumps heard him call and came to reset the ladder up beneath him), but Papa's foot swelled up terribly.
After seeing Papa hobbling Boo came home quite worried, and told me that he wanted to give Papa a present and card to make him feel better. He carefully wrapped up one of his small plastic elephants ("because that's Papa's favourite animal"), and spent some time decorating a card. He then dictated this message: "Dear Papa, I hope your sore gets better and that you get better, too. I love you. From Boo."
Later when Jumps went shopping Boo suggested he buy Papa a bag of licorice to make Papa feel better (which we did).
But all the love Boo gives comes back to him multiplied. Papa adores him, and is endlessly kind and generous towards Boo. Even now as I write, Papa, Gran and Boo are having their breakfast together. In the caravan. Which is still parked in the shed. Because Boo said he'd like to do that. And Gran and Papa don't often say "no" to Boo.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Because all the little things that make up our days are important.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Monday, 2 November 2009
Today he tossed steak cubes in spices for tomorrow's beef tagine, coating each side precisely.
He peeled carrots carefully, safely and (perhaps a little too) thoroughly -- with very little assistance from me.
His proud smile of accomplishment is worth any spills and messes I need to clean up. And he's good at sharing the fruits of his labour, too!
For the finishing touch, ask a little person to fashion a pastry rope for the edge, then pop the tart in the oven for 30 mins or until brown.
Boo added his painting of "a ferocious vampire" to the children's canvas ...
We had tea in a pretty courtyard, then rambled through a garden wilderness ...
... and ate our sandwiches on a shaded bench.
Simple summer days.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
So we made our first pumpkin pie (and it was good!)...
All in all, it's been a big success for this little monster.