Friday, September 30, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 55)

1. I can’t believe that it’s already Friday! Despite that fact that by the end of today, I’ll have worked nearly 50 hours, this week seems to have flown by. Thank goodness, because there were a few days that were pretty rough, considering I was working with a sick/teething baby.

2. Speaking of being sick, I was sick last weekend. I made the mistake of ignoring it and going out on Saturday, so I really paid the price on Sunday. I’ve got to learn to take better care of myself.

3. I’ve got two laptops. One, was a present from Stephen when I first moved in with him. It’s a cheap laptop, that I had spilled juice all over. Stephen decided to try and fix it by removing all the keys to clean it up, but that made it worse. When we signed up for Telus internet, we got a free laptop as part of their promotion, so I started using that one instead. I don’t know what happened, but the cord stopped working and the laptop would no longer charge; back to the crappy laptop I went. This past week though, we finally ordered a new cord for the good laptop, and I’m back to using it again! That probably wasn’t an exciting story for you, but I’m just thankful to be typing on a keyboard that has all of its keys intact!

4. Stephen has had a long week as well (working doubles Wednesday and Thursday), so I thought I’d give him a little pick me up. I bought him two cans of Red Bull and his favorite chocolate bar (Snickers) to help him get through today. I also stuck a little card with it to remind him how much I appreciate everything he does for us. It’s the little things that make a difference.

5. My nanny family has two cats that are free to come and go from their house throughout the day. I just got a text from MomBoss that says one of the cats hasn’t been home since Wednesday night. I’m kind of worried about Cadbury now, I hope he comes home safe this weekend.

6. Tonight is girls night! We’ll be heading to a Moroccan restaurant for dinner. I’m ready for a good night out.

7. Tomorrow, I’ll be having my sister over to work on her Save the Dates and then my parents will be coming over for dinner.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yeast bread can be intimidating. I get that. For me, I get nervous about whether or not the loaf of bread is actually cooked. It’s not like most baked goods where you can just stick your toothpick in to test for doneness; you’ve got to judge the color and I’ve heard that you need to knock on your loaf of bread and listen for a hollow sound. That’s just too iffy for me, so I’ve put off yeast breads for a while now, even though I’ve successfully made them in the past. I was recently at a friend’s house for a play date (while working), and she was working on making some white bread. Watching her make it made me realize just how much I missed making bread. There’s just something therapeutic about kneading dough, and to me, there’s nothing cooler than combining a few simple ingredients to make a loaf of bread. Something from practically nothing.

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I’ve had my eye on this cinnamon swirl bread for a while now. I finally decided to attempt it this past Sunday, and while it was easy; I was sick, so it wore me out so much that I needed to take a nap right after. Oh yeah, I lead a glamorous life. This bread turned out beautifully. Here’s the thing though, eating a slice of bread plain really isn’t all that exciting. This bread just begs for you to smear something over top for a little bit of extra flavor, and I hear that it makes pretty amazing French toast. I have a few slices left, so I need to attempt this soon! My swirls were really tight when I first sliced into the loaf, but then they loosened up a bit. Oh well, can’t win them all.

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Instead of writing out the recipe here, I’m going to link to the original post over at Baked Bree. I didn’t change the original recipe at all, and she’s got some pretty good step by step photos that could be rather helpful.

Find the recipe here.

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Are you afraid of yeast bread? How come?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


After Baconfest turned out to be a bust, Stephen and I were left with a rare Saturday afternoon ahead of us, with nothing to do. Ever since I went last year, I’ve been trying to find a reason to take Stephen back to the bird sanctuary. After a bit of a debate (I was under the weather, it was a long bus ride and it was nearly 30C), we settled on going straight there. Thankfully, I packed our good camera, which is how I convinced Stephen to come along.

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The bird sanctuary is a pretty cool place, especially in the fall. It’s basically just a place to go for a leisurely walk, and to observe some animals. Unfortunately for us, the only animals we saw we a hawk and a muskrat. I had never seen a muskrat before, so it was quite the surprise seeing this little creature swimming around below us.

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We decided to keep our walk on the shorter side so that we could still get some time in exploring Inglewood. I’ve been there before with friends, but this was Stephen’s first time. We went to a really awesome Silk Road Spice Merchant, where there was ever spice imaginable. I kind of want to head back to pick up a few new spices/herbs and then plan a meal around them. How fun would that be?

I think the highlight of Stephen’s day was finally heading to Knifewear. We spent forever just looking (and lusting) over all of the knives! To be perfectly honest, before I met Stephen, I never knew a thing about knives. Since meeting him, I’ve learned how to properly hold a knife, and that there’s more than just Henckels. To be honest, I find Henckel knives to be heavy and cumbersome; I’m just not a fan. While at Knifewear, I fell in love with the most gorgeous set of knives; Konosuke Sakura, which have sweet little cherry blossoms on the blade.


Unfortunately, they’re way out of my price range. Listen to me ramble on about knives…who knew I would be such a fan? If you ever get the chance, head in to a knife shop and test out the knives. Japanese knives will change your life forever. Stephen has even booked a class at the beginning of October. He’ll be doing learning how to carve a turkey like a pro, but I think he’s just going so that he can drink beer, have a turkey sandwich and play with awesome knives. What more could a guy want?

It’s rare that Stephen and I have a Saturday off together, so it was nice heading out and exploring our city together.
When was the last time you explored your city? What did you discover?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your dream vacation? A trip to Paris! Ideally though, I’d love to be able to spend a month (minimum) travelling around Europe.
2. What has been your favorite trip so far in your life? When Stephen and I went to Vancouver/Victoria for our one year anniversary. It brings back many fond memories.
3. If you and one of your best friends could go anywhere in the world for one week, where would it be and why? Well that’s easy: Paris. Stephen is truly my best friend, so I’d take him with me.
4. Have you ever booked a trip using an online deal? How did it go? I never have.
5. What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re on vacation? Try new food! I love eating out, so it’s only natural that I’d want to sample some new cuisine.
6. Have you ever missed an opportunity to take a trip that you regret? Not entirely sure if this counts, but I regret not going on our Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria trip this past summer. We decided not to go because of school, but I ended up getting the funding for school in the end.
7. You travel far away from home and get stranded with no way to buy anything, what’s the one thing you can’t live without? Food and a place to stay. What the heck would I do then?
8. What’s one of your favorite traveling memories? I went with some friends to Toronto after high school, we ventured to Niagara Falls and went on The Maid of the Mist. It was something that I had wanted to do since I was a little kid, so it was just an all around awesome experience.
9. All included resort or backpacking? Why? Out of the two, then all included resort. Only because I associate backpacking with staying in hostels, and I don’t really have any desire to do that.
10. Are you more of a lie on the beach kind of person on vacation, or do you prefer to see the sights? Well, considering I’ve never been to an actual beach, I can’t pick that option. Lying on the beach would be nice for a while, but I love to sightsee and learn new stuff!

Monday, September 26, 2011


I mentioned in my Friday post that this past Saturday was Baconfest. Stephen and I had bought tickets months ago and were really excited to attend. The only thing is, we had no idea what was going to happen there. We knew that it was a fundraiser for a jazz festival and that it would involve bacon, but that was it.

We showed up Saturday around noon (the event started at 10am) and stood in a long line. Once we got in, we realized that this was nothing like we had expected. We had read about bacon games, but when we walked past them, they looked like they were more for children. Basically, Baconfest seemed to be a place to go around sampling food made with bacon, but you had to pay for it. We walked past Jelly Modern to find out that they were all sold out, less than 2 hours into the event. Luckily, my favorite cupcake place, Crave, had mini cupcakes; bacon french toast cupcakes with bacon maple icing. It’s a good thing they were delicious, because they cost us $2 apiece.


We continued walking around, trying to figure out what food we wanted to purchase. The only thing that was enticing to Stephen and I were the food trucks out back. Food trucks are relatively new to Calgary, so I was really excited to try them out. We decided to just go with the Alley Burger truck. Stephen and I both picked out the small bacon Alley Burger and shared the bacon fat fried poutine. Both were absolutely amazing. I can see why people would line up in an alley, late at night (before the food truck came along), to get these burgers.


Here’s the thing, I found Baconfest to be a massive disappointment. Stephen and I basically paid $50 to eat at a food truck. (Our meal cost us $26 on top of that.) Thankfully, we paid for the tickets months ago, so that cost didn’t sting nearly as much as it would have if we had paid cash that day. I’ve read other really positive reviews of the event, so I’m not quite sure why I didn’t seem to like it as much as everyone else. I didn’t stay disappointed for too long as I convinced Stephen to go spend the rest of the afternoon in Inglewood. There’ll be a post about that on Wednesday!

If you’re a fellow Calgarian, did you attend Baconfest? What did you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 54)

1. Last week, I completely forgot to blog on Friday. I’ve been blogging at work in the mornings while Baby E naps, but it slipped my mind that I worked with my Friday boys instead, which means that I don’t have access to a computer. Oops.

2. I’ve already worked 40 hours this week, and I’ve still got around 9ish more to go today. I’m a little sleep deprived!

3. I’m taking my Friday boys to the zoo today. I’ve gone to the zoo dozens of times and taken hundreds of pictures, but never with my new camera, so I’m kind of excited to play around with it today! I’m also thinking it may be time to get a zoo pass.

4. Stephen and I watched The X Factor last night. He just likes watching people make a fool of themselves during auditions, so I figured I would humor him and we’d watch it together. What I didn’t expect is that I would like it, more than American Idol! (I gave up on American Idol after 2 seasons.) I’m going to try out a few more episodes and see if I continue liking the show.

5. Now that we have a PVR, I feel like I need to watch all the shows. I’ve set so many to record during the past two weeks that I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with them all! Up All Night, New Girl, and Whitney all seem to be ones that Stephen likes as well, so at least I can watch them with him.

6. Tomorrow is Baconfest, and Stephen and I have tickets to go! To be honest, I’m not quite sure what’s going on there other than it’s a fundraiser and there’s bacon involved. I do know that there’s a bacon eating contest, and Jelly Modern and Crave will be there with bacon flavored treats. Oh, and the food trucks will be making an appearance. I’m really excited about that because they’re still relatively new to Calgary and I’ve been dying to track one down! You know there’ll be a post about all of this next week.

7. Oh, and to end off our Saturday evening, we’ll be having some friends over for dinner. Their 2 year old daughter can’t pronounce my name, so she calls me “Lala”, which I think is adorable. I’m excited!

How was your week? What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Strawberry Apple Crisp

I have a friend with a crab apple tree in her backyard. I offered to go over and help her pick the apples, but all she made me do is hold the ladder so she could get some of the higher up apples. This tree grew a ton of apples; there were plenty that were much too high for us to reach, and plenty more littering the yard and alleyway. Her fridge was full of apples, and she had already been making applesauce. Needless to say, she sent me home with my own small bag of them.

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It took me a couple of days to figure out what to do with them. I didn’t have quite enough to make applesauce, juice or jelly. Stephen then brought home nearly 2kg of strawberries from work, and I finally decided what to make: a fruit crisp, since Stephen has been obsessed with them lately. I thought it turned out lovely, but Stephen wasn’t a fan of the cardamom. It’s really too bad, because I think cardamom is a lovely spice.

Strawberry Apple Crisp
Adapted slightly from Mark Hiscock on Every Day Recipes

10 crab apples; peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ginger
3 tbsp flour
2 cups quick oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a bowl, mix together apples, strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and flour. Pour ingredients into a baking dish.
3. In a small bowl, combine the quick oats, flour, brown sugar and butter. Sprinkle over the top of the fruit mixture.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.


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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maybe It Wasn’t Meant To Be

I feel like I’ve been avoiding a pretty big (for me, anyway) topic around here the past two weeks. Remember how I applied for school (early learning and childcare, one year course, online)? Yeah, that. I was all set to start on the 8th, and was really looking forward to classes. I went into the school the Tuesday before to take care of some business, when I had my loan taken away from me. Turns out, I had applied for the wrong type of loan, and Mount Royal wasn’t going to sign it so that I could get my money. I was told what I should have applied for, but even if I submitted the paperwork that very minute, there would be no way I could get my money in time for the start of classes, and that’s even if I was approved. I walked out of the school, completely beaten down and on the verge of tears. I feel like no one was of any help to me.
I was left with a short period of time to come up with the money before I was going to be dropped from my classes. Here’s the thing: I wanted to have all of the money needed for the entire year, or I didn’t even want to bother. I could have come up with the money for the first two classes that I was registered for, but I didn’t want to be left scrambling for more money every time a new class came up. I’m notoriously bad for dealing with stress, and to have something big like money issues weighing on my shoulders would surely have done me in. I just didn’t want to be left with only two completed classes that end up counting toward nothing.
That day I left Mount Royal, I needed to re-evaluate some of my life goals. Do I hold off and apply for school to go during the winter semester? Do I wait until next year? Do I not go at all? I have to admit to you, that Tuesday was rough on me. I told myself that I was going to let myself have one day to wallow in self pity, but then it would be time pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again. The self pity carried over a few extra days though, and I have to admit that even writing this now is really hard for me. Some days, I just feel like I really can’t catch a break. Life is tough.
But, there is a bright side to all of  this! You see, if I was in school, I was going to have to complete a practicum in order to complete my certificate. It has to be at an accredited facility, which means I would have to leave my job as a nanny and go work somewhere else, like in a daycare. This has been weighing heavily on me for the past couple of months. Was I really ready to give up a job that I love, in order to pursue something that I only assume that I would like? I can’t even stress to you how much I love my job as a nanny. When you’re working with the right family, everything is just perfect. The bond that I’ve been creating with Baby E is one that a nanny can only dream of. And, provided nothing goes wrong, this can end up being a long term job (up to 5 years, at least), which is a big deal for most nannies I know. (Working as a nanny can be a very transient job.) I have the perfect job, for me, so was I really willing to give that all up? For now, I don’t have to.
I am so incredibly lucky to have a loving boyfriend who supports me in whatever I decide to do, even if it means working at a job that doesn’t bring home big money, as long as I’m happy. For now, I’m just going to continue living my life the way I have been. School has been put on the back burner, but it’s an idea I will still visit from time to time, just to make sure I’m still happy with the way things are. I do have goals in terms of a family and what I want to do (in terms of a job) once I have a family, but those are just quiet goals at the moment since I’m still not married and haven’t started a family. I’m just happy to know that Stephen already supports these goals of mine.
So, there it all is, laid out on the table for you. These problems may not seem like a whole lot, but they’re my problems and this is what I’m dealing with at the moment. I knew that I needed to write it all out, because it’s how I work through my troubles. I’ve always found writing to be therapeutic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Not actually 1o questions this week, but I’ll go along with it.
A. Age: 25.
B. Bed Size: Queen.
C. Chore that you hate: Washing dishes, by hand.
D. Dogs: I don’t have any, but, I adore English bulldogs.
E. Essential start to your day: Some quiet time with a cup of coffee when I first wake up.
F. Favorite Color: Pink.
G. Gold or Silver: Silver.
H. Height: 5’5-ish I believe.
I. Instruments you play: Flute. I dabbled with the piccolo, but it gave me a headache.
J. Job Title: Nanny.
K. Kids: None of my own. Hopefully one day!
L. Live: Calgary, Alberta.
M. Mother’s Name: Christina.
N. Nicknames: Angie, Ang.
O. Overnight hospital stays: Once, when I was little. I can’t remember what I had though.
P. Pet peeve: Bad grammar.
Q. Quote from a movie: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –Albus Dumbledore
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: 2 sisters.
T. Time you wake up: Between 5-5:30am on a workday.
U. Underwear: They’re red today.
V. Vegetable you hate: Okra.
W. What makes you run late: A late bus.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: None, that I can remember.
Y. Yummy food that you make: Pretty much anything I bake. My family loves my chocolate macroons.
Z. Zoo Animal: Hippos, elephants and giraffes. I couldn’t just pick one!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Gallery Wall

Ever since we moved into our current house, I’ve been wanting to make a gallery wall. I thought of putting one in the front entrance, but that turned into more of a structured grouping of family photos. We’ve been living in this house for nearly 10 months now, and I’ve only just finally nailed down how I wanted to achieve this gallery wall.

First up, I knew that I didn’t want to stick regular photos in it. I love photographs and have pictures of family and friends all over my house; I needed something a little different. Second, I needed a space for this. I felt like there were no good spaces upstairs in my house, so I settled on our basement hallway. Now that it’s completed, I sort of wish that I had stuck it in a more high traffic area, but I like that you can get a glimpse of it when you walk in our front door. I do have to admit that two of my frames are still empty. I can’t for the life of me figure out what to stick in them, but I wanted so very badly to blog about the gallery wall, so I just went for it anyway.

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This is what the hallway looks like from the stairs leading down from the front entrance.

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That would be my bedroom on the left and the craft room on the right.

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The top heart is cut from a map of where Stephen was born (Brandon, Manitoba) and the bottom is where I was born (Columbus, Georgia). I’m totally cheesy like that.

A lot of the stuff I put in my frames came from around the internet and on Pinterest. If you browse around my Pinterest boards, you can find links on where to get the artwork yourself.

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I have a thing for Paris, which is evident if you’ve ever visited my home.

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Stephen and I have both loved this from the first moment I pinned it. We go around calling each other darling quite often, hoping that the other will finally cave in and make pancakes.

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I love ampersands, and that’s an S for Stephen.

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The only actual photos on the gallery wall: a photo booth strip taken early on in our relationship. It’s been cut in half so that Stephen was able to take half and I was able to take the other half.

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A dear friend attached this on a gift to me years ago, so I just mounted it on some scrapbook paper and framed it.

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I have a calendar full of these beautiful maps that I hope to have framed someday. I started off with my favorite.

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Another Pinterest find.

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Some handwritten post it notes that were included in an order from Kurt Halsey.

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This is from the side of a paper bag from Stephen’s restaurant. I can’t quite remember what it said, but I loved the fonts used. I had originally cut this little section out and stuck it on my magnetic bulletin board along with a picture of Stephen and I.

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I printed out a map and used up some leftover Scrabble tiles to spell out adventure. Stephen and I both happen to love maps.

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To finish it all off, an A for Angela. The letters were found at Walmart, then spray painted to match the frames.

This definitely has to be one of my favorite walls in the house. I can’t wait to fill up the last two frames…maybe one will get a quote mounted on scrapbook paper.
What’s on your favorite wall in your house? Do you have a gallery wall?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chai Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

A couple weeks ago, I hosted a girls night at my house. To me, a good girls night always has to include good food for it to be successful. Since I’m a baker, I of course made a couple different desserts to serve. Here’s the thing: I’m always hesitant to make cupcakes because I can’t ice them nicely. Yeah, I’m weird like that. This time though, I had a craving for cupcakes (ha!) and needed to satisfy that craving. I figured I would just go ahead and slather on some icing and call it a day. Little did I know, Stephen and I would end up watching Youtube videos so that we could perfect our icing technique. I can now proudly say that I can ice a good looking cupcake, and Stephen can pipe buttercream roses.

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These are some pretty awesome cupcakes, if I do say so myself. They’re moist with just a subtle spice flavor. Everyone at girls night thought that they were banana cupcakes though, so I’m not quite sure what’s up with that. My guess is that they’re not used to seeing a moist cupcake with dark flecks reminiscent of banana bread. The recipe says that it makes 12 cupcakes, but I just barely got that number. This buttercream recipe is also awesome, and is now going to be my go to recipe. It’s easy to whip together and holds up to piping very well. It’s also easy to flavor if you want to try something a little different.

Chai Cupcakes
From 125 Best Cupcake Recipes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1 chai spice tea bag
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and allspice. Open up the chai tea bag and whisk in the contents.
3. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter. Add in egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.
4. Fold in the flour mixture.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Vanilla Buttercream
From Glorious Treats

1 cup butter
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp heavy cream

1. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
2. Add half of the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Mix in vanilla, then 1 tbsp of heavy cream.
4. Beat in the last 2 cups of icing sugar, one cup at a time.
5. Add the remaining heavy cream; adding more if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Beat until smooth.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Out of Character

While I’m working, Baby E may take several naps throughout the day, with his afternoon nap being the longest. Since there’s not a whole lot for me to do while he’s sleeping, I’ll often watch TV. Daytime TV isn’t all that exciting, so I’ve started watching whatever my Nanny Family happens to have on their PVR. They don’t watch too many of the same shows that I like, so this has lead me to trying out new shows, which has lead me to like some shows that are really out of character for me.

First up:


I think my Nanny Family started recording Deadliest Catch during some sort of marathon, because there seemed to be a lot of episodes missing. Really though, a show about Alaskan King Crabbing boats? Not normally my thing, at all. I was super bored one day though, and got hooked on this show. Stephen was absolutely surprised when I told him how much I loved it!

Next up:


I have to admit that I had no intention of ever giving this show a try. I know that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I did exactly that. Billy dresses a little out there for me, so I just wrote him off. I got to work one morning, and Baby E’s Aunt started talking about this show, telling me all about the cute baby racoons that they had caught. I’m a sucker for cute baby animals, so I gave it a try. Well, they were adorable and I was instantly hooked. I may get a bit squeamish when they have to catch large amounts of bugs, but it’s like a train wreck; I just can’t look away. I’m currently working my way through the 25 episodes that they have recorded.

Are there any shows that people would be surprised to know you watch? Please share, I’m always looking for a new show to watch!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

TenOnTuesday#97 at Roots and Rings

This weeks questions are a little different, because it’s a round of would you rather.

1. eat chocolate covered grasshoppers or
this freaky squid thing?
Chocolate covered grasshoppers, since I at least know that I like chocolate. Even though I know that the squid is dead, it still freaks me the heck out.

2. never see another movie or never watch TV again?
Never see another movie. While I do love movies, I think I love TV shows more.

3. be a superhero with a lame power or a supervillain with an awesome power?
I’d rather be a superhero with a lame power, since I don’t think I could ever picture myself doing anything evil.

4. eat only salty snacks for the rest of you life, or only sweet snacks?
Only sweet snacks. I have the biggest sweet tooth ever!

5. never read another book or never hear another song?
Oh my, this is hard. I’m going to go with never read another book because a life without music would be too miserable to imagine.
I seriously love reading though, but at least I would hope that I could still read blogs and such.

6. be a whale carcass remover or a sewer inspector?
Whale carcass remover; it just doesn’t seem as disgusting as a sewer inspector.

7. have no electricity or no running water?
Again, another extremely tough decision. I’m going to go with no running water, as I can always mooch water off someone else. No electricity would mean cutting out nearly everything I do all day long!

8. be a dog or a cat?
Be a dog, no contest.

9. always be hot or always be cold?
While I definitely prefer warmer weather, I’d rather be cold. At least then, I wouldn’t have to be sweaty!

10. be forced to watch all 3 High School Musicals on an endless loop, or the Twilight movies?
I’d much rather watch all three High School Musical movies.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Recap

I feel like I’ve been a bit antisocial lately, although it hasn’t been on purpose. I go through phases; at times, I want to hang out with all of my friends and hardly stay home. Other times, I’d much rather be a homebody. I’ve been a homebody the past little while, so I happily accepted almost every invitation to spend time out of the house this past weekend.

Friday night started off with a coffee date. Actually, since it was rather hot, it was more like a frappuccino date! One of my favorite ways to reconnect with friends is to meet up for coffee, so I always welcome these hangouts.

Saturday was my busiest day, leaving me with little time at home. The morning started off early with a garage sale that benefitted The Mustard Seed. I only walked away with an old version of Battleship ($4!), but one friend loaded her truck up with amazing deals. After a pit stop for lunch, we hit up a couple more garage sales. Again, I only walked away with one item (a tube shaped baking pan for $1), but the same friend picked up some more awesome things for cheap. The rest of our afternoon consisted of drinks in a friend’s backyard and some girly chitchat. When I got home, I asked Stephen to take me on a date, as it had been a while. We started off with dinner at Much Burrito (any excuse for Mexican is a good excuse!), then we headed to the movies to see Contagion. It was good, although scary in the fact that this is something that can actually happen.

apple basket

Sunday was another early morning. I headed back to my friend’s house to help her pick some crab apples. In return for my help, she offered to drive Stephen and I to Costco. Always a bonus in our books! It was a busy weekend, but just what I needed.

fallen apples

Are you a social butterfly, or more of a homebody?
Do you have any good recipes for crab apples? I brought home a small bag of them!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Summer List: An Update

I seriously look forward to making my summer list every year. For this list, I’ve unofficially given myself the months of June, July and August to complete it. I like to think that I do pretty good with completing most things on my list, but this year, I don’t know what the heck happened. It’s now September, and I’ve only completed 5 of the 16 things on the list.

I’m sorta kinda thinking this might have to do with the fact that I’ve worked more this summer than I have in summers past. I was with new nanny families that actually work straight through the summer, so I didn’t find myself with boatloads of time off. I also think that I didn’t do a very good job of filling my list with practical goals. I had make salsa and pesto on this list, because I was expecting to use up the bounty of my little balcony garden to do this. Well, my basil died off within the first month of planting it, and our tomato plant actually ended up being little tiny cherry tomatoes; which are not conducive to salsa making.

A few other things on the list were meant to be completed with the boys that I nanny. Turns out, we had a bit of a rough July because I couldn’t get them to leave the house for anything. My dreams of Butterfield Acres and Riley Park never came to fruition. (Oh, I always add on a couple of extra things when I write out my list for the fridge.) A couple of other things were meant to be completed with our brand new Little Brother (from Big Brothers Big Sisters), but we still haven’t been matched yet. Turns out the postal strike a few months back seriously delayed our Child Intervention Checks, so we’re only going through the matching process now.

Even though I normally feel like the start of September means the end of my Summer List, I’m going to go ahead and give myself until the end of September to try and knock a few more things off my list. I know that some things will remain unfinished, but I’m ok with that. Sometimes, I just have to give myself permission to let things go. I struggle with that occasionally, but I’m working on it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lion Cupcakes

A couple of weeks ago, I invited one of the girls that I used to nanny over to hang out for a few hours. I gave her a few options of things that we could do, but she wanted to bake. She’s a girl after my own heart!

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This isn’t so much a recipe, as it is just showing off these sweet cupcakes that we made. I just used a chocolate cupcake recipe, and made some buttercream frosting that I colored orange. We made a trip to the store to pick up Twizzlers Pull & Peel (for the mane) and some M&Ms (for the eyes and nose). We used some Apple Jacks for the ears, and more Twizzlers for the mouth. It was quite the time consuming project; I believe we spent at least three hours on this from start to finish. Oh, I should mention that we were inspired by my Hello Cupcake book!

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As you can see, these cupcakes are extremely silly. They won’t win any decorating awards, but that’s perfectly ok, because we had a blast making them! We even had a few leftover cupcakes that we went overboard on:

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Have you baked anything lately?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on my blog before, but I have two gay uncles. Their history together is long and complicated, but they are no longer together. Doesn’t matter though, as they are still good friends, and we still consider one of them as our uncle. In fact, they are two of my favorite uncles. I mention this to let you know that the issue of gay rights has always been near and dear to my heart.

Whenever Pride weekend rolls around to Calgary, I try to make an effort to go, and I’m glad that at least one of my sisters is always on board with me. I love going show my support, and to hear some awesome music while I’m there. This past Sunday was the Pride Parade, so naturally, my sister, her boyfriend and I were there; front and center.

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Mayor Nenshi was the parade marshal (how awesome is he?). I loved his shirt, which read: “Straight, Not Narrow”.

A few of the floats weren’t exactly family friendly (think lots of leather), so I’ll leave out those pictures from this post. 

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My sister got into the spirit by buying a rainbow flag and waving it around. Daniel got into the spirit by sporting the free sunglasses that Telus was handing out.

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I got into the spirit by wearing a purple shirt, which actually happens to be my current favorite shirt, regardless of what it may stand for.

It was pretty awesome being surrounded by such a positive energy, and so much glitter! There were people walking in the parade with bottles of glitter, offering to douse people in the stuff. I very narrowly missed a glitter attack, but still noticed quite a bit on my face at the end of the night. The streets of Calgary have never glittered more than they did this past Sunday.

Tell me, have you ever been to a Pride Parade? What was your favorite part?
If you haven’t been to a Pride Parade, tell me about the best parade you’ve ever attended!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

TenOnTuesday#96 at Roots and Rings

1. What temperature do you keep your thermostat on during the day?
During the day, I think we keep it around 2oC.

2. What temperature do you keep your thermostat on at night?
At night, I think we lower it to around 15C or so. I don’t pay much attention to our thermostat, to be honest.

3. In a canister of mixed nuts, do you pick out certain varieties and leave the others?
If I’m eating out of a can of mixed nuts, I’ll most likely just eat whatever is in there. I’m not a big fan of nuts in the first place, so I rarely eat mixed nuts.

4. What is your favorite kind of M&M?
Peanut butter, naturally!

5. How do you buy books? (Amazon, bookstore, new, used, electronic, etc)
Wherever I can get them for cheap. Occasionally at Chapters, sometimes at a used bookstore and once in a while I get some super cheap ones at the library.

6. How do you like your eggs cooked?
Most of the time, I like them scrambled. Other times, I like them hard boiled or fried.

7. Can you whistle?
Yes, but I can’t carry a tune.

8. What common word do you always misspell?
I used to spell definitely wrong.

9. Are you afraid of flying?
No, I’m not.

10. How often do you go shopping?
We try to do a big grocery shop once a month, then go weekly for filler items like fresh produce. I rarely ever get to go shopping for anything else though.

Friday, September 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 53)

1. Things were noticeably quiet around here yesterday. My brain has just been so fried this week that I couldn’t even bring myself to write anything. Baby E is teething, and is downright miserable. He doesn’t want to be put down even for a minute, and at about 26lbs, he’s a heavy guy to carry around all day. I was coming home at night in some sort of zombie state, and could barely keep my eyes open. It’s been a rough week.

2. I get to see my Tuesday/Thursday nanny family again today! They’ve been on vacation for all of August, so I had just been working with Baby E. Now that they’re home, I’ll be working with my boys on Fridays from now on. I’ll be starting later in the day, since T has started kindergarten. I can’t wait to pick him up from school!

3. Speaking of school, it starts for me next week. I picked up the first of my textbooks this week, so I’ve been flipping through them, trying to get a feel for my first classes. Hopefully it goes well!

4. I know that it’s only September 2nd, but the weather here all week has been making it feel like fall. I was hoping that we’d get the chance to ease into fall, but in typical Calgary fashion, we jumped right in.

5. Tonight, Stephen and I are heading to a friend’s house for games and dessert. I always get excited when we’re the ones that don’t have to host!

6. Pumpkin spice lattes came to Starbucks in Calgary early this year, but I haven’t eve had the chance to take advantage of that yet. I’m hoping to have a coffee date with a friend this weekend, so I’ll have to make sure to get myself a PSL before they’re available everywhere else!

7. What are your plans for the weekend?

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