Saturday, December 27, 2008
squirters, some books, clothes, puzzles, a push car and some new baby legs. All in all, a good haul for her first Christmas.
Netos. Once the giftwrap came off, she only had eyes for her new dolly.
skytrain again and headed out to White Rock to spend some quality time with the fam. No snowshoes this time, but I did load TDSH down with a backpack filled with all of the gifts for our family.
TDSH and I got our first taste of Guitar Hero before heading the rest of the way to Grandma and Grandpa's place. Incidentally, do not ever buy Guitar Hero for me...I would never stop playing it. Poor Abner would grow up knowing all the lyrics to Sweet Home Alabama, American Woman, Eye of the Tiger, and No Sleep Till Brooklyn.
We had a great day visiting with the family. My mom prepared what had to be the tastiest turkey ever and everyone gave very thoughtful, generous gifts (which TDSH kindly carted back home like the good sherpa...I mean husband that he is).
The most memorable moment of the day was probably when my nephew opened the moose-shaped, whole wheat pasta I gave him. Note to self: Kids like toys. Not food.
My brother: What fruits are in there?
Me: Two grapefruits, three oranges, and two limes.
My brother: There are limes in there?
Me: No. There are two grapefruits, three oranges and two limes.
My brother: You mean lemons.
Me: Yeah. That's what I said.
I took a crack at several recipes for delicious treats I found online. The trickiest had to be the candied citrus peels. I got the idea from Sarah over at The Small Object (who got the idea from Martha) who made it look positively simple. I suppose it wasn't that difficult, but very, very tedious.
After carefully removing the peels from the lemons, oranges and grapefruits, you have to cut them into thin strips and remove as much of the pith as possible. If you don't get all the pith off, they can taste rather bitter. There must have been about 100 strips in the end and I used a paring knife to trim each and every one (except for the dozen or so that TDSH did while Abner napped). The result was a beautiful pile of citrus rinds and two fingers with absolutely no sensation left in them (two days later, the feeling hasn't quite returned*).
Ball canning jars and managed to fill four of them. Those are the peels in the front on the right.
Out of nowhere the other day I remembered making sweet spiced nuts as a kid and decided I absolutely had to make some for Christmas gifts. I looked through all of my cookbooks but couldn't find the recipe I used to use. Thank goodness for Google. I managed to find a recipe that was bang on! Instead of pecans, I used almonds (my fave nut) and packaged them in the same jars as the candied citrus peels. I had more than enough to fill jars for all my family and friends and still have a bunch to nosh on myself (which I did wholeheartedly).
The other item pictured above is my first ever attempt at cake in a jar. I'm sure this will be the first attempt of many, many, many more to come. I got the idea for these from the folks in The Kitchn at Apartment Therapy, who got the idea from Angry Chicken. In the end I used a recipe from Yankee Magazine for a delicious pumpkin cake. The recipe was super easy and yielded the eight jars indicated (baking recipes never actually seem to yield the amount their supposed to in my experience). As a bonus, there was some extra pumpkin left over so Abner will get to have some too.
I also whipped up some dill and thyme herb butter as part of my family's gifts, but sadly, we couldn't pack it with our other gifts on the skytrain (car is still snowed in). I have no idea if it will be tasty or not, but hey...it's butter. How bad could it be?
For some of the little kiddlets I know, I made up these hand-cut paper art pieces (only a fool would give food to a kid on Christmas! Ha, ha...family joke...will write more on this story later). No tracing involved with these...just freehand carving of paper with an exacto blade. I'm really pleased with the results and hope to make more of these in the future.
I had a lot of fun working on these gifts and I think everyone enjoyed getting them (I know my mom liked the cake...she had it for breakfast today). I only hope that next year I can make every gift we give.
* Funnily enough...this isn't the first time I've lost the sensation in my fingers. There was a nasty little incident while waterproofing the seams of a tent a number of years ago. Let's just say, if the instructions call for you to wear protective gloves while applying a product, you should do it. Unless, of course, you don't want to have any feeling in your fingertips for six months.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I've lived in snowy climes for most of my life (Prince George and Williams Lake to be precise), but never have I actually been trapped at home due to snow. I tried to head out the the grocery store this afternoon, but had to turn back because my tires were spinning in the snow and I couldn't get up the hill to the main road (which was tauntingly clear of snow). So I guess that means I'm "crappy-all-season-tired in" as opposed to strictly "snowed in".
Even though the car couldn't get out and enjoy this beautiful winter day, doesn't mean we couldn't. We bundled up Abner in her snazzy new snow suit (which we have dubbed the bear suit) and did what every other parent does three days before Christmas...we went to the mall. We did manage to enjoy the white stuff along the way though.
I especially love the synchronized snow angels at the bottom!
Monday, December 22, 2008
After polling just about everyone we know with kids, we opted to buy the Britax Marathon to cushion Abner's little bum for the next few years. It was a little on the pricey side, but it has a fantastic safety rating. I especially love the denim fabric that we picked out. I imagine it a few years from now all soft, worn in and faded - just like an old pair of jeans (albeit a pair of jeans with food mashed into 90% of the material).
First of all...who's brilliant idea was it to tether the instruction manual to the seat? The tether is only six inches long for Pete's sake! Plus, you need to stow the manual under the seat in order to properly fit the cover before securing the seat. If you need to refer to the instructions for any of the next steps, you have to undo the whole damn thing. Are you supposed to read ahead and just hope and pray that you remember all of the next steps correctly? "I don't know what these are for honey...I'm pretty sure it said they weren't very important."
Secondly, why not write the instructions in the order in which they will be needed? How am I supposed to know that the first thing I should do is adjust the harness height if it's not the first instruction written? If it's so important, why is it in chapter six? If you follow the steps exactly as they describe, you would have the whole thing installed before realizing that you need to adjust the harness height - which requires the seat to be out of the vehicle! I've seen better instructions come with my Swedish furniture.
Finally, if providing an instructional video to assist consumers, make it realistic. The woman on the video must have been installing her seat in a freakin' limo for the amount of space she had to work with. She could comfortably crouch on the floor of her car with her beautifully manicured hands, and effortlessly install her Marathon in minutes. I, on the other hand, had my ass crammed up against the windshield, my left foot braced against the driver's seat, my right leg sticking out the window and my fingers crammed into the tiny space between the latching mechanism and the seat belt buckle. Well, maybe it wasn't that bad, but it did take at least an hour to finally get everything just right.
And then I discovered the optional instructions...arggghhhh!
You know what though? It was all worth it. Both times Abner has been in her new seat, she's fallen asleep within moments. She hasn't slept in her old carseat in months. A high safety rating AND it puts her to sleep! I must go do my happy dance.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here's how a New Mommy Cookie Exchange works: Rather than baking dozens of cookies for this exchange, I asked each participant just to bring along one dozen cookies - either homemade or store-bought. To ensure no one went home with the same cookies they brought, everyone passed theirs to the next youngest baby in the group.
It worked like a charm. We each got a sampling of delicious cookies that we didn't have to make ourselves and rather than bringing home dozens of cookies to overwhelm our waistlines, we only walked away with a dozen - a far more reasonable amount.
I came home with some delightful treats from my friend Kathy and her little guy Mason, while my friend Kim and her babe Logan (the youngest baby in the group who slept peacefully throughout) wound up with my last-minute, never-fail gingersnaps (though I've already mentioned this lesson in an earlier post, I think it bears repeating: do not attempt a new recipe the morning of a cookie exchange).
Here's the recipe if you're interested. I think it originally came from The Joy of Cooking.
- Cream 3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, and 1 egg till fluffy.
- Sift together 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (which I never seem to have so I use allspice)
- Stir into molasses mixture.
- Form into small balls
- Roll in granulated sugar and place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet
- Bake at 375 for 12 minutes
- Make about 5 dozen (more like 3)
Just consider yourself warned...if you make a batch, you will likely wind up eating more than any sane person should in one sitting.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I'm sure she'll forgive him since they brought this fantastic book as a gift for Abner. The illustrations are adorable and the story (only three words!), about a little chimp on a hunt for his mom and a hug, is now one of my favorite reads. The best part is giving her a hug each time we read the word "hug" (which happens a lot).
In the span of 35 minutes, she puked seven times - thoroughly coating her sleep sack and me in a wash of half digested yams, rice cake and milk. Yum.
She didn't seem terribly bothered by the whole thing but it sure took the wind out of her sails. It was quite adorable to see her all curled up on the floor with her daddy as she finally drifted back to sleep. Thankfully, she only woke once in the night and was able to get a good night's rest. I'm happy to report that she's her usual lively self this morning.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Phew...I'm tired just thinking about it.
We had a great time taking Abner to her very first parade last weekend. We met up with our friend Daniel and his little girl, Linnea, in the bitter cold of downtown Vancouver [yes all you Easterners...it actually was cold].
poutine and to wait in line for the only change table in the food court.
If you're reading this Kerith, don't worry, Linnea didn't have any poutine and Daniel showed incredible restraint! Just look at this picture...that's determination on his face. "I will not eat all the poutine. I will not eat all the poutine. I will not...." The look on TDSH's face however, says something different, "Ha ha! Your loss sucker. I'm eatin' that poutine." Well, okay, maybe that's not what he was saying.
We were also invited to attend my mom's Christmas musical this past week. In my family, the children attend their parent's musical. It's a bit backward but that's what happens when your mom is an elementary school music teacher. Here we are eagerly waiting for the show to start.
Some of the other audience members need to learn a thing or two about appropriate audience behaviour. For the record, just because your three-year-old wants to run up the aisle and sing along with the performers doesn't mean you should let him. Especially if such behaviour may lead to my mother getting knocked off her feet. My mom picking your kid up and marching him back down the aisle should have been your first clue. Grrr.
Glad I could get that off my chest. It all turned out well in the end. One of the perks of knowing the music teacher is a chance to walk on the stage.
- Leave the stroller at home if you're going to a parade. No one likes a stroller at a parade. Trust me.
- The 1812 Overture can, in fact, be a lullaby - enormously entertaining to watch Abner flinch in her sleep each time the drum blasts sounded.
- Do not try to bake a new recipe for a cookie exchange...especially the morning of. On the positive side of this lesson, it's good to have a tried-and-true recipe that you can whip up in a moment's notice -- thank God for gingersnaps.
- Christmas parties are far more entertaining with a baby. It's like a built in conversation starter. It helps if the baby is cute.
- Do not believe the information online about a store's "current stock available". It's wrong half the time anyway. It's wrong three quarters of the time if you've had to drive more than half an hour to get to the store. It's wrong all of the time if you've had to drive more than half an hour to get to the store and it's raining.
- Do not delay in posting about life's events on your blog.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Unless you've been living under a rock, you may have noticed that Canadian politics got a little more interesting this week. And by a little more interesting, I mean a hell of a lot more confusing for the average Canadian (let's be honest...Social Studies was a loooong time ago for most of us).
Need to catch up with the action? Knitting blogger extraordinaire, The Yarn Harlot, has prepared a succinct and informative summary of the events so far (CBC, CTV, Global and CITY be damned! I get my news from a knitter!). So, turn down the Celine Dion, kick off your Sorels, have a seat on the ol' chesterfield, grab a nice cup of Timmy's and read about why our system of government kicks ass. I present to you: "What is happening in Canada" according to the Yarn Harlot.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Miranda was a Portobello West virgin so she didn't know quite what to expect, but I think she was suitably impressed with the array of locally-made, handmade goods available. For those of you who know about Etsy, it's basically like walking through a real life version of the site. Though I was certainly tempted, I didn't buy anything. I really had my heart set on buying a sweater for myself and a hair clip for Abner, but when I didn't find anything appropriate it kind of killed my mood to buy anything else. I did enjoy shopping vicariously through Miranda though. Such cute things she picked up.
As an extra bonus, I got to see my old friend June Hunter who was selling her incredible jewelry, tiles and such at the market. I highly recommend checking out her stuff if you're looking for Christmas gifts for someone special in your life.
After leaving the market, we headed to the Drive for a bite to eat. Foolishly, we headed for Little Nest and made it all the way in the door before realizing how stupid it was to go to a family-friendly restaurant without the kids in tow.
After a little shopping, we wound up at Stella's (far more suitable for two mommies on the loose!). We were happily drinking our beers and chatting away when our conversation inevitably turned to every new mom's favorite topic - pooh. Apparently the snooty couple next to us didn't appreciate hearing about how the night before TDSH had inadvertently put his hand down right into the poopy diaper he'd just taken off Abner. They were totally giving us dirty looks yet trying to look like they weren't listening in on our conversation.
It was Miranda's story that drove them out of the restaurant without ordering though...as she told me about her baby Cole's, how should I put this...need for stewed prunes, she instead said it was her husband who was having...ahem...difficulty (sorry Jamie). Sure enough, Mr. and Mrs. Snooty were listening! They were up and out of their seats in a flash. They had already been quite rude to the server so I think she was grateful for their departure. Nicely done. Score one for poopy stories.