31 December, 2008
Mostly, I had a terrible sleep last night, the LG had a terrible sleep last night and I messed up my shoulder so badly exercising yesterday that it's hampering my ability to breathe without pain. Bring on the New Year!
The great year of 2008 was pretty good with the exception of a few things, most notably my Mom's getting sick. However, looking ahead to everything we are anticipating in 2009 - all the things we can tell you about like a trip to Manitoba and the impending arrival of Sibling 'X?'* - and all the things we can't tell you about like that ___________ for _____ and we should _______ if _______. We are _________! Also, that ___________, which would be ______ for ____ and lots of _____________. Lucky ___________!
And so on.
So here's to 2008. And here's to 2009 trouncing it completely!
Happy New Year!
*For now, we will refer to The Baby as "Sibling X?." As you know, gender is determined by either an 'X' or 'Y' chromosome and since we know not which is it as this point, we will stick with a Question Mark and keep you posted. And yes, we WILL be finding out because surprises of this magnitude and me? NOT. FRIENDS. Actually, surprises in general - hate 'em. Hate.
26 December, 2008
*For the record, that is not a 'head' and 'body' in the picture, but something a little more like this. That picture was taken at barely 6 weeks along. By now it actually LOOKS more like a real baby!
25 December, 2008
24 December, 2008
In retrospect, we're a little heavy on the chocolate so perhaps next year we'll attempt to diversify, but I do like chocolate and I married a man who also has a deep appreciation for almost any incarnation of the cacao bean, so why not go with what we like best?
Should you find yourself, as we do, with a lot of time on your hands today or tomorrow or maybe on Boxing Day, or perhaps even Valentine's Day, here are some recipes and links for your baking pleasure.
1. Caramel Toffee Squares: these have been a favourite in my family for years but I'll warn you they are tricky - worth it, but tricky. I always have trouble with the filling. My Mom is a genius at making it in the microwave but when I tried that the other night, I cooked it way too long (at least to the soft crack stage), resulting in what Mr. J. calls the "best tasting flop ever." It's now some lovely hard toffee candy reminiscint of what my mom used to make when we were little, only with a slightly burnt flavour. Oops. The second batch I made turned out perfect, until Mr. J. opened the fridge door and dumped them out and filling was EVERYWHERE. (Don't worry, I left the kitchen to avoid ruining our Christmas spirit.) The third batch seems to have turned out just fine. Phew! [They also don't mail well (that's really too bad for such a tasty treat...mmm....yes.....too bad....).]
Note: 1/2 cup of s.c. milk is approx. half a can. Use the other half for a half-batch of Number 6.
2. Cake Balls: Bake a cake mix in a 9x13 pan. When it's cool, use two forks to tear it apart into crumbs. Combine with almost one tub of storebought icing. Chill in the fridge for about an hour. Roll into small balls and coat with melted chocolate chips or almond bark. For the macaroon ones we used coconut cake mix and also added in half a bag of shredded coconut. For the black forest ones, we used a dark chocolate cake mix and added in almost a whole can of blended cherry pie filling (no icing in those ones). Easy and great for potlucks.
3. Date-filled Cookies: These are really an old-timery cookie I think. I grew up eating these. They're some of my Moms favourites and they were a favourite of my Grampa too. A molasses cookie on either side of some delicious (and full of fibre and nutrients, I might add) date filling. For the date filling: Use kitchen scissors to cut up one package (8 oz.) of pitted dates. Microwave them in a bowl with 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of orange juice for about 4-5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. Let it cool, stirring occasionally, and it will thicken. Then spread on a cookie and top with another cookie. Like a sandwich.
4. Russian Tea Cakes, as previously blogged.
5. Chocolate Truffles: Not as decadent as these, which might actually be an act of divine inspiration (quick! buy some! they're on sale!), but definitely a little tasty treat. We always use non-fat sweetened condensed milk so I consider them a slightly lower-fat treat. Plus, nobody will guess you didn't slave for hours.
6. Finally, No-Time Chocolate Fingers. These are a delectable combination of chocolate, graham wafers/crackers and marshmallows and they almost never turn out well enough to serve to actual guests, but we like them just fine. That said, I'm not going to post the recipe unless my Mom can tell me what I'm doing wrong. If you really want it, you can email me and maybe YOU can fix it.
Have a delicious Christmas!
23 December, 2008
There is a tiny silver lining though and that is that the Little Goat and I will be making the trek Home (HOME!) for a few weeks to help out after the surgery. The LG will hopefully cooperate in providing positively delightful (hint, hint, Kid) entertainment so I can get supper on the table. And yes, Dad, I expect help and I expect you to rinse your coffee cup and also I don't clean bathrooms. Hey, I just want to lay our services out on the table before we get there.
Please be in prayer for Mom as she prepares for surgery - that God would give her both grace and peace about the process AND that she won't go crazy being off work for several weeks!
Love you, Mom! We've already started a list of everything we're bringing home.
22 December, 2008
Luckily for us, Mr. J. was on call last night! Oh yippee. The ER called shortly after five this morning to warn him that they would be calling in less than an hour because the EMTs had just gone on a call. So we hauled ourselves out of bed at 5:30, got more bundled up than I care to be and headed outside. SO. COLD. *chatter*
We dug just enough to get one car out (some of the drifts out there were past my waist) and Mr. J. left for work. I was not very happy about that because if it had been me, I would've called in and said, 'see you Tuesday,' but I don't feel the need to take risks in bad weather and be any kind of hero. Anyway, he called later and he had made it in so I guess that's good. Let the knitting party commence!
The Little Goat and I just stood by the window for a while watching the neighbours use their snowblowers. Sadly, a lot of the snow on the next-door neighbours driveway is, mostly because of the wind, now on our driveway, but I've been excused from further shoveling duty today so I'll take advantage of that. I really don't know how much snow we got, but most of you know that despite being born and raised in Manitoba where there are, in fact, many snow-loving people, I can hardly stand the stuff - at least not when it's snowy AND cold.
I'm too lazy to go take more pictures now, but I'll leave you with a few from just after our shoveling this morning. Pardon the fact that the light is bad and you can hardly see through the snow stuck to the window.
15 December, 2008
I was out of bed at 7:52 after I thought I heard some kids getting excited about seeing a fire truck. Naturally I wondered why they weren't in school (I thought it was later than 8am).
Then the siren got louder and closer and I looked out the window. There was smoke streaming out the door jam on the main floor and from underneath the eaves. The yelling I heard was our next-door neighbour helping Mrs. L. (she's the only one that lived there) away from her house and getting the attention of the fire truck. About a minute later, there were flames shooting up from the back end of the roof.
I debated about taking pictures and posting them - this is a tragedy as much as a spectacle, and I have no idea what might have caused the fire - but right around Christmas (and in winter) when most of us have Christmas lights up and quite possibly a space heater going, it's important to remember to make sure that all our lights and heaters are up to code and used as safely as possible.
I saw smoke at 7:52am. This was twenty minutes later:
This is after all the fire trucks/fighters have left*:
Please continue to pray for Mrs. L. It looks like whatever is in her (detached) garage will be fine, but I only saw the firefighters recover a single trunk from the house.
*These photos were both taken today so I'm not sure why the dates don't match.
13 December, 2008
(Except I can't remember if there's a peanut allergy in your family and if there is, I'm very sorry for forgetting.)
Peanut Butter Pudding - slightly adapted from the lovely folks at King Arthur Flour, where normally you can find a whole whack of tasty recipes...except maybe this one...
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
1 T. flour
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter (I used about 2 T. instead)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
Now the original recipe gives you the directions for making this on the stove, but I'm going to ONLY give you the microwave directions as they worked for me so hah! Use your microwave for something other than heating up food, okay? It's perfectly good for actually cooking in.
Directions: In a big glass bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt and eggs. Set aside. Measure the milk in a glass measuring cup and microwave it for 3-4 minutes or until VERY hot. Whisk it into the ingredients in the glass bowl. Microwave that mixture for 2-3 minutes, whisking every minute until it thickens. Immediately add the butter, vanilla and peanut butter. Whisk until everything is combined. Pour into serving dishes and serve warm or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.*
* I LOVE pudding skin, but if you hate it, when you use plastic wrap to cover the pudding until serving, making sure the wrap is pressing down directly on top of the pudding. Remove it before you serve dessert and behold! No skin!
Mexican Wedding Cakes (or Russian Tea Cakes)
1 cup softened butter (no substitutes)
1/2 cup icing sugar (that's 'powdered' sugar to my American friends)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (we use pecans)
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix the dry ingredients in until they dough starts to stick together. Let chill for about an hour. While the oven is preheating to 400 degrees, roll the dough into little balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are: slightly firm, slightly brown, and have a few surface cracks. Let them cool on papertowels on wire racks but while they're still warm, roll them in icing sugar. Then, when they're completely cooled, roll them in icing sugar again.
VARIATION: We decided to try some without nuts too and they turned out great! Replace the vanilla with 1/2 tsp. of almond flavouring and replace the nuts with the zest from two oranges. Everything else is the same.
I've decided it's time to post some recipes because it seems like it's been a while. Since Christmas is coming and we've all got lots of other things to do, I thought I would pass along three pretty simple recipes that are fancy without being overly irksome. I'm going to put them in three separate posts for the sake of ease.
You may recall that on Mr. J.'s birthday we ate 'fancy' crab cakes from the 'fancy' seafood department at a local grocery store. They were decidedly LESS than stellar (no thanks to YOU, Hannaford Inspirations!). A little over a year ago, I was watching some Paula Dean 'holiday' special and she was showing how to make "crab" cakes on a budget. The secret ingredient? Canned tuna. Well the first time I made them for Mr. J., he said he really couldn't tell the difference.So, because the ingredients are cheap and they taste superb (and because the LG loves them) we make them at least every few weeks. We don't use Paula Dean's recipe anymore becuase I found one we like better that includes more veggies. Here's a link and I encourage you to try them. We sometimes add some finely diced celery; we use Albacore tuna because the Wal...mart brand is cheap; and we usually bake them (with a slight broil at the end for crispiness) instead of frying them, but you do what you like.
If you don't have any tartar sauce to eat with them, you can try making your own by mixing some Miracle Whip (we use 'light') with a couple tablespoons of dill relish (or chopped up dill pickles) and some dried dill. Just make sure you let it sit for as long as possible so the flavours meld.
These are great with salad or a fresh veggie tray on the side!
09 December, 2008
Minnesota Mom tagged me for this Christmasy meme. Good timing because it gave me something to write about this week amidst a rather sizeable amount of Christmas busyness. This is the week we finish wrapping presents and get them mailed off to Canada, to the other side of this Continent, and overseas. Feel free to be 'tagged' for the meme, or just leave your answers in the comments!
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate!
Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? Santa? Who? Presents are wrapped by real humans (*gasp*) and put under the tree as we go - none of this waiting for Christmas Eve crap.
Colored lights on tree or white? We just got a prelit tree and the lights are all white. More lights than any tree of ours has ever had!
When do you put your decorations up? The first Sunday of Advent.
What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Christmas ham!
Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Pizza before the Christmas Eve service.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I have no idea when but I'm sure my parents just told us. I think my pragmatic mind and 'lack of imagination' (per the observation of my Grade 4 teacher) probably wouldn't allow me to believe in such foolishness.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Just one gift? Hah! We open them ALL on Christmas Eve. Getting up early is for crazies and we always spent Christmas Day with Grama & Grampa.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Carefully. 'Unbreakables' at the bottom.
Snow! Love it or Dread it? I do like snow on Christmas...pretty much I like it in December. Then that's enough.
Can you ice skate? Absolutely! What kind of Canadian would I be if I couldn't skate?
Do you remember your favorite gift? Nope. Can't think of a favourite.
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Celebrating CHRISTMAS.
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Christmas baking. I don't really care what kind, just anything baked with the intention of having around for visitors at Christmas.
What is your favorite tradition? Family Christmas on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with extended family.
Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? I'd rather give. Honestly, I'm not very good at 'getting' gifts.
What is your favorite Christmas Song? Good King Wenceslas! That's the song I sing as the LG's 'lullaby' at night.
Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? *gag*
Ever recycled a Christmas present? I'll never tell.
05 December, 2008
On Wednesday, December 3rd, my Uncle and Aunt got home from a month and a half long trip to Ukraine. And guess who they brought home with them?
MY NEW COUSIN! Oh I'm so excited! We haven't seen pictures yet or anything but we can hardly wait to meet her even though that won't likely be until next year. Her name is Maryna and she's six and oh boy! oh boy! My Uncle and Aunt are PARENTS now and we have a new COUSIN!
Just wanted to share that with you. If you a person inclined to pray, please keep them in your prayers as they spend their first Christmas together; pray that they will settle in to being a family at just the right pace.
04 December, 2008
Last Saturday we were supposed to have four free hours of babysitting thanks to a planned event for kids at church. Sadly that all fell through really at the last minute and once again reaffirmed to me that Northern Mainers (or maybe it's just New Englanders in general) cannot be counted upon for anything, despite what the crazy lady on the radio commercial tells us about Mainers knowing "they can depend upon each othuh." I was more than a little annoyed because what was supposed to be a quiet child-free afternoon of Christmas shopping and going for coffee, turned into a rather disorganized evening of quite child-full Christmas shopping, definitely not quiet coffee, and late dinner. *sigh* I'm mostly over it now though and happy that we now have almost all the shopping done with one or two exceptions.
Yesterday was Mr. J.'s birthday! We had (sadly lacking) crab cakes for dinner along with a very lovely halibut fillet and BLT salad mix. The dessert he picked this year isn't a recipe I can link to, but it comes from the Company's Coming Everything Chocolate cookbook. If you're American, you've probably never heard of Company's Coming which is a series of cookbooks that I grew up with, the brainchild of Saskatchewan native, Jean If-I-have-to-strain-a -fake-smile-any-more-my-face-will-crack Pare. If you live in Canada and you don't own a Company's Coming cookbook, what is wrong with you!? Really, what kind of Canadian cook are you? Perhaps my favourite thing about the C.C. Everything Chocolate book is that when she talks about pie, she always tells you how many "wedges" it cuts into. Not 'slices' but wedges. (I don't know why but I just can't stand the word 'slices.' Ugh.)
Anyway, it was Caramel Truffle Pie and it was disgustingly rich but so incredibly tasty and here is a picture so you can all commence with the drooling. We each had a piece last night and the rest went into the freezer today for some future occasion.
Also, the LG helped me make the birthday pie! She helped crush the chocolate cookies to make crumbs, dumped them in the bowl, dumped in the pecans, stirred the caramels (and snuck one before they were melted too) and sit and watch things melt in the microwave. It was great. I can't wait till she's a little older and can do a little more helping too. We did try again today when we made bread, but it resulted in a rather sizeable yeast mishap, so maybe we'll wait a while before we bake together again. It does give us something to do in the mornings though....
She's getting really great at immitating. The other day when I put on my exercise DVD, she got all excited and started walking in place just like on the TV. Then yesterday afternoon, she was playing with this little chicken she has. She put it in this candle she's been playing with that comes in a little tin and proceeded to immitate seasoning the chicken. Hah! It was brilliant! I wish I had a picture. Watch out, Bobby Flay! If you're still around in 20 years, she might be ready to challenge you in Kitchen Stadium.
26 November, 2008
We didn't bring home too many Christmas presents although we got a few. I got a new tshirt, the Little Goat got several summery things from the clearance rack at Old Navy (they were even having 50% off the clearance price - can you say $22 skirt for $1.49?!) and we picked up a boxed set of beginner puzzles for her Christmas present. We tested some back massagers and oh goodness, if we had lots of money, it would be back massagers all around this Christmas. Alas, one of these is probably more likely.
We did all the big box stores on Saturday, grabbed some vittles from Wendy's and headed back to our hotel which was super nice and we were kicking ourselves for not having taken advantage of the work discount there before. We didn't end up going swimming because the LG hardly had any nap at all on the way down and was on the cranky side. Also, there were several junior boys hockey teams staying there and sharing a pool with a bunch of rowdy preteen boys didn't seem like such a great idea. Then, she didn't want to go to sleep. Granted, the TV was on, but hello! CABLE! We got to watch Cops in real time plus the Iron Chef Thanksgiving special!
Sunday morning, we had planned to sleep in, but sharing a room with a 17-month-old isn't entirely conducive to such things so we were up by 8, waded through the masses for breakfast sandwiches and waffles in the lobby and headed out at 11. Sunday was less successful as a shopping day although we did enjoy lunch at this fabulous Jewish bagel place (yes, it's Jewish; no, we can't figure out why there was bacon on the menu) and some sweet, sweet festive treats at Starbucks where we actually got the quiz question right for a change. They have this question on the board when you go in and if you get it right, you get a free flavour shot or extra shot in your latte or whatever. Of course, neither of us ordered drinks that required extra anything so too bad.
Anyway, it was a good trip. It was relaxing. Next year we will try to go for two nights instead of just one, but we were glad to be home where the LG actually sleeps!
Yesterday, Mr. J. decided to go out to do a little shoveling since he never got the chance on the weekend and guess what?! Our neighbour actually lent him her snowscoop to use! HUMAN CONTACT! We think it was residual excitement stemming from the acquisition of a brand new snowblower on her part. Still, Mr. J. was grateful and now is dreaming about his very own snowscoop.
21 November, 2008
NoMo also posted 7 Random Things but instead of writing about herself, she wrote about her oldest boy, so I will copy her. Only I'll write about my girl because we have no oldest boy.
7 Random Things About the Little Goat:
1) We call her the Little Goat because when she was very little, she sounded an awful lot like a goat.
2) She does NOT like to get her hair washed. Oh the horror!
3) She loves tomato-y things. Hooray!
4) I don't think she can decide if she likes or loathes our two cats, though she's awfully fond of the one she got in the mail from Grama and Grampa last week. 5) She's not a big vegetable fan other than those tomatoes.
6) She always bounces in the same corner of her crib while she's waiting to be collected.
7) If you dare take Kitty away even during a diaper change, you are IN TROUBLE.
In other news, we're heading down to Airport City tomorrow and STAYING OVERNIGHT. I know! It's exciting! I can hardly wait! We'll do just a little Christmas shopping and eating out and I got all brave and packed the LG's swimsuit and a couple swim diapers because I found out today the hotel has a pool. Yippee! I'll tell you all about it next week! Have a great weekend!
18 November, 2008
Living in North Central Washington really ruined me for fruit. With fresh fruit available more months of the year than not and several friends with orchards, you get spoiled pretty quickly. You've really never tasted a nectarine until you've tasted one picked just that morning - Oh sweet, sweet Independence, sweet, sweet Flavortop - how I miss you! Finding a decent peach up here in No Man's Land is like trying to find a cheeseburger on an Arctic ice floe.
That said, one thing Maine really has going for it is blueberries. Wild blueberries have twice the nutritional value that cultivated blueberries have and they are readily available in the freezer section at our favourite Super W-mart. They're also reasonably cheap. So last night I set out with the intention of making blueberry pudding cake because it's three Tastes of Amazingness in one title: Blueberry. Pudding. Cake. Mmmmm....What can go wrong?
Let's check out the recipe, shall we?
2 cups fresh or (thawed) frozen blueberries (wild are best, regular are okay)
Juice and rind from one lemon (I used rind from an orange and 1/4 lemon juice because we didn't have a fresh lemon around)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar (the recipe calls for 2/3 but I used 1/3 and it tasted just fine)
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
1/4 cup melted butter (or whatever you use at your house)
1 teaspoon vanilla
very scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
1. Mix the blueberries and lemon rind/juice and spread in the bottom of a lightly greased casserole dish or 8" square pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour - sugar) in a bowl. Mix milk, egg, butter, vanilla in a separate bowl, then incorporate into dry ingredients. Spread batter over blueberries.
3. Combine sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water over the sugar/cornstarch mixture.
4. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes.
Total prep time (including baking) is about an hour. You'll want to let it cool slightly before you eat it so you don't burn your insides. It might be good with some whipped cream or ice cream, but then again, it's quite fabulous on its own. The recipe makes four very big servings, 6 medium servings, or 8 'sample size' (or 'pointless') servings. Enjoy!
14 November, 2008
So, Beth lives in the midwest, she's a fellow U2 fan (already, what's not to love?) and has one GEM of a little girl! Go! Read!
Periodically, she posts these lists entitled "Choose Ye." I don't think she'd sue me for copyright infringement so I'm going to do my own Choose Ye and if I get some sort of cease and desist email, well, I guess I'll know she doesn't want any mediocre versions of Choose Ye floating around the internets.
So copy and paste the list into the comments and CHOOSE! The rules are you must pick one or the other, no 'maybe' or 'both' or 'neither'. Period.
Behold! Choose Ye: We Eat Turkey in Two Weeks Edition (with props to Meg Fowler for her inspiration):
Turkey or ham?
Whole or no-berry cranberry sauce?
Thanksgiving parade or dog show?
Football or no?
Pumpkin or pecan?
Christmas carols before Thanksgiving or only after?
Fancy thanksgiving centerpiece or no centerpiece?
Celebrate with family or friends?
Stuffing or mashed potatoes?
Sweet potato casserole or green bean casserole?
Jello or lettuce salad?
07 November, 2008
You people are WAY too nice, though. Zero pin pricks? Five pin pricks? A mere eight pin pricks? Hah! Let's try no less than 25! And those are just the ones that made me say "ouch!"
There were two prizes to give away but three correct answers. So FrugallM (who used to have a blog but now I can't find it) and Beck of Frog and Toad Are Still Friends are the winners of the aprons, with the bonus prizes going to Beck who correctly guessed that I pinned my left index finger to the fabric (no blood, don't worry) three times.
Out of 100 responses, the odds of three people guessing the correct answer can't be all that great, so I couldn't let the third correct answer go un-prized. Leigh over at My New Thing also has a prize on the way, but since it's supposed to be a surprise for her, I can't tell the rest of you what it is either.
So thanks to everybody that entered. As of yet, I have not won ONE SINGLE giveaway (*pout*) but I DO love to give away prizes so I'm glad I participated. Then again, I may have won several giveaways, but my regular blog email address has been down for almost this entire week and it's driving me CRAZY so there are probably like 10 prizes waiting for me that I can't respond to. Boo! So, if I won your bloggy giveaway, or if you just feel like giving me a prize because you love me, leave me a note in the comments and we'll get in touch!
05 November, 2008
Well whatever. It's over. What's done is done. We are in for a very rough four years and last night I asked Mr. J. when we were moving back to Canada because this election will profoundly affect Canada (in ways I think many Canadians just do not understand), but at least we wouldn't be living under a completely socialist regime.
My friend Kurt posted some verses from 1 Samuel on his Facebook page today. I thought I would share them with you because I found them very reassuring and if you have a Bible handy, it's very interesting reading them in the context of the whole chapter. If you don't have a Bible handy, here's a link to the whole chapter.
"The LORD said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.... Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day." 1 Samuel 8: 7, 18
"...my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
"...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1
So with a grateful heart, I will remember that God is sovereign in all things.....
03 November, 2008
Abortion has been an issue of great importance for me even before our Little Goat, our little 'cluster of cells', our little baby in my womb, came into this world. Most of you who have done your political research know where the candidates stand on the issue of abortion. Obama's voting record is out there for the world to see. McCain has made it plain where he stands on abortion also.
For my part, I cannot STAND Barack Obama. He's an arrogant, elitist, smarmy jackass who has, unfortunately, wrapped much of America around his little tentacles. I've tried to listen to the guy, but I just cannot get past the fact that the man supports abortion - in all its heinous forms. Honestly, people! Obama says if his daughters make a "mistake" he doesn't want them "punished with a child." Are you kidding me? Any consenting adult with living brain cells knows that babies are conceived via sex. No birthcontrol is 100% infallible (with the exception of abstinence) and if you're not ready for a baby, you're not ready for sex either. Why should a baby, who has no choice in his/her conception, be PUNISHED for the MISTAKE of its parents? What a pile of horse waste!
Anyway, check out the links below because there are a lot of bloggers out there who have already said this better than I ever can.
This post includes a video combining several of Obama's thoughts on abortion, plus a link to a really well-written post detailing one blogger's perspective on the issue.
This post has some great article links, including several about babies that have survived abortion.
This is what actually happens during a partial-birth abortion. If you think it's a bunch of crap, scroll down and read the articles written by doctors that confirm the accuracy of the illustrations.
Edit: One more article from World Magazine about the topic of single-issue voting.
And finally, you think an abortion is just a bunch of cells, hey? Click here to see otherwise.*
If I had a vote, it would be going to John McCain, if for no other reason than that he is pro-life. I have confidence that somebody who respects even the tiniest of human beings will govern in a way that shows respect for all human life. How you treat the least is surely an indication of how you'll treat most. If you vote for Barack Obama tomorrow, fine; but the blood of innocent, helpless children is on YOUR HEAD. Furthermore, if you're a Christian voting for Barack Obama tomorrow, I ask you this: where the hell has your conscience gone?
*Some of these images are extremely graphic and some of you may be offended. Sometimes though, the truth isn't very pretty.
**I should also add that Independent Ralph Nader is decidedly pro-abortion as well. So are a quite a number of 'conservative' candidates in our own county!
29 October, 2008
You know I can't stand thunderstorms. The second I saw that lightning through the blinds, it was like two months of general weatherly complacency vanished.
I pull the blankets up to my ears with just enough air to breathe and stuff my fingers in my ears realizing that a thunderstorm is a bizarre time to discover that maybe I need to clean my ears a little more often.
This is no ordinary 'heavenly' "furniture moving" or "baseball game." This bowling tournament started with a strike (yay, team?).
Everything is still and then the heavens unleash their watery fury and the storm continues with rumbles that sound like a microphone amplifying my stomach rumbles right before Christmas dinner.
My breathing is laboured and panicky. Mr. J. just slumbers on.
The wind is howling and I'm sure the roof is going to start peeling back at any second.
More gasping, more panicking.
Great, just great. I have to go to the bathroom.
I nudge Mr. J. "I have to pee. I'm turning on my lamp."
"mmmmmmmmumble, mumble, mmmmmmm"
I scurry to the bathroom wondering when the Little Goat will wake up or if she has inherited her dad's knack for sleeping through nearly anything.
'Please don't wake up now, please don't wake up now,' I silently plead.
Luckily, I'm already sitting on the toilet.
I race back to the bed, not caring about missing the creaks in the floor, pausing just long enough to sit on the edge of the bed with my ears plugged for another crackle, then jam myself back in my blankety cocoon.
Then the wind picks up again and the crashing continues. I am the only one awake....and my mind turns to theological questions: I shouldn't be afraid. I should have confidence and faith that God will keep us safe. But I'm sure many people of faith have been affected by tornadoes and hurricanes and severe weather before. Does that make God less sovereign? No. Does it mean He loves me less? No.
The verse comes to mind: "Cast all your cares on the Lord, because He cares for you." In light of the storm and the frightening wind, those words seems somehow inadequate. I need a voice from the deep like Moses with the burning bush. Or a chorus of angels to my poor scared shepherd.....
Then my thoughts shift to other important questions:
What if the LG wakes up? Am I going to have to go in there and rock her back to sleep during the storm? By myself?
How will I control my fear when our kid(s) are actually old enough to grasp the palpability of it? How will I be strong for them so they won't be afraid?
Jess and Torsten are getting married on Saturday and I think their pictures are outside - what if the weather is stormy?
Then just as suddenly as it started, it stops. The wind, it temporarily dies down...and the baby awakes with a start.
But we are safe.
27 October, 2008
Here we are again - it's Bloggy Giveaway time!
It seems like everybody around the blogosphere is sick or getting sick these days, or if they're lucky, in recovery from some sort of sickness. That begs the question: why aren't you people making more chicken soup? (Okay, it maybe doesn't exactly beg the question, but maybe at least one of you was wondering.) We love to cook around here. Mr. J. is particularly gifted with savoury dishes and all things sauce-related; I would prefer to bake. Our Little Goat is, as yet, a bit small to actually help us do much, but she's learning to stir like a pro and if any food needed tossing, she'd be our girl! I can hardly wait until she is big enough to help though. I have some good memories of baking with my Mom, and my Grama helped me enter my very first country fair 14 years ago where I won a whopping $18 in premiums, plus coupons, ribbons AND a fridge magnet.
Moving on to the prizes. Let me start by saying I'm no seamstress. I've been known to hem a pair of pants now and again, but not if my Mom is around to do it for me. I had all these plans to sew the Little Goat some very cute dresses when she was littler, but you can guess how well THAT panned out and I'm sure the patterns are too small now anyway, and...I think I gave them to my Mom. Ahem. Anyway, I've been working hard on these prizes for the past week and suffered only minor injuries, which should make you proud.
This contest is open to bloggers and non-bloggers with a mailing address in Canada or the US. There are two prizes to be awarded to two separate winners. Each prize consists of two aprons: one for you and one for your little helper.
To enter the contest:
a) You MUST have an email address where I can reach you. If you have a blog, you're fine as long as your comment links back to it; otherwise, leave an email address in your comment.
b) You MUST answer the following question: How many times did I stab myself with a pin while completing this sewing project? (The two closest guesses win; if there are multiple correct answers, the LG will draw a name.) One of the two winners will receive an extra little something extra (see photo) depending how closely they guess another sewing project question to be determined.
c) Contest closes at noon on Saturday, November 1st. Only one entry per person unless your blog name is over on that list on the side - then make sure you leave two guesses!
If I have no way of contacting you or you don't answer the question, then sorry, but you're automatically disqualified.
Here are pictures of what's up for grabs with thanks to the LG for condescending to model the littlest of the aprons for you.
24 October, 2008
In the meantime, I've gotten quite behind on updating the list of blogs I follow, which you can see over there in the sidebar. Here are a few new ones I've added in the past few months. Go take a gander, okay?
ABC - Life at the Beginning of the Alphabet: Abbey, a 29 year-old mom who came back to the US from Italy just a few months ago to have their second baby, a boy! She hasn't posted in a few weeks, but hello! New baby! I'm sure she's been busy.
Definitely RA: RA and her husband JG live in PA with their little Westie, Ted. Recipes, funny stories, and just good writing.
Hibby & Hubby: This one is brand new to me too. Hibby, a gal from MN, transplanted to Los Angeles with her brand new (and Canadian!!) husband. They have a lamp that used to be John MacArthur's office!
Meg Fowler: She's Canadian, living in Vancouver, Queen of Lists, and hilarious. What more do you need to know?
Minnesota Mom: MM lives in MN with her husband and their one-year-old. MM has her own photography business and writes about all kinds of things. Her unabashed posts about politics and faith are usually my favourites. Oh, and our daughters have the same name - how cool is that?
On the Flipside: Started just a few months ago by Kellan over at On the Upside, OtF is a place for women (mostly) to share opinions and ideas on a variety of post topics. Lots of good discussion!
Stuff Growing: E.G. won my very first bloggy giveaway and it's been fun to keep up with her adventures with her husband and her Little Man. EG sometimes posts videos of the LM that our LG loves to watch over and over and.....
The Sky is Only Dark Between the Stars: Okay, what can I say? Jodie and I have bonded. She's a 29 year-old mom of three living in Louisiana. She's Cajun AND hilarious and always thinks the things we cook sound good. Plus, her poor children have never seen real snow, so simply for that reason you should go over there and show her some love.
Two other blogs I read have somewhat recently had name changes: A Ratdog's Ramblings is now Send Your Fire, and The Ones With the Baby is now Life as We Know it.
So you have lots of new reading to do this afternoon. I hope you'll check out these blogs and maybe even like them as much as I do.
22 October, 2008
The Little Goat is getting a cold. Her nose is running like crazy today and I'm sure I heard her snoring this morning. Today we're trying to learn about blowing our nose, but so far it's not working very well.
It is times like these - in sickness and in cold - that my heart turns ever more to fall foods - all things pumpkin and root vegetable and slathered in sauce (be still, my thighs). Mrs. E., my best friend's mom, is, next to my Grama and my Mom, THE BEST cook I know. This woman is gifted in the kitchen! I HATED cauliflower until I had it in Mrs. E's veggie casserole. Now I live nowhere near her, but I DO have the veggie casserole recipe and you should know that I am about to share it with you and this is a very serious matter. Guard this recipe with your life because it will be the star of many a potluck to come. I promise.
Oh, before I give you the veggie casserole recipe, I'm going to give you a few links to other recipes we've been trying lately. Last Saturday, I modified this recipe for Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake so that it only used one package of cream cheese and I could make only four servings in four little ramekins (we had company Sunday night). It turned out really well and if you don't have cardamom, don't bother making it because it won't taste at all like Chai. If you're interested in my ever-so-slightly modified recipe, let me know in the comments and maybe I'll post it later or at least email it to you.
We also tried this Easy Pork Curry last week and it was equally fall-ish and super tasty. We'd highly recommend it.
Monday afternoon I made the Watkins featured recipe: Pumpkin Butter Cupcakes, only I just used regular canned pumpkin. They're relatively dense for a cupcake but get this: I was actually OUT of regular white sugar. Mr. J. was shocked! So I had to substitute in some brown sugar, add a little extra flour, oh, and make my own baking powder because I didn't have enough of that either. I used this browned butter (they call it "caramel") icing and it is heavenly. A perfect fall combination.
Finally, we whipped up this Moroccan Braised Chicken on Monday night and aside from the fact that you should double the veggies if you make it, it was excellent. We ate it over couscous as that seems to be our grain of choice these days.
Moving on, here's the Veggie Casserole recipe:
1/4 cup butter
one small onion, finely diced
S&P to taste
1 1/2 cups milk (we almost always use fat-free or "skim")
1/3 cup shredded cheese (we used 2% sharp cheddar)
4 cups cooked veggies (such as: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
3/4 crushed buttery crackers (something like Ritz)
2 1/2 T. butter, melted
Cook veggies in a large casserole dish in the microwave, drain off some of the liquid and set aside.
Over medium heat, melt butter, add onions and cook until softened. Stir in flour, then add milk. Stir until thickened, then add s&p and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Pour cheese sauce over veggies in the casserole and stir until all the veggies are sauced. Mix the melted butter and cracker crumbs together, then spread evenly over the cheesy veg. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbly.
Oh goodness it tastes so good! Make it this week and then come back and thank me, and then I'll pass along your thanks to Mrs. E, okay? O-K!
15 October, 2008
13 October, 2008
And now I present to you a Thanksgiving Game. From the following three pictures, choose the one that does not belong.
Things I am thankful for:
If you guessed the third picture, you're right! Give yourself 10 points!
Remember when I told you several months ago that we had a family of groundhogs living under our shed? Yeah, well, they moved out and we are entirely less besotted by our new tenants. *sigh*
10 October, 2008
A week or two before Mom & Dad got here, I set out to make squash soup per Beck's post here. First, I realized that I totally didn't have enough time to use the crock pot so I was just going to make it in a pot on the stove. Then I made an even bigger realization.
Savoury ButterNUT Squash Soup
1 average-sized butterNUT squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces (this is easier than it sounds)
3 celery stalks, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 T. butter, divided
2 chicken-flavoured oxo cubes plus 4 cups water OR 4 cups chicken stock
1/4 t. rosemary
1/4 t. thyme
1/2 t. salt
pepper to taste
1 t. paprika
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (optional)
Directions: Melt 2 T of butter in a soup pot and cook celery and onions until soft. Remove from pot and set aside. Melt the second 2 T of butter and cook (and slightly brown) the squash until its soft. Add the oxo cubes and water (or chicken stock) and spices and let simmer for about 20 minutes on med-low heat (if the soup has cooked down quite a bit, go ahead and add a couple more cups of water - it won't hurt it). If you're using the cream cheese, add it now and stir until it's mostly melted. Then use an immersion blender* and puree until soup is smooth. Serve hot with crackers or biscuits or whatever you like to eat with soup.
*Or use a regular blender and puree in small batches. BE CAREFUL with hot liquids in a blender and make sure your small children aren't standing too close!
08 October, 2008
My parents left at 5:30 yesterday morning and we're very slowly getting back to our regular 'routine' (if you can call it that). I also realized a couple nights ago that I couldn't even remember what my blog looked like and I MISS YOU GUYS! I am so far behind on reading blogs I couldn't even bring myself to peak at my Google Reader list yesterday. But what can I expect? Just because we go on 'hiatus' doesn't mean all of you should too. Or wait. Maybe you should! Yes, that's right, Internets! Bend to my every whim.
I have this long list of all the things I want to blog about (Jodie, you'd be proud!), but in the absence of my parents I am now required to provide three times the amount of attention and entertainment necessary to satisfy our Little Goat. Our teething Little Goat, might I add. Yes, Friends, she has cut six (I know! SIX!) teeth in the last week, so in addition to cooking up a storm with my Mom, golfing with Dad, and playing more Skip-Bo and Phase 10 than we have in the last year, sleep has been rather elusive. Last night we had a breakthrough though and she only had one 'false alarm' in the night that I didn't even have to go in her room for. It might've helped that I drank my cup of tea much earlier in the day too.
At any rate, first on my list to tell you about is our trip to Eastport. We had one day between my parents arrival and our departure for The Ocean, so we packed up stuff for the weekend and went through all the bags of goodies my parents brought - mostly Canadian honey and snack food that we can't get here (Oh, Old Dutch, how we've missed you!). Last year when my parents visited, we went down to Bar Harbor for a weekend. It was quite warm and we all ended up with sunburns. This time, however, it was quite a bit colder, though still as beautiful.
We rented a little cabin with a perfect ocean view. We could see Canada across the bay and thanks to the LG, I almost caught a sunrise one morning. The LG slept TERRIBLY the entire weekend but we will chalk that up to the fact that it was so cold in our cabin despite the crazy (fire hazard) gas heater. A couple mornings, we even put the four burners on the stove on just to try to heat up the place.
Eastport itself doesn't have much to offer. We ate out once at a place called The Happy Crab and indeed, our own little crab could hardly stop laughing the entire time we were there. I think most of the patrons were relatively amused. At least she wasn't screaming. How can a laughing baby make people grouchy? The other thing Eastport is famous for is Raye's Mustard which is the only place in America still manufacturing stone-ground mustard. Hard to believe for such a tiny place, but we had a little tour and sampled almost every flavour they make and got lots of little 'made in Maine'-type souvenirs, including some really fabulous goat's milk soap that has eased the LG's skin irritation considerably.
We went down there on a Friday and stopped at this restaurant called Grammy's along the way (they're famous for their portion sizes) where I attempted to conquer the biggest plate of poutine I've ever seen! (I couldn't do it.) On Saturday, we took two cars over to New Brunswick. Mr. J. and I stopped at the Ganong chocolate factory and got some very tasty little fruit chews (yes, FRUIT chews - how very unlike me) and two of the most amazing truffles we've ever tasted. My parents took the LG for the afternoon and Mr. J. and I went for 'high tea' at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews (by-the-Sea). It was really nice. Not quite as fancy as when we went for tea at the Empress in Victoria, but still nice. It's always weird to us going out places without the LG. We feel a little naked and almost somehow....not as 'special' because we don't have the cutest baby in the room. But it IS a good opportunity to practice our adult-conversation skills. Haha.
The rest of the time, we spent playing games, drinking hot drinks, trying to figure out how to use a really old gas oven, and just relaxing. It was great to be away for the weekend with not much to do. And because I know that pictures are worth a thousand words and you all want to see the weekend in pictures, I won't deprive you. I love you THAT much! *grin*
See you soon!