Tuesday 30 June 2015

Seeing the Good

Sometimes it takes something drastic to help one re-evaluate their priorities.  A hospital stay is a hard thing for a work-a-holic, but pneumonia is a better diagnosis than a heart attack, and a forced week off of work is a great way to take stock and create a new plan going forward.

Less working, more living.

It's all about the silver lining.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Photo a Day - Summer Bucket List

We said hello to summer with some Father's Day golf.

Gifts for Dad.  Lunch with Grandparents.  

And another attempt at furniture shopping, which somehow led us to Legoland and Bass Pro Shops.   When your kids ask to go furniture shopping with you, say no.

The high school kids wrapped up their final exams today.  Two more days of elementary school left, and a high school graduation ceremony on Thursday.  Then they'll have more than two months to go before they're back to school.

After feeling guilt and disappointment over last summer's lack of activity, I've put together a bucket list for the next couple of months.  Summer holidays are all about taking a break and relaxing, I get that, but I want to do a better job of planning family outings, while accepting that not ALL of the kids will be able to join us ALL of the time... something I still struggle with, and one of the many tough things about watching your kids grow up.

Almost everything on the list can be done in a day or over a weekend, and is within a couple of hours driving time.

Striving for more, but lowering my expectations.  Hopefully a recipe for memorable summer.

Friday 19 June 2015

Friday, it's Friday!

This just about sums it up.  Lately I've been a conflicted mess.  So many things running around in my head that I want to do.  Long hours spent at work.  Coming home and wanting to do it all, and nothing, at the same time.  Is that weird?

I need to organise my linen closet.

I want to make this Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Sauce.  We still have an untouched bottle of Kentucky Bourbon in the cupboard from our trip last summer.

I think we need to change up taco night next week with these Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken Tacos.

This Mediterranean Tuna Salad would make a perfect sandwich, and this Tuna Dip looks amazing, but is my love for tuna a good thing?  According to this article, maybe not.

After our furniture outing last weekend, I seem to have caught a bit of a decorating bug.  Check out this Teen Boy's Bedroom.

I want to try making my own ice cream.  These no churn ice cream recipes look perfect.  So do these Key Lime Ice Cream Sandwiches.

And these make your own Dessert Pizzas need to happen!

I need a planner.  Like this Free Printable 2016 Planner.  Despite all the technology that surrounds me, I'm still a pen and paper girl at heart.

Sunday is Father's Day.  Here's a quick and easy craft if you're scrambling for something at the last minute.  

Not that I know what that's like or anything.

Happy weekend all!

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Photo a Day

The rain that they forecast for prom arrived... and it didn't let up.  Torrential downpours all day.  Thankfully a local garden centre allowed us to use their greenhouses for photos.  I haven't uploaded my camera photos yet, but I did snap a few with my phone.

There were plenty of floral displays to use as backdrops.  And I was really impressed with myself for managing to capture the 'checkout' sign in the background.

Prom was the fun and memorable event that everyone hoped for.  And the kids all survived the traditional, weekend long, after prom.  It's nerve wracking to send your kids off to a two day, unsupervised party... especially when chances are good that the stories they come back with won't necessarily be the kind of stories you want to hear.  Four down, two to go.

While they partied, we furniture shopped.  Well, window shopped.  We haven't bought new furniture in years, but the kids are outgrowing their single beds and we're looking to see what's out there in the way of full size beds with built in storage.  

Didn't find anything I loved, but came away with some ideas.  Like dinosaurs for our Jurassic World crazed youngest.  Could you sleep with something like this looking at you?

A few other things caught my eye.  We don't have a dining set in our kitchen, we just sit at the island or in the dining room, but I've wanted to put something in that space since we moved in over two years ago.  Like this set, made out of mango wood, which I've never even heard of.  I love that the finished surfaces come pre-gouged.  There's probably a better term for this, something that anyone who knows anything about furniture would know.  All I know is that the first dent or scratch will just blend right in.  Awesome.

And this.  Cool piece, yes?

Thursday 11 June 2015

Prom Picture List

We're gearing up for another prom.  This will be our fourth.

In two weeks, we'll be celebrating another high school graduate.

But this week it will be all about the dresses and fancy suits.  Up-do's and corsages.  Dinner and dancing.  And the party bus.

As I look back through the photos I took the last three times we did this, I see all of the pictures that I didn't take and wish I had.  I also see that we were blessed with good weather every time.  Unfortunately, tomorrow's forecast doesn't look as promising.

So I give you my lessons learned, in the form of a Prom Picture List.  The photos I took, and all the ones that I wish I'd taken.
  • The prom tickets.  Our school comes up with a unique and crafty design every year, and chances are good they'll come home wrinkled up in a pocket at the end of the night.
  • Preparation photos.  Dress shopping.  Hair and nail appointments.  Tuxedo fitting.  Getting that tie done up properly.

  • Your son/daughter in their dress/tux/suit - alone.  I took a ton of photos of my kids with their prom dates, and they're wonderful, but a few years later they're no longer with the same people.  I treasure the photos, and the memories, but I wish I had a few of my kids by themselves. Try to take a few different poses, showing different angles of the outfit that cost you a small fortune.  The temptation is to capture the entire outfit in full body shots, but try to zoom in close for a few pictures.
  • A photo of you with your child.  Every year that we've done this, I've been behind the scenes in my shorts, T-shirt, and ponytail, and I've resisted being in any of the photos.  I regret this.
  • Couple shots, including putting on their corsages.  Again, zoom in close for a few.

  • Group shots.  And if you're a boy mom, get those girls in a few pictures.  All of those colourful dresses are an amazing sight!

  • In the car.  Maybe you rented a limo.  Maybe they're driving Dad's normally off-limits convertible.  Maybe they're all piling into a party bus.  Capture it.

  • The surroundings.  All of our graduating classes choose the lakeshore for their pre-prom photos, which makes for some nice scenery.  Zoom out and take it all in.

I've also learned to use the flash, even on sunny days, to cut down on the shadows that surrounding trees can create.

Hopefully tomorrow night I will remember to change up the poses and angles, capture the details and scenery, and have a back up plan for the thunderstorms they're forecasting.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Photo a Day - Weekend Shenanigans

Take me out to the ball game...

...for nine dollar hot dogs, and a sunburn.

Weekend shenanigans.

Friday 5 June 2015


My heart is heavy this morning.  My mind is full of thoughts for the families in our neighbourhood that lost so much last night.  

Thankfully no one was hurt, and a dog trapped in one of the houses was rescued.  But the damage is extensive - one home destroyed, two more heavily damaged.  It will be a long time before life gets back to normal for these families.  Prayers and good thoughts appreciated.

It's Friday.  Thank you internet for providing some distractions.

How about a S'mores Party?

I think I need to make this Classic Oatmeal Cake with Praline Icing.

Interesting thoughts on kids and sports.

Homemade Pop Tarts, yes please!

And some real advice for our daughters, not just the old clich├ęs.

Go and hug your loved ones, be grateful for what you have, and have a happy weekend.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

A Boy and his Dog - and his Sister

It's the perfect time of year for exploring local trails.

And for realising that you're never really too old to climb trees.

Month of June, I have high hopes for you.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Chocolate Upside Down Cake

We don't usually do dessert, unless it's a special occasion, or we have guests for dinner.

So Chocolate Upside Down Cake on Sunday was a big deal.  The kids decided we needed cake after dinner, and I couldn't come up with a good reason why not.

This cake is messy business.  The cake layer bakes on top of a molten, chocolatey, pudding-like sauce.

It's a quick and easy cake to put together.  Waiting on the one hour bake time was the hardest part.  I think I last made this cake about 10 years ago, from a recipe card written out long ago by my teenaged self.

As with many things I make for this crew, I could have easily made twice the amount.  This cake lasted about 3 minutes.

Chocolate Upside Down Cake

Bottom layer:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa
1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients.  Add wet ingredients and combine.  Press into lightly greased 8x8 pan.  I used a 9" round cake pan.

Top layer:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cocoa

Sift together and sprinkle evenly over bottom layer.

Just before baking, pour 2 cups boiling water over cake.  Bake at 350°F for one hour.  

Lining the bottom of your oven with foil is a good idea.  Things might get messy in there.

Serve warm.  Vanilla ice cream would go well with this!

Need more chocolate?


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