Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Tell Me Dogs Don't Know When They Are Doing Something Wrong!

Jada got a present from mom for Christmas.
She got the same present last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is what she got:

It's a doggie advent calender, one milk bone for everyday before Christmas.
We didn't open it until a week before Christmas when I gave her two and then folded it and put it on the computer table and promptly forgot to give her anymore.
While I was tiding up all the Christmas paraphernalia today I came across it and figured I had better give her one since she had been so good and not dragged it off the table and gobbled them all up.
Only there was a problem. . .

"Henry? Did you give Jada all the treats?!"
 He's at work.

"But there are no treats left!"
Henry felt quite certain that Jada had helped herself.
"But it was nicely folded on the table. How in the world could she get them out while it was still folded up? I mean there are three rows. How in the world could she do that?"

 There are crumbs on the felt. . .

All the bows are still tied. . .

Yes. . . there are definite signs that Jada ate the milk bones. . .

Man! We have the smartest dog EVER!

I just ran out to pick Jesse up from work. 
The first thing I asked him was whether he had given Jada the treats.
"No way! You won't believe it! Jada managed to eat those treats all by herself!"
"Yeah I know."
" I found the thing on the ground and all the treats were gone so I picked it up and put it back on the table."

Huh. . .

Well that doesn't make a very good story!

Sigh. . . .

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at mom and Crystal's house

This year mom and Crystal hosted Christmas dinner at their apartment were a good time was had by all. . .
Oma's cooking up a storm

The boys can hardly wait!

It's very festive in here.

No party would be complete without Jada! 
This was Crystal's inventive solution to an 'ugly sweater' needed for work.

Every once in a while I show up on a picture too. Thankfully it doesn't happen often!

Jada keeps a close watch over the activities in the kitchen. . .

And enjoys a reward for a job well done!

The best present of the evening???  A very large Mario belt buckle!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Traditions

We have a lot of Christmas traditions in our family.

When I was young I loved all the great fun that went on during the Christmas season. My dad, who was a baker, would let us come  to the bakery and put smartie 'buttons' on the gingerbread men, make long paper chains from  the adding machine paper rolls and help out with the really fabulous gingerbread houses that would go in the display window. We watched him make countless cannoli rolls, shortbread with little plastic holly for decoration, yule logs, petit fours, boterkoek, black forest cakes. . . . oh my, the delicious things that he could make!

Christmas was a time for family get togethers, a chance to play with all the cousins, to go to school programs,  and sneak around the house trying to discover where the presents were hidden (my sister Lisa is the All Time World Champion when it comes to sniffing out gifts. I always had to hold her back or she would have had those things unwrapped before I would have time to run and tattle!)

This to me was what made Christmas great. The present aspect never meant a whole lot to me, but. . . there were a few times when the adults around us really made magic come alive. ( I loved the mystery of magical things. . . fairies, elves, brownies. . . I read every Brother's Grimm book I could get my hands on.)

 One night, when we lived in a tiny little village on a tiny little acreage in a tiny little house, my sisters and I heard a thump. We raced to the back door, nearly tripping over a big bag of presents and heard the sound of sleigh bells fading off into the distance. When we went out to the street there they were. . . tracks in the snow from a sleigh!


Then there was the year I was able to spend Sinter Klaas at my Aunty Jenny and Uncle Henk's. We didn't celebrate this at home so I was pretty excited about the whole thing. Everyone crammed into their tiny living room that night, wiggling in anticipation, when suddenly. . .

The lights when out!

It was chaos! Kids were screaming and running around banging into everything We were being pelted with hard little . . .somethings. . .

What in the world was going on?

The lights came on and the screaming, banging and pelting became clear. All my cousins had fists full of little papernoten cookies!

But that wasn't all. When we looked out the window, there, under a big light, was a wheel barrow full of presents!


I really wanted to pass those kinds of memories on to my kids and it turns out that they hold on to their traditions tighter than I do!

Each Christmas season we like to have a party with friends and decorate the tree. We make gingerbread houses and fill Christmas stockings with a Mandarin orange at the toe and chocolate letters and Archie comics to help fill out the rest of the stocking. If I can find Pez dispensers, all the better.

It's getting harder and harder to keep those traditions the same. The kids are getting older, the girls don't live at home anymore and for the first time Holly won't be here for Christmas. As you may remember we didn't have a tree decorating party this year. The boys and I decorated it ourselves. But they still like to remind me that that's not the way it's supposed to be done.

I mentioned to Crystal that we wouldn't be bringing all our gifts over to her and mom's apartment but would open our own at home.

 That did not go over well at all!

As long as she was living in the city she wanted to be right there for all of it!

Sunday after the second service she came over to decorate gingerbread houses with the boys.

My sweet lovely grown up boys.

Who some how, through a mixture of pleading and good use of puppy dog eyes, managed to convince me that we should open presents then and there. After all. . . why wait? Everything was under the tree, Crystal didn't want to miss out on anything. . . and if we opened the gifts now then we could spend the rest of the week focusing on what Christmas is really about!

Hmmm. . .They really are good, aren't they?

 Once Henry threw in his two cents ("Well, it's about halfway between Sinter Klaus and Christmas so why not?") they got their way.

So here's a bit of holiday fun. . . Presents and gingerbread houses. . .

The boys are pretty pleased with themselves!

I figured I might as well get a bit of work out of them first.

Boys never really grow up do they?

This is what I found when I opened my present from Henry.  4 of them. . .?????

Whoo Ho Hooo!! Lee Valley's garden wagon! How long until spring?!

The boys put theirs together. Teamwork! A few years ago that would have been unthinkable.

Crystal is much more meticulous than the boys. ( Okay. . . Morgan.)

The great thing about traditions is that, if you let them, they can change when circumstances change. 
Holly and Glenn are carrying on the tradition even though they are far away. Glenn decided to go the whole nine yards and made everything from scratch. Can you tell he's taking engineering?
Holly's turned out beautifully as well. Jesse was very impressed with the professional quality of her work.
I'm going to miss them this year but it's wonderful to know that they will be sharing in  Glenn's family traditions. 
Here are the pictures they sent. The detail is just amazing!
Enjoy. . .

Glenn made this fabulous castle.

Holly went a little more traditional and used her favorite rolled cookies as pillars.

I'm thinking she probably enjoyed the leftovers. . .

I hope you all enjoy your own Christmas traditions!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Big Announcement and. . . My Calendars Are Here!

So for the past several months I have been working on an Idea.
I have always wanted to see if I could make some kind of income from gardening and although I tried something a few years ago while I was still bus driving, I found it too difficult to keep up with everything and just let it go.

I t wasn't wasted though. . . I learned what I like to do and what I don't like, what I am good at and the areas I still needed to learn more about.
I filed this away as food for thought and moved on.
The time has come to pull out the dream once more and see how it might work now that I have entered a new (retired from paid work ) phase in my life.

I have had large grand posts running through my mind in which I eloquently talked about my dream and where it was going to take me but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to post them.
I finally realized that it's because I am not really sure where this adventure will take me. That nothing about this is set in stone or even a 'sure thing.'

But I have come to realize that that's okay.
There are no rules for following your dream and although I have done plenty of work getting mine started, I am actually looking forward to the journey and all the twist and turns that journey will bring.

So. . .
Without further ado,  I would like to introduce my new venture. . .

I will be offering small classes at my home that will include a lovely garden tea as well as time to work on everyone's particular garden issues.
I have been having a great time making concrete leaf sculptures and various kits which have been available for sale at some local craft shows.
I've done a few garden club hands on classes and have been asked to help design  a small garden for a local school.
At this point the sky is the limit and we will see were this all leads. . .
Truthfully it couldn't go anywhere if my lovely husband Henry wasn't so very sweet and supportive.
He thinks anything I do is a great idea (as long as is doesn't interfere with hunting and fishing!) and doesn't seem to mind living on less while we see were this will go. . .
If you would like to know a little more you can check out my website at {growing} wisdom

In the mean time here is something else I have been working on. . .

Garden calenders for 2012!

The pages are made of heavy card stock and all the pictures were taken either in my garden or at Wellington's garden center .
I have 6 that I am offering for sale. They are $8 each.
If you live in the Edmonton area you could still pick this up as a Christmas gift.
If you are out of town it would take a little longer and the cost of postage would have to be added.
You can either phone me at 780-471-5301 or e-mail me at .
Just so you know what you will be getting, here are all the pictures used in the calender. . .













© A Life of Whimsey