Friday, 30 November 2012

Goodbye November

Wow, the past few days have really flown by!  For three nights in a row, I kept meaning to sit down to write and update this space, and then I'd look at the clock and it would be well past midnight and I would still have a million things to do, in addition to getting a couple of hours of sleep, so off to bed I'd go!

I can't believe that it is December tomorrow!  November was a full and busy month and I loved every minute of it!  I am so looking forward to the fun and festive month that is ahead of us!

Here's a snapshot of what the past few days have looked like for us!

Baking Day - Take 2

My friend Lori and I spent the day on Wednesday hauled up in her kitchen, for the second week in a row, doing tons of Christmas baking.  We made gingerbread men and another batch of macaroons, tinted green this time with lemony filling, so delicious!  We were machines this week, carefully executing our baking like it was our last mission on earth.

I left to pick Sydney up at school midday and promised to come back that evening after I had put her to bed, to help finish decorating our gingerbread men.  When I got to Lori's house at 8:00 that evening, she had a bottle of Shiraz and a box of pizza waiting for me and about two hundred sugar cookies that she had baked all afternoon waiting to be decorated spread out on the island in her kitchen.  We sat up until almost 1:00 in the morning chatting and drinking wine and decorating our cookies.  It was so fun!  We were both exhausted the next day but would do it again in a minute!


I got Sydney a new bottle of glue this week which has inspired a new love for collage making again!  She had such fun making a giant collage on poster paper with a bowl full of fun things to stick on!

Midweek Playdate

After school on Thursday, Sydney and I were invited over to her school buddy Addison's house for a playdate.  Addi's Mom and I get along so well, she is such a lovely lady and we often have great chats at school together, so it was really fun to get together outside of school and have a visit.  Amanda made the most amazing homemade chicken soup, salad and foccacia bread for lunch along with pizza and croissants for the girls.  Addi and Sydney had so much fun playing together too, I have the feeling they are going to be very good friends!

Christmas Gifts

I love this time of year when I get to deliver presents to everyone that I know and love and also to people who contribute to Paul's business throughout the year.  This is, of course, reciprocal and this week we received our first beautiful basket filled with lovely gourmet treats from one of Paul's colleagues.  What a lovely gift that we will surely enjoy!

Little Helper

Sydney has been loving the new cupcake apron that her friend Kaitlyn gave her for her birthday.  I love this shot of her wearing it, an exhausted little chef after helping me make dinner!

She loves to wear my oven mitts and pretend she's taking something hot out of the oven, it's very cute!

Dinner with Zach

We had the pleasure of having dinner with Zach this week at the Marine Drive Golf Club, where he has recently become a member.  The club is so beautiful, was decked out with the most amazing Christmas decorations and the food was outstanding!  Sydney was absolutely fascinated with all of the Christmas trees, kept wandering throughout the dining room checking them all out and carefully touching the ornaments.  It was such a treat to have dinner out during the week and to not have to worry about cooking or cleaning up and to see Zach!

Special Shabbat

Sydney's preschool class went on their first field trip of the year today to the Weinberg Residence, a seniors home, to share Shabbat together.  Myself, along with a few other parents, went along to help walk the kids there and we managed to leave during an absolute torrential downpour!  The kids, and us, got completely soaked and the intersection that we had to cross was completely flooded so we literally had to pick the kids up to cross the street with them so that their clothes wouldn't get soaked!  We were laughing like crazy, we will never forget their first field trip!   We had a very special Shabbat with the seniors, the kids each took turns singing songs that were special to them before we lit the candles, said the blessings and had Challah together.  The children gave out hand painted cards that they had made to the residents before we left with a message on the back wishing them 'Shabbat Shalom.'  It was very nice for the children to share their day there!  On the way out the door I overheard Sydney's friend Emilia say to her Mom: "This is the place that helps people get to heaven right?"  So, so sweet and what a beautiful way of thinking of an old age home! 

A Little Monet

I have been thinking over the past while that I would like to take a painting class of some sort.  I have never been a particularly artistic person, but I have the feeling that I have some untapped artistic potential within me and am really wanting to explore it.  So I signed up for an adult painting class tonight at the 4 Cats art studio, where Sydney takes her art classes.  It was such fun!  We got to paint a Monet inspired acrylic on canvas.  Here's how mine turned out:

I especially love the way the water lilies turned out, I did them with a putty knife so they have a three dimensional look about them!  I'm thinking I may have to frame this masterpiece and hang it in my office as my first official crack at painting!

What a nice note this art class was to wrap up the month of November. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cookies in a Jar

Sydney and I spent the afternoon assembling a fun little gift which we will be including in gift bags for some of our closest friends this holiday season.  I saw this idea for a 'Cookie in a Jar' many years ago in a magazine and had always wanted to try it.  Then this summer my friend Michelle gave me two cases of Mason jars and I knew that this was the Christmas that I was going to make it happen!

 I found two different recipes online, one for Chocolate Chip cookies and the other for M&M cookies.  Basically you just compile the dry ingredients into a jar and layer them for effect and then attach a tag around the jar with instructions for adding the wet ingredients and baking.

It is such a nice thing to have around if you ever needed something sweet in a hurry, you simply dump the jar, add a few liquid ingredients and voila, cookies!

We're hoping that our friends love them!

I am happy to say that I am now officially finished Christmas shopping for the year!  Feels so nice to have it behind me!  My office upstairs looks a little like this though:

Disaster zone!  I have literally been buying things and shoving them into this room for a month.  Now I need to sort and wrap and deliver it all.  That's the fun part!

To pat myself on the back for getting all my shopping done ahead of schedule, I got myself a little treat yesterday:

This fabulous pair of suede Tom wedge mini boots.  I absolutely love them!  They are so comfy and all the rage this season, I can't wait to wear them!!

I wrote the other day about how I had been to the Dunbar Craft Fair and got myself this beautiful new pair of earrings, only to discover that there was only one in the package when I got home.  I e-mailed the jewellery designer and she found the missing earring minutes after I left her table!  She frantically looked all over for me, but couldn't find me and was so happy when I e-mailed her!

So yesterday I drove out to her home in Richmond to pick up the earring and she tucked a very special gift in with the earring for all the trouble, this amazing pendant:

I love how it has so many beads of different shapes, sizes and materials, it is such a statement piece!   What a lovely surprise to get a bonus pendant, will look forward to having a special occasion to wear it for!

Syd and I have been having some fun in the kitchen making dinners the past couple of nights.  She, once again, made a pizza all on her own for dinner:

And tonight we made Chicken with Artichokes, it was so yummy!

Hannukah starts in a little over a week's time.  This week we picked up a couple of fun things for Hannukah, this stamping set for Sydney and some cookie cutters for us to make sugar cookies with Sydney's class next week!

Sydney's class has been doing special art classes with an art teacher every Tuesday this month.  They are making art projects based on a book who's illustrations are featured in the art gallery at school lately called "How to Make a Noodle."  They have made such fun projects, this week they made homemade strawberry jam in class and then made pretend strawberry jam in art class, such fun!

I am looking forward to spending a few evenings this week hunkered down in my office wrapping gifts, writing cards and getting parcels ready to mail out for Christmas.  It will be so nice to sit back and enjoy December without having to rush about!

Monday, 26 November 2012

A Special Playdate

This morning started off on such a nice note!  I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of the Challah french toast that my friend Andrea sent home from brunch for me yesterday, sprinkled with some fresh blueberries along with a lovely coffee made with my new espresso maker.  What a great way to start a Monday!

Sydney and I spent the afternoon at our friend Liz and Kaitlyn's house.  Liz is far and away one of the sweetest, easiest going, happiest people I know.  She always has a smile on her face and has the best sense of humour ever!  I love her!  Her sweet daughter Kaitlyn has inherited many of her Mom's wonderful qualities, they are both such a pleasure to be around!

Sydney and I decided to whip up a batch of homemade playdough to take to Kaitlyn this afternoon.  Sydney insisted that we make red, and had such a blast kneading the playdough until it was soft enough to give away!

Kaitlyn wasn't able to make it to Sydney's birthday party this year as she and her family were away on a special trip celebrating her Dad's birthday.  So today, Liz went out of her way to make a very special private birthday celebration just for Sydney.

She baked and decorated a gorgeous molten lava chocolate cake especially for Sydney and lit candles and sang Happy Birthday to Syd.  I was literally choking tears back at what a thoughtful gesture this was!  Sydney's face was priceless, I think she thought we were singing to someone else and seemed so pleased when the cake arrived in front of her to blow the candles out!

Kaitlyn also had a very special present for Sydney in perfect cupcake theme, a beautiful cupcake apron for all those days spent in the kitchen with Mommy and a Cupcake shape sorting game.  Fantastic!

After we enjoyed a slice of the most amazing cake along with our tea, we took a walk at Jericho Beach.  It was a gorgeous, crisp, sun filled day today and it felt so nice to get out and get some fresh air!

It was positively magical at the beach this afternoon.  At 4:00 it was already starting to get dark and we could see the full moon out in the hazy sky hanging over the amazing Vancouver skyline!  Breathtaking!

The girls spent a good long time feeding the bunnies carrots and celery at the new rabbit visitation area.  The bunnies are so cute, they are so tame that they will literally take food right out of your hands!  Sydney and Kaitlyn loved it!

We then walked a little further to the duck pond and the girls fed the ducks too.  It was great fun!

I came home from the playdate and said to Paul that I didn't know how I managed to be so blessed to have met so many amazing women who became Moms at the same time as I did!

What a wonderful afternoon together we had!  I feel so blessed to have so many kind and thoughtful friends in my life who love us and Sydney so much!  I was so touched by Liz's love and kindness to Sydney today!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Little Drummer

So this morning Sydney and I drove out to West Vancouver to have a brunch playdate with our friends Andrea and Aaro.  Andrea and her family used to live just down the street from us, but have recently moved to West Van, just a few doors down from where they are building their dream home.  We miss having them close by and were so excited for a visit today!

Andrea always does the most amazing things with food, and this morning was no exception.  She made pull apart cinnamon buns, challah french toast, homemade mini quiche, fruit salad, lattes and mimosas!  It was so delicious and we basked in the sun at her kitchen table while catching up and watching the kids play.

Aaro recently got a little gift, a kid's sized drum set, complete with the cymbals and everything!

Sydney absolutely loved the drum set, she immediately sat down on the little seat and started banging away with both sticks at full force like she had been in a rock band for years!

It was hillarious!  She was having so much fun making all that noise.  I told her to enjoy it while she could because there was no way, in our peace-loving household, that her Dad and I were going to get her a drum set in a million years!

It sure was funny watching her though, my little drummer girl!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Craft Fair and Dinner with Friends

Today was an amazing day!  The sun was out shining and it was mild and beautiful.  What a great way to wake up to the weekend!

This morning I decided to take a bit of time for myself and Paul and Sydney spent the morning together.  They went for a tricycle ride, played in the backyard, had snacks and played while I was out.  It was so fun for them to have some one on one time together!

While I was out, I decided to hit up the Dunbar Craft Fair.  This awesome craft fair happens but one Saturday a year at the Dunbar Community Centre and features 150 vendors selling everything from pottery and jewellery to handmade soaps and clothes.  It was so fun seeing all of the amazing things that people had made!

I managed to get another couple of things off my Christmas shopping list, which was great.  Christmas shopping is dangerous though, because I inevitably see things that I love for myself or Sydney and end up spending twice the amount I planned to!  This morning was no exception!

I got this beautiful pottery vase in the same pattern as my collection:

And a couple of new pairs of fun earrings:

Sadly, when I opened one of the packages of earrings, there was only one earring inside!  The other must have fallen out while the artist was packaging it!  I've e-mailed her to see if she happened to find it and am hoping that I can get the other so that I can enjoy this beautiful pair!

Also got this very sweet charm necklace for Sydney, just couldn't resist!

And this ladybug box, will give it to her with something special tucked inside for Hannukah!

I could have stayed all day and spent a small fortune, but decided to quit while I was ahead!  I love all of the unique and special things that I found this morning!

Late this afternoon, Paul, Sydney and I headed to our friend Mike and Sarah's house for dinner.  Sarah made the most amazing braised beef ribs served on a bed of mashed potatoes with sauteed spinach and pine nuts on the side.  It was so delicious and such great comfort food!

Emma and Sydney had such fun together!  They ate their dinner at the wee table:

Then played with toys:

Then jumped in the bath together:

And changed into matching jammies:

And gave each other hugs before we headed home to bed:

They are such wonderful friends, I love it!

It was a fun, relaxing day.  Perfect for the weekend and just what I needed!  Bring on Sunday!