Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So here we are: 20 weeks pregnant and feeling super great!
During month 2 and 3, I am always miserable with nausea, although comparatively
not affected by all that!  But as soon as 16 weeks happens, I am a happy lady again!
thee second trimester is sooo much better, because

1.  No more awkward,  "By the way..I'm pregnant." Convos
2.  More energy and no nausea for me!
3. Showing a little more, more obvious bump!
4. Get to find out the gender of the baby!
5.  Get to reach that wonderful half way mark!
6. Can feel baby move rather than probable gas bubbles.

People ask me, "Is it any different this time around?"
I would say generally, my pregnancy has been the same, but this time around has definitely been different.

1.  Surprise baby:
Made knowing I was pregnant more of an adjustment, I had to take a day or two to process having #4, rather than wait until "the day" when I could take a pregnancy test like the others.
This time around I actually took a test to confirm that I was NOT pregnant. 

2.  Reactions:
 I have learned that not everyone thinks people should have 4 kids.  My mom definitely freaked out which tainted the whole experience and for me.  
Also, although most people are excited, telling people that have 4 kids have a whole different reaction. They have been there and know how tiring any combination of kids and baby is.   
Shock is always expected at this miraculous event, but some just look at me like, "Better you than me."

With all the excitement of life here in this little zoo called our home, everyday passes in a blur.  I worry sometimes that I haven't been eating right, sleeping enough, lifting too many things, not paying attention to movement or lack thereof.  
When the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat and thought I was "small" for 13 weeks I had to go for an emergency ultrasound.  After a sleepless night, the ultrasound revealed a healthy baby.  But worry stayed for some reason.  Thankfully, the 20 week ultrasound assured me everything is fine and on track.

4. A boy:  
Matty did a happy dance to have "equal teams" in our home again, logistics of where to put this sweet guy, clothes, names, birth order all come into our thoughts.  Those 2 pink cloth diapers may have to be traded for some more masculine colours, but then I think, "Why? they just poop in them?"

I'm sure there is more...but that is an update in a nutshell!

Despite everything, we are super excited for baby boy #4 and looking forward to that day in April when he arrives!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


About 4 weeks ago, I found out big (surprise) news. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there will be a new kid on our block, in my arms in April!
Now while I have always planned and hoped for a fourth, the reality of that was not on my radar yet. With liv being the firecracker that she is, it took me a long time to even fathom the idea of a fourth. To go through another baby that wanted to be held all the time, barfed up milk constantly, and shied away from being with anyone except for me, I needed time to think about my reasons for wanting a big family of 4.
I kept praying about timing or whether it was 'right' to have 4 kids, especially on days that I felt like I was just getting by. In my prayers and heart it was always, 'Am I ready this month? If not soon then when? Maybe I am happy with just 3.'
Although I was truly surprised, I had a big smile on my face. It took some time to feel like this was real since we had planned all our other kids. God made the choice for us before we could and it's nice to think that it was a decision I might not have made for quite a while longer or ever.
All those concerns went out the window when I saw the two famous blue lines. It's true. It's happening. We're having another baby!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

P & P.

Since this has been my summer of reading (& listening) to books, I finally got together with 3 fantastic friends to watch the "true to the book" movie, Pride & Prejudice.  This was not some wimpy 90 minute version, but the full 5 1/2 hours of pure British Bliss.  
I have never read the book (insert shame), but still enjoyed every moment, especially with husband rolling his eyes, and children asking to watch cartoons instead.  
We did take some breaks to catch up, reflect on relationships, eat scones, and drink gigantic mugs of tea, it was a perfect day.  
Julia, Christina, Brianna, Me!  We took pictures with the elegant tea cups but ditched them for "Real" mugs in the end!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Quilting frenzy.

I want to sew!!
I hope this is not making me sounds materialistic or like I am boasting which often happens when theses things are shared.....but I've got that jittery excitement in the pit of my stomach....quilting fabric is coming soon!
I have wanted to make new quilts for the girls room for a while now, but every time I sit down my brain is overwhelmed by the beautiful choices, patterns, colour choices, modern, girly, etc.  I kept telling myself, "Don't everthink this..."Which resulted in no decisions being made.
So I had an idea.  While a friend, Em,  is in the States I am took advantage of the free shipping and sweet deals, and an "expert opinion".
I gave up my creative choices up to her, because she has a great eye for these things AND  can always find great deals.  (My "Maven" from Tipping Point.)
My only input in the end was that it has more pink and I outed two "filler" fabrics that were chosen, but really, I knew she would treat each decision as if she were making this herself, which is such an encouragement!

Also found a simple beige rug for 20$ to make the room look a little "cleaner" looking...and eventually will make window valence or wall decos from any leftover fabric.
I also want to find some great verses and quotes for the kids rooms (and myself) to inspire faith and love of Jesus!
All I have to do is wait for the mail....glad Canada post is off strike now!!!

Quilt inspiration.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

France, the city of food.

Eating in France is like sitting with Julia Child herself.  I can just hear her voice shouting, 'Bon Appetit!' with every bite.  Since starting up the food blog I have taken up the habit of taking pictures of wonderful things I have eaten, although I felt a little shy at restaurants or often have been so over eager to taste something that it is quickly gone before I can take a shot..still working on my self control.
Andy would often pause before eating something and say, 'Your NOT going to take of picture of this, are you?' Sadly, no, but I wish I did.  
Mont St-Michelle is the capital of 'Caramel Au Beurre Salé' .  Try the ice cream of this flavour...tastes like caramel corn in cold form.
This is one of my favourite restaurants in Paris, Chez Julien.  It was about 3 blocks from our apartment, in a really sketchy area. The decor is all in Art Nouveau.   Here we had a delicious Fig & caramelized onion spread with paté, steamed fish, and of course, Créme Brulée, despite the waiters recommendations for something more original.

Bakeries everywhere, I started every morning with a almond and chocolate croissant. 
 Créperies are also as common as Tim Hortons there.

 We also tried to eat anything that was local or fresh.  I can say I tried oysters and mussels in a white wine & cream sauce.  I think cooked Oysters would suit me better, but I ate every last one, even asking for a briefing on how to eat them from the owner of the restaurant.

56 hours in London.

As a side trip, Andy took a  break fro the project, jumped on the chunnel with me and went to London.  I have never been, but found a good excuse to visit friends who live there.
The first thing that struck me, (and really many places in Europe) was how rich it's Christian history is.
We hadn't meant to do much sight seeing, but every where we turned there was another monument to someone great, or a famous landmark.
Every place we have gone, Andy and I almost never do anything but walk around the city.  This is the best way to see real people, get oriented and of course, have adventures!
Our only 'goals' for this trip were to visit with friends, eat pub food, go to Camdentown market (a giant flea market), and walk until our feet hurt!
Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The london Eye.  
Will & Kate, nowhere in sight.  
This moved my spirit when I saw a monument to William Tyndale.  If ever we can leave a mark such as this!  His last words brought tears to my eyes!
We did this giant ferris wheel called the 'London Eye'. which has a beautiful vantage point of London.  It was  highly recommended, so on the chunnel he bought 2 passages and declared,  'I just bought tickets, but I am still not sure what it is!'
Still not sure what I think about the Monarchy.  The celebrity of it all is romantic and keeps with culture, but it has such a high price tag for ceremony, tradition and such little usefulness in politics.
Yet another great monument, this one close to my heart for teaching children the Word of God.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Princess Birthday Party.

It is the end of the school year and it was Dahlia's birthday.  It seems like something always seems to throw me off at this time of year to celebrate her special day.  Last year we were in the van, headed to Florida, which hardly seems like the place to go from 2 to 3 years old.  As Andy and I realized which day it was on that trip we kept it a secret since we both feel that it would be such a 'let down' to tell her and then insist that she stay seat-belted as we passed through Washington AND Virginia that day!

This year the 'throw off' was my trip to France.  (I know, poor me.) I ended up staying an extra week to stay with a student in the hospital, so between reverse jetlag, Matthew's last day of school, getting back into a routine, a party was the last thing on my list (along with blogging.)
The great friends on my street are the reason why I ended up getting my 'party-on' this year.  We were all going to have a group party for the 3 youngsters with their birthdays within weeks of each other and then we decided that extending the parties was a great way to 'pass' the summer.  But our theme was 'Keep it simple, cause the kids just want to run around eat cake, feel special and let's be honest, we don't want the pressure of 'Out-do-ing' the neighbours with elaborate festivities.
So this is what I came up with, since I already had the bunting made from last year, and Dahlia got a new princess dress for her birthday. :)

The girls all fit nicely at the small tables, told to dress 'Pretty' while the boys were told to dress ' Cool' according to Dahlia.
The boys, happy to stand back from the girly-ness of the party. Very happy with English muffin mini pizzas.
The cake, 3 layers of round cake with jelly-tots for decor.
Have I ever told you my rant about how much I hate cone hats with elastic that breaks instantly....These seemed to be a better alternative.
The next to impossible group shot.   
Clowning in the garden.
Until next year, happy birthday,  Dahli-bean!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dinner of all Dinners.

Just a few memories of a fantastic and indulgent night of fine food and friends!
I realized later that to be the hostess of a special dinner is a great responsibility to have a great table setting.  Since I don't own candelabras or chandeliers, I thought of this idea to replicate the sparkle of those glamourous things with household things.  Lucky the recycling hadn't gone out yet!
When the lights were out my humble assembly of mason jars and random candle holders paid off.  Looking back, I probably could have ironed the table cloth, but at the time it didn't make a difference.

The first course baked in the oven while we waited for the last guest to arrive!  
Getting ready to share the kitchen with all the cooks.  
Waiting for everyone to arrive.
The first course finished, it was time to dive into the second course.  
Oh, the soup!  I realized that I didn't have enough bowls.  The mugs were a beautiful substitution.  Pine nuts and fresh cilantro made this soup fantastic.

Trying to get the almond whipped cream and raspberry coulis presentation "just right".
An extra appetizer.  Feta and walnut stuffed tomatoes.
Homemade lime sorbet between every course.  

A cheese platter being prepared by Amy.

In the end, we ate for 5 hours!  From start to finish, it was a delight! My only disappointment was not taking more pictures, especially missing a picture of my own dish or any pictures of myself!  We are planning on doing another in the near future, until then,  "Happy feasting!"

Thank you to Sharon, Amy, Rachel, Lisana, Amanda for making this night fantastic! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Coming together.

The dinner is coming together!  I can't believe how fast this week is flying by!
I felt like a champion when I realized that both bacon and pork tenderloin was on sale for my main dish!
We have been throwing out our ideas via FB, and we are going to do a full 7 course meal.  I don't think I have ever technically had 7 courses in one night!

Le Menu
1. asparagus & prosciutto appetizer
2. soup
3. salad
4. butternut squash ravioli with sage
5. pork tenderloin with port reduction
6. chocolate cake with ganache
7. cheese platter

with a sorbet palette cleanser between all courses.  

No men tonight, they get to see us every other night of the year! ;)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meal planning.

Meal planning:

One of my resolutions, maybe last year's, is to plan my meals out a little better.  I am definitely a sale shopper and I love to "stock up" on certain things so that I am always prepared, but would like to take that one step further.  I often anxiously await the sale flyers( online and paper) to see what is the best price and then let my mind wander with what I can make with them when I get home.  I let very few things go to waste, but if I play my cards right, I think I can eat like a Queen and have the peace of mind, too.

This weeks meal plan looks like this:
Lunches: Make some split peas soup, bagels,

Monday: Mexican tortilla bake, (freezable)
Tuesday:  Cranberry chicken with mashed potatoes, peas.
Wednesday: leftover Cranberry chicken. (prep some no-knead bread for tomorrow)
Thursday: Beef Bourgignon & bread (from the freezer) Friend is visiting and then off that evening.
Friday: DINNER EXCHANGE TODAY!  Mu Shu Pork and mandarin pancakes. (New recipe)
Saturday: Make Mango curry chicken for a potluck that night, frozen pizza for everyone else.
Sunday: Salmon patties & garlic mayonnaise, use bread dough for buns, salad.

That's one week, I am inspired to plan a few more!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinner exchange: Recipe #3

This week I have another delicious dinner exchange...I am IN LOVE with this idea, life is much better with a little less rush and more time to spend with the kids! 
Happy mom+happy kids+well fed husband=happy family!

I adapted this recipe from a cookbook called, "Looney Spoons", and has been a family favourite ever since.   This recipe fed two families, and was perfect for sharing with a friend who got home from work late and needed a little helping hand!

Use about 10 Chicken thighs or about 3-4 breasts, cut into pieces, or a rotisserie chicken..
2 Tsps Butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsps minced garlic
3 Tbsps grated ginger root or 2 Tbsps ginger powder
2 tsps chili powder
1 1/2 tsp  turmeric 
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 Can diced tomatoes (I like to blend this so no chunks)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Big spoonfuls  mild curry paste (Pataks is the brand I use)

1/2 to 1  cup heavy cream, sour cream or thick plain yoghurt (to taste.)
   Coriander leaves

Cook your chicken so it is not pink anymore, remove from pan.
Cook onions until clear in butter, then add in your spices.
Blend Tomatoes with all the spices and the broth.
Add in chicken again and let cook at least 15 minutes to absorb all the spices.
Add cream at the very end, I find it separates if cooked too long.
Serve over Basmati rice, and naan bread for dipping in the sauce. (Available at Provigo and Costco)
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (aka cilantro)
Freezes well and also tastes best the next day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dinner with the gourmets.

I am excited about a fun night of dining in two weeks! It is absolutely frivolous, with no occassion, no guest of honour, other than to enjoy food itself with friends (who love to cook...perhaps more than me!)
Inspired by the dinner exchange, I have fallen in love with the idea of community dining.
The way I see it, a meal out at a gourmet restaurant is something to save up for, often costing a small fortune for tiny portions, but this way we can all enjoy a long wonderful meal with a MUCH smaller bill!
The idea is to each bring a homemade "gourmet" addition to the table, for a multi course meal of fine food. Maybe better defined as a gourmet potluck.

So far the menu is :
Appetizer is prosciutto wrapped asparagus.
My contribution is a pork tenderloin in a port, shallot and bacon reduction.
Dessert may be poached pears in a chocolate sauce.

Also, I was thinking of putting together a game to play up on our gourmet airs. maybe some trivia with the theme of "Stump the Gourmet". Questions like "What kind of bowl is recommended to whip up a soufflé?", "Where is the proper placement of a oyster fork?"

Can't wait!

Monday, January 10, 2011

learning how to freeze.

Throughout this process of thinking up ideas for great dishes for this Dinner swap, there have been many questions.

Thought I would record some of the answers:

What food items freeze well? Which do not?

What are some new ideas for the freezer?

Dinner Dilemma

I am excited to do another dinner exchange! Last time we got together it was all but crazy hectic!
We ended up having 4 dinners to exchange:
Mango Curried Chicken, Beef stew, a pasta bake, and Cranberry chicken. All delicious and much appreciated since the holidays have so many activities and by the end of the day I have no more inspiration to make dinner!
I felt like most of us were time crunched and had less people particpate. 3 drop-outs and many who said they would do it the next month.
Now this month has rolled around again and I feel like I was out of inspiration again!
All this week I have been cruising recipe sites, learning about freezer friendly foods, and all the while feeling anxious about what to make!
Some of my favourite recipes are not "freezer friendly" or has too many fresh ingredients

My options have come down to:
Chinese (potsticker) dumplings, Chicken a la King, baked Mexican casserole, butter chicken. uh...

I am not sure why my brain is freezing on this one. I want to make something good, not too "ordinary" but I don't want to use an experimental recipe. I will work it out, but until then I am going to have fun scouring the recipe world for ideas!!