Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites!

Thanks for stopping by. 

1.  I am loving this promo for the Women's World Cup, hosted by Canada this year.  These girls look amazing.  We are definitely going to be promoting this event in our house this year.  Girls rock!

2. My new favourite restaurant is Playa Cabana Cantina on Dundas West in the Junction.   I am happy enough with guacamole and chips and a lime margarita on the rocks, but their tacos are amazing, especially the short rib one.  I met some girls here on Tuesday night this week, loved the atmosphere and can't wait to go back!

3. I purchased a dress at the Gap this week, totally an impulse buy.  I can't wear it to work because it is strapless, but I could not resist the colours. 

4.  E's favourite thing was going to the park with Dave on Thursday evening.  I was out yet again so Dave picked him up from school on the bike and they had a picnic in the park and played at the playground.  Seriously when did this kid get so big?!

5. I love sitting outside and enjoying our backyard.  It is shady back here so it should still be nice even when it is hot.  It is quiet and private.  We have about 4 squirrels that hang out, a couple of cardinals, some robins and this bee.  Happy we planted flowers that attract the pollinators.

Enjoy the last weekend of May.  My favourite month of June is almost here!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicken Nuggets aka Cereal Chicken

This week's recipe is courtesy of Dave and E.  When I was out last week they made these chicken nuggets for supper, and they documented the steps with photos, so I had to share it on here.

E called these cereal chicken because they coated the nuggets with Vector cereal.

First you pour some cereal into the bowl, and crushed it up with your hands.  You can also add some panko bread crumbs.   In another bowl, whisk up two eggs (although one may be enough).

Cut up your boneless, skinless chicken breast into small pieces.  Dip each one in the egg and then in the cereal mixture. 

Dave likes to make the chicken nuggets by raising them up off the cookie sheet on a rack.  The silicone mat is still underneath to keep the cookie sheet clean.  This helps them get crispy so they aren't sitting in the fat as they cook.  It also helps them from sticking to the pan. 

Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.  

They enjoyed their cereal chicken with carrots and celery with peanut butter.  They dipped them in honey mustard and ketchup. Other suggestions would be honey, thai chilli sauce or BBQ sauce. 

Looks like a great meal to me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What's up Wednesday?

Linking up with Shay and Sheaffer for What's up Wednesdays.  I love this link up idea because it is a nice recap of our month.

What we're eating this week...
Monday - fish tacos
Tuesday - I went out and Dave and E had leftover Chicken Fajita Soup
Wednesday - Macaroni and Cheese
Friday - leftovers
Saturday - Lemon Parm Pasta

What I'm reminiscing about...
When the weather warms up I always think about summer in Halifax when we were done university, but people hadn't started their full time jobs yet.  I worked at a restaurant and since it wasn't that hot out yet, I would only have a few shifts a week in May.  I used to go for a run, shop, read, and then go out at night.  One of our favourite spots was the Split Crow on Thursday nights.  Draft beer was $1.25 (or 3 for $5).

What I'm loving...
Bloodline.  This is a great show, we have only three episodes left. Can't wait to see what happens. Basically what I've learned so far is that I want to live in the Florida Keys.  Then we'll have to find something else to watch.  The Wire seems to be high on everyone's recommendation list.

What we've been up to...
Trying to whip our yard into shape.  We have a weird lot that is a reverse ravine.  When the previous owners dug out the basement they dumped a lot of the dirt into the backyard.  Someday we will properly landscape it but right now it's like a sand pit.  We're just trying to make it look somewhat presentable with some flowers.

What I'm dreading...
Remembering to water our plants.  As I've said before, I am not a good gardener and watering plants isn't high on our priority list.  Dave is going to set up an automatic watering system for some of our plants but we will still need to remember about the rest of them. 

What I'm working on...
Cleaning up odds and ends.  I had a busy May at work but not big projects, just a bunch of little things.  I want to get them as complete as possible so I can bill for the work!

What I'm excited about...
Going to Prince Edward Island next month.  Dave is going for a golf trip and I am going to tag along to visit my friend (who was also my maid of honour).  E is going to stay with Dave's parents.  One of the things I'm looking forward to the most is being at the airport and on the plane without a child!

This is us in Vegas, but I'm hoping we can still find some mojitos on the Island

What I'm watching/reading...
 I finished A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout.  Our book club is tonight and usually I do a whole post about our selection, but instead I'm doing this post.  I will say that I liked reading the book, it was a quick read and very interesting.  This book is about a Canadian journalist who was kidnapped in Somalia with her Australian companion and they were held for over a year.  I definitely had sympathy for her but I also questioned her decision to travel to Somalia when it was so dangerous.  Usually, I am in full support of people who travel to other parts of the world to do important work, even when they run into trouble.  My thought is that even though I would never do that (report on war zones, provide medical care in troubled areas, help rebuild countries, etc.), I am happy that there are people out there that do those things, and we should help them.  In this situation, Amanda was a serial traveller, you know the type, the ones that are set on racking up countries visited, with bonus points for Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.  Although she was a journalist of sorts, I think her motivations were more for crossing another dangerous country off her list, rather than providing actual value as a journalist.  Just my thought, but still a good book.

And on a completely different note, I'm also watching The Bachelorette, of course! #teamkaitlyn

What I'm listening to...
I said last week that I wanted to listen to more singer-songwriter music.  I do try to tune into CBC Radio 2 for their morning and afternoon programs, I usually just head for Kiss 92.5 so I can get my fill of songs that I can sing along to.

What I'm wearing...
Bracelets.  I know you can wear bracelets in the winter too, but now that I have more bare arms, I like to wear bangles and other bracelets.  

This selection ranges from Stella & Dot, Old Navy, House of Moda, to the Black Market in Halifax.

What I'm doing this weekend...
Dave is riding in the Becel Ride for Heart bike ride on Sunday.  He is doing the 75K.  It starts at 6am so although we won't be there to send him off, we will be at the finish line to cheer him on.  Then on Sunday night we are going to a neighbour's for a BBQ and I am going to take this salad

What I'm looking forward to next month...
My birthday, PEI, camping at Sandbanks, my mom's visit, and golfing

What else is new...  
E is enjoying soccer and helping us in the garden.

What is your favorite thing to grill in June?
Beer butt chicken.  It is so easy and good.  It is always a crowd pleaser. I just make a spice rub and put it all over the whole chicken.  Then take a can of beer, drink a bit of it since you don't want it too full, and put the chicken over the top and arrange it so it is standing up.  It is important to cook the chicken on a pie plate or tin foil otherwise the BBQ flames will set it on fire (this has happened to me a couple of times).  It takes about an hour on the grill.  So yummy.
My spice rub recipe:  1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tsp crushed black pepper, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

My weekend sort of started on Thursday night when I got to go bowling with people from my office.  This was an official "work event".  We have done bowling nights before but I must say this was one of the best ones we've ever had, it may or may not have had something to do that we all had a drink or two, which is not always the case.  I did not do as well as I would have liked, but it was a great night.

On Friday night, I had a pretty easy night.  Dave went to the movies (Mad Max), and I stayed home to watch the Bachelorette.  I am definitely Team Kaitlyn so I'm so happy she was picked.  Can't wait to see the rest of the season!

On Saturday, we got up and headed to swimming lessons on our bikes.  The way our house is situated, it is necessary to go up a hill to get anywhere, so swimming lessons was no exception.  We made it up the hill but it was tough especially since I had only been up for less than 30 minutes and hadn't even had a sip of coffee yet!   After swimming we visited our new local farmer's market at the Junction.  We enjoyed a few yummy treats and even saw our friends there.  The hill notwithstanding, I am looking forward to making a bike ride to the market a regular part of our summer.

Peameal bacon sandwich with fresh tomato and kale, very tasty!

We pickup some cured meats and pretzels here.

Our rides

Enjoying my cheese pretzel at the park on our way home

After we got home we took a little rest and then went to Plant World to see what we could find for our garden.  I am not a gardener, I can barely keep a house plant alive.  If someone made me a gardening plan I could put it together, and maybe keep it alive throughout the summer (with an automatic watering system), but I have hard time coming up with good ideas for the garden.  I don't really know what looks good, what works for a sunny or shady area, etc. I know that we won't be able to make a perfect garden this first year, but we'll see how it goes. 

Our haul

We did a bit of work around the garden and I enjoyed this Guinness in celebration of Ireland's vote in favour of same sex marriage.

In the evening we headed down the block for a BBQ with some neighbours.  We knew the hosts and one other couple but we got to meet a couple of other families, and they have little girls who will be in E's class in the fall.  It was great to meet more neighbours.  We have another neighbour BBQ this weekend that we are looking forward to. 

On Sunday we went to church.  It was Pentecost Sunday and several teenagers were being confirmed as members of the church.  It brought back memories of my confirmation classes when I was in high school.  It was really special to see each of the families up there with the kids.  

After church we walked up the street to find something for lunch and to get groceries.  We also found some ice cream!

We worked on the garden for the rest of the afternoon.  We were only able to get the back done.  Here  is sneak peak. I'll be sharing the whole thing on a Show and Tell Tuesday in June. 

Someone got a little dirty helping us.  It was straight up to the shower when we came inside.

Obviously we were pretty tired at the end of the evening, so we capped our night off with some Game of Thrones.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

E started soccer last week.  He seemed to really like it and he caught onto the direction he was supposed to kick the ball.  It's so cute to see the little kids trying to figure out their coordination.

E has taken several sessions of swimming lessons, he has done skiing, and he did one session of Sportball (each week has a different sport theme), but now that he's in soccer, I feel like he is "in the system" of team sports.  We're on the snack schedule and Dave has volunteered as the assistant coach.     I didn't grow up playing team sports so this is all new to me.

There are so many opportunities for kids' activities in Toronto.  Every sport, dance, music, theatre, art, language, film making, scouts, cooking classes, circus acrobats, etc.  This is, of course, on top of actual school (although if you want a specialized school, those are available too), and church, if you're so inclined.  Plus aren't kids supposed to be playing too?  It becomes overwhelming when you think of all of the things you can introduce to your children, and of course you want to give them every opportunity.  

I would love if E found a sport that he loved so much that could take him to the Olympics or the PGA Tour (haha, kidding not kidding).  I'd like him to ski so we could do it as a family (but I'm scared to death of ski racing).  I don't want him to play hockey.  I'd like if he could play the piano.  But really these are just things that I like to do, so am I just "forcing" him to do what I like?  Probably.  Dave grew up playing baseball, basketball and golf and I'm sure he'd like E to be interested in those things too.

So what about everything else out there?  How do you give your kids the opportunity to explore new things without over programming them?  Sure, eventually they will know what they like and if you listen to them then you can sign them up for whatever it is.  But what if you've missed the opportunity to be "elite" at something because they didn't start when they were 3 years old?

There are no easy answers to these questions, and probably since I'm not elite at any sports, nor do we have unlimited resources (in both time and money), then these problems are not really ours.  I guess we'll just keep signing E up for different things, try to keep him somewhat well-rounded, and we'll figure out what he's really interested in.

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I'll be at Augusta for the Masters one day.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites!

I'm going to hijack this post of my usual Friday Favourites because tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary.  We got married in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on May 23, 2009.  It was a beautiful weekend and we were very lucky to have so many friends and family celebrate with us.  In honour of our anniversary I wanted to tell you my five favourite things about our wedding day.

 1. Our cake. I loved our cake, it had fondant on that outside and I love fondant.  We kept the top layer in our freezer to eat on our first anniversary and I honestly thought about it for the whole year.  Unfortunately the place that made our cake decided not to continue with wedding cakes. 

2. Getting married in Halifax.  This is where we met and spent our university years.  It was good to be back home and introduce some of our family and friends to the city.

3. Having our grandparents there.  All of them are gone now.  The lady in the blue dress is Dave's Nana Hazel, and the other couple is my grandparents, Nana Do and Papa Doug.

4.  We did a thing at the beginning at the night where all of the couples in the room started the dancing.  Then the DJ asked those that weren't married to step away, the those that were married for less than 5 years to step away, etc., until we got to those had been married for more than 60 years.  My grandparents ended up as the only couple on the floor.  They were married in August 1947.

5. Marrying my best friend. I always say Dave is "my favourite Davies" which is certainly true since I don't know any other "Davies" but he is my favourite guy for sure.  We've been doing pretty good these past 6 years, so here is to many more!!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Grilled Chicken

After sharing all of the salad recipes, I wanted to show you quick way to make chicken to add to your salad to make it a full meal.  

Tear off a large piece of parchment paper and place it on the counter.  Pour out some cajun spice, cornmeal, and salt on the paper.  There are no measurements here really, but use equal parts cajun spice and cornmeal, and then just a bit of salt.  Mix them together.

Put a boneless skinless chicken breast in the mixture and coat both sides.  Turn the parchment paper over the chicken and pound down with something heavy.  I use a rolling pin.  Flatten them down so they are pretty thin.  Make sure all parts of the chicken are coated in the spice.  If you need more you can always sprinkle more on the parts of the chicken that need it. 

Have your pan preheated and then add some olive oil.  We have a cast iron frying pan and that does the trick.  It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to cook the chicken, must less than a regular chicken breast.  Then just slice it up and serve next to your salad.  Yummy.

This is our favourite kale salad with the chicken on the side.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Media Wednesday

I am not really into music.  I pretty much just listen to what is on the radio, and my top Songza playlists are "Pop Anthems", "Today's Pop Hits" and "The Ultimate 90s Party".  I'm a "teeny-bopper" and always have been.  I like other music too, stuff that isn't so "mainstream" but seeking out music isn't really a priority of mine like it is for other people.

I did, however, pay close attention to this year's CBC Searchlight contest, the search for Canada's best new artist.  One of the groups, Devan & Khalid, really took off and I really enjoyed their music so I voted for them exclusively.  They were named the Top Toronto Artist and were in the Top 10 for the whole country.  

Now, full disclosure, Khalid is my cousin.  His mother and my mother are cousins.  But I really do like their music.  They got a lot of exposure from the Searchlight contest and now they are booking shows in Toronto and beyond. You can download their EP for free on their website.  They have original songs, Khalid plays guitar, they both sing.  

We went to their show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Monday night.  They had a big supportive crowd there and it was great to see some live music.  It took me back to my university days when we would go out to see live music like Steve Bowers and Big Fish.  I had to keep reminding myself that I'm not actually 23 like I still think that I am. 

If you like good music, I'd encourage you to check them out.  You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.  Just search for "Devan and Khalid" on any of these sites and you'll find them.  You can keep your eye out for their next show.  

I'm going to try and expand my musical selections beyond Taylor Swift and Pitbull (not that I don't love both), but there is so much good music out there, especially local music that I would actually have the opportunity to hear live, so I'd like to see what else is out there. 

Do you have any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday

Linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for Show and Tell Tuesday.

Today's theme is your "momfessionals" moments.  Being a parent is tough work and there are a lot of times when I wonder if we are doing the right things, if we're doing enough to teach E how to be a good person, a smart person.  But there are times when I feel like we're doing pretty well, and that we've pieced together enough advice, as well as relying on our own gut instinct, to have our own "success" at parenting.  

I have shared some of these stories before:

When I read Andrea's post on Monday, her version of a momfessional moment is when you don't have it altogether.  One of those instances comes to mind - one year we were driving to Dave's parents house in December.  E had just turned one.  Dave's parents live about 2.5 hours from us.  Since we had left at 3:00 or so, we had planned to be there for suppertime.  Therefore I had only brought one banana for a "snack" for little E.  Unfortunately a snowstorm hit just about the time we were leaving and iced up the roads.  It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Hamilton from Toronto, which in good times takes about 45 minutes.  We were stuck in traffic and poor E was hungry and we didn't have any food for him besides that banana, and that was then long gone, and a little bit of water.  He was so upset and we felt so bad even though there was nothing we could do.  We eventually got out of Hamilton and out of the traffic.  We stopped at the first place we could and I ended up feeding him pieces of chicken from a Tim Horton's sandwich.  He ended up just fine, of course, but I definitely didn't feel like a professional parent at that point.  Since then, however, I have never been without lots of snacks, even for myself when I'm not sure how long I'll be away from a food source.  Lesson learned.

I know we all have these stories, it's just a part of being a parent!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Recap

Our weekend is ongoing, since today is a holiday.  Have I mentioned I love long weekends?  Not that I don't like working, but to have a little break every once in awhile is nice.

On Thursday night Dave's parents arrived for the weekend.  On Friday, E stayed home from school and Dave took a holiday too.  Dave set to work on the shed.  He is rebuilding one of the walls since the circa 1953 construction was failing and would not support his new shelves and cabinets.  He had to pour some cement to build up the wall, and then he did the framing and put in a new window.  His dad helped him do a lot of this this weekend and it looks great.

Dave's mom and E kept busy tidying up the yard, going to the park, and running errands.  On Friday night, our friend from Switzerland came to stay with us for the night.  We had a nice dinner of BBQ'd bacon cheeseburgers and french fries.  

On Saturday morning we got up early, leaving E at home with Dave's parents and went golfing.  This was my first round of the year.  I did alright, 109.  

On Saturday evening, we said good bye to Kevin as he flew back to Geneva.  We were sorry we didn't have a longer visit and sorry that Allison couldn't come too.  Hopefully we make it over to visit them soon.  

We went for supper at Queen Margherita Pizza. Everyone enjoyed their meal. 

We walked home through the playground.  Grandma and E jumped together on this.

I took this picture looking up in our backyard.  I love the evening light.

On Sunday morning, E and I went to church.  Dave and his parents stayed home to keep working on the shed and cleaning up the backyard.  In the afternoon we climbed on our bikes and went down to the waterfront and then High Park.  It was a glorious day.  

We were all tired when we got home but we did stay up for Mad Men!!  I love that show, I am sad it is over. 

We still have lots of plans for today - a picnic lunch at the park, dinner out for Dave and I, and some live music at the Horseshoe Tavern.  I'll post some pics of these things later.