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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Boo to You!

Here in Canada we get to celebrate with two holidays in October, Thanksgiving and Halloween!

  Starting off the month with Thanksgiving really puts me on the mood to do some fall cooking, especially when it comes to baking goodies.  I tried a few pumpkin muffin recipes this month, including the pumpkin cake recipe that I first tried in September.  I also spiced it up a bit by adding a cream cheese surprise from these carrot cake muffins that I made earlier in the year.  They were a hit.

 Another muffin recipe from the month was this French toast muffins.  I loved the crunchy brown sugar butter layer they were rolled in, but these didn't disappear into the lunch boxes quite as fast as the pumpkin ones.
French Toast Muffins via Rebekah's Pinterest
 
  Halloween is a fun time for cooking up some ghoulish treats.  We've tried to do something fun for dinner for the past several years.  I'm still planning this years dinner and treats for the few parties (kindergarten class, library school, ect) that the kids are involved in, but I'll share last years with you.
 
 For our 2012 Halloween dinner we feasted on Mummy's, Pumpkin Cesear Salad, Rice Krispy Treat Pumpkins, and Bloody Fishbowl Drinks.   The Mummy's were:  hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough.  Our cesear salads were held in hollowed out orange skins that we made to look like mini Jack O Lanterns.  The pumpkin rice krispy treats only looked liked pumpkins, by shaping them into balls rather than squares and adding some frosting for a Jack O Lantern face.  I used some red cranberry juice and a bit of Sprite with fish and shark shaped gummies for the drinks.  The kids talk about Halloween dinner all year long!

  Thinking there would be a bunch of unhealthy treats brought into Emma's school(there wasn't), I did a platter that looked a bit like a Jack O Lantern for something fun and healthy.  This year we are going to give them some more sugar...why not?  We are making some cute rice krispy ghosts tonight.
Veggie Platter via Rebekah's Pinterest via Baby Center
Rice Krispy Ghosts via Rebekah's Pinterest via the Idea Room

Of course Jack O Lanterns is a must every year and this year was no exception.  We also had some friends give us a "white" pumpkin.  They had painted chevrons on one of theirs and M&M really wanted to make the same design on ours.  Feeling like chevrons were a little beyond us we decided to do some stripes with tape.  After much taping and painting we discovered that black tempura paint will not stick to pumpkins.  Emma had a blast painting the pumpkin, but in the end I had to flake all that hard work off and do some spray painting myself.  Not exactly the most kid friendly of projects, and our pumpkin had a few extra runs and smears from the trial and error process, but something fun and different, especially from a distance.

Another activity we usually get into during October is Halloween costumes.  The first few years I was able to find some cute costumes at yard sales during the summer. 

However, as M&M and Moose get older I have found the costumes too Disney and less and less cute factor.  Last year we began making our own costumes.  M&M was a peacock, which turned out simple enough by using felt to make a few peacock feathers for a shirt we had on hand and tying up a tulle skirt in peacock colors.  We found a mask at the dollar store and her outfit was complete.

Moose was even easier.  Being that his nickname is Moose and we were going for an animal theme, I made some Moose shaped antlers out of (again) felt and sewed them on a brown hoodie from the dresser.  Over it we put a red shirt that had a picture of a moose and the caption "Eh!"  Cute and simple for our little moose.

 And then of course we were all fed up and dressed up and set to take off for some "trick or treats!"  Happy Halloween!


 



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September

  I had a friend that we see infrequently ask me at the beginning of the month if we had a good year.  While I've always considered myself to be something of a pessimist, I had very little hesitation before I answered yes it was a good year.  It certainly hasn't been the year I've tried to plan, but I think I might be learning a little about how the cup can still be half full even through the rough experiences.
  On March 6, 2013, we lost the little sibling that we had been hoping to give Moose and M&M.  It had been a rough several weeks of not knowing what we were exactly facing before the Dr. Was finally able to decide that I required surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.  In case you are wondering what an ectopic pregnancy is...this happens when the pregnancy implants in some place other than the womb.  Mine ended up being in the left tube, which was subsequently removed. They were a scary few weeks and I emerged feeling very grateful for modern medicine (imagine the kind of death I would have succumbed to if it were 100years ago on the farm!), but also guilty that I was severely out of commission for several weeks (wasn't it a little selfish to even think about adding another to our family when we have so much already!).  I was also upset at the thought that we had no choice but for the pregnancy to end in order to save my life.  I felt the loss keenly, never before quite realizing what losing an unborn child was like.  There were alot of questions that remain unanswered, but above all I have been thankful for all the reminders of how fleeting life can be and for the trust that I have in a higher order where one day all will be answered.
  After waiting the allotted recovery period we decided that maybe it wasn't so selfish to think of adding another to our family and tried again.  Not being sure exactly what to expect we were pleased when the months didn't drag by, as I had been forewarned they might due to the surgery.  I had two fairly normal pregnancies with Emma and Tommy and since the issues I experienced with them never amounted to what my fears sometimes told me was happening, I tried to keep the worries at bay.  I was 2.5 months along, had the pregnancy confirmed by my Dr.  Went through, what I thought was a routine ultrasound, hoping I could announce to the family our hopes within the next few days.
  Instead, on September 13, 2013 I lost my fourth pregnancy.  Again there are many questions that remain unanswered and while I hope we will have some things laid out for us once the dust has settled and we get news from the Dr., I know that there will always be those pessimistic moments when I will have to make myself stop and see the good through the hurt.
  I decided to add this experience to my blog because I think it very much helps when we are going through some awful and unknown experience to be able to talk to others about it.  It was certainly my saving grace some days and I am still receiving calls and texts and messages that help me out alot.  It has helped me to talk through it all with others that have similar experiences and realize we aren't as crazy as we sometimes feel!
  Sympathy isn't what I or anyone else I know of are really looking for in a situation like this, but understanding that this hurts and that we might never get the happy ending we planned helps.  Your hugs help.  I've realized that I am often quick to jump to conclusions about others when I have no idea what battle they are facing that the rest of us can't see.  I hope I can have more understanding for others because I feel like I understand better how much our plans for the future are frail at best.  My sister wrote me a touching poem that describes a lot my feelings.  She published it on her blog and you can read that here.

  Having said that, I am going to finish this post with the usual, because despite our plans and hopes for the future I want to look at some of the good things this month gave us.  I found this quote on Pinterest in a printable form here.  It's from Whinnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne :

Sometimes the
Smallest things
Take up the most
Room in our
Hearts
 

I made these delicious chow mein noodle cookies early in the month...soo good and ridiculously easy!  I'd had them as a kid, but this was my first attempt and I was glad Pinterest let me find an old recipe.

Chow Mein Cookies via Rebekah's Pinterest via Brie's Bites

I also made this ridiculously good pumpkin cake.  It was supposed to be three layers with maple cream cheese frosting, but I ended up doing two layers and now have extra cream cheese frosting that I plan to use on some kind of fall cookies.  Also plan on making another batch of the cake again as it made really yummy muffins for a lunch snack for the guys to take and for me to add as a treat to M&M's lunch.  So moist for a from scratch cake!!  (and I somehow missed taking a picture : ()

Pumpkin Dream Cake via Rebekah's Pinterest via The Novice Chef
 
  My parents came up to visit and give me a boost and that's another thing I'm grateful for.  We got some more projects done, of course and it was good to have company around after feeling down!  The biggest project we tackled was getting the house painted.  Mom and I worked on that while dad did a bunch of endless, thankless tasks that were needing acomplishing.  Except they were not entirely thankless...I thanked him lots!  In the picture below, (after paint) you almost don't notice that the bottom brick is painted and doesn't look quite the same as the top.  Goodbye fire engine red!




We had a fun tourist excursion to Toronto to spend a much needed weekend away!  Took in a Jay's game with the family and freaked M&M out with the height of the CN Tower.

Another gem from pinterest:

...For the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.

 ...For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

...For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

...For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

...For all the complaining I hear about government because it means we have freedom of speech.

...For the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

...For my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

...For the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

...For the piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

 ...For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.