My little buddy

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This Week

Well, it's been interesting to say the least.

I made multiple trips to both Wal-marts looking for the Step 2 wagon in their summer flyer. Neither store had it. And the pimply-faced, vacant-eyed teen-aged boys I spoke to were absolutely no help. All I kept getting was "Nope, none here" and "I don't think we'll be getting anymore in". This proved to be wrong. Thank goodness. As I was strolling down the aisle at Wally World this evening, waiting for my photos to be printed, I spied a stack of wagons in the center aisle. Lo and behold! It was my red Step 2 wagon that I have been hunting. They finally got it in today. Yippee! I know Lauren will love this in the middle of the summer ... when she won't have to hoof it while Liv gets to ride in the stroller.

What about Jessica you ask?

Well, she won't be here. I got a call from her father Thursday night and they have made the decision to give their two weeks notice. Now, I knew this was coming no matter what. Jess's mother is pregnant and due the beginning of June. She's been on bed rest for a while now. She called a few weeks ago to tell me that when she got the go ahead from her doctor, they were going to give notice so she could begin keeping Jess at home. I think part of the desire to keep her home is their hope to alleviate some of her newest behaviours. For the last couple of months, she has been quite whiny, crying a lot at home, crying when she gets dropped off, wanting her mommy. Unfortunately, I don't think keeping her home is going to be the solution they hoped. I don't think it's coincidental that Jess's behaviour problems grew worse as her mother's pregnancy advanced. I worry that Jess being home, having her mother's undivided attention, then suddenly having to share the attention with the newborn sibling is going to be very hard on her. Now, I know a lot of people will say that it's always hard when a new sibling arrives. But you just don't know Jess. Those who have heard me talk about her, who have met her, will totally understand why I am worried. I really wish they'd keep sending her, if only a day or two a week. At least that would be one routine, one aspect of her life that wouldn't change. Anyway, nothing I can do about it. I will make the offer to do part-time if needed, but I sincerely doubt Jess's father will go for it.

On to a different topic. No cheerier, but different. The great flood! Amazing! I think, in the grand scheme of things, this was a good thing. Yes, it was physically destructive. But still a good thing. It served as a reminder that Nature has it's own agenda. We cannot control it. We are small and ineffectual in its path. Periodically, we need that reminder.

On a totally frivolous note, I bought two more pair of flip-flops tonight. The blue pair with circles on it that I previously purchased ... well ... I got the pink pair. Also got a pink pair of Habs flip-flops too! Go Canadiens!

And on that note ... Happy National Scrapbooking Day!!!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Icccccyyyy!

Well, I was up and out bright and early this morning. Out the door at 6:30 to take pics. I wanted to get the Southside done before traffic got bad. Well, it had already started at that point! I guess people were thinking! Specially after the aweful gridlock last night. The gridlock .... I guess the city really learned a lesson there ... cuz the Police Force was out this morning directing traffic.

I started out at the train bridge and made my way down Queen St. It was quite chilly. Got to see lots of camera crews. Made my way over the foot bridge beside the library. And holy God! I think I almost froze in place. The wood planks were slippery with frost. The air was frigid (0 degrees this morning). And the wind coming off that water was icy! My ears were were bright red. Because of course, I didn't go prepared for the subzero, artic blast that nearly froze all my girly bits! Jeez! Well, I will know better next time, eh?

Anyway. I did get lots of pics. The Northside flooding is kinda scary. Specially for my friend's mother's place down on Hillcourt. Things aren't looking good there. I posted pics on my Facebook and they are public so anyone can see them.

Southside

Northside

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Great Flood

What to say about the water? I love water. It's my friend. It would be an even better friend if it made Liv and Jess stay home tomorrow and Friday. But maybe that is demanding too much from my friend. What about Lo-Lo, you ask? Well, Lo-Lo's mother already made the decision to stay home the next two days. I love Lo-Lo's mom; she rocks! But I am going to miss Lo-Lo ... she cracks me up.

Anyway, I am moving away from the purpose of this post. The flood. What does a normal person do in such a situation as this? Well, they probably prepare and hunker down. What does a scrapbooker do? She drives all over Hell's creation taking pictures, often times draggin a couple of kids with her.

Last week, I drove around taking pics while the kids slept (with supervision ... jeez! I don't just leave them alone in their playpens!). I uploaded the pics to Facebook. They are public to everyone. You can see them here.

Today, after Jess was picked up, I popped Liv and Lo-Lo into the truck and we went river watching. I took a ton of pics. Again, they are on Facebook. You can see them here.

Headed out tomorrow morning before the kids arrive, and the traffic gets too bad, to take more pics of the river. Should be interesting. And damn cold.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Not-So-Secret Addiction


That would be flip-flops. I LOVE flip-flops. All kinds. Thick, thin, high heel, no heel, spongy, hard, solid colour, crazy design, cheap or expensive. I LOVE 'em all. I am an equal opportunity flip-flop lover.
Tonight, I went to Wal-mart in my great hunt for the red Step 2 wagon in their summer flyer which neither freaking store seems to have. Since I couldn't spend my moollah on the kidlets, I bought flip-flops for me!
There were soooo many. It was very hard to choose. But that's only temporary. I will go back every week and buy more. Hehe. Tonight I went with the cheap ones so I could get more for my dollar. See the lovely price tag? They were $3.88/pair. Gotta love that!

Recipes

The key to Thai cooking is prep. You need to have all your ingredients ready to go. That means everything should be chopped and measured before you begin. It will make the cooking a lot less stressful and lot more fun.

I made a few changes to the soup. First, I added the mushrooms. You don't have to, I just wanted to bulk it up a bit. Also, I added VE Nonya Seasoning and a bit of salt to the ground pork before shaping them. It added a lot of flavour. You can use any seasoning you want ... but I wouldn't suggest the VE Thai, only because it has whole spices in it. You could always crush the spices before putting them in. I am working on coming up with my own Nonya ... I just have to work at the amounts. When I strained the garlic oil, I put it through a small piece of cheesecloth that lined a funnel. This allowed me to squeeze as much oil out while trapping the garlic. Instead of putting the cilantro and green onion in each bowl, I simply put it in the soup at the end of the cooking time. Other variations you can try are the following: adding lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp, lemongrass, or galangaal to the broth.

Pork Dumpling and Rice Soup

8 cups chicken stock(I just used NoName in the carton)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp-1/4 tsp white sugar
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 lb ground pork
3/4 cup Jasmine rice, cooked
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Garlic Oil(recipe follows)
3 tbsp green onion, chopped

In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock, fish sauce, and sugar to a simmer. Add sliced mushrooms.
Shape ground pork into balls, using a scant tsp for each.
Drop the meatballs into simmerng soup, a few at a time. Simmer 5-10 minutes.
Once the meatballs are cooked, stir in rice and simmer another 5 minutes.
Portion soup and garnish with garlic oil, chopped cilantro, and chopped green onion.

Garlic Oil
1/3 cup canola oil
8 garlic cloves, minced

Heat small saucepan.
Add oil and heat to 325 degrees.
Drop in a piece of garlic. If it sizzles, but doesn not burn, oil is ready.
Add remaining garlic and cook until it turns golden brown.
Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
Strain oil through a seive or cheesecloth into a glass container.
Reserve in fridge for up to one month.

When I made the Mee Krob, I fried the noodles as instructed. The next time I make it, I will actually make it with the soft/boiled noodles. I used pre-cooked shrimp instead of raw ... saves a step. There's supposed to be deep fried tofu in it, but I dropped it. And the green onions and bean sprouts are supposed to be garnishes, but I simply added them to the pot at the end of the cooking time to make serving easier.

Mee Krob (Crisp Fried Noodles with Sweet & Sour Sauce)

1/2 lb dried rice vermicelli noodles (approximately 1/2 the 500g pkg)
Vegetable oil for frying
1/4 lb pork loin (approx 1 large pork loin/butterfly chop) thinly sliced
1/4 lb White Pacific Shrimp, peeled
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1-1/2 - 2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp borwn sugar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 lb bean sprouts

Heat 2" of oil in a large pan to 350-375 degrees. Basically, if a small piece of noodle sizzles and puffs up when dropped in, it is ready. Deep fry a small handful of noodles at a time, turning over when it puffs up. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. Repeat until the noodles are all fried.
In a large frying pan, add 2 tbsp of hot deep frying oil on medium-high heat. Quickly stir-fry the pork slices. When just cooked, add shrimp and stir -fry for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add garlic and shallot to frying pan and cook until light brown. Add the tomato paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Cook and stir for 3-5 mins until sugar melts and begins to lightly caramelize.
Stir in lime juice, lower heat to low and half the noodles. Gently fold noodles and sauce together, being careful not to crush the noodles too much.
Add remaning noodles, bean sprouts and green onions and fold til evenly coated. Add pork and shrimp and toss to coat.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lots of Laughs and $$

Friday night, I had a few friends in for dinner. We had Thai ... Pork Dumpling and Rice Soup, Green Curry Mussels, and Mee Krob (a noodle dish). I will actually post the soup and Mee Krob recipes tomorrow. Afterwards we played boardgames ... always a good time. The laughs! OMG! We played Scattergories and it seemed I was sharing a brain with Rob most of the time. Needless to say, I didn't win the game. Ok, I just realised that could be offensive. I meant that by having the same answers, I lost points. Just to clarify. LOL.

Saturday morning, I met Mel at Avalon for a pedi. It's been awhile since I have had one .... hmmm, probably the fall? The whole Whore Red affair. Loved that colour! So, since it's spring, I decided to go with something perky, peppy, and cheerful. Let me introduce you to Strawberry Margarita. Oh, and Sunny is my breathtaking backdrop.

After that, I booted it up to Toys'R'Us cuz they were having a 1/2 price sale. They had Little Tikes Dora Coupes and Diego SUV's on sale ... reg $79.99 ... I got them for $34.97 each. Aren't they cute? But the Dora Coupe was a bitch to put together! After that spending spree, I flew over to the Northside Wal-Mart ... why? I don't know ... I could have gone to the one just around the corner from Toys'R'Us!

Anyway, I bought a new BBQ. It was a must. Our BBQ was 8 years old. It wasn't even a full year old when we had a wicked wind storm ... and the wind blew the BBQ right off the deck. After that, it was never really right. It finally bit the dust this year.

I got the Uniflame Richmond. I was torn between it and the Charleston ... the Charleston was $70 more, had a third burner in the BBQ as well as the side burner. Well, I have to be honest. I did not want the side burner. Absolutely not! It's useless. Never once did I ever use it in our old BBQ. I would much rather have the room for platters and utensils. So I went with the Richmond ... for the whopping price of $128. Nice huh? It's huge!

Incidentally, the BBQ was MUCH easier to put together than the GD toy.

We had BBQ'ed hot dogs and hamburgers for supper tonight. Ahhh ... The first of the season. Usually we don't get the Q out til May, but I had to christen my new baby.


So, what did everybody else do this weekend?