30
Oct 14

Halloween Dress Rehearsal and a death-a-versary

Keswick Public School had a family dance tonight. Since a couple of our smalls attend there, I dressed up my crew and off we went. And we had FUN! If you’ve never danced with a couple of four-year-olds, I highly recommend it.

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I am not sure if I will have a Ninja Lord, Cowgirl, Spider-Man, and Skeleton tomorrow night for trick or treating (minds and costumes change rapidly around here) but I had them tonight. And I’m mindful that these moments are limited time offers, so I am holding them close to my heart.

Also tonight, I am quietly marking the 24th anniversary of my father’s passing. 42 was too damned young to go, I wish I had more time with him, and I really wish that he could see my smalls on this, his most favourite holiday of the year. It took me a long time to be able to enjoy Halloween after he passed, but every year I derive more happiness from the day and look forward to sharing stories and memories of him with my kids.

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❤️


29
Oct 14

My longest hiatus yet and a possible solution

And I haven’t enjoyed my absence. I miss writing and blogging terribly, but life got extra busy in September when I decided to take on two more part-time jobs (working with children but outside of my home) and so my creative/me time has become scarcer than ever. But my mental health dictates that I MUST to make time to write something, really anything, more regularly than, well, never, so from now until the end of November I’m going to try to steal 10 minutes every day and post SOMETHING.

More likely than not, my daily post will be a picture, a quote, a random thought or a question that’s eating away at my mind. It could also be a political opinion (unlikely), food post (very likely), or a plea for help (probably the highest probability right here). I may bore you with pictures of my kids, cat, renovations or any other glimpses into my day living the Keswick dream. And with any luck you’ll get something out of the posts, and with even more luck, I will start finding my way back to a more balanced, happier, funnier me.

So, on that note, I present to you the first picture post of many. This one is featuring my four smalls on our vacation this past August to one of my favourite road trip vacation destinations from my childhood (the town, not the attraction) Cape Cod, MA.

Potato chips? Did someone say potato chips? Yes, please! And these ones are the best. And we toured the factory while we were on the Cape. Fun, free and fast - the best kind of family entertainment when you're toting four kids around on vacation. The free bag of chips at the end of the self-guided tour sealed the deal. This is a 'must do' for anyone who's spending time in Cape Cod :)

Potato chips? Did someone say potato chips? Yes, please! And these ones are the best. And we toured the factory while we were on the Cape. Fun, free and fast – the best kind of family entertainment when you’re toting four kids around on vacation. The free bag of chips for each of us at the end of the self-guided tour sealed the deal. This is a ‘must do’ for anyone who’s spending time in Cape Cod :)

P.S.  If you’ have not ‘Liked’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Followed’ along on Twitter, checked out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, or connected with TheKeswickBlog on Instagram, then you’re missing out on micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry or during the aforementioned hiatus :)


25
Sep 14

I will never call my daugher ‘Ladybug’ again and here is why.

So I learned something today. Disappointingly enough, it turns out that ladybugs are assholes.

There. I said it. And I don’t regret it. Ladybugs are absolutely outright assholes.

And they are a bitey bunch. I know this to be true because a few of those assholes bit me this afternoon. And I did not appreciate that at all. It made me feel rather stabby.

I also did not appreciate having to re-wash an entire load of laundry because said assholes decided to descend upon my lovely fresh laundry as soon as I hung  said laundry outside on the line. I swear they were like a fat chick (um, yes, that would be me) on a chocolate fountain (yeah, yeah, it was just once and I paid for the damage. Stop judging me).

My photographic evidence (of the ladybugs, not the chocolate fountain) are not all that convincing, because by the time I remembered to take pictures, they had already left their diabolical signatures all over my laundry, so it looks like I hung stained, nasty clothes on the line. But I did not do that. Because that would be weird and bordering on insane and while I may be both of those things, I do not enjoy hanging out laundry enough to bother hanging dirty clothes out there just for a photo-op.

Are you kidding me? I count 11 ladybugs and see one more coming in for a landing!

Are you kidding me? I count 11 ladybugs and see one more coming in for a landing!

This poor crib sheet was cleaner going into the washing machine the first time around...

This poor crib sheet was cleaner going into the washing machine the first time around…

You have GOT to be kidding me with this, right? They are SO TINY. How did this make this much mess? Oh wait. I say that about my kids too.

You have GOT to be kidding me with this, right? They are SO TINY. How did this make this much mess? Oh wait. I say that about my kids too.

It is a lime green crib sheet. I add bleach, I kill it.  I don't add bleach and my small sleeps on ladybug shit. Honestly now, who in their right mind deals with these kinds of issues? Certainly not me, I haven't been in my right mind since the 1990's.

It is a lime green crib sheet. I add bleach, I kill it. I don’t add bleach and my small sleeps on ladybug shit. Honestly now, who in their right mind deals with these kinds of issues? Certainly not me, I haven’t been in my right mind since the 1990’s.

And so, I will never call my only daughter ‘Ladybug’ again. I think I would prefer to call her my sweet ‘Praying Mantis.’  It may not have the same cute ring to it, but a praying mantis has never bitten me and decimated my couture and Fruit of the Looms. (Of course, we all know what female praying mantises do do though, right? If not, click here and then hold on to your seat!)

So, the long and the short of it is, I washed the laundry. I hung the laundry. The ladybug brigade came swooping in and shit all over it. I re-pre-treated and re-washed the laundry. I conceded the win to the ladybugs when I later tossed the re-washed laundry into the dryer (during the low hydro peak time, of course). Heeeeeyyyyy now. Wait a minute.

Fuck. They got me. The hydro company has finally figured out a way to force me to use my dryer. I’ll bet if someone (not me) somehow got into the sinister secret areas of the hydro company, they would find millions and millions of ladybugs, just waiting to be deployed daily, forcing us to abandon our efforts to reduce our usage and hence our monthly bills. But really? Sending the bitey kind was just evil. The shitting, messy kind would have sufficed.

Well played Hydro Company. You blackhearted reprobate. You shall have your extortion money and your pound of flesh (but only because my people like having electricity). Oh, and lastly, ya’ll owe me for the antiseptic cream and bandages (the Hello Kitty kind, ifyouplease) – those ladybugs have killer fangs/teeth/stingers/owie-makers.

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08
Sep 14

I’ve done a few really cool things in my life but this just may beat all

I’m kinda a little bit old, not old old, but a little bit old. So I’ve been on one planet or another for a while now and in my time, I’ve done some really amazeballs things. To name just a few, I traveled alone to Indonesia when I was seventeen, I’ve pushed real human being babies out of my lady garden on occasion and the last time was without drugs, and I started this blog and met some really wonderful people as a result.

But this, this right here takes the cake. I’m not sure how I’ll ever top this one.

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That’s right, people! I MADE Cucumbers! Like actually for real, made them. From seeds. I had completely given up on the plants producing anything other than leaves and spiky vines but then, by chance, fluke, by kismet, I discovered these little beauties. I just hope they keep growing so that my smalls may enjoy them before the random deviant garden critters who keep trying to pillage and abuse my tomato plants get their grubby mitts on them.

In just four short months, I have almost completely grown enough cucumbers to keep my smalls happy for at least 30 minutes (45 if a fight breaks, and odds are in my favour on that one).

Now in writing this post, I just may be starting to feel a teeny bit less self-impressed and estatic and maybe just a smidgen more loser’ish. Ah well, that will pass and I’ll be furiously happy about the twins (yes, I named them. Stop judging me) again soon.


17
Aug 14

Food for thought – Scottish style

I love me a good proverb and I love all things Scottish (aye, ’tis in me blood, so it is), so when I came across these little morsels of Scot thought, I knew that I was going to share them.

I don't think that I've ever met a Scot that couldn't or would hesitate to bite!

I don’t think that I’ve ever met a Scot that couldn’t or would hesitate to bite. At least not one in my family.

I love this one just a little bit too much

I love this one just a little bit too much.

So very, very true.

Truth. Need to remember this some days.

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I can almost hear these said in my grandma’s voice with her subtle Dundee accent. Fifty-odd years in Canada softened but did not erase her Scottish accent, pride or attitude. She sure crammed a whole lotta lady into her 4 foot nine-inch, if she was a foot, frame. My grandpa’s accent stayed thicker, but words of wisdom that he would impart would more often include someone’s thumb and meeting their ass, much to the eternal disgust of his wife. If nothing else, the proper Scots lady and the gruff Scots fella were fiery to the end.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents while I was growing up and often while my grandpa tore around the city streets ignoring stop signs and other cars, my grandma and I would sit in the backseat of what felt like ‘the getaway car’ and sang this song.

A couple of speeding tickets, the occasional hit-and-run in a parking lot and a whole lot of very colourful language peppered our drives. Come to think of it, maybe our singing that song was why the poor man drove like such a maniac. Hmmmmm.


12
Aug 14

My garden is possessed and not in a good way

It occurs to me that possession, or being possessed is generally considered to be a big, gaping negative. But, had I happened to be writing a blog post sharing what a killer year that I was having in the garden and was positively drowning in vegetable booty, I would very likely be using the term or idea of possession as well. To me, this indicates that in my twisty world, possession isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can be lovely and good or wicked and bad. Except for possession of or by drugs or weapons – those possession are ugly assholes and will get a sist’a locked up, so we don’t go there. This is not that blog, yes?

Right then. Moving right along, I will be the first to admit that I am not a natural-born gardener. Real interest really only sparked for me sometime over the past five years. Prior to that, I could kinda-sorta keep a house plant alive (mostly), and I have photographic proof that I planted some veggies a few times with Declan when he was small (I’ll dig out that proof if need be), but really, I was not what anyone would call a get-her-hands-dirty kind of girl and just bought whatever we wanted at the store.

But I have a little bit changed my tune on that and get a kick out of walking outside and plucking a tomato off the vine or yanking an onion out of the ground, chopping it up and serving it for dinner that night. In fact, I now look forward to planting my garden every Spring and preserving my excess bounty in the Fall (together with purchased and found apples, pears, onions and tomatoes, of course!). This year, because we had such a LONG winter and Spring didn’t really show up, I kept my garden goals reasonable, my expectations nice and low and decided to go with ‘sure things.’ Well, this rational road I travelled turned into one hoofing kick to the ovaries.

As luck would have it, for the first time EVER, and probably in the history of forever, my go-to, ultimate sure thing, zucchini, is failing on a grand and fabulous scale. So many huge, yellow, horn-like flowers, a few false starts and then NOTHING. Tiny zucchini shrivel up and die and fall off the plant, unfinished. Combine that amazing luck with some kind of tomato plant-eating disease, a chipmunk who has decided that what’s mine is his, and so ‘samples’ my riper tomatoes before I get a chance to pick them, a wily, out of control cucumber plant that is just now starting to show signs of vegetable production (did I mention the whole polar vortex that is coming next month and sure to wipe out everything, garden-wise?) and potato plants that are having some kind of cross-species identity crisis and producing tomato-looking fruit on their plants. Oh, oh, oh! And please don’t let me forget that I am currently babying along four of the world’s most expensive peppers. Ten pepper plants are possibly going to net me FOUR peppers, if I’m really lucky. Worst. Deal. Ever. But enough words. Let’s go to the pictures, shall we?

If you're going to take it, eat it you fucker. Don't leave it beside the plant like a sick game for me to step on. This is not how you repay the kindness of a meal, Chipper.

If you’re going to take it, eat it you fucker. Don’t leave it beside the plant like a sick game for me to step on. This is not how you repay the kindness of a meal, Chipper.

I planted the tubers, and eventually, potato plants sprung (and I'm assuming that potatoes began to grow beneath the soil at the same time). NOW my potatoes have decided that they don't want to be potatoes anymore and so are morphing into tomato plants. Honestly potatoes, wtf?

I planted the tubers, and eventually, potato plants sprung (and I’m assuming that potatoes began to grow beneath the soil at the same time). NOW my potatoes have decided that they don’t want to be potatoes anymore and so are morphing into tomato plants. Honestly potatoes, wtf?

Honestly. Even if there was a chance of having normal, average sized cucumbers out of this plant, the frost that's due to hit us NEXT month will surely take care of that quick smart. Argh!

Honestly. Even if there was a chance of having normal, average sized cucumbers out of this plant, the frost that’s due to hit us NEXT month will surely take care of that quick smart. Argh!

Here is one of four peppers I am currently trying to ease into maturity. Given the rest of my gardening luck this year, I'm not holding out a lot of hope, but damned if I can give up on anything.

Here is one of four peppers I am currently trying to ease into maturity. Given the rest of my gardening luck this year, I’m not holding out a lot of hope, but damned if I can give up on anything.

And now, I am hearing that it is supposed to rain for the rest of the week. Oh  joy. Oh rapture. Just one more thing to throw my garden and winter reserves into a tailspin, as though those identity-crisis- having potatoes and tomato-thieving chipmunks were not enough.

It’s a good thing that I’m too lazy and unmotivated to actually drink. This kind of raggedy-ass nature behaviour/sabotage would likely start me on a three-day bender. Honestly now, what’s a girl to do?


29
Jul 14

Banana Crumble Cake a.k.a. Wear-Your-Big-Pants Cake

I have no idea where I found this recipe or why it took so long for me to try it but OMG, this is like banana bread and cake rolled up into one thigh thundering mass of yumminess. Miss Miranda and I adapted the recipe we had and baked this recipe recently and I posted a picture on the Keswick Blog’s Facebook page with the hashtags #curvygirl #lovescake. Never were these hashtags truer than after tasting this tasty little toodle.

The Ultimate Non-crummy Banana Crumb Cake to end all Banana cakes

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Cake Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups mashed banana (approx 3-4 large bananas)
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (DIY: 1 cup of milk minus 2 tbsp plus 2 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice, let sit 5 minutes then use as directed)

Crumb Topping Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp mashed banana
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake: Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well-incorporated. Stir in mashed banana, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the rest of the flour mixture. Mix just until there are no streaks of dry ingredients remaining. (I highly recommend taking your time and doing the additions in stages, as stated above – I usually just throw it all together, but slowing down actually did give me a better result ;) )

Pour batter into the prepared pan.

For the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add in softened butter, mashed banana and vanilla and blend ingredients in (with a pastry cutter or a couple of forks) until mixture is moist and sandy. It should stick together in clumps when you squeeze it between your fingers. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the cake (there will be a lot of it and it will cover the entire surface).

Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

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Allow cake to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into delicious, scrumptious squares of delight. Share this or keep it all for yourself. If the people in your life don’t understand, are they really the right people to keep around? If you’re so inclined, this cake will keep very well in an airtight sealed container for a few days. But beware of thieves. They can be crafty fuckers when it comes to cake.


15
Jul 14

What every daughter wants

is a dad who feels this way about her:

and a dad who thinks that she is special enough to write this song about:

and while daughters may say things like this (warning, this tantrum is on the long side):

What they really mean is this:

And what I want all fathers to hear is this:

 


14
Jul 14

Oh, she of few words

It’s a post in pictures today. This the most I can do from my hiding place under the bed. I am loving summer, loving all the time with my smalls, but between that nasty summer pneumonia that took me out for over a week and that fickle bastard we call LIFE, my inner world is in painful, upside-down turmoil. Hence, this picture post. So, without any further whining, here are some recent pictures from my iPad:

I made this:

Well, really, I planted some onion seeds(?) at the end of last summer and forgot about them. This summer, this is what happened. And it is delicious. I am the laziest gardener ever and this time, it totally worked out in our favour. Yay me.

Well, technically, I caused it to grow in that I planted some onion seeds(?) at the end of last summer and forgot about them. And then this summer, this little (HUGE) beauty (and some friends) happened. And it is delicious. I am the laziest gardener ever and this time, it totally worked out in our favour. Yay me.

And, I a little bit made this:

But I'm unsure if it's a pumpkin or a zucchini because my crack-shot labelling skills are actually non-existent and my enormous laziness reigns supreme.

But I’m unsure if it’s a pumpkin or a zucchini because my crack-shot labelling skills are actually non-existent and my enormous laziness reigns supreme.

And on the weekend, this happened:

And they all look absolutely gorgeous. Of course. (Haircuts courtesy of Mr. K.B. - my multi-talented husband).

And they all look absolutely gorgeous. Of course. (Haircuts courtesy of Mr. K.B. – my multi-talented husband).

I found this on the interwebs and it cracked me up:

I have never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but if this is the kind of brilliant wisdom imparts, I really must source the show on DVD. Stat.

I have never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but if this is the kind of brilliant wisdom imparts, I really must source the show on DVD. Stat.

And finally, because, despite my poor language choices, pyjama bottom couture, and the fact that I usually forgetting to wear lipstick, I do strive to be a better person, every fucking day, I strive and while I admit that I usually fail, I always, always, always get back up and keep trying.

Manners. I have them, I know right from wrong but somehow my emotions keep getting in the way of me using said manners to the fullest. It's total fuckery I tell you.

Manners. I have them, I know the right and wrong things to do and say in just about any situation but somehow my emotions keep getting in the way of me using said manners to the fullest. It’s total fuckery I tell you.


09
Jul 14

This song resonates. It is just RIGHT.

No secret, I’m a big music fan, always have been, and have never pigeonholed my musical experiences to one artist or genre and remain open to all music from any artist who has the guts to put something out there for the masses. And every now and then, a song comes along that just strikes a chord in me and Colbie Caillat has struck that chord with her new song and video ‘Try’.

As a woman and a mother, I love the message in this song and will play it for my daughter AND my sons (after Raffi and before Sharon, Lois and Bram, of course). And I’ll talk to them about the song and video, so Ms. M starts to learn that she doesn’t have to TRY to look beautiful, she just IS beautiful and worthy and so that my sons learn that girls and women are NOT the way they look, they are not mascara and lipstick, they are full, complete human beings with so much more to offer than a pretty face and that diminishing a girl’s value based on the way she looks causes her pain and makes her suffer unnecessarily. And so that all of my babies can appreciate that we, as people, all have struggles and want to be accepted just the way we are, just the way we look, whether or not we choose to get all gussied up or opt to just keep it real.

“You don’t have to try so hard/ You don’t have to, give it all away/ You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up/ You don’t have to change a single thing,” Caillat sings in the chorus. “Don’t you like you? ‘Cause I like you.”

Take a look and listen for yourself and see what you think. Does the song speak to you?


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