Archives for category: Family
Today hubby and I enjoyed a slow, quiet afternoon as the girls played outside with friends. We decided upon an appetizer style dinner, which is a frequent event at our home. We LOVE appetizers, and frankly I am not the best cook…..GASP! Yup, it’s true and I admit it openly.
Since the accident I cannot deal with detailed meals, I am horrible at timing so the meals I cook often have one hot dish, one warm and one icky and cold. So when it’s my turn, I seek out simple meals or I make appetizers.
The kids adore this, they get to choose a dish and we all eat with our fingers in very casual style. I have become somewhat of a whiz at apps, I love when people ask me over for a pot luck….it’s my time to shine! Even though usually it’s not my recipe..cough…moving along…
I think we can all agree that appetizer dinners make for quick, healthy meals if they’re done right. Personally on nights when I’m crunched for time I rely upon apps or breakfast for dinner.
One of my favorite apps to make is Jalapeno Poppers….my friend Jody introduced us to them at a dinner party she hosted and we’ve been making them regularly since. They are dead simple and so much more delicious than the common poppers.
Ingredients: Jalapenos, Cream Cheese, Prosciutto
Cut the jalapenos in half and scrape out the seeds.
Once you’ve scraped them well, they should look somewhat like this:
Please, please be sure that you wash your hands well and DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES for a while afterwards. It seriously BURNS!!
Next rinse out the jalapenos to remove any left over seeds.
Pat the jalapeno dry and spread cream cheese inside it, the amount is up to you….we tend to be generous with it.
Now lay out a piece of prosciutto and place a filled jalapeno half upon it.
Roll the prosciutto around the jalapeno half, ensuring it’s tight.
Line up the wrapped jalapenos on a baking sheet and cook on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 7, flip and cook another 7 minutes.
Cook until the prosciutto is done to your taste, it’s like bacon in this regard; some prefer it crispy, some don’t.
And finally, you have a wonderful, healthy choice to serve!
This past Saturday we had the pleasure of taking my friend Krista’s wonderful children for a sleepover. Zack is 4 and his sister Charlotte is 8 months old.
Krista has gone above and beyond for us since my accident in Feb/10. At the time of the accident Hubby worked evenings and Krista was here at our home EVERY evening helping me with my girls. She simply arrived with her son and jumped in. I don’t know what I would have done without her in those first few months….and since frankly. There have been countless instances where I’ve sought her help, from understanding and completing paperwork to babysitting while I attend doctor’s appointments.
Her love for us amazes me, not to mention her husband’s patience.
And so we wanted to give her and her Hubby a night to themselves….the fact that I’d get my baby fix didn’t suck either!!
It’s common knowledge that I have a bit of a crush on baby Charlotte.
I’m sure you can see why!
And Zack, he’s a boy after my own heart. His mind is always 10 steps ahead of his body which leads to some injuries….but he recovers quickly. Oh and he’s utterly brilliant, this boy is seriously advanced in many areas. I may be a bit biased, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Zack was deemed “genius” level IQ.
So how did this look when you combine the world’s cutest 8 month old baby, a busy young genius with a 5 year old diva and 7 year old introvert?
The fact that they are so close was both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because Zack is comfortable here and we know him well. Bad because we know him well. OK, to clarify; our 7 year old knows exactly which buttons to push to wind Zack up when he annoys her.
This presented a challenge, it was Zack’s first ever sleep over (excluding his Grandparents) and I was determined to make it a good memory for him. Our solution: keep them all occupied and supervised.
By playing on the strengths of each child, the day was a success! 
Chelsea put on shows for us all, we were a boisterous audience indeed.
Zack showed us his karate (in a wide open space), again hubby and I struggled to keep the crowd calm.
We encouraged Zack and Chelsea to spend time together playing, realizing that their dynamic was flowing easily. They had a blast, both children love to talk which explains why the volume rose dramatically.
It’s hard to be heard when your play partner doesn’t stop talking.
And Sydney, my 7 year old?
We Knighted her “Babysitter”.
I don’t know if Charlotte will ever have a more attentive babysitter, poor wee girl couldn’t look away from Syd’s face without being directed (not so subtly) back to it.
When I asked Sydney what her favorite part of the visit was, she responded “Having a bath with Charlotte.”
How bloody cute are they?????
At one point I had the opportunity to lay down with Charlotte, oh man did this bring back memories of snuggling with my babies…sigh, seriously folks this was moving!
But by the next morning I had to admit that I don’t think I could do it right now.
Lately I have had a strong baby urge, my womb has been seriously aching.
The reality is that I needed my Hubby’s help way too much during the visit to be able to handle a baby full-time.With my physical limitations and memory issues, I just couldn’t provide the care by myself. 
Hubby and Sydney both did all the lifting and carrying, they reminded me when she needed to eat…..I got all the snuggles and fun times. 
Thank goodness Krista and her Hubby trust us to watch their children, for now Charlotte’s visits are quelling my urges. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll wake and be fully restored but in the meantime I’m sure glad we get to make memories with these two little beings!
Have I mentioned how much frogs gross me out?
Why do children love them so much?
Once upon a time, my lovely family went for a stroll to a seemingly beautiful pond.
There was a fountain, sunshine and pretty lily pads.
I sat far away, upon a pretty white bench and watched my two daughters with their father, who just happens to be the love of my life and Mr. Nature Man himself. 
They were intent upon their task, to mar the beauty of my day and make me look at frogs!
You see, the lovely facade of pond was a lie!
Under the surface hid fish, snakes, leeches and FROGS!
When I looked closely, there they were! Arrogantly gazing at me.
The audacity of it all!
Intent on making another beautiful memory with my family, I looked away from their mocking faces and ignored their croaks of laughter.
The girls were laughing and actually working together!
GASP, they were getting along.

Daddy helped, he carried the caught frogs in the handy-dandy bucket. I love this bucket, it assures me that these creepy, slimy creatures cannot get close to me.
And still these frogs mocked me, they seemed to croak happily just for my discomfort.
You are definitely a Mother if you’re willing to subject yourself to situations where the heebie-jeebie levels are this high.
In the end the girls had a blast, hubby enjoyed himself and me?
 It was fun watching them from my far away spot.
Oh and just to raise the gross factor, my daughter of course caught the mutant frog!
Check out it’s nasty tail.
On this Wordfull Wednesday I’m grateful for too many things to list, I think the fact that I was willing to get close enough to take this photo says it all.
This past weekend we had an unexpected visitor.
If you have read my blog at all, you should know that we have a Boxer who is a truly valued member of our family.  Her name is Miss Cocoa Bean and she’s fantastic. Last spring we mated her with a brindle boxer, Boston and she delivered 6 puppies in April 2010.
The birthing process was humbling, she was a natural and I am in awe still as I look at the photos. 

 Me holding up the first born, all white boxer.

 Cocoa cleaning off the babies as they came out.
Over the last year we have had photos sent from all the puppy’s families except for one. We just assumed that all was well and little Luna was doing fine. We are also fortunate that two of the puppies live in the same town and we get to do “playdates” every now and again.
These puppies had out household in an uproar while they lived with us. Yes it was a lot of work for everyone, especially because I couldn’t bend to pick them up. Was it worth it? YES!!!
They started out so small, little squeaky sounds filled the room as all four of our family sat staring at them. They were so beautiful….and easy. They could be carried around in a basket and contained in a children’s pool. 
But they grew….fast!
We began trying to take them for walks….what a challenge that was. There was no way of getting all 6 puppies to follow Cocoa, they were constantly distracted or stopping for a nap on the way.
And so we got creative.
Tadaaaaa! Puppies in a wagon, a fine idea until one curious, brave pup decided to jump out. She was fine but from there on we couldn’t contain the puppies in the wagon.
Our neighbors thought we were nuts and got quite a kick outta this.
Oh and if you want to be the hit of the neighborhood, just have a litter of pups and bathe them out on the front lawn.
 Of course Boston would come by and visit, that was always a hilarious sight. Cocoa didn’t like sharing his attention and wouldn’t leave him alone until she was tired from playing. As soon as she would lie down the pups would attack her for drinks.
Until the day we introduced water…now that was funny. They consistently tipped over the bowls, stepped in it and put their noses under, sniffing and sneezing away.
This is Molly, Lucy and Luna having a drink once they had mastered the art.
The day came after 8 weeks, when the pups began leaving for their forever homes. This is Sydney with Luna the day she left. We had printed off photos of her since her birth, wrapped her in her blanket and we thought we would be relieved to have one less pup to chase after.
It was quite sad for us, especially for Sydney but we knew they were all placed in fantastic homes and that was a relief.
As I said earlier, 2 of the pups live in our town. Here is Cocoa with her daughters, London and Molly earlier this spring. These dogs ran for over an hour straight before they finally fell to the ground heaving.
This weekend when there was an unexpected knock on the door, we thought someone was looking to have a dip in the pool. Hubby couldn’t believe it when he saw Luna walking up the driveway. Her owners were travelling past our town and thought it would be nice to pop in for a visit.
I swear, I must have looked like a total fool, I was so excited!
Cocoa and Luna played and ran for an hour and a half and this is the only photo I could snap of them together. It was wonderful to see this little pup doing so well. She had some issues while with us, a skin condition which I treated by bathing her daily in special shampoo. She was my little favorite. Today she has no issues with her skin and is well loved, as her owners admit she’s quite spoiled.
We were fortunate that one of the pups who lives in town could stop by, London, Luna and Coco certainly enjoyed their visit.
Funny how they look like twins.
Later in the summer we are trying to get a full litter reunion going, but in the meantime I feel like a lucky grandmother who receives the BEST photos!
That’s it, that was what made my weekend. A simple visit which brought back so many memories and made us feel that we did good…..Are we having another litter?
Not today.
Today I’m coming out of the closet…..I have a sock basket.
There I said it, it’s out there finally!
When Hubby and I were together before kids there would come a time when we would notice a sock going missing. Because there was just the two of us, it was a very quick discovery. In those days I did laundry once a week, generally 3 loads and managed to sort, fold and put them away immediately.
With the birth of our first daughter came the increase in laundry. I would lovingly wash her little clothing and bedding every two days or less. In those days, being a first-time Mum I kept quickly rinsed out soiled items, sprayed them with stain remover immediately and wouldn’t allow her dirty items to sit more than a few hours.
Fast-forward to daughter #2 and an 18 month old. Suddenly the laundry wasn’t done immediately, believe it or not….quite often I would find a burp pad far under a pile of laundry. Said burp pad wouldn’t have been rinsed, no stain spray had been applied and a nasty black mold covered it. 
And so into the garbage it would go.
It happened more than once, I am not entirely proud of that.
As our girls have grown, their clothing has gotten larger and inexplicably seems to become soiled much quicker. Oh for the days when they couldn’t even roll around. Laundry is done almost daily nowadays….I just cannot face mold anymore.
We have developed a system, Hubby does the laundry (I can’t bed or lift well), he then presents me with a basket of clean clothes (somehow not as exciting as the surprise gifts I had imagined in my 20’s), and I sit and fold them. 
That’s our system right now….I’m still working on the put them away immediately portion, but for today it’s manageable.
What isn’t manageable is this.
Our sock basket.
It’s an amazing combination of different sizes, colors and textures which drives me nuts!
It began as a catcher for single-socks. Those socks whose mate was missing would be places into the receptacle to await the pairing process. Upon its initiation this basket was quite handy and the process was brisk, however the process has broken down horribly.
Hubby thought it a good idea to put ALL of the socks into the basket and pair them after folding and putting away the laundry.
 While it sounds like a great proposal for some families, within our home at this time it’s an utter failure.
With my brain injury, I cannot decipher pairs easily, if I’m tired at all it’s overwhelming. 
Therefore it became the children’s chore to match socks, another great idea.
This is a nightmare….they dump it out and begin the treasure hunt. This is amusing for them for a very short period, few pairs are found and folded together and then it’s all put back into the basket for “another day”.
And so we have the pretty pink sock basket. Each time we need socks, we dig in and find a pair. The basket moves from bedroom to bedroom and haunts me. It’s like I can hear it breathing some days…..I told Hubby that I’m considering throwing out all of the socks and starting over. Alas that would be a waste.
And so this afternoon, once the girls are home from Summer Camp we will not be making forts in the living room like yesterday.
Nor will we be swimming with friends.
We will be matching socks, throwing away the single socks and bidding adieu to the sock basket forever!!!
**Disclaimer – yes I know it’s a waste to throw out the single socks but one house can only have so many sock puppets**
Well friends it’s official, it’s the end of an era in for our family.
Today our youngest daughter graduated senior kindergarten, from now on both our girls will be in school full time.
Back on June 1st I wrote a post about this momentous occasion, titled simply Graduation.
I’m certain that you are all keenly aware that many graduations are taking place around the world; you just have to open up your Facebook and you’ll see the status updates and photos.
To all of those people celebrating I say congrats, the graduation ceremony is a serious marker. One which reflects your efforts, dreams and desires. That big day means so much to many of us.
I can distinctly recall beginning to prepare for my Grade 8 graduation in the month of February. Immediately following my birthday, I began to read the magazines (we didn’t have Internet…groan) and peruse the styles of dresses and hair.
One would think I could have come up with a better look than I did. Apparently I was convinced that the ultra shiny white eyeshadow, lace mock gloves and silver choker were the height of fashion. 
Oh to be able to speak to my younger, fashion challenged self.
I’m apologizing in advance to the girls with me in the photo, but it’s not like I’m tagging you all.
My high school grad was a huge deal for me but our school didn’t actually have a ceremony to hand out diplomas until September. 
By September I wasn’t bothered attending the Commencement ceremony, the way I saw at the time, I’d done the important part; I had attended the prom!!!
Yes my friends, the prom was far more important to me than the fact that I’d successfully completed my high school education. In my priority list those days wearing a cap and gown ranked far below dressing up and hanging with my friends.
My saving grace was that my fashion sense had improved and although I don’t have a photo of myself in the robe, I do have this smashing shot of my sexy, young self to gaze at admiringly.
That was probably the healthiest and fittest I’ve ever been and I am awfully glad to have this photo, even with the Debbie Gibson hair.
The time came this morning with my 5 year old daughter, where she exerted her independence. With only 10 minutes to get dressed she had a complete and utter meltdown because she didn’t like the dress we had chosen for her to wear. 
Instinctively I wanted to scream in frustration; we’d spend much too long choosing the wee summer dress and we didn’t have time for a DIVA like fit.
There I stood staring at my daughter displaying behavior shockingly like the girl in The Exorcist. My head was about to explode and that post of mine came into my mind. Instantly I was ticked at myself for writing it because it deflated my anger and had me tearing up like the softy that I am.
Right as she’s yelling and flailing her arms as only our Miss Chelsea can, I wrapped my arms around her and began talking about how she used to go to the school doors and cry when we took her sister to school. I told her how little she looked on her very first day of school, how brave she was at 3 years old. I shared with her how proud I am of her and who she is becoming and how I want time to slow down some days.
In that moment I slowed time and surrounded us with our love.
And then I allowed my darling, independent, fashion-challenged 5 year old to choose her own outfit.
She looked beautiful.
Way to go Miss Chelsea Belle, we’re so proud of you.
This past Sunday was Fathers day and I’ve been reflecting on the journey my hubby has been on becoming the father he is today. Today he is wonderfully patient, kind and loving with the girls. He has a quirky sense of humor and easily understands the kids sense of fun and adventure.
It began with the arrival of Sydney on December 31st, 2003. From her first night in the hospital he was a hands on Dad. The love in his eyes brought me to tears as I observed him marvelling at her. Because I had a c-section we were in the hospital for 5 days, cocooned from the demands of daily life, we were absorbed by our new baby’s beauty.
Infancy was never hubby’s favorite age, he prefers when babies are less “breakable.” Once they are into the chubby stage he is much more comfortable.
From the moment Sydney arrived, hubby included her in all of his free time activities. He has her help him with yard work, home renovations, fishing and anything else that strikes his fancy. Below you can see them working as a team putting her toddler bed together. Hubby had her screwing it together with him, she was so proud!
Story time with Daddy has always been very important in this house; it is quiet bonding time for Daddy and the girls which began when Sydney was little.
Next on the path of Fatherhood is another child!
With one little 23 month old girl, why not add another baby?
December 13th, 2005 brought us Chelsea. Our second daughter and another opportunity for hubby to become a proud new Daddy. With Sydney well taken care of by family members, we had another 5 days in the hospital to get to know our newest addition.
Splitting his attention between two children had never worried my hubby, he would tell me he has enough love for all of us and some to spare. There never was a time where I saw him overwhelmed by these two little ladies. He has a knack to laugh off their antics, melt-downs and just glory in the moment.
He’s the father who takes his girls everywhere, wants them to see all of the things he loved when he was young.
The CNE.
River rock hopping and so many more things.
My husband has been a Daddy for 7 years now and as time goes on I am continually surprised at how he grows. From the early days of diaper changes, sleepless nights, bottles and a cranky wife to the more recent challenges of little girls exerting independence one thing remains the same.
His patient love and understanding.
For that and so many more things I am blessed, I am grateful that my children’s Daddy brings out the best in me.