Sunday, July 31, 2011

Airport adventures

A long time ago, before there was J, before there was even Alex in my life, I took a long trip south and spent some time in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. While I was in Australia and New Zealand, I was very well taken care of by a number of Guiding friends and by a bunch of Guiding people I'd never met before. (In Hawaii I was well looked after by my most awesome Grade 12 English teacher and her husband) So, when I got an email earlier this spring from one of those Guiding contacts about one of her Guides, I didn't hesitate to say yes. She needed a contact in Vancouver so that Caitlin could fly to Vancouver Island for a two week leadership camp. Caitlin is 14 and needed someone to meet her so that she could fly as an unaccompanied minor.

J came with was originally supposed to be a J kind of adventure with a bus ride and a train ride and then the airport followed by another train ride and bus ride, but life happens, so we had to drive.

J made sure she was appropriately dressed for the event.

We made a sign (J's artwork is all over the back and J took this picture)

welcome to canada caitlin

We checked the flight status and discovered it was late, but because we were meeting a UM, we were supposed to be there when it landed. Guess what? Six planes landed in six it was slow clearing customs. We were a little bored.


Then we discovered that J could amuse herself by taking lots of pictures with my phone. This is one of the better shots she took. Yes, it's the floor.

requisite floor shot

After Caitlin arrived, we stopped and had our pictures taken with the moose.

uh huh

J came home with a koala that Caitlin's grandma made for her - it's cute, huh? J loves it!


And now I'm exhausted so it's bed time. Who knew an afternoon at the airport could be so exhausting!

Friday, July 29, 2011


...that looks like, well, something gross...Alex said it tasted good though.


dessert all gone

And it must have tasted's all gone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quick, what's that number....

I learned something on Monday night. Something that I thought was a bit strange at the time, but really, it makes sense when I think about it.

I don't know how to get a hold of Alex when he's at work.

Well, that's not true. I do. But I need a cell phone to do it. Dang modern technology makes life tough sometimes.

And we didn't have a cell phone with us. We were not far from my house and why would we have a phone?

Georgia had no problem finding a phone to call 911. There were lots of people walking along the seawall and many of them had phones with them.

But I had no idea how to get a hold of Alex.

And do you think there was a phone book anywhere?

We solved the problem - Georgia had to call Kelsey anyway (and thank goodness I remembered HER number) so Kelsey got in touch with Alex.

And why do I not know my husband's work number? Well, in his line of work it's not really appropriate for me to call him while he's working or for him to have his cell phone on. I do know how to reach him if necessary, but apparently I can only do it with my phone and its address book or a piece of paper in hand.

I'm spending the next few days memorizing Alex's work number...and if you can't recite your emergency contact(s)'s phone number right now, off the top of your head, I highly recommend spending a few minutes burning those numbers into your brain. Hopefully you won't need them, but if you do, you'll be glad you took the time to learn them!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friend Makin' Monday: Defining Moments

So, I started this post yesterday afternoon, intending to finish it last night. But the universe had other plans for me last night. Other plans that made me look at this post again and make some changes...I don't always understand the universe, but as it all worked out in the end, I'm not going to dwell on it.

Kenlie hosts Friend Makin' Monday on her blog All The Weigh. If you'd like to join (and make some new friends) copy the question below and link back to today's post. Leave a comment on today's post too so we can visit you!

Was there a defining moment in which you realized that you needed to lose weight? If so, will you elaborate? (If you experienced this moment in some other area of your life, please feel free to share that too!)

Hmmm...well...yes...but my defining moment was really about general health and not just weight loss...(fine, moments)

Defining moment number 1: A number of years ago when I worked at an arts-related business located right downtown I struggled with some big health problems (I wrote about them here). The fatigue in particular was bad but there were other issues too (stomach ache, lack of appetite, sore throat etc. etc. etc). I was eventually prescribed a diet by a naturopath and worked hard to stick to it and stay active so that none of my crazy symptoms returned. Life was horrible while I was in the midst of trying to figure out what was wrong - I had to cancel a four week trip to Australia for a friend's wedding; I had to take four-plus weeks off work with no pay; I drained my savings first on my time off without pay and then on the naturopath. I didn't want my health to get so bad again that I'd have to face those things again.

I made some changes to my life, including a job change (which seemed to confirm that environment - mostly physical but partly mental) and life was pretty good. Then, after living by myself for a few years, I decided to move in with a friend. I loved the house, but I can definitely say we were better friends when we didn't live with each other. Things were stressful in our house...we didn't see each other much because she started work before I actually had to get up in the morning. Besides work, I was taking two classes and working on three big Girl Guide projects and I wasn't home much in the evenings. And then there was Alex. We weren't living together, but we were spending a whole lot of time together. So, often I'd get home after she had gone to bed and head straight to bed myself. And she was upset that I didn't have much time to spend with her.

I felt like I was headed back to the horrible place I'd been in just over a year before and I knew it was time to do something about it, so I joined a gym with another friend. Let's call this defining mini-moment number 1.

Defining moment number 2 was huge. Massive. Life changing. For real.

My life changed in a matter of seconds. And when life finally got back to normal, I realized it was time to change my priorities again.

I was going into our basement to do a load of laundry and two steps from the bottom I fell and cracked my back against the steps and ended up with a fractured transverse process of the L4 vertebra. The whole story starts here and is all tagged as sore back (go figure...).

After my back incident, I slowed down. I spent more time with friends and family. I spent more time enjoying our back deck. I spent more time reading and writing and playing with my new camera and just being me. I spent less time doing Guiding stuff. I took a break from school. I worked only during working hours. I took time to stretch and walk and swim. I ate well. The thing was, I went from going to the gym a couple of times a week and walking at least two or three kilometres a day (if not more) to doing pretty much nothing other than the physiotherapist prescribed exercises for about four or five weeks, then some slow walking and a lot of floating in the pool. Alex and a coworker ferried me to and from work many days.

Guess what? I gained weight. No surprise there. I went from being fairly active and eating fairly healthy to being not active at all (the first morning it took me 20 minutes to get from the bedroom through the living room to the bathroom) and still eating the same amount of fairly healthy food. Once I got the all clear from my doctor and physiotherapist, I was more active. I'd occasionally go to the gym, but that wasn't working very well for me. I swam two or three times a week and started walking at least 3 km a day again. And I started to lose weight.

And then I got pregnant.

And then I had a baby.

And then there were complications involving scars and hormones and life got horrible for a few months and what do you know, I never lost the baby weight, but I haven't really gained much either. Steady is good, but seeing the scale drop and clothes shrink is better (for ME at THIS particular moment in MY life).

Defining moment number 3 was the day J was born. Her delivery was long and scary and, thank goodness I didn't catch on until after it was over, very dangerous to both of our lives. We survived without any major complications or scars or setbacks, but that day I understood a little better how fragile life really is.

Since J's birth I've been eating healthy, most of the time, and exercising regularly, most of the time. In case the events in Norway last Friday weren't enough to remind me that life is fleeting, last night I was literally bonked over the head with it...

Long story, shorter version: I was out with my trainer and we were about 20 minutes into a 60 minute workout. I was doing a wall sit and as she started counting down the last five seconds, I knew something was wrong. Really wrong. I had what the doctors were calling a thunderclap headache. I get really bad migraines that used to require a visit to the ER, this was worse. And so not a migraine. After eight hours in the ER, a bunch of different, scary procedures, they sent me home at 3:30 this morning. My trainer, Georgia, stayed with me until Alex could get there from work. My sister Kelsey zipped over to our place to relieve the babysitter and stay with J until someone could get home. I, especially in the moments of greatest pain, forced myself to focus on getting a J hug when I got home.

It was terrifying. Apparently I'm healthy and there's nothing wrong with me. I have an appointment next week with my GP anyway, so I'm bringing this up because I don't think I'm healthy. I have fractured a vertebra, suffered debilitating migraines, suffered brutal menstrual cramps, been in active labour (and pushing) for hours, then had forceps and a C-section before J was born, but this, this was more painful than all of those combined. HORRIBLE.

But I came home with a new respect for life in general. And I'm even more motivated to get the extra pounds off, to eat healthy most of the time (but make that most of the time a percentage that is closer to 100 than it currently is), to get the rest of my body healthy so that this doesn't happen again. Because it was scary for a whole lot of people....

Oh, I'm also SO grateful to be in Canada and have BC Medical. I know most people who live here will think I'm crazy, since most of the time, most of the people complain about everything BC Medical related, but if I hadn't had BC Medical last night's eight hours in the ER would have cost us a pretty penny. I did a bit of research and depending on location my visit would have cost between $7,000 and $18,000. UGH. See, BC Medical isn't all bad.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No inspiration

Summer sort of but not really arrived this weekend. We had a lovely weekend with lovely weather but it's windy and grey again. So I'm grouchy. And uninspired. I spent last night trying to make our plan for the week and had two days planned when I went to bed (extra late). Both meals are meals out. Go figure. I've looked at blogs and Martha Stewart and other sites and I have no desire to cook this week. Apparently my family has no desire to eat either...when I asked what they would like, J replied with eggs and Alex said there was nothing special he wanted. UGH. That doesn't help.

So here is my uninspired week that will most likely change because it's so uninspired...for more inspiration and ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Monday: Cold dinner - chicken, salami, cheese, bread, raw vegetables, hummus, watermelon

Tuesday: Mushroom frittata (J's request)

Wednesday: Dinner out with my mom

Thursday: Slowcooker roast with new potatoes

Friday: Dinner out for me and Alex, pasta for J and her sitter

Saturday: Chili

Sunday: Leftovers

Sunday, July 24, 2011

USA - Alabama - Gulf Shores


Postcard from Bre8 from Alabama

Finland - Moomin


Postcard from merete from Finland

This card arrived just a few days after J chose a Moomin book from the library. She loves it and couldn't get enough of it before, but now that the Moomin card has arrived, she wants to read the book all the time (while holding the card!)

Taiwan - Kaoping Iron Railway Bridge


Postcard from bonychen from Taiwan.

USA - Ohio's State Bird


Postcard from laurie09 from Ohio

Description: Cardinal, State bird of Ohio. Ohio accepted the cardinal as its state bird in 1933. Known for a clear strong sound and brilliant plumage, the cardinal is a year-round resident of Ohio. It is the state bird of seven states.

Germany - Starfish


Postcard from Melliepost from Germany

The Netherlands - Homemade


Postcard from A1948H from the Netherlands.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays on Tuesday....

Somehow I missed last week's Friend Makin' Monday and the one before that was about Fourth of July plans and because I was working because I'm Canadian, I didn't do here I am a day late.

If you would like to participate too, answer the questions below and then head over to Kenlie's blog and leave your link in the comments.


1) What do you like most about yourself? I'm optimistic (although there are days when I wish I was a little less so...)

2) List three characteristics that you like to have in your friends. Supportive, loyal, kind

3) How often do you brush your teeth? Three times a least...

4) If you could travel anywhere today, where would you go? London. Because I miss it. And it's my fault I miss it. Check out the book blog later tonight and you'll see why....

5) Have you ever met anyone from the blog world in person? YUP! AndreaClaire!

6) What is the last show you watched on TV? Um, well, I had a mini-TV-athon when we got home last night - Rookie Blue, Property Brothers and Love It Or List It (oh, I am SOOOOOOOOO Canadian)

7) What kind of perfume/cologne do you wear? Eau de Shannon

8) How long ago did you complete your last workout? 2 hours and 46 minutes ago

9) What will you eat for dinner tonight? The menu says chicken fingers, but I'm not sure...J and I have to go to the grocery store on the way home so we might mix up the week's plan a bit....

10) Share something fun that you did over the weekend. Alex and I had TWO (well maybe THREE) dates...we went shopping and got a ton of fall clothes for J for next to nothing, we went for dessert on Saturday night and my parents put J to bed and we went to see Super 8 on Sunday night and my parents did bed time duty AGAIN...

Reason 2937

Alex and I would one day like to move to Kelowna, where I grew up. There are many, many, many, many reasons why we would like to live there. This is one of the non-person reasons.

reason 2937

When we left my parents' house yesterday, we stopped at Mr. Oishi's Garden Farm and picked up a few vegetables . For $3.50 we got all this: 2 bags of carrots, one bag of cucumbers (4) and one cabbage. Seriously in Vancouver one of those bags of carrots would cost at least that much. And they are yummy, sweet, crunchy deliciousness.

For now, for many, many, many, many reasons, I will just have to be happy with living in Vancouver and visiting Kelowna and picking up fresh produce on our way home.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guessing at our meals

We've been out of town for a few days...and I created this menu with my kitchen a good 450 kilometres we'll see if it actually happens...

Monday: Dinner out/take out (we will still be travelling or if we're lucky just be home)

Tuesday: Chicken strips

Wednesday: Tomato, Basil and Italian Sausage pasta

Thursday: Broccoli Calzones (from the freezer) with leftover pasta sauce

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Dinner with my parents

Sunday: Salmon

Laura is away today but Finding Joy in my kitchen is hosting Menu Plan Monday if you're looking for ideas!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pioneer Picnic

Over 100 years ago, my mom's grandpa came to the Okanagan from Ireland. One hundred years ago he and his brother started the family business that my mom and her sisters run today. We're doing a few things to celebrate this year...the big event is in August, but today the Okanagan Historical Society hosted its annual picnic and the family was recognized.

It was an interesting morning - there has been a lot of rain, so they moved the picnic inside the community centre. We figure there were close to 150 people there...and if you added my age, Alex's age and J's age together, we'd still be younger than the average age in the room!

uncles and nieces
My mom, her sister and their two uncles

styling glasses
J was the starlet with her fancy-schmancy glasses

My great-uncles both told some stories of my great-grandpa's early days in the Okanagan - J went up with my mom, my aunt and uncle, my mom's cousin and my two great uncles to listen...

waiting for cake
...and hang out with the cake. She was amazing and patiently through the speeches for her cake....

eating cake
The ladies from the Historical Society thought J was adorable and gave her the biggest piece of cake they had...with mounds of icing on it...

After the picnic was over we went out to the very cool playground to burn off some of that icing....

with ogopogo
The playground even has an awesome Ogopogo climbing structure...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oops...crossed one off by accident

37. Try a new recipe for dinner every night for a week

So, when I put this on my 101 in 1001 list, I figured I'd make an effort to do this. I'd sit down and meal plan my way through a bunch of new food.


It just happened. Over the course of two weeks, pretty much everything we made was a new recipe. If the week started on June 28 and ended on July 4, we tried out four new recipes over seven nights.* I'm counting that. We had leftovers two of the three other nights and were out the third (Canada Day!)...but for good measure I'll throw in July 8 as well...we were out one night unexpectedly and two nights we made use of all the leftovers, many of which were from the new recipes. So we had a span of eleven nights where two nights were dinner out and the rest of the nights were new recipes or the leftovers from said new recipes.

*Because I didn't specify no eating out during the week of new recipes, I'm counting dinner out as part of the week.

We had the following:

tuscan tuna and bean salad

salmon cakes

black bean burgers

Tomato, basil and Italian sausage fettucine (no photo because Alex made it)

white bean and basil salad
Without exception, we would make all of these meals again. I froze some of the sliders and some of the salmon cakes so that we can eat them another night when we're in a hurry or no one feels like cooking. YUM!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Russia - St. Petersburg


Postcard from Mery18 from Russia

Description: The Bank Bridge

White Bean and Basil Salad

36.36 Try 50 new recipes

So the cookbook deemed this an Italian recipe. Makes sense. Italians like to incorporate the red, white and green of their flag into their food. Too bad some silly person bought Romano beans instead of Cannellini or Navy Beans...that person would be me. My excuse, and I'm sticking to it, is that they were probably on the shelf next to each other and I was shopping with my not-quite-three-year-old and that makes it hard to concentrate.

white bean and basil salad

It would be every so much prettier with white beans (sorry for the crappy photo. It was late and we wanted to eat and the light was strange). It was so good though. I have professed my love for basil before and the dressing on this salad was pretty much just basil and olive oil. HEAVEN. (oh, I'd add another pepper or two to it if I made it again. Just for some extra vegetables and colour)

This was supposed to be Alex's meal, but because of last minute schedule changes and unexpected out-of-town guests taking us out for dinner, I ended up making it on Friday. It is so easy. And Alex will have the chance to make it later in the summer.

I win!


Alex and I made a bet (of air apparently) that the bathroom would not stay in this state for two weeks.

master bath after

master bath after

Particularly the top photo. He figured that as I did laundry, it would again begin to accumulate on the counter top and very soon we'd be back to where we were before.

master bath before

Did I show him or what?

Oh. Yeah. No photo. Ooops. But trust me, it looks pretty much like it did those pictures except maybe the drying clothing has changed. And the reason? It's a lot easier to fold the clothing right there, right off the rack, than to pile it up and do it all at once (and dig through the pile for a shirt or pair of pants that didn't get put away)

Dust is still an issue, but there's not as much...right now. We don't use the dryer all the time in the winter and I try to use it less in the summer...not only do the clothes smell better, fade less and generally last longer, it uses less electricity and doesn't add to the already too hot temperature of the house. We have two of those sturdy wooden racks and that means I can usually do two loads of laundry on a week night and four one a weekend day (in warm weather). In the winter, it's one load a night because it takes about a day and a half to dry...We're hoping to get a new washer and dryer in the fall - maybe an new, energy efficient one won't make as much dust??

And do you know what the unintended side effect of this was? The rest of my house has caught the stay clean bug. It's never really been that bad, overall, but the clean bathroom has inspired us to keep the kitchen tidier (hello, doing dishes every night...a clean kitchen in the morning is SO nice) and the dining room table clear.

J decided she wanted the shoes in the closet, so I helped her arrange the shoe rack so all our shoes would fit. She loves opening the door and getting the right pair of shoes for us when it's time to go out.

A much tidier house has made getting ready for work easier. The ease of getting ready for work means I get to work a little bit earlier which allows me a few minutes of alone time before that part of my day starts and that means I'm WAY more productive during the day. And that means I'm more relaxed when I go home, which means more fun stuff to do in the evenings with J. And I've been able to read a bit after J goes to bed and I still manage to go to bed earlier than I was. IT'S AWESOME being organized and I'm not even all the way there yet!

Hard to believe one tidy bathroom could have that much effect on my life! Thank goodness I found Laura's 52 weeks of organizing challenge. It gave me the kick in the pants that I needed!

Next up: the bedroom.

Clear out the fridge

As I stood in front of the open fridge contemplating dinner last night (our dinner plans fell through and because we had a fridge full of leftovers all week, I didn't pick up the ingredients for the channa masala) I wondered yet again how it was possible to have a fridge FULL of food, yet have nothing to actually eat.

We're off for a few days at the end of the week, so I dug through the fridge to see what we had that needed to be used up...unfortunately as I dug around, I discovered that for some reason the fridge was freezing stuff (even if it wasn't touching the side of the fridge) and I had to toss out a quarter of a watermelon and almost a full box of salad. There were a few half frozen strawberries, so we had strawberry smoothies this morning. And there was some partly frozen celery and peppers. I cleaned and chopped those and tossed them in the freezer to be made into soup some time in the future.

There was also most of a roasted chicken and some sad looking tortillas. So we had chicken quesadillas for dinner and I made some stock to go with those sadly frozen vegetables. I hate throwing away food. I'm glad we have the option to compost these days, but it still bugs me to think of how much money went out in the bin this morning. I also had to toss a bunch of food from the party that we just didn't get through last week and was no longer good :(

This week's menu (made mostly from the fridge/freezer and hot weather friendly(ish) in case tomorrow's rain doesn't come)

Monday: Leftover roast chicken with coleslaw, bread, cheese and pickles (for miss J)

Tuesday: Asparagus Frittata (one of the few vegetables to survive the great freeze)

Wednesday: Pita Tacos

Thursday: Finger food potluck at the daycare (hopefully some of my leftovers can be turned into finger food)

Friday: AWAY!!

Saturday: Still away

Sunday: Away some more

Looking for menu ideas? Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie today!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Week 27: Get Your Kids Involved

These posts couldn't have come at a better time. J is determine to help us do everything now and while that is great, it can also be challenging...


...sometimes it is just better if the toddler isn't the one wielding the broom...

Week twenty-seven questions:
1. Do you try to get your kids involved?
Definitely! J loves helping - apparently a common thing among the non-quite three year old crowd. The other day Alex was doing something (sweeping or vacuuming I think) and J started asking questions about what he was doing and why (and why she couldn't help) and got really excited when I told her it was Daddy's "chore" that day.

We talked about chores and why we have them and why they are important and she decided she needed some. She has a sticker chart for some behaviour things (staying in bed at bed time) and to remind her of some things (tooth brushing, hand washing etc) and she wants to add chores to it too. I think I'm going to make a separate chart so that one doesn't get overwhelmed.

Then we talked about what chores she could do and she decided that picking up her toys and clothes before bed time and making her bed were good chores (I couldn't agree more). Her bed it quite neatly made for a toddler and her room is so much tidier.

We also talked about how there were chores to do every day and chores to do other times - things like the vacuuming and the bathrooms and the laundry. She chose helping load the washer with dirty clothes as one of her chores and helping "fold" the laundry.

I didn't want to overwhelm her so we stopped at four chores, but if I need her help doing something (she helped wipe the finger prints off the mirrored closet doors before the party), I'll just ask her to help with a chore. If I just ask her wipe the finger prints off, she's not so interested, but if I say "I have a chore for you" she's all over it.

I know this won't last. I know.

2. If you struggle with it, what do you find is your biggest stumbling block?
I don't struggle with getting her to help, the problem for us is when it's not necessarily appropriate for her to help (a tight time line, something delicate etc). Usually we can steer her in another direction by offering a different chore, but she's adamant about sweeping. This weekend I'm hoping to pick up a small sized broom for her and she can sweep whenever she wants. (The regular broom is too much of a weapon...)

3. Which step of the PROCESS do you find to be the hardest?
In general just making it through all the steps is the challenge for me. I get stopped in a different spot every time and I'm certain it's because I have toddler who needs help with some thing or needs to eat or wakes up early from her nap. I'm getting better at the planning - and breaking my plan into small chunks of 5-15 minutes so that if some toddler related interruption happens, I'm not faced with a huge mess (chaos before order!)

To see other answers to these questions, check out Laura's post at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Thank you random stranger

Dear stranger who unknowingly spared J many tears,

Tonight we met my mom and sister for dinner. After dinner my mom walked home with us. We had a few bags, a few coats and puppy with us.


This is puppy. Also known as Woof. J got him as a gift two years ago and they quickly became inseparable. I don't think she's spent a night without him. Puppy has been to a bunch of Giants games, some Olympic events and he came on our trip to the Newcastle, London and Scotland.

love me

My mom came in and hung out with us for a while. She got J into bed and they were reading stories when I realized that she didn't have Woof. I went to find him. I couldn't find him. Alex looked. My mom looked. Puppy was gone.

I put J to bed, Alex went on a search and rescue mission. My mom left and back tracked the same way we came home. No puppy. When Alex got home, I grabbed the flashlight and took a look too...Alex wasn't with us when we came home, so I tried to retrace our steps. I walked up the hill. I wandered down Broadway to where we last remembered seeing Woof. I looked in newspaper boxes, on top of mailboxes, under cars. No luck.

I walked the path though the garden that J had run laps around. I looked under bushes and in gutters. I walked back down the hill feeling a bit sad for J. And less than 20 metres from our building? Woof. Perched on a fire hydrant.


Woof is safely tucked into bed with J. J didn't ask for him before she went to bed, but she was up an hour and a half later than usual and was distracted by my mom.

So stranger, thank you for noticing a grungy, bedraggled puppy. Thank you for picking it up and putting it on that fire hydrant. Thank you for recognizing that a puppy in that state is valuable. That a puppy so sad and scrawny looking (click some of those links up there and you'll see him in all his fuzzy, furry glory days) is very well loved. Thank you for keeping the tears out of our house. I don't expect you'll ever see this thank you, but if something brings you to this page, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Yours Truly,
A very grateful mommy

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Black Bean "Sliders"

36.35 Try 50 new recipes

We weren't sure how many people were planning on coming or how long they were going to stay on Sunday afternoon, so we planned for some more dinner-like appetizers that I figured we could bring out later in the afternoon if we needed them or they could just become our dinner if we didn't.

I didn't really know who was coming to the party, but I did know that there was potentially a bunch of vegetarians, one or two gluten allergies, and maybe a vegan (hi Heddy...that gave you away!). So we stocked up on some of Alex's favourite meat-based, boxed stuff (sausage rolls anyone) and I decided to make some vegan sliders to go with them. I was going to do meat sliders too, but in the end I decided the meat eaters could eat the vegan ones and they wouldn't die. Really.

I searched the internet for burgers that were vegan but also didn't have soy in them. I decided on Emily's recipe at Daily Garnish. Her recipe makes six burgers but I made 16 little ones.

We didn't end up eating them on Sunday - there was so much food and the thought of eating something hot in our sweltering house was just too much. J and I had them for dinner last night. I cooked half of them and froze the other half - I just spread them out on a sheet so they weren't touching and tonight I'll stick them in a bag...yay dinner for another night or two!

black bean burgers
[yeah, yeah, not vegan with that cheese on there, but I'm not a vegan, so it's all okay!]

They were so yummy - even J ate hers (although she took the burger apart and ate the bun, cheese and patty separately - and she removed all the whole beans from the patty first). I put some leftover guacamole on mine and I might use a bit of salsa the next time...yum! I think I'd put in less cinnamon when I make them again...eight sliders meant dinner for me and J last night with leftovers for me and Alex today. YUM!

It's My Party...

After weeks of birthday parties, this weekend Alex decided to have a half-surprise party for me. He let me know there were people coming over but decided to keep their identities a secret. It was a great group of people from all different parts of our lives and SO MUCH FUN! There were about 15 people crammed into our rather small apartment (I was pining for a yard...) and it was great. There were four little girls and two eight month olds underfoot and I couldn't have been happier. There were definitely good friends and family missing, but until we win the lottery and have a huge house with a yard, I don't expect I'll get to celebrate with all of them at the same time...

Some pictures from the day (the Hipstamatics are courtesy of Aleksandra)

table ready for food
the table waits for food

the table, already laden with food, before all of the food arrived

J is excited there is going to be a party and some of her buddies are coming and there are chips. What could be better?

little girls
Little girls playing together [credit: Aleksandra]

secret sharing
J and Inara sharing some secrets [credit: Aleksandra]

my candle extinguishing helper
my candle extinguishing helper [credit: Aleksandra]

cupcakes cake
my beautiful cake from Cupcakes [credit: Aleksandra]

Alex knows that tulips are my favourite! [credit: Aleksandra]

dirk the genius
check out the eight month old stealing a book to read [credit: Aleksandra]

kissin' cousins
kissin' cousins [credit: Aleksandra]

two generations of girl cousins
two generations of girl cousins [credit: Aleksandra]

What a super day! Thanks for coming everyone....