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Monday, March 30, 2015

Silk Tie Dye Easter Eggs

I thought it was about time to start thinking about Easter… So far we don't have plans as in friends over for fancy dinner, but at the very least we are going to need some pretty eggs. 

How about I try this silk tie dyeing method? I had watched a couple of YouTube tutorials (of which everybody's instructions differred from the other one's)

Here's what I did:

I cut up a scarf.

Yes, hard to believe! And hard to do, too! Even though I haven't worn it in 20 years! I had purchased it in London, England on my first business trip. But as I said, I never wear it anymore, and I needed something silky for my project.

The experts in the videos said "use bright colors", so that's what I did.

I also cut up an old formerly white T-Shirt.

I wrapped every egg (they were raw) as tightly as I could without cracking the eggs and tied them up with string. The "nice side" of the silk needs to go around the egg, so what you can see here is the "back side". Does that make sense? 

Once wrapped with the silk layer, another layer comes over it. You can use an old towel or napkin or, as I did, T-Shirt. The reason you need this, is to prevent that (darker) colors from the silk transfer to the other eggs.

Mr C was not interested in helping me. He likes his Asterix books.

Phew, all done wrapping!

Put them in a large pot and cover with cold water

Add 3 Tbsp white vinegar which helps the egg shells to absorb the colors. Let the water come to a boil, cook on medium high for 20 minutes. Yes, really, 20, and they are just as edible as if you cooked them for 10 minutes. I was surprised, too.

Take the eggs out with a tongue and let them cool enough so you don't hurt your fingers when you unwrap.

The moment of truth!

Ta-daaaa! Silk Tie Dye Easter Eggs!

The white spots are white because the silk wasn't touching the egg enough closely. Still I think they turned out pretty neat! 

So if there are any old silk ties, scarves or blouses available at your house, give this technique a try and let me know how it worked out for you!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Funny Friday - Travel light

Today’s post is March’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by 
Confessions of a part-time working mom - that's me :-)

  1. Escape the crowded city for a weekend of simple living! It'll be fun they said.
  2. The good news is, we still have room in trunk!
  3. Don't move! Don't even cough!
  4. No! I absolutely will not open the ice box for a pop now! 
  5. A young guy from Texas moves to California and goes to a big department store looking for a job. The manager says, "Do you have any sales experience?" The kid says, "Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Texas." Well, the boss liked the kid, so he gave him the job. "You start tomorrow. I'll come down after we close and see how you did." His first day on the job was rough but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. "How many sales did you make today?" The kid says, "One." The boss says, "Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?" Kid says, "$101,237.64." Boss says, "$101,237.64? What did you sell him?" Kid says, "First I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said down at the coast, so I told him he was gonna need a boat, so we went down to the boat department, and I sold him that twin engine Chris Craft. Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4X4 Blazer." The boss said, "A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?" Kid says, "No, he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his wife, and I said, "Well, since your weekend's shot, you might as well go fishing." 
Now on to the back story!

The picture was taken at the visitor's center in Wililams Lake. We were visiting our Swiss friends who emigrated to a town called 150 Mile House in British Columbia in summer 2013.

That specific day we went on a day trip to Farewell Canyon.

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile: 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Learning by Playing

The other day I attended a labor law conference in order to stay on top of things related to my original job in Human Resources. The people who organize it are doing a great job hiring a few lawyers who actually manage to present the boring topic in a way that is relevant to us. Sometimes even fun. (Did you know that as an employee it's "safer" - as in you can't get fired on the spot - to bite your boss in the arm so he needs stitches, than to call him a greedy a******?)

Other lectures were of the purely theoretical kind.


Thankful for breaks!

Blue sky :-)

SBUX next door :-)

They let us out at 4:30pm, so I managed to get home, make dinner and get out of the house in time for an event at our elementary school. They were going to tell us about the recent project week they had.

What I expected:

Sit there for an hour, watch a slide show on a dozen different courses, secretly yawn, meet some fellow parents (D! A! Where were you?), have a glass of water, go home.

Instead the principal introduced us to Mrs F, a learning coach. 

Lovely lady, very sharp. Fun, too. She gave us an introduction on our brain halves.

Then she asked us to discuss what we thought helped our kids memorizing subject matters best: reading, listening, watching, saying it out loud themselves, doing it themselves. 

She told us about kids she coaches. They tell her "I keep reading the stuff I'm supposed to study, it just won't stick!" She encourages them to draw mind maps, discuss the topics with friends, use flash cards, try to figure out what questions the teacher might ask and to repeat everything five times.

With children as young as ours most of the learning happened through playing, she explained. (Then why on earth do they have to go to school every day if they don't even play there? Just saying.) 

That's where this year's project week comes in!

Learning by playing was their motto!

Colin got to choose from a dozen different classes. He signed up for "games from all over the world". Even though he may have expected something completely different (he likes his flags, national anthems, capitals and other facts and figures) and certainly not doing crafts every day, he had a good time. 

They got a punch card at the beginning of the week with sections for every continent which allowed them to fly to a different one every morning.

The main messages were "diversity" and "most kids don't have pricey toys and still get to have fun playing". 

On Friday all the groups met at the gym and presented what they had done. Of course my Mom got herself an invite to take pictures :-)

I especially liked what the group "small games made big" did: they laid out a chess board pattern on their class room floor, and every kid was a chess piece. They will never forget the moves that rooks, bishops and knights do, ever! 
Just imagine the dynamics in this group… that led to assign the king and queen! ;-)

Speaking of small and large… The groups, as you may have noticed, were mixed. Kindergarten through 4th grade. 

5th and 6th graders went skiing. Oh wait, these days it's not called "ski camp" anymore because some do snowboarding. Others don't do snow sports at all, still it's called "snow camp". It's gotta have a name, right?

Others got busy with cards, marbles, puppets, role play, musical instruments...

One group went to the forest, others rediscovered games that their grandparents played and brainstormed and invented toys that their own kids might play in the far future.

Then the lady told us it was time for us parents to play and learn!

She started by having us close our eyes, and she snuck to a spot in the room and knocked on the wall. We had to point our fingers to where we thought she was.

Then she got serious. Math! 
"Draw a square containing 16 cells". 

OK. I could do that.
"Now insert the results of the following multiplications: 4x8, 6x9, 7x7, 5x4, 8x6, …"

Geez, she was proceeding rather quickly! 

"Not so fast!" I heard myself shrieking. Three people were looking at me:
  • Husband, smiling, asking "need some help?"
  • Colin's teacher, big grin (I know, I know, my son is better at this!)
  • A fellow Mom whom I dislike, was very smug about it "c'mon now, it's not hard!"
Under my breath, I hissed "wait 'till we do it in *French…"

When everybody was ready, Mrs F was kind enough to repeat all the numbers we were supposed to have in our cells, which gave me a chance to correct some mistakes. Don't laugh.

K who was sitting behind me was joking that the next time we were going to meet, instead of having coffee and chatting, we needed to practice math. 

"I don't think so. How about a round of BS Bingo instead" I suggested.

Then we played Bingo. Mrs F called a number, and we crossed it off. 

It didn't take long, and people started shouting BINGO. 

Then she said "48", and the Mom who thought she was so very smart, was like "WHAT? 48? I don't have 48!" 

Hahaha, I was mentally sticking out my tongue at her. 

*I remembered a parent teacher meeting back in Kindergarten. We were supposed to bring a book we liked as a kid and a book that our kid likes, and use those books to introduce ourselves to the group. Actually I mentioned "French grammar lady" in a post back then!

Moving on. 

Time for a break. "Give me a victory sign!" Our learning coach said.

Great! Now go like this (we use it to say "perfect", but I understand in other cultures it's rude):

Now back to victory! And switch! And back, can you go faster?

Didn't she say we were getting a break..?

The next exercise was about words, yay! 

Create 14 compound words:

(It's much tougher to limit yourself to 14. I had way too many words). Of course we did it in German. I created a whole new bunch of words just for you! :-)

There was a game referring to our visual memory. She showed us a picture with about 10 items and asked us to memorize them. Then she removed one. That was easy. Then she removed two, then she switched positions. This was fun! 

It was great to challenge us parents on skills we don't use in our every day life. 
Also I'm glad my son is better at math than I am - if not how was I supposed to help him?

That's it for today. 

Tomorrow there's going to be a Funny Friday Post. 

On April 1st, and it's not a joke, I'll start with one post per day, throughout the whole month of April, starting with the letter A. It's part of the annual A-Z challenge that I signed up for. 
If you'd like to play along, you've got time till next week! Let me know, and I'll visit your posts!

Monday, March 23, 2015

My journey to deep sleep

This morning I went to see a - I don't even know what to call her. Therapist? She's a friend from high school who pretty much out of the blue sent me happy birthday wishes, and, as we got to chat, told me she runs this place to help people. The methods she uses are not familiar with me, but I felt like this was my cue to ask if there was anything she could do for my trouble sleeping.

During my ride I tried to think of the last time we saw each other. I couldn't distinctly remember, but it must have been in the late 80s. I don't even know what she did after school. 9:30am I walked into her office. She didn't look how I remembered her, but as soon as she was laughing, I was like "yep - that's you!"

We caught up on our families, and then she started asking me questions about my sleep. When did I first notice, do I wake up around the same time at night, etc. 

Her treatment room is light and friendly and full of crystals, chimes and esoteric books, so I thought it was appropriate to tell her about my dream and my consultation with the dream interpreter many years ago. She picked up on my wolf topic and explained that according to the shamanic world, the wolf was my power animal, and even though I may have never seen it again in a dream, it was and still is present in my life, and she encouraged me to ask the wolf for direction in my life when I felt I needed some.

She also told me that usually trouble sleeping - provided it isn't caused by purely medical reasons - oftentimes has to do with having difficulties to let go (no kidding!, that's me!), lacking a sense of basic trust, because, let's be real, if we need to be in charge of everything, being sound asleep is probably not wise.

She proceeded to explain that everything she was talking about was not on a conscious level. I could still live my life and trust people, it was something deep down in my soul - and it could have been caused by a shock situation, separation anxiety, it may go way back into my childhood, maybe it may have to do with my relationship to my mother. 

Boom. I love my mother, and we get along fine, but the combination of her words made me blurt out "I know what it is! I was five years old, and I needed to be operated on my hips, and my mom prepared me for my hospital stay, she read a book to me of a girl who had to get her appendix out, and she took me to the hospital, unpacked my clothes and toys , stayed a while and then she said good-bye and left. She left! I mean, I understood that mommies could not stay, and it must have broken her heart, too, but still, I was crying for hours, how could she do this to me, just leave me there all alone and scared?"

My friend said this situation took away part of my soul, however she could get it back. Also she felt I was ungrounded (which does not mean not down to earth) and it would be beneficial to work on my chakras. She used other words, too, which most of them didn't mean anything to me, I just told her I trusted her to do what she felt was helpful. 

There was some scented oil, some applying pressure on several body parts, especially on my head which felt nice, and some breathing involved. Call it hocus-pocus, Martina assured me it works even on people who don't believe in it.

Fine with me. I felt calm, I got to lie down on a pretty rainbow blanket and had my eyes closed during the whole procedure, and I saw purple color blots, and some olive green ones, too. The two colors were blending into each other. They stand for loving soul searching and forgiving, she explained, pretty pleased by what I experienced. She told me she saw an angel at my 5yo's hospital bed, holding me tight, comforting me and assuring me that my mom loved me. "They also told me to ask you to be kind to yourself" she added. 

This just about pushed me over the edge. A tear rolled down my cheek. This is what I get for refusing to take sleeping pills! I end up in an esoteric session, crying on my high school friend's shoulder. 

She encouraged me to do some research on the wolf's qualities and to use them to my advantage. All right. See at the end of the post.

Also we agreed that I should just give myself some time to let this experience sink in. 

I will think of it as a snow globe. I got shaken up today, and some of those flakes were stuck for a long time. If I trust my gut, the snowflakes will not only fall - but fall into place. 

Plus I will sleep like a baby! 

I will keep you posted. 

It'd probably be a nice exercise to make my own snow globe. For now I googled one. Duncan Titmarsh created this giant Lego snow globe featuring the London Eye and Big Ben:

The wolf offers some of the most striking animal meanings in the realm of spirit animals. The power of the wolf brings forth instinct, intelligence, appetite for freedom, and awareness of the importance of social connections. 

This animal can also symbolize fear of being threatened and lack of trust. When the wolf shows up in your life, pay attention to what your intuition is telling you.

Wolf's Wisdom Includes: (source: Animal Spirits)
  • Facing the end of one's cycle with dignity and courage
  • Death and rebirth
  • Spirit teaching
  • Guidance in dreams and meditations
  • Instinct linked with intelligence
  • Social and familial values
  • Outwitting enemies
  • Ability to pass unseen
  • Steadfastness
  • Skill in protection of self and family
  • Taking advantage of change

Friday, March 20, 2015

Choking on a Surprise

The other day hubby went out for dinner with a client, so C and I took the opportunity to eat out as well. IKEA restaurant was our choice. Because - meatballs! Also because he needs a new bed. 

But first things first. 

On the picture below, Colin is three years old, can you believe the cart is taller than he was back then?

Anyway. We got our dinner and sat down at the counter beyond which there is the kids' area. C used to love to play there as soon as he was done with his food. My little boy has gotten too big for it.

Instead he likes to use the customer feedback computer. He doesn't have anything to say about assembling furniture. He likes to type the hockey results ;-)

Plus he follows his mother's footsteps and likes to people-watch. Little people in his case. Like that kid sitting on the counter? 

Colin got very nervous and was like "why is that guy allowed to sit up here?"
"He's not, but it looks like nobody's here to tell him so!"
Later his dad and younger sister joined, they sat on regular chairs but didn't say one word to the boy to come down. 
Strange parenting.

A handful of toddlers was running around, playing, giggling and shrieking in the play area. All of a sudden a grandmother showed up and scolded one of the girls: 

"Don't make such a terrible noise! People here want to eat in peace! You shriek one more time, I'll come and get you!!!" 

Strange parenting of the other kind. Where else if not at the kids' area are they supposed to be kids?

The boy wearing the red hat had a surprise egg. C had noticed them at the cash register, too, but didn't even bother to ask, because I usually say no. Because I'm that kind of mom. Who rarely buys her kid a Kinder Egg or a Capri Sun.

That night I wanted to go back to the check-out and get him an egg!!

Instead we checked out what IKEA had to offer beyond beds.

Earlier this week I heard about a family who is friends with friends of ours. Their 14 year old daughter was on her way to school by bicycle. She collided with a truck and was run over. Paramedics found her with no signs of life. 

I can't stop thinking about her mother - whom I don't know, but I don't need to. She is a mother, and she has lost her baby. Nobody wants to experience that. There is cancer and other ugly stuff that nobody wants eihter. But losing a child must be the worst. 

I know getting kids out of the house and to school can be stressful, and sometimes you argue about whether to put on the warm or the fancy jacket. But you don't expect to never argue about jackets again, much less to never kiss your kid goodbye and wishing them a nice day again.

So a mom has to do what a mom has to do. 
This mom went chocolate egg shopping. And because she can't just buy one egg, (check out this post by Christine, aka the Keeper of Fruit Loops on parents going overboard), this is what happened: 

So it's a pack of three

Look, there's a giant one, too!

How cute! A bunny boy and a girl!

In order to not choke on the surprise toy, it comes in a yellow plastic egg

Every surprise egg toy is not crap!

Just because I was in the right spirit I also produced a Smarties egg.

Now how to open it..?

Here's a hint: just punch it with your fist ;-)

You can use chocolate pieces as spoons to eat your yogurt

You can use your Smarties to play Tic, Tac, Toe!

So many possibilities!

I told him the reason(s) for getting chocolate eggs, and he was in favor of it. He even said "that boy better learn not to sit on tables or else he'll still be doing it as a grown-up!"

I post this today because I want this ordinary day to be a special day to remember. He's growing up too quickly anyway, and I feel like I need to catch those little moments, otherwise I will forget.

PS: I will give away some of the chocolate - leave me a comment why I should send it to YOU!