Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Dear life, slow down a little!

I must say that on a weekly basis. 

There's never enough time to procrastinate and get all my work done...  I guess that's the point.
Mostly the whole idea of being a fiancée is just sinking in, it took a solid week on the wedding section of Pinterest before I could calm myself down enough to start doing real life things again.

Of course, real life started with homework, I'm still working on that one. And of course, work. Now, I can't really complain about work because I have an amazing job, I work as a clown doctor. I had my second in clown shift today, meaning I was dressed up and interacting with residents. I'm still new and sometimes nervous, but I still cant help but enjoy the interactions I get to have with people. It's amazing what people have gone through, and as I've mentioned before, I love to hear peoples stories. Today, I got to talk to a 90 year old gentleman who has literally travelled the world. I could only imagine what it would be like to wear his shoes for a day, and to really feel what he's done and see where's he's been. I really think that one of the flaws our society has as of late is our disregard for our elderly, which does effect them and their own self worth... if you didn't know that already. They truly have had experiences that we can't even fathom, and I feel truly honoured to get to connect with some of these people as my job. Not only interact, but hopefully to make them smile and have a little fun in return. 

But for now, it's back to work, as I'm sure you guessed this post in itself was procrastination. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Proposal Post...

I've finally found time to sit down and write this gem of a story, one that I'm sure I'll be telling for years down the road. That's one of the things no one tells you about getting engaged, everyone else shares their proposal stories with you! I think it's great, I think stories are great and I love hearing other people tell their stories. 

Okay, so where to start? Well, if you keep up with my life then you'd know that for my Christmas/Birthday gift this year my boyfriend (at the time!) got me a trip to Ottawa. I've been bugging him to go on a trip together for some time now so I was thrilled to finally be getting just what I wanted. Did I think it was any more than a trip? Well, not really! I figured that money wasn't exactly falling from the sky for us, we're both trying to pay off student loans. I thought I'd be waiting a little while longer for a ring, which was fine... but it's not like I wasn't looking forward to it! So off we go to Ottawa. One of the reason I know Jeff really wanted to go to Ottawa was so that we could go skating on the Rideau Canal, it was a bucket list thing for him and me too. Sitting in the airport I got a tweet from a friend that said the Rideau was still closed. I told Jeff and he seemed really bummed out, I guess I got a little mad at him and said I didn't want the canal not being frozen to ruin our whole trip! I wouldn't be happy if he was upset the whole time. Oh, little did I know why he was so bummed. Luckily when we got there that Thursday night we found out that a small portion of the Canal, about 2.2 km at Pretoria bridge was open and ready to be skated on! Jeff was ecstatic, and we decided to go first thing the next morning. We dressed warm, because the weather was in the negatives. Being a girl I brought two coats, one nice but not so warm coat and one not so fancy but really warm coat. That morning Jeff had mentioned I should bring my camera to take pictures, so keeping in mind we might snap some photos I asked if I should risk being a little cold so the pictures would look a little classier. Oddly, he said yes, wear the nicer one... normally Jeff is the practical one, I thought for sure he'd have me in a snow suit. We left the hotel and hoped on a bus to Pretoria St, we just kind of assumed that's where the bridge would be and where we'd find the entrance to the Canal... we we're right! Thank God. So we geared up and nearly froze our fingers off lacing up our skates, then started skating down the canal. It was gorgeous!! Something about skating in an arena seems so fake after being outdoors on the ice. 

We snapped a few pictures of us going along and then finally my feet hurt so we decided to take a break at some picnic tables the had set up on the ice. It was actually a cozy little area! Surrounded by little evergreens and nearby there were some food trucks being set up. I fidled with my camera and decided we should take some pictures together,  could set it on a timer leave the camera on the picninc table and get some cute couple shots. Maybe my fingers were too cold, or I'm just really slow, but I couldn't figure out how to get the timer working!! I decided that we didn't need pictures that bad and gave up, but Jeff insisted I keep trying, unlike him, but okay I'll keep trying. Finally he left for a couple seconds to skate a little lap, and I got it! I called him over and we started snapping some photos...
The first one... 

 And a second one...

And as I'm smiling happily, you'll notice Jeff looks a little... tense. He missed two chances to change our lives! Finally, we decided to take a third. We switched sides of the table to where there was more light. Once again I clicked the button on the camera and started to skate over to where Jeff was standing. I said something along the lines of "I don't think I'm going to make it!" because I can't stop in hockey skates and thought for sure the timer was going off without me paying attention. Finally I got close enough and smiled when Jeff says "Would it be better like this?" and I saw this...

 KFSNGKSOKALLQIRWOAN AK AHHHH... Is about the only way I can describe how I was feeling. Which was vocalized by repeating "WHAT?" "NO!" "REALLY?!" and my favorite, "Is this real life?". I'm sad to say that I didn't really hear any of the nice things he was saying, but I did catch the most important one "Will you marry me?". Obviously I sad "YES!". I forgot to mention that I was also crying this entire time, and for a good ten minutes after. It all felt so surreal!! In a matter of minutes my life had just changed completely. I wanted to stare at my left hand, but it finally got too cold and I was forced to put my mittens back on. We decided that it was about time to skate back, so we did being all cute and holding hands, cause that's what engaged couples do. You know, it's a few days later and it still gives me butterflies to say that!! After we got off the ice we went to a little pub near the Canal and had some coffee, soup and sandwiches. Then we realized what the hell, we should be celebrating! So we ordered some beers and called our close family to give them the good news! 

If you're wondering, yes he asked my dad and we also discovered that my dad isn't so good at keeping secrets! But that's okay, we still love him! In the end, I had an absolutely amazing weekend, one that I will definitely never forget. My favorite part of the proposal? Having a picture to remember it with! And just the fact that it happened in general!!! You know how pregnant ladies get baby brain? I think I'll probably get bride brain, in fact I think it might have already begun! You can check Pinterest if you don't believe me. 
So now I can say I no longer have a boyfriend, I've got something even better... a fiancé!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A box full of sunshine!

To start, I wanted to share my "sunshine" moment of this week, I'M GOING TO OTTAWA! This year for my birthday/Christmas Jeff got us a trip to Ottawa together. We leave tomorrow morning on a flight from Windsor. I'm so excited! We've never been on a trip together, this should be fun! I'm sure I'll post an update during or after the trip, probably after can't waste time online when I'll be in such a beautiful city. I'm going to admit there is one thing I'm afraid of for this trip... the cold. Being a southwestern Ontario girl, it doesn't get too chilly down here... At least I'll have my man to warm me up! 
My "cloudy" moment of this week, so much schoolwork already. Or maybe it's just stress getting the better of me! I'm back in school for my last semester of undergrad (WHAT?!?!). So it's back to books, and papers, and green tea and late nights. 

During last exam period, Christmas time, my roommates decided instead of doing a traditional "secret santa" we should just do something nice for the person we had chose, something to brighten their day... I took that quite literally. So I found this thing on Pinterest.... I think I say that in almost every post.... Anyways, the idea for a "Box of sunshine" is essentially just a box of yellow things that have the potential to brighten someone's day. So I set off to my favorite store, Dollarama and grabbed all the delicious and fun yellow things I could find! When I got home I found some quotes about sunshine and tossed those in as well, and voila! 

In  Sydney's box of sunshine: 
Candy with yellow wrappers (Mr. Big, Crunchie, Toblerone, mini M&Ms) 

Juicy Fruit Gum 
Stress Ball 
Fuzzy Socks 
Snapple Iced Tea 
Cat treats (obviously, for her cat not her) 
Werthers candies and chocolate loonies to sprinkle throughout 
Garland for decorations 
Sunshine quotes 

You can download the sunshine quotes I used here

From what I saw, Sydney really enjoyed it and it was super easy to make! It's like the perfect combo.

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Birthday/Christmas recap.

Now that I'm settled back into my house in Windsor... the copious amounts of shit I brought home is put away, there's fresh groceries in the fridge, I've showered and went to the gym already, I'm feeling pretty good. But I cant help to reminisce a little about the amazing time I spent at home during the Christmas break. Truth be told I was working with Ronald McDonald most days, but I still managed to get out and do things. Best of all, I paid off all my Christmas presents and got to work with some people I haven't seen in a while, it was grand. So working the break was really a win-win. Other than working my family and I went through the usual Christmas schedule, Christmas at meme and pepe's (with poutines!!!) nice and early, my birthday and Christmas eve dinner with the cousins followed my Jeff's family Christmas and cookie baking, Christmas breakfast at our place and finally Christmas day with my Dad's extended family... Well that was a mouthful, or really just a run-on sentence. The best part? I loved every minute of it. Christmas time always reminds me that I've really got a great family that I was born into as well as having "chose" a great family through Jeff. Nothing beats getting together and eating food, nothing

Both families got Apples to Apples for Christmas so obviously we had to play it! AWESOME GIFT.

The family picture. 

Mémé and Pépé... before he morphed into Santa. 

SANTA! I know him 
Eating leftovers the next day, I really needed a lot of room...
My two favourites, too bad only one is smiling!

Love them. 

Cupcake carrier Mémé & Pépé gave me, super cute. As for me, super cheesy. 

Putting my gift to good use with some Chocolate cupcakes topped with peanut butter cookie dough frosting!

Sleepy Koda with Dad. 

Aw, sisters. 

Sisters and the bfs! 

Me and Roxy wanted to catch a snooze. 

Birthday/Christmas Eve dinner with a Strawberry Daiquiri. 
And the Christmas dinner,  did you know I really like ham?
 And finally I really wanted to share what I made Jeff for his birthday. I bought him a couple things as well but I really wanted to do something more personal this year so after browsing Pinterest (what else is new...) I remembered the "52 things I love about you" on a deck of cards, and that was it. Some cards were just words, others had pictures. I was surprised how easily I came up with 52 things, at first I was worried I might have a hard time! Anywho, here's some of my favourite (and prettier) cards that we're included. 

 If you made it to the end of this, congrats! And I also hope you and your family had a great Christmas and an amazing New Year!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Christmas dessert baskets... Mmmm

This year for christmas I decided to channel the grandmother in me and make dessert baskets for friends and family. I remember as a kid always getting desserts from my Aunt Charlene and loving them, so I decided it was my turn to try. At first I was ecstatic, to bake, to use my new gear, and well to create these beautiful plate things. Let me tell you friends, that excitement quickly wore down after two days straight in the kitchen. The final day I was up till 3 am wrapping these puppies, which included a 2am trip to wal-mart to get more cellophane. It was hard to bake this much! I give all you bakers out there bonus points. After the work was done I did go back to enjoying it though when I got to see how excited people were to receive them and how much they liked my desserts. My meme and pepe have even "hired" me to make desserts for the 50th wedding anniversary open house, so alas I'll be slaving in the kitchen.... I say slaving, but we all know I'll enjoy it in the end. 
After a good month of Pinterest browsing I put together a board of possible desserts to include on these wonderful plates, this board right here. In the end I picked 7 recipes I thought I could handle, and I was right about 6 of them! Click on the pictures below to go to the site where the recipe is posted, I've included my notes about how the recipes went for me too of course. 

Hot Chocolate on a Stick 

I used these to add some height to the middle of the plates. Also, a trick I used was to set the chocolate in ice cube trays so you don't have to worry about cutting them, it worked great! just run the trays (don't hit the chocolate!) under hot water and they slide right out.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls 

[via Marisa at Make Happy]
This recipe was great, easy and tasted delicious. The only thing I changed is after they're cooled in "rough balls" I rolled them in my palm to smooth them out before dipping them in chocolate.

Peppermint Crunch Pudding Cookies 

[via Nikki at Chef in Training]
These cookies were my favorite part of of the basket! The recipe was simple and I thought they tasted the best. The only problem I ran into was I couldn't find the Andes peppermint crunch chips the recipe called for. Instead, I crushed up a couple boxes of candy canes and they worked great! Definitely a recipe I want to make again. 

Butter Tart Squares 

This was the only recipe I wasn't entirely thrilled about, I think I missed something in the crust, other than that they still tasted great!

Peanut Butter Toffee Bark 

[via Kate at Grin and Bake It]
This recipe I modified for two reason, 1) My boyfriends loves the regular toffee (skor bars) I make so he begged me to make them the same, and 2) I forgot to get festive peanut butter M&Ms. Otherwise, I used the recipe without adding the peanut butter and the M&M topping. Still a boyfriend favorite, he had an extra bag for himself and he's still begging for more! I'd say that's a successful recipe. 

Sugar Cookies 

And there she is, the recipe that nearly drove me insane. There's video from my sister to prove it, I was yelling at the dough.. like it could hear me or something. But anyway, other than questioning my sanity they tasted alright, nothing special so not worth the work. I wanted to make the beautiful candy cane cookies you see above because I remember them being my favorite as a kid. My aunt Charlene used to make dessert baskets every year, and I loved the candy cane cookies. She forgot to mention that they're REALLY hard to make! The dough wouldn't twist properly it was sticking and it was awful. This dough is very temperamental, if it gets too hot it give you a great big "F you" and stick to everything. After making a few candy canes I gave up on that and bought some cookie cutters, easier but the dough was still out to get me. In the end, I'm on the hunt for a different sugar cookie recipe. 

Chocolate Pretzel Bites & Turtle Bites 

These were simple and delicious! If you need a quick treat this is your recipe, I made a ton of these and used them as fillers. For the chocolate Pretzels bites I used the same heat and timing as the recipe calls for but I used hershey hugs and red and green smarties on pretzels. 

And that's it! Here's some pictures of my final products, the first few where taken at 3am after I finished wrapping. 

Almost done...
All the finished plates!! 

Larger plates for families 

Smaller single plates for friends 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My Winter Wonderland...

Say hello to my new baby! 

Ever since I took yearbook class (twice) I fell in love with photography. And after 4 long years of limited (more like no) equipment I finally decided to go out and buy myself my dream camera. I was literally shaking at the check out.. that excited, well and terrified to spend so much money. I've still got a looong way to go, but here's the first shots I've taken with my brand new Canon 60D.... ain't she a beaut?!
These were taken in a bush near my family's house, Paxton's bush... if you're from Chatham you'll know what I'm talking about. As you could guess, there mostly of trees because well that's all there was and you bet they were really cooperative subjects.