Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Two things to clear up - Catholics aren't the only Christians that observe Lent, and Lent isn't just about giving something up, it can also be about changing behaviour.

Okay, so Lent starts tomorrow.  I used to try and give something up and I only ever remember being successful when I gave up chips when I was in high school, but the only thing I gained was an aversion for the pretzels that I ate instead.  In recent years I've wanted to do something more profound but my problem is that I lack discipline for doing anything for forty days.  I have big plans and then either start it and abandon it a few days later or I don't even bother starting because I know it won't happen.  

So this is the year I'm going to try something different.  Rather than picking one activity to carry out daily during Lent, I am going to put all of these things in a bowl and pick one each day.  They are things that will be good for the mind, body, and/or spirit.  Here are some examples:

- Handwrite a note to someone
- Send an email to a friend to check in
- Bake for a neighbour
- Make a prayer list
- Play piano
- Go for a run
- Go for a walk without doing any errands
- Make some cards with E
- Invite someone for a meal
- Donate some items to Great Finds
- Donate some money to a local charity
- No social media for the day
- Go to yoga
- Clean out a drawer/closet/box
- Meat free day
- Sugar free day

To me, Lent is about making a connection with Jesus and whether you're choosing one thing to focus on, or a variety of things, like I'm doing, the point is that you're reflecting on what the Lenten season means.  Doing some of the things for just one day won't be much of a sacrifice, but as long as I'm thinking about the overall commitment to do some reflection each day, then I will be happy with the results.

Another important part of Lent is that you're doing it for yourself and for God, not so you look better than other people.  I realize that this post is sort of contrary to that, but if you're looking for a different way to observe Lent, then this could give you some ideas.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Weekend Recap

This was one of those weekends when I barely took any photos.  I did take this photo of Q when he fell asleep after eating.  I had laundry to fold and other things to do, but decided to sit a few minutes with a sleeping baby instead.

Friday night was pretty boring, Dave watched the Raptors game and I went to bed early.  But we were all up early for skiing on Saturday.  The weather has been warm and wet lately so we weren't sure what the hill would be like but it wasn't too bad.  E went to his lessons, I skied by myself, and Dave and Q hung out.  We decided not to hang around for the afternoon and went home instead.  When we got home, I went out and got some groceries, then Dave and E went to see the new Lego Batman movie.  It was bath night for Q and he was all snuggly and clean.

On Sunday, we went to church in the morning.  After lunch I did some cleaning and dinner prep, and then E and Q and I went for a walk.  E pulled these sunglasses out of his pocket. 

We went up to get some coffee beans but couldn't resist some treats like this cinnamon bun (I promise E was more pumped about that than this photo shows). 

After we got home, I put dinner together and our friend came over.  I made chicken, roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato, carrots and parsnips, and even made a gravy.  The company was good and the food was tasty.  I forgot to take a picture of our dessert, but I picked up a variety of tarts from Hot Oven Bakery.  They make a mean cherry tart. 

After supper and children put to bed, it was time to settle in for the Oscars.  I love all of it. I always point out people in the audience like they are my friends and I haven't seen them for awhile ("Hey look, it's Matt Damon!").  We even had some movie popcorn (leftover from the day before).  

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Favourites

Linking up as usual with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites.

I am so excited about the live action Beauty and the Beast coming out next month.  It was always my favourite Disney movie and I know all of the dialogue and lyrics.  I loved the clip Disney released this week of our new Belle singing the opening song.

E made this funny face with his breakfast food this week.  Making something with your food was in the latest edition of Chirp magazine so he asked to do it too. 

This little guy has been a little extra snuggly this week since I think he is teething and is a bit uncomfortable.  I'll take the cuddles even though I feel bad for him.

Our fireplace was retiled last week.  So we had this done before Christmas and then we noticed that the brick was turning yellow/brown and even appeared to be cracking.  It turns out the unit was too hot for the bricks to be applied right onto the metal, even with a special adhesive.  They had to come back, remove the brick and the concrete board, move the (new) insert to a new position so it could be covered completely with concrete board, add a few more boards, and then retile it.  This took several weeks of discussion/coordination between trades, but it is finally done, just in time for spring!  Fortunately we were able to keep using the fireplace during the last couple of cold months since the damaged tile had been removed and really there was nothing wrong with the insert itself.

E's class went to a Toronto Marlies hockey game this week and Dave was a chaperone.  They had a great time and E's school was even chosen to lead the singing of the national anthems!  He must have liked the American anthem because he sang lines from it for the rest of the night. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recipe - Korean Pork Lettuce Wraps

I have made these lettuce wraps a few times now and they are so yummy.  They are a bit hit at our house; E loves meals that he gets to build himself.  The sauce makes the meal and it really takes no time to put this together since the slow cooker does most of the work.

This time I had some leftover pulled pork in the freezer that I got out to use.  Last time I made pulled pork in the slow cooker to eat on a bun, I set some aside before adding the barbecue sauce.  This plain pulled pork was what I used for these wraps and just warmed it up in a pan.  But if you're starting from scratch with the pulled pork, then make it this way:

1/3 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
1/3 cup white sugar
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1.5 kg pork shoulder or butt roast

In a food processor, pulse together the ginger, sugar, garlic salt and pepper until the mixture forms a smooth paste; rub over the pork.  Place in slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove pork to a cutting board, let rest for 15 minutes. Remove any large pieces of fat. Shred into bite sized pieces.  If you want, you can too the pork with some of the cooking liquid to moisten it.

Ginger and Green Onion Sauce
3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced peeled fresh garlic (or the paste in the bottle from the produce section)
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp thai chili sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce (optional, I don't add it)

In a bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients until well combined.  Set aside.  Recommended to make ahead and keep in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

For the wraps
1 cup white rice cooked in 2 cups water
Boston lettuce leaves, washed and left whole

Wrap rice, pork and sauce in the lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What's up Wednesday

What we're eating this week...
Sunday - We had dinner with friends at their house (garlic fingers, steak, potatoes and spinach salad)
Tuesday - Homemade Tomato Soup and Cheese Nachos
Wednesday - Korean Pork Lettuce Wraps
Friday and Saturday - not sure yet

What I'm reminiscing about...
I love Facebook memories and although I don't always share them, I look at them nearly everyday.  Recently our trip to Tremblant showed up so I was reminiscing about that.  It was a fun weekend away with friends to ski, and although we can't do that this year, hopefully we can go next year. 

What I'm loving...
We watched Finding Dory on the weekend for the first time, and it was so cute.  E does not like Finding Nemo (to be fair, "he loses his dad" is an accurate description of the movie and that is traumatic), so we weren't sure he would like Finding Dory, but we talked him through a few "scary" parts and he liked it when it was over.  I love the octopus septipus, Hank, and E got a kick out of him too.

What we've been up to...
Getting outside.  We are lucky that Q is happy in his stroller because he has to tag along with us while E jumps in mud puddles and we play catch.  He fits right into our routine and he is a happy baby.

What I'm dreading...
I can't really think of anything that I'm dreading, there are always different challenges that come along with having a baby and a five year old, but we just take them as they come.  These are the days!

What I'm working on...
Helping E with his writing and reading.  He can write all of his letters but he needs practice doing it neatly.  We have done a bit of work with him on this before but we want to try and do it more consistently and also encourage listening, following instructions, and doing these tasks in a timely manner.  I also just recently learned the importance of doing "sight words" which for those who don't know (I was one of those people five days ago) are simple words that make up a lot of what we read (and, the, little, etc.) that should be learned so they don't need to be sounded out each time.  I found an app, called Melvin's Marvellous Words that helps kids match these sight words.  It's an older app but one recommend by the Province of Ontario. 

What I'm excited about...
The Oscars!  I have only seen one of the Best Picture nominees (La La Land), and only of a couple of the other ones with nominations, but I will still love watching the awards.  

What I'm watching/reading...
We finished watching the most recent seasons of The Affair and Homeland. We are continuing with Mr. Selfridge on Netflix. We also want to start Season 3 of The Wire (finally). 

I am reading The Girl on the Train for my book club, and I also picked up the latest Emily Giffin book, First Comes Love, at the library so I'll read that next. 

What I'm listening to...
As I mentioned in last week's Friday Favourites post, we got out our Vinyl Cafe CDs and we listened to a couple of stories on our way to skiing on the weekend.  We will miss hearing new stories about Dave and Morley.

What I'm wearing...
These Sorel Duck Boots.  Dave gave them to me for Christmas and I wore them a few times since then, but I think will be wearing them more often now and they are perfect for the muddy and wet weather of spring.  You can't see them that well here, but I'm wearing them in this photo.

What I'm doing this weekend...
Skiing, hosting a friend for supper, and watching the Oscars.

What I'm looking forward to next month...
Visits with cousins, March Break, Dave's birthday, and the arrival of spring (I'm being optimistic here but given the weather last weekend, I'm hopeful).

What else is new...
Next month we will start introducing Q to solid foods.  I made all of E's baby food and I plan to do the same for Q.  It is so easy and I like knowing exactly what I'm giving him.  I can't remember how exactly we rolled out the food for E, but I think I just followed the recommendations in the Baby Bullet book so I'll probably do that again.   Here is E trying cereal for the first time.  He was a good eater and continues to be, so I hope that Q will be too.

What is your "can't live without" beauty product?
Besides toothpaste and deodorant, there isn't much I use everyday.  I like the Arbonne FC5 Day Lotion for my face and the Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Primer for my hair before I blowdry it. 

Linking up with ShaySheaffer and Mel!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Long Weekend Recap

On Friday, E didn't have school, but he went to the YMCA for the morning.  I picked him up at lunch and we went to Mad Mexican for some quesadillas and nachos.  At our parent teacher interview with E's teacher in the morning we talked about his need for improvement with his listening, so at lunch I brought a notebook and we drew a person who is doing all the right things for listening (ears open, eyes looking at the speaker, mouth closed, etc.). Then we drew someone who wasn't listening and his mouth was open, see below. 

After lunch we went to the grocery store and then home.  They had finished tiling our fireplace (for the second time, long story) so the house was a mess.  Q slept, E watched the iPad, and I cleaned the floors. For supper we made nacho burgers.  Patties made with some Mexican spices, and then topped with fresh salsa, cheese and nacho chips.

We went skiing on Saturday morning.  Every time we drive past this barn and field, I think how pretty it is, so this time I tried snapping a photo from the moving car and it turned out pretty well.  

I caught E on his way to the big hill with his class 

I was such a beautiful day.  I put Q in the carrier and we walked around.  I sat down at the fire pit over by the tube park; it was lovely but I could have used a marshmallow and hot dog.

We decided not to stick around for skiing in the afternoon.  The hill was really busy with the long weekend skiers, and the temperature were in the teens so the snow wasn't the best.  Instead we grabbed lunch at the lodge, and went home.  We sat around for a little bit when we got home and then hopped on the subway to High Park for a muddy walk. 

Undercover on the subway.  Madam...

Following the stream of melting snow down the hill.  It was inevitable that E would be soaked but we should have put the pant legs over the boots, that would have helped a bit.  

Then we went home, got warmed up and ordered some Thai food for supper.  Q is really getting the idea of his exersaucer and he did a few rounds in that before he went to bed.  It was hard to get a photo where he isn't moving too much. 

After supper we watched the NBA All-Star weekend competitions.  We always think it will be better than it is; my favourite part is actually just the announcers talking over each other and making jokes.  On Sunday morning, Q got up at 6:00 and after eating didn't want to go back to bed, so I got up with him.  We made a cake and watched part of The Princess Bride before anyone else got up. 

After church and lunch, we went for a little walk around our neighbourhood and stopped at the playground.  It was a lovely warm day with no clouds in the sky.

That is E and Dave coming up the street

We went to our friends' house for supper.  They made garlic fingers and homemade donair sauce and it was so yummy!  The rest of the meal was great too, but the garlic fingers were a real treat. 

On Monday, I slept in a bit, and then woke up to a breakfast of bacon and eggs.  Dave went for a run and I took the boys with me to the gym.  After lunch, we took E's new t-ball set to the park for spring training.  We are going to try and sign E up for t-ball this summer and I think he will like it. 

When E climbs this part of the jungle gym, I have to look away or I have a heart attack; it is so high and I can only picture bad things happening

E was filthy when we got home

Mud, blood and snot

While E had an early bath, Q hung out in the sunshine, and I made coffee and had a piece of cake.

After supper, we watched some shows we had recorded.  Long weekend over.