Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wild Suburbia

It was an exciting morning here.  Emmett was in our downstairs playroom playing his new Wii game, when he came running up to tell me about a "Big Animal" outside our window.  I asked him what it was, but he couldn't say.  It was Very Exciting, though.  I went down to investigate and came nose to nose with this:

We watched him for quite a while before he noticed us and decided it was time to skedaddle. 
Very Exciting Morning, Indeed.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Crafting Round up

It's Christmas Day.  Ours started out very very early and now we are on to the sugar crash/meltdown part of the day.  I can finally reveal the fruits of my crafting labours to you now that the gifts have been given. (Yes, I have already showed you the truffles in the lower-left corner, but they are good enough to have seconds!)

I am so glad the little clothes fit Charlotte's new dolly and the sushi scarf was well-received by it's recipient.  The tea-wreath in the center of the collage was really fun to make and I think I need one for my own kitchen now!  Charlotte made the gingerbread house.

How are you today?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My year in pictures

This is a Facebook application but I like the results so much I am sharing it with you too!

Now, I must lock myself in my room and finish my gift wrapping.

I wish you, my wonderful, loyal readers all the best in this Holiday Season. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Covering our bases.

Things are starting to look more and more festive around here.

We put our Christmas tree up yesterday.  It is in a vintage playpen which is working quite nicely at keeping it safe from busy little kid fingers.  Please note the lack of breakable heirloom ornaments on the tree this year.

Charlotte brought some ornaments home from school today.  (This picture has nothing to do with the story.  She took it and I like it!)

She brought home a magic key to let Santa Claus into our house on Christmas Eve.
She brought home a sweet angel made out of coffee filters.

She brought home....

a festive Flying Spaghetti Monster??

 I had no idea her school was so progressive!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happiness..... standing over a pot of melted chocolate, chatting while dipping truffles with an old friend. (Coffee with Baileys is perfect on the side.) making shortbread with another good friend the next day.  (Boozy coffee was substituted for a pot of really good tea.)

I hope you get to find delicious moments of happiness during this busy time of year.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Meatloaf Incident.

My super-funny online friend Ami gave me this award.  (Go check her blog out.  She is a hoot.  Say Happy Birthday to her while you are there!)  In order to accept this award I have to talk about my biggest kitchen disaster.  Ami told a tale of woe about a malfunctioning oven taking down a batch of cookies and her favourite baking sheet with it.

I have had my fair share of culinary mishaps, to be sure.  In order to narrow my cooking stories down to the very worst offense, I consulted Richard to find out what he thought my biggest booboo was.  He has been eating my cooking for 14 years now.  There is one meal in particular he still won't let me live down...

We had not been dating very long when I joined Weight Watchers for the first time.  I was a newly-minted nursing school grad who was still carrying around her Freshman 15 (25) so I wanted to get back into shape.  I also wanted to cook my boyfriend's favourite foods.  I thought I could reach a great compromise with a slimmed-down version of one of his favourite meals:  meatloaf.

I found a recipe that substituted chopped vegetables and All-Bran cereal for some of the fatty meat in a traditional recipe.  I made it for dinner one night, and served it up to Richard without telling him how I had altered the recipe. He wolfed it down, as he always does with meatloaf.  He told me it tasted really good.  Later that night I found out what happens when you feed my boyfriend  foods very high in dietary fiber.  Can we just say that this meal had rather, um, disastrous consequences for my poor Sweetie's digestive system??   From that day forward he never quite trusted that dinner would be what I promised it to be.   Every time I have made meatloaf ever since he asks me what I have added to it besides ground meat. I  am pretty sure he still doesn't trust me fully in the kitchen, 10 years after The Meatloaf Incident.

Oh, and since the Internet knows everything, click here if you want to see the evil recipe.  Invite your best frenemy over for dinner and serve them up a heaping plateful!

I am going to pass this award on to my internet friend Rina.  I love reading her blog and seeing all of the delicious things she is cooking up.  There has got to be a juicy story in there somewhere!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Charlotte said what? And, the birth of a Vegetarian.

Yesterday as Charlotte and I walked to school we noticed some spraypaint on the outside of a house.  We then had a talk about how it is Not OK to spraypaint houses.  Charlotte mused that someone would have to clean that up.  "You know, the Guards of Canada."  I asked her to clarify.  "The guards.  The guards who stand for Canada. We guard Canada."

Clearly, Charlotte is paying close attention while they sing the National Anthem at school every morning!  (I wonder when she will learn it in French?  Those are the English words she is quoting there.)

For my American readers:  The first line of our National Anthem is: O Canada, We stand on guard for Thee

Last night, at the dinner table:

Charlotte:  What's for supper, mom?
Me:  Chicken. (buttermilk and panko coated chicken, if you must know. Deeeelicious!)
Charlotte :  What is that made out of?
Me:  Chicken.
Charlotte:  Yes.  But what is Chicken made from?
Me:  Chickens.  (This actually went on a few more times)
Charlotte:  Cool!  So there are two kinds of Chicken!  The farm animal and the kind you eat!
Me (wincing, knowing where this is going....) Um, no.  The chicken we eat is the farm animal.
Charlotte:  Oh. Ok.  Can I have some more?

While Charlotte and I were talking, Emmett was picking at his food.  He is not a big meat-eater to begin with and as he heard the Dark Truth about his dinner his eyes got wider and wider.  He had to walk away from the table after that and came back for a peanut butter and banana sandwich a bit later.

Poor guy.  The truth hurts sometimes.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

This morning we packed up the kids and took them to the local Giant Indoor Playground for Richard's Office Family Christmas party. The kids had fun running around with the other kids as Richard and I chatted with his co-workers.  Towards the end of the party Santa showed up and handed out gifts to all of the children.

As Matthew sat and played with his new Thomas train a woman walked by.  She looked fondly at Matthew. She told me she had two girls and that she was now expecting a third baby.  She kept looking at Matthew and smiled as she told me she hoped very much she was having a boy.

I smiled warmly at her and offered her my sincere congratulations and best wishes.

As I walked away I chuckled to myself and one thing popped into my head:

Be careful what you wish for.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Disclosure - I am participating in the Empire ‘Give & Get’ program by Mom Central on behalf of Empire Theatres. I received an Empire gift card and coupon bundle as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

How did December get here so quickly?  How are you doing with your Holiday gift shopping?

When the Winter Holiday Gift Giving Season comes around I like to organize my shopping and giving into three different categories:
  1. Gifts I can make myself.
  2. Gifts I can buy online.
  3. Gifts I can buy in stores.
I try to do the top two the most since I love crafting and as much as I love shopping, going into stores in December makes me kind of crazy.

I am well on my way with my Christmas crafting--none of which I can mention here since some of my readers will be getting the fruits of my dining-room table labours. If you want to give handmade but don't feel like you are crafty then you can shop your local craft sales or Etsy or Artfire and help another kitchen-table crafter out. (That second link is actually to a good friend of mine.  I just love her little felt ornaments.)

I am also waiting for the delivery of quite a few gifts I have purchased in the comfort of my jammies, coffee in hand.  I am trying to teach my Grandma how to shop online right now.  She wants to give gifts to family that live far away and I want her to stay off of icy sidewalks and out of  long lineups in stores and the post office.  Online shopping is great  because most stores will wrap and ship your gifts wherever you want and you don't have to stand in line at the post office your self.

If I must go into a store I try very hard to go as close to opening time as possible and try to avoid weekends.  This way the stores are much less crowded and the staff are much more available to help me.  And, having been on the other side of the cash register for quite a few years myself, please, no matter how grumpy and stressed and late you are, please try to put a smile on your face for that cashier. The don't get paid nearly enough to handle the rudeness that is thrown at them in December.

Gift cards are a good idea for teachers, babysitters, friends and fit perfectly in Christmas stockings.  Coffee shops cards,  Itunes cards and Movie passes are always welcome gifts.  Empire Theatres is doing a fantastic promotion right now where if you buy $30 in gift cards you get $30 in Empire Theatre coupons.

Movie passes are a great idea for new parents and if you can't include a coupon for free babysitting with your gift have no fear:  Empire Theatres has created the Reel Babies program. See the latest movies. No babysitter required! Twice a month, Moms and Dads get the chance to see ‘grown-up’movies in a baby-friendly environment. You can find all of the details on the website.  

I also love that you can now buy your tickets online and print them out at home.  Richard and I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night and didn't have to wait in line at all! (It was a great movie, by the way, and didn't disappoint this Harry Potter nut at all.)

OK, so, take a deep breath, remember that the people on your list love you and appreciate the thought that goes into a gift and not necessarily the size or monetary value.  Take some time to center yourself and enjoy the little moments that crop up in this season that bring you joy. A moment like that happened for me yesterday as I watched Charlotte use up an entire roll of tape on a gift she very carefully picked out and wrapped for her Dad. She was so excited to GIVE it to him and she actually stopped talking about what she wanted to GET for a minute.