Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unforgettable Fire

In my earlier post today, about Papa's birthday party, I mentioned that we generally end parties with a bit of live music. Here is a short (poor quality) video of brother-in-law #1 singing and playing guitar, with my husband also playing guitar.

Papa's Party, part two

As I mentioned the other day, we recently celebrated my father-in-law's 75th birthday and the end of his chemotherapy treatments. We enjoyed a lovely outdoor party at my sister-in-law's country home. For part one pictures, click here.

Papa's eight grandchildren were thrilled to be together and in a place with lots of fun activities to do. Here's my daughter making use of the tire swing.
 They also enjoyed the trampoline.
 And played baseball. Impressive that brother-in-law #1 can play with a drink in his hand, huh?
In an earlier look at my sister-in-law's home, I showed you some of their many animals. This little doggie, above, is a new addition to the group. After an extensive search that turned up no owners, they figure someone abandoned her on this country road. She couldn't have happened on a better place. My sister-in-law cannot turn any animal away.

And this dog certainly appreciates it. She sticks to my SIL like glue, following her everywhere and even waiting outside the bathroom door. The funny thing is, whenever she couldn't find her new mom at the party, she went straight for her mom's sister, pictured above, bottom right. Not so much of a dog lover as her sister, my other SIL put up with the attention nevertheless.

An interesting story: My SIL decided to call this little gal Coco, even though her kids wanted to use another name. She then discovered that a previous owner had written Coco faintly inside the dog's collar.
Maple, who joined the family as a puppy last December, is becoming GIGANTIC. She is one lucky dog, and makes good use of her time, following the kids, following the chickens and wading in the pond.
 Unfortunately, I think she is hunting for frogs. I didn't stick around to find out.
 I think my brother-in-law might have slightly overstocked the pond with frogs. What do you think?
 With four children in the house, I can understand the sign that my SIL has displayed.
Their garlic crop is impressive. That's about 3,000 bulbs, most of which will be replanted so that they can start selling in the future.
 Here is Papa enjoying his party, along with his brother-in-law.
 Two of Papa's sisters.

Another of Papa's brothers-in-law.
Brother-in-law #2, our host, with after dinner drinks. Both of my (Italian) sisters-in-law married redheads from the East Coast of Canada. And, their brother married someone whose parents come from Nova Scotia (that would be me).

The party went on after dark, as we gathered around the fire. We ended the party as we usually do, with some guitar playing and songs. My husband played guitar, while brother-in-law #1 sang and played guitar. I wanted to share a little video with you, but I can't get it to upload. Maybe later!

Are you getting a chance to party this summer?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Flower Power

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you might remember these cool vintage jars I picked up while happily thrifting with my sister.

When my blogging friend Jill saw these little pieces of flower power on my blog, she emailed me and kindly offered to send me some matching pieces.

Jill, who is a great collector and a member of The Pyrex Collective, also lives in Ontario, but several hours away. Not only did she give the pieces to me as a gift, but she sent them on a journey to me through family members, so that I only had to go to her son's nearby GTA home to pick them up. Thanks so much Jill for your kindness and generosity!

Here is my happy little orange set now. I love the feeling of the round coffee cups in my hand, and the bright flowers bring a smile to my face.

Jill pointed out that one of the pieces has a sticker on the bottom indicating that they were made in Japan for Consumers Distributing. That brought back some memories for me. I recall going there often with my mom and waiting eagerly for employees to bring out our selected items from storage.

Wikipedia explains that Consumers was a catalogue store in Canada and the United States that operated from 1957 to 1996. At its peak, it operated 243 outlets in Canada and 217 in the United States, including stores in every province in Canada and in the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, California and Nevada.

Consumers Distributing aimed to reduce costs for customers by stocking merchandise in a warehouse type stocking system instead of displaying them in a costly showroom. Customers made their selections from a catalogue, filled out a form with product identification, and waited for stock staff to retrieve the items from the warehouse.

I had completely forgotten about Consumers until Jill mentioned it. I even had friends who worked there.

While some online sources indicate that these dishes are from the seventies, they look like the eighties to me. What do you think?

Did you shop at Consumers?

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Papa's Party, part one

We had more than one reason to celebrate as we gathered together for my father-in-law's 75th birthday party this past weekend. In addition to reaching a significant milestone in years, "Papa," as the kids call him, has just finished chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer, and he is recovering nicely.

The party took place at the lovely rural home of my sister-in-law. I have shown photos of her rustic retreat before, here and here. My SIL is the perfect party host, taking great care to ensure that special touches abound. Above, her son helps set the outdoor tables for dinner. 

The girls enjoyed eating at this special table, with logs for chairs.

The kids (including my niece/our hostess's daughter, above) appreciated the colourful curly straws.

Here are Papa's four granddaughters (including my daughter, second from left).

We dined to the tinkle of wind chimes and paired our food with some homemade wine (mixed with ginger ale in my case).

Our hostess, in a rare moment of rest.

I discussed some of the party food on Wednesday. The woman behind the amazing tofu lasagna is my mother-in-law, above right.

Here she is with her eldest grandson.

 Papa with his son (my husband).

And, with his daughters. I think you can tell from the photos that Papa is a kind, gentle soul.

Here he is enjoying his birthday song.

Papa with all of his eight grandchildren, four boys and four girls.

More photos to come, including a new animal in my sister-in-law's menagerie!

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Wore

When my kids were toddlers, I found that getting myself ready to go out for a night seemed like a gargantuan task. I actually preferred to just stay home.

Sometimes I wished I was like Gwyneth Paltrow, with hair and makeup people to prepare me, so I could just sit and rest while the work was done. Actually, I still wish that.

But I'm no celebrity, and this ain't goop.

Fortunately, I have now regained enough energy to prepare myself (somewhat) suitably for an event. The kids are seven and 10, after all.

I am also making an effort to try harder to dress nicely, and even possibly accessorize, on regular days.

So, as much as I hate photos of myself, today I am linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy. She started What I Wore Wednesday as a way of keeping herself accountable to getting dressed each day, which, as she points out, can be really difficult for a stay-at-home or work-at-home mom.

After many years of selecting outfits for work, day after day after day, it is tempting to wear jeans every day now that I am working from home.

I have also spent more than a few days in my pyjamas, thinking that I would change once all my tasks were done. Guess what? They are never done.

On Saturday, we went to my sister-in-law's house to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. Okay, this isn't an everyday thing, but still, I almost wore my usual jeans and t-shirt. Then I realized that there are very few occasions to dress myself up.

My friend and former co-worker and I used to hit the Banana Republic sales at lunch time. She convinced me to buy this pink dress over a year ago. It was about $30, marked down from $110. I didn't think I would ever wear something so pink. And I didn't...until Saturday. I thought I would try it out at an event where the attendees were mostly family.

Owl necklace, Forever 21.

Sandals from Payless, where they actually sell size 11. And the shoes are on display, so I don't have to ask the salesperson for size 11 and watch the resulting look of dismay.

I don't do much with my hair, but my daughter and I decided to pick up some flower hair clips at Forever 21 recently.

On Tuesday, for my 13th wedding anniversary sushi lunch, I wore another owl necklace from Forever 21, a Buffalo skirt that I picked up cheap at Liquidation World, and a tank top from Dynamite.

Purse, Winners.

Do you find it difficult to get dressed every day?

Linking up with:

What I Ate Wednesday, celebration food

I am taking another "What I Ate Wednesday" look at some food highlights from the past week. We had a few meals at home, like this dinner of barbecued veggies paired with noodles in peanut sauce, above.

One day, my husband and I spent several hours organizing the basement, and we came up to this, above, for lunch. My seven-year-old daughter had prepared our lunches. This was my plate of baby carrots, cucumber, a slice of peach and a Tofurky vegan turkey slice.

Here is my semi-regular breakfast of quick cooking steel cut oats, topped in this case with some dry cranberries, peaches and strawberries, as well as hemp hearts, agave syrup and soy milk.

When we weren't eating at home, we enjoyed some celebratory meals. Saturday was my father-in-law's 75th birthday party, and we gathered at my sister-in-law's house. The meal started with antipasto, above.

I really enjoyed these zucchini pickles, made by my husband's aunt.

My favourite part, of course, was my mother-in-law's dairy-free tofu lasagna.

Breaded zucchini flowers.

My mother-in-law's special rice balls.

And lots of desserts. Like Italian cookies.

And cake.


Banana bread and my vegan chocolate chip bars.

Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We decided to go for all-you-can-eat sushi. My daughter chose to go to her cousins' house instead.

My son quickly took hold of the menu. He is now very comfortable making his choices at our favourite sushi restaurant.

We started with miso soup and edamame.

We had LOTS of rolls, including crispy rolls and veg green dragon rolls.

There were vegetarian spring rolls too.

And sweet potato rolls.

We always reach a point where we have ordered too much. For my son, this avocado and cucumber hand roll was just one item too many.

For me it was this second order of fried rice. Nobody wanted to share it with me, so I had to eat it myself.

We left feeling more than a little bit stuffed. There was no need for dinner last evening.

Linking up with Jenn. By the way, Jenn's focusing on food and fitness this month. Unfortunately, I haven't been going to the gym at all lately. I hope lifting a fork to your mouth burns some calories!

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