Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Morning / Day

I told the kids before they went to bed they could not get up before 6:00am, or course this means nothing to a 3 year old who can't tell time.  But we were lucky, the kids woke up at 5:50am - not bad considering I thought they would be up closer to 5.

Since this was the first year that Little Boy really understood the concept of Santa, his reaction was great.  Pure suprise and joy!

We started with our stockings...

And then moved on to the big ticket item...

We all had a blast.  After we were done, the kids played for over an hour with their new toys with no fighting, screaming or needing a parent to play with them - I chalk that down to a win.

Little Boy got this Spiderman action figure from us, it shoots a web out of his hand - let me tell you, that thing is the best for a little 3 year old who loves to shoot everything.

After we had lunch, we packed everyone up, and headed to Grandma's house, where we opened more presents, played and then had Christmas dinner.

I took very few photos of course but I did snag this one.  Love how the 4 of them are all hanging out together.

Christmas Eve

Christmas this year was so nice and low-key.  It certainly helped to have the weekend before so we were not working on Christmas eve, then coming home and trying to get everything organized.

We started the day (at 6:30am) with tracking Santa on the NORAD Santa Tracker (super easy on an iPhone), the kids had fun keeping tabs on him all day.

Then after dinner, after a million times being asked when they can put out the milk and cookies for Santa, we finally got ready.

Little Girl had some pictures she wanted to give Santa, so she wrote him a little note so he would know they were for him.

Milk and Sugar Cookies (made by myself and the kids the weekend prior).

And after everyone was asleep - look what the big guy left:

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

A friend of mine came over a few weeks ago and took our family photo, I have decided to post some of the outtakes.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Are you ready?

I know I have been a little absent from here in the past few days, but I have had a good reason, honest. 
I have been busy.  Not braving the malls, or last minute shopping, but busy with everything else.

Monday I got a chance to go and see the premier of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I was so looking forward to this movie, not only have I read all the books, but I have seen the Swedish movies too (well all except the third one yet, but I will see that one soon).

The movie by the way is fantastic.  I really liked it, I was a little leary that Holleywood would screw up an already fantastic movie, but they did a good job - and Daniel Craig is in it - Yumm!
I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with the next 2.

Then Tuesday Hubby and I had tickets to the hockey game (which they won I might ad), so that was another late night.

But I am all done my Christmas shopping, I have tackeled a good chunk of the wrapping, I think Hubby and I will do the rest on Christmas eve after the kids are in bed.
In the past we have not put any presents under the tree until after they go to bed - does everyone do this, or do you put everything under except the Santa gifts?

For Christmas this year, we are not getting together with my family at all - this is the odd year and everyone else is doing their own thing, so Christmas morning will be at our house - I like this the best - no hauling all the gifts around, the kids sleep best in their own beds, and we can get up as early as we want and not feel bad for waking everyone else up.  I am guessing the kids are going to be awake at 5:30 this year - I will have to report back on just how early it is - last year I think it was 5:45?

Then after our Christmas morning, we are going to head to Hubby's Mom's place (about an hour and a half drive away) where we will have Christmas dinner, more gifts for the kids and then stay the night.

Hopefully the weather is nice and we can hit up a taboggan hill or do some skating.

What about you?  What are your Christmas plans?
Are you ready for Christmas in your house?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Santa Gifts

This year the kids are both old enough to ask Santa for specific toys.
Right from the get go, Little Girl has asked Santa for an Ariel doll with legs (meaning – she wants a Barbie sized Ariel that has legs and not a mermaid tail).  You know, so she can be a princess and hang out with all her princess friends.
She also has asked for a Barbie house – which I have convinced her she might need a Princess Castle instead.

Little Boy has asked for only one thing – a Cement Truck.

We have one small problem – you see we have an amazing Day home provider, Anna throws a Christmas party every year, invites not only her current children and their parents, but also her past children and their families.  And every year, Santa comes.  He brings a big bag of gifts, one for each child.  (Yeah, I know, AMAZING!)

The Kids and I waiting for Santa to arrive - and then the camera batteries died - so no pictures with Santa.

We told the kids that Santa was coming to Anna’s party as a special treat, but he would come back on Christmas Eve.
Guess what?  3 year old boys don’t quite understand that.
Yup – he got his present from Santa, and sat down to open it.
His words: Yeah, a cement truck.
Me: (in my head) oh shit, this is not a cement truck.
As he is ripping it open and sees it is not a cement truck.
Little Boy: ohhh, it not a cement truck.
Insert pouty face here.
Me: (in my head) double shit – we should have spent more time talking him through this.
(out loud now) Honey, Santa is going to come again in a few days and bring more toys.
Little Boy: okay!

And he was happy. 
Whew, crisis averted.
I was so relieved that he got over it so fast, mostly because other people where there and I really did not want to be that parent with a child that is not happy to get a gift.
Little Girl got her Ariel with feet – super happy!

Now Santa comes again in 5 nights and ohhh, I am so excited! 

Little boy is getting this kick ass Cement Truck.
And Little Girl is getting this princess castle.

Oh and various other things in stockings and from Mom and Dad, because what kind of parents would we be if Santa was the only one to have a present under the tree for them?

What about your house?  Is Santa bringing exactly what your kids have asked for?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It seems like every time I get together with a group of Mom’s the conversation at some point in time turns to school.

Little Girl as you know is in pre-school and next year will be heading to Kindergarten.
I grew up in small towns, so there was never any question as to what school you went to.  You went to the only school in town, but now living in the city; “what school are you sending your child to next year?” is a question I hear a lot of.  There are a lot of different options out there – and I guess everyone has to find what works for them.

Do you choose the school that is within walking distance of your house?  Or do you choose a different school you might have to bus your kids to?

Either way, Little Girl will not be able to stay at the same dayhome, so we are going to have to drive her somewhere. (Day home lady does not take before and after school kids.)

Just after Little Girl was born I heard about Foundations for the Future Charter Academy from an acquaintance that was about to send their son there.
I heard them speak very highly about this school and knew I had to look into it.

I immediately put Little Girl onto the wait list.  She was only 4 months old.
When Little Boy was born, I put him on the wait list too.

Every year we get an email from the school letting us know it is time to re-new our wait list position.
And every year it feels so far away, someday, eventually they will go to school, but that is not something I have to deal with for now.

Until yesterday.
Yesterday I got a different email from the school.  An email letting us know about the Kindergarten Information Night coming up in early January!

Holy Crap!
I knew this process would start in the New Year, I was just not mentally prepared to deal with this until after Christmas.

But we are excited.
I am crossing my fingers, but I know that Little Girl just slaughtered her Dad in a game of memory on the weekend – yup – she’s brilliant!  Or does that say something about my husband?  Ha ha, kidding honey.

What about you?  Where do your kids go to school or where are you planning on sending them?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Little Boy

He makes us laugh at least once a day, sometimes just a little laugh, sometimes our sides hurt from laughing so much.

A few weeks ago, when we set up the Christmas tree, out came all of our stockings.

Well, who knows where he go the idea, because we don't call our socks stockings in this house, but he thought it was a good idea to wear his stocking around the house for the rest of the day.

I eventually made him take it off, telling him it would get wrecked if he continued to wear it, and Santa would not be able to fill it.

That seems to have worked, but I know he wants to wear it still.

He can wear a princess dress, he can walk in heals better than some women I know, and now he has taken to earings as well.

Man I love him!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gingerbread Houses

For 2 years now I have bought the Gingerbread house that Costco sells.  It is fantastic for little kids because it comes pre-assembled.  None of that asswemble the house and wait for it it to set stuff.  Just open the box and you are ready to go.

The only negative I see is that as they get older this kit does not allow for a lot of creativity, as you can see from the pictures below, they have scored the windows, doors, and even the roof.  It is great now, but when they get a bit older and want to think outside the box a little bit, we  just might have to make our own, but for now, this one is great.

So this past weekend, as it snowed outside, and chicken was roasting in the oven, we had a family afternoon of gingerbread house decorating.

I did not see it the first time I looked at this picture, but ooops, I caught Little Boy picking his nose!  Okay, if you come over, don't eat his gingerbread house!!  LOL.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate Pecan Maple Butter Tarts

I read the blog Chasing Tomatoes all the time.  She has some amazing recipes and wonderful ideas.

She posted this recipe a few weeks ago on her blog and I knew I had to make it.
I brought the recipe home, had it sitting on the kitchen counter when Hubby saw it.
He thought he has died and gone to heaven. 
His words: "Are you trying to kill me? These are all my favourite things in one tart!  You are making those today right?"
No, I waited a little bit, but it was worth the wait for him.

Chocolate Pecan Maple Butter Tarts

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (No. 1 medium grade)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I did not have any so I used white wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecan halves
3/4 cup high quality bittersweet chocolate (I used 4 Baker bittersweet baking squares)
24 tart shells

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl mix together the brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, eggs, cider vinegar and salt.  Set aside.
Divide the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly between the tart shells, then fill with the filling.

Bake until the pastry is set and the filling is golden, about 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Friday, December 09, 2011


Going to see Santa in a city as young and busy as Calgary is usually no small feat, especially when your kids are young and they are as shy as mine are.

Since we live in the deep south end of the city, we always go to Southcentre Mall for our Santa photos.  They have a great Christmas village setup – a big tree, with tunnels and little things to keep the kids occupied as they wait.  They also have the cookie kitchen every year.

This year we were pro-active, last Saturday I sent hubby to the mall early; he arrived at 9:40 and was fifth in line.  I left the house as soon as he called me and we made a bee line for Santa.  Santa arrived at 10:00, just before we go there, and when we walked in there were at least 50 families in line.

We had almost no wait, and my nervous kids were fantastic!  Look – smiles!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Choco-Nut Popcorn

This is a recipe I grew up with; I have no idea where my Mom got it, but we loved it when she first made it and we loved it even more when she made a mistake and bought mint M&M's instead of plain.
The original recipe calls for plain M&M's - but one year Mom accidentally bought the mint M&M's that only come out at Christmas and used them instead.
It was the best mistake of Christmas!  There is just something that the mint changes in the whole recipe that makes it that much better.

I made this a few years ago and gave some to friends and co-workers - it has become a standard request every year.  I usually make a quadruple batch or more.

Enjoy - but please be careful - highly, highly addictive!  (I suggest a lock on your freezer and get someone else to hid the key on you.)

Choco-Nut Popcorn

10 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped)
1 bag (281g) Mint M&M's (only available at Christmas)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pop your popcorn, sift out the unpopped kernels, top with M&M's and set aside in a large bowl big enough for stirring.

Put sugar, honey and corn syrup into a heavy bottomed pot, and bring to a rolling boil over medium heat, cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly.
Turn off heat and add in the vanilla and peanut butter.  Still until well incorporated.
Pour over popcorn and M&M's, stir gently until all the popcorn is coated.  It is okay for the M&M's to breakup a little bit.
Spread out onto baking sheet; once cooled completely, break up into bite size pieces.
If you have will power, it freezes well in airtight containers.

Lock your freezer!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"Show Us Your Christmas" Day 1 - Christmas List

I am a day late but I still wanted to link up with this fun Christmas-Link-Up!
I read Aly's Blog all the time, and although I have never met her, she has a fantastic blog (and she likes Daschunds).

***  Disclaimer ****

I have only shared this list with my husband, and then asked him to share it with other people eliminating the ones he and the kids want to get me so we don't have duplicates.

If you are friends or family, and planning on buying me a present - please check with him first.

If you are just wanting to buy me a present - please leave me a comment and I will email you his email address and then you can chat.

If you are a company that sells any of the below items and want to give me one of them for free - please leave me a comment and I will be happy to send you my mailing address! 

I need a new pepper grinder - a decent one that
will not fall apart after 2 months!

I used to get a Cooking Light subscription a long time ago, but found after having kids,
I never had time to read it.  But I think I have the time now.

I love Fine Cooking too - I would love a subscription to either magazine.

I read Julie Van Rosendaal's blog all the time - and I love her - this
is her new cookbook just released.

Every year I ask for a package of Christmas Blend in my stocking.
And every year I ask for a Starbucks card in my stocking too.

I have been looking forward to when this book comes out in
 paperback - hoping hubby gets it for me.
What I would really like is an E-Reader - I have not done the research to know what one is better. 
And this is more than I want my husband to spend on me - so maybe next year, or for my birthday.
But it is something I would like to have.

***  Disclaimer ****

I have only shared this list with my husband, and then asked him to share it with other people eliminating the ones he wants to get me so we don't have duplicates.

If you are friends or family, and planning on buying me a present - please check with him first.

If you are just wanting to buy me a present - please leave me a comment and I will email you his email address and then you can chat.

If you are a company that sells any of the below items and want to give me one of them for free - please leave me a comment and I will be happy to send you my mailing address!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I work full time.  I know all my stay-at-home Moms work full time too, but I work full-time out of the house, and I guess for that matter, full-time in the house too.

So when it comes to all shopping needs I have to have a few tricks up my sleeve in order to maintain my sanity.

I am fortunate that I work every close to a Superstore and Wal-Mart.  So often I leave the house a bit early in the mornings (hubby drops the kids off) and stop into either to do my shopping. 
If you want to love Superstore – go at 7:00 in the morning.  It is pure bliss! 
It is EMPTY!!  I can get everything I need in half the time it would take me normally.

The other benefit is that I also work very close to a Costco!  Here’s my tip folks – Saturdays & Sundays are horrible, Fridays and Mondays are a close second.  (If someone is going to take a day off work – it is usually a Monday or a Friday.)
I go at lunch time, on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

Costco - on a slow day!

Even better – super cold and bad weather days – the days you want to stay home – so does everyone else – Costco is super slow and almost empty!

Of course we are now at the Christmas shopping time in everyone’s lives, and that means the stores are insanely busy.  My first year back at work, and I realized this Saturday shopping with everyone else is just not for me.  So now what I do is every year I book a Tuesday or Wednesday off work – the kids at still at day home – and I shop all day.
All by myself.
I get up early (but who can’t when there are kids in the house), and I will be at most stores just as they are opening.
This year I am taking tomorrow off – I will start at Wal-Mart around 8am and continue from there.

The best part is once I get home, I still have no kids with me – and I can wrap in peace.

What about you?  What are your shopping tricks?