October 16, 2014

When the Baby becomes the Bride!

I'm on my way out west in a bit, I'll be touching down in my home province (after a bit of a layover in Calgary) this evening and I CANNOT WAIT!

Tomorrow one of my niece's is getting married. I've been to other weddings of nieces and nephews, cousins and their kids, and I've been excited for each of them but his particular niece... she is the oldest daughter of my youngest sister and I watched her come into this world. She has felt like my own child at times.

My sister was a teen mom. She was in a relationship with a man who took advantage of her while she was recovering from Malaria (she'd just returned from building huts in Kenya) and didn't listen or stop when she said NO...

Being her big sister, I was and am still, very protective of her. I'd do anything for her. I remember being at University, carrying around my brick cell phone (with an extra battery pack) for when she would call that she was in labour. When the day finally arrived, March 27, 1994, I drove like a bat out of hell from where I was living in Abbotsford to the hospital in White Rock. There was NO WAY I was going to miss being with her in that delivery room.

After teaching my sister to pant, "hee hee hooo - hee hee hooo" so she'd stop hyperventilating and stop kicking the doctor for hurting her... :) and almost 2.5 hours of solid pushing... Morgan twisted her way out of the birth canal, like a reverse auger, so quickly in fact that the doctor dropped her, banging her head on the table. Don't worry, she's fine. Babies bounce... 

So anyway... this baby is getting married tomorrow and I'm really, really excited. Even though it's making me feel really, really old all at the same time... I also can't wait to see my whole family under one roof. Aren't family weddings the best?! Well... they are in my family anyway. :)

OHHHHH! I'm also really, really excited to rub my little sister's baby bump! YUPPERS my 40 year old sister is expecting... SURPRISE it's gonna be a boy! I'm so thrilled for her and her new hubby (this is his first child).

Lots to be excited about this week!

Congratulations Morgan and Kevin. I can't wait to see you soon.

September 30, 2014

Where did my Paycheque GO?! Taking the 30-Day #CentsAbility Challenge

I've always been really good with money, I spent 17 years in Financial Institutions, starting when I was 18 years old. I had more than enough money and every dime was accounted for.

And now... not so much!

It's not even because I'm a mother of 4 and there are huge expenses involved with club sports, there are school fees, trip fees, and growing out of more than once size of clothing and shoes in a month's time. There are birthday parties, pre-packaged easy peasy school snacks, and needing a new snow suit almost each and every year!

In the last few years, back to when almost everything went digital... I no longer carry cash... easy debit access to my money... no more cheques to write down in a cheque book... and a sudden realization that there's more month left than there is paycheque. 

For the month of October, Manulife is hosting a Cents and Sensibility Challenge. I am taking the challenge. I am taking back my paycheque! I am going to take stock of where my money goes, stop those unplanned splurges, start planning my week properly so that when it is suddenly dinner time, I don't go to a drive-thru vs making a meal at home. I used to say, "Poor planning on my part does not constitute an emergency on yours." Now I'm the poor planner...

Every decision I make to take a short cut kills my budget.

Over the next 30 days, I'll be posting on Instagram and Twitter where I've saved, or where I'm managed not to spend frivolously. It's an easy challenge. It's a start. It's a great way for you to realize where your money is going.

I challenge YOU to join me in this 30 day #CentsAbility Challenge. Who knows, you may just start a habit that changes your life. :)

A week into the challenge, join me and @HartGalla @julienowell @pegcitylovely @commoncentsmom @mydirt @tokyoricky & @christaclips on October 8th at 9pm ET for a #CentsAbility Twitter Chat. Let's talk about how we're doing, share tips for keeping track of your money, let's encourage each other to take back the power of our paycheques.

September 23, 2014

It's PUMPKIN season!! #WhatsCooking around your Thanksgiving Table?

I love this time of the year! Autumn is probably my favourite season. It's not hot but it's not cold. The Fall gives us crisp mornings, warm afternoons and cool evenings which are perfect for sleeping with the windows open. The changing of the trees, the pumpkins, the corn mazes, the apple picking, and the family get-togethers. There's something magical about this time of the year.

We live in an amazing area where the deciduous trees go on full display; with fiery reds and golden yellows with bursts of vibrant orange. Coming from a province which is 99% green 24/7 - 365... British Columbia is beautiful but Ontario has some serious pizazz! 

Eagle Lake, Haliburton, Ontario - Thanksgiving 2004

One big day we look forward to is Thanksgiving! And nothing says Thanksgiving Dinner like Pumpkin Pie, Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream, Turkey and all the Trimmings, and a table full of family and did I mention the pumpkins??!

I have a few Thanksgiving Recipes which my family begs me to make every year. This first one... I've been making for almost 20 years.

Shash's Curried Pumpkin Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 
  • 1 cup (1 small) chopped onion 
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper 
  • 3 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT pie filling) 
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk 
Directions: MELT butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute. ADD broth and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in evaporated milk. Blend or Puree (in batches, if necessary, I use a pureeing wand so I don't have to move the soup). Blend until smooth. Serve warm. :)

Another recipe you should try this year... again... PUMPKINS! Could there be a more perfect food in the fall??!

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake by Kraft Canada

What you'll need:

  • 18 Peek Freans Ginger Crisps (1 sleeve), finely crushed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves

How you'll make it:

Mix cookie crumbs, nuts (optional) and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan.

Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1 cup plain batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.

Spoon half of the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl gently with knife.

Bake 45 mins. or until centre is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

I am part of Kraft Canada What's Cooking Ambassadorship. I receive compensation in return for bringing you some delicious recipes. Ones I make often in my home for my family.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall... #imEnough

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall... who's the fairest of them all?!"

Do you have a love-hate relationship with your mirror?!

How many of us have stood in front of our mirrors and asked a similar question? Compared our face, our body, our overall look to someone elses? Why do we tend to think others have it all together and we aren't near as impressive? Why? Why do we look at a mirror and think less of ourselves? Why do we pull back the skin around our eyes, suck in our bellies, look ourselves up and down and pick apart our "flaws"?!

Don't buy into the insecurity mainstream media is selling.  

Silence the negative chatter in your head. Find a mirror and look into your own eyes and say this with me....


Come on! That's not loud enough. DO IT AGAIN!!!


You are! You really, really are. You ARE Enough!

This video, by The Mrs., an all female band from Austin, Texas, left me in tears this morning. I think you should watch it too...