Monday, April 30, 2012

Ashbridge's Bay

On Saturday afternoon this last weekend, I took Henry down to Ashbridges Bay for the 1st time to walk along the trails that wind away from the beach and more towards downtown and the Island.  

For Henry it was like entering another world.  For me it was a like a quantum leap to the Muskokas.  15 minutes after leaving our front door, we were enveloped in trees, grass, rocks and water.  New types of birds presented themselves to Henry and we saw many red-winged blackbirds.  (They were birds.  They were black.  They had slashes of red on their wings.)  

Tucked away behind the beaches and nestled into this trail is the Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club.  Henry had probably never seen so many boats before in one place and he was captivated.  He kept saying "see, see" and toddling further down the path and closer to the water's edge to get a look.

We did follow the trail to the point which is really a few trees amid a bunch of large rocks, which we sat on.  Henry insisted that he sit on his own rock and so we did, just looking out on the water towards downtown. 

"Bubbles!"  And sure enough the water was creating some bubbles where it collided with the rocks.  

We also discovered the park behind the Boardwalk Cafe, which seems head-and-shoulders above any other park I've taken Henry to before.

And following such a promising day, Henry has croup again and the makings of an ear infection, so off of work/daycare today and we instead paid a visit to the Dr.  "The cold spring," he said "is probably the cause."

Well tomorrow's May Day.  I'm just about ready to dance around the May Pole to appeal to the Gods of Spring.  Even if I have to dance in a touque.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Cupcakes Are Better Than Yours

I expect perfection in life, don't you? 

Now if you're looking for a special treat to serve at a luncheon, tea-party or church bake sale, what could be more apropos for Spring than these cute pastel-coloured mini cupcakes?   

And they're soooo easy!

First, read the recipe and make sure you have all of the ingredients.  Then go out and buy the mini cupcake tins because really, who already has this sized tin lurking somewhere in the kitchen?

Then, remember at the last minute to find mini-cupcake liners.  (The whole icing concept relies heavily on there being a paper cup, so no short-cuts here).

Didn't find any mini-cupcake liners?  Don't worry, just buy medium.  

Next, separate 12 eggs and uneasily set 12 egg yolks in the fridge to do something with later, maybe.

Pulse together icing sugar and a cup of whole nuts for 5 minutes.  Mix in with the whisked egg whites and vanilla and let sit in the fridge for 1 hour.

Put batter into the medium paper cups.

While cupcakes bake for 18 minutes, do some dishes.

When you smell them burning, take out the cupcakes.  The ones you tried to make without a paper cup, even though you knew it was integral to the architecture of the cupcake, are now burned.  Throw them away.  Hard as rocks.

Place the paper-wrapped cupcakes on a wire rack to cool.  Mix icing.  Make the icing too runny.  Try to fix it by adding too much icing sugar and too much almond extract. 

Cut the tops off of every cupcake in order to achieve a flat top.  Eat the tops...too much cake has been thrown away already.

Carefully place 2 tsp of icing on top of each cupcake.  (There are 36 mini cupcakes to flatten and ice...48cakes - 12 burned cakes = 36 $%^*@#$! cupcakes to prepare).

After icing the cupcake, try to set on a wire rack.

Uh oh.

The medium sized paper cup has allowed for the bottom of the cupcake to expand outward. It will not sit up straight!  

Do your best to place "just so" back in the muffin tin so the icing does not slide off too much.

As they cool, place 2 decorative slices of almonds in the top.  

OMG!  Better Crocker, HELP!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Weal Wed Wagon!

Just a quick update to relate Henry's last week.  He was given an old wagon by our neighbours that is a lot of fun to pull Henry around in.  We went to the bottom of our street (a dead-end) and after pulling Henry around in a circuit, he decided to get out and pull the wagon himself.  I was amazed at his focus and strength as it's quite a heavy wagon.  

His speech continues to develop now being able to count by himself to 3 as well as imitate counting to 10.  Today at daycare the ladies noted that he said "thank you" without having to be prompted.  How long will that last?  

There is a new addition to the Toddler room, a friend of Henry's that he is happy to see.  Having his friend and someone to look out for I think is positive for him.  

Last Saturday we were treated to yummy blueberry pancakes at a friends'.  Henry loves his subway rides and really enjoyed the outing.  My friend's partner had the brilliant idea of making paper airplanes.  Henry loved to chase them and then before returning them, he would scrunch up the airplane into a little paper ball.  Funny boy.

A real red wagon.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chocolate, Cats and Easter

It's Easter time and Spring is here.  Flowers are out and so are our ant traps.  It's been a real pleasure transporting Henry this week using the stroller.  He has noticeably settled as well, probably from getting back into the old routine.  

This weekend was busy, but fantastic.  Henry spent a lot of time enraptured by the subway system and is living proof that life is indeed the journey and not the destination.

Henry had his first Easter egg hunt with our classy friends up at Avenue & Eglinton.  Henry was pretty good at finding the eggs, at least, after I pointed in their specific direction.  And he did enjoy the chocolate, once he realized that the foil was not edible.  

Our attempt at a family portrait.

And finally, the Official Highlight of the Week...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Don't Pinch My Pilko!

Henry's stroller was stolen almost 2 weeks ago.  We left it near the front doors of the school with all of the other strollers, just like we have been doing for nearly a year.  And then one day it was gone.   It was a great Peg Perego Pilko P3 stroller bought used off Craigslist for $275.  I believe the retail price was over $600.  And we just left it outside, blowing in the wind. 

Since the stroller was stolen, we have carried Henry around and taken the subway/streetcar/bus where possible.  Let me tell you how awesome my pectoral muscles are!  You could chop an onion on my chest, no kidding!  But the reality of this unsolicited workout is that it leaves me exhausted and frustrated.  S is more manly about it.  

So today I went back to Craigslist, found another Peg Perego Pilko P3 stroller, this one a bit different, a little more compact, lighter and newer.  $110.  After Henry went to bed, I trudged out in the rain to the subway to spend 45 min reading on the train, followed by a 15 min. walk to a house near Lawrence and Avenue Road.  To give you a better idea of the kind of neighborhood it is, there were mostly all new large brick houses, but no sidewalks.  God forbid anyone would walk their dog in the neighborhood, talk to their neighbors or have their child play hopscotch in front of the house!

So when I rang the doorbell, the cautious husband opened the door a crack, and he was instantly relieved to see that it was a safe-looking blond lady.  But quickly, a perplexed look as to what the sheen on my jacket was shot across his face.

"Um, you don't have a car?"


"How did you get here?"

"I took the subway."

"How...ok...the stroller is in the garage, I'll meet you down there."

So I walked down the steps & waited for the illuminated white garage to open gracefully.  The husband was still trying to figure out how I got there.

"I can give you a ride, to the subway at least.  Where did you come from?"

"Upper beaches."  


"Woodbine and Gerrard?"

"Oh that's a long way.  I can at least give you a ride to the subway, it's not very far."

"Thank you so much for the offer.  I'm used to this, I don't have a car.  It's ok."

I swear he was about to give me the stroller for free, a hot meal, and a ride all the way home.  I tried to make it seem very ordinary for me to show up in the their garage and walk into the rain with one of their ex-possessions.  

So the stroller is in great condition and I think it will make Henry very happy, mostly because he will be able to chill out more when we travel, but also because we had a great routine of walking the same way to the school there and back.  He knew the houses, the cars, the dogs, the cats, the signs, the trains, etc...I think he'll like getting back in the groove. 

And me, well, 2 hours of schlepping in the rain to buy an excellent stroller for $100 and save my poor sorry ass self from using Henry as a dumbbell while navigating public transit at rush hour, was definitely worth it!

And here's the weekend wrap up:

Saturday we went to the park at the Beaches:

Henry loves playing at the end of the street.  It is a dead-end, and yes we washed his hands afterwards.

On Sunday afternoon, Henry attended a birthday party of a church friend.  It was held at Monkey Magoos, and he had a blast!  

Finally, I wanted to share Henry's current fascination of putting all of his vehicles underneath the sofa and then pretending like he doesn't know where they are.  Barrels of fun!