Tag Archives: Weekend

This Week Rocked a Bit. Here’s Why.

19 May

• Summer hours have started at work for me. Each Friday before a long weekend like the one coming up this weekend (Victoria Day in Canada), my company is closed. I’ve been looking forward to this first extra long weekend for months, and it has been nothing short of uplifting getting through these last few days knowing that it’s a short work week.

• The BF has spent an intense month finishing up his final semester at school. He’s taken time off from his full-time job so that he could complete his term papers and study for his final exams. On Tuesday, he got a call from work letting him know that though he was scheduled to go back to work today, they wouldn’t need him for the rest of the week. This means that we  are able to leave for our road trip to Prince Edward County tomorrow morning, a full day and a half earlier than planned. This is also going to be our very first true long weekend together in two and a half years. His current job has him working Saturdays, so we haven’t even enjoyed a full weekend with each other in that length of time either.

• The BF wrote his final college exam yesterday, and is much closer to being a licensed optician. Amidst all the chaos of the last couple of weeks, this company to which he had submitted his résumé two and a half years ago called him for a job interview. And then, just hours after he wrote his exam yesterday, that company called to offer him the position. Timing could not have been more strange. While he is still on this road to completing the program and requirements to fulfill a new career path, he now has an amazing opportunity to work for a company that will utilize all his skill sets and education in both the IT and Optical fields.

• And the big fat cherry on top of my all good news week? Today, I received an email from Pawsh Magazine letting me know that Jelly is being featured as its Pet of the Week! How fun is that? We’re trying to not let it get to her head too much that she has become a bit of a celebrity.

Weekend Fun

25 Apr

Though the weather didn’t look too promising at first, the weekend ended up being warm and filled with lots of glorious sunshine. The BF took Saturday off from work for school, but his class got canceled at the last minute so we got to enjoy a true long weekend together, our first in a few years. We took advantage of the weather and this time together to take Jelly on some adventures to welcome Spring.

Looking out the window waiting for her adventures to begin.

I guess in our effort to avoid girly pink accessories, we have no one to blame but ourselves for everyone constantly calling her a boy.

On Friday, we took her on her first little hike at a conservation area north of the city.

She was well behaved the entire time and enjoyed lots of new sights, sounds, and of course, smells.

On Saturday, we brought her to a farm market. Here’s a picture of the man and our little dog.

Last night, we made our first visit to an actual outdoor dog park close to our house. This is one of the friends that Jelly made there — he was huge and slobbery, but incredibly friendly and cute.

And here is a moment that I caught on video — it’s such gold that I can’t stop watching it and laughing at the poor girl. She has tripped numerous times, running up and down the halls while carrying her stuffed monkey, getting her own limbs tangled up in those of the toy’s. Evidence of her clumsiness has shown itself lots, but never like this, and I’m so glad that I caught it with my iPhone.

More Greens, Even More Jelly

3 Apr

I’ve been really lax lately on keeping up with the healthy cooking and eating. Chalk it up to being too busy, or paying too much attention to a very active puppy, or just plain laziness, I haven’t been able to cook as much as I want to for us. And shame on me, on a weekly basis, I have been finding myself dumping uncooked food that had gone bad in the fridge.

Jelly is four months old today. It’s a small milestone, but we’ve noticed over the last two weeks that we haven’t had to keep our eye on her every second that she is awake. While she’s a pretty independent puppy who likes to explore and play on her own, she has learned quickly and quite well what the rules of the house are. She knows what she is allowed to chew on (her toys) and what she isn’t allowed to chew on (us, the furniture, shoes) and she knows that upstairs is off-limits unless we take her there. She also has been doing really well with her potty-training. Less supervision for Jelly means that we have some time back for ourselves. And as a result of this, I’m able to have more time in the kitchen.

Fresh veggies are pretty important to me. Without them on a daily basis, I feel pretty gross and heavy. So that’s why it was a big surprise to me when I had to make an effort to reintegrate vegetables into our diets. I suppose with our limited time, it was simply a matter of making what was quickest and most filling — protein. Like Jelly, for a couple of weeks, we had inadvertently switched to a protein-based diet. Shame.

Last weekend, I made a really delicious side of Collard Greens Sautéed with Bacon, inspired by the latest issue of Everyday Food Magazine. Bacon does really make everything better, because The BF even gobbled this up, remarking that he usually finds greens like this too bitter for his taste.

Yesterday I bought a pound and a half of Brussels sprouts, as it’d been a while since we’d had them. I know that lots of people turn their noses up at them,  and if you’re one of those people, I dare you to try preparing them the way that I learned to. I simply toss the trimmed Brussels sprouts in olive oil and salt in a resealable bag, then roast them on a baking tray at 425° for about a half hour, or until they turn dark brown/nearly black. Prepared this way, the bitter taste is completely gone, and instead is a perfect combination of sweet and salty. While roasting, some of the little leaves fall off and these are the best treats of all — once the tray comes out of the oven, being the greedy person that I am, I devour these crispy, perfectly caramelized bits of goodness. The BF, who also used to be a non-believer, now loves Brussels sprouts.

Sundays for us have become routinely Jelly day. Today was an especially busy one planned, as we had an appointment first thing in the morning with the groomer (which gave us a good amount of time to have a nice brunch date, just the two of us), a scheduled puppy play group at an indoor dog park, an impromptu lunch and play date with Jelly’s puppy girlfriends, and finally, her obedience class.

Jelly is an extremely exuberant and friendly puppy, who wants to be the best friend of every human she encounters. However, when it comes to meeting other dogs, she is shy and timid and this is why we have been very actively encouraging her to socialize with new dogs by bringing her to play at the indoor park. She’s getting better and slowly learning to not be afraid. She’ll spend a good amount of time after arriving scoping the dogs and premises out by walking the perimeter, all the while making the acquaintance of every human in the joint usually by sidling up to him or her and plopping herself down at the person’s feet so that he or she will have no choice but to say hi and receive her kisses. Then she will allow dogs to approach her, and after she tentatively sniffs her new friend, will promptly flip onto her back in a perfect sign of submission. She is getting better, and we are at least thankful that she is not an arrogant or aggressive dog.

Shy girl. She’s the one on the left.

When she’s not busy making the acquaintance of all the humans, she spends the most time in a submissive position like this.

Scoping out the room while nestled against a human that is not me, or Daddy.

And of course, more interested in meeting her Daddy than in meeting others her age… or species.

During our visit with Mardy Bum and Molly, who are almost exactly the same age as Jelly and who have been really great at teaching Jelly how to play.

I’ve always wanted one of one of those action/running shots of Jelly in which she looks like she’s floating in air. This iPhone picture is the closest I will come for now.

One thing that she has started to love doing is going out to our front foyer where our big windows are. She will find a good patch of sunlight in which to lie down every afternoon. Last Sunday, The BF was away at school writing an exam and I suppose that she missed him so much that she put her head down on his shoes and took a sweet little nap.

Fill in the Blank Friday – Shopping

26 Nov

It’s going to be a busy upcoming couple of weeks for me. Not only are we leaving on our trip to India in a week and a half (squeeeee!), but The BF and I are having our 2nd Annual Holiday Party tomorrow night. We’ve spent the last week running around organizing and preparing for this, and stocking up a little on our wine supply. It’s going to be loads of fun, I hope, hosting a small crowd of people in our tiny little house. He’s setting up the DJ room again. The only thing I’m slightly gutted about is that I don’t have a Christmas tree up this year. This was a decision that we had to make because we’ll be away for so long and it didn’t make sense to spend the money and time putting the tree up when we were going to leave it to dry out in our living room over Christmas.

I haven’t done a Fill in the Blanks in a couple of weeks now, so this was an especially fun way to start my day. If you want to play along, just visit Lauren’s blog to link up.

Happy Friday!

1. Black Friday is an American phenomenon that I have yet to experience first hand. Living in Canada, the closest thing we have to is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas and is a national holiday too. The stores have sales and deals on this day too, but I’m pretty sure the discounts aren’t as deep as what you find on Black Friday. I live just over an hour away from the U.S. border, and I know that droves of Canadians have gone down to the states this morning to do some serious shopping.

2. Christmas shopping this year will include gifts for my parents, brothers and their significant others. The BF and I will be spending the better part of December (including Christmas) in India this year so I will be missing the last minute shopping rush this year.

3. Holiday shopping makes me really anxious and weary. I hate crowds. I hate mall parking lots. I am not an aggressive shovey person and being amongst all aggressive shovey people in stores makes me CRAZY!

4. This year my Christmas list will include gift cards from Forever XXI, H&M, Sephora, Crate & Barell, West Elm. The entire LOST series DVD set and Glee Season 1. Or cash. Cash is always good.

5. Bargain hunter, or full price shopper? Bargains. All the way.

6. The best and worst things about shopping is Best: finding something for someone you know he or she will love. Worst: See # 3.

7. Online shopper or in-person shopper? I can only buy things online that I don’t need to try on or feel. Books and electronics are things that I can easily shop for online. Though I’m often tempted by sales, I’m really wary of buying shoes and clothes online because I feel like I need to try things on first. And like Lauren, I am a tactile person and I need to touch and feel things between my fingers. Depending on the day, it’s either very endearing or annoying to The BF when we are shopping together because it seems to be a bit of a compulsion that I have to touch the first thing I set my eyes my eyes on in a store.

iPhone Weekend Photo Fun

15 Nov

I’ve been having some silly fun playing with some camera apps on my new iPhone. As I said before, I seriously can’t get enough. Here are some snaps that I captured yesterday in the country on our way to and at a friend’s house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, Siblings and Things

14 Oct

 

Image from weheartit.com

 

The BF and I started a detox on Tuesday. After a few delays, we committed to beginning right after Thanksgiving, which is as perfect timing as you can ask for. Thanksgiving gave us the opportunity to feast and overindulge and because we have to stay on this detox for at least 2 weeks, we have these weeks leading up to Halloween/his birthday to cleanse and recalibrate. So, for the next 14 days, we will be eliminating the following from our diets:

  • wheat/gluten
  • dairy
  • caffeine
  • red meat
  • soy
  • sugar
  • alcohol (oh, dear)

Thanksgiving and the start of our cleanse meant that I had to spend a huge amount of time over the weekend in the kitchen preparing, planning and organizing. First, Thanksgiving was a bit of an unusual one this year. My parents are away on a cruise for the next couple of weeks, and my middle brother is also travelling in the Mediterranean. So that left just me and my youngest brother for what I called our Orphan Thanksgiving. He and his girlfriend had us over for dinner on Sunday at their brand new house, which was exciting but was a whole lot of “Hmmmm, what can we expect….” from me and The BF at the same time. You see because my brother offered to take care of the turkey this year, and not that I lack confidence in him, but I wasn’t too sure how familiar he was with cooking. To me, as the baby of the family, I thought that he’s always been the type of guy to settle for convenience foods  – the frozen, pre-made kinds of meals. Compound that with the fact that his girlfriend is a vegetarian who can’t stand the sight of meat and you will understand why we thought this could have turned into one of those funny holiday disaster stories that you re-tell year after year.

I’ve learned my lesson. That I really shouldn’t worry about these things and to never underestimate. Our Thanksgiving dinner was great and I think something that we should be proud of, being the bunch of kids that we are. The turkey was nicely done, with stuffing to boot. I made cranberry chutney from scratch with a recipe that I came across online just a few days before, as well as a Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole (don’t wrinkle your nose at me until you’ve tried it) and a roasted acorn squash stuffed with a quinoa + vegetable mix. Round this off with a couple of bottles of wine, a cheesecake and a pumpkin pie for dessert, and it was a super-delicious meal.

After spending Thanksgiving Sunday as we did, I’ve come to the hard conclusion that my brothers and I are most definitely the products of our parents. To my surprise, I learned that my youngest brother is the cook of the house. He is the one who has taken on the responsibility of making their meals, and is often found cooking dinner for his girlfriend when she comes home from work in the evening. My other brother also recently bought a house with his girlfriend, and he as well has taken on the responsibility of doing most of the cooking for the two of them. I think that I can safely attribute this to the fact that my brothers and I grew up in a home in which meals made from scratch were an important to my mom. She worked hard to make sure our fridge was always stocked with fresh food, and that there were always warm meals for us to eat every day. Not only did we all inherit her cooking skills, but also an appreciation for healthy eating habits, and I’m really glad to see that I was wrong to think that my brother subsisted on Hungry Man dinners heated in the microwave every day.

Some other quirks that my brother and I share, which were discovered this weekend when his girlfriend and The BF started comparing notes about the siblings:

  • we are obsessive about washing our hands, especially when we are cooking, which isn’t really a bad thing. However, it can be seen as excessive when we are washing with soap and water after every time we touch something different, even if it’s just a juicy lemon.
  • we are afraid of the dark and of being by ourselves on the upper levels of our homes. I can’t sleep properly if I am by myself upstairs in bed, and apparently neither can my brother.
  • we have a strong aversion to overhead lighting and much prefer the rooms in our homes to be lit by table and floor lamps.

And something that his girlfriend revealed to us about herself which I find a hilarious quirk is that she can’t eat if there are animals on tv. Meaning, if she’s eating in front of the tv, and animals appear, she completely loses her appetite and has to stop eating.

Do you have a “thing” or a weird quirk?

Day Twenty-Four | Necessities

1 Oct

Today’s prompt for My 30 Days is:

a list of things you
don’t leave the house without.

Photo by SewPixie via flickr.com

The list below is a pretty standard one.

But, wait – let me tell you about this past Saturday, which was a complete gong show because we ran out of the house without my bag, and I hadn’t realized that I didn’t have it until it was way too late. Like, we were already an hour away from home (with the traffic) at the venue for the wedding.

It would have been fine except I had borrowed The BFs debit card earlier that morning so that I could get my hair cut at the salon. That bank card was nestled safely in my wallet, still at home. He doesn’t carry credit cards, and like me, rarely ever carries cash. It was already 1:30 and neither of us had eaten lunch. He was meeting his technician to set the sound system up, at which point, the remaining balance was due for the technician’s fees. No cash. No bank card. No remaining balance on hand to pay. So, with my tail between my legs, I rang up our friend who was also around to help set up for another portion of the evening and I had to ask him to borrow that ridiculous amount of cash from him. And still, while I was asking to borrow the money, I hadn’t even thought to pad the amount by a tiny bit so that we could have some cash to buy ourselves something to eat. We were nourishment- and sleep-deprived. He was on his 32nd hour of no sleep, and I was operating on just 3 hours of sleep.

Things did work out in the end, but not without a whole lotta panic and extra running around we had to do in order to score another debit card from the bank that afternoon.

Lesson learned. Do not run out of the house without what’s on the list below. Or, at the least, without the wallet.

Phone
Wallet
Keys
Moleskine Calendar/Notebook
iPod
Lip Balm
Gum/Mints

The Happy Camper is Back

6 Sep

Image by ktpupp via flickr.com

We’ve just returned from a long, happy weekend of camping at Inverhuron Provincial Park, somewhere along the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario. The weather was less than ideal, but we made the most of it by sleeping in, hanging out by the campfire, and riding our mountain bikes on that one day that we had blue skies and sun. We’re feeling relaxed and well-rested. In fact, I just finished wistfully telling The BF that I love sleeping outdoors, and wish that I could do it every night.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for almost all students, and I feel like I’m sharing those bittersweet feelings with them, marking the end of summer holidays. I suppose it’s somewhat appropriate for me then, that it will be the first day of my 30-Day Blogging Challenge. I’m going to try my hardest to keep up, and I’m going to try even harder to be interesting enough!

Miscellany Monday #1

16 Aug

I’m trying something new tonight: linking up to miscellany monday, thanks to Carissa.

[1] On Friday night, The BF and I went to the Hot & Spicy Food Festival, which was being held this weekend at Toronto’s Harborfront. We sampled some really tasty sauces, and then enjoyed a hot and spicy dinner in the open air at a picnic table while watching this guy, The Rhyming Chef, do some cooking demos on the stage.

[2] Yesterday we had date with some friends for brunch. The BF will be DJing their wedding in September, so we also finally got to talk about their play list and get into the nitty-gritty scheduling details for their big day. The bride got really excited when she and I started talking about boy band songs of the 80s and 90s, and as a result of that, she’s put me in charge of that very special Boy Band Play List for the reception. We will be peppering the night’s festivities with some awesome gems. Maybe something like this?

Wheeee! We settled on a few definites, though I’ll have some surprise selections in my back pocket.

[3] On the subject of weddings, I have a big confession to make: I’ve been obsessed with looking at wedding inspiration lately, for no reason other than just because…

[4] I had an appointment with my Naturopath on Saturday and got a good couple of slaps on the wrist for falling back into bad habits and eating the stuff that makes my body go into revolt. Dairy, wheat and coffee are the big ones. She’s asked me to do another detox, which I am aiming to begin right after Labour Day weekend whether I like it or not.

I Left my Heart in the County

3 Aug

It’s an undiscovered gem just two hours east of Toronto. Prince Edward County, or “the County” as locals refer to it, is a playground for foodies and wine enthusiasts. The local food movement here is big, but not in a proclaim it loud and clear manner nor a “we do it because it’s what’s trendy” way. You get the feeling that the local food movement existed here before there was a Local Food Movement. This philosophy is backed here by the passion of the chefs, and menus of the area restaurants boast carefully crafted menus featuring fresh and locally sourced, hand-picked daily fresh ingredients, paired alongside selected wines of the region. It’s a phenomenal culture built up around the region’s culinary treats, celebrating whatever nature offers us that day and that season.

The County is also emerging as Canada’s newest wine region, and as well is renowned for its artisan cheesemakers, crafting cheeses with fresh, locally produced milk. One of our stops was at Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co., an artisanal goat and sheep cheese shop that is not only completely committed to local sources, but also dedicated to environmental sustainability in its operation. Many of the wineries are characterised by the charm that makes PEC so special, and remain small and intimate. By visiting some of the wineries for tastings, we were able to meet some of the winemakers and chat with them while they poured our tasting samples for us. Ask any one of them how they started their journey as a winemaker, and you can hear the passion for their craft and their wines as they begin to tell you their stories.

This weekend, we did a tiny little tour of the region, and managed to steal nibbles and taste much of what the region has to offer. From the wine, the cheese, the food – even the hot dogs – it was pure gastronomic joy. Add to that the fresh air, the miles and miles of farmland basking in perfect sunlight and the lake nearly always within reach. It was a gorgeous weekend.

I can’t wait to go back. The next time will involve a longer visit, which will allow us to linger and savor the region in the way that it deserves, rather than squeezing every little bit into our short little jaunt and whirlwind tour.

Here are some highlights in pictures:

Buddha Dog is an organic hot dog restaurant that features locally sourced meat for its weiners. It's the Slow Food Movement's answer to fast food. Each dog comes specially prepared with your choice of hand-crafted sauces made of local ingredients, and locally-sourced cheese.

Our whirlwind tour included the sights and flavours of such wineries as Waupoos Estates Winery and Sandbanks Estate Winery. We're noticing a growing trend among Ontario wine labels, which are gradually departing from the traditional to more modern and youthful designs.

We are still seeing the modern winemakers holding onto more traditional and beautiful structures such as these barns.

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