We had it shipped up from my home in Nova Scotia because we finally live in a house where it will fit and where it can stay for a long time. I'll be honest, it was costly to move it up, but it is worth it to me. The piano belonged to my grandfather's family years ago (family folklore says that his father traded a horse for the piano), and he had it with him over the years and one year it was shipped down to Nova Scotia because I was going to start taking piano lessons. I took lessons from about grade four to grade twelve. I was not a concert pianist by any means, but I was a faithful student, I played in church a few times, and I wrote and passed two Royal Conservatory of Music exams, grade 3 and grade 5.
Starting at a young age with my Nana Joan
I spoke at my grandfather's funeral a couple of years ago, and I mentioned how a lot of people's memories of him were him being at the piano - he played at parties, at church, as a hobby for himself, and he even played on Bourbon Street in New Orleans one time. He could play almost anything by ear and if he didn’t know it, he could play the right chords to follow along with the singers.
Jam session with my cousin
memories of Papa at the piano are standing over my shoulder while I
played.Usually when I started playing
he would get up out of his chair and walk over to see what I was doing.
I am looking forward to playing more often, and introducing E to a musical instrument. I still have my old lesson books, but I mostly enjoy playing out of the United Church hymn book. The tunes are familiar and pretty simple to play.
In lieu of my usual Want it Wednesday post, I wanted to mention the start of the Toronto Raptors NBA regular season. They play the Atlanta Hawks tonight at the ACC. Dave is going to the game, but E and I will be watching from home.
I admit, I was not a basketball fan, other than senior boys basketball in high school (but that was probably for other reasons), until I started dating Dave in university. I claimed the old mantra of "they just go back and forth, it's so boring!" Except for baseball, most sports just "go back and forth" so that makes no sense. Dave has always been a basketball fan so I started watching, and like anything, once you understand the game and the rules, and know some of the players, it becomes interesting, and I was a fan.
I've been to a few games, even got to sit on the floor a few times, and we took E to a game last year. E pretty much likes every sport that we do, and basketball is no exception. Hopefully we can make it down for a few games this year too.
Good luck to the Raptors this year. It is their 20th season, and they have some great momentum from last year's playoff showing.
Everett's second season as a Raptor fan (the first year he was more of a bench player)
On Saturday we had E's 3rd birthday party. Maybe we were a little crazy to have a party at our house just days after moving in, but we got a lot of things organized and it was a pretty successful party.
Somewhat of a car themed party
Felt banner from Target.
I ordered these custom cookies from Sweet Flour Bake Shop for the treat bags. They turned out really well.
This is the cake that I made. I think it was the favourite from my post last week. I used Mix and Match Mama's Celebration White bundt cake recipe. I got the black icing at Michael's and just used Betty Crocker French vanilla icing dyed green. It was a perfect cake and easy to make.
Hey, a family photo with the cake!
The kids loved the icing, although the black led to some interesting smiles.
Everyone enjoyed the new gift of the race car track.
We also made cars out of cardboard boxes and used paint, glue and other items to decorate them. It was hard to take good pictures during this activity and I don't like posting pictures of the faces of other people's kids without their permission, so I don't have any I can share. The kids liked getting into the paint, and although the cars don't exactly look like the inspirations on Pinterest, they were all works of art.
I kept the food simple with homemade guacamole and chips, mango and strawberries, candy, and some delivery pizza.
Thanks to everyone who came to the party. As the first party in our new home, it helped warm it up a little more.
Today is Municipal Election Day in Ontario. If you are a resident of Ontario, exercise your right to vote and get out there! And if you aren't a resident of Ontario, remember this rant for next time there is an election in your area.
I cannot think of one good reason why you should not be voting if you are eligible to vote in this election. It goes beyond "if you don't vote, you don't get to complain about politics". In Canada voting is a right that is protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that is a big deal. It is something that is listed right after the fundamental freedoms, so it is clearly very important.
When you don't vote, I think it is akin to spitting in the face of those people around the world who do not have the right to vote in a free and democratic society, and those people who fought for the vote in our own country over the years.
We took E with us when we voted this year, at the advance polls, and it crossed my mind that we are blessed with safety when we go to vote that we don't even think twice about taking our toddler with us, and also blessed with knowledge that our votes will be properly counted. This does not happen in other parts of the world.
My response to people who say they don't vote because they don't know like any of the candidates - show up, make it known that you care, and the spoil your ballot. I've done that. Don't mark an X, or write in a candidate, or check off everyone, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that you've exercised your right that was earned for you by people that came before you.
Linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favourites!
1. New House is definitely a favourite this week. We moved in on Tuesday and we are slowly getting things organized. It is nice to have the extra space.
2. We celebrated E's 3rd Birthday on Tuesday. This is him with his gifts.
3. I got these new shoes last week, and I love them. So comfortable, and the red laces make them a little bit different.
4. Michaels. Amazing place! They had 80% off on their harvest decorations. I got a berry wreath for $3.00! I couldn't believe it. I also got a ghost to hang in the front tree for a couple of dollars too.
5. And on a more serious note, Peter Mansbridge and the CBC are my favourites. I shared this article on my Facebook, via others, that talks about CBC's respectful coverage of the Ottawa shooting. We don't always get everything right, but this was one thing that they did.
Just a little note to say my thoughts and prayers are with those in Ottawa that experienced the terror yesterday and to the family of the reservist who was killed. I have been inspired by our nation's response, the leaders, media, and citizens. We are a proud nation and that is evident. The support we have received from around the world has been humbling as well. One thing to keep in mind is that even though there are bad people in the world, they are always outnumbered by the good people.
Now onto the scheduled blog post that turns out to be somewhat fitting today, when any sort of comfort is welcome.
As you know, I am a fan of Jamie Oliver. He has just released a new cookbook, that is now on my Christmas list, called Comfort Food.
In this book, Jamie makes the classic comfort foods but uses all of the best ingredients and methods to bring you a heightened version. He said in his interview with Jian on Q that when he was asking people for their favourite comfort foods to put in this book, he said they all were accompanied with a story of when they ate it, who made it for them, how they felt when they ate it. That's really it, it's food, but the comfort comes more from the warm memories that go along with it.
I thought I would share some of my comfort foods and the stories that go along with them.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
Growing up, and being in the Atlantic time zone, my mom and I would go to the local Remembrance Day ceremonies (usually with me being in the parade as a girl guide), and then we would go home in time to catch the televised ceremony in Ottawa, of course starting an hour after ours. Mom would make us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and since it was usually grey and cold on those days, the warm food was especially welcome. Of course we ate this meal on other occasions, but to this day, but it always reminds me of November 11.
Tim Horton's Bagel with Cream Cheese and Steeped Tea with Milk
One of the best things about Tim Horton's is that you always know what you're going to get, it is consistent. I went to Cuba one year when I was in university and on the last day we may or may not have had a few too many beers and espressos, compounded by our flight being repeatedly delayed. I was so dehydrated when we got on the plane, I just felt awful. When we landed and my friend's mom picked us up, she asked what we wanted and we said "Tim Horton's". Never had any food been so welcome and so comforting. Now, when I'm not feeling well, a bagel and tea can usually make me feel better.
Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
I love a good ham dinner. I don't actually have a specific story about this meal, other than it was a standard meal at my house, my grandparents' house, and at many church suppers. It used to be the meal I would request for my birthday.
Pizza from Scotia Lunch
This is a restaurant in my hometown. When I was growing up, we would often, but not always, get pizza on Friday nights from Scotia Lunch - pepperoni, mushrooms, and green pepper on half. The crust is thick and crispy, and the cheese is thick and bubbly, and not like what we order here, or anywhere else. When I go back for a visit, we try to have this at least once, and it is exactly the same as it's always been.
But really just cherry pie that my Nana made (no offence Mom!). She knew it was my favourite and she would make it for me (from scratch mind you) when I would visit her. It was always so yummy, and she would add almond extract, which made it better. The story would always be told about their friend who, if there were any cherry pits left in the pie, would always get it, so we were reminded to watch for the pits.
Now that we have moved, and Dave can drive again (after a summer of being in a cast), I feel like my life can return to normal (whatever that is). I belonged to a gym for a long time, and then when I was on maternity leave I had a personal trainer, which was all great. Then I quit the gym (by the way, this is how I felt when I quit the gym:
And then I started doing boot camps (at 6:00 am, three times a week, yes I was a champ). For various health reasons I haven't done that in almost a year.
Now that my "routine" has returned, I need to plan and stick to some sort of exercise routine, and I need to make this a priority. I have pinned a few different workouts on Pinterest and have done some with varying success.
I would like to start with doing cardio (running or using the bike trainer) twice a week, and then do one of these workouts twice a week. I will report back in a month and let you know how I'm doing. The purpose of this post is to hold myself accountable.
Today is E's 3rd birthday. Three years ago, Dave and I were on our way to the hospital for a scheduled C-section. Sitting at the hospital, deciding on E's name, we had no sweet clue what we were in for.
Over the past three years, E has grown into a very fun, thoughtful and smart little boy, although he'll be quick to remind you he is a "big boy!". He talks so much and I love having little conversations with him about things. He has endless questions about what is going on around him, never tiring of asking "why". But when I turn it back around on him and ask "why do you think?", he usually has the right answer, so I know he is listening to us.
He loves to play with us and has such an imagination. I've really noticed over the past couple of weeks when many of his toys have been packed up that he can play for a long time with only a few things - couch cushions, little boxes, sticks, a few blocks, or just plastic containers and oranges.
E is also very kind. When other kids are crying around him, at daycare or at the playground, he tries to help them out by giving them the toy they want, or by just being quiet around them. He has three little stuffed animals that he sleeps with, Cuddly Pal, and Goat and Bear. He has decided that Goat is for me to sleep with, and Bear is for Dave, when each of us put him to bed at night. He always makes sure we have our respective animal to snuggle with as he drifts off to sleep.
He loves to spread out a blanket on the floor of his room and dance on it. He loves to help us do anything in the kitchen. He likes the regular kid shows on TV (Chuck the Truck, Bob the Builder, Thomas, etc.) but he also likes real shows like The Little Couple, This Old House, and Love it or List it. He loves being read to before bed, and likes songs sung to him before bed - I have been singing Away in a Manger year round, along with My Favourite Things.
He is well behaved when we take him out to eat at restaurants, and likes to order his own meal, even if it only comes out in a whisper when the server comes over. He eats well, and people are always impressed by his appetite. He also enjoys many different foods and will usually like what we're having. He's even getting into salad.
He loves going to school and playing with his friends. He is very independent and although he can be shy, is also able to go off to school, Sunday school, or stay with a babysitter with no problem.
He is such a sweet boy and we have been so blessed to have him in our lives for the past three years. It has been a short time, but I don't even remember life without him.
Today our house closes and we move into our new house tomorrow. Our weekend was filled with packing and eating food that doesn't involve a lot of preparation or dishes. I always have a few moments of wondering how we're going to get everything done, but it somehow always comes together.
More boxes, empty walls.
Pictures and updates of our new house will be coming soon!!
Linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favourites. Five more random highlights of my week!
1. On the holiday Monday, E and I went for a little adventure to find some lunch. We ended up at Brazil Bakery and Pastry on Dundas. I had the veal sandwich, E had grilled cheese, and they were both delicious. We didn't have any Portuguese tarts this time, but I did miss them.
2. Most of my week was spent fighting a cold, which everyone at my office has already had. I picked up some Advil Cold and Sinus Plus, very helpful.
3. Among all of the yummy leftovers from Thanksgiving, we enjoyed some pie. I snapped this picture of E on the couch enjoying his pieces.
4. I'm trying to decide what cake to make for E's birthday. The general theme of his party is automobiles. Here are some cute cake ideas.
5. I have been at Earls a number of times over the past couple of months, including this week. I have been ordering the Santa Fe Chicken Salad. I'm sure it's high in fat, even for a salad, but I take solace in the fact that much of the fat is probably from the avocado. Today I ate by myself and enjoyed a glass of wine and a new book along with the salad.