Friday, 30 December 2016

Best Nine

Just like last year, my Best Nine on Instagram is dominated by running photos which I still find kinda funny haha.  6 are running photos, 2 are photos from our Kelowna trip this summer and one is Pizza!!  I wasn't surprised about running and Pizza photos but I was surprised that kelowna photos made it in to my best nine.  Were you surprised by yours??

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Christmas 2016

As is the norm when we go back to Saskatoon, we had several Christmas gatherings.  However, what was different about 2 of them this year was the change of location.  One change for new beginnings and one change as a striking reminder of who was no longer with us.

Christmas morning and day and dinner has always been at my Aunty Sandy and Uncle Lloyd's house whether it was when they lived in Prince Albert or Saskatoon.  If you were there, that is where we went.  This year, it was held at her son's house along with his wife and 2 sons.  It was a good time but it just didn't feel like Christmas.  My Uncle Lloyd was there as were my mom and sister and my Aunty Patsy so it was nice to be with family who were feeling the same emotions you were.  There was no gathering at Aunty Sandy's and she wasn't making her great feast as Finley called it.  It was strange and weird and I am not sure how I feel about it.   It was the end of one long held tradition and the beginnings of another.  I am sure one day when we spend Christmas in Saskatoon it will feel like the norm, but I am not sure when that will happen.  I am sure the same thing happened when Grandma and Grandpa died but I don't really remember anymore.

We celebrated Christmas with Greg's mom by paying one final visit to Greg's child hood home to say good bye.  Greg's mom has sold it and moved into a beautiful new place.  A new beginning for her.  I had asked Greg earlier if he had wanted to go say good bye to his old home and he never said much about it.  However, Gail had some stuff left in the basement that he had to go through to decide if he wanted to keep it or dump it so we went.   When we arrived there and he saw the empty house save for a few boxes in the storage room, he was sad to see the house go.  We said our final goodbyes and headed over to her new place.  I love love love everything about her new place and I am happy she found such a great place.  But it was definitely bittersweet for them all.

We also spent Christmas Eve at my Sister's place and had 2 christmas meals and gatherings with Greg's Grandparents on both sides which meant for a full boxing day.  I didn't take many photos this year and what I did I posted on Instagram but this might be my most favourite photo of our time back home because it was a true description of how busy we were while in SK

She was so tired that she fell asleep right in the door way haha.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas Baking

I love Christmas baking.  It is my most favourite kind of baking to do.  This year, I made butterscotch confetti, peppermint sugar cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, whipped shortbread, holiday rice krispy squares and butter tarts.

Here is one of several trays that went out to friends and family.  We have this one left over since Greg forgot to take it to one of our Christmas events.  The kids were happy since it meant more for them.  This is my first year making peppermint sugar cookies and they were a hit with everyone but me.  I don't like peppermint anything except candy.  It took me a few batches before I got my whipped shortbread whipped enough.  I got a new kitchen aid mixer last christmas when mine broke but i forgot that it is different from my old kitchen aid mixer so it took awhile before I realized that I need to whip it faster to get that whipped, delicious texture.  I still have lots of work to do before it is ever as good as my Aunty Sandy's but hopefully I will get there.  Greg says that it is all in my head and that it is really good but I still see improvement. 

I made 108 butter tarts this season.  The first 48 were a little runny, the next 30 were overcooked and the last 30 were not too bad.  Hopefully next year will be as good as last years!!

Here are the recipes if you want to make any of these yourself:

Whipped Shortbread
Source: Aunty Sandy

1 lb butter 
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups flour

1.  Mix butter until soft
2.  Add icing sugar and mix until combined
3.  Add flour
4.  Whip for AT LEAST 10 minutes to get the bater super light and airy
5.  Make sure you scrape along the sides so dough is consistent
6.  Preheat oven to 275 
7.  Cook about 30 minutes or until edges are lightly golden

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 cup cocoa powder
1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
4 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup icing sugar

1.  Mix cocoa powder, sugar, + vegetable oil until become gritty
2.  Add eggs one at a time, :30 apart
3.  In separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt
4.  Mix into chocolate bowl until just combined
5.  DON'T over beat
6.  Cover dough with plastic wrap + chill for at a minimum 4 hours
7.  Preheat oven to 350
8.  Roll into 1" balls using your hands
9.  Roll balls in icing sugar and place on pan (16/pan)
10.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes and allow to cool for a minute or two before moving to counter to cool completely.

Butter Tarts
Source: Aunty Sandy

4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
4 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp corn syrup

1.  Mix altogether except raisins
2.  Put raisins in bottom of each tart shell
3.  Pour mix over raisins
4.  Bake at 425 for 11 minutes

Butterscotch Confetti
Source: Aunty Sandy

¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 bag coloured marshmallows

1.  Melt butter and peanut butter in a large sauce pan over low heat
2.  Stir in butterscotch chips until melted
3.  Cool until you can press hand to the bottom of the pot
4.  Add marshmallows and stir until coated

Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Source: Unknown, I found it in a magazine and ripped it out

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 large egg whites
½ tsp peppermint extract
½ cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes
Additional icing sugar for rolling

1.  Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
2.  Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3.  Add eggs and mix well
4.  Gradually beat dry ingredients into butter mixture, stir in candies
5.  Gather dough in ball, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour
6.  Preheat oven to 350
7.  Form dough balls and roll in sugar and place on sheet
8.  Flatten with fork
9.  Bake 10-12 minutes

What are your Christmas baking favourites???

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Change Of Stocking(s)

I must apologize for my lack of blog posts, I seem to spend most of my time being consumed by the Gilmore Girls and the girls crazy soccer schedule hahaha.

Anyways, for the last few years and the beginning of this Christmas season this is what my stocking mantle looked like.  I liked it up until this year until, just like the Christmas tree I posted about last week, when I found it too blah so I decided a change needed to be had.

I had the striped stockings in my Christmas bins for when my mom + sister were here last year for the holidays and found the 2 solid red ones at Dollarama for a steal at $2 a piece.  I had liked it for the last week or two but yesterday as I was sitting on my couch looking at my other Christmas decor and my tree, I decided the red had to go.  I hate red and even at Christmas, it was no longer tolerable.

So I was at London Drugs, picking up some photos I wanted developed (thee best place to get photos done FYI), I looked at their Christmas display and saw that their stuff was 30% so I took a look at the stockings and decided on these.  I loved that they were white and really stood out on the mantle and I loved the fur on the top too.  I put the initial things that I finally found at Michaels and hung them up and I am happy as can be.  I had wanted to do the initial things last year but was never able to find a F so it never happened.  This year I found all 4 and was sooooooo happy haha.

I really like the stockings and will probably have to promise Greg that I won't change anything up for several more years but I think he is safe haha.  I think I am now super happy with my main floor Christmas decor!!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

What I Streamed In November

This will be short and sweet because Gilmore Girls has consumed my life haha.  As I write this Thursday morning, I am on Season 4 Episode 20 or maybe 21 I can;t remember. I think either the end of 20 or beginning of 21.  I still don't like Lorelei but I am impatiently waiting for her to finally hook up with Luke.  And as Jess gets older I can see more of the guy who is on This Is Us which I mean is him but I still would;'t have made the connection like I did Paris as that lawyer on that show I watched for half a season.  I am staying home today because of the gross weather and hope to do some house cleaning while putting a major dent in this show haha.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Pooh Corner with Santa Claus

While we were in Disneyland we went and saw Santa Claus.  It never even occurred to me that this could happen even though I knew it was Holiday Disney.  On our first day there, Greg was looking at the schedule of events and sure enough Santa was in the Winnie The Pooh area that day.  So while we had a break between rides, we went and got in line to have our photo taken with Santa.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes which is less then what we waited for Santa at Chinook Mall last Christmas.

Chatting with Santa on whether or not they have been good this year.  I don't know if they were completely honest with him haha.

He asked them what they wanted for Christmas and they didn't know other then some snow globes so he told them to write him a letter and send it to him at First Castle On The Left at The North Pole so that's what they did a few weeks ago.  

We used our photo pass for these but for some reason when I paid for them once we got back to Calgary, these were missing from my download.  I have emailed Disneyland Photopass to see if they could track them down for me but so far I have not heard from them.  These ones did turn out ok on my iPhone so it's not too terrible.  It would have been worse had I not taken any with my iPhone.  My only regret is that we didn't buy the Minnie Mouse ears before we got the photos with him done. 

Saying goodbye to Santa Claus.  Getting photos like this with him and with their favourite characters are my absolute favourite.  So much more real and sincere then the posed ones which are the ones the photo pass ones tend to capture and thus missing out on the real magic!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

O Christmas Tree(s)

We decorated our main floor Christmas Tree the final Thursday of November.  Since we are going back to Saskatoon this year, we used our fake Christmas tree that already has a burnt out strand of lights and this is only it's third christmas.  This does not make me happy.  I didn't take any really good photos of it while we decorated it so I am  using this one of Penelope before her Advent Liturgy to show it.  I hated it.  I hated all the red and thought it was boring but was too lazy to do anything else with it. 

Until last week when I went to Michaels and they had their Christmas Ornaments 50% off plus they had a coupon for another 20% off the sale price so I got a whole bunch of bright colourful ornaments for almost free.  I have solid magenta, glittered magenta, glittered turquoise, shiny turquoise, glittery purple and shiny green.  It came with solid blue but I sold those since I hate blue haha.  A local buy n sell site has someone selling white/silver balls which I think will be perfect so I hope to be able to get those and put them on here now.  

It's hard to tell in this photo but my tree is so much nicer now. I am very happy with it and as I undecorated my tree, I was amazed at how many ugly ornaments I had accumulated over the years just because they were red haha.  I did keep some of the nice red ones but there aren't a lot of them left hanging around.  

The following Saturday after we decorated the main floor one, we decorated the upstairs one. I call this the kid tree, they call it the fun tree.  Almost all the ornaments on this tree are the ones the kids pick out each year and the ones they have made over the years.  There is very little room, if any, for any of mine and Greg's tacky "fun" ornaments anymore. 

I like looking at the ornaments on this tree to see how the girls' interests change from year to year.

These are Finley's ornaments for this year.  She picked out Poppy Troll while we were at a Target in California (oh how I miss that store) and I happened to be at Walmart after we got back and saw the Rey ornament and knew she would love it.  Anything Rey related is very few and far between.  

Penelope picked a Shopkins ornaments again this year.  She had one last year but there were none in the stores so Greg made hers.  She loves her Lippy Lips.  She also loves BB8 so when I saw the Rey one for Finley, I also found this one!

The girls also have a small pink tree in their bedrooms that I got at Target.  I would photograph it for you but their rooms are so disastrous that we don't need to share that on here hahaha.  They love having the tree in their rooms.  

Do you guys do one tree with a mixture of ornaments or do you do two like I do??  I have been trying to convince Greg for a third in our basement but he has not been convinced to do so.  We could even do it on the years we have a real tree then we could use the extra tree hahahah.  

Friday, 2 December 2016

Greg's California Favorites

And here is our final instalment of our Disneyland trip, Greg's favourites

Favorite Disneyland Ride: HyperSpace Mountain.  Greg LOVED this ride and we went on it 2x and would have done it more if we could have made it work with all our fast passes or the line wasn't crazy.  This used to be just space mountain but it was refitted to a star wars theme sometime since we were there last.  I am not big into star wars but it was pretty awesome.  

Favorite Universal Ride: Transformers.  This was Greg's favourite ride last time we were here too.  Penelope hated it but Finley still loved it.  I really like this ride and I love how Universal really works it with the carts and screens and you don't even notice it.  

Favorite Ride Overall: HyperSpace Mountain by a nose he said

Favorite Food: This little bistro we found by googling OC Favorites and it was ranked #5 out of 10. It was called Bleu Bistro and was really really good. 

Favorite Characters Met: Greg couldn't decide between Optimus Prime, Chewy and Flynn Rider.  Flynn Rider even made fun of Greg for the button he was wearing that said "Celebrate Greg" haha.  But if you ask me it was Chewy and then Flynn by a nose.  He talked about both after the fact and not so much Optimus but we met Optimus last time so maybe that is why.

Favorite Beach: He loved both Mission and Manhattan Beach.  Mission for the Sunset and Manhattan for the first relaxation part of our trip. 

Favorite San Diego Zoo Animal: Sorval.  This was mine too.  It was by far the coolest animal we saw there!!!  I want a pet one! 

Favorite Disneyland Moment:  Jedi Training

Favorite Moment of Trip: Doing nothing on the beach

Least Favorite Ride: The Silly Swirly.  Super lame ride but it is a good kid one which Universal lacks so it works.  This is the ride where they thought I wasn't 14 hahaha.

Least Favorite Part Of Trip:  Traffic to and from universal Studios from our hotel in Anaheim

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Finley's California Favorites

Here is Finley's Favorites!

Favourite Disneyland ride?: Splash Mountain.  She loved this ride last time and this time went on it 3x.  But you can't tell how much she loved it from the look on her face haha.  I was trying to keep my sunglasses on and this was Penelope's first time on it which is why she is further back.

Favorite Universal Studios Ride: Harry Potter.  Finley loved this ride, this whole area.  She loves Harry Potter and is still upset we won't let her watch the 5th movie but was consoled by a Hermoine wand.  She rode this ride 3x.  Once with me and twice with Greg. 

Favorite Ride Overall: Splash Mountain,

Favorite Food Of The Trip: Corn Dogs we had in the Honey Bear restaurant or something like that hahaha on Day 1 for lunch.  Actually it is what she and Penelope had not all of us. 

Favorite Characters Met: Finley loved meeting Rapunzel, Minnie and Mickey the most.  I wasn't surprised about Rapunzel as that is still hands down her favourite princess but the Mickey and Minnie surprised me. 

Coincidentally, or maybe not, all 3 were met on day 1 at Disneyland

Favorite Beach: All of them she said but she did love looking for tidal pools in Laguna Beach so she wanted that to be shown on her favourites.

Favorite Animal at San Diego Zoo: The one humped camel.  This girl loves her camels.

Favorite Disneyland Moments: The parades

The holiday festival parade which we saw on Day 1

And the Paint The Nite parade which we saw on our last night there.  THIS IS AMAZING.  I think this was a favourite moment for ALL of us!

Favorite Moment Of The Trip: Having FUN with the whole family.  Such a sweet sensitive soul

Mission Beach as the sun set.

Least Favorite Ride: Tower of Terror.  She still hates this ride with a passion.  She hung on to us for dear life and a tear (or 5) was shed before we even got in the ride.  Penelope loved it only because she knew Finley did it and I know this because she was pretty much terrified of every other ride she went on.