Thursday, 30 June 2011

Homemade Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream....Yum!

I have a wicked sweet tooth.  If sugar is the devil then I most certainly am the devil's advocate.  Ice cream in particular is my weakness, I could easily eat a bowl a day.  Tyler is always on my case about how much sweet stuff I consume, and I really do try to curb my demon but it's hard!

Anyways, this weekend I am on my own with the kids so thought I deserved a tub of my current favorite ice cream, PC Cherry Chocolate Chip.  Instead of obliging my request, Tyler suggested that I try making my own since we have a rarely used ice cream maker sitting in our cupboard.  He went one step further and googled chocolate chip cherry stevia ice cream.  This is what he found.

So today I gave it a go.  Ok ok, I cheated a little bit.  Instead of baker's chocolate I used semi-sweet chocolate chips so there is a little bit of sugar in there.  And at the end where it calls for pouring melted chocolate into the ice cream while it's mixing, I got lazy and just added the remaining chocolate chips.  But the overall outcome?  Fantastic!

You'd never know this recipe is essentially sugar free.  It's just sweet enough to satisfy and of course has my two favorite things in an ice cream - chocolate and cherries.  I would definitely make this recipe again, and am thinking of looking for more ice cream recipes using stevia that I can make to satisfy my ice cream cravings.  Give it a try!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Happenings as of Late

Time for a catch up post.

Last Sunday for Father's Day my dad and brother came up, along with my brother's girlfriend.  Tyler made a great dinner for all of us, and the boys had fun playing with them all evening.  It was a really nice afternoon, I always enjoy it when they come for a visit. 

Not long after they had arrived, my dad took T for a walk.  They were gone for a long time and I was starting to wonder where they were.  Then I got a call from Monica from around the corner saying they ended up over there.  My dad has never been to Monica's house, and apparently T had just kinda led them there!  I was pretty amazed, considering we had only been there twice ourselves.  He kept saying "go to Bennett and Marshall's house" but of course my dad couldn't understand him and was just following along.  Sure enough that's where they ended up, and Monica was nice enough to let them play for a bit before they could finally get T out of there.  He didn't want to leave, and in the end they lent him a tricycle and a helmet so my dad could push him home.  All week long T has been talking about how he "went to Bennett and Marshall's house with Grandpa".  Too funny!

One of the highlights of last week for me was I decided to go and get all my hair chopped off.  Actually, I decided to do it right after the last time I had got it cut and wished I had chopped it all off then.  Finally got around to doing it, and while I wasn't sure if I liked it when I left it, I now love it.  Kinda even wish it was shorter (and it's possibly the shortest I've ever had it!).  I no doubt look like a mom now though!  I'm still playing around with styling it, but so far have had success making it look pretty good. 

Last Tuesday while I went to get my hair cut, Tyler's sister Rachael came up to spend some time with the boys.  They had a great time hanging out with her, even F enjoyed himself and didn't seem to miss me too much.  Rachael spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday with us.  She brought up some art stuff and got the boys into painting.  They really enjoyed it!  She is much more creative than I am and helped T complete his first masterpiece.  Actually, I think it's fantastic, but maybe that's just a proud mummy talking.  Here he is showing it off.

The rest of the week we did much of the usual stuff, Wednesday at the EYC and then on Thursday Monica and her boys came over for a fun playdate.

We just returned from another weekend staying at my dad's in Aurora.  Tyler is helping him landscape his house, so we all went down for the weekend since I wanted to go to my cousin's son's birthday in Stouffville on Saturday anyway. 

The boys and I drove up on Friday afternoon like last time, and we met with my dad for dinner at Meadowbrook Golf Club.  We had a great dinner, there was live music which both boys really seemed to enjoy.  They did well, despite not napping very long in the car.  Bedtime however was a bit of a nightmare.  Took me awhile to get them both down for the night and they both went to sleep much later than usual.  But surprisingly they both slept well considering, so I guess I can't complain.

On Saturday we were all over the place visiting family.  We went to Xavier's 6th birthday party, and it was crazy!  There were probably 30 kids there between the ages of 3-8 (with a few younger ones like F hanging around too).  We were late, so we missed making pizzas, but when we got there they were all playing and having fun.  It was complete chaos, I can't believe my cousin and his wife had that many kids there!  The boys had fun, though it was hard for them to join in since they were younger than most of the kids.  Still, it was fun to get to go to a birthday party.

After that we dropped by a family friend's house to visit them them and also my god parents.  It was really great to see them, since we don't get to see them too often anymore.  The boys had fun playing in their backyard for a little while before dinner.

My dad took us out for a lovely dinner to this fantastic restaurant down the street from his house.  Unfortunately T was a bit tired and whiny by then which made it hard to enjoy the experience, especially since it was a fancier restaurant.  But I managed to keep him happy by walking around outside for a bit while we were waiting for the food, then once the food was there he was ok to sit in his chair for dinner.  The food was absolutely fantastic!  If you are ever in Aurora, ON and are looking for a good meal, definitely check out Bijoy's Restaurant.  Hopefully one of these days Tyler and I can go out for dinner without kids, and I'd love to go back there.

Today we had lunch with my mom, then headed back home.  Tyler stayed behind to do some more work on the landscaping and will probably be home late tonight.

It was a crazy, but great weekend.  Once again I am amazed by how adaptable my children are.  Despite the rocky bedtime on Friday night, they actually did very well going with the flow all weekend.  They obviously didn't get as much sleep as they do at home, only getting to nap a bit in the car and going to bed late, but they were still happy and well behaved.  We've had a few issues with T being difficult and whiny, but I think it is more the age rather than just plain overtiredness.  He is just at that age at the moment where it is a bit hard to make him happy.  But overall he did very well, especially when we were out and about.  He is very attached to my dad, so was always wanting to be with him which is really sweet.

They are such great kids though.  They napped all the way home and we got back to Collingwood right when they would have woken up normally, so the rest of the day went on as usual.  Played in the backyard until dinner, ate then bath and bed by their regular times.  It was like they didn't miss a beat.  I know lots of other kids would have a hard time getting back on track, and I am so thankful that mine are so easy going.

I am happy to report that this trip did not bring with it feelings of wishing we can move.  I really feel like I've made great progress on that front.  It is so wonderful to go back, but it is so great to be home again too.  One thing I certainly don't miss about the GTA is the traffic and the time it takes to get anywhere.  Everything is so far apart, and you are always bound to hit construction or other hold ups along the way.  I could feel my blood boiling every time I had to deal with it and that aspect alone made me miss home so much!  Everything here is so close and there is never any traffic.  It's so much more relaxing.

One thing I was not happy to return to though was the bug situation.  I have posted previously about my strong dislike for bugs, and that in particular we have these awful boxelder bugs infesting our yard.  They are all over the area, but they seem to like our place a lot due to the large silver maple in the backyard, which they feed on the keys.  They are nuisance pests, not causing damage to plants or property and harmless to people, but they are everywhere!  And multiplying by the hundreds it seems.  Before they would just sit around, but now they are buzzing everywhere and always flying into me.  And it makes it impossible for me to hang my laundry as it gets covered in them.  When I got home it seemed like there were even more of them around.  We really need to figure out how to control them safely.  I feel like if we get desperate enough, we will actually have to remove our beautiful tree because they like it so much.  Such a shame.

And to top it off there was a big house centipede in the upstairs bathroom, ew!  If you have never seen one, google it.  Probably one of the most vile creatures I have ever seen around here.  Luckily I have not encountered many in this house, which is surprising considering they live in old houses (we used to get tons when we lived in High Park).  But I guess since we were away, this one decided to crawl up the drain.  Now my creep out factor is running high, will take me awhile to feel safe again after today's bug issues!

But other than that, it is good to be home. 

Oh, I guess another important even this past week was Tyler and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on Friday, June 24th.  Well, 'celebrated' is an overstatement.  We actually didn't see too much of each other between him working and me driving up to my dad's with him arriving late at night.  But he brought me some beautiful flowers and we had a chance to sit and talk for a bit before bed.  One of these years we'll actually be able to go for a nice anniversary dinner alone, lol.

I can't believe it's been 4yrs though, time certainly does fly.  And we have certainly kept busy!  In those 4yrs we have moved 4 times, had two children, and Tyler has worked for 2 different landscape companies.  We've had some crazy times, but it's been an amazing ride so far and I look forward to so many more years to come.

So that has been life as of late.  This week we start back up with active tots at the YMCA which I am excited about, and hopefully I will figure out some new programs for me to start too.  Next weekend is the Canada Day long weekend and we might be headed back to Aurora since Tyler has more work to do at my dad's.  We'll see.  Busy busy busy these days!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Keeping It Simple

I feel very uninspired when it comes to blog posts as of late.  It is not like life is any less busy, or less interesting.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  But whereas I used to feel motivated to just sit and write about anything and everything, now I am finding myself reaching for ideas.  We are doing more things, I should be full of thoughts.  And yet I am not.

But quite simply, life is beautiful.  The weather has been fantastic.  One of the perks to a late spring is that it is not disgustingly hot already, compared to past years where spring came early and likewise so did summer.  The temperature is just perfect, and we are loving getting out as much as possible.

Right now we are in between activities where the new session at the Y hasn't started yet, so the last few weeks have been a little more relaxed without having to rush off to active tots or swimming.  We've been enjoying taking our time getting going in the mornings, and spending more time at the park or the EYC getting to know our new friends better.  One mom I have become acquainted with has invited us to meet at Sunset Point for a playdate.  Unfortunately last week I couldn't go because I was sick, and this week she was sick, but I look forward to hopefully meeting with her next week and getting to know her and her two little girls better.

Last Sunday after I had recovered from my little bug we went to the Village at Blue Mountain for the afternoon.  We had a great time!  Tyler took T fishing in the little pond, and then they went for a paddleboat ride which he really enjoyed.  After that we went to the park there and the boys had fun playing, while I chatted with a really nice mom.  We were having such a nice time that we decided to stay in the village for dinner, and had a lovely meal at a nice restaurant there.  They boys were both so well behaved.  It was a great family afternoon.

A few days ago I took the boys for a walk through the Harbourfront Trail.  By the boat ramp there was a beautiful mute swan that we got to see up close.  I took pictures on my phone but haven't figured out how to upload them yet.  From there we followed the trail through the arboretum and back again.

The boys and I ventured to Sunset Park yesterday by ourselves.  We played for a bit and then walked around, checking out the sights.  We settled on a nice picnic table by the water to have our lunch and watched the boats and the birds.  A loon was also looking for lunch right in front of us, which was nice to watch.

And today, another outing to Sunset Park, this time with Monica and her boys.  It's hard chasing 4 active toddlers around!  We tried to sit long enough to have a snack but the boys just wanted to explore, so we ended up down by the water where they waded in barefoot and had fun tossing rocks in.

I wish Tyler could join us all the time for all these fun outings.  These are the lovely family things I look forward to, and they are even more special when we are all together.  There are so many things I want us to be able to do on the weekends, and so little time it seems.  I hope we can fit them all in.

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I look forward to my dad and brother visiting.  Hopefully it will be nice out again (I think it's supposed to be), and we can go out and do something fun in the afternoon.

(I have some pics from last Sunday's trip to Blue Mountain but have been too lazy to upload them.  I will post some when I get around to it, if I remember)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

No sick days for Moms

Being sick sucks.  Being a sick mommy really sucks.  You can't call your bosses and tell them you're too sick to come to work, and they wouldn't really care anyway.  They are merciless slave drivers, these guys are.  And forget being able to go home and get some sleep to feel better.  The CEO and COO and Tristan and Finley Inc. don't allow that either.

I can't ever remember being so sick since having kids that I couldn't do my job.  Not until this week anyway.  I caught some sort of horrible stomach bug that rendered me pretty useless for a few days and ultimately in the hospital for an afternoon to get some IV fluids.  At least the doctor figured that's probably what it was, I was thinking maybe it was food poisoning (from my own cooking to boot!).  Either way, it's been a horrible experience.

I started feeling awful on Wednesday morning.  T had actually vomited once that morning but I had given him some gravol and he has been fine ever since.  I however continued to feel crappy for the following days.  On Friday afternoon after I put the boys down for their naps, all of a sudden I started feeling really cold.  Like freezing cold.  I settled onto the couch with some blankets but I started shaking uncontrollably and my hands and feet went numb.  I think I was actually convulsing.  It was very scary, and I panicked.  I thought something was seriously wrong.  I called Tyler to come home but was still so scared that I called an ambulance as well, because I felt I needed to go to the hospital but wanted Tyler to be able to stay with the boys.

After the paramedics arrived I started feeling a little better.  Still very cold but I stopped shaking so much and the feeling started to return to my hands and feet.  I opted to go get checked out anyway.

I waited at the hospital for quite awhile (obviously not being an urgent emergency patient), but I still did not feel good.  I had a terrible headache and knew I must be dehydrated from having been so sick for days.  Eventually the doctor confirmed this, speculating that I likely caught some sort of stomach bug.  They hooked me up to an IV with some fluids and gravol, and I did feel better soon after that.  Tyler picked me up once the IV was done, the gravol had made me very groggy.

That was yesterday and today I am feeling better, though still obviously suffering the wrath of this bug.  I think it will take me a few days yet to fully recover. 

It has really sucked being this sick and having kids to take care of, and it gives me a new appreciation for ladies I know who have gone through much worse and longer illnesses and still have had to take care of their families.  I felt so guilty not being able to cook them meals or take them out to play.  They basically had to amuse themselves while I laid on the couch keeping an eye on them.  I also usually try to stay on top of housework, but I couldn't do that either and the house was messier than I would have liked.

When Tyler has gotten sick in the past, he has had the option to take days off to rest.  He also gets to go to bed at night knowing he can hopefully sleep and feel better.  I have not had these options.  The past few nights while I have been ill, both boys have been waking more often than usual (2x night, each!), and F has been waking early in the morning as well.  It has been tough, trying to recover with so little sleep.

Tyler was really helpful of course.  He couldn't take as much time off work as I would have hoped, but he tried to come home early to help with the kids and dinner, and he has been great at tidying up.  He has been trying to keep the kids out of my hair so I can rest.

Still, it's hard.  A mom's job is never really done, even when she's really sick.  Even with help, I still felt overwhelmed with my responsibilities and at times wished I could just crawl away and rest, away from it all, and leave Tyler to deal with everything.

Fingers crossed that I feel even better tomorrow, and hopefully fully recovered by Monday.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Belly(dance) Flop

You may recall I was super excited to have found a bellydancing class not far from me at a dance school called The Danceroom.  Last night was my first class and I must say I was hugely disappointed.

The teacher was horrible.  Ok, she wasn't a horrible dancer.  In fact she looked like she was probably a decent enough bellydancer.  But she was a horrible teacher. 

First off she had the music on so loud we couldn't hear a word she was saying.  Second, she was rather crude.  At one point she told us we sucked (obviously meant in joke but I didn't think it was funny).  The class was supposed to be fitness based and for beginners.  Well, she didn't teach any of the moves.  She showed a few of them, but didn't explain what they were or what they were called.  Then she just danced and expected us to follow her.  It was like all she wanted to do was show off her own dancing.

She was obviously really into herself.  She put on the music and just started dancing, but the problem was her choreographies were not repetitive.  I don't understand how a bunch of beginner bellydancers (and even an intermediate one like myself) were supposed to be able to follow her movements when they weren't consistent?  I don't think I saw her once take her eyes off her own reflection in the mirror to see what the rest of us were up to.  She kept throwing in all these little moves and singing along simply to show off.

I realize that I'm not a professional bellydancer by any means, but I have taken enough classes to know how it should be taught.  And seriously, I could have taught a better class than this lady.

Needless to say I did not enjoy the class at all, which was so disappointing for me as I was so looking forward to getting back into it.  I was originally going to buy a large package of classes, but only had enough cash for 5 and thank goodness for that because I don't think I'll be taking her class for too long!

So sadly, it looks like I still haven't found any proper bellydancing.  I'm thinking of focusing mainly on zumba now.

Which brings me to more disappointing news.  The fabulous lady who teaches my zumba classes at the Y is moving away, and this week is the last week of classes with her.  They have not found anyone to replace her yet so there will be no zumba at least for the summer until they train someone new. 

It appears the Wasaga YMCA is still offering it so I might try and drive out there once a week.

Otherwise, looks like I'm going to have to search elsewhere for zumba, or find new classes at the Y to satisfy my fitness kick.

Ho hum.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

First trip to Wasaga Beach

Believe it or not, prior to last weekend I had never been to Wasaga Beach.  Tyler likes to make fun of me for this fact, because apparently Wasaga is where all the cool teenagers to go party.  Having been a not-so-cool teenager, I was never invited to go with anyone to Wasaga, where as Tyler tells me all sorts of fun stories about him and his friends getting drunk there.  Huh, sucked to be me I guess.

Well, aside from driving through on occasion since moving here, I had never been.  On Sunday my dad suggested meeting there.  It was a nice enough day, why not? 

We told T that after his nap we were going to the beach.  Boy was he ever excited.  As soon as I got him up he said "Go to the peach?" (beach, obviously).  While we were driving, every time he caught glimpse of the water he started frantically saying "Peach is that way!  Peach peach!"

Finally we made it to the main beach and strip.  Drunk teenager party paradise?  I think so!  So it is true this is where they congregate when the weather is nice.

Now I must really being getting old, because all the skimpily dressed teenage girls and their male counterparts certainly did make me feel disgusted.  And to think, maybe if I had had the opportunity to go 10+yrs ago I might have thought it was cool!  But I didn't.  It was kinda weird.

Obviously we chose the area least frequented by normal people and families, though there were a few amid all the bare skin and bikinis. 

The actual beach however, did not disappoint for the boys who beelined straight for the water.  It was nice out, but not even that warm, yet they both wandered right in.  Luckily I did pack swimsuits for them as I anticipated this would happen.  They certainly did have fun wading through the waves and playing in the sand.

Of course once the got bored of it they realized how cold it actually was and got grumpy.  We quickly got them dressed then headed to meet my dad and Mavis for dinner.

We had a great dinner at Boston Pizza, and actually both boys were fantastic at the restaurant.  Got home just in time for bath and bedtime.

Despite our short trip to the beach we still managed to bring a ton of it back with us.  I'm still finding sand all over the place.

All in all though, Wasaga was hugely disappointing for me, likely due to it being over-run with young people who obviously thought they were way hotter and cooler than they are.  (Spoken like a true almost 30-something mom who was unpopular in high school and no longer looks as good as she did before having kids!)  We have a nice beach nearby here that is far nicer in my opinion, even though it is quite small.  I'm sure though that if we were to go back to Wasaga we would avoid that whole main strip altogether and go to one of the more quieter beaches, away from all the 'spring break'-like craziness.

So glad the boys had a good time at least!  Too bad though I didn't really catch any pictures worth sharing.  Next time I suppose!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Foiled by the heat

On Tuesday we made our second attempt to discover more of Collingwood but it was not as successful as the previous one due to the sweltering heat.  Tuesday brought with it July like weather with hot temperatures and sticky humidity.  I still thought we'd go for a wander down by the water and it would hopefully be cooler. 

We walked to go check out the Harbourfront trails.  While T doesn't seem to be bothered by really hot temperatures, it soon became apparent that F was not enjoying himself.  After about 15mins of wandering I saw that he was getting redder by the minute so decided to throw T back in the stroller and trek back home.  Ugh, it was so hot.

I did discover the Collingwood Arboretum though.  I knew there was one but didn't realize where it was and was pleasantly surprised to have stumbled upon it.  We will have to go back sometime with Tyler to get a better look at the trees and shrubs.  I managed to snap a few pictures.

And in true Canada form, two days later and it is cold again.  The sun is still shining at least, but the temperature has dropped probably at least 10 degrees since Tuesday.  I was sweating buckets and now I am freezing.  Go figure.

T is like me, he likes the heat and has no problem spending time outside in hot weather.  As soon as the sun hits him his skin turns a beautiful golden colour.  Both of us already have tan lines just from that one day, even though he was lathered up with sunscreen.

F on the other hand is like Tyler and does not like to be hot.  He gets very grumpy and sweats profusely.  Poor guy turns pink, just like daddy. 

Tuesday was a reminder of what the middle of summer is like here, so hot that you often can't spend a lot of time outside safely.  So now that it is cool and comfortable again we better make the most of it before the sticky summer weather is upon us for good and we are forced to seek refuge in air conditioned buildings.