Month: September 2013

Filling a Friend’s Fridge

I have a dear friend, the indefatigable Lindsay Zier-Vogel who came over to visit last weekend. She filled my fridge. Literally. She arrived with a laundry basket of supplies, cracked a bottle of wine and proceeded to make us dinner, then also massive amounts of delicious chili and soup for the freezer. She pulled out pre-made banana bread and homemade jam and jelly. She even cleaned up.

Pocket Alchemy Jelly and Jam

Life is fast and full for me these days and I have a hard time keeping up with 2 little boys. I find the shifting identity that is part and parcel of staying home with the little folk challenging, sometimes downright paralyzingly overwhelming, along side the attempt to fit my own work into the days. Lately, paralyzing-overwhelm has been winning. Lindsay knows this, we chat and text often. Her act of kindness reminded me that filling the fridge of someone who’s stumbling, if you have the means and time, is one of the very most awesome things you can do.

Chili, sausage-pesto pasta, red pepper jelly, ginger jam, carrot cake and there's sweet potato soup in the fridge. My cup runneth over.
Chili, sausage-pesto pasta, red pepper jelly, ginger jam, carrot cake and there’s also sweet potato soup in the freezer. My cup runneth over.

I imagine one day I will waltz into her house, on a day when I have my s*%@ together a little more than she (that day will totally come, ahem!) and fill it with news and booze and delicious homemade goodness. And she might just have a glimmer of just how truly excellent her instinct was to march in here last week and own the kitchen and the conversation for a while. It made a huge difference.

Party pour les Petits Pirates

Contrary to my title, I must admit I am not French at all. I am not even a bilingual Canadian except for my extensive ballet term vocabulary and my grade 11 level conjugation skills! But I do adore alliteration. So I couldn’t resist going with my frenglish title because of all the P’s! Anyways, this is the story of a party I held for small pirates, specifically my wee Gene-bean who recently turned 2 years old.

Pirate party loot bags and clues

We were at our Muskoka cottage for the big day and Gene’s big 5-year-old brother and his even bigger 8-year-old cousin would be his guests for the festivities. I thought that a treasure hunt would be grand in that amazing landscape and keep lads of all ages happy. Which led me to the pirate idea. Really anything involving adventures and weapons and dress up works for these guys, thus a modest cottage pirate party was born. Of all the things concocted for this fête, the felt-on-flannel map below is my favourite. Charming if I do say so, non?

Felt on flannel treasure map

As usual I wanted to make this party as handmade as possible. I love to make and craft, I thrive on creating — for me, the act of imagining and making is part of loving-up my kids when I have the time to do it. Baking, on the other hand, I have given up on. I’m not very good at it, I don’t really enjoy it and in the end they only eat the icing. So I bought a cake with mounds of icing and decorated it so it was a little more fun! As you can see below, I just jammed a couple of tentacle fingers we had lurking in our dress-up chest into the cake (very kraken!) along with some dollar store cupcake topper ships and used the cupcake papers to surround the cake. Icing: eaten. Birthday boy: delighted. Cake: success.

Kraken cake.

The treasure hunt took the kids around the cottage and surrounding property revealing handmade pirate sashes, felt eye patches and pirate hats. From clue to clue they travelled in their new pirate duds, eventually finding some random bounty including chocolate Canadian coins, those squish coin pouches I thought died in the 80s (but was glad to find still exist, I loved those things!), little wooden airplane gliders and silly straw glasses for drinking pirate’s brew, a.k.a. Shirley Temples.

Pirate party treasure hunt bounty

The font I found for free on and is called Pieces of Eight. It worked a treat and included a lovely “X” for making the spot and some sabres and skulls, all necessary when making pirate-y name tags and clues.

Lastly I had to make Gene’s favourite baby dolly a wee matching pirate hat and patch. He caught his breath with delight when dolly was revealed, then immediately proceeded, with no apparent provocation, to hang the baby by his neck from a string on the window sill. Very pirate-y indeed mateys. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Felt pirate hat and matching dolly