Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Here are some things we are enjoying this season:

Putting up our Christmas tree (We have an artificial tree but I thought the Silver Fir scented oil from the Body Shop burning in the living room was a great added touch.)

Getting creative with rolled sugar cookies, coloured icing and sprinkles. Oh, and we've already been through a couple batches of chewy molasses ginger cookies, my all-time favourite.

The Nativity production at church was outstanding.

Christmas parties, dinners, recitals, concerts, get-togethers... I think we've been averaging three functions a week since the beginning of the month.

Remember the Pretzel Hugs from last year? Yeah. Lots more of those. I found red and green Christmas M&Ms this year! These went out to teachers, friends, neighbours, and JD's hockey teammates at their last practice before Christmas.

Samantha enjoyed her Secret Santa week at school.

Opening cards, letters, and photos from friends and family near and far. We haven't managed to get any out ourselves, but we are loving receiving all of yours.

Snuggling up at night with blankets, popcorn, hot chocolate, and good Christmas movies. We will likely do more of this now that the kids are out of school.

Outdoor skating downtown with friends followed by hot chocolate, treats, and games and Grandma's apartment. Our kids declared it the best Christmas vacation day ever!

I hope you are all delighting in your holiday celebrations and finding JOY in the wonders of Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Hard To Say Goodbye

We have had such beautiful weather this fall!

Our kids have been wearing sweatshirts, vests and light jackets to school in the mornings, and lots of days they have them stuffed in their backpacks when they get home in the afternoon.

I remember lots of Halloweens with snow on the ground, but now, with December only a week away, we still haven't seen our first snowfall.

As much as I am loving this great weather, it has proven to be rather deceiving, as I have just now started realizing that Christmas is around the corner.

I admit that although I am not always, I have been known in the past, to be one of those people who are done Christmas shopping by (Canadian) Thanksgiving.

Now, with Christmas only a month away, the only thing I have done to start preparing is listen to a little Christmas Music.

And that's mostly due to the fact that our children are practicing their songs daily for their Christmas Piano Recital which is coming up in a few weeks.

I know that in the near future I will be exited about lights and candy canes and shopping lists and Christmas parties and baking and stockings and secret gift wrapping late at night while the kids are asleep.

But for now I'm happy to enjoy this season just a tiny bit longer, while it lasts.

Two Thumbs Up

I turned 31 a couple of weeks ago.

Scott took me to Toronto, along with Samantha and Brett, to see The Sound of Music at the Princess of Whales Theatre.

It was an absolutely wonderful show, and I enjoyed it immensely.

It was also delightful to go out with just the older children for a night. We had some good talks, good food, and good laughs together before the show and they both enjoyed their first real theatrical experience.

A few of you have asked how it was or if I would recommend it. My answer is yes - I highly recommend it and would see it again in a heartbeat!

(photo source:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making Memories at Colasanti's

We went to visit Nana & Papa when the kids had a PD Day.

While down there, we got to visit one of our favourite spots - Colasanti's Tropical Gardens.

Here are some things we love about this place:
  • Feeding the goats
  • Snakes, birds, deer, fish, bats, lemurs, and so many other fun animals to see
  • Famous Fried Chicken
  • Delicious Homemade Donuts
  • Jugs of fresh Peach Juice
  • Rides for the kids (the Bumble Bees are always a hit)
  • Mini Golf
  • Pony Rides
  • Beautiful plants of all kinds
  • Big Red Wagons to ride in
The Bumper Cars were new this year. (Ask me how heartbroken Nathan was when everyone in the family was tall enough to go in one except for him and Clara.)








Friday, October 23, 2009

Starting Hockey

Jesse started playing ice hockey this year.

His first few practices were pretty early on Saturday mornings. I thought the early mornings might be a little tough, based on how long it takes me to get him out of bed for school every day.

I soon found out how mistaken I was.

Yeah, the early mornings are a non-issue when he's getting up for hockey instead of to catch the school bus.

He literally jumps out of bed, throws his clothes on, inhales a quick bowl of cereal, and is waiting by the front door with his bag and stick and plenty of time to spare.

I'm happy for him to have a good outlet for some of his excess energy and he's enjoying it so much.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cross Country Girl

Samantha really enjoyed running Cross Country for the first time this year (1.5 km).

Here she is at her first meet. She was very nervous, but she did great and had so much fun.

She narrowly missed qualifying for the City Finals, and is looking forward to next year already.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meaghan Smith: The Cricket's Orchestra

My dear friend Meaghan just released her CD, The Cricket's Orchestra.

I'm so excited and happy for her!

It's on sale at Barnes & Noble, and available on itunes.

Here's a link to Meaghan's Website. Go check it out!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


It was wonderful staying at my Grandparents' house this summer.

Back when I was growing up, they lived on a farm. I always enjoyed helping my Grandpa with the farm chores, like changing sprinkler pipe and feeding the chickens. We spent endless hours playing in the coulees with the cows grazing in the pastures nearby.

Then there was Grandma's baking. My favourite treats were her famous Butterhorns. The best way I can describe these are big soft rolls with this really thin layer of icing. Sometimes they had nuts on top. To die for.

I remember Grandma loved to watch Murder She Wrote, and Matlock. She was always baking, cleaning, quilting, sewing, doing word puzzles, or something else while watching TV. I used to think it was so cool that she had a television in her kitchen and she would let us watch Wheel of Fortune while we helped set the table and get dinner ready.

It makes me so happy to see my children spending time with their great-grandparents and making memories of their own.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Update: Conference Weekend

Scott has gone to Salt Lake City with three friends for General Conference this weekend. They went to a BYU football game on Friday night too, which Scott said was a lot of fun.

It's been cold and rainy, so the kids and I have been enjoying the indoors this with friends, movies, popcorn, blankets, and books. I even let the kids pull out the DS's that they have barely touched since our Alberta trip.

Today we are heading over to a friends' to watch the rest of Conference. Should be another great day.

It's hard to believe October is here already. All of a sudden when the weather got colder this week, I started thinking about needing to pack up the shorts and sandals and get out the vests and jackets...

And gourds, apples, pumpkins, & cinnamon. After all, next weekend is Thanksgiving! One of my favourite holidays. I LOVE fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

More on the Rainbow Party

So I mentioned that we did a little rainbow theme for Clara's first birthday.

It all started when my sister recommended a rainbow cake, as she had recently made one for my niece.

We made the cake, strung some rainbow coloured balloons up around the house, made rainbow Jell-O and popcorn and invited some family and friends over. So easy and fun!

The older kids LOVED helping with the rainbow food. Especially Samantha - she was in kitchen heaven.

Here are the recipes. Notice you will need a lot of Jell-O. And a good helper.

Recipe: Rainbow Popcorn

For each colour of popcorn, you will need:

10-12 cups popped popcorn
1 package any flavour Jell-O
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda

First, microwave the Jell-O, sugar, butter, and corn syrup on high for 1-2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1-2 minutes more, until it is starting to bubble.

Stir in the baking soda until it is incorporated and foamy.

In a large paper bag, layer the popcorn and Jell-O mixture. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Shake. Microwave for 30 seconds, and shake again until popcorn is evenly coated.

Spread on parchment paper or cookie sheets until cool. (Store in an airtight container)

Recipe: Rainbow Jell-O Salad

6 packages Jell-O (rainbow colours of course!)
vanilla yogurt

Mix 1 cup boiling water with 1 package of Jell-O and stir until it is dissolved. Then divide it evenly into 2 bowls.

To the first bowl, add 3 Tbsp cold water, and pour into a 9 X 13 clear glass pan. Chill in the fridge for 25-30 minutes (or until set).

When the layer is ready, add 1/3 cup yogurt to the remaining Jell-O and stir until smooth.

Pour into pan and chill for 25-30 minutes.

Repeat the process for each colour. You will end up with 12 layers.


Recipe: Rainbow Cake

1 box white cake mix
food colouring
lots of white icing

Mix cake according to directions on box. Divide batter into 6 equal portions and add food colouring to each one (rainbow colours of course!).

Bake each colour separately in a 8 or 9 inch round pan (you will need to adjust the baking time, as the layers will be thinner than usual). Cool.

Layer cake colours onto serving tray with white icing between each colour. Frost the whole cake in white. It doesn't look that pretty in this picture, but when you ice the whole thing and then cut it into slices, it looks really cool.

I was so busy getting a video of Clara eating her cake that I didn't get the best pictures of the actual cake once it's served, but these will give you an idea. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Clara: One Year Old

It was so hard for me to see Clara turn one year old. I cannot believe that it's been a whole year since she was a newborn swaddled in my arms, so tiny and precious.

We had fun giving her a Rainbow Birthday celebration that was really more for the older kids benefit than Clara's, although she did enjoy chasing the balloons around.

Here are some things she is doing at 12 months:

She can go up and down stairs by herself.

She can wave hello and goodbye.

She is starting to talk, and here are some of her first words:

Mama (Her first word)




Yeah (This is her answer to most questions)

Me (When you ask anything starting with WHO, such as, "Who wants ice cream?")

She's starting to comprehend some words and phrases. Whenever she here's us ask, "What's Clara eating?" she knows she has to make a run for it or we're going to come over and yank the marble (or other choke-able item) out of her mouth.

She's starting to really enjoy books.

She can stand up unsupported, but hasn't taken any first steps yet.

She loves Music and will dance when she hears some.

She loves to play with her siblings and hates it when she's left alone in a room.

She has 11 teeth now, and has had a bit of a rough go with the last few that have come in. When she is cutting new teeth she gets really bad diaper rash, fever, runny nose, and loss of appetite. Despite all of that she is rarely grumpy. She usually just likes to be held and cuddled more.

I have never seen a baby loved more by her older siblings. Our kids still argue over who is going to sit beside her in church, and who is going to get her out of her crib when she wakes up.

The only exception to this is Nathan. Now that Clara is a threat to him, he is starting to feel the need to remind her of his position in the family as the older child. Whenever she starts to make a grab for his goldfish, sippy cup, or toys, he will quickly push her away yelling, "NO, Clara!" (We're working on changing this one time out at a time. I think we're making some progress.)

One thing about Clara that really makes me laugh is the way she gets herself into trouble. She crawls into spaces that she can't get out of, gets tangled in cords, stands up beside unstable objects, and gets her fingers stuck in all kinds of crevices (VCR slots, cupboards, etc.). Pretty much at least once or twice a day she will get into a predicament where she needs to be rescued.

In the words of Brett, "What would we ever do without Clara?"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Samantha's Haircut

Samantha decided she wanted to cut her hair short.

I was sad to see it all go, but went along with it because

1. She's nine years old and is wanting to make her own choices and be more independent.

2. She has a sensitive head and HATES getting her hair brushed or styled by anyone, but especially her mother. Hence a lot of ponytail days or plain untidy hairdos.

3. It's hair. It will grow back.

4. She's so cute, I knew she could totally pull it off.

Pretty much every girl that sees it has just loved it but the guys (Dad, uncles, Grandpa, etc.) haven't liked it as much. Is anyone really surprised by this?

Here are the before and after pics.

Back to School

Hey Strangers.

After a busy but awesome summer, I believe it is time to dust the cobwebs off the old blog.

This year, for the first time, I was actually glad to see the kids go back to school. Mostly due to the fact that I was really craving the routines that come with it. No more kids staying up until 10:00 PM (or later), sleeping in, staying in pj's until noon, and needing to be constantly entertained because they don't have school, homework, piano practice, and extracurricular activities filling their days.

And you can only do so much vacationing. After soccer season, a trip to Alberta, a couple of weeks at the cottage, not to mention splash pads, parks, street hockey and play dates with friends, it was time to settle into a bit of much needed normal life.

I think this picture sums it up. Nathan fell asleep on the last day of summer vacation in the entry way, no clothes on, with Clara's blanket, the remnants of our last trip scattered around him.

Yeah, I was definitely ready for Labour Day to come this year.

Here they are on the first day: Samantha - Grade 4, Brett - Grade 2, JD - Grade 1 (That's what he wants to be called now)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Clara's Eight Month Update

I woke up last Monday thinking there is no way that Clara can possibly be eight months old - already! Unfortunately, the calendar doesn't lie, and time just keeps marching on, despite my reluctance for it to do so.

Here are some of her recent milestones:

She cut tooth number two, just few days after the first one. She is working on getting some other teeth closer to the surface, and seems to have a constant runny nose, despite not being sick. Overall, she has been pretty good-natured about teething, with just a few grumpy days (and nights) here and there.

Clara is on the move! She has learned to drag herself around on her stomach with her arms (the army crawl) and is getting quite fast. She can whip across the room in just a few seconds at the sight of something appealing (paper, a plastic bag, electrical cords, an open staircase, etc.). She's very close to real crawling, but every time she gets up on all fours all she does is rock back and forth.

Clara could have 100 baby toys in front of her, but will ditch them the instant she spies a marble, a piece of lego, a bug, paper, or any other choke-able or inedible item. She can spot any of these things from a km away, and will have them in her mouth in a matter of seconds if nobody is paying attention enough to stop her.

She's still sucking on her 2 left fingers, and has graduated from the cradle, finally. She is getting bigger and more fun to play with every day and is a pure joy to have in the family!

On a totally unrelated note, I just wanted to mention that we have 12 Play On! events happening this summer, 9 of which are in June. So, I guess this is a warning that I may go missing for a while.

Thankfully, my Mom flies in tomorrow. Not a moment too soon, as we had our Winnipeg event last weekend, the kids have started into soccer season, and things are starting to get even more chaotic around our house. (Didn't think that was possible, did you?)

I will try to pop in periodically for a little update here and there whenever I can. For those of you fellow bloggers out there, I will be checking my Google Reader daily, so keep the posts coming!

Friday, May 15, 2009

10th Anniversary

Scott and I celebrated our 10th Anniversary today.

It's hard to believe we've been married for 10 years already! You know what they say - time flies when you're having fun... On the other hand, when I think of all that has transpired since we started our own little family one decade ago, it seems more and more like an amazingly short period of time.

One thing I love about Scott is that he is very thoughtful. He planned for us to celebrate this day a little early, with a surprise trip back in April, since he knew that this time of year is a tad busy (read: we don't sleep for 6 weeks straight).

He made arrangements for the kids, and we flew down to Salt Lake City for the weekend of General Conference.

I can't say enough about how much I loved that trip! It was the perfect Anniversary gift. The absolute combination of relaxation and fun, as we had 4 days with just the two of us, some old friends to reunite with, five sessions of Conference, a lovely hotel, and a bit of time leftover to sight-see and shop.

Also worth mentioning was dinner at a restaurant with a gorgeous view, heavenly cuisine, and, best of all, not a single chicken finger or plastic bib in sight.

After all that, we still got to celebrate today with lunch downtown and a fun date together while Lindsey & Jeff watched the kids. (Thanks, you two!)

Some highlights of the past 10 years together:

Becoming parents to our five amazing children (Best thing we've ever done, but definitely the hardest, bar none. Well, at least for me. Scott's such an awesome Dad that he often makes it look so easy.)

Scott graduating from a rigorous 2 year MBA program at UWO.

Starting up a business from nothing. Working and sacrificing to try to get it going, only to shut it down 3 years later.

Scott working 18 months in a job he couldn't stand for the benefit of his family.

Being blessed to go back to the job he enjoys and able to make it work this time around.

Traveling across this beautiful country together several times. From Halifax to Vancouver, and now, finally, Newfoundland in a month!

Also, more traveling to Dubai, Florida, New York (State and City), Utah, and enjoying time in Alberta for many summers.

If there's one thing we've learned, it's that we LOVE to travel together! Looking forward to many, many more trips in our future.

Having wonderful parents, siblings, in-laws, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and extended family. We love spending time with both sides of the family.

We have been blessed with so many fabulous friends. And fun traditions like Cookie Night on Sunday evenings. Good times.

Going up to the cottage in Tobermory. So many amazing memories, starting with the day we got engaged up there nearly 11 years ago.

Several church callings and service opportunities.

Being close to Scott's Mom as she has battled cancer. Watching in awe as she continues to press forward with an amazing attitude and zest for life.

Knowing that no matter what lies ahead, we have each other, and really, that's all that matters.

Happy Anniversary, Scott!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Clara's First Tooth

Clara cut a tooth last night!

It's on the bottom, left side. She was a little bit fussy for a couple of nights, and she's had a slight fever and runny nose, but overall she's been a trooper.

I was worried on Friday because she refused to take a bottle for about 10 hours straight, and I thought she was loosing interest in formula altogether. But now that the tooth is here, she and her bottle are happily reunited, and I've stopped freaking out.

(Well, about that, anyway)

Sorry - no picture. I just wanted to document this day so I can tell her she got her first tooth at 7 1/2 months!

Oh, and she reached another milestone today as she sat in her high chair and fed herself two crackers. This is the first time I've let her feed herself anything. Just one of the things I'm taking a little slower this time around because I'm a bit sentimental about my baby growing up too fast.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Clara: Seven Months

Clara is seven months old now. She sits up really well, eats solids twice a day, and is starting to get mobile. She's not crawling yet, but she can move around to try to reach anything that looks interesting, and can get herself across the room doing this if she wants to.

She continues to charm the rest of us with her smiles and easy-going personality, and especially her contagious laugh.

She still sleeps in her cradle, which is unheard of for our other kids when they were this age, but she doesn't try to sit up or anything when she wakes up. She just lays there, smiling at the ceiling and blankets and sucking on her fingers until someone realizes she's awake.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Losing a Tooth is Really No Big Deal, According to Brett

Brett lost a tooth at school. He's lost teeth before - this was number four. Still, he didn't even tell me about it. In fact, he didn't even mention that it was loose.

I noticed the hole in his smile when he got home and said, "Brett, you lost another tooth?" (all excited)

He said, "Yeah, Mom. My teacher put it in an envelope for you."

I went in for a closer look and found two more loose teeth!

I remember when Samantha's teeth started to get the tiniest bit loose. She would give us multiple updates throughout the day on each tooth's progressive wiggly-ness. And if anyone tried to give her something hard to bite, like an apple, she would quickly remind us that there was no way she could eat that with her soon-to-be-missing teeth.

Brett seems to pay about as much attention to loosing his teeth as he would to watching wet paint dry on the walls.

At least he was a good sport about letting me take some pictures.