Our Trip To Newfoundland, 2013

We had a lovely trip to Newfoundland (aka ‘The Rock’, a nickname given for very obvious reasons). It was not my first time there; I was born there! We moved to Ontario when I was 7 and ever since I’ve been back countless times.

We spent most of our time at my parents house (they vacation there twice a year) around the bay (because you literally drive around a bay to get there), where we ate, relaxed and made it outside when the weather was good. Which, sadly, wasn’t a whole lot of the time. But by the time the day of my cousin’s wedding arrived, the sun was shining and the skies were blue. We saw gads of my family, including six of my dads seven siblings (eight in total, four boys, four girls) and I believe I counted 11 of my 18 cousins (there are 20 of us on that side). In between the wedding and the reception we drove around St. John’s a bit, visiting Signal Hill (it’s not a trip to Newfoundland without a trip to Signal Hill!) and Quidi Vidi, which was cool because this small little village was featured in an episode of the Amazing Race Canada.

Here are some of my favourite pics! I strangely didn’t take that many.

Our first day there and Molly found herself a gravel pit πŸ™‚

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Freshly picked blueberries! Yum! Also fresh in our kitchen was cod tongues (my absolute fave!), cod and freshly baked sweet bread (also called Trapper’s Bread).

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Our little town’s harbour. It was sunny some of the days we were there…

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Molly trying to put on her shoe (my parents are in the process of finishing up some renovations…our house is over 100 years old!).

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You can’t get more typical Newfoundland weather than this

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Standing on the rock out front of my grandparents house (now my aunt’s weekend getaway). My sister and I LOVED playing on this rock when we were younger. I love that Molly will get to experience that too as she grows up.

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Cabot Tower, Signal Hill, St. John’s

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Our cute family πŸ™‚

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St. John’s

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I’d like to pause for a moment and re-introduce you to my daughter, Harriet Potter (she had a run-in with the pavement on the hill leading up to my parents house)

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A Newfoundland dog…I want one!! Did you know they have webbed feet?? Adorable.

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Molly LOVED the dog.

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View from Signal Hill. I can’t remember what this place is called…fort something? Googling…Amherst! Fort Amherst. It’s on the other side of the Narrows, the entrance to the St. John’s harbour.

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Also narrow (apparently Newfie’s don’t mind a tight fit!), this is the entrance to the Quidi Vidi harbour

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Little houses/buidings on (literally) the harbour

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The Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

It seems a little late in the week now to be doing a weekend wind-up and here’s my excuse: The heat has taken me down y’all! It’s 45 degrees Celsius with the humid-ex today and has been just as hot for the past few days. That makes for a lazy, tired C.

So instead, I thought I’d share some pics from our trip to the Oshawa Zoo and Fun Farm on Monday (A took a vacation day!). Molly LOVED seeing all the animals, even the lambs who nibbled her fingers πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

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Watching the baby chicks
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So cute!

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Babies taste gooooood
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Can we have some more?
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This guy was smart and refused to walk into the sun! He waited until we were in the shaded area to come visit
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At one point A bent down to pick up something Molly dropped, and I swear to God this guy almost jumped onto his back!!

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The eyes on this guy are amazing
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Hi
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Love him

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Weekend Wind-Up – Canada Day Edition

If nothing else, one thing was clear about this weekend: we have a walker!

We left for A’s parents place Friday afternoon. We arrived after a somewhat uneventful drive, plus a stop for A&W (big mistake. I had indigestion the rest of the night). Once we got there, we set about having Molly perform all her ‘tricks’ (Where’s Your Belly?, Clap Along with If You’re Happy and You Know It and the ever popular, Walk To Mama/Daddy!). During intermission (aka she started ignoring us) we were chatting when all if a sudden she stood up and walked across the rug! And hasn’t stopped since.

She walked while we relaxed at A’s parents. She walked when we were at the cottage on Saturday and Sunday (we were on alert to keep her from walking off the dock). She walked at the waterfront festival in Cobourg where we met up with A’s youngest sister and her beau (who seems quite nice J…yay!). Walk walk walk!

Side note: I have a renewed hatred for litterers and smokers. Put your freakin’ garbage and nasty used cigarettes in the garbage! They just call out to children ‘pick me up!’

It melts my heart seeing her adorable little steps. The uneven pitter pat is the cutest thing ever! And I have a renewed amazement at how our species has evolved. Walking is such an amazing achievement in evolution!

It was a lovely weekend, with not-too-hot temperatures but warm enough to be outside.

And now I’m on ‘vacation’! Three weeks until I’m back to work. How did that happen so quickly? Here are some of my favourite pics from our long weekend!

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Oops

A: where are we going?
C: A&W…I want the teen guacamole burger!
A: and where is that?
C: just up here, turn right
A: and what side is it on?
C: (exasperated sigh) on the left, we’ve been there before! How do you get anywhere without me?…Oh F$&@! it’s a Wendy’s!
A: ohhhhhhhh hahahahaha
C: I’m so sorry!

Oops.

Friday Ramblings

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Oh my gosh. What a day! CK was fussy with what we now know are ear issues, CJ was whiney for whatever reason, and Molly was completely off her nap schedule because of some ill timed #2’s, which meant my one on one time with CJ was limited. Thankfully A was off work at lunchtime so he could take care of getting Molly to sleep.

All this is a way of saying sorry this is late!

On the Baby…

Molly is full on waving hello and goodbye and it’s so cute! She wakes up doing it, which explains a lot of her sleep issues. Lots going on in her little head!
Speaking of sleep, we’re not doing too badly with changing her sleep habits. I caved last night and again tonight and nursed her to sleep, for the sake of my aching and tired body (CK threw a remote on my toe, I’ve wrenched my shoulder and I’ve had some weird PMS cramping). But I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow.

On the Sweetness of Preschoolers…

Aunt Chrissie? I’m going to love you all day

Takes the sting out of the whine she had going on today πŸ™‚

On Landscaping…

We’re starting the first of our outdoor improvement projects this weekend, with the widening of the front walkway. I’m kicking myself that I forgot to take a before picture but I may have one somewhere from last year. It means taking out a good chunk of the front garden but it’ll give us a ton more room to manoeuvre babies, baby gear and other miscellaneous items into the house.

And that’s about all I can come up with for now! OH we’ve booked our vacation for the fall…

On Our Vacation…

We’ve chosen an island getaway this year, though it’s a bit further north than you might guess…we’re heading to Newfoundland in September for my cousin’s wedding! We’re making a week of it and will be there at the same time as my parents. I’m so excited! It’ll be Molly’s first plane ride. I hope we fare well!

That’s really it. I’m of to bed now. Hope you a have a great weekend! It’s a long weekend here and I think it might be or in the U.S. as well. Enjoy and be safe!

Weekend Wind-Up

Tired were we on Friday night, and facing the unknown reaction to the change in Molly’s sleep habits, I set aside my planned baked salmon for take out pizza πŸ™‚
It turns out it wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be to introduce a new routine to get Molly to sleep, but I’ll post more on that in the next few days!

Saturday morning flew by with some chores around the house and at 12:30 I got myself ready and headed out to pick up my mom (Molly stayed home with A). We were off to a baby shower for one of our old neighbours from well over 15 years ago. She wasn’t even in high school when we met her! So bizarre that she’s having a baby. We had a lovely time there and enjoyed a yummy lunch (I LOVE shower food) and the most amazing cookies and cream cupcake (Oreo based, my fave!) I’ve ever had! Not too sweet, the cake was dense and moist, the icing smooth and buttery. Sadly the bakery they came from is on the other side of Toronto πŸ™

We got home around 3:30 and because Molly had a late morning nap, she was ready for an afternoon snooze when I got there. She woke shortly before six, our schedule completely thrown off for the day. Ah well! We had BBQ burgers and then the three of us went for a nice walk.

Once Molly was asleep (9pm…argh!), A and I cuddled up to watch a movie. He’s wanted to watch Chronicle for a while now, so that’s what we picked. It wasn’t too bad. I went to bed late but when Molly woke up at 5am and didn’t show signs of going back to sleep, A gave me my first Mother’s Day present by getting up with her.

We put her back down at 7:30 and enjoyed another little bit of sleep before getting ready to go to my parents for Sunday brunch. Before we left I was presented with the rest of my gifts: cards from Molly and A, chocolates, a gift card for Joe Fresh clothes (a fave of mine) and hanging flower baskets!

To tell the truth, I discovered the hanging baskets the night before. In a rare move, I went out the front door to check in with A who was cleaning his car and decided to head around back via the side of the house, which is where he was keeping them. I never go that way, usually out the back door. Oops. Such a great idea though. They’ll last awhile as opposed to cut flowers.DSC_4509copy (1024x1280)

Brunch at my parents was amazing!! My mom rocks the kitchen like no one else! She made a yummy egg strata with prosciutto, scrambled eggs, back bacon and sausages, grilled vegetables and yogurt parfaits with blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. Oh and banana chocolate chip muffins (totally healthy with while wheat flour, wheat bran and ground flax). Yum!
We saw my dad off as he left on a business trip (hence brunch not dinner) and then we took ourselves off to Costco. Molly needed new sleepers (18 month size there…what!?) and I needed ground beef. An odd pairing, I know. We also picked up a new outdoor may for the front porch, some board books for Molly, a Shepherds Pie for dinner, and yoga capris for me :-).

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Home we went and I tried and tried to get Molly to nap but she wasn’t having it. There’s usually one reason she won’t nap and my suspicions were confirmed a half hour later when we had a code 2 in the diaper department! By that time though it was 3:30 and I didn’t want her to nap. We tried keeping her up but around 5:30 A came upstairs with her and she was half asleep on his shoulder. Poor baby. She went to bed easily enough but woke several times in the evening. My theory? She didn’t have supper with us or her usual big nurse before bed because fell asleep so quickly, so she kept waking up hungry.

It was a fantastic weekend and I want to thank my hubby and Molly for making my first Mother’s Day so special! I’m a lucky girl πŸ™‚

Weekend Wind-Up

Sorry for the delay! Yesterday was crazy and I had not a moment to myself until after Molly went to bed, at which point all I wanted to do was sit. So sit I did.

I found myself saying a lot of the following this weekend:

It’s so nice out!
I can’t believe how nice it is!
I’m so happy that it’s so nice!

Obviously I need to add some more descriptive words to my vocabulary, but folks, we were truly blessed with stunning weather this weekend. 23-25 degrees Celsius, sunshine and blue skies….perfect! If it could only be like that year round…but then maybe we wouldn’t appreciate it as much…nothing like a Canadian winter to make 10 degrees feel like summer!

Saturday morning we all slept in, though only after Molly had been late going to bed and up a lot (I’m about to hit my limit with that…steps are going to be taken as soon as her cough is gone to help this issue). A requested coconut French toast for breakfast, a request I happily obliged (recipe below). Once we’d done a few chores around the house, the three of us piled into the car and headed East to Cobourg. We were meeting up with my in-laws for a surprise birthday supper for my mother-in-law. Cobourg is sort of a central location between those of us in Durham Region and those out near Kingston. We decided to head down early to accommodate Molly’s nap schedule and to walk around town and on the beach, enjoying the beautiful day! We met everyone for dinner, surprising A’s mom with accomodations for the night, dinner and a spa package for the next day. After dinner (I had ribs, yum! Molly liked them too) we took a walk on the waterfront to an ice cream parlour where I let Molly have her first taste of ice cream! Mint chocolate chip. It was just a touch of the tongue. I’m not ready to give her more than that, especially that close to bedtime!

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Early in the afternoon. She loved being outside!

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Me, on the boardwalk.
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The beach! Definitely not warm enough to go in the water yet. Not that I would. Lake Ontario gives me the heeby jeebies.

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This was at the end of the day. She was so tired, you couldn’t get a smile out of her!

Sunday arrived with another glorious day weather-wise. But sadly the hubs wasn’t feeling well! He’d wrenched his back the day before installing Molly’s new car seat and also ended up with some sort of flu bug by the time evening came around. Poor guy.
I felt fine though and went out in the morning to weed the back gardens while Molly napped. When I was done I headed off to my favourite garden centre and picked up some plants: kale, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, beets and rhubarb. There is still danger of a frost but those veggies are fairly hardy in the cold. I planted them on Monday with my gardener-in-training, CJ while the babies napped. In a few weeks we’ll plant tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumber as well as refresh my herb pots.

A quick visit to my parents with Molly, grocery shopping and BBQ hot dogs rounded out a lovely weekend! I hope you all had a good one, wherever you were!

Coconut French Toast
Serves 2 (3 slices for him, 2 for me)

5 slices of bread
5 eggs
1 tsp coconut extract
1-2 tbsp buttermilk
Shredded unsweetened coconut

Butter (I don’t measure)

Preheat a griddle, non-stick pan or cast iron skillet (my preference is the cast iron skillet) and toss some butter in there. Blend eggs, coconut extract and buttermilk in a bowl. Spread unsweetened coconut out onto a plate. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, coating both sides. Then dip each side onto the shredded coconut. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Use as much butter as you need and check frequently. It can very quickly go from golden brown to burnt. Serve with your condiment of choice. I prefer syrup , while hubby uses ketchup (what?? crazy).

New Recipe: Baked Salmon with Avocado-Melon Salsa

Eons ago (it was 2004 but it feels like eons), my family took a trip to Prince Edward Island, home of red sand and famed red headed heroine, Anne of Green Gables.
While in Charlottetown, we ate at the Culinary Institute of Canada where I had one of those meals that you just can’t forget. I’ve had a few of those meals in my life…wild mushroom ravioli at a restaurant in London, England (’05)…butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sauce in Laguna Beach, California (’07 and ’08)…roast chicken dinner at the Port in Pickering for our first Valentines (’11)…bananas foster at the Commanders Palace in New Orleans (’10)….
I love food!
At the CIC in Charlottetown I had grilled salmon with mango peach salsa that was forever burned into my brain. It was fantastic, a wonderful moist salmon fillet paired with the perfect sweet and tart blend of a fruit salsa. Last week on new recipe night (fish), I tried to recreate it.

I didn’t do a bad job, though I had some ingredient issues. The salmon wasn’t a problem; we stocked up at our last trip to Costco. It was the salsa that stumped me. I didn’t have mango and I didn’t have peach, kind of instrumental in a mango-peach salsa. But I did have avocado and cantaloupe in my fridge. Googling salsas using those fruits, I discovered that many call for red onions and lime juice. I didn’t have those in stock either so I worked with white onions and bottled lemon juice. I gathered them together and within minutes my salsa was done.
Considering I concocted the whole thing myself, something I never do, it turned out quite lovely. It was a really fresh topping for the salmon. My hubby actually liked it too, even though when he saw it in the bowl he said and I quote:

Do I have to eat that?

He didn’t have to but he did.

Good husband.

_DSC4218 copy (1280x848)Baked Salmon with Avocado-Melon Salsa
Serves two and a quarter (Molly loved salmon!)

2 6 oz salmon fillets

olive oil (I never measure)

1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 cup melon, diced (I used cantaloupe)
1/2 small onion, diced
3 tbsp lemon

1. Pan sear the salmon in olive oil for a minute or two on each side. Place in an oven proof dish and bake for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees F until it flakes with a fork.

2. While salmon cooks, prepare the salsa. Simply combine the remaining ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Spoon salsa onto baked salmon and serve!

Monthly Menu Planning

Quite awhile ago, I sat down to plan a monthly menu. There were a few reasons for this.
One, I needed something to help keep me from falling into the ‘what’s for dinner’ and ‘I don’t feel like cooking’ trap where you scramble last minute and end up making bad food choices. If the idea is already there and I don’t have to think about it, it’s easier for me to achieve. At least in theory it is.
Two, it’ll help with the baby led weaning process to keep us all eating healthy. Three, it’ll help with my weekly grocery shop. I’m trying to avoid us popping in to pick things up as we need them (other than fruits and veggies). I don’t have the time right now since I’m watching my sisters kids. Plus, we always end up buying more than we need, spending more money than we have to.
And finally, four, to make meals with leftovers so that A can bring lunch to work. Healthier and cheaper for him.

I’m on week three of my four week rotation and so far I’m loving it! There have been a few nights I’ve skipped or switched around, but overall I’ve stuck to it.

To make my plan, I first made a list of all our favourite meals. I had wanted a monthly plan but this list confirmed it! I have a lot of ‘staple’ dishes in my repertoire that I didn’t want to leave out πŸ™‚
I then drew out a grid with the days of the week down the side and weeks 1-4 across the top. I filled in fixed meal days (see below) and then filled in the remaining spaces with the rest of our favourite meals. It took a few tries to make sure I didn’t have back to back protein (ie chicken two nights in a row) but I finally have a plan that seems to work for us.

The rough draft is a mess (see below), so I transferred it neatly to the monthly calendar I use. I should probably use a computer for all this but, and call me old school, I prefer paper still for a lot of things. This calendar tells me at a glance when I have the kids, get togethers with friends, any appointments I have, reminders to pay bills or when automatic withdrawals will be made etc.

Fixed nights:

Monday – leftovers/freezer night. Mondays suck, even when you’re on maternity leave and so I’m going to take the easy way out on dinner this night every week. It could be leftovers from the night before, leftovers I’ve frozen or something from the freezer. We keep a box of perogies and a box of toquitos on hand for such occasions. Just add sour cream and some raw veggies and we’re good to go!

Wednesday – new recipe night. I love recipes. It’s the board most pinned on my Pinterest account and I have oodles of recipes in my binders that I’ve saved over the years. I decided to dedicate one night a week to making something new and different. I chose Wednesday rather than the weekend because I need that oomph of creativity and excitement of doing something new mid week. Each week is a different protein: beef, chicken, pork and fish. So far I’ve made Pastitsio (Greek pasta casserole with ground beef) and Chicken Paprikash (Hungarian chicken dish). Both were amazing! I’m going to try and get my act together and blog about what I make πŸ™‚

Thursday – pasta night. A lot of our favourite dishes are pasta based so I thought it prudent to dedicate a night to it.

Every other Friday – pizza!! We’d have pizza 24/7 around our casa but healthy eating is key with Molly eating what we eat. Still, there’s no point in denying ourselves, so every other week we’ll indulge, either with frozen or take out.

Once a Month – eat out!! This is getting trickier with Molly. She’s at that in between phase where she needs to be on the go and isn’t eating a full meal yet. We took her with us to a restaurant last week (on a night I skipped my plan) and she wouldn’t sit still! We might just make this date night from now on and recruit someone to babysit.

Have any of you implemented a meal plan? How’s it going?

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Weekend Wind-Up

I’m wiped after a busy weekend, a teething baby (I think) who wants to nurse all the time and a Monday filled with three kids, so this will be short!

Some highlights from the weekend…

– breakfast out on Saturday morning with A and Molly

– a visit from A’s sisters and nephew after we got home

– off to my sister’s for CK’s first birthday party

– visited with three of my aunts visiting from Newfoundland, along with my cousin and her fiancΓ© who live in Toronto

– post party dinner at my sisters…we ordered Chinese!

– Sunday afternoon we headed to Once a Upon a Child where we found an amazing Peg Perego double stroller for $100!! It’s in fantastic shape.

– dealt with an incredibly upset baby, so upset that she puked. Funny enough I tried to catch the puke in my hands. Why I don’t know. It was a knee-jerk reaction. We think she’s teething. Tylenol made things better πŸ™‚

– made a roast beef dinner even though it sat for two hours in the oven with no heat. I forgot to turn the oven on!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!