Monday, November 29, 2010

Super Simple Sugar Cookies

Last year was the first year I really got into baking. I used to make cookies and rice crispy squares as gifts to hand out to family and friends but most of that was assisted by my mom.
So around this time last year, I had my house decorated and I was in the mood to bake. I borrowed my mom’s kitchen aid mixer (and only returned it when I got my own for Christmas (such an awesome present, thanks Mom and Dad!) and went nuts. I found this sugar cookie recipe which I have made tons since then.
The great thing about it is you don’t have to refrigerate the dough!

I also love that they’re so versatile. You can eat them plain, sprinkled with a  bit of sugar before baking, with plain icing, with icing and sprinkles or my own personal favourite, substitute peppermint extract for vanilla in the icing and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top. So delicious and festive!
I don't have a picture of mine when I baked them, but I do have a picture of an empty plate next to the boys who devoured them:

Super Simple Sugar Cookies


  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring


In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Happy baking!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Traditions

It's nearly December which means that basically the Christmas season is already in full swing around here. I thought I'd do a post on all my favourite Christmas traditions and activities. I love hearing about other people's traditions as well because sometimes it gives you new ideas on how to make the season even more special. Also because sometimes it's hard to incorporate things you loved about Christmas as a child into adulthood. I'm one of those people that always wants everything to be perfect at Christmas and that sorta stopped working for me a few years ago. Now I just try to have as much fun as possible, no matter what happens.

This is what I have coming up in the Christmas fun department:
  • Tomorrow (Sunday) is our third annual chocolate making day with my mother and sister in law. It started out with just us three and we've expanded it with my mom, sister, brother's wife and now my sister's future mother-in-law. The more the merrier when it comes to ladies and chocolate! 
  • We always go to my grandparents house a few days before Christmas. Half of the grand-kids celebrate Christmas and half of them celebrate Hanukkah so it's fun to get together.  Plus my Grandma always makes au gratin potatoes, yum! 
  • My girlfriend always throws a cookie exchange, and that's always one of my favourite things because it's girl time which everyone knows I love. We eat, share cookies, and watch a Christmas movie, which is somehow always Elf. 
  • One of my favourite things to do this time of year is Christmas dates with my husband. One year, we went up Grouse mountain and I saw REAL reindeer which was the highlight of the evening for me! We also love to go for walks and look at all the Christmas lights. I think this year we'll go to the Christmas train, I haven't been in a few years.
  • I have always made a gingerbread house as long as I can remember. Years ago, they were hilariously bad. I remember one year we actually used some kind of glue because we couldn't get the pieces to stick together. Now they make the kits so easy but it's still so fun. My husband and I like to split the house down the middle and each decorate half and see whose is better. Many of the candies get eaten in the process of course.

  • Christmas Eve is my absolute favourite day of the year because it's the most exciting. One of the best traditions I've always had is getting new PJ'S on Christmas Eve. This is way more exciting now than when I was a kid, few things are more awesome as an adult than brand new PJS. As we all moved out and got married/engaged, we started doing this tradition on our own. Leigh did an excellent job last year.

 There are many other little traditions I have and I love adding new ones each year.  To me, this season is about embracing the joy in life and appreciating the little things, like watching your favourite childhood Christmas specials and shows.
I absolutely love spending time with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and of course the lead up to Christmas. I'm looking forward to it even more because my nephew ill be turning 2 soon and I think he'll be so much fun to buy for this year! 
I will be posting more about my Christmas adventures in December! I'd love to know: What are your favourite traditions?

For now, time for some hot chocolate and a Christmas movie on TV! 


Friday, November 26, 2010


I just got home from my first American Thanksgiving, which seems to be very similar to Canadian Thanksgiving, other than the fact we listened to Christmas music and all of the Christmas decorations were up. Which was awesome. I am so glad it's the weekend!
Here are some pictures from our celebration:

That's all for now, I am so sleepy..must be the turkey!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Coca-Cola Christmas Commercials!!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends! I am actually celebrating American Thanksgiving this year with dinner with my husband's family as his mom spent a chunk of her childhood in California. I love how American Thanksgiving is so much closer to Christmas.
Anyways, I was putting the lights on the tree and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (obsession with New York continues) and a Brand New Coca-Cola Commercial came on! I love it!!

I don't generally drink Coke although it is so good even though it's so bad for you. The Coke commericals always stir up that excited little kid feeling in me and make me so excited for Christmas! The Santa they use is my absolute favourite version of Santa!
So here you go, two new Coke Commercials (the snowglobe one is my favourite!)

This one with the trucks was always my favourite growing up.

PS If you want more, there are tons on YouTube! Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Serendipity 3 Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Recipe!

This is the first year I’ve ever been working in downtown Vancouver at Christmas time. I am loving it so far, it’s so festive! When I get off the Skytrain at Royal Centre, I’m greeted by gorgeous garland hanging every few feet and a giant sparkling tree. I’ve noticed more and more decorations popping up and with the freeeezing temperatures it definitely feels like Christmas is on it’s way.

All of the city decorations make me think of New York. I haven’t been yet, but it’s one of my dreams to go there in December. When I do get there, one of the first stops I’m going to make is Serependipity 3.

I have a bit of an obsession with this place, for never having set foot in it. I remember first seeing it in the movie Serependipity, with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a fun movie to watch! Anyways, they go to Serendipity 3 in the movie.

Fast forward a few years later and the restaurants famous dessert called Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is featured on Oprah. You can buy the mix for the dessert online, a thought which hadn’t occurred to me to try doing. I was more focused on the place than the dessert.

Last year, my mom found out about Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and had me order some off Amazon. I can’t really recommend doing this, somehow the shipping costs more than the actual mix.  

I think the first time we all had it was on Christmas Eve at my parent’s house, but from that first sip I was hooked. It is freaking AMAZING!! It’s basically a powdered mix that you mix with milk and ice and it has 14 different types of chocolate in it. Now it's our special thing, if we have a special event or just a crappy day, we make it. And we drink it out of red wine glasses because we're classy like that. Actually, I drink all of my frozen drinks out of red wine glasses because they're impossible to spill. Unlike Margarita glasses, as we found out from my birthday celebration!

This is seriously one of my favourite things on the planet and naturally I’m starting to panic because I am almost out of mix. I searched it online and found it on Oprah’s website. Thank you Oprah!

Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Recipe


*                             6 pieces (1/2-ounce) chocolate , a variety of your favorites
*                             2 teaspoons store-bought hot chocolate mix  
*                             1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
*                             1 1/2 cups milk
*                             3 cups ice
*                             Whipped cream
*                             Chocolate shavings


Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Add the hot chocolate mix and sugar. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and slowly add ½ cup of milk until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a blender, place the remaining cup of milk, the room-temperature chocolate mixture and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Love Christmasy Activities!

I really don't have a lot to say today, but I'm not skipping a post when I only have a week left.
The past two days have been almost hilariously bad. Of course it's -12 when I'm getting on the Skytrain, which may not be cold for some places but it's freaking cold for Vancouver.

This morning the train takes an extra fifteen minutes to show up and when it does, it's PACKED with people. Then I finally get to work after being smushed in a Skytrain and my hair literally bursts out of it's hair elastic so I had funny hair for the rest of the day. Then there was some problem with the Skytrain on the way home and it took FOREVER to home because it kept stopping for long periods at each stop. Not huge problems in the grand scheme of things obviously but annoying! UGH!!

Anyways, this evening was fun. I went with my mother-in-law (who is just as Christmas crazy as me) to an event at Coquitlam Centre called Unwrapped. I had never been for this event before, although I'd heard about it.

Basically, the mall was closed for regular people but open to those who bought tickets, which were $10 and went to a charity called SHARE. It was actually really fun! We got there super early but there was already a line up, so we just waited inside Starbucks until the lineup had died down. We got drink and food tickets, and there were appetizer/food areas set up all outside the mall and a few wine tasting sections. Many of the stores had specials like 20,30,40 even 50% off the entire store which was awesome, I really didn't think they'd have such good sales! They had some exciting prizes they draw later so maybe I'll win something, who knows?

I think I'll definitely go next year, it really got me feeling the Christmas spirit and I got some good ideas for Christmas gifts. Although next year it would be much better go prepared with a list!

That's all I have for today, hopefully Wednesday is a little more...calm!


Monday, November 22, 2010

Just For Fun: My Dream Life

After writing a to do list on Sunday night, I don’t recommend curling up on the couch for “just a few minutes” because sometimes you wake up two hours later and you still have to do everything on your list.

Anyways, for today’s post:

My favorite thing to do when I am bored or a little down is picture winning the lottery. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people that thinks that my life would be fixed if only I could get a huge amount of money. Did you know that they’ve done studies on lottery winners and almost all of them return to their original state of happiness 5 years after receiving the money?

Money doesn’t buy happiness, that’s for sure. I know happiness for me comes from having fun and having good relationships with my husband, friends and family.
I like to think about winning the lottery because it would open up a giant world of possibilities that other wise might not ever happen. I also like to think about it because it makes me realize what I’m craving in my life or what I enjoy doing the most. I usually do this on the Skytrain or in the car with Leigh.

I decided it would be fun to post what I would do if I won the lottery, like the big jackpot lottery. Now, please note that I DO have a list of what I would buy/do for the people I love, but I’m not posting it here because then they would know, and if I ever do win the lottery it won’t be a surprise for them. So this is just what I would do for Leigh and I. Obviously I would donate a huge chunk to charities also. So after I did all that selfless stuff, I would:

  • Buy our dream house. Yes, I have it picked out and if I ever do win the lottery, I’m going there with a blank check and saying “I’d like to live here, how much do you want?” I’m not sure if the house has a pool, because I don’t have the nerve to knock on the door and ask. So I’d build one because my dream is to have a giant party house where people are always over having fun and I can be an awesome hostess and wear a cute apron while I feed people delicious food that I made myself because I had the time to.
  • I would also build a gym in my dream house with a TV because I get so damn bored doing cardio.  Then I’d hire a personal trainer to come every day and kick my ass.
  • I’d also build a library with a fireplace (obviously) and a HUGE closet with a dressing table because I’ve always wanted one of those. In my giant closet I would have a lot of sparkly clothes, because I am seriously loving sparkles right now.

  • For Leigh, I would build him a “Man Cave” in our dream house. I think every man should have a Man Cave, and technically he does have one but it doesn’t have a door which kind of defeats the purpose.  
  • I would also start a business each for Leigh and I because I think that would be the best way to escape the statistic of those who return to the same level of happiness. To have an opportunity to go to work at something you’re passionate about every day definitely would increase happiness, or at least fulfillment. I know exactly what Leigh would want to do, given the opportunity but I’m undecided as always. I do think it would be fun to have a Christmas store though. Why not?
  • I'd also buy Leigh a truck and I would drive some kind of hybrid SUV.

I know this is a little bit of a silly exercise, but it's just fun but I find it lifts my spirits and reminds me that life is full of possibilities and not all of them are a lottery win away. See, I can save for a house, get some sparkly shoes (ok, maybe not Louboutins, but still) and just work out without a personal trainer's butt kicking (sigh. so much harder) and work my way closer and closer to my dream life.

What would you do if you won the lottery?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

How To Have a Good Monday Morning

The weather this weekend was amazing. There is better weather than cold, crisp air and sunshine. I went on visiting spree today, going to see my brother and sister and their respective homes and also my in laws. I was bundled up in my new winter jacket that I'm SO glad I bought! It's so nice and warm, although the moment I'm inside a building I feel like I'm going to pass out. 

I took this photo outside of our apartment building. I wish I'd had my better camera with me, now that I figured out it's not broken. Turns out my memory card was full. Anyways, I'm obviously an airhead, but here's the crappy camera pic that doesn't do the view justice.

So now it's six o'clock on Sunday night. All I want to do is curl up on the couch but I have some very important things to do. See, I am not a morning person at all. If I don't plan carefully, my mornings are a straight up disaster. You can ask my husband if you don't believe me!
So in order to have a good Monday (yes, they are possible) I need to do the following tonight.
  • Pack my healthy lunch
  • Set out my clothes for tomorrow (this sounds lame, but I can't think straight in the morning and also I have a much better day if I feel cute)
  • Put my keys and purse all together by the front door
  • Set the coffee maker up with my travel mug ready to go 
  • Charge my phone
  • Pack a good book for the the train
  • Shower, dry and straighten my hair 
If I accomplish all these things tonight, I will have a fantastic day tomorrow. It might seem trivial, but if I don't do these things I feel chaotic and disorganized and my job now requires non-chaotic thinking. Also I find Monday just sets the tone for the week and if I have a crazy Monday I'll have a crazy week. We'll see how it goes, but I'm thinking positive.  In other news, I've started decorating for Christmas, but I'm not posting anything until I'm completely finished!

Have a great relaxing Sunday night!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snow Day Turkey Stew

Okay, so it wasn't exactly a snow day. But it was close enough for my books. It put me in a very festive mood. Last year I made these on the first snowfall of the year:

Thanks again Jeannine for the utensil that makes these!

 In the past few months, I've noticed my Saturdays seem to follow a pattern. Leigh works Saturdays and I have the option of getting up at 6:30 to take him to work so I can use the car. I have never taken him up on this. I just can't do it. I sort of like my Saturdays this way, it keeps me away from the mall. Although, not the one across the street!

This morning, I was cleaning our house to get it ready for Christmas decorations. I haven't decided if they're going up today or not. We have a little apartment and a lot of non-Christmas decorations so I need to store those away to make room for festive stuff.

I also decided to make a nice clean dinner in the slow-cooker.  I have a ridiculously easy recipe that I love. See a pattern with the recipes I post? I realized I was missing several ingredients to make it, so rather than going to the store, I decided to change the recipe to use what I had. I'll post the original recipe here because it's really good like that as well. I love this recipe because it warms you up on a cold day, it's super healthy, and very filling due to all the protein in the beans and turkey.

  Three Bean Turkey Stew  
(adapted from Oxygen Magazine)

  • 1 15oz can each red beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 28ox cans crushed, peeled Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped escarole
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 small diced jalapeno (take it from me, wear gloves, you will smell it on your hands for days afterward)
  • 3 tbsp chopped curly parsley
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pound 99% lean ground turkey 
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot, stir until mixed. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

So now for my adaptions: basically I didn't have any of the herbs or jalapenos to make this as the recipe called for. So I added basil, oregano, Italian seasoning and a dash of balsamic vinegar. This is sort of turned into an Italian Three Bean Turkey Stew, which is just right up my alley.

Here is a pic of how it turned out. I apologize for the crap quality of my own personal pictures lately, my camera is sort of on the fritz and I need to take it to get repaired, until then I have to use my Blackberry camera.


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Importance of Girlfriends - Part 2

As soon as I got my job working in downtown Vancouver, my first thought was that I would get to see my girlfriend Nicole all the time. A few weeks in, I realised how incredibly lucky I was to be able to hang out with one of my best friends every day at lunch. Of course, why wouldn't that be awesome? But it wasn't just fun at lunch, I found that when I got back to work I felt uplifted and was more energetic and had better concentration. 

I decided to do a little research on that and that's what I found all of the positive study results I mentioned in my last post. It seems to be scientifically proven that girlfriends make you healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

One study at UCLA determined that close female bonds had a calming effect on women and the 2000 women who participated in the study reported lower stress levels.  They found that when women were stressed, they felt a need to to connect with someone and/or take care of them. When they do this, it releases the super-calming hormone oxytocin. Apparently oxytocin combined with our bodies estrogen is super powerful.

This is hugely amazing, because first of all, it's not that easy to de-stress. Yoga, baths, massages are all great, but it's not that easy to take your mind off the stress when you are doing them. The other thing is that stress greatly increases the risk of many diseases and ailments. Also, it's a win-win for everyone because two friends help each other without even trying!

It's a new way of looking at it, but it makes perfect sense to me. Having close girlfriends is a natural instinct, just like finding a partner for life. I truly believe female friendships have been around since the beginning of time, I can just picture women, thousands of years ago in their caves or huts or whatever, supporting each other and helping each other with their problems. 

Some women tend to put their other relationships aside when they have a boyfriend or get married. As I said before, this is never a good idea. You need both. Plain and simple. Look at breakups for example. It's so much easier to get through one with the support of friends. Without that, it can be a long and miserable process and without your friends as a sounding board, it's much more difficult to move forward.

Personally, my girlfriends have helped me in so many ways over the years. Through hard times, good times, and so so times. They've helped me to be more organized and disciplined. Helped me learn to cook, bake and even to drive! My girlfriend Nicole actually taught me how to drive because I think my parents were a little terrified (I didn't' have the best corner-taking abilities) and did pretty much all my practice hours with me. I probably never would've gotten my license if it wasn't for her, so thanks Nicky! 
My girls have been there for me so much, that's just one little example that popped into my head.

I have heard some girls say "I don't have any girlfriends" or "I get along better with guys". If this is the case, it's one of two things. The first could be that you don't know any girls that are friend-worthy. You need to find some. They're out there. I promise, I'm not hogging them all. 

The other is that it might be you. I mean no offense, but some girls have had bad experiences in school or whatever, and just keep their distance. I was one of these girls, so I know. Guys are simpler creatures in an emotional sense and they won't talk behind your back, they'll say whatever they think to your face. In some ways that's easier, but it's just not the same. If you have had bad experiences, it's important to let them go, because they might be showing in your attitude towards potential friends. I used to have a hard shell around me until I met some awesome friends in high school who slowly broke it down.

I could write a billion things about friendship, just like I could write a billion things about love, Christmas and books. But I'll leave you with some quotes instead of people who can say things far better than I.

 What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies. -- Aristotle

Hold a true friend with both your hands. -- Nigerian Proverb
Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say. -- Anonymous

To all my precious amazing friends, best friends,  and newer friends, thank you for everything you bring to my life.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Importance of Girlfriends

Last night, I held our book club meeting at our apartment. We had eight girls, some close friends, some strangers to each other, and some of us hadn't seen each other since high school. It was so much fun even though we discussed the book for about 3 minutes! I had a feeling that would happen but that's okay.

It got me thinking how vital girlfriends are to life. Everyone has different types of friend circles. I have a lot of girlfriends, a few of them are super close never let them go type of friends. I have no doubt that we'll be friends for life. I also have my sister and two sisters in law. I'm also so lucky because my mom and my mother-in-law are also like girlfriends, the kind you can go to movies and craft fairs with.

I know not everyone has close girlfriends but they are so important to life. There are actually many studies that show that female friendship and strong female bonds will actually protect you from life's adversities. How crazy it that? Well, not that crazy if I think about how much better I feel after bonding with my girls.

It doesn't matter if it's going to a movie, coffee, or a club. It doesn't matter if it's one girlfriend of ten. It makes such a difference to my life to have these girls in my life, only a phone call/text/bbm message away. They're always there for even the silliest questions: "What the hell is cream of tartar?" "How do I get to Supreme Court?"

If you don't have close girlfriends, don't worry. You can build these friendships with time and effort and good memories. But you do have to make an effort and reach out to people. Many years ago, I felt like I didn't see my friends enough and someone said to me to stop whining and do something about it. From then on I've always planned events, girls nights, Christmas parties, movies, dinners, whatever. As long as I get to see my girls, I don't care what we're doing.

Many girls let their husbands and boyfriends stand in as a girlfriend. This bothers me. In my opinion, which is just an opinion, unless your man just LOVES shopping and chick flicks (and there are guys out there that do) it's just cruel and unusual to drag him along. You would have so much more fun at the movies or the mall with a girlfriend, and your man will have much more fun at home with pizza, beer and the hockey game. So just let him be and do your own thing!

Another thing that's so great about girlfriend time is that it gives you something to look forward to. Next to my computer monitor at work, I have a Hello Kitty calendar (I didn't purchase this, I inherited it with my office) filled with events. When I look at my calendar, it makes me smile. And not because of Hello Kitty, either. It's because my girlfriends are so amazing and every time I see them I feel light and happy.

This subject is so important to me that I have to divide this post into two parts. Seriously.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A little Christmas confession...

I’m trying really really hard to not post about Christmas. Like really hard. But I can’t stop thinking about it. Every time I try to pretend it’s not coming, I will hear Christmas music in a store or see a house with lights up, or walk past a Starbucks because there is one on every block in Vancouver.

Seeing things like this going on makes me want to race home, drag Leigh downstairs to get our decorations and cover our house with them. It is so hard to restrain myself, I just want it to be the Christmas season NOW!

So…in order to allow myself some Christmas excitement I am starting to read Christmas books.  This is my little confession…I kind of love romantic Christmas novels. They make me feel so warm and happy inside. Don’t judge.

Not those super cheesy ones that a friend and I once were doubled over in laughter at a drugstore reading the names of. You know the ones, with Fabio type guys on the cover.
No, these books fall somewhere in between the Fabio type and chick lit. If you haven’t read any, you should because they are the perfect type of read for the season.
Here are a few recommendations:

There are so many more by these authors. Except Nora Roberts, she doesn't write Christmas books for some reason other than this one, but it's one of my absolute favourites. There is seriously no better way to spend a transit commute than reading books like these. Totally makes me forget all the strange people I'm riding with. You know, there's a few on every train car. There just is.
Also, I cannot forget probably my favourite holiday book ever, even though it has nothing to do with romance/cotton candy pink fluff/or chick lit:

Sorry John Grisham, it's really not fair to put you in the same department as Nora Roberts. This such a great, simple story. I also loved the movie Christmas with the Kranks (lame name though) even though I know some people have a personal allergy to Tim Allen's Christmas movies. Still love it. I may possibly be the dorkiest person alive.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thoughts on Marriage

When I first started writing this blog, I had no intentions of posting it on Facebook. I'd seen many blogs where people wrote about their lives and relationships. I've done a little of that but no one needs to know my whole life story, besides it's rather boring. But tonight I decided to write about something a little more personal.

My husband and I got married in August. Oddly enough, it doesn't make me an expert on marriage. Being married is one of those things that you can peer into all you want, but once your there, it's just different. You start to understand that it's not just something you are after a wedding, it's something you do. A lot of somethings.

I remembered this morning on the Skytrain that I had posted the Art Of Marriage by Wilfred Peterson. I'm not sure what to call it, a poem? A list of rules? Whatever it was, it struck a chord with me at the time I posted it, which was July 2009. At this time, I had several weddings coming up but no one was married yet. This morning I re-read it and felt the same familiar chord. Here it is.

Art Of Marriage by Wilfred Peterson

A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things...
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, "I love you" at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is in giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.

My favourite line of this poem is "it's standing together to face the world." It's not "us against the world" because I don't believe the world is ever against us. It reminds me of something our wonderful Officiant said to us, right before he pronounced us husband and wife. He said a lot of things actually, but the one thing he said that I'll never forget was "You two are stronger together than you are apart."

 One thing I know now, is that marriage is an art. It's one you have to practice every day, until you develop a talent for it, and can create something without making a mess. There is so much to it. It's different for every couple, what makes their marriage click. We cannot begin to try to peer into someone else's life and understand their love and what works and what doesn't. We can only focus on our own marriage and the other person in it. What they need, what makes them happy, what their hopes and dreams are. 

Marriage will not work without effort, just like you can't get in shape without moving your body, you can't succeed at work without trying your best, and you can't create a painting without picking up a paintbrush. 

Some days I'm thinking about soup or books or shoes, but today I was thinking about this old poem I first read when I knew nothing about marriage.

To all the newlyweds (or long married, for that matter) what do you think about this poem?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Engagement Gift Basket (all of these things are awesome)

Sometimes, I'm a little ahead of the game. My sister and her fiance (YAY!) just got back this afternoon from their trip to San Francisco, and I have their gift ready and waiting for them. I'm writing this post before they come over but I can't post it until they actually open it.

I knew right away what I wanted to get them. This is their first Christmas together in their apartment and they don't have many decorations yet. I know what this is like, since Leigh and I were just starting out two years ago. Okay, technically I had decorations already, but they were pink. Those who know my husband know this would not fly in our house, no matter how many Happy Husband Cookies I bribed him with. Besides, I wanted to get our own special decorations and start our own traditions. Everything we have now has special meaning and/or was a gift from someone we love.

Anyways, Jenn told me that she and Andrei wanted purple and silver decorations (they're fun like that) so I knew exactly what to get. I got some purple balls (not many in case they wanted to mix another colour or shade in) and some silver snowflakes and icicles.
Then I got a little carried away.
I put in a tree skirt (everyone needs one, no one wants to see the stand!)
Matching stockings I decided to personalise for them. I'm a big believer in personalised stockings. It makes Christmas morning easier and turns them into special ornaments not just mini present holders.

 Because I had all these cute things for them, I decided to put them in a basket. Leigh and I got an AMAZING basket from our friends for our wedding. We came home after the honeymoon and we had like zero food in the house, and we saw this basket with brie and Camembert cheese and crackers and chocolate and all this amazing stuff. It was the best thing ever. Anyways, it gave me the idea (and the basket) to put this all together for Jenn and Andrei. So thank you, our lovely friends! :)

Then I wrapped it up all pretty.

I seriously love gift baskets. I highly recommend this idea, anyone who has moved out on their own or couples just starting out will think of you when they get their decorations out. It's always nice to remind people how you give awesome gifts. Is that bad? Oh well. It's true. :-P


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moms and Movies

I can't believe it's already Sunday night. Where does the weekend go?
Tonight was movie night with my mom. We're both so busy it's hard to get time to spend  together but we had a great time tonight. Here's a pretty pic of my mom, my sis, and I at my wedding.

We saw Morning Glory with Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton (in case you can't tell from the movie poster)

I have to say, it looked cute in previews (which is all the motivation I need to see a movie) but I really wasn't sure how good it would be. My mom and I found it hilarious and entertaining. I love Diane Keaton and have ever since watching Baby Boom when I was young. There is one scene in Morning Glory that totally reminds me of Baby Boom because in both scenes she's having a bit of a hissy fit. Harrison Ford is also really funny as a grumpy, slightly bitter ex big deal news anchor. Rachel McAdams is a quirky mess who tries to rejuvenate a morning news show on it's last legs. I'm by no means a movie critic, I tend to love all movies, even the ones that everyone else thinks are crap. If you can't get a happy ending in a movie, when can you? So if you're anything like me, check it out.
Thanks Mom for the great movie night! 


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crafts, Coats, and an Engagement

This is shaping up to be a wonderful weekend! On Friday night I got a call that my sister got engaged in San Franscisco. So exciting. Here's a cute picture of the happy couple:
Andrei and Jenn at Leigh and I's wedding. I love how Andrei is holding someone's bouquet. He's nice that way!

This morning I went to the Arch Bishop Carney craft fair which is an annual tradition with my mother in law.  It's always one of the first things to get me into the spirit. As soon as you walk in, they have Christmas music, Christmas trees, and candy cane coffee! 
They had so many wonderful talented crafters and artists there. Last year, I built up quite a bit of my Christmas collection there. This year, I was a little more restrained. My husband and I are going from a 1200 square foot basement suite to a 750 square foot apartment, so I have a feeling our decorations are going to be more than enough.

I did add one thing to my collection though. Last year, I bought one of these "words" that you can hang on your tree, and they look so beautiful I decided I will buy one a year (as long as the maker of them keeps going to the craft fair!)
Last year's word was "Believe" (one of my favourite words!)
Our tree last year (see the Believe sign)
I decided on "Wish" for this year's word. (If you'd like to check them out, I'm sure they will be at the craft fair tomorrow and I do believe they go to the one at Porier Center)

I also got some gingerbread cookies (I would show you pictures but they've already been consumed) and some gifts I can't post here because they're a secret!

After the craft fair, we went over to Art Knapps which has amazing Christmas decorations. They also apparently now have clothes? Very strange! But I ended up with a super warm and cozy winter jacket for only $65 dollars!

All in all, it has been a wonderful day and now it's time to snuggle up to my hubby and watch a movie! Have a great night, everyone!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Archie Marries...

You guys already know I'm a bit of a self proclaimed dork so I'm not ashamed to admit this little tidbit. I have loved Archie Comics since I was 12 years old. I still remember the first one I read, it was in the summertime and it had a scene of the Riverdale crew playing with beach balls on the front cover. I was hooked.

I still read them now again, especially if I go on a weekend trip. It's so comforting how everything stays the same in Riverdale no matter what. It's like a little town wrapped up in a snowglobe, it's always there when you go back to it. I also love that it's classic and sort of old fashioned. For instance, everyone who has read the comics knows that there is a long standing friendly feud over Archie between Betty and Veronica.

I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't want to date someone that couldn't make his mind up for years and years (except they don't age so maybe time doesn't matter?) over which girl he wanted to be with. I don't think a lot of girls would actually stand for that, but it works for Archie. Although sometimes I get annoyed at Archie! He's not really my favourite character for that reason, but I still love the comic as a whole.

So you can imagine my excitment (god I really am a dork) when I discovered this book:

So when I first saw this, I was like "What! He marries Veronica?!" I couldn't believe he made a decision! But then I flipped it around and on the back it's the same cover but with Betty. Go figure. I looked it up when I got home and here's the story:

In May 2009, Archie comics announced that the "Archie Story of the Century" was on it's way. Archie was going to be proposing to Veronica. In October 2009, an issue was released that began a six part story starting with the proposal and chronicling their life together. 

Apparently the folks at Archie comics were shocked when reader letters poured in, exclaiming that Archie had made a horrible mistake and married the wrong girl.

The New York times eventually revealed the truth, the storyline was a fantasy and they would now release a story where Archie ends up with Betty. I haven't read any of this storyline so I'm excited that they've been released in this handy book format!

I will have to wait until I'm finished our book club book (The Help by Kathryn Stockett) , but thankfully it's shaping up to be a fantastic read!
I hope everyone has a fantastic Friday!