Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a way to end things!


All the more sweet because it was against the U.S.!

I screamed so loud I made Kate cry. Well, she is American after all.

Austin Day 3

After lunch yesterday, I sat outside and knit and drank tea until I felt my cheeks tingling from the sun. The mirror told me that I had just enough pinkness to make me feel like I'd been on holiday. While Kate was napping, I took control of Owen so that Beth could have a good nap.

In the end, everyone had a good nap - Beth, Kate and Owen and they were all ready to head out for barbecue at Rudy's.

Can I just say that the only thing that I really must do when I'm in Austin is go out for proper barbecue? If I do that, everything else is just gravy.

I hadn't been to Rudy's before (they have 3 locations here). I'm pretty sold on Salt Lick but Rudy's, I was told, was really laid back, cafeteria style, with picnic tables and lots of room to run outside. Also, great brisket, nice and fatty.

It was all true. It was really good. I think it was the best brisket I've had, really juicy turkey, and decent ribs and sauce. Salt Lick's are better. However, I did get an "original" Dr. Pepper made just up the road with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup - thus the "original recipe." It came in a cheeky little glass bottle too.

The rest of the evening was spent watching the Canadian men kick ass in curling. What a great way to end the day. And in a minute we'll be watching the Canadian men (hopefully) do the same in hockey. Oh Canada!

Of course, the continuing gorgeous weather may call me outside again for a tea party with occasional breaks to check the score.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Austin Day 2

While snow covered most of Ontario yesterday, the weather in Austin was beautiful, especially since I started the day with a delicious black bean, egg, cheese and bacon taco with salsa from a new place that Beth recently discovered. I hope to have one more of them before I leave, this time with Chorizo sausage and maybe some avacado.

Kate had preschool yesterday morning so Beth and I did some grocery shopping at my favourite Austin grocery store: Central Market. I bought some dried chilies to take home with me.

During Kate's afternoon nap yesterday I took the dog for a walk to the Intermural Fields, what I refer to as the parrot colony (there is a large colony of parrots who live there) but by the time I reached the fields, the weather had changed to windy and cold and me without a coat. Westley and I headed home and drank tea for a while.

Two of Beth's friends, Howard and Laura Sue who I think are great, brought over some great pizza and we watched the Canadian women curl to the silver. The Swedes were playing better so I wasn't surprised. I hope the men play better today.

The day ended with lemon puff pie made by yours truly. In other words, my day had book-ends of great food.

The weather is gorgeous this morning on Day 3. I've already played in the sandbox with Kate and we'll be going to the park soon. I want to be outside as much as I can today.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Austin Day 1, part 1

It is only part-way through the day but I have some time to sit and write so I thought I'd give an update on my trip to Austin thus far.

When I checked my flight status yesterday for my flight from Buffalo to Atlanta I found out that everything going in and out of Atlanta was delayed due to weather, although when I checked the weather in Atlanta it was sunny and cool, so colour me confused. John and I decided to head to the airport in Buffalo to find out what was happening.

In the end my flight out of Buffalo was only delayed an hour but my flight out of Atlanta was delayed by 2 hours so I had the pleasure of sitting in the airport in Atlanta for 4 hours. If you were there and you saw a rotund woman reading and yawning and ripping out a day's worth of knitting, yeah, that was me.

I arrived in Austin finally around 8:45, luckily I had a great sleep last night and awoke refreshed and ready to entertain my niece, Kate.

We've played a lot, we went to their play group this morning, had lunch, made brownies, and played in the backyard. After Kate was in bed for her nap, I reknit the sweater I was working on while drinking tea in the spring sun WITH NO COAT OR MITTS OR TOQUE ON.

I love Austin.

Back home we have about 15 cm of snow. Here, the sun is warm, it's about 15 degrees celcius and I have no plans to leave for at least a week so BRING ON THE SUN.

Time to head back out there while I can.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heading to the snowy (?) south

Right after school today we're all headed to St. Catharines so that tomorrow morning I can catch a flight from Buffalo to Austin. I'm excited to get there although three things have put a minor damper on my excitement:

1. I can't stream CTV Olympic coverage there. Only available to Canadian IP addresses. I'm hoping my tech-saavy brother-in-law can find a way by this because I do not want to have to watch NBC coverage and I am just way too into curling to miss out. (That was not sarcasm by the way.)

2. It's snowing in Austin today. I had planned on no boots, no mitts, no toque. I still plan on no boots but I'm bringing mitts and toque because I refuse to be cold in the mornings. I hear it will still be warmish in the afternoons. Maybe a sheltered spot in the sun will allow me to take off my coat.

3. John's back is wreaking havoc. He's walking all crooked. I feel a little bad for him - I'd have more sympathy if he'd take my (and my chiropractor's advice) and go and see my chiro or his sister who is a massage therapist but he's stubborn. Real stubborn. And not to be hyper-critical but what is up with people who complain about ailments but don't follow sensible advice or try all the options to make the pain period way, way shorter? I honestly don't understand it and that is when my sympathy flies out the window at about 100 kms/hr. However I do feel bad that the girls don't have their dad totally on his game. Hopefully he'll have a miraculous recovery. (Guilted into going to the chiropractor yet, John?)

On the up side:

  • bbq
  • warm sunshine
  • snow that will not be around by the time I get there in contrast to here when we have about 15 cm on the ground right now and more on its way
  • only 1 kid that I will be catering to
  • sort-of a working vacation
  • on an airplane BY MYSELF for 5 hours each way - reading, knitting or whatever I want to do with no one asking me for anything!

Friday, February 19, 2010

An aunt again!

My sister gave birth to her baby boy this morning at 9 a.m. His name is Owen and he weighed 8 lbs 3 oz. Hooray! I get to meet him in less than a week when I fly to Austin, without any children with me this time (!), and enjoy him, Kate, and the Austin weather.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday

A couple of weeks ago I made soup for supper; I made a soup for supper that was so good that we couldn't stop talking about it for the following two days and we ate every last drop of the leftovers and then the day after that I wished there was more left for me to have for lunch.

The soup was Mulligatawny. I've had the soup in Indian restaurants before but never made it myself. Man, was I missing out! This soup is now going to appear on my "regulars" list. Of course, Hope wouldn't eat it but John, Emily and I triple-loved it!

Mulligatawny Soup

(This recipe is pulled from the old grey Canadian Living Cookbook but I made some delicious modifications so I'm including those all in the recipe below.)

1/4 cup flour
3 chicken breast halves, bone-in
2 tbsp veg oil
4 carrots cut in thin slices
1 large or 2 small parsnips, diced
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery in thin slices
2 apples, diced (use ones that keep their shape - not Macs)
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
pinch nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper
1 cup hot cooked rice
chopped fresh cilantro and fresh wedges of lime

1. Place flour in plastic bag; shake chicken breasts in flour to coat. Reserve remaining flour.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan; brown chicken on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
3. Add carrots, parsnips, onion, celery, apples, curry, turmeric, nutmeg to pan; cook, stirring, over med-high heat until coated with fat in pan. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved flour; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in stock.
4. Return chicken to pot and bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is tender, sitring occasionally. Remove chicken; cut meat into bite-size pieces, discarding bones and return to soup.
5. Stir in coconut milk and season with salt and pepper. Heat again gently but do not boil (to avoid milk curdling). Place large spoonful of rice in bottom of each bowl. Ladle soup on top. Top with fresh cilantro and squeeze of lime (essential!).

I might make this again tomorrow night!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eight random things

1. Tomorrow morning very early we leave for a weekend at my dad's in Gravenhurst. Our weekend should be chalk full of tobogganing (I have finally learned to spell that without spell check. Queen of the spelling bee!), skating, eating and watching a real t.v.... with real cable! Sometimes I feel like a pioneer. Those are the kinds of sacrifices we make around here, she says, as she types away on her rocking iMac.

2. It's been almost a year since my hard drive died and I lost all my photos going back to Christmas 2006 (let this be further warning to you to back up on a reliable source. Reliable source does not equal an antiquated external hard drive, fyi.). As of next week, I'll have finally finished collecting all the photos I can from my Kodak Gallery albums and this blog. (I do realize that this should have taken me about 1 week and not 1 year but I make procrastination a sport.) I did send out a plea for help to my family members and friends begging for photos of the kids that they had. One person - Pam, friend extraordinaire - actually lived up to her promise. Ahem. Family, you suck. And I'm coming for you.

3. My poor skates, after 4 years of poor treatment by me, have been declared by a skate-sharpening expert as "irreparable." I'm going to try them out this weekend regardless and probably curse them up and down. At least it gives me something to blame my poor skating on.

4. I'm addicted to Farmville. I've got it bad people. Real bad.

5. Can someone please explain to me why Arnold Schwarzenegger is running the Olympic torch into Vancouver? Seriously, I've gone over it six ways by Sunday (I love throwing in old cliches just to keep you on your toes and also because I truly love them) and I'm still at a loss. Yet another reason why the Olympics lost my interest years and years ago. I still plan to watch the luge and all the other crazy sports I can lay my hands on this weekend. I'll just plug my nose for all the icky parts.

6. Ontario Today had a phone-in today about Valentines Day: love it or hate it? I realized that I'm totally in the middle. Which makes me completely apathetic. Which I once heard is worse that hating something because it is completely devoid of emotion. That pretty much sums up my feelings on Valentines Day. John and I don't celebrate it. We just don't see the point when we tell each other how we feel every day and do lots of special things throughout the year (okay, less now that there are kids, but still). However, it's hard to ignore it all when you have a kid in school who is inundated with all things valentinian for the week leading up to the big day. Emily actually thinks this is a major holiday. Like Christmas. She may end up hunting down cupid herself when she opens her crappy Kinderegg and homemade card from me. Or not. Could go either way.

7. I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing today to get in the spirit for the girls. And my verdict is: red velvet looks cool but is kind of boring. Also, buttercream still rules as the best icing of all time unless it's for a carrot cake. Still, a worthy experiment.

8. I think we're going to New York City with the kids in April for a long weekend and let me just say: HOLY HELL AM I EXCITED. Yes, I'll be 7.5 months pregnant. But I'll be with two little kids so I figure we'll walk at the same pace and keep up the same level of whining so it should all work out.

Given that this is Lunar New Year, I figure 8 is a good number to end on. Happy weekend, whatever you are celebrating!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My newest favourite baking website

If you triple love to bake like I do and you grew up in Canada or have made the right decision and chosen to move here (heh) then you HAVE to check out this website: Joy of Baking. It is a website full of beautiful photography, awesome recipes and very Canadian at that (lemon curd, scones, Nanaimo bars.... love it).

I'm going to make the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing for this weekend to share with those I love (particularly myself).

Monday, February 08, 2010


Hope woke up crying loudly last night around 10:30, just after I'd turned off my light. I wen upstairs to find her gripping her tummy. I had a sense of what was coming and luckily had the wherewithal to lift her out of her bed before her stomach contents flew all over her bed. They hit the floor instead.

The poor girl had continuing and painful stomach cramps which led to more time over a bucket and a sleepover with me in our bed while John camped out upstairs. The heaving continued until 2:00 a.m. when she finally went to sleep for good ( due to the help of a Gravol suppository). Poor John also had his own stomach issues in the night but by then I was getting some much needed sleep.

I sure hope Emily and I don't fall to this today.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, February 05, 2010


This has a been (another) busy week around casa VT. I'm not even entirely sure of what makes it feel so busy. Granted, I returned from Ottawa on Monday and hit the ground running right after that.

On Tuesday morning, Hope and I grocery shopped, cleaned, got skates sharpened. Tuesday afternoon, I tidied and cooked while Hope was in preschool and then whisked the kids and I off to the chiropractor. I was in desperate need of an adjustment after driving five hours to Ottawa and five hours back with only a two stops each way (and those were short). My hips and back were protesting loudly.

On Tuesday night Emily went skating, on real skates (previous to this year she had bob skates) for the first time with her Sparks troop. I went with her for moral support and physical support. I held her hand while she shuffled her way a couple of times around the outdoor rink. Her attitude was great. Suprisingly great. In fact, the reason I've waited this long to get her on skates (unlike most Canadians whose kids seem to all be skating reasonably well by Emily's age) is that Emily gets EXTREMELY frustrated when she doesn't excel at something the first time she tries it. And then she gives up or declares that she's never trying X activity again or has a full melt-down. I decided she needed some emotional maturity to tackle skating, which is, along with swimming, not intuitive at all and pretty hard to master. So, she was the only kid in her troop (save 1) who hadn't tried it before. She was slightly annoyed that everyone else could skate but her but I promised her that with practice she'd be whizzing around too (in a couple of years). Next year skating lessons may be on the agenda as I won't be much help with a stroller attached to my hands.

Wednesday morning I took the girls out to buy the supplies for making their valentines. On Wednesday afternoon I looked after our wee friend Leah (hereafter known as WFL). We did our usual play dough, snacks and then the valentine construction. Last year I bought valentines for Emily to give out. This year after seeing the pretty creations in Family Fun Magazine, I decided we'd make our own. It definitely isn't the most cost-effective route but it was so much more fun and the results are beautiful. Here is what Emily made:

I cut out all the pieces (she cut the leaves), she punched the holes and did all the writing and then I put them together. It was a really fun activity for the two of us. We were an assembly line of valentines.

Thursday was a regular Thursday. Today we looked after WFL again and had a play date this afternoon. Tonight we ended with a great dinner with friends here at home. I whipped up pad thai and the kids played and played and played and now it's the end of the day and week and we're all whipped.

I hope next week will be a little less frenzied. It's not really looking like it though.

However, having done all that I did manage to clean the house... something that hasn't happened in way too long.

You know, I've also gotta say that I'm annoyed now that twice in the past two weeks I've posted these "this was my week" posts. Really, who wants to read that? But I figure, this is all you're going to get at the end of a week like this. Coherent thoughts aren't firing right now and dammit, this is my blog and drivel is the flavour of the day.

At some point I'll post something more meaningful and much more interesting. For now, enjoy the drivel.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A whirlwind tour of the nation's capital

I'm back after my longish weekend in Ottawa, sans kids or husband. It was fun but fast and tiring. I accomplished everything I set out to do. I also came home with an aching back after driving there and back on my own, with my pregnant belly sitting leisurely on my hips and lower back for five hours each way.

I spent most of my weekend with my good friend Meredith who, although she refused to let me eat until 10:00 pm on Friday, still gets the big kudos for letting me drag her around all weekend looking for our things in storage, in our basement and then helping me to buy a fridge.

We found almost all of the baby stuff I was looking for save for half of the baby monitor set and my Ergo baby carrier. Clearly I found these near the end of our move and just shoved them in unmarked boxes somewhere.

I'm very happy with the fridge I got. It is decidedly larger than the previous antique that is dying a slow death in our kitchen in Ottawa. The new one is 20 cubic feet, very suitable for a family of 5 (!) but still able to fit in the space we have available, standard freezer on top and Energy Star so we should see a nice drop in the hydro bill after the existing energy-sucking beast is removed.

I ate my fill of shawarma on the weekend, spent some nice time with my brother-in-law and his wife (I never know what to call her - she isn't really my sister-in-law then is she? I just call her Cibele). I had dinner with Pam and Jim and kids and sat around talking until my contact lenses were begging to be removed and I also visited the knitting store that I really like. Not to mention that I bought a new battery for the car and had Meredith's husband, Ron, and Meredith's dad install it for me. I'm good like that.

To top the weekend off, on Monday I visited the new T&T Supermarket - a monster Asian grocery store recently opened near our house - and swooned over everything. I will be shopping there frequently in the years to come. From there I went to our school and registered Hope and Emily for the fall. Emily's teacher from last year (and Hope's for the coming year) Mrs. B, gave me a big hug and told me how much she missed us all and how excited she is that we're coming back. I got a similar reception from Mme C, Emily's French teacher. Now that's a school where I want to hang my hat. It's a wonderful example of what a community school is all about.

I really love Ottawa and I'm glad we're going back at the end of the summer. I miss our house, I miss our friends, I miss the school and our neighbourhood. I miss the entirety of what Ottawa is - the people enmass, the draw people have to be outside no matter the weather, the canal, the buildings, just the placeness of it.

And yet I was so happy to pull into our Waterloo driveway yesterday and hug the three people inside the house. I missed them so much. Home is wherever they are.