Sunday, November 2, 2014

Life Changes

A few months ago, I decided to make a blog change. I believe that when I write what I know, my writing flourishes, and right now what I know the most is about being a new mommy.

Come check out my new blog here, and thanks so much by stopping by!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie Love

Happy Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

The timeless and decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie has been honoured with its very own celebratory day and today just so happens to be that day.

Who knew?

When I found this out via the lovely Regina Global News ladies this morning I vowed to make my own batch and squeezed some time to do just that this afternoon. Any excuse to indulge in copious amounts of raw cookie dough cookies and you can count me in.

I don't have a 'go-to' chocolate chip cookie recipe and wanted to keep it simple, so I stuck with a classic recipe from an old community cookbook I had lying around. My hubs was thrilled that I chose to stick to a 'normal' chocolate chip cookie recipe and that I did not put anything "weird" (read: oatmeal, whole wheat flour, dark chocolate) in them.

Here's the recipe I used, I think it's pretty foolproof unless you try multi-tasking and burn one batch, which I somehow managed to do. Big surprise.

1/2 C margarine                                1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C sugar                                       1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C brown sugar                            1 1/4 C flour
1 egg\1/2 tsp vanilla                           3/4 C chocolate cookies (I used 1 C because...c'mon)

Cream margarine. Add sugar. Add egg and beat into mixture. Add other ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoon. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Blog Love

Courtesy of some of my favourite blogs, here are some other chocolate chip cookie recipes for those of you who may be gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan/adventurous/addicted to chocolate or for those of you who may not....have a husband who is a picky eater.

Oh She Glows:  Crispy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
Everyday Foodie:  Levain-Like Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Skinny Taste: Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Eat, Live, Run: Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies
Eat Yourself Skinny: Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Pioneer Woman: Chocolate Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

And when in doubt there are always these:

Photo Courtesy

Happy Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to all and to all a good night.


Monday, May 12, 2014

THE NEW MOM CHRONICLES: My First Mother's Day - Tale of an Epic Pinterest Fail?

Yesterday marked a special milestone in my was my very first Mother's Day! It was also the hub's mom and my mom's first Mother's Days as Grammas, and as such I wanted their gifts this year to be unique, memorable, and meaningful. I decided to turn to the internet for ideas that fit that list of gift descriptors. Stumbling upon a few Google Images, I started wondering if a craft may be an appropriate gift.

Nothing good in my life has ever come from me uttering the words "I think I'm going to make a craft today"; yet, when perusing a certain inspirational DIY site (I'm looking at you, Pinterest), I found a craft that fit the exact "unique, memorable, and meaningful" requirements I was looking for in a Mother's Day gift. Pinterest filled me with the confidence that, armed with the right tools, I could make a really fabulous gift for the Grammas for Mother's Day.

I could picture their excitement and surprise in my mind....a few single tears would be shed during the unveiling of this memorable homemade gift from their first grandchild. Meaningful looks would be cast in my direction, conveying both appreciation and wonder at how I had the time to make such a perfect gift. My heart would swell with pride knowing I was becoming one of "those" moms who make perfect handmade gifts, cook clean organic meals, and can recite lines from the latest trending parenting books while wearing three inch heels and a full face of makeup.

I was sold. This was the perfect Mother's Day gift. I purchased the materials I needed and smiled smugly to myself about what a wonderful idea this was, how well it was going to turn out, and how happy the Grammas would be.

The day came to make my craft and I informed my hubs of my brilliant idea. He chuckled a bit, leaving his opinions and doubts to himself, and ultimately humoured me and offered to help. Our table was littered with canvas, paints, brushes, paper towels and wash clothes (just in case). I was ready. I was about to become one of "those" moms, following in the footsteps of Martha Stewart and Gwenyth Paltrow.

In the story I originally told myself, the next half hour would be filled with my hubs, my baby girl, and myself easily and quickly making our canvases complete with our daughter's hand and footprints in pink and yellow paint, surrounded by heartfelt messages of love to the Grammas.

In reality, the footprints on the canvases were drowning in two inches of excess pink paint, our daughter refused to open her hand after the paint was on it which resulted in a big yellow blob resembling absolutely nothing, and all three of us were covered in various shades of pink and yellow. To make matters worse, when all was said and done my hubs asked "You made sure this paint was safe for babies right?"



In fact, that had not even occurred to me. It probably would have occurred to one of "those" make-up and high heel-wearing, perfect craft-making, organic food-cooking and well-read moms...but not to me.  I was too busy covering my daughter with cheap dollar store paint toxins and wondering if "those" moms are just an urban legend. Off we ran to run a tub and get the paint off of our baby girl. In another unfortunate turn of events, the paint stained us, our baby girl, and our bathtub, garnering a few eye rolls from my hubs whose exasperated look read "this was your idea!"

When all was said and done, I doctored the canvases in an attempt to make them look less like blobs of nothing, and turned them into something resembling a craft that came out of a preschool classroom. That may be giving them too much credit though. Once we got past the toxic paint (which was just water-based acrylic in the end), the stains, and the utter chaos, we laughed. We laughed until I had tears rolling down my cheeks and I had to run to the bathroom to avoid another kind of new mom mishap. As frustrating and disappointing as making the craft was, and despite the fact that the craft will likely not last long in the homes of the Grammas (though the Grammas are pretty sentimental), the memories of the three of us making the craft together as a family for our first Mother's Day together will truly last a lifetime. So, whereas some may think of this tale as an epic Pinterest fail, I see it as a success in so many ways.

Photo: :)

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mothers out there....even if you are one of "those" ones.

"The Inspiration"
Personalized Mothers Day Gift for Grandma - I Love you Grandma Baby footprint Art -  Gift for Grandmother - Gift for New Grandma via Etsy

"The Blob of Nothing"

 "The Doctored Canvas"


Friday, May 2, 2014

I Need a Drink

I need a drink.
Not in an I'm-so-stressed-that-a-drink-is-the-only-thing-that-will-calm-me way.  
Not in an it's-a-big-occasion-thus-I-need-to-pop-some-bubbly-way. 
Definitely not in an it's-the-weekend-and-time-to-party-and-hit-the-bar way. My bar star fell out of the sky a long time ago. 

I need a drink...with no alcohol...that is fun and can get me through the summer.
Having not had a drink in over a year due to pregnancy and now breast feeding, I find myself approaching another patio season which will be predominantly dry, and I'm bored with the drinks in my fridge. Bored senseless.  
Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to make a "fun" non-alcoholic drink, I combined apple juice and Perrier water and put it in a wine glass. It was not that good; however, I believe it was the best of what my fridge had to offer considering the other options were milk, water, Sunny D and prune juice. Oh, and breast milk. 
So apple juice and Perrier it was, and when poured into a wine glass it vaguely resembled Chardonnay. It's all psychological anyways right? Right?

I realize there are umpteen million recipes for non-alcoholic drinks at my Google-ready fingertips, but I would rather hear what people I know and love consume when they need to satiate their thirst while remaining sober.
So please, I beg you, save me from making a prune juice cocktail tonight and send me your favourite mocktails.  

Cheers to another patio season!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Therapeutic Baking

Almost four months ago, our family lost a very special member. My Gramma. Now, the funeral is over, our family has all gone home, and life is seemingly back to normal. That is, some kind of" new normal".
For the past three months, I have been flooded with memories of my Gramma, particularly around Easter, on a perfect spring day, or on this her birthday. I wrote about a lot of the memories I held of Gramma in a tribute to her, but once time had passed I felt that I needed to express my grief in a different way. Thus, shortly after her funeral, I turned to the kitchen.
My Gramma was great in the kitchen. Her cooking was the epitome of comfort food, and many of her baked goods and meals were staples...traditions....for her to bring for holidays. Stuffing and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Rice Krispy nests and hot cross buns for Easter, brownies for birthdays (ok just my birthday as I often requested them...I'm a bit spoiled). None of these delicious eats compared to Gramma's buns.
For my wedding shower, I was given a book of recipes from everyone who attended, and one of the recipes was for my Gramma's buns. My favourite. They are tiny balls of lighter-than-air butter-topped perfection.  On the day I decided to turn to the kitchen to think about Gramma, I decided to attempt to make her infamous buns.

The Recipe

5 cups water                                             1 large yeast
1 1/3 cups lard                                          1 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. salt                                               1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup suger                                               - set 5 min
 - warm these together

Fill large bowl 1/2 full of flour, add above "just warmed" ingredients along with yeast mixture. Stir hard until smooth then add flour till too stiff to stir. Put out on flour covered cupboard and knead until not too sticky. Put in greased bowl in warm place to rise to double in bulk, knead down and let rise again and roll out. Cut in small pieces to roll into buns. Keep hands greased
Bake 25 mins @ 375 or until brown.

This seemed to be much more complex than I originally planned. Please bear in mind that I have NEVER made buns before.
I would love to tell you that they turned out perfectly and I channeled my Gramma's spirit to the point of becoming a baking goddess. This is far FAR from what happened.

They looked good enough; however, the recipe was vague about a few ingredients so I decided to 'wing' those. Then, I over-kneaded and possibly put in the wrong type of yeast, yielding the heaviest, doughy-est (is that a word?) buns I have ever tasted. Instead of lighter-than-air they each weighed the equivalent of my newborn baby.
How I wished I had made these buns when Gramma was around to call. Despite the utter failure of my baking attempt, the smell of the buns baking in the house reminded me of Gramma and flooded me with memories of her baking in her kitchen while my brother and I sat eagerly awaiting for them at the table. It was worth the 6 lb buns and the entire afternoon of attempting to bake them in order to have that moment with Gramma.
I plan on attempting them again soon.

We miss you Gramma. Happy Birthday.



Monday, February 24, 2014

The Snoozer Bowl

It's been a difficult past few weeks in my personal life, so to cope I'm turning to blogging and writing about something completely unrelated to anything personal.

So here it goes....a very tardy and probably irrelevant blog post on....The Snoozer Bowl Super Bowl.
Almost a month ago, over 100 million viewers tuned in to watch Super Bowl XLVIII where Seattle annihilated Denver 43-8.

In years past, I have tuned in to the Super Bowl with the purpose of watching the few commercials we get in Canada related to the Super Bowl, and more importantly the half time show. This year was no exception. Perhaps the only difference is that the Super Bowl was such a blow out that other viewers who initially tuned in to watch the game joined me in finding the half time show far more entertaining. In fact, some viewers found the Super Bowl so uneventful that they dubbed it "The Snoozer Bowl" and the hashtag #snoozerbowl was born.

In past years, I have gone all out with food for the Super Bowl. See here and here for previous Super Bowl posts. This year, everything we ate came from a box or a plastic container. I didn't make a gosh darn thing. Shame on me.

Our menu consisted of the following:

Honey Garlic Wings

7 layer dip & chips
Garlic Cheese Dip & crackers
Mediterranean hummus & veggies
Peanut M & Ms for dessert

Not that exciting. Still delicious.

Similar to other years, my favourite part of the Super Bowl was the half time show. Here it is if you missed it. I had my doubts that anything could top BeyoncĂ©'s performance last year, but Bruno Mars put on a great show (not BeyoncĂ© caliber, but entertaining nonetheless). Who knew he could dance and drum like that??!! The Red Hot Chili Peppers rocked as per always...they are one of our favourite bands and never disappoint. Both the half time show, specifically Bruno Mars' performance, and the dismal performance of the Broncos birthed internet memes that can be found here. I picked out my favourites, but due to technical difficulties I am not able to post any blog pics. Ahh internet. How I loathe you sometimes.

The Super Bowl commercials were equally entertaining and though most didn't air in Canada, a quick Google search will lead you to them.

My favourites were the Full House reunion, the Seinfeld reunion, and the Budweiser commercials. They played well to my nostalgia.

I can't wait to see who makes into next year's Super Bowl, and who plays the half time show. Hopefully next year's eats will be slightly more scrumptious.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Verbal Diarrhea - The Pregnancy Edition

The Filter. A lovely and effective part of our brain which allows one to think before speaking. When our filters are working properly, we are able to engage in meaningful and pleasant conversations with others without insulting the people with whom we are speaking. Sometimes, our filters can malfunction. This often comes with little to no warning and can have disastrous results, leaving the recipient of the unfiltered thought offended, dumbfounded, and very likely to avoid conversation with the speaker in the future. I fondly call these unfiltered moments verbal diarrhea. Too graphic? Maybe. A fairly accurate description of unnecessary and unwanted unfiltered thoughts? I'd like to think so.

For those of you who do not know me, I am 39 weeks pregnant.  Throughout my pregnancy journey, people have expressed many lovely thoughts to me about the wonders of pregnancy, the miracles of childbirth, and the joys of motherhood. To those people, I say thank you. These conversations have  helped me to get through the last 117...I mean 39 weeks of knocked-up bliss (Confession: I feel like I've been pregnant forever. Remember the mom from The Glass Castle who thinks her gestation period is between 12-14 months? I'm starting to think she may have been telling the truth... ).

In contrast, there have been other people whose filters have malfunctioned while in conversation with me over the past nine months. These people have expressed sentiments to me that have been the opposite of heartwarming and have not contained any reassuring or meaningful thoughts but rather have been laced with judgement, condescension, some humour, and a lot of unfiltered thoughts.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of these precious moments that I can only refer to as moments of verbal diarrhea.

Unfiltered Thought #1: "You must be due any day now!"

The first time I heard this, I was a whopping four months pregnant. Not nine, not seven, not even five. Four whole months. It was my first day back to work after summer holidays; a day in which I took the time to do my hair for the first time in weeks, accessorize with adorable sandals, and sport a chic dress that (I thought) flattered my newly blossoming bump. I felt great. Rested. Trendy. Healthy. Tanned. Glowing! And then came the verbal diarrhea. Splat. This from a woman I have never seen before in my life.

Let's make a new rule: If you aren't sure how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, or when she is due, ask. Do not offer up when you have decided that she might be due. Do not assume that she is due anytime in the near future. Actually, scratch that.  If you don't know the woman, never ever assume that she is pregnant at all. This is dangerous territory any way you slice it. Stick to topics like the weather, or reality television. Time for "you must be due any day now" lady to get her filter serviced.

Unfiltered Thought #2: "Are you having twins?"

This unfiltered thought was said to me multiple times, often followed by a giggle, a laugh, or an all-knowing smile. Most of these times I smiled back politely, or laughed along because I was beginning to think I was indeed carrying a behemoth in my uterus.

My favourite time that this particular sentiment was questioned of me was when I let the woman know that I was in fact not having twins, to which she responded by putting her hand on my arm, looking deep into my eyes and saying "are you sure honey?" Splat. Verbal diarrhea.

Yes. Yes, I'm quite sure. I am the one carrying around this baby, attending the doctor's appointments, and hearing the heartbeat (singular heartbeat), so I am quite sure there is only one fetus in there. But thank you for your concern. It might be time for a filter service.

Unfiltered Thought #3: "Should you be ____________(eating that, drinking that, painting that, wearing that...)?"

Ok this one I have more patience for, as I feel it is said more out of concern than out of having a case of verbal diarrhea. My problem with statements like these is that I believe the fear of God is put into many women while they are pregnant, and this ultimately increases our already heightened anxiety exponentially. The list of things that we are not supposed to eat/drink/participate in/wear/be exposed to is so vast and varied that short of putting myself into a bubble I'm inevitably endangering my baby seemingly by walking out my front door.

Statements like these become cases of verbal diarrhea when, while I am drinking my decaf coffee (a great feat for me) a colleague approaches me to let me know the dangers of consuming caffeine while pregnant. Not only that, but she proceeds to go into detail about deformities and other side effects that she has heard accompany fetal caffeine exposure. Splat.

Hearing the words deformity, health risk, side effect, or any other word associated with threats to my unborn child's safety is not helpful unless you are my doctor or a very close family member or friend who has medical training. You can rest assured that I am already paranoid about the health of my baby 99% of the time. I stay up at night worrying, I obsessively read literature and research, I constantly question my unsuspecting family and friends, and I have become an unofficial Google Doctor due to the paranoia and anxiety that I have as an expectant mom.

But, again, thank you for your concern. Also, have you given any thought to that filter service?

Unfiltered Thought #4: "I don't think you are a real mother until you have a baby on your boob and one running around your feet."

Ding Ding!! Time to replace your filter!! It may also be time to get a lesson in tactful ways to respond to a woman who is excited to announce her pregnancy to you. Yes....a woman actually said this to me when she found out I was expecting a baby.

Now, I realize that some people may not believe that a mother is born until the baby is born. That's fine, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, for me I became a mom the second I found out that there was a tiny being inside of me that I was going to be taking care of, nurturing, worrying about, and solely responsible for throughout the next nine months. This little being has consumed my every thought and every action since the second I found out that he/she was a part of me. Every kick, every roll, every hiccup, every heartbeat. All. Consuming. I may not have experienced many of the things that moms who have given birth and raised their children have experienced. Not even close. I know that. But I am a mom. I am a mom.

'Nuff said.

Unfiltered Thought #5: "Are you having a boy or a girl? Turn around and I'll tell ya".

This was one of the more humorous statements that I received from a woman I barely knew.

I am familiar with many of the 'old wives tales' that supposedly tell the gender of an expectant couple's baby. I think they are fun and have tried a few myself. In fact, on my favourite show The Social, they had their wonderful (and expecting!) host Melissa Grelo try some of these to see if they were accurate.  I couldn't resist playing along, and according to the handful of gender predicting experiments they tried, I am having a boy (although our baby's gender remains a surprise).

This statement becomes verbal diarrhea when a person you hardly know asks you to turn around at your place of employment in order to inspect your backside and ultimately make a judgement about your body and your baby. It is a very strange experience to have your body suddenly on display for others to comment on.

For future reference, if I don't know your last name, I may feel uncomfortable turning around and having you inspect my bottom, or my back, or how I'm carrying. Anything that involves me facing away from you really. This may be my own insecurity, but I just can't help it.

SO...if you are asking relative strangers to turn around so as to guess the gender of their unborn child, you may need a filter check or a prescription for verbal diarrhea.

Unfiltered Thought #6: "Just Wait".

To get the full effect of this statement, one needs to say it like this: "Juuuuuuuuuuust Waaaaaaaaaaait". Filter check! Aisle Nine!

This statement is typically precluded with a person asking how I'm feeling, and me (stupidly) being honest with them and admitting to being tired/headachy/hormonal/anxious/etc. to which they respond with the aforementioned unfiltered thought. Splat.

This may come as a surprise to you, but as an expectant mother I am aware (albeit not through personal experience...yet) that my life is about to change dramatically.  No, I will not know the full extent of this life change until the fat lady sings, or the newborn baby cries, or whatever the saying is in a situation like this. That doesn't mean that upon asking how I'm feeling my answer should be belittled. All I need is a little affirmation. Perhaps a "yes that is tough", or a "that is normal!" or even an "I remember how hard that was". Just a teeny tiny affirmation. Then you can proceed with your juuuuuuuust waaaaait.

One of the most surprising discoveries for me in the receipt of all of these unfiltered thoughts/cases of verbal diarrhea has been that without exception every offender was a woman. LADIES! What are we doing to each other? We need to be more empathic, affirming, compassionate, supportive and understanding of each other! Luckily, most of the women in my life are fabulous and have been all of these things to me throughout my pregnancy experience.

Listening for other people's unfiltered thoughts has made me more aware of my own tendencies towards verbal diarrhea. It seems that from the second a couple starts dating ("do you think he is the one?"), to when they are getting serious ("is he going to propose soon?"), to the engagement ("when is your wedding??), to the minute after nuptials ("oh my gosh are you having kids right away?"), us women, myself included, are spreading our thoughts, assumptions, and general nosiness all over other women. Splat.

Let's all take the time to check our filters from time to time so we can have empowering, encouraging, and affirming conversations with each other whether with your friends, your coworkers, a hormonal expectant lady like me, or with the woman in the Starbucks line. We can put an end to verbal filtered thought at a time!


I am so curious what others have experienced in regards to Splat comments.....feel free to comment on here or on FB!