Monday, 17 June 2019

Some super random thoughts

(always going for those grainy family selfies)

- We have been biking so much more than I ever imagined we would. Cohen bikes every single day, even if it's just for half an hour around our court with the neighbour boys. As a family we bike at least twice a week. I never dreamed I would be comfortable biking with the two boys without Jon, but here we are. On the biweekly Monday I am home with the boys, we are definitely biking around the town on the sidewalks and trails after school. I love it so much. Sometimes I feel like a lot of activities we do with the boys are just for them, and we only enjoy them because the boys are having fun (like visiting the playground). But biking is something I loved doing before kids. So it's just so cool we get to enjoy it together now. 

- Jon and I have been trying to learn French for forever. We both took it in a really spotty way in school. I even chose it as an elective in high school, and did so bad. A few years back we bought audio books with workbooks and stuff, and went through it faithfully every weekend for probably 6 months. And now Cohen is doing French immersion grade one in the fall, so we are newly interested. Our new thing: we listen to French radio in the car all the time. I heard "tomber la chemise", which I think means "put your shirt away." And I have been listening to French podcasts.

- Related to the whole French thing, I just read "Educated" by Tara Westover. OMG so good. One thing she said in the book was that she learned how to read with the Bible. And she completely didn't understand it but she read it anyways. And she said it takes a lot of patience to read something you don't understand, and that's a skill that came in handy for her so much over the course of her life. And so I'm trying to read and listen to French, even though I don't understand it, and it would be sooo much easier to just listen to English podcasts. 

- I have tickets to see my absolute fav author and reader, David Sedaris. I am so incredibly excited. What I love about his stories (other than they are so funny) is that he writes the exact thing I have been feeling forever but I didn't even know it. It's this sense of recognition that makes me feel so seen and connected. It's a lot of feelings just for a few sentences. 

- Jon and I just watched the Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk documentary on Netflix. Wow. I was super reluctant to watch it because it sounded boring to me. But I was glued to the screen the whole time. And I cried basically the whole time. I LOVE hearing/seeing couples getting therapy. And the whole thing is about the time their therapist told them to get away together, so they go to this little French island off Newfoundland and write beautiful music and fight and make up. Just so good. Also watching really talented musical people do their thing is pretty much breathtaking. Also Jon and I visited the same island pre-kids. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Some recent pics

My whole entire life has been hectic in the best possible way. I have moved every couple years, and changed everything in my life a dozen times. These last few years have been no different. Jon and I consciously decided we wanted a few quiet years after Will was born. And we are living the quiet times now. There is nothing better for us than spending the weekend biking around our town, visiting the park and the Saturday morning market. I'm sure in another few years we will be itching for international travel or moving to a different house, but for right now, we are really enjoying our time with the boys staying pretty local.

Cohen is on a mission lately to master the monkey bars at the playground. 

A baby swing just does not work for this one-year-old. My nerves are gone with this little guy.

This is our spot at the market that we always like to sit and have a snack and people-watch.

Our little soccer player, who got a black eye when a kid bumped into him at school while waiting in line.

J and I got to have a little date the other week. We did a downtown date, visiting three different restaurants for drinks, then appetizers, then dessert.

Monday, 10 June 2019

My sister’s buttercream flower and succulent baby shower cake

So a few months ago I became kind of obsessed with making a buttercream rose cake for my sister's baby shower. I first saw the idea on this blog and wanted to do it. A month out from the baby shower, I started testing out different colours of icing. I bought tons of those gel food colourings and a few pounds of icing from the grocery store, and started testing.

I also watched a few hours worth of youtube vidoes, and bought a handful of new piping tips. Then I started practicing. I would listen to a podcast with my headphones and pipe dozens of roses, peonies, succulents. I did that each evening for a week, throwing my results in the garbage each time.

This is what I learned:

1. You need to cut little parchment paper squares for the flowers so you can put a cookie sheet of them into the freezer for 15 minutes so they are hard enough to transfer to your cake.
2. Using two shades of icing in each piping bag makes the flowers look so much more legit. also the lighter colours seem to look more realistic
3. Make way, way more than you think you will need. That way you can layer then to create more height, and also you can pick and choose your favourite ones.
4. You need one of those little flower nails. It lets you twirl the flower around in your hand while you are piping, which is 100% necessary.
5. You want to keep everything pretty chilly while you are working. The icing needs to be room temperature to actually work with it, but after the flowers are make, put them into the fridge or freezer.

Another thing I did after watching so many youtube videos: I used pliers to bend the top edge of my piping tips to really make the edges of the petals super thin and delicate, just like a real flower.

I also saved some icing in a piping bag to add some little rosettes at the end to fill in any gaps in the cake. I finished the cake the night before the shower, and in the morning mom and I drove the 1.5 hours to Moncton for the shower. The cake was way too high to be contained in a cake box, so we just carefully surrounded the cake in an open topped box with blankets and pillows. I was so nervous!! Anyway, the cake arrived safe and sound and it was a total hit.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Our Easter weekend

I know Easter was kind of a while ago, but this is where I am at in life. Easter weekend is when some of our friends come back to our town to visit their parents, so I try to make it easy for us all to get together if I can. This year we did a big brunch because so many of us are parents of little kids, so we kind of need our social life to include them and also be around nap time and also allow us to maybe have a drink during the day.  

We had maybe thirty people here for a brunch. I went a little crazy with weird desserts like pavlovas that look like fried eggs, and Ina Garten's lemon loaf. This is what I have concluded: the recipes that are kinda weird and take forever and have ingredients you don't usually buy are not huge sellers at a brunch. It seems to me that people really just love quiche and bacon and cookies and fruit. I ended up throwing out pretty much all these little baskets I made from phyllo pastry that I had filled with whipped cream and berries because no one ate them. I didn't even want one, because phyllo pastry is soo messy. Also, I have learned that you can NEVER have too much bubbly and orange juice. Everyone loves that. And also a pitcher of Caesars will get drank for sure for sure for sure. 

My sister and mom and brother's girlfriend are 100% for all the crafts and baking activities even though we all act like we think it's lame and messy. We also tell the kids that the cookies and icing and candy are not edible. We are monsters I know. 

The cousins were loving the puddles. We are lucky that the flooding does not effect us at all, and we just end up with soaked kids every time they exit the house. 

We did the unicorn swirl Easter eggs, and it was fun for two seconds, and then we put all four cousins into a shower because it was the messiest. Then we let them throw the eggs off the deck because honestly the eggs were not that pretty and they were a little smelly after a certain one-year-old kept squeezing them until they cracked. 

We did lots of bubble blowing and catching. At 1.5 years old, Will basically just wants to drink the bubble liquid, but the other kids love chasing bubbles. We are considering getting a bubble machine if it means we can just sit and watch while the kids run around.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

My lady trip to Toronto

A few weeks ago I took a little weekend trip to Toronto with a group of girlfriends. These are ladies that I knew in high school, but got really close to in University. Some of us were roommates for the entire four years of our undergrads and beyond. We have all made an effort to get together via a trip or to attend each other's weddings over the years. Like everyone, we are all super busy, so it was pretty amazing that we were all able to do this three night/two day trip. We chose Toronto because it was easiest for the six of us to fly there from the four different places we live. 

On the Thursday night after work, Cohen and my parents took me to the airport while Jon put Will to bed. We took this pic through the security glass. He loves going to the airport. I had actually been super sick for the days leading up to the trip. I seriously considering bailing on the trip because I was so scared of ending up super sick on the airplane. But I knew I would have such huge FOMO, I had to go. On the way to the airport, my parents gave me two pieces of advice: stay medicated and have a few drinks. By the time our flight left, I felt better, but my voice was completely one hundred percent gone. 

(lots of giggly Ubers)

I flew with one of the girls who lives 20 minutes from me. We met our friend who lives in Bermuda at the airport and shared a cab to the hotel, where we met two other friends. I think we got to the hotel at maybe 10 pm, and talked for four hours straight to catch up. I honestly could not talk, but the ladies would all lean in for me to whisper a story once in a while.  

(tea and Prosecco)

On Friday we shopped at the Eaton centre, hung at the hotel pool, and ended our night at this super loud and fun Japanese restaurant with sake bombs and octopus balls. So good. 

On Saturday we went to a high tea at the Ritz-Carlton, returned to the Eaton Centre for more shopping and checked out the market. The high tea was really cute and fun. We loved checking out the other guests who wore huge fancy hats and dresses with Alice in Wonderland style. 

At the high tea, we asked our super nice waiter where he would recommend for supper. He suggested a secret restaurant that has a secret entrance you can only enter if you say secret words. He had us at "secret." So we went to this "regular" restaurant and told the hostess we wanted to see the champagne room. Then we were seated and we ordered champagne and oysters. Then we were summoned into a champagne room were the host pulled on a bottle and made a wall slide open. We walked through a dark hallway and down a few stairs, and we were suddenly in a completely different restaurant. It was really packed and impossible to get a table, but we hung out, ordered fancy $20 drinks and took pictures in the only place you are allowed to: the red bathtub. It all felt fun and very millennial. Eventually we got hungry and tired so we left via the red velvet rope in the kitchen. 

(the red bathtub in the unisex bathroom)

(elevator selfies, always)

(I never buy shoes, but I bought shoes)

That last night, we got back to the hotel after our secret restaurant experience, ordered pizza, and chatted for a few more hours. We all left early on Sunday to return to our normal lives. The whole weekend is such a nice blur. I am so grateful to have these friends who have known me for so long and know my stories because we have the same stories. When I was growing up, moving every two years, I couldn't have predicted I would have these kind of longterm forever friends. 

Also, because we are all 35 this year, we all have similar histories with technology and social media. Five of us lived in an apartment where we shared one landline. We had zero computers and no wifi. We had to walk to campus to a computer lab to do our schoolwork, and guys had to call our landline to ask us out. The only pictures we have from our late teenaged years and early twenties are physical pictures that came from the odd disposable or little digital camera. Lots of the stories we have are just in our memories and we loved telling them to each other again. I could write forever about how valuable I feel my female friendships are. These are the ladies who have gotten me through some really challenging times in my life, and these are also the ladies who are my biggest supporters when I have done something positive in my life. 

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