What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's new year's eve.  I can hardly believe it is almost 2012.

I visited a friend this morning, then had lunch and a nice, long nap.

We took the dead Christmas tree out the front door and I'm sure I didn't miss a single needle with the vacuum cleaner.

I'm on day 6 of a refined sugar fast and I'm feeling just a teensy bit irritable.

We're heading to the neighbours' house for a party tonight and I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm making a smoked salmon, cream cheese, and fresh dill appetizer and I hope it will be both pretty and delicious.

But the best thing I did today was take Santa hat photos of the kids.  The last time I did this, I only had two kids, so it was about 6 or 7 years ago.  I had taken photos of the older two kids and have them in a photo tray, proudly displayed in the living room.  Every so often, when I see the tray, I think I ought to update the photos and at least include all of my children.

I was planning to take a photo of the three of them in their matching santa hats, but 3 of our four santa hats went missing over the last month.  Darn it all to heck.  I was annoyed at the lack of matching hats and figured the whole photo idea was a bust, and I'm just a teensy bit irritable these days (see sugar fasting, above) until DH suggested I take a photo of each kid individually.  Eureka!

I got Mr. Boy first, who felt that his 'mere existence' should be sufficient and I shouldn't need to take photos of him.  I told him that it really hurt to give birth to him and he owed me one. I guess I was convincing because he put on the Santa hat and the white shirt I had laid out.  Not getting carried away, he only did up the top two buttons, since the rest of the shirt wouldn't be visible in the photo.  He was a sport once it was time to take the actual photos and he did pose for me.  There were some silly ones and some that were just plain cute.

Sweet Pea loves having her photo taken.  She did some really cute poses.  It was hard to pick the best one, but this one seemed the most natural.
Precious is always a challenge to photograph because she has a hard time smiling, and I like this one because it's cute and it suits her personality perfectly.  She's got a bit of attitude and her walk has been described by many as a 'strut'.  I think that comes through in this photo.
Now I can get some 4X6s of these photos printed and I can finally update the photo tray.  Yahoo!


A Wonderful Christmas

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. 

We had a nice visit with my cousin, aunt and uncle on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas morning, we opened presents with the kids.  There was even enough snow to consider it a white Christmas.  They were so happy with their gifts, and they were sweet and grateful. 

Later on Christmas day, we had a nice brunch at my mom's.  Around noon, we came home and put the turkey in the oven.  There were 29 of us for supper.  Everyone brought a dish and we provided the turkey and dressing.

DH did all of the cooking that day, so I did the dishes.


Sweet Pea's 8th Birthday Party

Monday, December 19, 2011

We had 7 guests for Sweet Pea's 8th birthday party on Saturday.  We didn't have a specific theme, except for 'old school' party games, an excellent suggestion by my cousin Kim.  I used some books from the library to figure out which games to choose.  We played speed beads, speed stacks, and wobbly waitress, and had a treasure hunt.  We also decorated gingerbread cookies.  We played a rousing game of 'don't let the balloon drop'.



Decorating cookies
Speed Stacks
Speed Stacks
Speed Beads
Opening presents
Turning 8
My three kids

The girls got a copy of the book The Tale of Desperaux as part of their loot bag, along with some chocolate.


O Tannenbaum

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We were waiting until it snowed to get our tree at the tree farm this year.  With its horse-drawn sleigh, toboggan hills, and rustic atmosphere, it was definitely a trip we were looking forward to enjoying with a thick layer of snow on the ground.  Since we needed the tree before Sweet Pea's birthday, since she loves having it for her party, and we had no time to go to a tree lot to buy a pre-cut tree, I had to buy our tree from the local grocery store.  I really didn't want to because the last time I did that, the tree was so dry and the needles were everywhere.  I figured that this time, having learned that making a fresh cut on the tree makes a huge difference, the needles would be manageable, and we'd only have the tree up for a short time since we got it so late.

As I stood in the parking lot of the grocery store, looking at the trees, the one I picked looked nice and tall and nice and thick.  The trees were supposedly between 6.5 and 9 feet tall, but when I got the tree home, and DH cut about 8 inches off the trunk, it was still too tall to fit in our house with its 8 foot ceilings.  The tree stand adds about 2 inches.

All in all, it is the perfect size since it isn't too wide and it is nice and tall.

We set up the tree on Wednesday night, and cut the netting around it.  It feel into its real shape after a few hours.  On Thursday night, before the kids got home from daycare, I put up the lights and all of the glass ornaments.  After Mr. Boy's piano, the kids hung all of the metal, wood and plastic (i.e. unbreakable) decorations.

I know the photography doesn't do it justice, but with the lights dimmed and Christmas music playing, this is the most beautiful tree in the world.  And does it ever smell good.

It makes me not even mind the needles as much.


It's Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No snow in the forecast, none on the ground, and 9 degrees above freezing tomorrow, and it is looking more and more like it will be a green Christmas.  I can count on one hand the number of times we have had a green Christmas in my lifetime.

Snow would also be nice to give us the Christmas spirit and to give us an activity to do at Sweet Pea's birthday party this Saturday.  On the other hand, the girls outgrew their snow pants and the only place I could find their size with bibs was out of stock and not getting any more until January 7th. Maybe the snow will hold off until their new pants come in?

Despite the lack of snow, I am decorating for Christmas and doing all of the normal December activities.  When it comes to driving, or trying to park my car in a parking lot where all of the lines are covered with snow, the current lack of snow is quite convenient, but the ambiance is definitely lacking.

That doesn't stop us from lighting our Christmas lights every night and from putting up our Christmas tree.  Here's a rather blurry photo of our Christmas lights which are just a straight line of white lights across the front of our house, just the way I like it.  In the photo, there is a light dusting of snow, which has since melted.

I suppose people who live in warm climates never have snow and it still feels like Christmas, but we Canadians, especially where I live, really rely on the changing of the seasons.  Warm sweaters and mittens mean fall and back to school.  Rubber boots, mud and rain signals spring.  Warm, humid temperatures and tank tops mean summer, and winter means snow.

You could get technical on me and tell me that winter doesn't start until next week, but every Ottawan I know will tell you that winter starts on the first of December and goes to March 31st.


Watery globes full of fake snow

Friday, December 9, 2011

I know snow globes are full of fake snow, but that doesn't make them any less magical.  I have a bit of an obsession with snow globes, and they are in all their glory (and availability) at this time of year.  Even so, they aren't easy to find.

I saw a lovely snow globe at Home Sense the other day and snapped it up.

I used to have quite a few snow globes, but over time, they inevitably lose their water, or get broken, so I'm down to three Christmas globes, one with only 3/4 of its water, and DH has a Harley Davidson snow globe.  I also picked a Hallowe'en 'snow' globe this year but I only have the three Christmas, and one motorcycle snow globe currently displayed on our mantle.

I'd love to order this owl globe from West Elm, but it's sold out.

There's also this moose globe from Indigo, but since I already bought a globe this year, this one will have to wait until next year.

My ultimate fantasy snow globe?  One that contains a miniature replica of my house, lot, cars, and family on a wintry day.


I got Jess glasses!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I wanted to get new glasses.  I am enamoured with the look of Zooey Deschanel in her new show, New Girl.  Her glasses are so cool, that there is even a link from the Fox website of where to buy them.  I didn't end up with the exact pair she has, but read on anyway.

I had my eye checkup yesterday with my new optometrist.  DH recommended him, and he was really good.  When I was leaving his office, the optometrist asked me if I would consider shopping in his glasses shop.  I had tried on a pair while I was waiting for my appointment, but Sweet Pea said she didn't like them that much.  After my appointment I tried them on again.  They are so huge compared to what I'm used to, and they're black, which is a change for me.

I bought them after trying on these and one other pair, and they had an in-house technician prepare them in under 15 minutes, which is a good thing because Mr. Boy and Sweet Pea were with me, and Mr. Boy was getting a little impatient.

I wanted to check with DH to see if he liked the frames, but the quality of the photos I was sending him on my Blackberry were terrible, and the sample glasses have these ugly, scratched, plastic lenses in them.

Here I am with my new glasses.

After I got home, it took DH about 10 minutes to get used to my new glasses, and now he loves them as much as I do.

Those of you who know me will also notice that I got a new haircut.  I used Mel's hairstylist.  I walked in to Jodie's salon and asked her what she would do with my hair if I gave her carte blanche and this is what I got.  I think a chin length bob was just the right thing for me and I love my new style.


I Love Me Some Young House Love

Monday, December 5, 2011

John and Sherry are professional bloggers and writers who have a book coming out.  Their blog, Young House Love is incredible and so inspiring. 

They are currently re-doing their kitchen, keeping some elements, moving some, re-painting some.  I would give anything for the vision they have.  Their kitchen is going to be amazing, and I find myself going to their blog, eagerly waiting for the next thing; demolition, re-painting, counters.  Oh, where are the new counters!  I hope they come this week.  I can't wait to see how they'll look. 

Going to John and Sherry's blog is like watching one of those 30 minute home makeover shows, but it seems more realistic, John and Sherry come across as authentic people, and they are always looking at ways to save money, making their makeovers seem all the more amazing because they actually have a budget.

I don't know about you, but after reading their blog, I find myself looking for opportunities to re-decorate my own house.  Isn't there an alcove I could turn into a reading nook, or a wall that could come down? If I could get around to re-painting my front hall, I'd be lucky, so I have to live vicariously through them.


Christmas Countdown 2011

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I know that Christmas is on December 25th every year, yet it seems to sneak up on me every time.  Last time I checked, it was back to school.  How did Christmas get to be only three weeks away?

I still have Sweet Pea's birthday party to plan and host on the 17th, but that doesn't stop me from having a huge list of things I want to accomplish before Christmas.

Ordered rentals for the big (about 35 people) Christmas supper we're hosting.
Decorated the house.
Scheduled Christmas photo and chose outfits.
Scheduled pre-photo haircuts for those that need it.
Bought some gifts
Bought a Christmas CD - Michael Bublé's Christmas
Hang Christmas lights outside

Still to accomplish
Go to the tree farm, get a tree and decorate it.
Finish buying gifts and wrap.
Get a turkey and other food for Christmas day.
Borrow linens for the rental tables.
Get the kids practicing their Christmas carols on the piano.
Practice one on the guitar?

Get gift certificates for the teachers and write cards for them.

I had hoped to get the tree today, but there's merely a dusting of snow on the ground, and I thought it just wouldn't be the same if we didn't have some snow.

Some things will have to slide this year.  I won't be sending Christmas cards, or doing any craft projects.  Let's face it, the baking isn't going to happen, either.  Good thing, too, since I can't resist the sweets and it's best not to have any around.

I often get the urge to entertain at this time of year, but there's never enough time.  I'll be attending a few Christmas lunches, and one after work event that goes from 4 to 6.  I always swear I entertain in January, but everyone is burned out and it never seems to happen. It'll be worse this year with coaching hockey taking up so much of our time, and our family vacation taking place in January.  More on that in a future post.


Princess and the Frog Birthday Party Ideas

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I saw these adorable frog 'piggy' banks at the store one day when I was picking up the car from the garage and was close to a Winners store.  I knew I liked them, but didn't have a good excuse to buy one.  That night, I thought that with Precious' 6th birthday coming up, a Princess and the Frog party would be the ideal reason to buy the banks.  I could use them as the 'loot' for the loot bags.

Since I was dropping the other car off at the garage the next day, I stopped in at Winners again to see if the frogs were still there, and there were three!  One was green, one was blue and one was silver.  I bought them all, as Precious only had two friends coming so far, and noticed that the colour scheme of the Disney movie with the same name was blue, green and lavender, so the colour scheme for the party was born!

I ordered balloons in blue, green and lavender with a silver table weight.  The girls and I made a banner with Happy 6th Birthday Precious in the same colours, with blue ribbon.  We got a Pin the Kiss on the Frog game.  I planned to make lily pad place mats, but couldn't find the right colour of felt or foam.

The girls showed up wearing their princess costumes and each of them was presented with a crown.

Pin the Kiss on the Frog
We decorated frames and I had planned to take a photo of the guest of honour with each of her friends to put in the frame, but they weren't necessarily that cooperative so it didn't work out that well.  The girls will have to choose a photo of their own to put in their frames.


 Precious opened her gifts after our pizza supper, then we had cake and ice cream.
I had been at the rink for much of the day and the cake was being made at the 11th hour.  I had baked it and had make cupcakes, but I hadn't iced it and I hadn't banked on all the crumbs that would be created around the edges of the legs which were cut from a separate cake.  I was getting a bit frazzled trying to cover up the spaces between the cupcake eyes, the cut pieces for the legs, and the body of the cake.  Luckily I had lots of icing and was able cover it up and it definitely looked like a frog.
We even had a real frog a the party!  Only Precious kissed him on the cheek.  Thank goodness DH was Kermit for Hallowe'en this year and who knew he'd get a chance to use his costume again so soon!


Who's That Girl?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I am so loving the new show New Girl.  Makes me laugh every time.  Zooey Deschanel's character, Jess is hilarious, and Zooey is an amazing actress.  I follow her on Twitter and she is adorable.  @ZooeyDeschanel.

I even want Jess glasses.

As I may mentioned before, I buy a new Christmas CD every year, and I'm listening to Zooey sing The Christmas Waltz with She & Him right now to decide if their CD is a contender.  It is pretty cute, but what do you think?  Have you heard it, or do you have any other Christmas CD recommendations for me?


Cat on a Hot Computer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our cat Lexi is a bit on the small side.  Like under 6 pounds, on the small side.  She's really cold all winter.  She can't warm up.  She heads straight to the furnace vents when she gets up.  When I make the mistake of leaving my computer open, she heads straight there to get warm.

Last week, Lexi went outside on Tuesday night and didn't come home.  Not on Wednesday.  Not on Thursday.  I figure someone found her pawing at their window and let her in.  They were probably worried about her because she's so skinny, it had snowed, she doesn't have a collar, and she had a hurt paw at the time.  The may have thought she's an undernourished stray.

We've tried to put a collar on her, and we've been through about 5 in 2 and a half years and we've been through 3 personalized tags, at $15 each, but she keeps managing to lose them.

When she went missing, I contacted the humane society and they said they would look for her and also advised me to contact the city in case she had been found dead.  I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach for days.

On Friday night, in the middle of Precious' family birthday party, Lexi showed up and started pawing the window to be let in.  I was so happy to see her that I started crying.  It was like a big weight was lifted off my chest.

I swore I would never let her out of my sight again.  As long as I leave my computer open, I should know where to find her.


A Winter Wonderland

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We had a bit of snow last week.  We're used to snow around here, but it had been pretty warm this November.

There was a bit of a mad scramble the night before the storm, having all the kids trying on their boots and snow pants.  A couple of the pants came up a bit short, but they'll do until we can get out shopping.

The kids managed to get outside and make a snowman family, even if they had to borrow some snow from the neighbour's yard.

So cute!


My Precious turns 6

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Precious turned 6 yesterday.  She had a little party at school, then we gave her a present; a Lalaloopsy. 

She really likes playing with it and her sister is pretty happy because she gets to play with it, too.


Biblical Bread

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do you remember in the 'old' days (1970's and 1980's), when brown bread was considered a healthy food and most kids preferred white? As long as I can remember, we have eaten brown bread in my house and I thought I was making a good choice.

It turns out, that brown bread just doesn't cut it anymore. There's brown bread that is brown because of colouring. Whole wheat isn't enough anymore.  It should be whole grain.

I decided to try to follow some of the suggestions in Tosca Reno's Eat Clean book and she recommends Ezekiel bread, among other foods. I had no idea what Ezekiel bread was and couldn't even find it at my local grocery store.

I finally found the bread in the frozen organic section of a bigger grocery store.  It being already frozen wasn't an issue as I usually keep my bread in the freezer anyway since I go through a loaf every 3 to 4 weeks.

What did phase me was reading the package, only to discover that the bread is named after a Bible verse!

"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself" - Ezekiel 4, 9.

That threw me for a loop. The bread itself was hearty; not at all light, and quite flavourful. I decided to compare nutrition labels, with the Dempster's 100% whole wheat bread we usually keep in the house. It isn't all that different, although it does have a touch more of the healthy stuff; fibre, protein, and a touch less of the undesirable stuff: salt, carbs, sugar.

I think I'll keep eating it.


Getting the Skinny on New Jeans

Sunday, November 20, 2011

After my co-worker raved about hers, I went and tried on the skinny jeans at American Eagle Outfitters. I normally don't go into that store as it seems to cater to teenagers, and I've never considered skinny jeans as suitable for my body style. Imagine my surprise when I loved the way the skinny jeans looked! They didn't have the midnight indigo colour I wanted, in my size. I called around to other stores and couldn't get them. I went on-line and they were sold out. After a while, I gave up.

A few weeks ago, we were talking about jeans. I have two pairs of jeans that fit me right now. One is a dressy pair that I wear to work with heels on Fridays. The other pair was purchased at the Goodwill for $7 about 5 years ago. They are looking pretty shabby now.
I was happy when I stopped by the mall on Wednesday after work and found that the store had my size in the midnight indigo skinnies. I love they way they look and feel on. It's nice to have jeans that can go with flats and that are so stylish.


Hockey Tournament

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Pea's hockey team went to Cornwall to participate in the 28th annual Cornwall Girls' Hockey Association tournament last weekend. They went 1-1-1 for the weekend.

The girls and parents were excited to get out of school a little early to head down to Cornwall for the weekend. Sweet Pea sang in the Remembrance Day ceremony in the choir in the morning and I signed her out right after. I had the whole day off work and still had some food to pack up for the weekend, so we hung out at home a little while and I packed the cooler.

The team played Friday evening at 4:30 and beat our first opponents. The arena was really new, and very nice. The only quirky thing about it was that we coaches had to walk on the ice to get to the bench. I definitely felt naked with shoes on walking across the ice!

We had time for a swim after supper on Friday and the girls had a lot of fun playing hide and go seek at the hotel when that was done.

On Saturday, we had a team breakfast, then went to the arena for our 10:30 match-up with one of the Cornwall teams. The girls did their best, which is all I ask of them, and we ended up losing the game. After a meeting with the parents, we had a great team lunch together around noon. The service was great, and the kids' meals were cheap. We had to win our Saturday afternoon game and some other teams had to lose theirs for us to advance. We tied the game 1-1 so we were done.

Most of the families stayed at the hotel Saturday night even though we didn't have any games on Sunday. We ordered pizza from Cornwall BBQ and stayed for the dance party. The girls were showing off their moves on the dance floor, and enjoying the chips and glow necklaces and they got to stay up really late.

I think everyone had a good time at the tournament and slept really well on Sunday night. Even the coach.


Hallowe'en Costume Contest Winners

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

At our Hallowe'en party, we had people vote for the winners of the costume contest. There were 5 categories;

  • Funniest/Silliest Costume
  • Sexiest Costume
  • Most Original Costume
  • Best Couples' Costume
  • Best Overall Costume
There were 5 bottles of alcohol as prizes. The first winner called could choose whichever bottle they wanted. The next person could steal the bottle from the first person or choose something new, and so it continued until the end when the winner of the best overall costume could have their pick and everyone had their prizes.

So without further ado, the winners were...

Kermit the Frog as the Funniest CostumeMelissa the Firewoman for Sexiest CostumeRich as the Hangover, for most original costume. Unfortunately, Rich had to go home early, but he forgot his baby so we took a picture of that instead of him in costume.This is what Rich looked like before he left the partyFiona and Brodie won for best couples' costumeAndreina and Christopher won for Best Overall Costume

The winners accepting their prizes. Lesley accepting on behalf of Rich and Brodie is nowhere to be found.


Amazing Hallowe'en Costumes

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

There were some fantastic costumes at our Hallowe'en party. Sadly, my camera battery died as the first guests arrived and I didn't get photos of everyone as they came in. I ended up missing a few of the guests, including one of the costume contest winners!

We had a costume contest this year, and everyone at the party got to vote in the following categories;

  • Funniest/Silliest Costume
  • Sexiest Costume
  • Most Original Costume
  • Best Couples Costume
  • Best Overall Costume
I didn't get a chance to vote, and neither did DH, but most people did, based on the number of ballots Mel and I counted out.

Here are some of the amazing costumes that didn't win a prize. Come back soon to see the ones that did win as I will post them this week.A pirate and a genieRosie the Riveter and a Russian mechaniceA hippie and a bikerCowboysZombie parentsA cowboy and a pirateFriday the 13thPirate and TreasureJailbird and Alice in WonderlandPilotsPimp and Hippie
The Band


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