My “Hoppy” Valentine’s Gift

….once Kevin is inspired to draw or paint something he can’t seem to stop

I love Kevin’s new challenge starting this week, Funky Frog Friday. When he knew how much I love his frogs he surprised me with my own special Valentine frog. He also surprised me with a special Valentine’s Day dinner that was delivered to the door.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – All You Need is Love

….thanks to Frank from Dutch Goes the Photo for hosting the Tuesday Photo Challenge https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2021/01/26/tuesday-photo-challenge-all-you-need-is-love/

I love the theme this week. Love does make the world go round. What do you love? Here are some of the things that come to mind for me.

Being surrounded by water year round.

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My husband and how he makes me laugh and for all the wonderful meals he cooks for me.

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My family and the joy they bring from near and far.

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For some reason the photos I have of my sister who lives in Calgary would not allow me to post them. I miss her terribly.

I also love to walk in nature, take photographs and make art.

Water, Water Everywhere – Ball’s Falls

thanks to Jez for hosting Water, Water Everywhere #61, https://jezbraithwaite.blog/2021/01/25/koi-pond-water-water-everywhere-61/

On the weekend my husband and I took a drive to Ball’s Falls in the Jordon Valley. It was a perfect day, brisk and sunny. I met Kevin 48 years ago and I’m pretty sure he’s been telling about Ball’s Falls for the same length of time. Well he finally took me there and I wasn’t disappointed. I love most waterfalls and in the winter I particularly like them because of the ice that forms from the spray.

Ball’s Falls is situated on the Ball’s Falls Conservation Area and is named after the family that lived there in the 1800s. In an earlier post I wrote about the heritage site that is connected to this area. The falls helped generate enough energy for the the grist mill to make flour until the water flow diminished to the point where it wasn’t feasible to stay in production. Today the mill operates on day a year, using electricity to mill flour for a festival.

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A Day of Firsts

Jan. 24, 2021 was Sevin’s first birthday

It was more than just our granddaughter’s first birthday.

First Snow

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First time with balloons and new toys and close to taking first steps.

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First time wearing her new outfit that Auntie Gaelan made her.

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First birthday cake and first Zoom birthday party for all of us.

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Happy day of firsts.

Art With Winnie – Day 13

today was a busy art day with my granddaughter

Since we are not able to get together one on one, I organized at Zoom Art Class with our granddaughter in Hamilton. Once she finished her on-line class with her kindergarten teacher she signed in with me and we had a wonder hour and a half making art together.

I suggested some things that we could work on together and showed her samples of my work. I wasn’t really surprised when she rejected my ideas because she’s five after all. Instead she wanted me to follow her lead and go with her directions. We started with a clean sheet of paper (mine was a bit too small) and she started telling me how to draw the lines on my paper and she did the same on hers. After numerous steps it was time to colour our masterpieces. I carefully filled in the spaces and she boldly added her colours in large free strokes. The whole time we talked and periodically checked out how our work was progressing. Here is the first of three projects we completed.

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.For our next project I was instructed to draw a straight line with small lines coming out of the long line. We were making a tree. Then for some reason she seemed to like the idea of making people the way I had suggested earlier with collage, marker and stickers. Here is what we came up with.

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I love the tower of hair on her girl.

For our last project Winnie decided to show me how to make a paper doll. For some reason she ended up gluing her doll onto a piece of paper and drew tall grass surrounding her. I loved the story she came up with as to why the doll was in the tall grass and how no one could find her but she had super speedy powers so that a lawnmower wouldn’t be able to mow her down.

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What Christmas Taught Us This Year

….Christmas was certainly different this year for most people who chose to stay safe

Some things didn’t change. We cut down a tree with the family, albeit socially distant and masked, and I decorated it. The difference this year is that I totally decorated it on my own and it was up a full two weeks before Christmas. Normally I wait until my daughter can come over and help me and it often doesn’t get done until a few days before Christmas.

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As much as we love being with family on Christmas we found new ways to celebrate the holiday. We exchanged gifts but this year the gifts were exchanged in front of the house. I still filled everyone’s stockings but this year everyone took them home. Gaelan brought special donuts from Hamilton and we exercised the dogs for a few minutes in the park down the street.

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Our son and his family live in London, England so this year we opened our gifts early. We always open presents on Christmas Eve but 3:00 in the afternoon was early even for us. When everyone got back home we had a Zoom Christmas so that everyone could watch their gifts being opened. It was a bit hectic but in the end watching Sevin celebrate her first Christmas was very special. Technology this year has kept us in touch and brought us closer to all our family members.

My husband and I decided to still make a special Christmas dinner for just the two of us. The only thing that was different is that we didn’t cook a turkey. Instead, we bought a nice big capon to roast and at the last minute I decide to make cranberry sauce. My husband is an amazing cook and I’m no novice when it comes to cooking but even after all these years of experience we can still mess up. The difference this year is that we could laugh about it. There were no guests to worry about or timelines that needed to be met. So when the capon was undercooked and we had to put it back in the oven, after slicing off the cooked parts, we just relaxed with more wine and started off with the wonderful salad that Kevin made.

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My cranberry sauce…..well lets just say that you should never walk away from a pot of boiling cranberry sauce. In the end I was able to salvage it with a little more sweetener. Kevin likes to tell people that we had twice baked capon and smoked cranberry relish.

We’ve learned that it’s the little things that bring us joy. Even though we knew we wouldn’t be together as a family for Christmas I still decorated the house. I pared back on the decorations but I’ve learned that you don’t need to put everything out. Simple things like lighting candles and playing Christmas music brought us joy and peace. In a way this Christmas prepared us for the day when we might have to spend more Christmases alone. There will come a day, perhaps, as the grandchildren get older they won’t want to come to Oma and Papa’s house on Christmas Eve or maybe some of our children will move further away. As for now, though, we hope we can have a few more Christmas Eve celebrations together as a family.

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It was certainly a less stressful Christmas this year. Hopefully 2021 will bring back some normality. We will probably all have to adjust to a new normal and hopefully 2020 taught us some valuable lessons about life and what is important. My husband and I learned that even though we love each other, more importantly, we actually like each and enjoyed our self imposed isolation in 2020.

Cheers and a happy New Year!

Carol

The Week Leading Up to Christmas

the furnace broke down, two more COVID tests, my nephew’s quarantine ended, a drive by gift exchange, preparing plates of goodies for the neighbours

I was pretty much absent for the the last couple of weeks. In the week before Christmas there were a lot preparations for our non traditional Christmas celebration and during Christmas there were Zoom calls, phone calls, dinner preparations for two of us and just taking it easy.

The Friday before Christmas our furnace decided to break down and all of a sudden we had no heat on the main floor and in the basement where my nephew was staying. The repair man came that same night when we discovered our problem but it just so happened that the part that was broken was not in stock and they weren’t able to get the part until Monday. So for three days we were bundled in extra sweater and blankets. We did have one working space heater and that did help somewhat.

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A good friend of ours has not been feeling well for awhile and because she is on her own our daughter who lives close by went over a couple of times to make sure she was alright. Unfortunately, her doctor suggested that she might have COVID so our daughter went and had the test to make sure that she wasn’t infected. Thank goodness it came back negative. Then our nephew who was quarantining in our basement didn’t feel well and he went for a COVID test. Again the test came back negative and he left to visit his mother on the farm near Chatham.

On Monday the furnace was repaired and I ran around getting last minute items for stockings and the gift platters that I prepared for the neighbours. The next two days are a blur. I filled the stockings, made soup and our granddaughter made art. Even though no one was coming inside the house I spent a lot of time tidying the place up.

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When Christmas Eve finally arrived we were ready. It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t wrapping gifts right up to the last minute. It actually felt great.

….to be continued.

The Greenest Christmas Tree Hunt Ever

….with very little snow on the ground

On Thursday the family who reside in Ontario all travelled to a Spruce Meadows Christmas Trees near Hamilton. It was very mild, sunny and there was little snow left on the ground. When Kevin and I arrived in our car we were the first of the family there and in fact we were the only people there for a short while. Apparently the weekend before the place was so busy that the entire field was filled with cars.

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It didn’t take long before the rest of the family arrived, all wearing masks and ready to trek to the tree field. My daughter, Gaelan and her husband, Brendan were looking for a tall tree to fit into their Victorian style dining room while the rest of us were more content with much smaller trees.

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Another COVID Birthday Celebration

….thank goodness for the beautiful weather we’ve had in November

The last two days have been more normal in terms of November weather but prior to this we’ve had the most glorious, warm and sunny days. Our eldest daughter celebrates her birthday in November so we were thankful that we were able to get together with the family and have a small celebration on the deck in the backyard.

Blowing out the candles has also taken on a new format. I lit the candles on the cake and then we removed them one at a time and my daughter blew them out individually away from the cake. Well that was the plan but it turned out that the candles had burned down too far so she tried to put the candles out by waving her hand over them.

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That didn’t work very well so she tried to extinguish the candles by snuffing them out with popcorn. That worked somewhat but the popcorn caught fire.

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In the end no one was harmed and the cake was delicious.