Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Melty snowmen

A week or so ago, hubs' aunt posted this link to the cutest cookies EVER on Facebook.  And I just had to try them!  So I made some sugar cookie dough on Monday and stuck it in the fridge.  It seemed rather crumblier than usual for dough, and sure enough, when I went to make the cookie bases yesterday, I couldn't make it stick together to save my life.  So I grabbed the remainder of a stick of butter, about 1/3 of a cup, threw it in the dough, and beat it for a few minutes.  It was easy to form then, but I crossed my fingers that the cookies would hold their shape and not be too tough.  It seemed to work.  So if this happens to you, give adding more butter a shot.

Anyway, here are some (too many!) shots of our melty snowmen.  Which reminds me that, although it's frigid out there now, by Friday it's supposed to be warmer and melting for real!

Note that, although we were making this evening right before supper, Adam has not been out of his jammies all day!  It's the hols, man!

Julia's---with pink snowballs, of course!

It was fun playing around with the gumdrops left over from our gingerbread house making frenzy.

One of my faves.  Love her little tam-o-shanter.

Anyway, you ought to try these!  They're really fun.  It's nice not to have to mess around with cookie cutters, and the cookies are big enough for the kiddos to decorate without much in the way of assistance.  Yippee!  And did I mention again how dang CUTE they are?  But how can we eat them?  How, I ask you?  How?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

glimses of Christmas

A few quick peeks into our Christmas:

Julia's school winter concert.

Belle, looking worried.  She usually doesn't look this way, and one day I'll take a photo that proves it!

Grandma Char's sticky buns.  Adam eats it like a bun-cicle.

Julia reading the Christmas story this year for the first time.

The Gift.  He has been wanting this game ALL YEAR.

 Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles.

In other news...

Had roast beef and yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner.  May I say that the roast was perfectly cooked and everything came out at the same time and NOT sound like I'm bragging?  Maybe if I ammend that by reporting that I completely forgot to bake the pie and the house smelled like burnt butter from where it overflowed the pudding tins and burned all over the bottom of the oven, leaving the house very un-Christmassy smelling!

But that's what candles are for, right?

Hope your Christmas season was full of happiness.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

RIP Popcorn

Remember the popcorn we strung on our tree last week?


Alas and alak, it is no more.

Who's the culprit, you ask???

Nuff said.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Haute Cuisine at its finest

Or not.

I mean, I can make the tastiest, prettiest dishes and my kids put up their noses.

But mix some ground turkey and half a can of mushroom soup and smoosh it in a pan, take the rest of the soup and mix it with some water.  Put tater tots over top of the turkey and pour the watery soup over top then bake it until the meat is done.  And they can't get enough.

I give up. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bella Belle

Neither my husband or myself have ever considered ourselves dog people.  He's had cats, I've had cats, we have cats. Neither of us wanted to own a crotch sniffing, door rushing, jumping, barking, begging, pulling dog--and those are the kinds of dogs that we mostly know.  I like animals, and in the company of such dogs, I'm happy to be with them.  I just never wanted one of my own.

But the last couple of visits with my sister and mom and their dogs made me really think that having a dog would be a good idea, and that maybe dogs CAN have good manners.  Mom's dog, a beautiful golden retriever named Tango, is inside much of the time, but is so good that he doesn't take up the room, when you ask him to take a hike, he goes away, and he was successfully taught not to jump up or mess around.  Lisa taught him, and her dogs are the same.  Really well mannered.  And it was so fun to see the kids with them.

So what with one thing and the other, Meryl and I talked about it.  I was thinking about a border collie/lab cross, both being smart and one breed perhaps cancelling out some of the problems of the other.  So I would look at the Humane Society listings every once in awhile, and finally a young borador came up.  So we went to look.  Oh, she was beautiful---but absolutely crazy.  She jumped up, nipped, and almost turned herself inside out.  Made Adam nervous, and I didn't think I had it in me to housebreak if necessary and deal with the potential damage such a dog would cause.  But the lady at the shelter said they had another dog that had just come in, a 2-1/2 year old boxer/collie mix, and she was still a bit scared, was really good, had been in a family with kids, and did we want to see her?  At first, I said no but then decided that it wouldn't do any harm.

And in came Belle.  Shivering from fright.  Her family had moved and didn't bring her with them, and she was pretty scared.  So we played with her for awhile, and she loosened up a bit.  Adam fell in love with her because she was so gentle and teachable.  She knew a couple of commands, and when we brought her for a walk, she quickly learned not to leash pull.  I didn't make a decision then, wanting to talk it over with Meryl again.  But I couldn't stop thinking about her.

The next day, Adam and I went back.  She remembered us and we had fun.  We walked her through the cat room, and she was completely uninterested--an important consideration, seeing as how we have two cats!  And then, even as I wondered what I was saying, I heard the words, "We'll take her," coming out of my lips, and the next thing I knew, we had a dog, and Belle was coming home.

And oh, how glad I am!  The past week has been fabulous.  We brought her home on Wednesday, and that night a friend came over.  And Belle barked.  And I thought, "We can't have this.  A warning bark is fine, but she needs to know proper door etiquette."  The next day was a cookie exchange at our place, so I put a sign out letting people know we have a dog, great with kids, but she'll bark, so give us a few minutes to train her at the door before coming in."  And within two people, she had learned to stop barking, sit, and wait.  Great!  No problem with visitors.  There were kids aplenty, fauning all over her, yelling in her face--it was a bit of a zoo.  No problem.  She happily laid around.  Julia can walk her, because she doesn't pull (much!), and it's fun to try teaching her tricks, because she's so quick to learn.  I'm so happy that we brought her home, because, quite frankly, I don't know whether we would ever be this lucky in a dog again.  I wanted a dog that could really be part of things, one that we wouldn't have to lock up when people came by, one that we could count on--and we found her.

It's funny how quickly she has become a member of this family.  Can't imagine it without her, now. 

And all this from a girl who isn't a dog person!  Ah, how quickly I fell.

So, I'd like you to meet Belle.  Looking a little bit worried in this shot, seeing as how she'd just come home.  No license or anything on her, yet.  Now she's bedecked with the Humane Society tag, licence tag, and a Christmassy bauble that Julia tied on to make her all festive.

So far she has endured dressing up, wrestling, a bath, the vet, Petco, cat hisses, loads of kid kisses and hugs, and I don't know what all, and she has happily gone along with it. 

She's a doll.  And she's ours!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cookie Cookers

So, we're making these cookie cutouts and all I could think about was this blog post:

You're welcome.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Stringing popcorn for the tree.  So far?  One strand!  Eep!  One of those things I'm supposed to do when the kids are in bed, but you know?  I have too many other things to do!  Perhaps I'll get the rest done before Christmas.  If so, I'll post the tree.  Our beautiful Craig's List tree, for which I am a happy, happy camper.

OK.  Popcorn.  Someone asked me yesterday how we did this without breaking the piece apart, which is what happens to her.  The trick is simply not to go through the kernal.  Use a fine needle and go just to the side of the kernal, into the white fluffy stuff.  Goes fairly quickly that way.

I took these photos, and a few others, and then chanced to look at my lens.  EW!  Dusty!!!  Lesson:  Dust lens before taking photos! 

Do as I say, and not as I do. 

Happy popcorn stringing!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ornament de year

Every year, the kids and I make homemade ornaments.  Over the years we've made the cutest sheep ever, little felt mice, reindeer, and mittens.  This year, the kids chose from the Family Fun magazine and made these little cupcakes.

I can't find the link to it, but all you do is stick a small pompom on top of a large white one, run a thread through, leaving enough to hang.  Put glue into a candy cup and stick the white pompom inside.


Monday, December 6, 2010

They're baaaack!

My little feathered family.  Need to venture out into the blizzard today and get some more mixed seed, though.  I didn't really have to crop these pictures much, and I didn't have my long lens on the camera.  They let us in really close.  How we love these little guys.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Snow, part 1

Where did Autumn go?  I mean, really.  It can't possibly be winter.

I refuse to believe it. 

I'm getting my rake.

There still must be some leaves out there somewhere.

Argh.  Guess I'll just have to face reality and dig out the snow gear, coz it doesn't look like this guy is planning on going anywhere soon.

What's the saying?  Fish and visitors start to stink after three days?

Better dig out those guest towels...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A little sweet and a little sour

Corner View today is about raindrops.  HA!  Here's the thing.  It has been absolutely bucking down for three days.  Flood warnings and everything.  Then it went straight from rain to snow, and it's still kind of snowy out.  Not the nice kind, though.  The slushy, then sleety, then feeling like you're hit by ice pellets kind of snow.  The kind of weather that makes a person want to pack their camera safely away.  Far away.  So that's my CV.  It's rainy.  There are lots of raindrops.  The end.

But that just won't do.  So I'm giving you a recipe perfect for when there are lots of raindrops outside and it's chilly and you just want to curl up.

Sweet and Sour meatballs.  Or whatever.  It's the sauce that's great.  Sweet and sour whatever you'd like.  Just brown the whatever first.  Then make the sauce.  Then pour over.  Serve with rice. 

The recipe as is doesn't give you much in the way of sauce to spoon over rice, so I double the sauce recipe.  Or I only make half the meatballs, since it calls for two pounds worth.  Still makes plenty.

OK. Enough.  Printer ready?  OK.  Here it is:

2 pounds lean ground beef (I used turkey here)
2 eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp sugar

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained with juice reserved
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 large carrot, diced
1 large green bell pepper(I used red coz the kids will eat it) cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, shallow baking sheet.

2.  In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs and onion.  Sprinkle with ginger, seasoning salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar.  Shape into one inch balls. 

3.   Place meatballs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.  NOTE:  My oven has been out for a month.  Yes, it's true.  *hand wringing here*  Anyway, I just browned the meatballs on the stovetop.  Worked just fine.

4.  To make the sauce, mix enough water with the reserved pineapple juice to make 1 cup.  In a large pot over medium heat, combine the juice mixture, 1/3 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar.  Stir in cornstarch, ginger, and seasoning salt until smooth.  Cover and cook until thickened.

5.  Stir pineapple chunks, carrot, green pepper, and meatballs into the sauce (or do as I did and just add the sauce to the meatballs in the family sized skillet on the stovetop).  Gently stir to coat the meatballs with the sauce.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

And you'll have this: 

Perfect for raindroppy days!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brrrrring....brrrrring...the ring...

Vic and mom chose mom's wedding ring online. Mom wanted just a plain band, but Vic insisted that she have something a little prettier. Mom was charged with figuring out her ring size. She took the job very seriously, but since there isn't a jeweler in town, she had to measure with paper then figure it out from the paper measurement. Which she did. Then she downloaded one of those paper ring sizer things with the little slot to slide through until you get to the right size. She measured over and over. Size 8, it said. Which seemed rather large, but it was consistant.

Here it is. isn't it lovely? Other than the photographer messing up and having a focus on the flower and not the ring (they oughta fire her!). But you get the idea:

And here's the back.

Not quite as lovely!  Vicki wrapped it up with medical tape at Blake's place so at least Mom could wear it for the day, but I think they have an extra errand to run this week, don't you?  Reminded Vic and Mom about the high school girls who would wear their boyfriend's school ring, wrapping tape around it to make it fit, as a symbol that they were going steady.

Since Mom and Vic will be going steady for eternity, I guess it's apt.

Just a note that Vic, who's first wife had suddenly passed away about six years ago, wore the wedding ring that she had given to him (since he rarely, if ever, wears a ring), and the girls all wore necklaces of their mother's.  I thought that was such a sweet honour and recognition of a wonderful woman who will always remain an integral part of their family.  I imagine that it was a bittersweet day for the girls, but they handled it with grace and hope and happiness.  A couple of comments in conversations with them made me see how Uvene's legacy of kindness and compassion lives on in her children, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better.


Friday, November 26, 2010

A Taste Of Thanksgiving




And turkey hats, which culminated in a performance in two acts:  The Turkey Boogy and The Pilgrims.  The Pilgrims included using Fynn as a turkey, chasing him around the room, putting him in the oven, then placing him on the table to eat.  Before the turkey took off.

I'm thankful that, when I spoke with hubby in the evening, that he was able to have a nice turkey dinner, too, and wasn't left on his own.  I'm thankful for friends who send leftovers! And naps, which I never seem to get but which I always hope for.  These are just a couple little things, but I indeed have so many blessings I couldn't possible fit them all here.  I hope everyone had as nice a day as we did! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The day before

Knowing that the weather was going to be iffy on Saturday, we decided to head over to the temple on Friday to take a few photos.  On the way, we stopped at a place on the canyon with a little overlook. 

The view was amazing:

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's time for a...

White Wedding!

Yes, we woke up on Saturday morning to a bit of a winter wonderland, but by the time Mom and Vic came out of the temple the snow was all but gone, although it was pretty chilly and windy.

Their smiles, though, warmed everyone.

I have never seen Mom so beautiful and happy, and every look that Vic sends her direction tells her that he  has found joy, too. 

I know he'll be exactly what she needs.  A clue? 

 He's perfectly comfortable carrying her purse and pretty quilted bag.



Will post more about it another day, but for now (after another crazy late night), I'm off to bed. 



Friday, November 12, 2010

Engagement shoot

Had the opportunity on the weekend to take some engagement photos for a friend of mine as a gift for her wedding.  I love taking engagement photos!  Love love love!  And I found this beautiful brick wall about five minutes from my house.  Yay!

I really need to start bringing my camera around with me again and get back to regular blogging.  In my defence, I left my point and shoot at a friend's in Canada, so until I get that back, I'll be hauling my DSLR.  And since the 365 project, I'm having trouble finding new and interesting ways to take photos.  AND I'm having the same focus problems.  Same story.  Excuses, excuses, excuses--I know, I know!

Anyway, here are a couple of  the photos from the weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

A change of pace today.  A friend of mine shared this on Facebook, and I thought it would be appropriate to share here.  Be sure to have a hankerchief handy. 

It makes our small daily sacrifices seem pale in comparison, doesn't it?

I heard somewhere that the word "Remember" is the most important word in the English language. 
Let's take some time to remember what happened at the 11th hour of the November 11, 1918, and to remember and honour those who have served and who continue to serve their countries in the armed forces.  It doesn't matter whether we agree with the politics behind any particular war.  The men and women who have given their lives in defense of their countries deserve our respect, as do those who continue to put their lives on the line every day towards the same aim.  Take a moment, a pittance of time, and remember.  It's the very least we should do.

**Note on the music**
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store's PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the store's leadership role in adopting the Legion's "two minutes of silence" initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the "two minutes of silence" to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the store's clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was later channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, "A Pittance of Time". Terry later recorded "A Pittance of Time" and included it on his full-length music CD, "The Power of the Dream".

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Back, around, over, and under

Taught Julia how to knit this evening. 

Now she's a knitting machine.

I think we might be getting scarves for Christmas.

The end.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A new addition

I'm pleased to report that our family is expecting...

A new father!

It's true.  My mom, who has been single for umpteen years and who we always dreamed and prayed and hoped would find someone who would treat her like the queen that she deserves to be, is getting married next month.  Rawther thrilling, I must say! What's better is that she's marrying someone that we knew and admired when he lived near our hometown when I was about nine years old until a teenager, 30 years or so ago.  He's a wonderful man who has made her giggle like a teenager, think deeply about things she's never really thought about before, hope for real joy in her life, and who has brought a sparkle to her eyes that I haven't seen before.

So, Sis and I will have seven new siblings and twenty-two nieces and nephews added to the ones we already have.  Mom goes from two children to nine in one fell swoop!  It will be so fun having new playmates, but I hope I won't have to share my room.  And if my favorite sweater goes missing...boy or boy will sparks fly!  teehee

Although I once knew who Vic's kids were, I didn't know them very well at all, since we didn't live in the same town and only had opportunities to socialize once in a blue moon for youth activities at church.  I was also a social goober, so really didn't make many friends at that age anyway.  I'm looking forward to meeting everyone again after all this time.

I'm not sure if mom caught it when she called me this morning with the news, but I was literally jumping up and down in my kitchen.  Dancing.  And I've been dancing with my feet and in my heart all day long.

Congratulations Mom and Vic! 

This isn't one of my photos (although I wish I could have taken photos of these two in the park!). 
The only stamp I've put on it is a bit of noise reduction, contrast, saturation, and vignetting in Lightroom.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


As per usual, the kids drew on the pumpkins and I cut them out.  The fun part this year is that BOTH look like faces!  It's a miracle!  I think Adam's, with the big eyes and the skinny little mouth, is adorable.  And the eyebrows on Julia's make my face hurt.

I didn't even bother doing one of my own this year.  These ones would have shown mine up!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

(BTW, these were the pumpkins that the kids chose out of the pumpkin patch yesterday.  (o:  )

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 'n stuff

Lots of dibs and dabs in this post.  Got back from Canada late Tuesday night and shrieked, "EEEEEK!!!  Halloween party on Friday, trick-or-treating on Thursday!  No costumes done!!!  No pumpkins purchased, let alone carved.  EEEEK-EEEEEEK! 

At which point I curled up in the fetal position and moaned.

Then grabbed the glue gun.  The glue gun is truly inspired.  So Wednesday afternoon I put Julia's costume together.  Then Thursday we went trick-or-treating.  Not in our neighbourhood.  We neighbourhood hopped (tsk tsk) because ours is on the sabbath.  So we found a quiet neighbourhood in the area doing the trick-or-treat thing on Thursday, and everyone was happy to have people come to their door. 

For the record, it was frizzing.  Frizzing, I tell you.  I had to check for fingers afterwards.  All were still miraculously attached.

I'm afraid Adam's did NOT involve a glue gun.  Originally, he wanted to be a pumpkin, but his costume from two years ago was too small.  So off to the store.  On sale.  Pirate.  AAARRR!!

Julia's school party.  Do you think they had a good time? 

Here's a clue:

(Julia's feet, btw.  She was a scarecrow)

Here's a couple other clues:

(Here's my girl.  Surprisingly quiet.  hehe)

Obviously, yes.

Did the teacher have fun?  Well, yeeeeeeesss....and nooooo...

But she was so very upbeat about the whole thing, that I don't think it was until everyone left that day that she had a breakdown (kidding, Lori!  You're awesome!!!)


Brought the kids to Weakland Farms for our annual trip.  Wasn't sure about going this year, because it has been so cold.  But today was quite lovely, so away we went!

Did we have a good time?


...with friend.

Hay in her hair.  Stayed there pretty much the whole time.

Got some pumpkins from the patch here.  Beautiful punkins at a fraction of the cost of anywhere else.  So fun!  The kids drew on them (and I carved) this evening.  Too cute. 

We didn't do the corn maze this year, which we usually do and enjoy, because it was getting late, and I didn't have my cell phone on me in case we got lost.  Which was highly likely, seeing as how the maze from the air looks like THIS this year:

I could just see us in there.  All dark.  "Anybody here?  Anybody?  Anybody?

So instead we came home.  Safer that way.