Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: The Birthday Girl

Howdy Humble Readers...

Another week has flown by, and here I am trying to figure out where the time went.  Just fair warning, this is a photo heavy post.  :)

This week was dominated primarily by our wee sweet girl's birthday party.  Can I just say that I am almost appalled at the amount of time and energy I expended on a birthday for a three year old?  Holy cow, all week was spent on making d├ęcor items, planning out the party, and prepping. 

Just a reminder, Ginny is my girl's name on the web.  :)
I had decided, ages ago, that Ginny's party would be Candyland themed.  I found some great invitations on Etsy, and then went to town on pinterest looking for ideas.  That's where most of this came from. 

Candies made from two backward paper plates
taped together, decorated to look like peppermints,
and wrapped with cellophane and ribbon. 
The cake was especially challenging, because I had a bit of a brain dead moment when I baked it.  I had never baked a 9x13 cake with the intention of taking it out of the pan to decorate it, so I was concerned that it wouldn't come out of the pan nicely.  My solution was to use baking parchment.  Not the best idea in the world, as the parchment made the cake do some wavy crazy stuff around the edges.  In hind sight, I should have just trimmed up the edges, but I wasn't really thinking.  All in all, it turned out ok... the kids really liked it, and that was the important thing
The end product, meant to look like the game board

blowing out the candles
The rest of the food turned out great, and went over very well.  I did a chocolate cream cheese dip with fruit, veggies and dip, and pizza dippers (crescent rolls with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese rolled up inside, with a pizza sauce dip). 

We played a couple of games (pin the gumdrop on the gingerbread man and a bubble gum toss) and did a craft (peppermint candy picture frames - dollar store frames with peppermint candies glued around the edges).  The kids also played a couple of rounds of Candyland. 

Another idea that I got from Pinterest was really cute.  In each of the kids' goodie bags (containing a gingerbread man, some tootsie rolls, a candy bar, and a few peppermints) was a new toothbrush.  I figured they'd need it after all the candy at the party.  Oh, and did I mention that we had candy cane ice cream with the cake?  Are your teeth aching yet? 
the goodie bags
Ginny got ridiculously spoiled, and her favourite gift was a chef's coat & hat costume from my mom.  Mr. Potato Head was a close second. 
I can't believe she's three!
In other news, Pippin went for a haircut, and oh my goodness did he come home looking like a big boy.  My Beloved took him on Saturday morning while I was doing the final prep for the party. 
Before - At breakfast on Saturday

After - just before the party started

Now that we are past Ginny's birthday, Christmas begins at the hobbit hole in earnest.  This next week is my baking week.  I'm baking five different treats for Christmas, including making homemade irish cream truffles.  Yum! 

Also up this week are check ups for both of the wee-lings.  I'm going to be pushing for a hearing test for Pippin, as we are still concerned about his lack of any words.  I'm also going to ask Dr. B about Ginny's latest potty training hurdle... she stays dry all day now, but she only pees or poops during naptime or at bedtime when she's wearing a diaper.  I don't want her to do any damage to herself in this process. 

Ok, so that was really long.  How about the chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I'm embarrassed to say that I had to return Game of Thrones to the library before I was finished it, so I am back on the hold list for it.  In the mean time, I wanted something comfortable, like a cozy blanket to slip into, so I picked up Memoirs of a Geisha again.  I just adore that book. 

Watching - The Grey Cup!!!  And yes, our Roughriders did indeed take the cup!!  Wahoo!!  It was a great game, and I'm so happy for the players (and for my Beloved... he's so excited). 

Listening To - My Beloved rejoicing about the win.  :)

Cooking/Baking - Tonight I made my Lazy Sausage Casserole... lots of great veggies roasted in the oven with olive oil, seasonings, and balsamic vinegar, topped with Italian sausages.  Very yummy.  As for baking... next week I'm making peppermint meltaways, butter tart bars, snowdrops, irish cream truffles, and cranberry almond wedges.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - All the prep for Ginny's b-day party, managing to keep my blood sugars relatively stable even with the candy binge yesterday, and I did some more crafting (made a groovy mistletoe bouquet, I'll show you next week). 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Baking, getting some forward momentum on what needs to happen with Pip, our North Pole Breakfast next Saturday morning (when our Elf on the Shelf, Hermy, returns), and decorating for Christmas. 

Thankful For - That my Christmas shopping is done!  I just need to do stocking stuffers, but that will come next month, and I have a boatload of points from my grocery store that I'm going to use for most of that stuff. 

***Bonus Question***  When do your Christmas/Holiday Decorations go up?  I have to wait until after Ginny's birthday, which is technically this coming Wednesday.  Just my own rule.  They'll go up on Friday night, after the kids go to bed.  There might be a few things left to do on Saturday, but because of our North Pole Breakfast, I really want the wee-lings to wake up to a fully decorated house. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Pop over and check out what others are chatting about tonight!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Ready, Set, Go!

Hey Humble Readers...

Ok, I have to get out of this one post a week rut... just stating the obvious. 

The Shire was blessed with four days of beautiful late fall weather earlier this week.  Almost all the snow was gone (Ginny's snowman was just a little mound of snow on the front lawn), and then Friday happened.  And Saturday.  Another 20cm of snow.  I know, I know... I live on the frozen flatland.  What should I expect?  And yet every year I am appalled at just how much snow we get and how soon we get it.  If only I could find that wonder I felt as a kid when faced with a pristine expanse of snow.

This upcoming week starts a very busy two week stretch for me.  I kind of feel like I'm on the starting line of a marathon.  I've got a few more crafting projects that I have to finish up, including several things for Ginny's Candyland birthday party.  I have the cooking and baking to do for her party, and of course all the usual housework.  The party is on Saturday, then Sunday is the Grey Cup (the CFL equivalent of the Super Bowl... and the Roughriders made it in!!!!  Yay!).  After that comes a week of baking and my final Christmas preparations.  In the midst of all that, there are check-ups for both wee-lings, an out of town work trip for my Beloved, and rearranging/reorganizing my pantry and cupboards in anticipation of our Santa's Choice delivery.   And I have an obscene number of Doctor Who episodes on the DVR that I want to get through before the Day of the Doctor next weekend (not likely going to happen). 

In other news, we have had a few major breakthrough moments with the wee-lings in the past week.

First up... Ginny has made some awesome progress on the potty training front.  We had another disappointing round of potty training earlier this month, so I had planned on waiting until after her birthday at the end of the month to try again.  On a whim, on Friday morning I put Ginny on the toilet (rather than her potty seat), and she actually went!  All this time, she just needed to be on the 'big potty' and a little privacy (I have to leave the bathroom for her to go).  So we started going to the bathroom every 10 minutes, and then every 15 minutes, then 20, and she did really well.  On Friday she had three little accidents, but only one was really her fault (one I on the phone and not paying attention, and the other was when she was playing with some toys/dishes in a sink of warm water).  No accidents yesterday in the time that she was wearing training pants (not during naptime or during an hour or so when we were out of the house).  Today, there was only one accident (a poopy one... urgh).  I think next week I'll buy a package of disposable training pants for her to wear when we leave the house. 
Ginny's new favourite thing to do... play in the sink,
with Mummy's cooking utensils

Second... Pippin is showing some increasing awareness of communication.  Early in the week, I asked him where his milk cup was, and he actually went over and picked it up (this has NEVER EVER happened before... he actually UNDERSTOOD what I said and RESPONDED!).  He's been using a lot more non-verbal communication too, like making his squawking noise to get my attention, then looking pointedly at whatever he wants that's out of reach (like when he's in his high chair and he drops his cup on the floor).  He did say 'Mumumum' directly at me a couple of weeks ago, too.  He's been expressing more affection lately, like walking up to me with his goofy grin and hugging my legs, and wanting to cuddle (he's never been a cuddler).  I'm hoping that this is a sign of good things to come.  I'm still going to push hard for a hearing exam when we go see Dr. B for Pip's 18 month check up.  Pip has also begun really trying to feed himself with utensils.  He does better with a fork than a spoon, but he wants to be in control of his food now.  And he's very proud of the fact that he has figured out how to climb up on the couch (also new this week). 
Enjoying some chicken fingers and fries at the mall. 

Ok, on to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - Still reading Game of Thrones (which reminds me I need to renew it at the library).  I have made a lot more progress in it, and am enjoying getting to know the characters in a deeper way.  I truly do love Tyrion, even though he's such a self-serving little sh!t most of the time.  Next on deck is a re-read of Hunger Games and Catching Fire. 

Watching - My Beloved is watching a stand up comedy special.  I'm recording my usual Sunday stuff (Once Upon A Time and Masterpiece Classic) plus the new sci-fi/police drama "Almost Human" (starring what's-his-name from LotR and the new Star Trek movies). 

Listening To - the buckles on Pip's overalls bang around in the dryer. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a Dijon-brown sugar pork roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, and yorkies.  Very yummy.  I also need to make the marinade for the chicken that's on the menu for tomorrow... an Asian-inspired drumsticks with spicy peanut noodles and broccoli.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Finished my Christmas shopping for the wee-lings.  There was a great sale at that big toy store chain (you know the one) and I managed to save a boatload of money on their gifts.  Also ordered our Christmas cards... for free, from Shutterfly.  Awesome!

Looking Forward To Next Week - Lots of crafting, helping Ginny make more progress on potty training, Ginny's birthday party, the Grey Cup game. 

Thankful For - a warm hobbit hole, and having no need to go outside for the next couple of days. 

***Bonus Question*** Do you believe in good/bad luck or coincidences?  I definitely don't believe in luck, good or bad.  As for coincidence, I think there's something there, I just don't know how to define it.  My faith has never included the concept of predestination, but because I believe in an omnipotent God, I do believe that he can use any situation or circumstance for his glory and in our finite minds that translates as coincidence sometimes.  Does that make any sense? 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and check out what others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: A Crafty Hobbit

Hey Humble Readers...

Another week has flown by.  It seems to be going so fast these days. 

Winter is well and settled here in the Shire.  The weatherman is saying that it's supposed to warm up (above freezing... woohoo!) starting Tuesday, but by the weekend we are supposed to be thoroughly covered in snow again.  Ginny is sad because the snow is now dry and powdery, and no good for snowmen. 

A large portion of this past week was spent on finishing up some crafting projects for Christmas.  I finished up making the gifts for my mom and MIL.  I think they turned out pretty nicely, and were not terribly expensive.  I got the Scrabble games from the thrift store, and the frames and mats for a good sale price at the craft store.  I used some of the leftover Scrabble tiles to make a bunch of Christmas ornaments, some of which will go to my sister and BIL as a part of their gift.  Still have a lot of letters left, but I'm out of some pretty key tiles, so I'm not sure what I'll do with them. 

I still have a few projects to get to for this year, but only one is really pressing.  It's a special garland for the tree, a replica of one my bio-mom had on her tree when I was a little girl.  It was my favourite decoration.  I'm hoping to have it finished in the next couple of weeks to show you. 

My Beloved and I were able to get out for dinner and a movie on Friday.  We went to my new favourite restaurant (a pub where I can get parmesan truffle fries... YUM!) and to a movie.  We saw Ender's Game.  Overall, I enjoyed it.  Of course, they had to make some changes to the storyline to make it work in a two hour timeframe, but there were a few significant omissions that really affected the ending... for me, anyway.  My Beloved, who hasn't read the book, loved it, and said that it was the best movie he's seen in quite a while. 

Also on this week's to do list was to take our Christmas card pictures.  We tried yesterday, but neither of the wee-lings were inclined to cooperate.  Hopefully we'll manage to get things sorted out tomorrow. 
And speaking of tomorrow... Remembrance Day.  I am so thankful for those who have fought to keep our country safe and free.  I know I've told you all before, but one of my grandfathers drove an ambulance in France during WWII.  He's 90 this year (yes, he lied about his age to enlist), and he was on Juno beach on D-Day.  He has never talked about his experience much, but I am very thankful for and proud of his service, and for all our servicemen and women.  In Flanders fields the poppies blow...

On to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading... I'm struggling to get into Game Of Thrones.  Perhaps it's because I've already watched it, there's nothing terribly intriguing happening.  Of course, I'm less than one hundred pages in, so hopefully I'll get lost in it soon. 

Watching...  Nothing in particular right now, recording Once Upon A Time and Masterpiece Classic tonight.  I have season two of Sherlock from the library that I need to get to watching this week.  I'm experiencing a bit of Doctor Who overload, so I haven't watched any in the past few days.  The last episode for David Tennant was gut wrenching for me, and I haven't yet come to truly appreciate Matt Smith in the role, although I love how he came to be connected with Amy. 

Listening To...  The furnace roar (it's very loud).  My Beloved is watching a documentary about the JFK assassination, so that's my background noise.

Cooking/Baking... Tonight was Italian braised roast beef.  Lots of caramelized onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic, thyme, and oregano... cooked in a low oven for three hours.  It was a big roast, so there will be plenty for my soup for the week, and for a meal of roast beef risotto for the family later in the week.  I wanted to do a bit of baking for today, because it's Pippin's half-birthday today, but it just didn't happen.  We've had a lot of treats lately though, with all the Halloween candy in the house, so it wasn't missed. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week...  Finalized my plans for Ginny's birthday party, got Pip's appointment for his next vaccinations booked (I'm never this organized... it's not due for more than a month), all the crafting that I got done.  Found the wee-lings special ornaments for this year... they are wonderful (in my opinion) and the kids will get them from Hermy the Elf in December. 

Looking Forward To Next Week... Having an extra day with my Beloved (long weekend), finishing my Christmas shopping for the wee-lings, crafting night with the girls. 

Thankful For...  That the Roughriders won the Western Semi-final today... woohoo!!  It was a close one, and I'm so glad that they made it through.  Next week they're in the Western Final against the Calgary Stampeders, a team they've struggled against all season.  Crossing our fingers that they prevail because the Grey Cup game this year is being held in Regina, and it would be so awesome for the Roughriders to play in the championship in front of a home crowd. 

***Bonus Question*** Carla hasn't posted a Chit Chat post yet (she's at an awesome concert tonight), so I'll come up with my own... What is the last song you added to your mp3 player/phone?  I think it was Dean Brody's song "That's Your Cousin" or Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart".  I love Miranda Lambert's angry/break up songs, and Dean Brody is just so country it hurts.  :) 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Snow Bound

Hey Humble Readers...

So I did it again.  Went and fell off the face of the earth.  Really, life has just been quiet, and I've been feeling a bit uninspired in a lot of areas of my life, blogging included.  I feel like I'm coming out of a slump (again) and I wanted to attempt to get back in touch. 

The weather here in the Shire has been dramatic, at least for the last couple of days.  We got our first real snowfall last weekend, but it was mostly gone by mid-week, and Halloween was a relatively nice day.   Ginny (as Curious George) and Pip (as a puppy) were able to go out trick or treating with my Beloved and came home with pink cheeks and noses, and a whole lot of candy.  Fast forward to Saturday morning, and whomp... we got hit with a major snowstorm.  Seriously, we got 25cm of snow in less than twenty-four hours.  Here's the view outside my kitchen window this afternoon...
Snow, snow, and more snow
Ginny loved it.  She went out and played in it, and built her first ever snowman with my Beloved yesterday afternoon.  The likelihood is that it will still be out on the front lawn until March, provided no one knocks it over.  Getting the car out of our parking lot (in the back alley) was a challenge this morning, and the roads were pretty sloppy.  I'm thankful that we managed to get the car in to change the tires on Friday. 
Ginny's Snowman
You might recall that early in October I ended up with a not-so-fun kidney infection.  It was a doozy, and it took the full ten days of antibiotics before I was starting to feel better.  Sadly, the antibiotics had a few unpleasant side-effects on my digestive system, and I am just now really starting to feel more like myself.  All of this was just one more excuse for my exercise and weightloss progress to come to a stand-still.  I've gained back a bit, but I am still weighing in lighter than my Beloved, and I know that once I get back to being active, I'll see those few pounds disappear quickly. 

Confession time... I have become a serious Who-vian in the last few weeks.  When I was a little girl, I used to watch Doctor Who on PBS all the time.  It was Doctor number 4 (the one with the scarf and the big hair).  I got away from it for a long time, and had been wanting to check it out again, but I could never figure out where to start to get back into it.  This fall, the Space Channel started doing Doctor Who marathons every Sunday, starting with Doctor number 9, and I started recording them.  I watch an episode here and there throughout the week, and I have become addicted.  I'm up to the end of Donna's time with the Doctor, and I think he's going to be regenerating soon.  I have fallen in love with David Tennant, and I bawled my eyes out when he said good-bye to Rose.  I'm such a nerd. 

Ok, on to this week's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I'll be finishing up Ender's Game tonight.  I'm loving it.  I find it so fascinating to think that this book was published in 1977, and the internet ('the nets') and laptop/tablet computers ('desks') are key to the story.  In fact, it threw me for a loop when Card brought up the politics on Earth (Cold War-esque, mentions of Soviets, etc) and the internet in the same paragraph.  Next up on the reading list is Game of Thrones.  After having watched the first couple of seasons, I've decided that I want to give the books a try. 

Watching - Tonight is Once Upon a Time and Masterpiece Classic ('The Paradise').  Counting down the days until Downton Abbey!

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was pretty typical Sunday night fare.  Roast beef, mashed taters, green beans, and Yorkshire puddings.  It was my first time making yorkies in several months, but I'm happy to say they turned out well.  I've been trying really hard for the last few weeks to make sure that we have some good leftovers from our Sunday night supper that I can turn into soup for my lunches for the week.  Tomorrow I'll be making beef barley soup!  Yum!

Listening To - My Beloved mutter to himself as he does the reading for his next quiz. 

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Flu shots all around.  I put out the Christmas lights on our balcony rail on Friday, thankfully before the snow fell, so they'll be ready to plug in next month.  Got Ginny's birthday party invites printed.  Made some progress on my Christmas shopping. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Date night on Friday with my Beloved!  Starting on a couple of Christmas crafts.  Getting my kitchen faucet fixed.

Thankful For - A cozy warm hobbit hole.  The fact that my winter coat, which was super snug last winter is now really baggy.  THAT MY WEE LITTLE MISTER LOOKED AT ME AND SAID "MUM-MUM-MUM" TONIGHT!  I almost fell over.  It feels like I've been waiting forever to hear him say it.  I confess I got a little teary. 
Pip, after eating a hot dog... head to toe ketchup
***Bonus Question*** Describe your "Perfect Pizza".  Oh my... well, the dough would have to be crispy on the outside, but soft and airy inside.  I like my pizza sauce to be very tangy, with a bit of spice.  Top it with spinach, Italian sausage, pesto sauce, and ooey-gooey mozzarella.  Alternately, the same crust, with pesto sauce, shredded chicken, feta, and pine nuts.  Yumm!

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Click over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight.