Monday, December 31, 2012


I've seen lots of people around the internet pick a word that describes them or that they want to aspire to.  In fact, there is a whole website dedicated to this practice,  I haven't read the book, or really much of the website, but I like the idea of having a word to focus on for the new year.

I have selected the word "DO", because in 2013 I will do all the things that are important to me.

If you had to pick one word for 2013 what would it be?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Liam and Grandma

We had a wonderful visit with Mom for Christmas and hope that we get to see her again soon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Vintage 1979

When I was growing up, my parents made wine.  They started in 1979, when I was only 9 years old.  The bought crates of grapes, pressed them in the garage and stored them in barrels and demi-johns in the basement till it was time to bottle them.

That first year my father set aside 2 gallons of wine, with the plans to open them to toast with at my wedding.  Since I never got married, the bottles have been sitting in the basement for the last 33 years.  After Dad died, Mom decided to break them open for a special occasion.  Hilary, Liam and I coming home for our first Christmas in Guelph was just the occasion she needed.

We opened the bottle with a little trepidation.... would it be wine or vinegar?  The first sniff seemed okay.  The glass gallon jar it was in seemed to show that the wine was a very dark red, but once we started pouring it, we quickly discovered that the coloured had all leeched out of it and onto the sides of the bottle. We were left with a very light coloured wine.

Mom enjoyed the first glass.  The taste is hard to describe... not really red, not really white, but it sure has some kick to it!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Traditions

For the first time since Liam was born, we are travelling for Christmas.  We are heading home to my mom's house, the house I grew up in, to spend Christmas with her.  Some of the magic of Christmas for me is the traditions, those from my own childhood, Hilary's childhood, and those that we have started with our family's generation.

Here are my top 10  favourite traditions:

1) Lying under the tree and looking up at the lights
  • While I'm way to big to do this as effectively as when I was little, there is still something magical about watching the twinkling lights through the branches.
2) Putting up the Christmas tree Christmas eve
  • This tradition comes from Hilary's family.  There is something fun and wonderful about putting the tree up on Christmas eve, carols playing in the background and wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen.
3) The Christmas Pickle
  • We got our Christmas Pickle a few years ago.  The tradition is that someone hides the pickle shaped ornament on the tree and whomever finds it first gets the "pickle present". Our pickle present every year is usually a new Christmas music ornament like a snow globe.  We have quite the growing collection now.
4) The Christmas Key
  • Since our house doesn't have a fireplace, Santa has to have someway to get in.  So we leave the Christmas key on the outside of the house - don't worry, it's completely safe, only Santa's magic can open the door, so no intruders can get in.  Then after Santa has left the presents and filled the stockings, he leaves the key on the Christmas tree.
5) Stockings on the end of your bed
  • This is another Hilary tradition.  Santa very carefully sneaks into your bedroom and leaves your filled stocking on the end of your bed.
6) Pizzelles
  • Pizzelles are homemade Italian cookies that my Grandma and my mother have made for Christmas every year for as long as I can remember.  Mom bought me my own press a few years ago and now I continue the tradition.
7) Watching  The Polar Express
  • This is such an amazing, enchanting movie.  I'm not truly in the holiday spirit until I have curled up on the couch and watched this.
8) Christmas cracker crowns
  • We always have Christmas crackers at Christmas dinner.  My favorite part is the paper crowns that come with them.  It gives the table such a fun festive look when everyone is festooned in a variety of coloured paper hats.
9) Table Presents
  • Another Hilary's family tradition.  We do this one at other holidays too.  After you open your Christmas cracker and put on your crown, everyone gets to open their table present.  Fun, little gifts that are meaningful to the receiver, or a new toy to help the little ones make it through a long meal.
10) Staying up too late Christmas Eve getting everything ready
  • I still remember the first Christmas that I was deemed old enough to hang out with the grown ups and help set up everything Christmas eve after the little kids were all tucked into bed.  As a parent, this has taken on a whole new meaning - one usually filled with cursing, screwdrivers, over packaging of toys, poorly written directions and wine.  No matter how organized we lead ourselves to believe we are, there always seems to be a 1001 one things left to do in the wee hours of the night.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A kid and his cod

Liam studied cod fish

Liam's school does theme based studies, and this year the theme is Oceans.  In particular, his class studied fish.  At fair today we got to learn about how fish breath and swim, what parts are good to eat, their migrating practices and much more.

All of their art work this year has been fish based too, including his art card, Derp the Stingray:

I can't wait to find out what they will be ocean thing they'll study next semester.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An impossibly long list

These are the things I have to do, in no particular order, in the next 40 hours.

  1. Find the Christmas stockings
  2. Wash and dry 2 loads of laundry
  3. Put away the 2 loads of laundry that's already clean
  4. Get the suitcases out of the attic
  5. Find the Christmas pickle
  6. Pack clothes for 3 people
  7. Pack all the Christmas gifts we are taking with us
  8. Go out an buy Christmas gifts for:
    • My 90 year Grandmother
    • Hilary 
    • Kavya
    • Divya
    • our tennants
  9. Buy table presents for 6 people
  10. Charge 3 iPods
  11. Charge the tablet
  12. Pack laptop and all cords
  13. Download audio books onto everyone's iPods
  14. Charge the camera
  15. Find the cords for the camera
  16. Go to Liam's Fair at school
  17. Work 2 full 8 hour shifts
  18. Pack everyone's meds (last count was 10+ bottles)
  19. Get to the pharmacy to fill Liam's prescriptions
  20. Clean the house
  21. Get to the vet for heavy duty flea killing stuff
  22. Bathe 5 cats and douse them with heavy duty flea killing stuff
  23. Get in touch with the house/cat sitter and make sure she can still come
  24. Teach the house/cat sitter how to feed the gecko live crickets
  25. Make a back up plan if I can't get in touch with the house/cat sitter
  26. Finish 2 batches of marshmallows
  27. Empty out the fridge of compost
  28. Clean the cat litters out
  29. Take out the garbage
  30. Remember to pack tea
  31. Pay bills
Wish me luck!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daring Kitchen - Paté Chinois

I had the honour of hosting this month's Daring Kitchen Challenge.  I introduced everyone to a classic French Canadian dish - Paté Chinois.
Paté Chinois translates from French as Chinese Pie. It’s an odd name for a French Canadian dish that doesn’t have any connection to Chinese food. The history of the name has been traced back to the Chinese cooks who worked at the camps for the railway builders in the late 19th century. Ground beef and potatoes were cheap and a dish could be spread out to feed many people

You can check out the 4 recipes I did up as examples, as well as see everyone else's creations on the Daring Kitchen page.

It was a lot of fun hosting the challenge and seeing all the variations that folks came up with.  I hope to have the opportunity to host again one day.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Liam GAINED 6 whole pounds since his last 3 month check up. And is now measuring 4 foot 3 inches tall.

Because of the nature of some ADHD medicines, Liam sees the doctor every 3 months.  She always checks his growth.  At best he has gained weight in increments measured in grams.  Most visits though he would lose.

I don't know what the secret formula was this time, but we have certainly noticed that he has been hungry more often.  We still struggle with food choices, but this week he has embraced turkey breast, something we are very happy with.  Toast continues to be our go to food, and of course he eats lots of fruit every day.  School lunches might just push us over the edge, as the choices hes willing to eat at lunch are so limited.

So for today we celebrate the gain and hope that the trend continues and that the boy continues to grow.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gangnam (Liam) Style

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bi-Lingual Singing

I cannot carry a tune, I think I'm tone deaf and I have no rhythm.  None of that stops me from singing out loud, usually in the confines of the car or shower, or when I'm home alone.  I don't mind singing in front of Hilary and Liam.  I often get the words "wrong" according to Hilary which drives her crazy and then she feels the need to correct me.

Did you know that the words to  "In the Still of the Night"  aren't really "Shut up and show me love?"  I always thought that was a little risky for the '50s......

One thing that I've noticed recently, is that when I sing on my own, without singing along to the radio, is that I ALWAYS sing in French.  Growing up I went to French school up to grade 10 and while I do consider myself bi-lingual, I haven't used my French with any regularity in over 15 years.  It's funny what sticks with you from childhood though.

I only know the words to the French versions of Christmas carols.  I can start Oh Canada off in English, but by the second verse I've switched over to French without even realizing it.  The only lullabies that I ever sang to Liam were in French, though I have no idea where I learned them, since I don't recall my parents ever singing me French lullabies.

I don't have a huge repertoire of songs that I randomly sing, so Liam has heard the same ones over and over.  And every now and then he joins in.  Even though he claims to hate all things French and refuses to speak it with me ever (despite have French classes at school for the last 6 years), he doesn't seem to mind the singing.

That is when he's willing to put up with his tone deaf, off key mother singing in the first place.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Santa

I love that Liam's letter to Santa this year includes a "Good-O-Meter", especially since he didn't put himself at the very top of good!  And he remembered to let Santa know that he'll be at Grandma's house this year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


One flea fly flew up the flue and 
The other flea fly flew down.

Unfortunately there was no flue involved, just 5 angry cats.  

I made the mistake over the summer of letting our cat Alice out into the back yard for an hour or two every now and then.  She wouldn't go any farther than sitting in the grass and would come back to the door and ask to be let in.  It seemed like a nice thing for me to do.

I will not be nice like that ever again.

One of cats, Edgar, is pure white, with 2 large black spots.  While petting him last week I noticed that the he had all sorts of black "dirt" throughout his white fur.  Closer inspection led me to the horror of finding critters scurrying about, close to his skin.

He was quickly bathed and everyone else inspected.  The other cats vary in colour from black and white to beige and orange.  We didn't see anything on them, but erred on the side of caution and everyone got a bath last Sunday morning.  Good thing too, as the water exposed what we could not see.  Everyone had fleas.

I wish we had taken a video of Oscar during his bath as he makes the most pitiful and horrible noises.  You would not think any living creature was capable of those sounds.  I am not willing to re-bath him just to capture the moment for posterity, but if we don't get this under control and have to bath him again, I'll be sure to have the camera ready.

All the cats are now sporting lovely new flea collars.  Hopefully all of our efforts (which included many, many loads of laundry) will work and the only bugs we'll be left with are Gary's crickets.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Do you PostCross?  No?  You should!  

It's a great website that let's you exchange your address with people around the world so that you can send and receive postcards.  Kind of like pen pals of days gone by, except that you don't keep exchanging letters with the same person (though you could if you found a connection with someone and wanted to stay in touch).  So far we have sent 9 postcards and received 10.  The farthest our cards have traveled so far have been to and from China.

We are also using this as a great geography lesson.  We are going to get a wall map and start pining all the different countries.  It's also a neat way to start an international stamp collection.

You can check out pictures of all the cards I've exchanged on my Gallery page.