Happy New Year! A Reflection of the Decade

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! It’s crazy to think that another decade has gone by. I think self-reflection is a very important tool and was sitting on my couch one night thinking of where I’ve been in the past ten years. It made me realize I’m getting old!

In the year 2000 I was in Grades 9/10. My best friend was Rachel and we were inseparable. We went on an Outdoor Education camp out where we had to build lean to’s. I also kicked ass in track that year.

In 2001 I was in Grade 10/11. I got my license in January and was ready to hit the road with my mom’s beloved “Saturnator”.  At this point I was still figure skating and coaching CanSkate.

In 2002 I was in Grade 11/12. I went on the Marine Biology trip where I met my future husband, Tony. Although we had instant chemistry we didn’t start dating for a couple years. I also went to Ottawa for the Encounters with Canada exchange and had a great time visiting the Parliament Buildings, going to museums and meeting new people. I quit skating in 2002 and regret it now.  I also got MY first car, which we still have. His name is Reddy – he’s a Nissan 200SX ( a very manly car with Hawaiian Flower stickers on the back windows). Reddy is now Tony’s car.

In 2003 I graduated high school and went on to my first year of University. I went on a fabulous graduation trip to Hawaii with my mom in February. I moved to the city that summer and had my first experience living with roommates ( I ended up moving out the following semester to live by myself in a basement suite). I was studying Management in University with a major in Marketing. At the time I really had no idea what that was, but it sounded cool and chic.

In 2004 I finished my first year of University in good standing! I, unlike many others, was not on Academic Probation (or AP as we fondly call it). This was also the year that Tony and I started dating. My best friend Chelsey decided it was time to hook Tony and I up for good.  We started ‘seeing each other’ in November, but don’t have an exact day we started dating so we went with November 12. I also moved into another house with some new roommates.

In 2005 Tony pretty much moved in with me and the roommates. We were still doing the student thing and enjoying getting to know each other again. I spilled a huge movie pop in Tony’s CD Deck, causing it to seize with stickiness, never shut again as well as causing the battery to occasionally drain.  I changed my mind and decided I should major in Marketing & International Management, therefore started taking spanish classes.

In 2006 I turned 21! This was also the year we Albertans were given our $400 ( AKA Ralphbucks). My mom, my brother Braeden and I all went to San Francisco to celebrate my day of birth. My mom is one of my best travelling companions. We move at the same pace – always and fast. We’re no loungers. We need to see things when we travel.  We even ditched Braeden at the hotel one day to go to China town. Tony and I decided to move into a condo by ourselves  this year and thought it would be a good time to get a puppy. We got our little puppy baby Shlubby that fall. This was also the year that Tony, Dan, Mandy ( an ex-girlfriend he hoped would become his girlfriend again…. long story) and I went to Portugal and England. Tony proposed to me in a rocky cove on the coast of Portugal on Christmas Day. We had a fantastic time travelling through Portugal in our “Wagonator” station wagon, almost driving off cliffs, spending over 150 euros at a pizza joint and learning about history.

In 2007 I spent the majority of my time planning our wedding. I was obsessed with wedding planning, still in school and working 19 hours per week. I switched my major again- this time I decided to major in Marketing and Finance. Basically wedding planning consumed my life in 2007. In May Tony and I decided it was time to buy a house. One day we found a great house that suited our needs. We moved in on June 15th.I began my time volunteering with the YWCA Board in 2007 and thus began my intense love for the non-profit sector.  I also became great friends with Shayla that year. Even though we went to High School together, we never talked before that summer.

In 2008 I turned 23. I went to Aruba with my mom a week before my wedding. My Baba passed away about a month before my wedding from a disease I work daily to fight. I married the love of my life, Tony on June 28th and we went on a two-week honeymoon to Hawaii. I switched my major again  for the final time to HR with a minor in Social Responsibility. Tony graduated from University with a B.Sc and was given a great opportunity ( and a lot of cash) to do a Masters degree. I was fortunate to get a full-time position at the Cancer Society doing a job I absolutely love.  I continued to volunteer at the YWCA, but now rather than being a director I became a VP.

In 2009 I graduated University! It took me a long time, but it was great to finally be done. Lots of people ask what I ended up with and I received a Bachelors of Management Majoring in Human Resources and Labour Relations with a minor in Social Responsibility. It was nice to be able to just work rather than having to work and go to school. I was  still at the YWCA and I’m sure I will continue to be until my term is up 4 years down the road. In February we bought a second puppy and named him Oliver. Oliver is Shlubby’s full brother and they love each other very much! In June we celebrated our first wedding anniversary by going to Waterton National Parks to do some outdoorsy type stuff. Tony started working as an interim manager for a research facility at the University in January and was hired full-time in July. He was also writing his thesis at the same time. I was so proud of him for scoring a job that he loves so much. My Dad had a heart attack in July and underwent surgery to put in a stent. In 2009 Dad managed to change his lifestyle and is now living much healthier and is looking great. In September we went to Scotland for 2 weeks and had a great time driving around in the “Silver Bullet”. We didn’t eat haggis, but did eat black pudding and tatties. In the summer I started getting an itch to go back to school and decided that 4 months after graduating I needed to go back to school for Social Work. In December I began my application to go to school part-time. December also was a great month for my brother. Braeden tried out and made the volleyball club, allowing him to play with people who share his passion and opening up doors for the future.  2009 was the first year Tony and I officially started living like grown ups with real jobs, debt ( that you have to pay back!), and forming our own little family with our two puppies.

2010 has much to hold and I can’t wait to see what will happen next for Tony and I. Many things have changed over the past decade and with the good and bad I’ve grown a lot and am truly happy with my life. Life may not always be glamorous, but I really enjoy doing my job and helping people, hanging out at home with my dogs & husband, cooking up a storm in my smallish kitchen, learning new things and travelling to new destinations.

What did you do this past decade?

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Christmas Shopping

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Or are you one of those super organized people who are already finished?

I had great plans to be done my shopping early this year and not complicate things. But, alas, I have barely even started my shopping.

I did end up purchasing 4 copies of The Story of a Lifetime by Pamela Pavuk that I was asking about a couple  months ago. But rather than paying $80.00 a book I  found them on the Chapters website for about $34.00 each with free shipping on purchased over $39.00! The only thing is the books  I bought are not leather-bound. But for half the price I don’t care!

Tony and I decided these would be great gifts for our parents to reflect and recall memories. I’m quite excited to see what they all write in their books!

I also figured that since they were going to be doing some heavy-duty writing they should have a nice pen to use. I did a bit of research into fountain pens ( because they sound sophisticated and look lovely), and found  xFountainPens.com.  They have some really nice pens at great deals and shipping is only $4.00 flat to Canada if you spend over $15.00.

I also was able to track down some coupon codes thanks to Pocket Blonde and ended up getting fountain pen and an inkwell FOR FREE!

– Get a free bottle of Chesterfield ink when you spend $35.00 or more. Add the ink of your choice to the cart and enter the use CF44 as the coupon code

– Get a FREE X750 Fountain Pen when you spend at least $50.00.  Add the X750 pen of your choice to the cart and enter DAME as the coupon code.

YAY for Coupon Codes!

Daring Bakers November Challenge – Cannoli

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The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

I’ve only been part of the Daring Bakers group for 3 challenges and I LOOOVE discovering what the challenges hold.  This month was super fun! I’ve never really thought of making cannoli before, but really enjoyed the challenge.

I used my pasta maker to roll the dough really thin and found that the dough had to be flattened to the thinnest setting in order to get the lovely blistery shell. The shells were incredibly easy to make and cooked up within about 20 seconds.

Rather than making the traditional ricotta filling I ended up making a vanilla bean cheesecake filling. They were delicious!

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Daring Cooks November Challenge – Sushi

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The November 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was brought to you by Audax of Audax Artifex and Rose of The Bite Me Kitchen. They chose sushi as the challenge.

I’ve always loved seafood, but have to admit that it took me a while to warm up to the idea of eating sushi. My first experience with sushi was when I was about 16 years old. My parents and I went to visit some family friends who lived on Vancouver Island and they decided to make some homemade sushi for dinner one night. I became violently ill and blamed the sushi for years! Like the butterscotch chips from the meringue cookies, I developed a taste aversion to sushi.

I remember sushi became wildly popular when I was in high school and everyone was going for sushi all the time, but I couldn’t stomach the idea. Finally one day when I was in University a friend of mine convinced me to go. We stuck to the safe stuff- california rolls, ebi maki etc. Again, I became ill, but loved the taste and soon craved sushi! Sushi has come to be one of my absolute favorite foods. A good plate of sashimi is about the best thing ever!

I was extremely excited for the challenge this month since I had been planning on making sushi for the longest time and it just so happened to be one of my 101 things. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to look for sushi grade fish and we went the safe way with the fully cooked seafood.

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Clockwise starting at the top:

  • Crab nigiri,
  • shrimp nigiri,
  • dragon roll- smoked salmon,cream cheese, cucumber
  • ebi maki – shrimp, avocado, cucumber, mayo, black sesame seeds
  • california maki – crab, avocado, mayo, cucumber
  • philly roll – smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber
  • spiral roll – cream cheese, shrimp, avocado, cucumber, crab
  • california roll – crab, avocado, mayo, cucumber

Tony’s not as much of a raw fish person as I am and one of his favorite rolls in the philly roll so we definitely had to recreate it!
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This was a delicious challenge and I’m so glad that I was able to take part!

Random Poll

Sometimes (basically everyday) I receive random email forwards from friends. It’s a great way to break up the day!

Here’s my answers. What’s yours? You can only use ONE word ( I cheated a bit)

1-Your cell phone? iPhone
2- Your hair? straight
3-Your mother? funny
4-Your father? workaholic
5-Your favorite food? sushi!
6-Your favorite drink? coke zero
7-Your dream last night? none
8-Your dream/goal? Live life to the fullest (I couldn’t think of just one word for that one)
9-What room are you in? office
10-Your hobby? baking
11-Your fear? failure
12-Where do you want to be in 6 years? Europe
13-Where were you last night? home
14-Something that you aren’t? patient
15-Muffin? cranberry blueberry bran
16-Wish list item? Mini Cooper
17-Where did you grow up? Alberta
18-Last thing you did? emailed
19-What are you wearing? work clothes (blech)
20-Your TV? at home
21-Your pets? two dogs
22-Friends? Good
23- Your life? Fulfilling
24-Your mood? contemplative
25-Missing someone? yeah
26-Vehicle? black beauty
27-Something you aren’t wearing? watch
28-Your favorite store? HomeSense
29-Favorite color? pink
30-When was the last time you laughed? this morning
31-Last time you cried? don’t know
32-Your best friend? husband
33-One place you go to over and over? chapters
34-One person who emails you regularly? Shayla
35-Favorite place to eat? Osho

Happy Halloween!

Dan and I set out to carve pumpkins the day before Halloween. He decided to make the Count from Sesame Street. ” 1 pumpkin, ha,ha,ha,ha…..” that guy. I suffered a knife wound a couple weeks ago and didn’t want to go there again so I opted to try an alternate method and used a drill. We also discovered cutting the bottom out and filling the pumpkin with a string of Christmas lights is the best way to light the pumpkin!

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PhotobucketThe puppies don’t pose well when I try to make them. They only generally sit for “treat”.

PhotobucketThe Count, ha,ha,ha,ha

PhotobucketDan the candy man

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We ended up getting 30 kids! A vast improvement from the 7 we had last year.  How many kids did you get? Happy Halloween!