Sunday, November 7, 2010

::2 weeks later::

Don't worry, I won't overload you with Heidi videos. But I have been bugged more than once to post an updated video of her mad walking skills.

Notice the more plump rear end, which can be attributed to her new ComfyRumps cloth diapers, which put some much-needed junk in her skinny lil' trunk!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

::heidi walks::

Heidi technically took her first steps on Thanksgiving Sunday, going between the two couches in Holly's living room. But since then, she hasn't been interested in trying again. 

Until last night.

A friend would wait until she was scooting by toward me, pick her up and have her walk to me instead. Twice, she took five whole steps! There were many witnesses and I was very proud. (I was also holding another girl's newborn, so that may have been incentive to get to me!) And I figured it was a two-person job - one to steady Heidi and send her off, and another person to encourage her forward. Turns out, she is quite happy to walk toward me even if I am the one setting her on her feet.

Here is video of her third time walking all on her own. As you can see, she is pretty excited, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


On our trip home from Vancouver, Heidi and I stopped in Golden, BC, for lunch. I wanted to treat myself to a nice meal (meaning, not Subway or McDonald's), so we headed to the Whitetooth Mountain Bistro, which is on the main strip of the downtown. It was mid-afternoon, so the lunch crowd had died down, and it was also a Sunday. Perfect for an unhurried mother sick of driving.

Even though it seems to be quite an upscale place, there was no problem providing a high chair for Heidi and they didn't even mind the mess her granola bars and MumMums made. But aside from that, I ordered the most amazing soup and salad combo I've EVER had. It didn't sound extremely gourmet, and I'm sometimes let down after ordering something I expect to be amazing, so I concentrated on helping Heidi get at least some food into her mouth (instead of on the floor) while I waited for my small spinach salad and soup of the day: tomato, roasted pepper and artichoke bisque.

What I got was an absolute treat and I've been recreating it since I've been home. First off, the soup was virtually orgasmic and presented so beautifully that I eagerly dove in without thinking to take a photo of it. Here is a similar recipe that can easily be tweaked to mimic what I had, I'm sure. Just add a can of diced tomatoes, and Bob's your uncle. I must remember when serving soups to garnish with some of the ingredients.

Anyway, maybe I'm low in iron and that's why I'm craving spinach so much, but I think about this salad every time I look at the spinach in my fridge. I also have the perfect dressing recipe, courtesy of RealSimple Magazine, to dress it up and bring out all the right flavours. The way balsamic vinegar compliments cranberries and feta just blows my taste buds every time.

While I haven't ventured to recreate the soup yet (I will!), the salad is my go-to light lunch option these days. Try it - I hope you like it!

Whitetooth Mountain Bistro Spinach Salad
Organic spinach leaves, washed and trimmed
Dried cranberries
Cashews (roasted, if you prefer)
Feta, cubed (or crumbled goat cheese, if you like creamier cheese)
Sliced beets (cooked, cold)*
Balsamic-dijon vinaigrette

*the bistro used a "beet tapenade," or puree. Here is a simple recipe I've found for beet tapenade; I've just been too lazy to make it, as I love beets plain.

Photos courtesy of Whitetooth Mountain Bistro website

Monday, October 11, 2010


 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
~Psalm 100:4

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for:

-new life growing inside me
-a daughter who is healthy, happy, has taken her FIRST STEPS!
-a husband who values the upbringing of our children more than money and material things, allowing me to stay home
-family who is never more than a phone call or email away, even halfway across the country
-new friends who make us feel like family
-a dog who loves me even when I am exasperated with her
-a warm home to live in, and a stocked kitchen to cook in
-Manitoba sunshine
-a God who designed me, knows me, and still chooses to love me, despite my many imperfections

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Here is my version of the Pumpkin-Carrot Cake I linked to in the previous post. I had Joy the Baker's Chewy Ginger Chocolate Chip cookies in the fridge from earlier in the week and decided, instead of eating them all myself, I should use them to decorate the cake. I cut them in half and aligned the flat edges with the cake platter to create a scalloped ginger cookie fringe.

When I finished icing the cake, I contemplated using the leftover icing to slather between two cookies and freeze to make a sort of Thanksgiving ice cream sandwich. Times 10. However, I restrained myself, put the rest of the cookies on a serving dish, and will take them to the Kings' house tomorrow to offer along with the cake. My thighs will thank me later.

Here's is Kraft's version of the cake, much more plain with just cinnamon sticks on top. 

Let's hope it tastes good!

::Jade's Sweet Potato (Yam) Crisp::

Last Thanksgiving, Wayne was still training in Gagetown (where he is now. Again. Sigh.). His buddy, Jason, and his wife, Jade, invited him to their house for Thanksgiving weekend in Halifax. The next day, after the turkey coma had worn off, Wayne called me gushing about the Sweet Potato Crisp Jade had made. On and on he went about it, saying it "tastes like candy," and "certainly cannot contain anything healthy!" Sounded good to me. :) So I promptly emailed Jade, asking for the recipe and I made it again for Wayne at Christmas. It was a hit. A great way to spruce up plain ol' boiled yams at the Thanksgiving table.

Of course, here in Manitoba, I can never seem to find proper yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes (below, right), only "yams," which I have been told many times, are still "sweet potatoes," but they are the large, orange-fleshed version (below, left). And the yams I found were more than 2lbs. each - HUGE!

Tomorrow, I am heading to the Kings' house to partake in their Thanksgiving feast, along with Dora and Heidi, of course. I asked if I could contribute the Sweet Potato Crisp, along with a Pumpkin-Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Icing from the Kraft magazine. So here is Jade's recipe, complete with photos.

::Jade's Sweet Potato Crisp::

250g (one brick) cream cheese*
2 lbs. (approx. 7 med.) sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and coarsely mashed**
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Crisp Topping:
1 1/2 cups chopped apple (peeled)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp. round cinnamon (optional)
3 tbsp. butter, chilled and cut
2+ cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal***

*I use only about 3/4 of this, or it can turn out runny. Adjust according to your preference. PS - Victorian Cream Cheese is SO MUCH BETTER than Philly or no name. So creamy.
**The "yam" in this pic is 2 lbs on its own. I used two that size but didn't double anything else in the recipe.
***I prefer Just Right cereal by Kellogg's, because it's lighter and less dense then Honey Bunches of Oats.

Preheat your over to 350 F.

In the pot in which you boiled and mashed your yammers, use your electric mixer to beat in the cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. I like mine smooth and creamy, so I mixed it well. 

Spoon the yammy goodness into your fanciest oven-safe serving dish, with about a 2L capacity. This scalloped dish was a wedding gift and if it ever breaks, I think I'll cry. 

Smooth it out so it's got an even surface.

Top with chopped apples...

...and Craisins.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour and brown sugar with a fork. I like to add some cinnamon here, too, but that's your choice. It's your crisp, after all.

See how it's mixed in the corner of this photo? Then add your butter. Isn't my butter dish pretty?

Possibly one of my favourite pieces of kitchenware, is my butter dish. (Yes, this photo is a gratuitous one to show it off.) It belonged to my grandma, whom I never met. But I like to keep her in the kitchen with me in the form of her butter dish. 

Add the butter and mix with the fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Um, my butter was room temp so it looks a little more mushy than it should.
Remember: Do as I say, not as I do...
Use cold butter.

Add the cereal and feel free to use your (clean) hands to coat the cereal with the butter/flour/sugar/(cinnamon) mixture. 

Sprinkle over top of the fruit mixture in your fancy dish.

Stand back and admire your work.

Pop it in the oven for 35 or 40 minutes until it's heated through. The cereal should be a toasty golden brown. 

Serve immediately or keep chilled until tomorrow's dinner. You'll need to reheat it in the oven again. But if your oven is otherwise occupied with a turkey, I'm sure a nuke in the microwave wouldn't hurt. 


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

::take comfort in home::

Since the beginning of September, I have been craving slightly addicted to Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes. They are ohmygoshsogood. But they are not cheap. And they are NOT fat-free (not that I usually care, because I use baby #2 as my excuse for any and every extra calorie I eat).

But the other day at the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch with my lil' Punkinhead, we wandered into the Farm Store and picked up some of the farm's homemade pumpkin pie spice. It was on my grocery list this week anyway, and I like to support local business (is 70 kms away "local"?), so it wasn't a stretch. And I thought to myself, "Why couldn't I make my OWN Pumpkin Spice Latte?" Wayne, being oh-so-thrifty and not a fan of Starbucks' overpriced coffees, would be so proud!

And huzzah! I have done it! And I would like to share my discovery, because I know everyone and their dogs have pumpkin pie spice in their cupboards this week, the week of (Canadian) Thanksgiving. So listen up and you can thank me silently as you snuggle into your OWN couch with your steaming cup of cheaper, less-fatty, pumpkin pie goodness.

Baxter-style Pumpkin Spice Latte

1/2 cup 2% milk (skim if you're really watching calories)
1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso (adjust according to your taste)
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. real maple syrup
optional: whip cream/Cool Whip

Pour milk in your mug and heat in the microwave until hot but not boiling (mine has a beverage setting on it that worked well.) Remove and stir in pie spice and maple syrup. Add coffee, stir, and top with whip cream/Cool Whip if you're throwing your cares out the window!

Relax, and enjoy!

*Note: The last sip usually contains some leftover spices. It's pretty gritty, so I'd avoid it if I were you!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

::the kick:

It happened today. Perhaps it has happened before but the baby squirming on my lap outside was distracting me from the baby on my inside.

That tiny kick, a sweet little *poke* from the depths of my womb, and nudge to say, "Psst, Mom! Down here! Glad you got rid of that other kid so we can spend some time together alone!"

While Heidi was at the church nursery, and I sat in bliss in a pew without a wily toddler on my lap, my stillness magnified the inner bump and I was instantly gratified. After hearing his/her heartbeat two days ago (a healthy 145 BPM) and watching my belly now get big enough to officially catch crumbs (who knew the uterus had such incredible muscle memory!), the teeniest action inside my body is what made it all so REAL.

I will have TWO children. In the next year. But it's so hard to envision this new baby - how could a child of ours look like or be anything but Heidi?! She's my world. She's my heart. I can't believe I am growing a second heart and getting ready to let it walk around outside my body!

I had better stop before my head blows up from thinking too much about this! It's mind-boggling. It's overwhelming. It's inexplicable.

And that's's a miracle.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

::baking alone::

The benefits of baking alone include:

-listening to whatever music you want (currently, Stereomood's "It's Raining" playlist)
-getting lost in the task at hand and not being distracted, causing you to miscount ingredients and have to start over
-taking the time to knead dough by hand, instead of using the stand mixer, for therapeutic reasons
-licking both beaters and not feeling guilty about not offering one to whoever else may be home
-being the first to eat a hot, sticky cinnamon bun fresh from your oven
-having the time to clean up and throw away any baking that didn't turn out as planned, so no one is the wiser :)

Forty Five Minute Cinnamon Buns.jpg
(photo courtesy of Diana's Desserts)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

::big girl::

Fuzzy tangerine hair catches the sunlight bouncing off our cream walls. Cerulean eyes, wide as saucers, catch mine from beneath fiery feathered lashes. Your brows jump suddenly, you lift your arm to flop your chubby, knuckle-dimpled hand up-down-up-down, in a wave.


There, hanging in the air, like you've said it a million times before, is your first word. A greeting. An invitation to interact. An acknowledgement of relationship. A verbal expression of acceptance.


I say it back, and mimic your wave, hoping to hear it again. That sweet voice that grew within me from a seed, until I ballooned and birthed you into this hard world. The little breath of anticipation you take just before you speak, the breath that reminds me how simple all of this really is, that I too often lose simplicity in the shuffle of daily tasks and expectations.


And I smile, I am sure bigger than ever before. I can't help but approach and say, "Up?" just to see you lift your arms, waiting for my embrace.

To be a mother renders me full, satisfied, saturated in peace.


I have been participating in imperfect prose on thursdays, a blog initiative spearheaded by my friend, emily, at in the hush of the moon. Please click on her button below to read the posts of other participants through her blog.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

::posting season::

The red light bulbs dangle, lonely in the windows, signalling emptiness. Barrenness. Expectancy. Silhouetted against the faint glow of vacant homes, hazy light thrown in by prairie-sky and the smiles of children playing carefree on the street. Motionless, the bulbs hang, telling the neighbours' stories, all the same, yet all different: another family sent to another base. And a different family, embarking on the long journey here, to take their place - to take up residence in the teal-/turquoise-/cream-sided duplexes, to replace the hanging red lamps with flowing curtains or venetian blinds. Not long ago, the creaky buildings wrapped themselves around their service families, guarding precious together-moments, fearful tears, infant squawks, childrens' squeals, and lovers' sweet nothings. Now, they stand at attention, unblinking, ready to greet their new families, these "foster homes" of sorts. And our new neighbours will greet the house, in turn, with open doors, fresh air, a new adventure. And the house will stand at ease, enveloping its new family and inviting them to turn house into home, for a time.

*  *  *

I have been participating in imperfect prose on thursdays, a blog initiative spearheaded by my friend, emily, at in the hush of the moon. Please click on her button below to read the posts of other participants through her blog. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

::What I wish I'd known::

Being a military wife...

  • reveals your true character...and your husband's
  • opens your eyes to the world's needs
  • creates fantastic friendships
  • lets you meet people you'd never otherwise meet
  • allows you to experience more of the country you've signed up to defend
  • means you have a room dedicated entirely to Army kit, including framed certificates and course platoon photos
  • litters your foyer with at least 4 pairs of Army boots and a gym bag
  • often leaves your bed half empty
  • means attending functions as one half of a couple, and being okay with it
  • means attending functions AS the "Army wife," and trying to remember ranks, who to call "Sir/Ma'am," and at whom to just smile and nod
  • brings emotional challenges most will never face
  • builds trust in a marriage
  • entails memorizing useless acronyms (2PPCLI, 1RCHA, PMQs, GSH, OCC, MFRC, DIT, PATA, PAT, ROOBDO, RCPO, TSM, BSM, TC, TL, FFE, etc. Yes, I know what all these mean, but there are about a million more than I've yet to learn)
  • requires listening to the artillery guns shoot in the field while trying to fall asleep, and feeling sad that some people in the world have to hear it every day WITHOUT living on a base
  • brings opportunity...
  • ...and heartache
  • means you have to find your place in the domestic side of military life
  • brings camaraderie in times of need
  • requires strength...
  • and thus, requires God's blessing

Friday, July 23, 2010

::in which Wayne gets a year older::

It's Wayne's 31st birthday. He never likes a big deal made out of his birthday. Which is lame because I love doing fun things for people. But being on a budget, and it not being a huge milestone, I used my daughter as an excuse to not come across as a lazy wife a way to buy him SOMETHING to unwrap. 

The idea began with an extra large water bottle, which he'd mentioned he has needed at work for a while. We picked that up at Canadian Tire the other day and I thought, "We can't get him a $5 water bottle and just say, 'Happy Birthday! Here ya go'..." So I decided to add to it.

Off to Dollarama we went. Heidi even sat in the shopping cart like a big girl and pointed out things she'd like to buy for her daddy's birthday. The pink polyester lei didn't make the cut (nor did the saran wrap, or clothes pins!), but as I "monitored" the contents of the Daddy loot bag, I think we came up with some cool presents for a first time gift-giver (that being Heidi, of course). 

Gift list included:
  • Long-armed, two-pronged picker-upper (the tool you'd use to pick up garbage)
  • water bottle
  • "Greatest Dad" hat
  • 2 packs Bubblicious gum
  • 1 box Kraft Dinner
  • 1 bag Lays salt & vinegar chips
  • Silly Putty
  • Giant bouncy ball
  • three-film DVD, featuring an old Army movie starring Ronald Reagan
  • a bug house/terrarium for all the disgusting vermin neat insects Manitoba has to offer
  • ...and, of course, a 15-pack of Alexander Keith's (NOT a Dollarama find!)

The man

The cake

The loot

I also spent the morning making a chocolate cake with blue buttercream icing. Because it looked a tad like a giant blob of toothpaste on its own, I decided to sprinkle it with coconut and add the blueberries hanging around the fridge from Sobey's $1 days. Voi-frickin'-la! It didn't taste all that bad, either.


Before dinner, Wayne decided to put some Miracle Grow on our sad tomatoes, and Grace, our next door neighbour (5), wandered over to see what we were up to. I caught Wayne on film letting her "help" water the tomatoes. Grace and her little sis, Lily (3), are super cool kids.

After supper, there was a GIANT storm! So much rain fell that our neighbours two blocks over actually had their canoe out on the road. I have never seen anything like it.

Happy birthday, my hero. Here's to another year closer to 40. May you always be ahead of me! xo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

::If God was a DJ::

"The correct prayer is...never a prayer of supplication, but a prayer of gratitude. When you thank God in advance for that which you choose to experience in your reality, you, in effect, acknowledge that it is there, in effect. Thankfulness is thus the most powerful statement to God, an affirmation that even before you ask, I have answered. Therefore, never supplicate. Appreciate."

"No prayer...goes unanswered. Every prayer, every thought, every statement, every feeling, is creative, to the degree that it is fervently held as truth. To that degree, will it be made manifest in your experience."


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

::beach-walking redhead::

We all know that if I was still living in BC, many of my leisurely summer days would be spent walking the boardwalk at White Rock Beach or somewhere in Vancouver, browsing the shops, iced coffee in hand. 

Who doesn't love to browse the boardwalk in style? But for a redhead, summer can be deadly. Here's my take on staying out of the sun and protecting your skin while looking chic and enjoying the outdoors.

Duwop Lip Venom
$16 -

I Love You 8 x 8 Print
20 GBP -