happy day

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This is the most on-theme outfit I could get Gwen to wear; I said to Taylor the combination of robe-as-daywear and insane bedhead was giving me Baby Lebowski vibes and he replied that all she needed to complete the look was a virgin White Russian. So like. Milk.

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Happy Canada Day! I’m off all this week so it kind of doesn’t feel like a holiday for me? Taylor is taking Friday off instead of today (or last night, since his shift starts at midnight) and Sym is spending the day at her dad’s, so it’s just me & the babe this afternoon. We might go to the fireworks tonight, it depends on Gwen since they will be starting well past her bedtime and if she’s grumpy we aren’t going to bother. My only real Canada Day plans are to make a couple different flavoured syrups, having tacos for dinner, and remaking the banner I was working on yesterday that Gwen cut in half at some point before I woke up this morning.

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My July calendar page is up now, you can download it here.

summatime

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I know it’s poor form to recycle your instagram pics in your blog posts but this is literally the only picture of Sym that exists, and also it is very cute.

School is over and it’s officially summer for Sym, which means it’s officially exasperation season for me. We already had our first big attitude problem-related blowout and I confiscated all her devices for five days- before she’d even picked up her report card. Teens are hard to parent sometimes! Last summer I came up with a big list of chores and activities with rules about how many she had to complete each day before she was allowed any screen time, which worked well, but this summer I’m more about getting her out of the house to do things where there might be other people.

Options for teen activities when you are as broke as me are pretty limited; most of the programs at the community centers around here are for younger kids (or they are just exercise classes), and most of the art and theater classes I’ve found are too rich for my blood. Through some clever googling though, I found a wealth of teen activities and workshops at the library that are FOR FREE and I am ALL ABOUT THEM.

This week she started a creative writing workshop that is every other Monday afternoon all summer, and I signed her up for a three-day Barbie modding workshop at the end of July. She actually pestered me about the Barbie thing for days until I signed her up, which is amazing for a kid who usually wants nothing more than to lurk in her bedroom watching It’s Grace videos all day. There is also a button-making workshop I’m trying to get her to do but for some reason she says she isn’t into buttons? I was like “YOU CAN PUT THEM ON YOUR JEAN JACKET!!!!” but she wasn’t sold. Honestly sometimes I wonder how we are even related.

what if it is broke?

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I woke up this morning in a mood. It’s a bad mood, a sad mood and a helpless mood. I’m feeling very “what is the point”-y. What is the point of this blog, what is the point of my shop, what is the point of all this hustling I try to do to get by. I kind of want to take a break from all internet stuff but hilariously, I can’t. Well, this blog I can, but not the shop.

I had a baby lined up to start full-time childcare in July, so I limped along all spring, broke as a joke because I knew once the summer hit everything would be ok. Then the parents changed their minds about starting childcare (the baby is only nine months old, the mom was going to go back to work early but decided to take the full year of mat leave after all). They never bothered to tell me so I actually turned down other people who were looking for care, and I only found out about their decision because I contacted them about their start date. They were like “oh we thought you would have found someone else by now anyway.” No, because you paid a deposit to hold the space and I am a FUCKING PROFESSIONAL. Anyway so now I’m totally stressed about money and I need the income from the shop to stop my flimsy financial house of cards from tumbling down.

But like… REALLY what is the point of it? I am not saying I don’t appreciate every customer who buys something from me, every person who promotes my shop and recommends it to their friends, everyone who reblogs my images on tumblr with the correct links for once, because I absolutely do, I appreciate it so much (especially now, yikes). But it’s not like it’s possible for me to make an actual living from it, so what I have right now is a second job on top of my regular job, one that eats up all my spare time. It’s been suggested to me that I could hire people to help, turn it into a real business but tbh I don’t want all that responsibility, and I don’t have the income or the sales volume to support it. Like, I sell just enough stuff for one person to make, so that person has to be me.

This weekend I was actually caught up enough on orders that I was able to work on the brown-suede-with-copper-stars fringed boots I started making for Gwen in like… March, as well as making a felt foxtail for her to wear. It was the first time in I don’t even know how long that I have been able to make something just for fun, and even as I was sewing the tail I was thinking to myself “Should I be photographing this for a DIY for my blog? Should I be listing tails like this in my shop?” The irony in that is even if I did no one would ever buy one, because in spite of my attempts to diversify my offerings, pretty much everything other than the banners has flopped.

I just get so tired of making banners sometimes! It can be so repetitive. I guess my hope is that if I offer other things for sale people will buy them and I will be making different stuff all the time so I’ll never get bored. It doesn’t work out like that though, and I have to ask myself what is the point of trying to make other things to sell if no one wants them? I should just make what I want for my kids and myself, right? But with all the banners I have to make I rarely have the time, and if I do have the time I usually don’t want to spend it making stuff for fun because I’m ALWAYS making stuff for work.

idk idk. Really I should just stop dragging my heels and get my childcare license again (it expired when I was on maternity leave but I haven’t bothered to get it back, and have just been license-not-required since I started working again). Then I wouldn’t have to worry about money and I could run the shop if I want or shut it down if I want. Of course that opens a whole new can of worms because when I think about getting licensed again I have an anxiety attack and want to go to bed forever instead. I just… like I like kids and most of the families I’ve worked with, but I’m so tired of being screwed over. I’m tired of people changing their minds at the last minute, or not giving proper notice, or expecting me to bend over backwards for them and then fucking me over anyways. It’s so stressful I want to cry, and when I’m licensed there’s just so much more opportunity to get dicked around. I just cannot even deal with it. Anyway. I’m on vacation this week (from my real job) and I guess I need to really sit down and figure out what the heck I’m going to do with my life, because right now it is not working.

five things | sixteen

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my dumb face & cool hair welcome you to this post

These image recognition neural network-created images are FREAKING ME OUT.

Some cool truths about Channing Tatum.

This article on the pop-punk accent is FASCINATING to me, especially the part about the Canadian Shift as compared to the California shift. Usually when I meet friends from the US for the first time they expect me to have a Canadian accent but then they tell me I sound like I’m from Southern California. Apparently the only thing I say Canadian-ly is “sorry,” but sore-y I’m not sore-y about it.

I reallyyyyyyyy want to get an ice shaving machine like this or maybe this one (which costs less but takes way longer to ship). Just imagine the cool sno-cones I could make with my amazing flavoured syrup making skills!

Love these hand-carved wolf and raccoon (with jackets!) stamps from one of my fave etsy shops, Woodland Tale.

may kawaii box

This is actually the last Kawaii box of our three-month subscription. I wanted to try it out for a short time before I committed to a longer subscription, and honestly I thought the first two boxes were just okay and prob wouldn’t have continued, but this box was the best yet! Unfortunately I’m too broke to re-subscribe rn so we probably won’t be getting more boxes until much later in the summer, or maybe even the fall.

This box very helpfully included a list of the contents, which is good for some of the more inscrutable items.
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Sym’s picks:
chocolate bar comb; this was probably the lamest item in the box
alpaca stickers; this month was very alpaca-heavy
Harajuku crepe charm
panda colour pen
banana mini plush; SO CUTE
doughnut squishy charm; while she wishes this was scented (I got a squishy charm last month that is scented) she still likes it

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My Picks:
Okitoki notebook set
Meiji petit gum; I got this by default because Sym can’t have gum with her braces
Rilakkuma mini letter set; idk what I’m gonna do with this microscopic stationery
neon bow hair band; also a default item as Sym rarely wears her hair in a ponytail
alpaca eraser
alpaca card holder; so much cuter than the last cardholder we got

wild rose lemonade syrup

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I made this syrup using some of the leftover wild rose petal simple syrup from the sangria I made on the weekend. We put it on waffles but it could also be used in cocktails, served with cake or ice cream for dessert, and I’m super keen to try it in a sno-cone. The flavour is bright and floral without being too sweet, and steeping the rose petals for a day when you make the simple syrup imparts a beautiful pink hue.

wild rose lemonade syrup
2/3 cup lemonade
1/3 cup wild rose petal simple syrup
juice of one lemon
1-2 tbs corn starch
1-2 tbs cold water

Mix together the lemonade, wild rose petal simple syrup, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl mix together the corn starch and cold water, stirring until smooth. Add the corn starch slurry to the boiling mixture in the saucepan, whisking until it begins to thicken. Remove the saucepan from from the heat and allow the syrup to cool. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week.

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I have terrible luck (read: I’m bad at cooking) with thickening syrups & sauces and tend to either under- or over-thicken them, so I like to add the cornstarch a small amount at a time to ensure I don’t end up with a total gloop (I believe that is the scientific term for over-thickened syrups), and don’t over boil it or your syrup will thin out again. Cornstarch isn’t GREAT for thickening acidic syrups like this, so you have to use a little extra, or if you have arrowroot or tapioca starch they are better for this job (I do not, which is why I used corn starch. Next time, though, I will try a different starch for this).

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waffles & sprained ankles

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eating dinner in the pediatric examination room

Last night Taylor and I got to celebrate his special day by taking a fun trip to the emergency room at St. Paul’s Hospital (I keep hearing all this noise about plans to move the hospital out of downtown and I hope that never happens, it is very convenient having the hospital half a block away). Earlier in the day she fell off one of the dining room chairs and as the afternoon progressed she went from walking on the edge of her foot with her toes curled under, to walking on her knees and refusing to even stand up.

The hospital was a super fun adventure as Gwen’s highly developed sense of STRANGER DANGER meant she started screaming and howling BEFORE the doctor examined her leg. It wasn’t really possible to tell what sort of pain she was in so she had to have her leg x-rayed. Of course she didn’t want the x-ray technician (who was SO NICE AND PATIENT) to talk to/look at her either which led to more howling. She wouldn’t lie down or hold still for the x-ray, so in the end both Taylor and myself had to lead-apron up and hold her leg in place while trying to keep our hands out of the shot.

In spite of this they were able to get what the needed and with no apparent fractures or deformities she was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. The doctor told us it should heal quickly and that within 24 to 48 hours she be back to her regular self (although if she’s not we should bring her back in). So far today she seems to be doing really well; she was standing at the door when I got her up this morning and she’s been walking on her feet and even twirling, running, and climbing (including up onto the very same chair she fell off yesterday, why must you do this, baby?).

Even though we were fast tracked at the ER we still got home quite late and so we skipped bath, instead giving her a bottle, brushing our teeth (she likes us to brush while she brushes) and going straight to bed. Gwen’s bedtimes have thankfully become less of a struggle recently. She likes to sit up in bed and have us read her a book or two before we turn off the lights and close the door. She usually cries for a minute or two but then falls asleep without problem. She won’t let us tuck her in and stays sitting up while we leave, but if we check on her in the night she’s always fixed up her bed and tucked herself in. She still sleeps through the night just fine and has even been sleeping in a little in the mornings, waking at 7 or 7:30 instead of 5:30 or 6.

PS Taylor’s Father’s Day wasn’t just about the hospital. In the morning her got presents: Campfire Cologne and Canoeist Beard Oil from the Sanborn Canoe Company, and a new pair of sandals to replace the ones Georgie chewed up. I also made him a special brunch of homemade waffles with fresh blackberries, raspberries (regular & golden), whipped cream and lemon-wild rose syrup, which tragically didn’t thicken enough but was still delicious.

five things | fifteen

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my little poppet welcomes you to this links post :)

I’m trying out this wild rose petal sangria this weekend. The group daycare two doors down has wild rose hedges on either side of their front path so the other evening I went and picked all the petals that were just about to fall off.

Working from home by myself kind of means I tend to lose track of time and date. Like, did I remember it was Father’s Day this weekend? Yes I did. But is that okay because in my typical fashion, I ordered gifts for Taylor MONTHS ago. I did want to pick him up one more thing, and this little gift guide of last minute ideas both reminded and inspired me.

All the pins on my jean jacket are ghost & gravestone themed but this unicorn brooch has me feeling maybe I need to branch out, or maybe I should stick with the theme and preorder this enamel ghost pin from The Disaster Life? OR MAYBE BOTH????

I didn’t used to like this half-up topknot style but I tried it out on both Gwen and myself when we went to the beach the other weekend and I think we both looked pretty cute.

I don’t often post about serious events like this because sometimes I don’t feel it’s my place to comment (especially if it’s an issue of race, like do we really need anther white opinion?) and I often struggle to express myself eloquently, but as a non-religious person my friend Karra’s post about the Charleston shooting simply expresses a lot of the things I’m feeling.

corn & potato salad with bacon

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I’ve never been a potato salad person. I never had it growing up (I think my mom hates mayonnaise or something so we didn’t have it in the house? I’m sure she’ll chime in the comments) and most super potato salad-y potato salads just look gross and sloppy to me. But I’ve been looking for side dishes to serve with my Friday sliders and I figured WHAT THE HECK LET’S TRY OUT A POTATO SALAD.

I tried to find recipes online and most had mustard or dill or other things I hate and don’t have in the house (I am my mother’s daughter) so I figured I’d just wing it. In the end what I came up with was delicious and I can see myself making many variations of this throughout the summer, even though I have rude and ungrateful children who both refused to eat it.

corn & potato salad with bacon

1 1/2 lbs baby potatoes
1/2 lb thick-cut bacon*
1 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip**
1-2 tbs minced fresh Italian parsley***
salt & pepper to taste

Wash the potatoes and cut them to bite-sized pieces. Add to a large pt of salted water and boil until they can be easily pierced with a fork but aren’t like, disintegrating. Allow to cool.

Cook your bacon until it is almost crispy. I like to add the bacon to a cold pan and slowly bring the heat up to medium low, turning the bacon often. Once it’s done cut/crumble it into small pieces.

Cook your corn. To my great shame I used frozen corn and just ran hot water over it to defrost it, but if you are fancy and not lazy you could use fresh corn, either boiled or roasted.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

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*I used bacon from Gelderman Farms that we picked up at the famer’s market. I TOTALLY recommend it!
**Miracle Whip is something we DID have in the house when I was a kid and I still prefer it to mayonnaise. You can use mayonnaise though, or sour cream or even plain yogurt. YOU DO YOU.
***I pretty much just added this for the visual effect of the green, but green onions or chives would have the same effect and prob add more to the flavour.

summer living

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It’s this time of year, more than any other, that I wish we had a car. I would love to be able to get out of the city and into nature more easily, but I guess I can settle for the nature we have here in the city: blue skies, green trees, white flowers, red berries, and a little flower-booted forest elf who brings a giant stuffed carrot to the lagoon.