Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bath Time

Nathan loves baths.

This morning he said to me: Mom... Can I have a bath?

Me: You just had a bath last night. Let's go play with your cars.

Nathan: Mom! I need to go in the bath!

Me: It's not bath time. Let's play a game.

Nathan: MOM! I want to take a bath right now!!!

Me: Nathan, you can have a bath later. Do you want to read a book with me?

(He thinks for a second about what would be more convincing.)

Nathan: But Mom... I'm soooo dirty!

(I hide in the kitchen so he can't see me laughing.)


Five minutes later:

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Might Want to Steer Clear of our House this Weekend

Last night, just as I was coming home from taking the kids to piano, Scott and Nathan got sick.

I was secretly grateful we were a few minutes late getting home so that Scott had to be the one to scrub out the carpet.

(Don't tell him I said that)

Don't worry, I had my turn later when Brett and JD were sick several times over, from the hours of 8 PM until this morning. Luckily, they managed to hit the toilet, a bowl, or the bed sheets and blankets almost every time.

By 5:00 AM our hampers were overflowing and we were down to using just sleeping bags.

Clara also had a high fever all night and Samantha has been coughing and aching as well.

I've been feeling inklings of similar symptoms coming on, but I refuse to let them get any worse.

If I get sick, who is going to plow through the laundry, clean out the bowls of sickness, and administer the Motrin and Vicks Vaporub?

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The only thing constant in life is change.

This year has brought about two new changes in our lives.

1. In January, Scott was called to serve as the Bishop of our Ward at church.

2. This July we will be moving!

After looking for several months at dozens of homes, we finally decided to build a new home. We found a nice lot in a subdivision just outside of the city in a great, family-friendly neighbourhood.

We have been in this condo for 10 (plus) years and this will be our first real move since we've been married. We are very excited!

If you want to read and see details of our home-building project, you can do that here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Clara: 16 Months

It has been so fun to watch Clara grow up over the last few months. She is starting to seem less like a baby and more like a little girl.

She loves to be around other people, and seldom will stay in a room by herself (unless she's trying to play with or eat something she's not allowed to have, in which case she makes a beeline for the nearest exit).

She adores Samantha, Brett and Jesse and can say each of their names. She also adores Nathan, but she sees him more as competition right now rather than an adoring big brother.

She also loves her parents, Grandma, Nana & Papa, and her Uncle Jeff & Aunt Lindsey.

Clara is a very happy girl who smiles and laughs a lot. But when she's not happy about something she will let us know with her dirty looks. Like this:

She spends a lot of time with her two left fingers in her mouth. It's her own unique version of thumb-sucking.

Clara loves to sing. She can actually hum or babble to recognizable tunes (ABCD is one of her favourites. She also loves the Popcorn Song and I Am a Child of God.) Clara will sit on your lap for as long as you want her to if you keep her entertained with songs.

Clara is very mischievous and curious. She likes to explore things and play with anything other than her toys. She empties our kitchen cupboards on a regular basis and she also loves to sneak into the dirty clothes baskets and carry around dirty washcloths (eeeewwww!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project Life 2010

I decided to start something this year called Project Life.

If you are familiar with Becky Higgins, you might already know what Project Life is all about.

But before I get a head of myself, let's back up a bit.

Almost 10 years ago, after Samantha was born, I found a new hobby... scrapbooking.

I spent the next two years scrapbooking every cute picture of Samantha in beautiful handcrafted albums.  I loved having this new creative outlet and spent a lot of time (and money) on scrapbooking and scrapbook supplies. 

By the end of 2003 our family was growing, Scott was done school, and we had a demanding start-up business in the works.  I found that caring for three children ages 3 and under was keeping me a little too busy for scrapbooking.

I wanted to keep it up, but just couldn't find the time.  But I didn't want to give up paper crafting all together. So when a friend of mine introduced me to stamping, I found a happy medium, in the form of card-making.

Card-making was less time consuming than scrapbooking, and fulfilled that creative outlet.  I decided to go with it.

Fast forward to January 2010.  Babies number four and five have joined our family and life is just keeping us too busy with work, church callings, and new home planning.  Sadly, my card-making has gone the way of the scrapbooks.

Yes, I can still whip up a simple birthday card when needed, or some homemade valentines or other small projects, but it just isn't the hobby it once was. 

The worst part, though, is that our bookshelves are looking a little too skimpy in the photo album department.  I just have never managed to keep on top of printing our digital pictures and getting them into albums.

And that was unacceptable to me.  That, alone, was reason enough to try this new project. 

So... for $39.00 (US) plus shipping, I plan to "scrapbook" a complete album of family pictures, including journaling, for the entire year.  One picture a day, every day for the year.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Recipe Time: Mandarin Chicken & Rice

This is a really good recipe when you don't have a lick of groceries in the house, and you need dinner on the table in 25 minutes. Every single ingredient here can come from your food storage (if you choose) and it is really easy to make.

The ingredients are completely approximated, so you can dump in whatever you like or have on hand. I've made it dozens of times, and it's evolved over the years. I use it as a rough guideline, as opposed to an actual recipe.

Mandarin Chicken & Rice

Chicken - I throw some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven until cooked and then chop / tear them into bite sized pieces and set aside.  Alternately, you can use canned chicken (I've only tried the Costco brand) if you don't have fresh or frozen chicken.  Drain and set aside.

1-3 cans of mandarin oranges.  Drain and set aside but make sure to reserve all of the liquid to use in the sauce.

Mushrooms - I like to use smaller sized fresh mushrooms and there's no need to slice them.  If yours are a little larger then cut them in half.

Rice - Go ahead and get it cooking because dinner will be ready soon.  We've also tried this over egg noodles and that tastes good too.  I prefer  rice, but either will work.

To make the sauce, first you saute the mushrooms for a few minutes in your pan.

Next add 2-3 cans of cream of mushroom soup (depends how many people you are feeding).

Whisk in the mandarin juice and a good splash of soy sauce (about 1/3 cup).

Add some garlic & ginger.  I use the freshly chopped refrigerated kind.  I use about a tsp each or so. 

Add a good dash of pepper and a bit of salt to taste (the soy sauce is salty already).

Next you need to decide how thick you like your sauce.  I usually add a little more liquid in the form of milk or water.

When you're just about ready to eat, add in your chicken and stir while it gets nice and hot in the sauce.  You want to heat it through without cooking it any more. 

Last thing you do is gently stir in the mandarins, as they tend to break up if you add them earlier.

Serve over hot rice (or noodles).


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekend in Victoria

Last weekend was our National Championship Event for Play On!  We spent a fantastic weekend in Victoria BC.  This was my second time visiting this beautiful city.  The first time was about 20 years ago.

The weather was great, although it did drizzle almost all day on Saturday.  Not the best for an outdoor event, but at the same time, amazing considering it was, on average, about -20 degrees everywhere else in the country.  We were fluctuating between about 6 and 9 degrees.

There were 30 teams total (26 in the Men's Division, 4 in the Women's).  For more details on the event, you can visit the Nationals page on our website here and more news on the website here.

Also worth reading is an article here, and be sure to click through the pictures.  There is a great one of Commanding officer Chris Ellis dropping the "puck" during the Celebrity Game (more about him later).

CBC did some live coverage as part of Hockey Day in Canada.  If you click here and go to minutes 4 and 44, you will see the interviews that were on National TV.  

Here are some more highlights of the trip:

Flying out to Victoria was a long trip.  I had 2 stops totaling 11 hours of travel time.  Not having kids with me made it seem relaxing instead of long.  I read books, watched a movie on the longer flight, and enjoyed eating airplane snacks without anyone spilling them on the floor.

Our partner hotel was the lovely Hotel Grand Pacific.  They put Scott and I up in a fancy suite.  It had a huge entry way with beautiful hardwood, an over-sized bedroom and ensuite complete with jacuzzi tub, a living room with fireplace, and a dining room with more counter space than I have in my kitchen at home.

We got to see my little brother for the first time in almost two years.  It was great to see him and catch up a bit.  Miss you, Sami!

We also got to see Scott's brother, one of his sisters (and brother-in-law), and two of our nephews, who all came out from Alberta. It was so good of them to all come out and help us work all weekend.  Especially Parker & Matt, who couldn't be dragged away from the rinks on Saturday to eat lunch or get warmer clothes.  They were awesome! 

After the event was over, Commander Ellis invited us to come down to the Naval Base to have a tour of the HMSC Victoria, one of only four submarines in Canada.  This was absolutely fascinating! 

To explain a portion of the things I learned about submarine life or to tell you how much I loved the tour would require another blog post of it's own.   That's not going to happen, so I figure giving it two mentions on my list would be the next best alternative.  It was an incredible, once in a lifetime experience.

I found the people in Victoria to be very friendly.  I don't think I've ever met a friendlier group of people other than in Newfoundland. I guess Canada has friendly coasts... ?!

On the way home we flew through Seattle and I got to see my dear friend Shaunie for the first time in years!   Shaunie and I became friends when our husbands started their MBAs together (back in the good old days, as I like to call it).  We were first time Mom's with baby girls the same age and we got together at least once a week to scrapbook and share recipes and talk about our babies.  It was just like old times, visiting at the Dish D'Lish in the Seattle airport, and it was so good to see her!

My Mom & the Puddicombes took such great care of our kids while we were away.  I don't even think they missed us being gone. 

Lots of work.  Lots of fun.  Great memories.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Camera Loves Nathan

Nathan's new favourite pastime is posing for pictures.

It goes down like this:

Nathan comes to me and says, "Mom, take a picture of me!"

I grab the camera and wait for him to smile and say, "Cheese."

He does so, and then hurries over to look at the camera screen to see the picture show up.

Then he runs back in front of the camera and strikes some crazy pose he thinks up in the moment. Usually it is something totally random and half the time he's purposely not looking directly at the camera and / or not smiling.

He holds this pose until I take the picture.

Then he comes over for another look. Sometimes he'll say something like, "Cool" when he sees what it turns out like.

Then he'll do it all over again.

And again.

And again.

One of the funny things about this is that he does not get tired of posing. We only stop when I distract him with another activity.

I am the kind of person who much prefers to be behind the camera.  I'm pretty sure he gets this trait from his Aunt Jordana.

Here's a small sampling of his photo shoot on New Year's Eve. (What makes these even more funny is Nathan's dirty face.)