Monday, April 30, 2012

A Soccer Mom

Today I am becoming a Soccer Mom.

Many of my friends have been in this category for a year or two but for us, Little Girl is starting soccer this year.

First I had to make sure she really wanted to play – remember she is pretty shy, but she really wants to play.
Second, I had to find a soccer team that does not have Saturday games – due to us camping we are out of town every second weekend.
So Little Girl tonight starts U5 soccer with Foothills Soccer here in Calgary.
Crossing my fingers we don’t get rained out tonight.

I have my chair, a blanket, sun screen, bug spray and a water bottle.
Is there anything I am missing?

Any of you more experiences sports Moms have an advice for me?

I have been spending quite a bit of time with Little Girl, talking her through what is going to happen, who she is going to meet.  Hoping it will go well go well for her.

One thing I do know, I will not be pulling off this look any time soon (or ever).

Victoria Beckham - the Ultimate Soccer Mom

Just to clarify: I am not going to be wearing stilettos to this game or any of her games.
Defiantly a Non-Stiletto event!

Friday, April 27, 2012

And it Begins.... Camping Season is Here!

Finally, camping season is back!
There are 7 months of the year that I really wish I lived somewhere warmer.  Somewhere there was no snow and I could camp year round.
But no, I live here in Alberta, where we are cursed blessed with 7 months of winter.

But we are back.  Hubby went out last weekend to open up for us and today we are on our way here:

Of course it doesn't look like that right now, but we are getting closer to summer...

Both kids of course are beyond excited.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

On My Nightstand - Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep – by S. J. Watson

On the back cover:
Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man.  She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face.  And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that she is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.

But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet.  For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities – tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life – and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon.  As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions.  What was life like before the accident?  Why did she and Ben never have a child?  What has happened to Christine’s best friend?  And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?

Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past.  And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

My thoughts:
I had been looking forward to this book for quite some time.
I heard about it over a year ago, and just never got around to reading it myself.  Then it was picked by both book clubs I am in, and I made a vow to try and read book club books closer to the actual meeting date.  I read so much that sometimes I read the book months ahead of time and then it is hard to remember all the details when discussing the book.

Anyway, I finally got around to reading it – and loved it.
I loved that I could figure out some things that were going on, I guess correctly, and then there were other things that I never saw coming.

You might feel like this story has been done before (Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler movie, 50 First Dates, and most recently The Vow), but trust me, this book is so, so much better.
I loved it, and I am sure you will too.

My rating: 4 ½ out of 5.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learning to Skip Rope

You know that man I wrote about a few days ago.
I only told you the story about how we met, I did not tell you what I have subsequently found out.

When I met him, I had no idea what kind of man he would be 9 years later.
I had no way of knowing what kind of Dad he would be.

I can honestly admit, I was a little apprehensive while I was pregnant with Little Girl, because until I had a significant baby belly, he used to get frustrated with me for coming home, laying on the couch completely exhausted after a simple day of work.
He asked me (more than once), "What is wrong with you?  Why are you so tired?"
To which, I used to say calmly in my super nice wife voice "I AM PREGNANT.  HOW DO YOU FORGET THIS?"

Yes, his Mother will agree with me, he is not known for his memory.

But back to the kind of Dad he is.
First, he spend quite a bit of time this winter with Little Girl working on teaching her how to skate, and this past weekend when she said she wanted to learn how to skip, he grabbed a rope, and started teaching her.

At first she had a hard time with the timing, so I jumped in (literally) and showed her how it works - but let me tell you, the last time I probably skipped like that was around 25 years ago, it is a lot different now.
25 years ago, I didn't have any boobs. 
I was not wearing a sports bra - let's just say both hubby and I were killing ourselves laughing at how much more 'movement' there is when you skip rope at our age now.

Back to Little Girl - she did great, it did not take her long to figure out the timing (with the help of a super fantastic, patient Father), and now all she wants to do is skip rope.

I can't remember how old I was when I learned how to skip rope, but I do know, I was not 5 years old and being taught by my father.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A New Bike

We bought a new bike for Little Boy this weekend.
It is a Kijiji win!

Spiderman Bike and Spiderman Helmet!

He absolutely loves it, now he just needs to learn how to ride it.

I am sure by July he will have figured out not to push back on the peddles, but forward instead.
Can't wait for family bike rides.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting to Know Us - Hubby

Since I did a blog post about our dog, I guess that means I have to continue with the rest of the family.
Next up: Hubby!

Instead of me telling you all about where he was born and how old he was when he lost his virginity (joking), I thought I would tell you about how we met.

Hubby is from Ontario, grew up in Toronto, but in 1997 he moved to Calgary with some friends.
The friends have all since gone home and lost touch with each other, but he stayed.
From what he tells me, he fell in love with the city, met some great friends and got very acquainted with the mountains.

In early 2003, he decided to take a part time job and landed one at the Saltlik Restaurant in DT Calgary.

In early 2003, I needed more money, and looking to make some new friends and hopefully find a boyfriend, I got a part time job at the same restaurant.

We were in the same training group and met on the first day.
He was actually the first person I spoke to in the training group.

We were friendly, but the whole group was.  After our last training session, we all headed out for drinks together where I did not believe he was as old as he claimed to be (29) and insisted on some ID. Hmm, sure enough he was 29 – but did not look it at all – he looked way younger.

Fast forward a few months, and my birthday was coming up, I invited a whole bunch of people to come out dancing and drinking.

He had a prior engagement, so could not attend, but instead he gave me a birthday card, saying that he would take me out later to celebrate.

I was in shock.
I had not looked at him that way yet, but obviously he had.

A few weeks later we finally were able to connect and go out for a drink together, and about a week after that we went out for dinner together.

There was no looking back.  We started dating mid-May 2003, and by September of the same year we were moving into a new apartment together.
We lived in our downtown rental together for 9 months before we bought our first house together and moved to the burbs.

We moved June 2004 and in September while on holidays on the beach in Tofino at sunset, he asked me to marry him.

Of course I said yes. And we got married in October 2005.

The rest is history as they might say, a dog, and 2 kids later and still as much in love as the day I said yes.

I wanted to include some pictures of him and I from early in our relationship, but everything we have from then is on film still, I have never transferred it over to digital, so the best I can give you are pictures from the last few years.

It is amazing how hard it is to find pictures of him with out at least one kid in the pictures.
Note to self: take more pictures of Hubby and not just when he has a kid doing something cute.

Summer 2011

Heli-Hiking August 2009

It is funny how many pictures I have of these 2 sleeping together.

Our family - December 2011

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kulinary Kids Cooking Class

Do you have a little chef?  Or maybe an aspiring little chef?

As you all know, I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen.  I have some very early memories of being in the kitchen with my Mom and I think one of the most important tools I can teach my children is how to cook.

I know not everyone wants to know how to cook, or I guess there are some people that have a hard time making KD, but I really don't understand those people.
Frozen pizza is not real food!

I guess it just comes naturally to me, I know what it means when a recipe says to dice an onion and mince garlic.
So I spend time with my kids in the kitchen and I know as they get older we will spend even more time together cooking and baking.

What I have not done yet though, is take either of them to a cooking class, but when Kulinary Kids announced on their Facebook page the other day that they where holding a draw for some free classes, I jumped at the chance - as luck would have it we won one!

I won a spot for Little Girl to attend one of their Growing Chefs classes.  It is a 1 hour long, unparented class where they help make one item, class is valued at $40.

On the agenda for this week: Mexican Churros.

Little Girl was super excited for the class, but when we got there her shyness kicked in.  Although it is unparented, she asked that I stay, which I didn't really mind - I got to take some fantastic photos and saw her doing things I have not allowed her to do at home yet.

The final product.

Little girl had a great time, she was so proud of herself and the food she got to bring home.
It was a super big confidence booster for her!  I highly recommend signing your kids up for a class, or summer camp.

#224, 12100 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, AB
403-276-CHEF (2433)

Disclaimer: I received 1 free class for Little Girl to attend and was asked only to provide feedback in return.  I was not asked to blog about it, but seriously, why would I not?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of Tomato Soup

4 pounds tomatoes (on the vine or Roma)
3 large carrots
2 red onions
5-6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 small can tomato paste
¼ cup minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 /12 teaspoon sugar
½ cup half & half cream

Core and cut the tomatoes in half, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Peel and roughly chop the carrots, peel and cut the red onions into large wedges.  Place the carrots and onions on a different baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place both baking sheets in the oven on Broil setting.

Toss the carrots and onions after about 5 minutes, remove from the oven after 10-12 minutes, once they have started to soften and darken.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat, add the carrots and onions.
Cook, stirring often for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove tomatoes from the oven, using tongs or a fork, remove the skins from the tomato halves then add to the carrots and onions.

Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, basil, salt, pepper and sugar.  Stir well and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and puree in a food processor working in batches.

Return soup to pot and back to very low heat, add half and half cream and heat until desired temperature.

Serve and enjoy!

Source: adapted from an Ina Garten’s recipe, Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup – Back to Basics book

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On My Nightstand - Divergent


Divergent by Veronica Roth
Source: purchased on Kobo

Book Description: (from
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My thoughts:
Oh my god!  I was told if I liked the Hunger Games books I would like this book.
How right they were.
I really liked the Hunger Games – but I LOVED this book.
It is absolutely killing me right now that I still have to wait until May 1st to get the second book Insurgent – and then who knows how long I am going to have to wait for the third.
Aggghhhh, so good and I am sure it will be worth the wait.
If you liked The Hunger Games, trust me, you will like this book.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Conversations with My Kids

I really wonder where these kids came from.  I wonder where they get the stuff they get and where the attitude that accompanies so many things comes from.You know, because I am completely innocent of attitude. 
Yes, that sound you head is Hubby rolling on the floor laughing at that statement.

Conversation with a 5 year old:

After dinner last night, Little Girl was bugging Hubby and I to make her a trailer - our couches get converted into camping trailers with the assistance of additional cushions and blankets.  We instead are finishing dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.

Little Girl: (filled with angst and attitude) Oh man!  If no one is going to help me make a trailer, then I am just going to get naked!
Me: choking I am laughing so hard and trying not to show it.
Hubby: (said to me) hmmm, I wish all women said that when they didn't get their own way, it would make things a lot more interesting.

Conversation with a 3 year old:

Me: Honey, what are you doing?  (see picture above)
Little Boy: I am celery!
Me: Pardon me?  You are celery?
Little Boy: yup, I am celery, can you chop me up?
Me: How about I take your picture instead?

After I took a few pictures of my celery, I told him to show me his muscles and I would take a picture of them.
So what does he do?  He turns around, pulls down his underwear and moons me!
So now I am laughing pretty hard - I guess that is a muscle, but not what I was looking for.

Finally got my picture of his super cute muscles.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Monday!

Hello how is everyone today?  I hope you had a good weekend. I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes last week – it sure makes you feel loved when you get so many on Facebook.

In celebration of my birthday Hubby bought a cake and some flowers, a birthday is just not complete without cake according to my kids.
Then on Saturday night we went out for dinner with my sister and her husband.

We wanted to go to Bolero, but were unable to get a reservation as so instead we went to Wellington’s, honestly it was okay.
Not fantastic, not terrible, just okay.  Next time, note to self – make a reservation way early.

Even though we got a dump of snow on my birthday, most of it has melted already so I was able to check out a few things starting to happen in my back yard.


These are volunteer onions – I am not sure if they are green onions or yellow onions – they were planted pretty close together last year – I am really hoping they are yellow onions and hopefully they will be nice and big and ready for me to harvest mid-summer.

Oh, I can't wait, soon we will be able to start working the dirt and plant another garden.
I am planning a few different things than I planted last year - this year I am going to try cucumbers - crossing my fingers!

What about you?  Do you plant a garden, maybe a few potted things on your deck?
What are you planning on growing this year?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday!
I know not everyone loves their birthday, but I love mine.
I love to be celebrated and honestly I think one day a year is just not enough.

I have been telling Little Girl for a few years now that I am 25, and this year she caught on to the fact that I need to start getting older at each birthday, so according to her, I am turning 26 today!
Sharing my birthday with me:
Shannon Doherty 1971
Vince Gill 1957
David Letterman 1947
David Cassidy 1950
Andy Garcia 1956
Tom Clancy 1947
Clair Danes 1979
On this day in history:

April 12, 1606 England adopts the Union Jack as its flag

April 12, 1861 "American Civil War: The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina."

April 12, 1917 World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans. It is also considered a major event in Canadian history for the primary role Canadian forces played in the attack.

April 12, 1961 Human spaceflight: Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1).

April 12, 1979 Soyuz 33 returns to Earth

April 12, 1980 "Terry Fox begins his ""Marathon of Hope"" by dipping his artificial leg into the Atlantic at St. John's, Newfoundland."

April 12, 1983 Harold Washington becomes Chicago's first black mayor

April 12, 1992 Euro Disney opens in Marne-la-Vallee France

April 12, 1999 "American President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for giving ""intentionally false statements"" in the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil lawsuit."

I thought I would share a picture or two of me, and then as i was looking through all our pictures, it turns out I am most often the one behind the camera, so there are not a lot of great pictures of me, but here are a few I found and am willing to share (because honestly there are a few I will never share and really should delete).

My friend Janice and I at the lake last summer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On My Nightstand - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – by Ransom Riggs
Source: Library e-book, read on Kobo

Book Description: (from
As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

My thoughts:
I have seen this book floating around for quite some time now, and to be totally honest, it completely freaked me out and I had no desire to read it at all.
And then it was picked for a book club pick (not by me, but by everyone else instead).  I saw it was available for download at the library as an e-book, so I borrowed it and decided to try reading it.
Let me tell you, I loved this book!

It is not scary like you might think it would be – it was so far from what I thought it would be and I loved it.
I don’t want to say much more because it will give away some of what I liked about it, but trust me – this is a book to read!

My rating: 4 ½ out of 5.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Braised Lamb Shanks

Lamb for Easter?  Why, yes thank you!  I happen to have a rather large box of lamb in my freezer.

I was on twitter on Saturday and saw Julie Van Rosendaal tweet about how many hits her lamb recipes were getting this weekend - so of course I join the masses and check out her lamb recipes.
This one was the winner!

Braised Lamb Shanks

2 lamb shanks
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves, garlic, roughly chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 ½ cups red wine
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ½ cups beef stock

This recipe works best in a large braising pot (Le Creuset or Staub), but any heavy bottomed pot that can also go into the oven works great.

Preheat the oven to 325 F convection.
Generously sprinkle salt and pepper over the lamb shanks.
Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat.
Add the shanks and cook a few minutes on all sides to brown.  Remove meat from the pot, set aside.
Add onion, celery and carrots to the pot.  Sauté until soft, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, tomato paste, rosemary and bay leaf, cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine, red wine vinegar and sugar.  Bring to a boil, and then add the beef stock.  Return to a boil again and taste.  Add salt and pepper if necessary, and then add the lamb shanks back to the pot.
Cover with lid and place in oven.  Cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and falling away from the bone.
Make sure to turn the meat every half hour since it most likely will not be completely submerged in sauce.

 Cooking time depends on how big your shanks are, mine were pretty small so it took only about 2 hours to cook.

Once your lamb is done, you can remove the shanks from the pot and then use an immersion blender to puree the sauce if you want a smoother sauce; I left mine chunky. 
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.


Source: adapted from Dinner with Julie. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

Easter at Our House

Happy belated Easter to everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.  We had a nice quiet Easter.
It was absolutely lovely.

It started with a family brunch on Friday morning, and then we had not other plans or commitments all weekend - well other than making sure we were home for the Easter Bunny on Sunday morning.

I failed to take any pictures other than the Easter Egg Hunt, so here you go: Easter Egg hunt in our house Sunday morning.

This year the Easter Bunny put a few eggs outside.  Oh you should have seen them - it was all we could do to get them to put jackets and shoes on - they both tried to get outside in bare feet and just pajamas.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I'm on TV!

I told you all that I got tickets to a Live! With Kelly show taping that was happening here in Banff this week, well I have become famous!
I am on TV.

I might only be on TV for half a second, but I made it.

I am in the centre wearing red.
My sister Amy is on the right and Melissa from Family Fun Calgary is on my left.

We had such a great time.  We got up super early, met up at the Humptys on the Trans Canada (if you are from Calgary, you know what I am talking about, if not - it is just a place people meet up to carpool to the mountains).
We stood in line for about 2 hours, waited in the theatre for another hour and laughed so much while watching the show.

Kelly was super funny! I have always loved her, and I love her even more now.

Co-hosting with her was Peter Facinelli.  I was able to snap a few picture, but I warn you, they are terrible quality because the lighting was so bad and I was about 20 rows up.

Kelly Ripa & Peter Facinelli

Their guest was Johnny Galecki (Leonard on The Big Bang Theory)

Johnny Galecki with Peter Facinelli & Kelly Ripa

The whole thing was fun.  I had a great time hanging with Amy and also getting to know Melissa a bit better. 

I picked up a small souvenir.

When I was on mat leave and started watching Kelly, I used to put Little Girl down for her morning nap, get a cup of coffee and watch the show, but now I can use my official Live with Kelly mug to watch - I just need to figure out how to get out of work in the mornings (and going back onto mat leave is NOT an option - so don't even suggest it!)

I will leave you with a picture of Amy and I in the theatre before the show started.