27 June 2008

[Talk: OOOO Linens]

When we got married, we had a queen bed. And we were blessed to receive a few different sets of sheets that lasted us a loooong time. In fact, we still use them - but that bed is now a guest bed and we moved to a king 4 years ago.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that our king sheets were fraying - and thought I should look into getting a new set. The best place? Home Sense. I got a set of king sheets, 1000 thread count, for just over a $100. WOW. Considering, I bought our first set of king sheets at LnT for almost $200 and they were only 350 thread count.

OOOO ... I'm so excited to sleep in them tonight!

And as for yesterday - I spent the day at a Photography Workshop. That was a REAL treat - having a full day, learning about something that I'm interested in. It was taught by David duChemin - you can check out his site for totally inspirational work: http://pixelatedimage.com/. The class was as entertaining as it was educational - a real pleasure to be at. And to top it off, my GF and I were even able to snag lunch at Milestones. SUCH a treat!

But for today - I'm packing up - our family is off to a local island with friends for the weekend. Long live the Canada Day Long Weekend!! I'll be bringing my laptop JUST in case I can Digiscrap at night ... love to use my time wisely *wink*.

Have a lovely weekend, full of the things that are important to you!!

25 June 2008

[Make: ANZAC Cookies]

I have duel citizenship with Canada and New Zealand. My mom's a Kiwi, and although I was born in Canada, I was able to get citizenship through her. New Zealand has filtered through my life from the very beginning. My parents had met in Canada, wed in New Zealand, lived there for a few years, had my brother, then returned to Canada and had me. But up until the last few years, I had returned to NZ every 12-24 months to visit family and vacation in the beautiful sun. So NZ is "home away from home" for me.

Obviously, NZ cooking was a normal affair in our home. Instead of roast beef, we had roast lamb with mint sauce. Instead of apple pie, we had pavlova. Instead of mashed potatoes, we had crispy, roast potatoes and yams. And I thought everyone lived like that. It wasn't until I got married that I realized how each home is it's own culture - and even though my husband and I were both from Canada, our ethnic roots had a lot of baring on what we ate.

All that to say, I'm trying to continue some of that tradition of NZ cooking in my home. I've recently purchased 4 cookbooks from Sophie Gray (the Destitute Gourmet ... www.sophiegray.com ). My cousin has these books and they are INCREDIBLE. They are urban, easy, impressive and contain ingredients that you would normally have in your home. They are full of tips and clever ideas. I can't get them soon enough ... but will have to wait for the delivery. I couldn't find them anywhere in Canada or the States (stores or online) - so I ordered them off of the website.

That leads me to this recipe. Now - for obvious copyright reasons, I want to be respectful of recipes that are NOT my own. However, I searched this recipe of Sophie's and found it everywhere. It is not an original recipe. And since I'm giving a MASSIVE "shout out" to her fantastic books, I'm hoping that she won't mind me sharing this one with you.

ANZAC cookies are Australian New Zealand Army Corps biscuits. They are crunchy on the outside and yummy on the inside. They have no eggs in them and are full of coconut. SO GREAT. Even my Italian father-in-law ate them with his espresso the other night *wink*.

So they HAVE to be good!

ANZAC Cookies

3/4 cup flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 1/3 cups coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda


- Combine flour, rolled oats, coconut and sugar. Make a well.
- Melt butter and syrup in a small saucepan.
- in a separate bowl add boiling water to baking soda, then pour into butter/syrup mixture. It will foam.
- pour into dry ingredients.
- place tsp sized balls onto a cold, greased cookie tray.
- bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, until dark golden brown.
- while still warm, remove to a cooling rack.

24 June 2008

[Organizing: The "To Do" List]

I like lists. They make some people go mental, but for me - they give me a sense of completion, of accomplishment. But it's frustrating when you take something off your list, only to have it added on the next day. But that's how it goes for us SAHM's. Our office is our home ... we start work the INSTANT we open our eyes. Making beds, tidying the bathroom, getting the kids clothes ready for the day ... And that's before we even walk down the stairs. Then, for me, it's a "OK - what needs to be done and what CAN I get done?"

I try to be efficient with everything I do. I don't go up the stairs unless I have enough stuff to put away. I go to the bank on the way home from Costco, because it's on that side of the road. And I'm learning that I it's a waste of time to tidy up the house 10 times throughout the day. I mean, the boys are taught to put their toys away when they're finished with them and before they start a new activity - but the "stuff" that accumulates gets cleaned up 3 times now. Once before lunch, once before my husband comes home from work, and once before bed.

I have found this type of scheduling to be very helpful:

Sundays: church, Costco grocery shop, clean out fridge
Monday: laundry, healthy baking (snacks for the week), dinner at in-laws
Tuesday: change all sheets,fruit/veggie grocery shop
Wednesday: mall-day (playground for boys, Walmart supplies for me)
Thursday: vacuum main, dust main, library with boys
Friday: vacuum stairs & upstairs, any appointments (ie haircuts, dr. appt etc...)
Saturday: all bathrooms and bedrooms

Of course, there are exceptions to everyday. And obviously, there is more to be done in the day than just those things ... play dates, dinner preparing, family walks to the park ... but you get the idea.

Today's list:

*changed the sheets last Thursday and we were away for the weekend*
make snack for morning at the lake w/boys
HH12 gifts (a girl's group I'm in ...)
Tias' preschool "family day" at the lake
pick up a few groceries
make dessert to tonight's HH12
input banking onto my computer
Pilate's workout
dust main floor
make dinner
bathe boys
put boys to bed
HH12 group

It's a pretty average day. Hope the sun comes out for the lake!!

23 June 2008

[Digiscrap: Some old, some new]

I'm in the process of finishing up a "Thank You" album for my Dad. He and I ventured off to New York last month, along with my Uncle and cousin, Teri. It was 5 GLORIOUS days of being selfish - not worrying about kids or husbands *grin*. We did everything imaginable - saw Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, we were audience members of "The Late Show" with David Letterman (Sarah Jessica Parker was the guest ...), we ate at fantastic restaurants, saw "Hairspray" and "Mama Mia" ... it was the BEST. And I'm currently on page 40 of the album *grin*. PAGE FORTY!! For FIVE DAYS. Seriously. I took about 12oo photos and have a story for most of them ...

ANYWAY - I'm not showing anything of that YET, because I want it to be a surprise for my Dad. Well. Maybe ONE page. The Title Page. But that's it.

The rest are pages done recently.


click image to enlarge view

...the title page. Shhhh.

22 June 2008

[Talk: It's a Sad Day When ...]

Mattias is a drummer. He's our 3 year old boy - turning 4 soon enough - and has been hitting a beat since he was 6 months old. He's not a superstar - but he can actually PLAY fairly complicated rhythms and I love to play along with him on the piano.

We started posting up his video clips on youtube, mainly for overseas family and such. With all of his little clips combined, he's had over 15,000 hits ... probably all from his Zia Silvia (Aunt) *grin*. So they're all drumming clips, except for one - and this is what has caused me to write this blog today.

We haven't taught Mattias any Sunday school songs...we're too busy showing him current music trends in the Christian music world - and he's far more into that. BUT - one night he started singing "Jesus Loves Me". I had never taught it to him - so I ran, got my video camera, filmed it, and put it on youtube for my family and friends to see.

Yesterday, I received this comment at the youtube site:

"It's child abuse to put religious ideas in children' minds, and I hope it will be crime in the future. If you want to believe in God, Alhá, Santa Claus or the Invisible Pink Unicorn, that's your bussines, but leave kids alone. Now he sings "Jesus loves me" then he will be crashing planes on buildings. "


So I walked away from the computer, chatted with my cousins about the whole thing and decided that I would state my opinion on my blog - rather than vent by replying to this person on youtube.

It's a fascinating thing to think that we, as parents, are not going to try and teach our children the values and such that we believe in. Whether it's good hygiene, good eating habits or sleep habits, values on alcohol, drugs, education, athletics, safe sex or no sex ... we all instill our personal feelings onto our children. That's what being a PARENT is about. A parent is a teacher - one who guides carefully so that our babies are safe as children and loving, responsible adults when they grow up.

The comment made is, in fact, a dangerous one. Not to me personally, but to our world. Because what this person fails to realize, is that THEY are actually the ones sending hate and judgement. The comments comparing Mattias' song to 911 terrorist ... it's a sad, sad thing. And I wonder what they will choose to teach their children? Will they introduce their children to every faith to be "fair" and allow them to choose? Or by their own actions, will they influence their young to think that all Faiths are evil, divisive, and arrogant - not realizing that perhaps their own "lack" of belief will show them just that. People who are proud to have "no faith" fail to realize that sometimes that in itself is, in fact, their faith - their belief system.

More so than the whole conversation of religion and faith, what rattled me the most is the concept that we as parents "brainwash" our kids into thinking whatever it is that we want them to think - rather than consistantly teaching them life principles that we believe will give them full lives.

Which makes me wonder if "Mr. Youtube" is a parent.

20 June 2008

[Make: Pork Tenderloin]

I was over for dinner at a friend's house, and she made the BEST pork tenderloin EVER. I asked for the recipe and this is what she gave me. I've made it at least 100 times since *grin* - and people always ask for the recipe. So I'm "paying it forward".


Pork Tenderloin Marinade - serves 4*
* I usually double it for extra sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (I store mine in the freezer)
1 tsp liquid honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 pound pork tenderloin


Place ingredients in a large plastic bag after combining well in a bowl. Add pork. Marinate at least 20 minutes ( I usually marinate for an hour or so ...)

For BBQ: place on greased BBQ, grilled over med/high heat. Close lid and cook for 25-30 minutes (or until 150F), turning and basting. Remove from grill and let rest (core temp needs to reach 160F). Slice into 1/2 inch slices.

For oven: place pork in a baking dish with all of the marinade. Bake at 375F uncovered for 10 minutes, and then covered for an additional 40-50 minutes. This won't try out because it's covered - so check pork temp before removing (150F). Let rest (to 160F). Cut into 1/2 inch slices.

19 June 2008

[Digiscrap: It's Been About 5 Minutes]

Ok ... it's only minutes since my last post - but I thought I'd put up a few digi-scrappin' pages as they ARE my passion.

And hey - since you're here - it might be nice to look at something. RIGHT?


Click the image for a larger view ...

[Talk: So. This is what it's like]


So here I am, a true "no-blogging-isn't-for-me" ... blogging. Do I like it? Well - let's put t this way: I spent a good hour creating my "BLOG HEADER" so that I felt it reflected me. That's my only worry about blogging - I'm a prisoner to detail.
So - what's brought me to blogging? I think that it's actually going to be a good thing for me - to have my journey watched by people ... a bit of odd accountability. I'm hoping to share what goes on around here - and continue to learn about things that matter to me. I have a million ideas - uploading my digiscrap pages, maybe creating freebies and kits, showing my attempts at cake decorating and such.

But mainly - I think it'll just make my day feel valid, you know? When it feels like I'm tired from doing everything, and really don't have much to show for it, I'm hoping that printing it out in black and white will show me: my day mattered.

Being a SAHM, the 24hr clock can blur pretty quickly.

We shall see. We shall see.