Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Baby Bows

"I'd like to wear a rainbow everyday, and tell the world that everything is okay." -Johnny Cash
In my old school ways, I can't help myself but make these things in sort of ahem, quieter colors. These were packaged up and sent to a friend who just had the most gorgeous baby girl. I decided all these muted colors wouldn't do and did up one more, bright, eye popping yellow! You'd think I'd learn, making a zillion in these shades, and if I'm at some sort of show, the mom's want the craziest, blingiest, brightest pink you can find. 

Making tiny flowers out of lace, bits of fabric and other shreds of daintiness is a rare treat. Although my girl's never wore such finery in their own hair, I think the fluffiness of a bow on top of a little girl's bean is something special. They are only so pint sized for so long, before their bossiness sets in and these types of things won't be permissible. 

Sometimes I wonder if I had adorned my bundles of pink in some of these sort of Sunday best headbands, that it might have infused some more lady like behaviour in them. 

Opening the dryer, to pull out the clean, soft jammies that had been hiding in their home since yesterday, there on top of the clothes was a graham cracker crumbs box. It was unopened, mind you, but there it sat. Naturally, I started questioning my lunatic state of mind when I remember toddler #2 marching around the house yesterday with various odds and sods out of my cupboards.  Not two minutes later, toddler numero uno helped (and I use this term loosely) fold laundry in the living room when things seemed sort of eerily hushed in the kitchen. I know every mom out there is gasping and saying, "oh no, she didn't let thing's get too quiet!"  I peek in to see my Tuffie on top of the kitchen table, squatting precariously, digging around in her big sister's craft stuff. My presence didn't seem to alarm her at all, her blue eyes took me in and she started to clap and squeal. Sort of a "hey, look at me, I'm half gymnast, half AWESOME!" When dry rice skated across the clean kitchen floor, seeming to pool in every corner, while trying to fill the warm bags we were making, I should not have been shocked. 

This all happened before 10am. Coffee anyone?

Truth be told, if there was a hair bow that magically transferred good behaviour and set those lil' kids to sitting like small angels, I'm not so sure I'd want it. I kind of like their antics. Give me a kid with personality. 

What else would I write about?

Linking up here and here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Well, Boys, Come on Over!

Yes, I'm postin' this one again, all cleaned up and ready for your lil' peepers to read. It's a foggy & snowy around these parts & I appreciate your fancy face stopping by.
Ralph's photo was found at Cowboy Country

There have been days fresh in my mind, where I've felt a bit like the fifth grader who missed the memo that today is Pajama Day at school-just a little awkward. Days when my husband and I have roast beef sandwiches packed in the cooler, nestled in the back of the old truck because we`re headed into town for the day.The truck complete with a bit of rust and grass still in the tow hooks from hauling deer in from the field, probably with a bit of blood in the box. The awkwardness reaches a paramount high when upon driving into town in the old clunker, a gasp escapes my three year old when she sees cars all lined up in a perfect row, because we're in a parking lot - I know it's time to get out more. 

I come from a long line of folks, who made it quite a palaver heading into town. In days gone by, my Grandpa Bill and his long time friend, Ralph Loosmore, would start going through the motions. Like beavers building a dam, Grandpa and Ralph would start getting ready to head into Cowtown days in advance. During Stampede week, the two friends would exchange stories while travelling across the prairies, in Ralph's old, horse bit up truck to attend the rodeo. Booming voices, cleaned up boots, and their best cowboy hats would only punctuate the impression these men would leave on the city. 

Every year, the two would lay the groundwork to head into the Rangemen's Dinner ( a supper put on by the rail road to celebrate all the old cattlemen ) in Calgary. Since the Big City, was just that, big, a room would be booked at The Shamrock. These characters were always in luck, they had a good friend who brought wild horse stock to the rodeo, allowing them to enjoy the action and hoopla from the infield. After a long day at the rodeo, Grandpa and Ralph would have been plumb worn out, and would devotedly head back to the Shamrock. 

The suspender sporting men had a room booked on the ground floor. Probably around 8:00 p.m. Grandpa knew it was time to head to bed, because the morning comes early when you wake up in time to ensure you haven't wasted half a day by 6:00 a.m. The large windows faced directly out on the street of this bustling city, so Grandpa wandered over and closed the blinds. Ralph came out of the bathroom, hollering, because he saw those blinds closed and that just wouldn't work! Whooping at Grandpa,"how would you know when it was daylight out?" Ralph marched over to the blinds, pulling them open. Grandpa tucked in, covers pulled up to his chin,and as he always said he "giggled like a school girl" at his roommate. City slickers, tourists, and all kinds of Stampede goers gawked through that open window at Ralph in his long red underwear tucked into cowboy boots, backed turned to the crowd  that was seeming to gather to have a look  at the real old cowboys in town. 

The next morning, it was decided they would walk to the rodeo, instead of hauling the truck to the grounds. These men, their voices boomed when they talked, and  those voices commanded people to listen. When it came time to cross the street at the cross walk, both men were stumped by all the buttons, flashing lights, and folks gathering. They did what any good old rancher would do, and took matters into their own hands. When Ralph bellered to the crowd around him to listen, he explained to everyone that flashing hand was just saying, "Well, boys, COME ON OVER!" Sure enough, Ralph advanced into the city traffic with a small herd of tourists following. 

We aren't sure how these cowboys survived their time travelling together in a citified setting. I do know that when my palms start sweating and I feel like I'm meandering around in my long underwear in the heart of Calgary, I recall these stories of days gone by, and take cue's from my Grandpa to just embrace and enjoy whatever circumstances I fall into. Besides, they will always make for a great story.
Grandpa Bill Out West

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Long Love This Land

Now, the video is public-as it should be!

Yes and amen.

 I long love this land!

Miscellany Monday, on Tuesday

1.This may possibly be, the worst photo ever taken, but I'm cool with that. The point is, you get the picture-pun intended. This was the view from my home this morning.  I asked if my husband had chains for Ranger Hill, because the old guys are Out West today to bring the cows home. This is how it was done in the old days and remember I am practically a Grandma. I was promptly reminded that at this day in age, everyone has four wheel drive. Riiiiiiight.

Shall I just pull out my bag phone? 

 Winter. is. upon. us. 
I feel like I took this photo fourteen days ago, and it was only this morning. Do you ever have a day when you look at the clock and it's 9:15, but feels like you have lived a full day already? Puuuleeeeease!

2.What do we do about that?

Embrace it.

I jest that it's time to start Christmas baking and realize that November is hot on my heels and it truly is almost time to start the masses of sugar infused, blobs of cookie dough browning up on pans. How am I going to keep up with my Mrs. Claus persona if Gingerbread men aren't practically walking around my house on November 1st?  Mercy!

3.Do you long love your land? I sent ATB financial a note today, seeing why in the heck their YouTube video showcasing and promoting Alberta's agriculture (and their bank of course) is not public? Ahem? Isn't the point to get it out there and advertise.

I'm tryin' to get it for y'all to see. I am. Really.

Fact is, I started this post early in the bacon and egg hours and sometime mid morning, after I wrote my note to the banker folks, I got a standard message back saying I needed to take this matter to my local branch. I'm guessing no one read my note. 

So, here is the unlisted video. You must watch it right now! I'm sure no one will sue over sharing an unlisted video. This is Canada, after all, we'll just apologize each other to death. 

The video makes me feel a tad prideful and sort of weepy hearted. 

Yes, I long love this land.

4.Big Girl has a pink rosined up rope.  She get's Little Girl atop her rocking horse, ropes the horse and hauls her around the living room. In the sweetest of voices she tells her, "Okay, it's gonna' bump at first, but you hang on! You can do it!"

For the most part I think this is okay, until I peer in from the kitchen and see that Myla Maloo thinks she is some sort of trick rider and is performing wild stunts while Big Girl hauls her around. I'm not sure whether to buy her a helmet or just a fancy sequinned outfit. 

Someone send help. The Wild Sisters are gonna' fly. 

5. Wal-Mart is overdue. I think it would be in their best interest to start a delivery service-that extends sixty odd miles. Don't you? Shall we petition? 

6. My tiredness is overwhelmin' me. Each night I want to post something to you all, and the day ends, floors are haphazardly swept and I can't see the 'puter for lack of being able to hold my eyelids open. My brain is getting mushier as the days go on. It makes me wish that someone would throw sixteen or so soothers in my bed and let me sleep. For a week. 

I never used to drink coffee until the second  daughter was born. It started out just small doses in a tiny Peter Rabbit mug, now I just get a small vase out of the cupboard. 

7.Thanks to this talented Auntie for the sweetie pie, old school matching aprons. They are worn nearly on a daily basis and are holding up spectacularly. Tay likes to remind me to, "Put it over YOUR BELLY and I will tie it up for you, if you can't reach. "

I weep. 

8.Go visit Cow Camp Supply for the most affordable wild rags for the winter season.  Support a mom!

9. Take note, painstakingly those lil' doo dads below my posts were put in for you non bloggers, or bloggers, or secret wanna be bloggers-whatever. They are so you can easily share things on FB, pin things, blah, blah, blah. The whole social media shebang. You should be able to click on whatever button suits your fancy. For you, AP, as per your request, directly to your right, you can just enter your e-mail address in that wee box in the corner and get my newest posts to your inbox. Keep in mind I'm technologically illiterate, so this is a big whoop, sorta' deal. 

10. Good night and peace to you, my sweetest readers. You give me comfort and courage. I don't tell you enough, I love you all. If you lived nearby, I would fry you doughnuts and we could join hands in this giant, sisterhood community gig. Mostly, you don't live nearby, so look out at that moon tonight, know a zillion other sister's are lookin' up at it, and remember to be kind, because we are all in this together. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

For the Love of a Pony

Fourty four inches tall and a belly to make Santa envious, a sassy chestnut mare marches to the beat of a song that plays, "the bane of my existence." I've got two daughters and really, it was only a matter of time before a pony ended up on this place.

This post is dedicated entirely to Karen, who is gracious enough to ask about some of the animal's around here. In my daughter's eyes, Nugget, or commonly referred to as Nuggy, is the only one that matters. I take my stroller to town and find tiny horse brushes in the bottom, that are only a few inches long, remnants of a day with this horse end up everywhere. 

You bring ponies up in conversation and everyone is bound to have a story. Whether it's the fat little thing they rode at their Uncle's farm, or their very own Chubs to claim as their love, we've all got a special place for them.

As an adult, that special place for them isn't so much my heart.  Secretly, in my mind,  I'd like it to be the end of my boot.

Nugget, my three year old's passion, can smell my flamin' frustration coming all the way from the house. I think she prepares herself for me and let's the other horses know that some games will be played. Walking through the corals, halter in hand, I will get so close to that little pest, and she'll flip her tail in the air and run far enough away to just burn my britches.

As my Uncle would say, over lamenting about the rottenness of these creatures, "small horse syndrome".
Oh yeah, I'm fast. I'm not gonna' give you two eyes,  because I'm gonna' drive you crazy! Nugget, fastest pony in the west.

With a skinny legged little girl, feet cranked forward thinking she's a bronc rider, this pony encompasses the patience of Job. We amble along, exploring the yard, hooting and hollering with the wildness of a three year old imagination. With children, it seems the thinkers come alive on the backs of these four legged animals that don't just transport you across the yard, but into a whole new world. The small knoll on the plains of the prairies soon becomes 'Gopher Mountain' and my oldest daughter is bellowing to me from the "ridge", that she can see for miles! Across non existent creeks, through the woods and off on a bear hunt, I knew the apple fell a few generations down the family tree. My Dad would ride the pony out at the farm when he was young, and spoke of the old washing machine lid. I directly assumed it would have been used as sled, but this thought was scoffed at, and stories were relayed of it being a shield atop their war pony, all the while hucking clumps of dirt at brothers or other passers-bys. 

While my sister and I were busy learning to ride on Queenie, as youngsters, I can clearly recall if the stubborn beast responded well to what I asked her, I would let her have two free passes of doing whatever she wanted around the pasture. It's a wonder that horse never amounted to too much.

While flaky girls like me, thought it was the finest thing to reward ponies with freedom, my girlfriend and her siblings were busy riding ponies for neighbours. This was serious business. While we are used to ponies with names like Rosie, Queenie, and Nugget-Gonegan was a real winner in the east country. At this families home, the young boy, probably about 10, was hired on to ride this horse to comfortably break it for some little blondie down the road. Gonegan achieved his status in his name, as the pony would constantly take off and little legs would bring the boy to the house, "Dad, he's GONE again!"
I've come to realize photographing animal's is harder than photographing babies or herding cats. 

We all have stories like these to recollect on, and sometimes when you bring the blessed P word up, a head will shake and stories will be regaled about that pony purposely walking under low branches to knock the kid off. We all might sort of want to hate everything about them, but when those three year old eyes bat, and you can hear the absolute joy in the kids hopping on their back off the old pail, you know memories are being made.

If life were only as simple as the joy, in a little girl's heart, atop a critter named Nugget, we'd all be a bit better off.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Your Day

Some parts of the earth are governed by weather.  Birthdays fall during calving and weddings are planned around harvest. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter don't mean much. Rain gauge's, the blistering sun, and a chinook arch are a bit more weighty. The coffee shop full of the mood of farmer's hinge on weather. 

I've come to realize more and more our seasons here, however they are measured, are to be treasured. As much as I hold the days that will soon know only a short amount of sun at arm's length, I know each one is a gift! We can't complain about the snowfall and in the same breath be grateful for the day we are here.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, more and more I'm taking cues from the little rotter's that patrol around this house. Seeing snowfall was about as exciting as gracing the gates of Disneyworld. 

"It snowed lots and lots! Let's go out there! Let's make tracks, throw snowballs, make snow bears....COME ON, Momma."

So, the pulling out of snow pants, boots and coats left a huge mess in my back entrance. It was almost photo worthy, but at the same time I didn't want to immortalize that look. Four seconds of, "Could you please find a pair of mittens?" resulted in a huge bin of winter gear being emptied. 
Petie, you are given the name of Auntie. You have saved tiny ears for two seasons now. 

Now, join me, this year, instead of being fearful of the weather that's encroaching, embrace it. Every moment you want to get your back up about it,  I know I will have many, utter your hallelujah song. Notice the tiny snowflakes, the frost on the glass and take note of the joy in the three year old down the road. Momma's make your first batch of play dough, and neighbour ladies, make a strong cup and sit down to your sewing machine. This is your season, the one you are given today and bow your heart to the grace of the gift. 

I'm working on it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Led by the Littles

The day started at five bells. I wandered around wondering the same sentiments my oldest daughter generally utters, "why are we up? It's still dark outside. "

Routine began and we stepped in time with the rhythm of the clock.


Nine hundred layers for outside chores.

Wind whips the face and it's time for a 9AM coffee break. 

Somewhere after this, chaos ensued and our tempo changed. I was again reminded that in this motherhood gig, you need to be wildly flexible. I've got the wild part down pat. 

White flakes sprinkle down over the brown earth, like icing sugar being shaken down from the heavens. I have the wisest of wise ideas that doughnuts for supper sounds like a grand plan. Jody does a supper like this during calving, and she has five healthy kids! 

I've mentioned that the Biggest and I like to bake together. Somehow, today, she found the Littlest climbing up on her step stool just to be the tip of the iceberg. My hand slipped while trying to adjust a beater in my little mixer, the whole thing got away on me and hit her in the head. 

I. felt. horrible. 

Somehow this fun doughnut supper was turning into tears, burnt hands, and mess. Everywhere. 

When her daddy arrived home, and we were all sitting around the table eating golden puffs ladled with cinnamon and sugar, harmony reigned. All was right in the world. 

"Oh, thank you Momma, thank you soooo much for making these yummy doughnuts! Daddy! We get DOUGHNUTS FOR SUPPER! Momma, you're the best!"

Oh, praise from the mouth of a three year old. She didn't notice the flour on the floor, oil splattered on the counter top, one thousand Duplo blocks spread across the carpet. 

Really, neither should I. 

All the silly painting, sewing, scrubbing in this home just doesn't matter. We are warm, we are comfortable, and there is food in our bellies. It's the stories swapped over coffee, it's the thump of little feet, and the relationships being built that matter. 

Sometimes we need to just let a three year old lead us. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins-Toews Family Cookbook

Gripping the vinyl, I held the measuring tape up to my biggest, while she stood on her step stool. Busily "working" at the counter top, I tried not to disturb her too much. In my cheeriest voice, I told her, "Mama is feeling so much better, I'm going to cut you out a new..."

Alligator tears! Hysterics! Frightened pools of brownish green were lost. 

"I don't want you to CUT ME!" The wildest of the wild bawled. 

It took a good ten minutes, and a handful of chocolate chips, to explain I was cutting a dress out of fabric, not her. 

Communication might not be our strong point, but I tell you, we do work well together. 

The months following our tiniest's arrival, folks would drop baking off and I would grin and thank them. Little did they know my freezer was stocked to the nine's! So often I find myself at the 4:00 losing my mind hour, reaching for the flour. Nothing passes time smoother for the biggest and I, but to spend time together in the kitchen throwing cookies, muffins, cakes, our minds in the oven. We seriously almost baked daily back then. 

Tears, the worst behaviour, exhaustion, whatever you may call it, can be lulled to quietness by the whir of a mixer. 

"Taylin, what do you want to do today?"

"Let's do BAKING!"

Today we baked and in celebration of snow and cold whirling into these parts, pumpkin muffins warmed our home. They are simple, make a decent sized batch that freeze well, and most importantly they quiet the troops. 

My key phrase in life is when there is nothing else to blog about, blog about food. Hence the corn. Y'all have any ideas floating around in your brains about things you'd like to hear about, send a message and I don't mean of the texting sort. You know I don't roll like that. 
Best. breakfast. ever. 

Pumpkin Muffins---From the Toews Family Cookbook

4 eggs                                         2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar                                1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups oil                               1 cup chocolate chips
3 cups flour                                 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (which I never plop in)
1 tsp cinnamon                            1 3/4-2 cups pumpkin
2 tsp baking powder

Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, oil and pumpkin. Beat thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and sprinkle tops with brown sugar. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
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