Apr 24, 2014

Old Friends

I am one of the extremely lucky girls who has had the same three girl friends since junior high. Grade seven actually, so we're talking about 20 years. Two of the girls still live in the same city as I do, so we try to see each other once a month for dinner or at least coffee. The fourth member of our little posse moved away shortly after university.

Me & Lauren at her wedding.
(August 2008)
After graduating Lauren did a brief stint in Toronto, Ontario before heading to Calgary, Alberta (where she met her husband) and then from Calgary to St. John's, Newfoundland. Lauren has always been much braver than I am, so when an opportunity came up within her company to spend two years in South Korea she jumped at it.

I visited Lauren when she was in Calgary, and when she was in Newfoundland. Visiting Calgary was exciting, I loved seeing the mountains for the first time and I loved dragging Lauren to all the touristy attractions around Calgary. (The Calgary Zoo was a personal favourite.) A couple years ago my parents took a trip to Newfoundland and J and I decided to go with them. And of course we visited Lauren when we were there! We even spent a couple days at her house and were there to help celebrate her birthday. (And we all experienced a hurricane together.) Unfortunately, I'm not sure visiting South Korea is something I can make happen ($1800 for a round trip flight... yikes!) though it would be beyond amazing!

I was beyond surprised today at work when I picked up the phone and it was Lauren calling. It was so nice to hear her voice. I'm not really a phone person, and there's a crazy time difference between Halifax and South Korea so we don't get to talk very often. When we do though, it's like no time has passed since our last conversation. (It's pretty awesome actually.) Even though today's conversation was really brief, it still completely made my day.

Hope you had a great day as well!


Apr 22, 2014

Princess Sydney

I tend to talk about our beagle Daisy a lot more than I talk about my Sydney. I'm not totally sure why that is. I think part of it is that we're able to take Daisy on adventures with us, while poor Sydney stays home. (I think she likes the alone time when we take Daisy out though, at least that's what I tell myself!)

We adopted Sydney from the SPCA in August 2009, shortly after we got home from our honeymoon. I always had cats growing up and one of the first questions I asked when we applied to rent our apartment was whether or not we were allowed to have a cat. (Who am I kidding? It was the only question I asked!)

Sydney was the cutest kitten. I like to joke that we didn't pick her, she picked us. The first time J picked her up out of her cage at the SPCA she started chewing on the buttons on his shirt. I remember the day we went to pick her up after getting the call we had been approved there was a mother there with her two kids. They were both picking out kittens and one of them wanted Sydney. The lady at the SPCA tried to explain gently to the little boy that Sydney already had a home and he'd have to pick out a different kitten. For a split second part of me wondered if maybe I should let the little boy take her home. But then I looked at her and I knew she was coming home with us.

Sydney loves sleeping under the covers, whether it's a blanket on my lap or under the duvet when we're in bed. She's friendly for a cat, and she always comes running to the door when we get home from work. She absolutely loves playing with the laser. (Sometimes she gets running so hard she even starts wheezing.)  She drives us crazy sometimes, she's destroyed the bottom of our box spring and the carpet just outside our bedroom door, but life wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable without her.

Someday maybe I'll tell you about the time I lost Sydney in the apartment... Have a great day!


PS: If  I wasn't married I think I'd probably be a crazy cat lady... :-)

Apr 21, 2014

Why Not Us?

Throwback to 2010.
(Photo by Sabrina Thurlow)
I am a hockey fan.

Given that I am Canadian, and even more that I am my father's daughter, this is probably not a surprise. I think it also has to do with the fact that I've played ringette for years, and though they're very different sports they also have a lot of similarities.

My dad has been a fan of the Chicago Blackhawks since he was a kid. (His favourite player was Stan Mikita.) Here in Nova Scotia it was hard to find Hawks goodies to give him as gifts. Somehow we managed to find stuff though, and when he was working his office was full of Blackhawks memorabilia. He even had a Blackhawks tie. (I bought that on Ebay.) For a long time Dad took a lot of flack for being a Hawks fan. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2010 I cried, I was that excited for my Dad. I think that's when I really adopted them as "my" team too. (Yup, I'm a bandwagon jumper.) When they won again in 2013 we were all ridiculously excited.

My dad with the Stanley Cup in 2013.
Isn't he the cutest?

My brother is a lot of things, but a sports fan isn't one of them. So when Dad discovered J was a hockey fan he was pretty excited. Even if J's favourite team is the Colarado Avalanche. After Dad retired he started his own small business selling sports cards. (Primarily hockey.) Every year he gives J a couple Joe Sakic hockey cards for Christmas. And a couple years ago for Christmas he gave him a Sakic jersey. J was so excited when he opened that gift!
J has taken some flack for his choice of NHL team too. The Avalanche weren't a very popular team around here either. It was even harder to find Colarado memorabilia to give him as gifts. That all changed when Nathan MacKinnon, a local boy, was drafted first overall by the Avalanche in the last NHL draft. Now I can't find any memorabilia because it's all sold out!
Tonight I'm sitting on the couch watching the Avalanche take on the Minnesota Wild in the Stanley Cup play-offs and I couldn't be more excited. For the first time in a long time my husband's team has a chance to go all the way. He's like a little kid, and I love it. I think, for the rest of this season, I'll be an Avs fan too. (And it's not just because my Hawks are losing...)
Are you watching the Stanley Cup play-offs? Who are you rooting for?

Breakfast of Champions

I knew when I joined Weight Watchers that I needed to start doing a better job eating breakfast. If I don't have breakfast before I leave for work, I end up snacking on muffins and other pastries all morning. (One of the downsides of working in a grocery store - lots of fresh baked treats available.) However, I also knew that I wasn't getting up an earlier. Quarter to six is early enough thank you very much! So I turned to Pinterest to look for some healthy, make-ahead breakfast ideas.

I decided to try this Overnight, No-Cook, Refrigerator Oatmeal from Monica at The Yummy Life. (I made the vanilla raspberry version.) I liked that the recipe included chia seeds, I've had several customers mention how beneficial they are. I especially liked that they're supposed to make you feel fuller, longer. I thought that would be perfect as I began my Weight Watchers journey.

They were quick and easy to put together. I made three to get me through until my day off. On the first morning I got up super excited and eager to try my breakfast.

And it was gross.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. It was definitely edible. But my experience with oatmeal has been limited to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and highly sweetended instant oatmeal packets. The oatmeal in my breakfast didn't taste like that. And greek yogurt is TART. At least, I think it is. Combined with the tartness of the raspberries it had my lips puckering as I tried to eat my breakfast.

The second day it wasn't as bad. I don't know if I brushed my teeth right before I ate my breakfast the first day or what, but the second day it wasn't nearly as tart. I still wasn't blown away though.

 After I finished my third jar I decided to try the chocolate banana version. Chocolate-banana is one of my favourite combinations. Again, I got up super excited and eager to try my breakfast. And again, I was disappointed. This week I'm going to try the maple-blueberry version. Hoping that the maple will add the sweetness that I seem to be looking for.

If that doesn't work I'm not totally sure what I'm going to do. Any suggestions for make-ahead or really quick breakfasts?

Oh, and I lost 2.6lbs in my first week on Weight Watchers. I'm pretty happy with that!


Apr 20, 2014

Ugly Pancakes

Ugliest pancakes EVER.
I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but on Easter Sunday we have a special service at church. We call it a sunrise service, but we always have it at 7am. (Even though the sun rose at about 6:22 today.) Our Pastor (who also happens to be my father-in-law) gives a short, somewhat simple, sermon. After the service we have a big pancake breakfast in the church gym.

The ladies bring all the dry ingredients for their pancakes, then we mix them up and start frying them up. I like to do something a little different from everyone else- I'm the youngest "wife" so I feel like it's my responsibility to be different. ;-) The past two years I've made chocolate pancakes, this year I decided to do chocolate chip pancakes made with greek yogourt.

I used this recipe from the Kitchen Magpie. Karlynn used blueberries instead of chocolate chips, but J requested chocolate chips. (I figure they were still probably a little bit healthier...) I was pretty nervous when I started spooning them on to the griddle, they didn't look like normal pancakes. I used sprinkles on some, but I only had little ones and they didn't seem to be that noticable. In the end the pancakes were a big hit though, and not just with the kids.

I don't think I'll use this recipe again next year though, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Happy Easter!