Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jelly Shoes and Thriller

Childhood is a string of magical moments and wonderful disasters...
Photo Credit: the lil bee
Where Children Live, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Homes where children live exude a pleasant rumpledness,
like a bed made by a child, or a yard littered with balloons.

To be a child again one would need to shed details
till the heart found itself dressed in the coat with a hood.
Now the heart has taken on gloves and mufflers,
the heart never goes outside to find something to "do".
And the house takes on a new face, dignified.
No lost shoes blooming under bushes.
No chipped trucks in the drive.
Grown-ups like swings, leafy plants, slow-motion back and forth.
While the yard of a child is strewn with the corpses
of bottle-rockers and whistles,
anything whizzing and spectacular, brilliantly short-lived.

Trees in children's yards speak in clearer tongues.
Ants have more hope. Squirrels dance as well as hide.
The fence has a reason to be there, so children can go in and out.
Even when the children are at school, the yards glow
With the leftovers of their affection,
The roots of the tiniest grasses curl toward one another
Like secret smiles.

Photo Credit: Mark Lund
Here's a list of some of my favourite childhood memories. Maybe you share some of the same ones. I'd love to hear some of your favs, so don't be shy to comment below this post. I would love to hear from more of my readers. So please, get commenting!

1. My jelly shoes- I wore those to death
2. My mom's jewelry which I was always snooping in
3. My Cabbage Patch Big Wheels
4. The amazing smell of my brother's eraser collection
5. Suntanning, swimming and eating ham and cheese sandwiches at Millcreek Pool
6. Playing on my secret step at the side of our house with all of my potions and rocks
7. Watching Dirty Dancing 500 times
8. Sleepovers on my double pull-out day bed
9. Horrible, itchy, red eyes from the kitties at all the farms I visited with my dad
10. Spending hours sitting in the front closet, teaching myself how to tie my own shoelaces
11. "Walk Like an Egyptian"
12. Playing lego with my bother listening to my mom's Sineado Conner, "Nothing Compares' on repeat
15. Being scared out of my wits at MJ's Thriller video- Yikes!
16. Endless imaginary play with my cousins
17. Shining plant leaves with mayo (my mother was the ultimate clean freak)
18. Playing 'doctor' with my neighbour Philip Warner (wonder what ever happened to him)
19. Dressing up and dancing in front of my three way mirror for hours
20. Literally stretching my eyes open with my fingers to desperately not fall asleep
21. Building killer forts
22. Make-out session with Ken and Barbie in Barbie's Dream House
23. Making mud-pies with the neighbour kids- I loved anything to do with MUD
24. Crawling into my mom's bed and eating Cheezies with her late a night
25. Loving ketchup and Kraft Parmesan cheese on my spaghetti
Dirty Dancing- I wanted to be Baby so bad
26. Wondering who I'd marry and how many kids I'd have
27. Constantly staining my rug with 'potions' and spending Saturday afternoons scrubbing them out
28. Knowing the Boogie Man was definitely under my bed and would eat me by morning
29. Thinking I'd marry my brother and being so happy with that
30. Favorite colour- pink or purple, pink or purple, pink or purple??? So hard!
31. Those wands and bracelets filled with water and sparkles- mmmmm
32. The pure excitement of receiving a loop bag at a birthday party- damn, those rocked
33. Slip and Slide on hot summer days
34. Hide and Seek in the basement
35. Grounders on the driveway
36. Painting rocks and then selling them door to door- I made good money!
37. Getting back rubs from mommy when I wasn't feeling well
38. My inhaler- I'll never forget that sound, thank God I got over that
39. The excitement of school pictures, the more jewelry the better
40. Book fairs
41. Sherwood Park- Medieval Days, The GRAVATRON
42. 'Aruba, Jamaica, ohhh I want to take it to Kokomo....'
43. Sleeping Beauty- anything wonderfully Disney, really
44. Side ponytails- I rocked em
Jelly shoes
45. The wave bang
46. Popeye's Candy Cigarettes- yum
47. Sour-balls, sour-soothers, Lick-a-Stick
48. Mario Cart
49. Tiffany- "I think We're Alone Now"
50. Sleeping in the backyard, under the stars on the trampoline
51. Madonna's "Like a Prayer" tape cassette
52. Two letters- KD
53. Shopping with my mom for my first training bra- ha

Adventures in Babysitting- "The Babysitting Blues"
54. The discovery of makeup- oh, wow, and thinking crimped hair looked really cool
55. Thinking sex was just 'rubbing together closely' and being totally horrified when I learned what it really was...I thought, that can't feel good!
56. The joy of Easter egg hunts- I still love beautiful painted eggs and chocolate bunnies
57. Finding dollar bills in the ditch when the tornado hit Edmonton- aka: Black Friday (also, peeing on my dad's lap when we could see the funnel cloud from his living room window)
58. Today's Special- shout it loud and clear!
59. Mom's Christmas baking- peanut butter balls- oh, yum
60. Sugar, spice and everything nice
61. Hotdogs and french fries on the beach
62. Spacepops- those white, red and blue popsicles that tasted like heaven
63. The Okanogan
64. Grimace- he was way cooler than Ronald, any day
65. 'Stupid Cupid stop picking on me' aka- The Mini Pops
66. Dentist rings- oh, me loved
67. Caterpillars
68. Jumbo freezies and one-cent candies
69. Neon zinc, neon anything really- I had neon pink spandex shorts, who didn't right

70. 'Footloose, footloose, kick off your Sunday shoes!'
71. Garage sales, aka- treasure hunting (my mom called me the 'bag lady') I even went through my neighbours' garbages one time. I thought I hit the jackpot when I came home with a glass jar of almost empty face-cream.
72. Being tucked in by mom- the most precious time ever
73. Eskimo and butterfly kisses- sacred little acts of love
74. When my brother told me that Wendi's cheeseburgers were made of crushed bees, because I asked him why there was a picture of a bee-hive on the kid's meal bag- haven't had Wendi's since
75. The triumphant feeling of passing a colour in swimming lessons
76. Thinking pubic hair was so weird
77. Eating Premium Plus crackers with cold butter- yum
78. Smartie commercials- 'When you eat your Smarties, do you eat the red ones last?'
79. Thinking if I ever ran away, I would just hit up sample Saturdays at Safeway so I'd never starve
80. Drumroll please... Mom singing, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey..."

You truly have no idea how much your parents love you until you have kids of your own. Man, just for the first two years of their love and care, I owe them a lifetime of love and loyalty. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And the list could go on, and on, and on....

Now, a song that perfectly expresses the strange and wonderful transition from girl to teenager is Feist's 1234. Read the lyrics and you'll go right back to that time and place...


One, two, three, four
Tell me that you love me more
Sleepless long nights
That is what my youth was for

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door
Left you with nothing but they want some more

Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, You know who you are

Sweetheart bitterheart now I can't tell you apart
Cosy and cold, put the horse before the cart

Those teenage hopes who have tears in their eyes
Too scared to own up to one little lie

Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, you know who you are

One, two, three, four, five, six, nine, or ten
Money can't buy you back the love that you had then
One, two, three, four, five, six, nine, or ten
Money can't buy you back the love that you had then

Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, you know who you are
Oh, you're changing your heart
Oh, you know who you are
Oh, who you are

For the teenage boys
They're breaking your heart
For the teenage boys
They're breaking your heart

I cherish my youth, but the wisdom I've collected over the years is precious. Like we all say, "If I only knew what I know now...sigh"

But you know what, no regrets right. Just hindsight and reflection. I can only hope I give my daughter enough confidence, faith, love, guidance and trust that she'll get through it with just a few tough lessons. Scrapes that heal and make her an even stronger, more dynamic young woman.

ps. If you are having trouble posting a comment on my blog, let me know on Facebook, and I'll try and figure out why. I think this is what's happening and its driving me nutty! xo

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Tomato Soup Kind of Day

Photo credit: Kiss the Groom
If only I would learn how to knit,
but then I may have no time to blog.
But isn't this tea set's wardrobe chic and sweet?

Ok, so I kind of feel guilty eating anything out of a can, but Campbell's Tomato Soup is the exception. It was -29 out today, and a bowl of steaming hot soup was exactly what the shiver in my bones ordered.

Morgan and I chowed down on grilled cheese sandwiches made with sliced pear and swiss cheese, and of course mommy's childhood favourite- tomato soup. As the sun showered in through the windows, we had no idea that the poor little birdies where freezing their feathers off. All we could feel was the yummy hot soup in our happy bellies.

And a little something sweet, to shake off the brrrrrr.

Here's Morgan in her room, deciphering which toy to play with. 'Shall it be the bathing suit drawer again, books, dollies, fairy wings, or maybe the Etch-o-sketch? Hmmmm.' Ah, the fantastic choices of childhood.

I have a drawer full of silk roses that I've been keeping to make a baby photo prop, but of course its been like 6-months and they're still enjoying their beauty sleep in the drawer.

Morgan loves to play with them, using each stem as a vacuum or duster, how lovely. May not be able to use them anymore, they're rather dust bunnyish...

We captured a few cute shots of her going crazy with these flowers. Can't wait until she can enjoy some real ones in the summer again! The first time I smelt a sweet-pea, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I'll be so sad when its not appropriate
for me to kiss her little bum anymore.
It's so darn cute.

Tickle, tickle.

Photo Credit: Thompson Family Typepad
Thought this shelf was so cute. Love the colour and of course the chalk board with the love mantra hand-written across it. Gotta have it. xoxo

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet Sweet Honey of Mine

My dad's fiance, Bev has her very own honeybees. I've always wanted to know someone with honeybees, but never imagined it to be possible. I mean, what are the chances right. Its not like we live in the deep, hot South. Brydon is going to suit up this summer and do some harvesting with her, I think I may just watch, but we'll see...A couple of weeks ago, my dad and Bev dropped off this gigantic bucket of the first honey of the season, aka- the best honey, since its flavour is in its truest most defined time, with complexity and the perfect amount of deep sweetness. It is truly oooey gooey love on your tongue, and seems to go in all my cooking these days.

I can't believe I have this enormous bucket of goodness. It must weigh over 40-pounds easy. So if you're honeyless (I love that word, even though it doesn't actually exist) and would like to try some liquid heaven, please let me know. I would love to share my gold with you. I'll send you away with an old fashioned mason jar, wrapped in ribbon and labelled Bev's Healing Honey. I'm totally on that this week, can't wait to create the pretty, wholesome jars.

I feel incredibly blessed to have an endless source of honey. I've always known its special. When we were small kids we used to stay at my grandma and grandpa's place out in Red Water. My grandma has always been into health and never had any store bought sweets lying around the house (besides maybe those awful soap gummies, you eventually love). So it was either a small cup of semi-frozen Welches Grape Juice eaten with a spoon (so fun) or a teaspoon of golden honey. The perfect treat.

After reading more about it and of course, The Secret Life of Bees, I've learned its sacred indeed. It never goes bad, I mean NEVER. It will actually last for centuries if its stored properly, and a little teaspoon all by itself truly takes the edge off the day. Here's Morgan having her daily fix of it. How can I say no? The health benefits are endless, never-mind the overwhelming bliss benefits.

Honey has been around since 2100 B.C., but presumably even much earlier. This is just the first human recording. Legend says, cupid dipped his arrows in honey before aiming at his unsuspecting lovers. Its often still referred to as 'the nectar of the Gods'. It was so valuable at one time, it was actually used as currency, tribute or offering. Honey bees must tap over two million flowers to make just one pound of honey. The average honeybee worker will only make one twelfth of a teaspoon during its lifetime! These bees are obviously not afraid of commitment and hard work. Talk about a heap of energy for sooo little. I guess its just that precious, and they know it. In other words, honey is damn special and bees are vital to our earth's natural cycle. So we better treat em with some r.e.s.p.e.c.t. They sure as heck deserve it.

I mean really, just look at the joy this stuff induces! The uses are endless too- the perfect salve for a cut that needs speedy healing and cleaning, to die for with warm butter on a homemade biscuit right out of the oven, and I even indulge in whisking it with egg whites for an edible face mask. I know, crazy right. It makes your skin glow like nothing else. Its not the pregnancy friends, its the honey!

Sunday brunch.

Now, speaking of super sweet. Who wouldn't want this freakin adorable ginger bread house on the edge of their chai latte? Perfect with a honey, peanut butter and banana crepe. Yummmm.

Thank you Bev.
You have truly given us the sweetest gift of all.

P.S. If you are not craving honey by now, you are a nutbar. xo

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dream a Little Dream with Me

So, I've obviously been up to some super fun daydreaming lately. Trying to visualize the nursery which is a little tricky considering we have no idea what we are having. My gut says boy, but who knows! I've been combing through some of my favourite decor websites who haven't let me down- well, they're prices have, but who cares, I can wish. Where is a woman's fairy god mother when she needs one?

They sure don't have the selection out there for boys, like they do for girls. My mom always says how much better its gotten, so I guess I can't complain. I guess there was barely nothing cute or stylish for boys back in the day. AKA- 80's. But then again, was anything really stylish back then? Ha ha. I think you just gotta stick with the timeless stuff, and you can never go wrong, especially for your bigger, more expensive pieces. Have fun with trends on the not so pricey stuff.

Anyways, enjoy the beautiful pieces and rooms I think are just stunning. Below here is a little girls bed crown you would hang a sheer canopy under. Can you believe these things even exist?Its truly something from the Gods.

Nothing to do with nurseries, but I love this back entry way.
Its just smart and casually regal.

Morgan just got the most gorgeous quilt made by my birth mother's friend. I'm going to take some pics of it and post it asap. Its so beautiful.

I want to eat this chandelier.

This is so understated and calming, Not sure if I could go with the extreme simplicity of it, but I still really like it, especially for a boy. I think it would look great with some other pops of colour like orange, light green and blue.

This dollhouse bookcase is just so sweet.
I would have loved it as a little girl.

Man, do they make gliders stylish now a days. The ones at Babies Are Us kind of make me want to vomit in my mouth a little. Too bad, they're the only ones in my price range. Amazing how expensive they still are, considering how ugly they are. Comfy or not, they make me a little queezy.

Morgan in Wonderland

It seems like Morgan would never fit into this little blue dress that she got from my dear friend, Leala and her two beautiful girls, Anika and Indigo (great names, I know). But she insisted on trying it on a few days ago and 'tada', it fits! She pranced around in it as curious as Alice herself, and I couldn't help but snap a few lovely pics to capture her blue bliss.

She has become nutty for books, we must read 20 a day. Not a bad obsession, but she chases me around the house with them! She loves the books that have little flips in them. Karen Katz, you are a genius. Although, I'm getting very sick of you.

Morgan is such good a mommy. I think she's going to be a really big help when the new baby comes. She never gets jealous when I hold other babies, she is so concerned when they cry, and she loves to take care of them.

I'm sure she'll have her terrible two moments, but for the most part, she is going to love the whole experience of being a big sister. I can't wait to see her fall in love with the new bugaboo.

I still can't get enough of those petite little toes.
Especially when they're peaking out of a pretty blue dress.

Somedays she is so independent and other days, she just wants to play with me steady. I can't complain about either, I am thankful for both. I am so looking forward to getting our backyard landscaped for the summer. I'm visualizing a shady canopy, housing our comfy patio furniture with plenty of candle lit lanterns, lush baskets of hanging begonias, a couple cozy throws for cooler nights, maybe a wind chime to drive my neighbours crazy, big pots bursting with grasses and flowers, plenty of scented lavender, and of course the company of friends, family and kiddies for Morgan to splash around with. Everybody is welcome!

I plan to eat almost every meal outside this summer (it always tastes so much better out there anyways), weather permitting of course. With a new baby and a busy 2-year old, the last thing I want is for all of us to be cooped up inside for the steamy summer months. I hope we get some good weather. Since baby is due July 3rd, that will give us enough time to get the grass in, the deck build, the canopy cozy, the patio set up and hopefully we can squeeze in some gardening too.

Wouldn't mind a play gym and sandbox for Morgan too! A munchkin pool is a must, of course. Oh, and a fire pit in the back corner for the hubby. If only money grew on trees. I'd settle for Skittles too, I guess. I'm sure I'll enjoy the fire pit too, if I'm not catching up on sleep!

The backyard is a bare slate for imagination right now. I can't wait to give ourselves a little heavenly hideaway out there, even if we can't do everything this year. It'll be the great company, food, grass stains, sunscreen in the eye, dirt in the toes, sweet-peas, little bare bums (not mine of course, lord knows, it wont be little by July) and sunshine that'll make it just perfect.


The secret to this cake is buying the best peaches possible.
I wait every year for Prima Peaches to come in season. They are
so addictively delicious. I sauté the peaches in butter and a
little butter and sugar so there are fresh peaches on
top of the cake as well as inside it.

For Peaches:

1 pound sliced peaches (about 3 cups) for inside of cake.
Additional peaches will be needed for top of cake.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

a pinch of kosher salt or sea salt

For the Cake:

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

3 cups unbleached white flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cooked peaches (note: the three cups of peaches will cook down to about 1 1/2 cups.
Reserve some peaches for the top of the cake or just cook more. The more peaches the better!
Also remember to reserve the liquid from the cooked peaches for the frosting.

For the Frosting:

2 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened

2 sticks of unsalted butter

2 1-pound box of powdered sugar

1/4 cup of peach syrup (liquid after you cook the peaches)

For the Shards of Sugar (to garnish additional peaches and to garnish top of cake)

1 cup Sugar

For the peaches: Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add butter and peaches. Sprinkle with sugar. (if the peaches are not naturally sweet you may need more sugar. The peaches I use are very sweet and only need a little sugar) Add ground ginger and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 8-inch-round cake pans. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing them completely into the butter mixture after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine all of the remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix or sift together well. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the sour cream. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the cooked peaches into the cake batter. Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Baked for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then invert onto cooling racks to finish cooling.

Make the Frosting: It is probably best to make the frosting in two batches unless you have a really big bowl. So put one block of cream cheese, one stick of butter and one box of cream cheese in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Mix in reserved peach syrup from your cooked peaches. Then make another batch exactly like it.

Make the burnt sugar shards: Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. In a large stainless steel saucepan, place the sugar. Heat over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt and brown. Do not stir. Tilt the pan if you need it to melt more evenly. As soon as the sugar is a beautiful amber brown color pour it onto the parchment paper lined sheet tray. Slightly tilt the pan so it spreads around. It should harden immediately as it cools. When it is completely hard break it into shards by either hitting it with a mallet or dropping the tray so the sugar cracks.

Frost the cake. Just before presenting place more sautéed peaches on top of the cake for garnish. Place some of the sugar shards on top of the peaches. Garnish around the cake with peach halves and quarters and piles of burnt sugar.

Recipe and picture from kiss the groom

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pigtails and Yellow Bathers

Our home has been filled with sunshine and laughter these days, as Morgan dominates the scene, tearing up the place and entertaining us constantly. I am so glad she can be enjoyed by so many close family and friends. The huge bonus for living back in Canada and being around those that we love...well, there are a few that aren't here, that we dearly miss too. You know who you are people. Get home please!

She blows our minds daily, talking up a rainbow of new words. She is so funny and endearing, we just can't stop shaking our heads in total amazement and love. What a joy.

Playing horsey with Daddy,
while he washes the kitchen floor.

'Giddy-up daddy.'

She loves her little play kitchen from ikea.
She is becoming quite the cook. Today's special- Pigtail Soup!

Whipping up a tasty batch for her baby.

Today, I decided to try some pigtails for the first time. Well, she looked so cute with her new piggies, I'm not sure who was more tickled with excitement- her or me! I went a little snap happy of course. She's really growing up. Oh and that dimple...I'll do anything to see that pretty gem. 'Thanks grandpa Gary for the nice little gene prize.'

She LOVES her blankey so much. Its really sweet to watch her snuggle into it with such adoration. I wish I could get my hands on an extra. No other blanket will do!

This picture honestly makes me cry, not sure if its just how sweet she is or the pregnancy hormones. Probably a bit of both. Today we took her to the Waterpark with her Uncle Landon, Chris, daddy and Uncle Jarod. She loves the water and its like a little vacation in there. It was so bright and sunny today, it felt like we were on the beach. Something about being in your bathing suit in Edmonton in February. You feel like a rebel, cheating on winter. Ha.

She ventured off all by herself in the kitty pool to make new friends and play with the water toys, like she didn't even need us there at all. But she was sure happy to know we were just a few steps behind her, especially when she got bulldozed over a couple of times by the bigger and 'very unaware' kids, as I like to put it... Ha ha. Poor thing. Took it like a champ really.