Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Three more random shots

I feel kinda empty. Not sure if I am tired from all the festivities or I just plain need to get back into a routine, I am kinda funny like that. I just feel empty. It doesn't help that my little sis had already headed off on her travels. She left for Charlotte, NC this morning and will stay for a month before heading back towards Regina, SK. Sadly I wish I had a way to keep her here a bit longer, it seems we only get small snippets of time with her before she heads out again. The good news is she is looking to go back to school in the fall and she is looking at a few schools closer to home. In the mean time, take a glance at a few more random shots...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


What a holiday. Christmas was so much fun this year. Just watching the kids open gifts, play with gifts, share their gifts was really great. This was the first year that "J" kinda knew what was going on. "A" was thrilled to pieces with his new camera, so we have another budding photographer here in our house. "J" got lots of hockey stuff, his own gloves, jersey and sticks, we are taking sponsors ;).

One of the hard parts about the holiday is knowing that my sisters and the kids are only here a couple of weeks more. It would seem that I cannot convince them to move back, but I will keep on trying.

The hardest part of all was dealing with my two very pregnant sisters. It cuts like a knife. Not sure how else to say it really. I know it isn't their fault and I wish them all the happiness in the world, but it does not make it any easier to hang out with them and hear them chat it up. Not sure how I will make it through March, but will be working on it for sure. In the mean time I will leave you with a few random shots of the holiday.

A Christmas Eve StarbucksA Christmas Manicure

Playing on the 4x4 at the airport

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas

Today, we take a break from Christmas celebrations and preparations to celebrate a birthday! Poor Hubby has to share his birthday with this major holiday celebration! This year, at least, he took the day off work. We are letting him sleep in, even though his dad woke up at 4:30am Vancouver time, to call and wish his son a Happy Birthday! Once he does get up we will do the gift thing, go out for a few last minute items like wine ;) and return for an afternoon and evening of family time. Happy Birthday Hubby, and no you are not old :)

Although I am sure I will make it back here in the next few days ( I need something to do when "J" wakes up at the crack of dawn), some of you may not. I want to take the time to wish you all the Merriest of Christmases or the Happiest of Hannuka's and an all round Festive time with your family and friends. I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year!

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Welcome Winter

Today is the Winter Solstice!!! The shortest day of daylight, the first real day of Winter. I can't believe it is here already, which means of course.... that there will be more hours of sunlight starting tomorrow :), which means we are that much closer to spring.

In the summer we usully celebrate the solstice by staying out in the backyard late into the night and having a cold one. In the winter we are usually too busy to take note. But, what should we do for fun anyway on this shortest day of light in the year? Hmmmm.... sit by the fire and sip hot chocolate. That sounds like a great idea.

To everyone, happy first day of winter, may it be short and sweet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

They arrived!

Only 45 minutes late getting out of Winnipeg, but they have arrived!! "J" was so excited it was great. It can go either way with new kids or kids he hasn't seen in a while, but he and "LJ" remembered each other and it was awesome. "GR" was chattier than ever if it is at all possible and she arrived with her Dora suitcase chewing gum looking like 5 going on 20. The little fashionista gave me the run down of the flights and what they ate and didn't eat.

After gathering their 7 HUGE suitcases and me and my little sis being the only ones to lift anything (the other two are pregnant due in March) we set off to find the carseats. One arrives, the guy says he will be back with the other. Ten minutes later we see him walking away for a coffee break. And told to check with the airline. Apparently it was left behind in Winnipeg!! OF all things to leave behind, a carseat! I am about to flip out (mostly because "J" is now so exhausted he won't stop crying) when the girl says they have loaners. Phew! I was trying to imagine leaving one adult and a kid behind while we went and unloaded and returned for the other. Exhausted and piled into the two cars, and I mean piled, think 5 adults, 4 carseats and 7 suitcases!!! Yes, we have a van, but no Hubby hasn't put the new tires on it, and there is no way on this green earth I am driving that thing with bald tires!!! So basically he drives the gasmobile for himself alone, go figure.

Back at Grandma's! "J" brought his "Thomas" suitcase and within two minutes the three boys were all playing on the floor like "LJ" had not been away for almost 6 months. "GR" was told by the boys not to drive the cars on the train tracks so she decided to trim the Christmas tree.

It was a wonderful afternoon and I cannot wait to continue the festivities today!! It will only get better and be more fun. Now, how to convince them they should move back???? Have one month to work on it, will start today.

Monday, December 19, 2005

All things good

Today is the day my two Sisters, ironically the youngest and the oldest, arrive home for the holidays!! With my neice and nephew in tow :). My BIL won't be here for a few more days, but that's ok, we tire him out anyway ;)

Last June, my oldest sister moved to Regina, Saskachewan. We all thought she was crazy, but away they went. Along came July, my youngest sister had finally returned home from North Carolina and we were excited to spend the summer with her. Fast forward two days... eldest Sister calls and away she goes to help out with the kids. I shouldn't really complain as I still have one sister here, and yes, we do almost everything together (twice while Christmas shopping we have been asked if we were twins... oh how happy I was!!! She is 7 years my junior, so I felt pretty great that day!). But, I really miss the other two as well.

"J" has been asking daily when his cousins are coming. "LJ" is 7 months older and they play like a dream. Loving the trains and hockey, I just can't wait to see them in action again. "GR" is almost 5 and the only girl (until March when two more will arrive) and she rules the roost. I miss their smiles, hugs, kisses and playing with them, I don't know if I will make it another 7 hours until the flight arrives. Better try to keep busy this morning.

Let the holidays begin!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Thank you for the support

Thank you all for your support with "A". We have always seen him as a great kid and all of this has been coming as a surprise this week, but again there is more news.

Last night we were thankful of the email exchange that took place between "A"'s Mom and my Husband. For the first time all year she actually called to let us know that "A"'s science teacher phoned! Apparently he felt that handing in homework on a crumpled up piece of scrap paper was acceptable. She basically asked Hubby to bring him home on Saturday night after hockey to talk to him ( I guess things really aren't working for her!). So we have come to a few conclusions.

1. He needs to learn how to respect his elders again. Although he still shows respect here in our household, it is obvious that he does not elsewhere. He will have things taken away and will have to earn back the right to them. I.e. his "music" , he will not be allowed to listen to that band until he can prove he can respect his elders.

2. His marks need to improve. Although not bad, they have been slipping. If his marks do not improve we will not continue to support his hockey playing. It was after he started that his marks started to suffer, so if he cannot pull up his socks then there will be no more hockey. AND ifhe does earn it back, he will also have to contribute finacially as well.

3. He needs to learn to prepare proper homework. Homework will have to be prepared and presented to his teachers properly, or again he will lose his privleges.

We feel this is a good start and perhaps adding in some extra visits here (like she did this weekend) will help him to improve. At the same time she really needs to figure herself out, there will only be so much we can do for her. As I have said, he doesn't behave that way at our house.

Ack! To be raising a teenager, I have a new found respect for my Mom who did it four times spread out over 16 years!!! I love you Mom ( and Dad too!) and Thanks for all you taught me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Your Son's Manners are Atrocious.

Normally, I would not comment on someone else's kids manners. But, considering that he is partly my son too, I feel that gives me the right. My husband complains that "A"'s manners are terrible. We talk to him about it and tell him not to chew with his mouth open, not to scrape his teeth with his fork, not to sleep on his arms while eating, all the while keeping in mind that if we say too much he won't want to come over anymore.

Yesterday, in a rare email exchange with his mother, my husband finally came out and told her! It all started when she forwarded his Christmas list (a week before Christmas no less!!). The first five items were clothing articles and rings from a band that we do not like. The name of the band starts with a slip and ends with a not (I don't want any freakshows coming here because I named that band). This band has the new "screaming" music where you can't understand what they are saying but it is basically a scream. They wear masks that you would buy at a freaky shop, they are black with zippers over the mouth (again avoiding strange traffic). The first time he told us about the band and showed us their website, we forbade him to ever go on that site while "J" was awake. If "J" was ever exposed to that band, there would be no more, period, no question, no negotiations.

Sorry, I digress, so my husband explained that we already have taken care of Christmas and wanted to let her know we do not agree with the band choice, etc. Her response was that if she told him he couldn't listen he would do it more, but she would support him in whatever stand he took (something new!). She went on to say how "A" has a huge attitude and doensn't clean up after himself and basically does what he wants and doesn't really listen to her. BIG SUPRISE!!!!! Your son doesn't listen to you because you have no rules!!! He doesn't respect you because you don't respect yourself and you let him treat you like dirt! In our house, if you don't respect one another, you get nothing. No tv, no computer, no fun, nothing. In our house you clean up after yourself, you treat others with love and you give hugs and kisses and you laugh. And you eat dinner at a table where everyone, including "J" cleans up after while discussing the latest events of the day or days that have been missed as a family. I am not sure why she thinks that her son is going to be the perfect kid when she barely even speaks to him on a daily basis. Of course, I don't live there so I don't know for sure, but according to "A" they chat a little, eat dinner in front of the tv and then he plays on the computer all night long. ARGH.

In the same email exchange, my husband let her know that his manners were bad, her response was... get this... I never noticed. Surprised?!? Hopefully there will be a few changes in her house, but I am starting to think that it is time he spends a bit more time here. We try not to push it because she freaks out, but truthfully she will only gain from him spending time here and perhaps some of the good that we do see and nurture will spill over into his other home.

Phew, thanks for listening. I love "A" so much and only want him to be the great kid we see all the time. Is this too much to ask for? Should I be worried that he will turn into a truly rotten teenager and we won't want him to come over at all for fear of influencing "J"?

At least once a day "J" asks for his brother, breaking my heart that I have to tell him not tonight, two more sleeps. Some days he understands, others he cries, oh the tears. On those days he won't even say hello to his Dad, he just wants his brother. I just hope that his brother will always be here for him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Can... barely... keep... eyes... open...

"J" was up at 3:45am!!!! Yep, 3:45am!!! Although he is now successfully napping, I am not. Why you ask? Good question. I was settled in for a nice afternoon nap when the doorbell rang. The guys are here installing our eavestroughing! We have been waiting patiently since September and they are here today (freezing their butts off I am sure). "J" is still sound asleep through the pounding and banging, but I am not. I can just barely keep my eyes open, but can't seem to fall back asleep. I even made a pot of extra strong coffee, but it isn't helping keep me awake either. Is there such a thing as in-between sleep and awake? If there is then that is where I am at.

The good news is that yesterday on a whim, I stopped in our local grocery store to see if they had any Xbox360's. They were scheduled to receive some and we have been waiting patiently for our chance to make the purchase. Which is a gift for the boys from the inlaws. Well!!! They were in, so tonight we are having an impromptu Christmas. "A" knows it is coming, but isn't expecting it until after Christmas, so for fun we are going to wrap it and have a mini-Christmas tonight. Fun.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Lately, I have been dreaming of my old house. Almost everynight I have at least one dream I remember that has my old house in it. Sometimes it is just as it was, other times they have changed the carpet or a wall or two. Sometimes it is for sale and I buy it back, other times I still own it, then there are the times I break in and steal stuff. I am not by nature a thief, but it is in my dream.

I am trying to figure out why I keep dreaming of my old house. We have been living here now 10 months and feel quite at home, it is almost like we have been here for years. There are still pieces of my old house that I miss, but for the most part, I am now content with the move. Perhaps it is because I have been pulling out all the holiday fluff and I remember where it went in the old place and can't find the perfect spot for it here. Or because we just don't seem to have enough holiday fare to fill this house, I feel like it is a bit empty.

For whatever the reason, I have obviously been thinking of the old place, moved on but not forgotten.

I also want to send out some Birthday wishes today! Happy Birthday to Nancy and Ann. May you have a day full of suprises, treats and something special just for you!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Starbucks times two

Although I have become quite a good customer at the new Starbucks in my neighbourhood. And I was looking forward to walking there next spring/summer/good weather season. I have to tell the truth. I am soooooooo excited that a second Starbucks is coming to a mall near me! And this one is so much closer. Word from the Indigo Manager where the first Starbucks location is, is that by next summer the second, larger Starbucks will be opening **gulp** a mere 15 minute walk from my house! I think I may be able to convince others to make the trek with me! The scarey part is... Second Cup is nowhere to be seen. And no they have not answered my letter yet.

Ann, if you are out there and reading, sorry. I really, truly am sorry that I will be in such proximity to a Starbucks or two ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Holiday Music Meme

Since Danigirl decided to create a Meme, I thought I would play along...

Favorite Holiday/Christmas Songs:
Little Drummer Boy - Bing Crosby, David Bowie
Silent Night - Sung by anyone
Silver Bells - My favorite to play on the cello
Blue Christmas - Elvis Presley

Favorite Traditional Hymn:
Away in a Manger

Favorite Christmas Novelty Song:
Has to be Bob and Doug - 12 Days of Christmas
but, Adam Sandler's Hannuka (still a holiday song) comes a close second

Favorite Pop Christmas Schmaltz:
Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid (isn't this the only one for Christmas??)

Song that, heard once will rattle around in your head like marbles in a steel drum for days:
Santa Baby - and I can't stand it!

Christmas song that makes you feel very Scrooge-ish:
I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus - for some reason it grates on my teeth.

Christmas, full tilt

Ahhh, Christmas is going full steam ahead.

As promised here are a few shots of our week last week (minus the sick baby/toddler).

The Boys helping Dad put the tree in the stand!The decorating helpers, They did a pretty good job, so I won't be complaining :) Hubby asked if there were special ornaments for the kids. I had to remind him that we did not buy anything special for "J" because we never had any for "A". What we do for one we do for the other. "A" told us that was OK, he didn't need anything special. I told him that they whole tree was special for all of us and he and his brother had all things equally. It was a touching moment, one that I hope he remembers and understands. We love both of them equally, it just so happens that one doesn't get to spend as much time here as the other. One day perhaps, one day.

The finished product. I put the empty bags under the tree every year, and replace them with presents on Christmas Eve. It's a little like Santa. And usually Hubby, who hates to wrap, will fill them with presents he picked up.These tasty morsels are called "Rumprints". Yummmmmy. And yes, there is a little Rum in the icing, complete with a sprinkling of nutmeg. A family tradition for years (except Mom used to use Rum extract until I introduced her to the real thing and the mini bottles at the cash).

We have been busy wrapping and getting parcels ready for the post office. Will continue the journey to Christmas one day at a time.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Sorry that I have been MIA this week. But, I have not forgotten my duties. "J" picked up a little bug this week and spent the last day and a half in a fever. Fever broke last night and he seems to be his old self this morning.

I do have pics to post, but will describe my duties of the past week. Have finished the shopping (no pics of that) and I have managed to get three more cookies baked , now they just need their frosting.

Last night we put up our tree and decorated the house. Where we had so much stuff for our other house, this house seemed to swallow it all up in no time. The tree is full and lush and I actually had lots of help this year! A first, I am usually all alone singing carols making sure the tree is very symetrical. Well, no more... "A" & "J" and Hubby were all hanging ornaments! It was hard for me to let go of control, but I did and the tree looks great :)

Will be looking for the Boxing Day sales for sure!


As per Nancy's suggestion, I thought I would see what Christmas figure I am. Well I am a Snowman, which seems appropriate as I love and collect them :)


Hey there, Frosty! You are the nice, happy snowman.
You know how to have a good time. You are most
likely invited to almost all the Christmas
parties, if any are scheduled. You will
probably really enjoy this Christmas, which is
great for you. People love to be around you.
Have a Merry Christmas =)

What Christmas Figure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Catching up!

We played catch up this weekend.

We finished all our Christmas shopping, except our gifts for each other.

I finished up the holiday cards and they are ready for stamps tomorrow.

And... I got another treat ready for the holidays :)

Peppermint Bark

Melt 2lbs of White Chocolate in double boiler.

Crush 12 peppermint candy canes and add to melted chocolate along with 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract.

Stir until smooth.

Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Chill in refrigerator until hard, crack and serve.

Will last several weeks in a tin in the fridge.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Chocolate Filled Meringues

From the Canadian Living December 1997 Magazine (yes, I buy one or two a year and keep them forever!)

Chocolate Filled Meringues

4 Egg whites
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 oz SemiSweet Chocolate Chips

In a bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar 2 tbsp at a time, until stiff glossy peaks form. Using piping bag or spoon, p[ipe into 1 1/2 ( I make them smaller) mounds on parchment paper-lined or greased and floured baking sheets ( I use parchment, not as messy) . Sift cocoa powder over top. Bake in centre of 200F (100C) oven for 2 hours or until dry. Turn off oven; let stand in oven for 1 hour or until cool.

In bowl over sauce pan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. Spread over bottom of 1 meringue (I dip them); sandwich with bottom of secnd meringu. Repeat wit remaining. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes about 36 (or 100) cookies.

Enjoy and be sure to tell if you tried the recipe. I have been making them since 1997 and they are always a fav. I have always made them the size of a hershey's kiss. Makes them popable into the mouth by everyone :)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dear Second Cup

Today was such a wonderful snowy day that I thought I would stop in at your Bank and (Lisgar) Slater* location for a Chai Latte and a treat for my son. Unfortunately my stroller would not fit in through either of your two entrances. The disappointment was huge. I strongly support Canadian anytime I can, but could not today. I was, however, able to fit my stroller through the doors at the Starbucks directly accross the street.

I was reminded of a commercial in the '70's that used to make me cry. The song was "Hey, hey, hey don't forget about me" at the end of the commercial a guy was left sitting in his wheelchair at the bottom of the University steps as all the others had run up the steps. I could have easily left my stroller in the car and gone for coffee, the choice was mine. If I had been in a wheelchair, there would have been no way no how I could have remotely entered that store.

Shame on you.

*Edited to correct to Slater, not sure why I was thinking Lisgar.

Holiday inspiration from Nancy

Nancy has inspired me, both to get my organizational butt together and to take photos of what is actually keeping me so busy.

Yesterday I started my holiday baking. I always start with the item that takes the longest in the oven. The Chocolate Filled Meringues. They are the perfect bite-sized mix of chocolate and meringue. Even non-meringue peeps seem to enjoy them.

Whip the egg white, cream of tarter and sugar until nice glossy stiff peaks form.

Once you have nice shiny peaks, fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe onto parchment in little kiss sized dollops.
Pop them in the oven at 200 degrees F for 2 hours and another hour with the oven off.

And you will end up with trays of delicious mini-meringues. They aren't done yet, I will melt some chocolate dip one half with chocolate and sandwich two together. Will post after shots when this is done.

While my oven was working away, I was putting the final touches on my homemade Christmas cards. They have turned out pretty good, but were a bit more work than I originally bargained for. Still they were less than half the price I usually pay at Loblaws for the preprinted cards.

This was my Thursday. I also finished almost all of the Christmas shopping and hope to hold a family wrapping party (ok, just want dear hubby to help out for once).

I will aim to post a holiday themed preparation or event everyday inspired by Nancy, as this is truly what is consuming me these days, I might as well share it with you all.

Happy Holiday preparation everyone!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

So Thursday isn't any better

I feel like we have hit a low in creativity. Or perhaps, I am just way too busy for the holiday season. Last year I was so not busy I got bored and ate too much (yes, I paid for it in pounds). This year I can't seem to get everything to slow down enough so I can actually accomplish everything.

I put word out for a few contract jobs, and now they won't stop coming! This is a good thing, on one hand, but right before Christmas??! Come on peeps, you should be chillaxing.

My Christmas Cards are almost ready for the post. Almost. I seem to get to them while water is boiling or I am eating lunch or something in between. I should have known better than to make my own this year.

I have not started baking yet! Oh the shame. I have the list of selected cookies, etc. but no time to start. This weekend I promise.

"J" and his cousin "J" seem to be acting like brothers, fighting over the same tractor, train car, toy of the day. How to we help them share. Separately they share like a dream, but together, they bicker and fight. Then cry when they leave each other for the day. Not sure how to handle this one anymore, but hope that they get back to playing like a dream. I miss those days.

Ahhh.... and there my friends is my Thursday morning. Oh yes, and "J" slept in today until 6:45! A record in a long time, it was grand.