Friday, December 28, 2012

Cheesecake dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-dip-DIP!

We were invited to a friend's place for hang outs and dinner a few weeks back so I said I'd bring some dessert.  I stumbled across this 'recipe' on Pinterest (of course, thank Kee-rist for the big P) and thought I'd test it out.  I was NOT disappointed, but be forewarned that the recipe makes TONS of it so it's a great idea for a large pot luck or gathering of sorts.  You could probably get away with halving the recipe (I'll likely try that for next time). 

Here's what you're gonna need to make this heaven in a dish (well if you like cheesecake).

Two cans of Cherry pie filling (or berries, whatever, use your imagination)
1 1/2 bricks of cream cheese
1 large tub of marshmallow cream (I use two smaller tubs as I couldn't find a large tub)
2 tubs of Cool Whip

Vanilla wafers
Graham Crackers

Mix the cream cheese, marshmallow fluff stuff and cool whip with your mixer until completely blended and smooth.  Pour into a rectangle dish (or triangle or circle but make sure it's large enough to hold it all), then spread your cherry pie filling all over the top.  Take a vanilla wafer or graham cracker in you hand and scoop it through that fluffy goodness then place it in your mouth.  Enjoy.  (Since it's a dip and not a cheesecake don't expect it to firm up, OK?)

Here's a picture I thought to take only after we had already started to dig in, sorry.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This way! No that way! Wait, over here!!

So my sister in law made me this f*cking (yes it actually deserves the prefix f*cking 'cause that's how awesome it is!) spectacular Christmas present!  It's a directional sign for my yard and I wouldn't mind going to all the places she thought to include.  She knows me so well.  D'awwwww!!!!! 

Diagon Alley?  Be careful, there are some sketchy wizards lurking around.
Tardis Boarding?  Where will we end up?
How's about heading over to visit Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street?

Wanna play some Hunger Games over at District 12?  Don't die!
A trip to Castle Rock, Maine?  Be careful, nothing good ever happens in Castle Rock. 
Be careful that a house doesn't fall on you in Munchkinland!

Head on over to Hogwarts?  No worries, I'll lead the way!
How about visiting with the wizard in the Emerald City or taking a flight to Never Never Land? 

Take off for out of this world adventures to the Starfleet Academy.
Or venture off to Hobbit's Shire to see what they have in store for you. 
Or maybe a trip to the magical world of Narnia!! 

I'll likely just end up running in circles in my yard because I can't make up my mind!  So many great options.  This is seriously an amazing gift!!!!

Eric thought of incorporating it into the fence we are building this summer, but if I move, and at some point I will, I won't be able to take it with me.  That would make me a sad girl.  So I'll have to give it some thought on placement for the most optimal exposure to the masses. 

Roanisms at Christmas

So on Christmas Eve night around 11 p.m. Eric and I brought Roan's "Santa" loot downstairs and placed it out in the living room so we could get some sleep before he woke us up at the crack of dawn to open gifts. 
At some point between midnight and 1 a.m. I heard the pitter patter of little feet and thought at first it might just be the cats.  After a period of time I emerged from my bed to find an 11 year old laying in the hallway with one of the cats.  I instructed him he needed to get to bed.  After trying to convince me that there was just no point as he was too excited and couldn't sleep he conceded and headed to his room. 

At 4 a.m. I awoke to a quiet singing by said 11 year old.  So after wandering downstairs and meeting up with him in the hallway I told him (albeit through grinding teeth) to get his ass in bed as it was only 4 a.m. and no one was ready to get up yet (oh I'm so foolish). 

An hour passes and again I hear the soft singing from downstairs.  This time I was too exhausted to care so I left him to his own devices.  Not sure what he was doing. 

At 8 a.m. I awoke and went venturing through the house.  Roan was passed out cold on his bed and only silence emerged from Gage's nook.  I wandered into the living room to find that maybe there was in fact a Santy Claus as ALL of the Halo lego we had put out at 11 p.m. the eve before had been opened and completely put together.  And the most magical part of all?  The garbage and packaging were no where to be found, cleaned right up!!  Looks like my little 11 year old had a full night of building Legos. 

I actually had to go wake up Eric so he could see what Roan had been up to all night before the actual little labourer woke up.  Thanks for the early morning chuckles Roan. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Who Doesn't Love A Cupcake?

I've been struggling like no one's business to find some semblance of Christmas spirit this year.  It's been hard and I can't find a true reason why I'm feeling this way.  Roan had been bugging me for a couple weeks to put our Christmas tree up but I was really dragging my heels.  There is not much more I hate than stringing those darn Christmas lights.  But this past summer I scored a pre-lit 7' artificial tree at a garage sale for 10 bucks.  And, up until a week ago I had been under the silly notion that my $30 60" Sony flat screen was my most awesomest garage sale score of all time.  I would be remissed if I didn't mention that this pre-lit tree was now right up there tied for first.  I swear I heard the choirs singing the minute I plugged that cord in and it was all lit up!  Total preparation time until ornaments could be placed? Ten minutes.  And that included digging it out of the basement! 

Any way, back to the purpose of this post.  I decided a couple weeks ago (Sorry, I'm slow on the uptake here) since Eric was working that I'd do some crafting.  It's been a while since I've done anything in that department.  I was feeling the itch again.  This time I decided to make ornaments for the Christmas tree (well mainly just one, I'm gave the other 11 away).  So off I went to Michaels to pick up the supplies I didn't already have on hand.  And since I had a great coupon and a few straggler gift certificates in the bottom of my purse with small amounts left on them, this entire project cost me nothing!  The best kind.   So when I got home I got down to the task at hand and began making cupcakes.  Cupcake ornaments.

So here is the supply list you'd need if you wanted to replicate these.  By the way they were super easy and took me maybe 3-5 minutes for each cupcake.  I might even be exaggerating with the time.

sponge brush or paint brush
1 inch ribbon (I chose brown for chocolate cake)
hot glue gun
glue sticks (that should be obvious, but I never want to assume)
sparkles for the icing (I chose blue and pink, you can choose whatever)
Wired holly berry decorations (for cherries of course!)
Cupcake liners
Christmas ornament balls (I used clear ones from Michaels)

So first I glued two liners together so they were thicker/stiffer.  I set those aside.  Then I removed the top off ornaments and set it aside.  I then put a trail of glue around the centre of the ornament and attached the ribbon.  I made cuts around the bottom of the ribbon, applied some more glue to the bottom of the ornament and folded the ribbon around the bottom.  Then I glued the ornament using hot glue to the cupcake liner and applied pressure with my hand.

I had two plastic shallow dishes for my sparkles all ready to go.  I applied a thin coating of Mod-podge to the exposed ornament and dropped sparkles on the glued area, taking time to shake off the excess as I worked.  Be prepared, your work area will look like a fairy shit all over it.  Once it was completely covered in sparkles I reattached the hook top.

I then cut a wired holly berry (now a cherry!) to appropriate length and hot glued it to the front of the hook holder (to help camouflage it).   Et voila!  A cupcake ornament.

I ended up with four blue, four pink and four blue/pink combination.  I think they turned out pretty neat!  There it is up there on our tree.  For a brief moment that particular weekend I was into the Christmas spirit.  I'm pretty sure I was over it by Monday.   

Merry Christmas my lovelies!!!  Much love and best wishes for a wonderful holiday with those who are most important to you and an awesome new year coming your way.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Thoughts

I am saddened by many events that have happened in this world, with the most recent being the obvious shooting in Connecticut.  I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of helplessness and melancholy about them all.  I don't see anything in the near future that's going to be done to change what's happening in the world.   And I'm not sure anything can be done to ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

First and foremost my heart breaks for the parents and families of all the victims.  I know when I send Roan off to school each day that the farthest fear in my mind is that someone will shoot up his school.  I suppose it always lingers in the back of my mind about Gage, but that's to be expected right?  I mean we hear about teen aged angst all the time and unfortunately that angst sometimes leads to school shootings.  But never an elementary school.  Roan is supposed to be safe for another 2 1/2 years right???  I also know like most parents that not every day before school goes swimmingly.  Sometimes I yell at Roan and we both leave the house mad at each other because things didn't go smoothly while he was getting ready for school and I for work.  My  heart breaks for that mom who dropped her kid off at school that fateful morning frustrated and angry because he didn't do all the stuff he was supposed to do in the allotted time period.  The extra turmoil she must be feeling.... So that's kind of where I'm stuck mainly.  Focusing on my own flaws as a parent and my reactions to a little person when he strays from MY norm.    

I'm frustrated with the system.  And that's quite ironic for me to say because I don't really understand the system.  But I genuinely believe the system can't fix all this.  No matter what everyone and their brother suggests, I just don't see a government being able to repair this and stop it from ever happening again.  Or maybe I'm just so cynical about the system that I figure they won't even try. 

But my frustrations lie mainly with the media.  I have a harder time each day believing anything I read or see on the news.  I feel like the media is corrupting us all.  They sensationalize all this shitty stuff and give fucked up people something to strive to surpass-almost like the Guinness Book of World Records.    All they seem to focus on is the killer, their message and their motive.  No one ever remembers the names of the victims.  So if someone has ever felt alone in this world, invisible to everyone else what better way to become popular and well known than to do something so catastrophic that his name is front and centre in every one's minds?  It's pretty clear that if he just killed himself in the confines of his own home the media would never report that. He would have still died alone-a sad nobody who is still unknown to most.   By doing something so horrific he will be infamous for generations to come.  He will have made history books.   I'm frustrated that particularly in this situation that took place a few days ago there is no known motive or reason (yet) behind the actions of this disturbed man but the media has taken it upon themselves to educate all of us loyal readers and listeners and label him with Asperger's (a form of Autism), a nerd, a genius, a loner, and a sufferer of a personality disorder.  All things that add up to CRAZY, am I right?  So frustrating.  

And while I'm on the subject of frustrating I have seen numerous people post a list of all the victims names on the internet in the hopes of remembering at least one of them instead of just the killer's name.  Novel and admiral idea, but how come this guys mother's name isn't on that list??  She was off'd by her son but because he was her son clearly she's not a victim like the other's?  Maybe she tried desperately to stop him that morning and lost.  What's become of our society when we are held responsible for the shitty actions of our adult children?  As parents (just like the ones who lost their children this week) all we can do is hope we raise our kids to be good people.  It's our job to give them emotional support when they need it but we're not all perfect and sometimes the mentally ill have a really decent way of hiding it from those closest to them.  Why is she automatically lumped in with the evil that this man did?  Or his father and brother for that matter?  And don't tell me it's because she was the legal owner of those guns.  I don't buy it.  She didn't buy those guns with the intent for him to use them on a Grade 1 classroom full of kids.  And can I add, she LEGALLY owned them?  What is wrong with us as a society that we are so quick to condemn an uninvolved individual for someone else's actions?  You better all look closely at your children and pray to whatever entity helps you sleep soundly at night that your own children don't do something as repulsive and unforgivable.  Because you too will be shunned. 

I haven't watched much of the news or read too many articles because it saddens me enough just knowing this happened.  I don't need to listen or read all the mindless bullshit that is out there.  I don't need opinions of the reporters, or hearsay from bystanders to alter my own feelings about this situation.  What I do need to do is hug my kids more, keep the lines of communication open at all times, ask the right questions, choose my battles in the morning over cereal more carefully and hope with every fibre of my being that my children don't do something that destroys another life in any way, shape or form.   And really, I think that's the only way as whole that we can diminish these sort of events from happening.  We will never be rid of them, we'd be kidding ourselves to think we could.

Good Friends Make You Laugh When Life is Sucking

I have been known to say "I neglect the friends I already have, I don't really need anymore."  But that's not overly true.  I received a text message the other day that made me smile. I smiled because I like when something old becomes new again.  Even when it pertains to friendships.  Maybe I'm starting to rethink this whole "I have enough friends" mentality.  It's not that I have enough friends, it's that I don't have enough time to share with them.  Throughout almost 4 decades on this Earth, I really have been blessed with an abundant amount of people in my life.  I am lucky to state that I have never felt alone in this world.  I know not everyone can make that statement.'s a weird thing. 

There are those friends I can go extremely long periods of time without actually speaking with but pick up right where we left off when we see each other again.  Cliche I know, but they accept my laziness and I theirs, and understand that sometimes life just gets in the way.  They don't hold it against me nor I them.   We are reliable when it matters the most and always just a phone call or Facebook message away. 

Then there are the friends I thought would be around always, the ones I have created amazing memories and laughs with, but now they have faded to black, and frankly I'm not terribly upset about it.  Nothing major happened, they've just clearly served their purpose.  It was a different time in a different world I supposed.  At first it was a little depressing, but after time I've come to realize that I don't really miss them in the proper sense of that word.  I've come to terms with the fact that they can't be bothered to try even if infrequently, therefore neither can I. 

And then there are the friends who I broke up with for very valid reasons but have some how made their way back into my life even if in a different capacity.  Those ones that disappointed me but over time I forgave, moved on and allowed them back in.  Sure it's not quite the same as it was before, but it's nice having them back even on a part time basis. 

And of course there are friends who are really just strong acquaintances but are so much more than just a person I know that I still refer to them as friends, even if I never ever see them.   And Facebook makes me feel this way about more and more people every day.  And that's not a bad thing.  It just reiterates how blessed I am to have so many diverse people in my life in some way. 

Then there are the people I once knew back in the day and thanks to social media, like Facebook, I've sort of kept in touch with them; but then something major happens and they're hurled into my life full throttle and it's a great thing.  It's crazy to know I grew up with these people, so to speak, and now with some of them, our kids are playing together and want to hang out with each other.  Two generations of friends.   How strangely weird and awesome.  I've found a way to meld my old life with my new life and that's exciting for me.  For the longest time I was the only one of my friends with kids.  Now, that's not the case.  I love having friends who are going through similar experiences. 

And then there are my kids who I hope will one day grow up to be my friends.  (Just 'cause they're pretty rad and so am I.)   We already kind of are, but there will always be that whole 'I'm your parent so I can't be you friend too' thing lurking in the shadows.  But I can tell you this without any bias, I would want to be friends with both my kids if I was their age.  They are pretty decent human beings thus far. 

And then there is my boyfriend/partner/mate/common law hubby/whatever you call him who is most importantly my friend in all those titles.  At this point of time in my last long term relationship I was feeling caught and trying to figure out how to get out of it.  I wasn't really having much fun anymore but because there were kids involved we persevered for another 5 years.  We weren't really friends anymore.  But at the 4 year mark with Eric I'm genuinely not feeling like that at all.  I'm quite grateful that we are still friends after this much time together.  I considered him one before we started dating, and I'm glad I'm still able to consider him one now. 

"In every one's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle our inner spirit. - Albert Schwietzer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hidden Gem

Every single time (without a hint of exaggeration) that we take Dempsey over to the dog park we are questioned on what kind of breed he is.  We were told by the SPCA that they suspected a mix of Greyhound, Pit Bull and Sheppard.  And I can honestly see characteristics and traits of all three.  However there have been a few people on separate occasions who have challenged our response.  They are insistent that our sweet Dempsey is in fact an Egyptian Pharaoh Hound.  So Eric took it upon himself to do a little research into the appearance of these hounds and well I'll be dipped, we're pretty sure our buddy boy is one of these things.  Well, at least a cross of some sort. 

Upon seeing all these familiar pictures I then researched this breed of dog to see if he matches up with more than just appearances.  And man, does he!  He hits every single personality trait possible. So I'm pretty sure he's a cross with one of these expensive pups (average about 3-5 grand to buy a pure bred puppy) and I'd say we got ourselves a sweet deal with our hundred dollar shelter rescue.  Kijiji and garage sales, look out!  I even do well adopting live stock. 

Too bad we didn't know or realize what kind of dog he was before we named him otherwise we'd have named him Perry Pharaoh.  Heh-heh-heh get it?  Perry Farrell whom I adore of Jane's Addiction?  Hmm, eh, nothing eh?  Nevermind. 

Pure Bred, though he looks just like Dempsey without the brindle colouring.

Our version


Friday, December 7, 2012

Band of Horses

I don't often talk about bands or concerts because I'm not a music reviewer nor am I good at summing up my experiences with bands in an eloquent way, but every once in a while I feel like I should write something.  Because, in my opinion (which is always ever so humble) I genuinely believe that every person should be listening to Band of Horses.  Even if you're into metal or hard shit, they are still a band worth listening to (you know when you're going to bed or having a bubble bath - cause we all know you hardcore dudes love your bubble baths.)  While I'm not an expert in music, I do know what I like and love I guess.  And I love Band of Horses, I have since the very first time I heard them (thanks Chunk). 

I've had the privilege of seeing them live a couple of times now and I know with certainty that I shall see them again.  I don't think I'll ever get enough of them - live or recorded.  It's pretty rare for a band to almost bring me to tears when I listen to them live.  Ben Bridwell does that to me.  He has an amazing voice and great song writing capabilities.  I went to see them on Wednesday night with Lesley (my concert partner for the most part.) at Massey Hall in Toronto (also an amazing venue for an amazing band) and they didn't disappoint. 

Band of Horses live is a must see.  They alter the songs just enough for you to know you are not listening to a track or tape and to give you a chance to fall in love with their songs all over again.   They remain close enough to the recorded versions for you to not be second guessing what song it is or wondering why they had to butcher a great thing.  And they genuinely looked like they were having the best time with each other playing as a band on stage.  And watching their interaction between these guys made me like them as human beings even if I only caught a mere glimpse into their relationship.  They seem like guys I'd love to hang out and have beers with.    They came across as decent, fun people, with mad talent and appeared to be real friends. 

This video is a version of the song that almost brought me to tears a couple nights ago (this isn't from the actual show I was at, but it's preformed the same way we saw it).  I immediately think of my children when I hear this song.  And acoustic is my poison.

And here's a version of their encore, which was equally as amazing as the 2 hour show.  Thank you Band of Horses for an awesome evening and more important, in my opinion, incredible music (despite what Eric thinks).  You have yet to truly disappoint me. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Who Ya Gonna Call?

This past Saturday night I (and one of my co-workers) had the opportunity to participate in a Ghost Hunt inside the four walls of the place I work everyday (minus two days because this is Canada and we have rights) - the funeral home. 

It's been said for years that our building is haunted and if you believe in that sort of thing it kind of makes sense.  I mean, the original building was erected in the 1870's, so there is some history there.  Over time there have been many claimed sightings throughout the building.  A friend of mine is a member of the Paranormal Society of Niagara so we were able to work out a mutually convenient time for their squad of ghost busters to take a very detailed tour of the funeral home with the hopes of uncovering something interesting. 

There is no way I'm going to do the instruments, equipment and tools they used, any justice in my explanation, but they basically try to prove that ghosts exist using science and scientific evidence.  They measured the EMF(?)...EFI(?)... oh man, I feel like it was the name of that pathetic group from the 90's or something like that.  Anywho's, they took base readings of that acronym in each room before the hunt started.  They had some Doppler thingamajig (I'm just making that up, I have no idea what it was) that picked up words in the atmosphere (don't ask me how it worked or challenge me on it, because I have no clue) which was pretty cool, in my opinion.  They had another instrument that measured vibrations or touch.  They took pictures.  And then they had some thing like a static box and they used it as an avenue for the ghosts to talk to us.  It was pretty random at times but I'm not gonna lie something came out of that box that definitely made me sit up straight and pay attention.  There was a couple other things throughout the night that made me go "Hmmmm.", but I'm hoping there are more things we didn't see or hear that also happened.  They have told us it will take about 40 hours for them to go through all the film/footage and tapes of our little jaunt through the funeral home and they'll let us know either way if there is anything strange and out of the ordinary on the recordings.  I'm really hoping there are voices on there that we couldn't hear with our own ears.  How exciting would that be???  I'm trying not to put too much stock in it with the hopes that I'll be pleasantly surprised when they're finished. 
I so badly want to believe in spirits and ghosts and hope if they are proven to be real then the opportunity exists that I might get another chance to have a conversation of sorts with my dad.  I know, I know I'm starting to sound like a freak, but a girl can hang on to some shred of hope right?  So I'll keep you posted on the findings, good or bad.   It's been a strange couple of days there since we did it.  Who knows, maybe we've stirred things up a bit.