Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Petit fours vs. Amuse Bouche

Sooooooo sore!!! I must have slept weird two nights ago because yesterday my neck and shoulders were so sore that I could barely lift my arms to get dressed in the morning. I iced it, rubbed it, iced it again and rubbed it some more and it almost felt good by the time I went to sleep last night - and then it got worse over night. Ah well...
So I unfortunately have to inform you that I will not be preparing petit fours, chilled melon soup and a fruity amuse bouche for ma mere's tea party. Evidently she is concerned about the stress levels I'll be hitting around that time (yah, I didn't realize that all of my event weekends are back to back) and she's also worried about it being too fancy and making her friends uncomfortable. So. I get to pick one fancy thing. Which should I do?? I was really wanting to make petit fours but we're already having scones and cupcakes so if I'm not making a bunch of other things then that's alot of cakiness. For the amuse bouche I still hadn't settled on what I was going to make but something with lychee nuts and a pistachio infused cream was going through my head. The chilled melon soup would still be fun, especially with papaya seeds and vanilla yogurt on top, but is that too out of place with scones, cupcakes and fresh fruits? Most of my work for this tea party I can't do until the week of or even the day of so I'm trying to get as much figured out in advance so that I can make sure things flow smoothly. My centerpiece is pending on whether or not I can find that moss (which my kind cousin informed me Michael's usually carries!) because if I can get it then the centerpiece will be my "Egg Platter" but otherwise it will just be a rose bowl. That's pretty much it for decor... we're using my mom's china and silverware and probably her tablecloths even. I've got the music picked out (I have the Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack! Surprised?) and the invitations have been sent already. I figure the food is the only real thing left to deal with. Maybe I'll print up place cards and menus and stuff. That sounds fun.
You know what flower I love? And I use the term "flower" quite loosely. I love Bells of Ireland. They are just gorgeous. They look fantastic in arrangements and they are so dainty. I tried growing them in my garden last year but they barely came up before winter, so I'm trying again this year and I'm starting them inside so they have a better chance of coming up. I actually pick what I grow in my garden by what I want to use as cuttings in arrangments. The idea behind that being that I can make my own bouquets and be happy all the time! Or something like that...
Today is laundry day. Or rather, Uber laundry day. It's amazing how much laundry you can accumulate between three people and a dog. So it's all getting washed today and folded whenever I have the time (and two free hands). Speaking of which, I just heard the dryer buzz (for the third time this morning) so ta ta and have a loverly Wednesday.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Productivity! (with a side of moss)

Man, I'm good! And modest! Clearly! But seriously, I got a load of stuff done today! I picked up a bunch of Silent Auction items, got a few more donated and talked to A LOT more companies about donating! Newest item on the silent auction block: Christmas Shopping Excursion! 3 nights' accommodations at the Banff Gate Mountain Resort in Canmore and perhaps a meal or two thrown in there from some hot Canmore restaurants! I'm barking up the tree of season tickets to a local sports team, still looking for a jeweller (but I may have found one... I'll find out on Wednesday) and now I'm looking up dance lessons. On a more personal note of ah ha! I got Cash's license and reset my telephone banking password! Yay! Poor Gabe put up with everything wonderfully. He's sleeping now. Matt and I got to have lunch today too which was really nice and never happens. I was at the mall running errands when he called me and I invited him to meet me there! We had Taco Time :)
I'm tired, but I'm so happy with all that I got done. There are a few more things I wish I had been able to do - one of which was find moss. Yep, moss. You remember my cute, totally useless egg that I bought from HomeSense a few weeks ago? Well, I want to display it on a silver platter, on a bed of moss, with daffodils around it! But I have no idea where to get the moss. The tray and daffodils are easy. But fortunately I have a week left to find it before Easter.
Well, that was my short break, now I've got to go be productive again and make dinner so that we can get to Auxano on time! Yay!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Amuse Bouche

Well I just can't seem to get enough responsibilities in my life. Or so you'd think judging by how quick I am to take on new projects. On top of my Haiti event and my mom's tea party, I'm now planning a baby dedication for Gabriel! His first birthday is at the end of April and we'd been trying to plan a dedication for him since October but we just couldn't find a date that would work for everyone. Well, we figured we'd try to get one going again instead of a birthday party for him. Besides, it's got all the same features as a birthday party... there will be cake, grandparents, great-grandparents and presents... and a pastor. But he's cool :) The biggest issue with the baby dedication is that it will be held at our house. The reason that's an issue is that right now our house is renovation central. So we have a little over a month to finish up the renos we have started and tidy up all evidence of it.
Today I'm trying to figure out a fruit Amuse Bouche for my mom's tea party. I have these adorable amuse bouche spoons that I got for Christmas but I haven't had the chance to use them so I'm going to do some fun stuff with them at the party. Oh yah, and I'm planning to make chilled soup shots and proscuitto wrapped apples too. Although, I always sear my proscuitto - it's so much better that way!
I'm also going to run alot of errands today. Mostly for my Haiti event. I need to sell some tables and to find a few more Silent Auction donors. It's funny, it isn't even lunch yet and I've already accomplished a load of stuff and yet there's so much more I need to get done today.
Well, I'd best get started on my big to do list. I hope Gabe's up for the ride!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kettle Corn

So, as the name suggests, this post will involve kettle corn. More specifically - my attempt to make it. I've been wanting to make it for years and just this Christmas I got a popcorn kettle so I had the opportunity finally. However, I never found the time to try making it. I told Matt this morning that I wanted to make it finally but then we ended up spending the evening with my parents. Well, it turns out that they have a kettle too! I figured to be safe that I ought to look up a recipe of sorts online (when will I learn?) A few weeks back I had seen a "Glutton for Punishment" episode featuring corn. In the episode he had tried to make popcorn in his hotel room using a heating pad, or something to that effect, and at that point he mentioned that the best time to add seasoning was right after you heard the first pop. Well, bearing that in mind I skipped right over the first recipe I found which recommended that you add the sugar with the oil and the kernels right at the beginning. I then found a Rachel Ray one, of which I was skeptical, but then I saw that it suggested that you wait to add the sugar until you heard the oil sizzle - which I figured was close enough to "the first pop" to be right. Well, it wasn't. There were two things wrong with that recipe. The first was that they told you to use 1/4 c of oil for 1/2 c of kernels. Waaaaaaaaay too much. I also realized that adding the sugar when you heard the sizzle was much too soon. The sugar caramalized, held all of the popcorn together and overcooked the popcorn to boot. It actually keeps it from getting really good and fluffy too. I was discouraged but figured I'd try a second batch. I used less oil. Probably a tablespoon. I also decided to wait until the first pop this time and my mom suggested waiting until the second pop. Well, she was more right than I was. The sugar still had enough time to caramalize. The right time is probably closer to the first cluster of pops. I wasn't up to three batches of popcorn. We'll try again another day. Just so you know, the measurements I used were:
1 tbsp oil
1/2 c kernels
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt

The salt is crucial. Otherwise it's just sugary popcorn. It's the salty-sweetness that really sells it!
Well, I think I'm spent for words tonight (my mommy and I got to talk over some good cards games)

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Saturday, March 27, 2010


What a productive day! It felt great waking up this morning and feeling like I'd slept in for hours and it was only 8:30! Plus, the blinds in our bedroom were cracked open (a rare occurrence) and so the sunlight was already in our room. It made me feel so much more ready to get up than when the room is dark. Matt had been up for some time reading and he still hadn't eaten anything so I offered to go on a Timmy's run. Here we had a bit of a hiccup in my really good day... Roll Up The Rim is on so obviously the Timmys are all swamped. I hit the drive thru since I hate standing in line when it's just going to take longer. Well, the actual drive thru lane was full so myself and three other cars were stopped across the parking lot intersection waiting for the line to move so we could pull in. I'd been waiting for almost 10 minutes at this point already. Well, some lady in a white ford SUV decided that we must be just stopped for no good reason and she drove right past us and pulled into the drive thru. Now, the line had just moved to make enough space for another car so I was already pulling through the intersection - so she not only cut me off and budded in line, but she also ran a stop sign and almost hit me. It was one of those times when I wished I were more in the habit of honking. I yelled "What the heck!" at her from inside my car which she couldn't have heard, and I lifted my arms up in a clear sign of disbelief and anger, which she chose to not see and by the time I had done that I felt it was too late to honk. If I weren't worried about holding up the drive thru line I would've got out of my car, walked up to her window and explained how courteous, polite people do things. I just could not believe her arrogance. Anyway, I got my coffee eventually (oh and she held up the line too by not paying attention... there were two full car lengths of space in front of her and it was her turn at the intercom and she was too busy looking at herself in her mirror and then when it was her turn to pay, instead of having her money ready and pulling up to the window she didn't move forward, she started sorting papers in her backseat, then she realized the person in front of her had driven away and then she finally pulled up and fumbled through her purse for her money.) and when I got home we chilled for a bit before getting started on our to do list. First I went outside and picked up bottles and milk jugs. Matt and I foolishly taught Cash to enjoy playing with pop bottles when he was really small which was totally adorable at the time! And which we totally regret now! We had been keeping all of our empties in garbage bags in the yard and Cash ripped all the bags open and probably every two days through the winter he would go and pull out another bottle or jug or can. We didn't notice how bad it was until the snow had melted. It was bad. Anyway, I picked up two garbage bags worth and then tag teamed Matt. I got Gabe settled and then I went out to pick up dog poop. If the bottles were bad, the poop was horrible. Matt said there was about 7 lbs of dog crap in our yard. Great, eh? While I was poop-scooping, Matt decided to burn some of the branches in our yard. However, we didn't count on how much smoke would come from a pile of wet, coniferous branches that had been "encouraged" with a little accelerant. Well, it was a lot. We were seriously worried people a few blocks over would call the fire department. It was a pillar of smoke. It cleared up fairly soon however and then our yard had the gorgeous smell of campfire! Well, eventually I got around to digging up my flower beds (or what wasn't still frozen at least) and went inside and cleaned up until a lady came to try on my wedding dress! I'd been trying to sell it on Kijiji for quite some time and I actually had alot of emails about it, but that was it. No one had come to check it out yet. Finally someone did, and she loved it, and she's bringing the money on Wednesday! And it's going to be enough money to pay for our joint anniversary present as well as dinner at The Trough in Canmore! Yay!
In the afternoon we went over to visit our friends and their two week old baby boy. He was just adorable! I can't believe how small he is! It's funny thinking that Gabe is huge in comparison to him. I knew Gabe had grown alot but it was interesting seeing the growth side by side. Well, the babe slept for the entire time and woke up just as we were leaving but I still got to hold him a bit and we got to visit with the parents whom we love and are some of our dearest friends.
After that we went on to my parents' house for dinner. I got to play some crib (and I lost horribly) and then we finally made it home.
While I was writing about Barnyard Stix yesterday I googled their company to make sure I was getting their website right and to my surprise I saw a kijiji ad up for the store. It had just been posted within the last couple hours. $60000 plus inventory. Well I totally wanted to buy it! However, Matt brought me back down to earth on that score. We love our hometown and aren't planning to move anytime soon, and we're not the type of people who could let someone else call the shots on our business (at least, not at the beginning). Ah well, maybe next time it goes up for sale!
Well it's super late and I'm super tired. And Matt's telling me to turn off the light!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crazy busy

Yay! This week is almost over! It was busy and even worse because I wasn't feeling great, but it doesn't matter now because it's the weekend! Althought, our weekend will be busy too. And next week will be busy too. Actually, for the next month I'm going to be busy! I've got meetings for our Haiti Gala, I've got things to organize for that, I've got to rebook my optometrist appointment, make appointments for all of Gabe's one year checkups... What's going to be really busy is the two week stretch from April 14th - April 28th. My dad's birthday, last Haiti meeting, last minute prep for that, then the Haiti event, then we're supposed to be in Calgary the next day for my niece's birthday, then we're supposed to be back in Red Deer the day after that for volunteering with the infant care in our church, then the next weekend is my mom's birthday tea party so I'll be doing loads of baking and planning for that, the Friday we'll set it up, it's on the Saturday, the Monday is our anniversary and the Tuesday is Gabe's first birthday! Man! Good thing I've got a week's vacation with my family the next month!
When Matt and I found out that our baby was due one day after our first anniversary we kinda figured we weren't doing anything extravagant for that first year. And then he came right on time and we first breathed a sigh of relief that he wasn't born on the same day as our anniversary, and then we realized it wasn't going to make much of a difference. Having a huge anniversary celebration probably isn't ever going to work for us since Gabe's birthday is so close. But we're okay with that :) What we did last year was we went out for dinner at a nice place in town - actually it was the first restaurant we had gone to for a date! And then we got some sparkling grape juice and drank it from our Anniversary Champagne Flutes (yep, we only drink from them once a year!). And then I went into labour, during which I threw up all of the escargot and crabs legs I had just eaten, and we had Gabe 7 hours later! But then when we went on vacation to Canmore with my family we took a night for just the two of us and went out for dinner at the nicest place in town - The Trough. It was fantastic! We swore we'd go back every chance we got. Well, this year we'll probably not do anything the night of our anniversary since we have Auxano. Maybe we'll drop Gabe off early with the sitter and then we'll go to... I dunno, Applebees. Fancy eh? But in June when we go to Canmore with my family, we're definately dressing up and going to The Trough again. Last time we went I had the rabbit flatbread pizza with the oven-roasted tomato and truffle sauce and Matt had the duck noodle bowl. This time... I dunno! Maybe the game hen? But I know for sure what wine we're having! That's where we first had the Beni di Batasiolo Mascato D'Asti Bosc that we love so much. Oh, and The Trough was the first restaurant I'd ever been to that served an Amuse Bouche. It was steak tartar that night with an Asian flare. And for our anniversary gift this year we're still up in the air about it. Our general rule is that we can buy eachother small things but our big present will be a joint one that we have to agree on. We both want our painting framed but we also both want a new coffee table for our house from Barn Yard Stix ( We've bought something from there every time we've been in Canmore since we got married! It's fantastic stuff! Definately conversation pieces.
Anyway, I'd best go set the baby down (he just fell asleep in my lap) and go get ready for dinner with Matt's Oma tonight! Yay!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Cake - part deux

Okay, okay, I know... 2 posts in one day only really happens on days when I'm either really, super on the ball, or really, super not and it's usually the latter... As it is again today. Sure, I did my grocery shopping, picked up flowers, arranged them and then baked my cake, but I still haven't done the dishes from that, I haven't done a single load of laundry and you should see my hair. But, my cake smelled so amazing I had to tell you about it! First off, grating the beets and carrots made my hands a variety of colors. Lemon juice helps get beet juice off and apparently so does Bath and Body Works Kitchen Lemon soap. I actually really like that stuff. So now my hands are a bit better, but still. When you are cooking beets you can soak them in cold water as soon as you take them off the heat (almost a blanching effect) and then peel them while keeping your hands under water and it keeps the dye from setting into your skin - but cakes like this use raw veggies and I couldn't very well grate a beet under water (I thought of trying though). Oh yah, and I tried to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks by hand. I admire Laura Calder so much for her hand beating egg whites and whipping cream. The cream isn't bad. Really, I do that now every time instead of bringing out my hand mixer. The egg whites are bad. My arm felt nearly dead and the whites were only frothy. So I brought out my hand mixer and within 20 seconds on half speed they were at stiff peaks. I love my hand mixer :) Well, I baked the cake and then I made the Boiled Coconut Topping and it is amazing! My whole house smells like it! I think I need to sample some before I take it over to my parents' tonight!
Man, you guys should hear the birds in my backyard! I love how much they sing! Matt and I used to live in a newer part of town and we hated it! There were no birds other than seagulls because the dump was close, we hardly knew any of our neighbours and almost all of them were partyers since there were so many rental places around us! Now we know all of our neighbours, there aren't even any rental places on our block and we have beautiful song birds in our yard! Matt and I really are old at heart. We drink tea, play crib, love to garden and need to live in a neighbourhood older than we are.
I got this month's FamilyCircle magazine while I was out grocery shopping today. They had a section about how to fix up thrift store finds into some trendy things for your home. The problem was, most of the stuff I liked better before they painted. For example, they took old brass candle holders and painted them white with yellow and green dots and swirls. Now there's nothing wrong with white candle holders with yellow and green dots, it's just that they were so much prettier when they were brass! Then they took a beautiful wood table with turned, spiralled legs and painted that white with orange blue and yellow paisley patterns on it. Again, I much preferred the original. They did do two things right in my eyes however. The first one was a lamp. It definately looked old, but when they painted the raised flowers on it, it looked great. The second thing they did right was fantastic. The found an oval frame and an owl shaped wall plaque - you know, one of those green owls with white eyes. I've seen those things all over in various forms. With this one, they painted both of them pure white and hung the owl inside the frame on a dark colored wall. It's fantastic! Really, I want to go find an owl now!
Oh, guess what else I bought while I was out shopping! You'll never guess... Turkey backs! Yep! They were dirt cheap! ... I can't imagine why... Anyway, I'm going to use them for soup. I think $2 was all it cost me for enough bones to make a good stock and enough meat to fill the soup! Whole chickens haven't been on sale for a while so I haven't had a chance to roast those lately and I usually use the carcass from those to make the stock and I pick off whatever remaining meat there is for the soup too. Actually, one whole chicken makes three meals for us. I usually use the breasts for a nice meal, either straight up chicken or my coconut rice chicken bowl, then I use the dark meat for chicken pot pie and then I make soup! Not bad for a $5 bird eh? Well, $5 when they go on sale.
Hey, I found my last baby fish! I had 11 in the hatchery and one kept escaping from me every time I tried to catch it. After a while I stopped seeing it in the tank so I just assumed that it had been eaten. Well, a couple days ago I was looking in the tank and I saw a baby! Only one though, which was weird. So I finally caught this one and put him in the hatchery and I realized he was the same size as all the other ones so he must be a couple weeks old, just like them! I was so happy! And we even had one really small baby that didn't have the strength to swim for the first two days and we were going to just take it out of the hatchery but it's doing fine now! Apparently by one week you can sex the guppies and something about their fins will indicate whether they are male or female. But really, how do you expect me to see enough difference in their fins when they're still only less than a centimeter long.
Well, I'd better get my baby ready to go out tonight! And so ends the second post of the day!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Help For Haiti

Okay, time for a shameless plug. I'm part of a volunteer team putting on a fundraiser gala to benefit Haiti. It's been estimated that on top of initial charitable donations and aide, Haiti will still need an additional $11 billion dollars to rebuild their country. The Help For Haiti Gala is hoping to become an annual event to help raise money for the Red Cross efforts in Haiti.
I'm involved in this project kind of by fluke. I'm starting my event planning business, Meticulous Event Planning, and I was advertising free event help on Kijiji. I was really looking to just do some market research; to see what people wanted help with most and stuff like that. Well, in January I got an email telling me about this event and asking if I knew any musicians in town. I put the girl in touch with a friend who knows basically everyone who has ever played an instrument in town and that was that. Well, to my surprise the same girl emailed me a month later asking if I was still offering free help. It turns out that they had an event planner but she didn't work out (she recommended setting up trade show booths in the dining room and handing out goodie bags). Since the girl who had the original idea to put it on had never planned anything like this she asked if I'd come on board! Well, we just had our second meeting last night and things are really coming together. Three live music acts, a DJ, 5 course baron of beef meal, champagne receptions... My job is basically to make sure we don't forget any details and to plan the silent auction. So far we have had donated golf lessons, art that's currently on display in the museum, a few hotels in town are donating a night in their jacuzzi suites, wine baskets, tee times and cart rentals at golf courses... that sort of thing. Now, I want this event to go over really well. I know people in Haiti. I know people who have been doing aide work in Haiti. So I'm hitting up a couple of really big donations that I hope will come through. I can't actually say anything about them yet, but once I seal the deal I'll fill you in. Oh yah, and we're having a door prize: a floral bouquet, a limo ride, a chef's dinner for 2 and wine pairings from The RedStone, a spa package and one night's stay in the Jacuzzi Suite at the Holiday Inn on 67th. Nice door prize, eh? ;) So our donation goal is $25,000 for the evening, but we'd love to find out that was a modest number! Tickets can be purchased at the Black Knight Ticket Center which you can find a link for at our event website:
Okay, now on to less important things.
OOH you know how I mentioned a surprise a few posts ago but I couldn't mention what it was or who it was for? Well now I can. It was for Matt and it was a very belated birthday present. You see, Matt's birthday present was money to spend on bike gear. He wanted some new leathers or a new helmet so I allotted some of our money for him to spend on that. Well it turns out that he is now planning on selling both of his sport bikes so he doesn't need the new gear. He'll still have his old Honda cruiser that he restored, however that one's not for riding. It's finally at the point where it's appreciating so that's just for showing. Anyway, Matt is a big John Calvin fan and he heard something about Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion and decided he'd like to read it. He even went so far as to ask me to look it up for him online to see if it would be easy to find and how much of his birthday money he'd have to spend on it. Well, I got it for him :) The very next day I ordered it online (good ol' and it came in the mail yesterday while he was still at home! I know it may not sound like a very fun surprise, it being a massive 7 volume collection and all (I only got him the first 2 volumes) but he's really excited to read it and I was really excited to surprise him.
Tonight we're going to have dinner with my parents who just got home from Maui a couple days ago. My mom actually had her 50th birthday while they were gone actually and she didn't get a real birthday cake - so I'm making her one today! My dad had recommended I make a carrot cake since, like me, my mother is allergic to chocolate however, unlike me, she does try to avoid it. Well, I'm going one step further and making a Beet Carrot Cake with a Boiled Coconut Icing. A lady in my parents' church named Ella used to make this all the time and I adored it. It is a fantastic cake and the icing - well, it's not really an icing, it's more of a lattice of crisp, sticky coconut - it's all amazing. I've had the recipe for some time. When I got married I spent an evening at my parents' house writing out the best of my mom's old recipes so that I could make them in our home and I wrote this one out but I've never had the opportunity to make it - partly from the lack of occassion and partly from the lack of beets. Well, now I've got the occassion and if you'll remember I did pick up beets from the Farmer's Market in Edmonton so now I've got those too. I still have to go to the store since I need walnuts for it and unless it's Christmas time I never keep nuts in the house, but that's okay. If I were making my normal carrot cake I'd have to go to the store for cream cheese anyway. And probably more carrots since I only need 1 cup of carrot for this recipe and 3 cups for my normal one. Since Ella wouldn't mind if I shared this recipe, here it is!

Beet Carrot Cake:
1 c. oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp hot water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 c. grated beets
1 c. grated carrots
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. walnuts
3 egg whites (beaten stiff)

Beat first five ingredients until light. Add sifted dry ingredients and nuts. Fold in the egg whites. Bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Boiled Coconut Topping:
1/3 c. margarine
1 3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk or cream
1/2 c. nuts
3/4 c. medium coconut

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and heat until combined. Put on baked cake and brown in a 450 degree oven until golden.

Well, I'd best get going since I just remembered I have a couple other stops to make today. I wanted to get my mom some hawaiian flowers for our little dinner tonight! May all your storms be weathered, and all that's good get better.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Once again, I feel compelled to write about more than just baking, tea and Jane Austen novels. The subject: Ann Coulter
Most of you have probably heard this name pop up in the news over the last couple of days. She's a political commentator from the States who is a big time right-winger. Oh, and she's a biggot. While giving a lecture at a university she said that all Muslims should be banned from taking airplanes because they can't be trusted and that if they want to go anywhere that they should take their flying carpets. One Muslim girl said that she didn't have a flying carpet and Coulter said "Well, then take a camel." Today she's in the news because her gig at the University of Ottawa got canceled due to huge student protests and even, apparently, some threats to her safety. Her response was "I go to the best schools, Harvard, the Ivy League and those kids are too intellectually proud to threaten speakers." Oh ya, and after 9-11 she suggested that the States invade every Muslim country and force every Muslim to convert to Christianity.
Now, what do I have to say about this? That is not the way my God works and that is not the way Christianity works. This lady is a pig.
Romans 12:18 says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacably with all." Telling them to take a camel doesn't fit under here. Hating all Muslims doesn't fit either.
God does not command us to go into the world and hold guns to peoples' heads until they convert to Christianity - His word tells us to "walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself us for us." (Ephesians 5:2) Christianity is about choice, not about coercion. There's an old hymn "they'll know we are Christians by our love" but apparently some people think they can get away with calling themselves a Christian, loving Christians, and hating everyone else. The bible tells us to hate the world - not the people in it. We are to hate sin - not the sinners.
Now, I in no way condone the threats of violence that allegedly took place. That's not cool. But as a Christian I can not support this woman's lies and evil tongue. I may not believe what Muslims believe but I by no means think that we should wipe them off the face of the Earth. The Crusades are over. And guess what. I think the Crusades were wrong too. I don't believe God called us into a holy war. I believe over-zealous leaders called us into it.
As a Christian I get the "narrow-minded" brand all the time. But what is narrow-minded? I believe narrow-minded is that that Coulter lady is. Actually, her mind is fully closed. I believe she's even closed it out to God at this point. But, if narrow-minded means that I have a set of beliefs on which I stand which the world can not make me change by any 'logic' or science - then yes, I am narrow minded. The world tries to tell us that if you believe something it's rude to consider it as the true way and the right way to live. Well, if I didn't believe it to be true and the only right way to live, why on earth would I believe in it in the first place? Having a belief excludes other beliefs. Do I believe there is one true, living God? Yes. So automatically that excludes the possibility of me believing in Allah and Buddah and Paganism. Eric Ludy makes a fantastic point in his book called The Bravehearted Gospel. He says, "We should always remember - and never forget - that those who will commit to nothing, who stand for nothing, and who risk for nothing, in the end, rarely accomplish anything." Too often our world is open-minded to the point of a stalemate within themselves. Why can nothing get done in politics? Usually because the head of the party feels the need to remain open-minded enough to please the public so they don't go gung-ho for any one idea. Politics nowadays is all about babysteps. (As an aside, bravo President Obama on pushing through and passing the Health Reform Bill. I'm a fan of that action)
Now picture this: a world where everyone could make up their minds without the fear of offending people, a world that still had manners and people still understood that they would need to think before they spoke lest they harmed someone, and a world that sincerely wanted to get along. Sounds nice eh? Now, not everyone would agree on the same points, but at least we'd get somewhere I think. And as for the manners and the thinking and the getting along - all part of the Christian faith, not just some sappy stuff that I whipped out of Jane Austen novels. And really, that's the stuff that real societies are built on.
Well, that's my rant du jour. That lady just makes my blood boil. She's speaking in Calgary today - I wish she wouldn't. I wish she'd suddenly get the intense desire to become a hermit. She thinks banning muslims from planes would help the world? I think banning her from planes would help more.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tea eh?

Well yesterday was excruciatingly long. I ended up not feeling well enough to go to our bible study thing and I stayed home with Cash and Gabe - only they weren't making it a very restful time for me and I probably would've been better off going out. Ah well.
So now it's today and I'm glad it's today because I just want this week over. It started out looking like a super busy week but due to health (or lack thereof) I've had to cancel a bunch of things so now it's just regular busy. But still, I'll be glad when it's over and it's next week. Next week will be better.
When Matt and I were at the Farmer's Market in Edmonton I picked up some Licorice Spice tea and much to my surprise there was no tea in it but instead there were anise seeds and chopped up licorice root. And that's when it hit me - I can make my own teas! So apparently this summer I shall plant lemon grass and try growing tea and a whole bunch of other herbs so I can make my own blends! I see Christmas present potential!! Fortunately Matt and I drink alot of tea so we will be able to do a lot of taste testing. I'm pumped to make a really good chai tea because then I can control the amount of black pepper in it. I really like Chai for the most part but too much black pepper is not favorable. Oregon Chai makes the best liquid chai in my opinion and I always order chai drinks from cafes when I find out that they use Oregon. It's a sweeter chai than most. The only issue with my making teas is the pressure will be on for me to make an Earl Grey blend since that's Matt's absolute favorite tea. The reason that's an issue is that the key flavor in Earl Grey teas comes from the bargamot orange fruit. More specifically, it comes from oils extracted from the skin of this fruit. Now, the fruit is native to Asia, farmed in Italy and I can imagine it will be pretty hard to find in Canada. But, I will try.
Did you hear about the Olympic sale on Ebay? Apparently the Canadian Olympic group is putting everything from the Olympics up for sale on Ebay. What's everything? Well, the hockey puck from the Men's gold medal game, the fabric starting gates for ski events, the canoes from the closing ceremonies... I bet there's gonna be the giant floating moose too. I'm going to check it out just for the fun of it but I doubt there'd be anything I'd want to get (except maybe the moose... and maybe William Shatner if they were selling him. You know, I'd bring him out for parties and stuff... I think he'd be a big hit)
So I haven't mentioned this yet and I'm not sure why... for the past week - maybe a bit more even - a bird keeps flying into our window. Not dead-on at full speed, but he'll actually perch on our window sill and then flutter repeatedly at the window and do that 10 - 12 times before flying away. He does this a couple times a day. I tried describing it to Matt the first day I heard it and then that evening it did it again. At first I thought it was a bat from the fluttering noise but then I could clearly hear him sing and then a couple days later I opened the blinds to see what was going on and there was a cute little Junco sitting on my window sill. That didn't help either - me standing there with the blinds open. He still flew at the window. It's almost as if he really really wants in. There's also been another bird that will tap at our front window while he sits on our icicle christmas lights and it's probably the same one. Crazy bird.
Anyway, I'd best go and save Gabe from his playpen. Evidently, he's done in there.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sounds like a day for roast beef...

Today was my sick day. This is it, I only get one per season. Henceforth, whenever I feel poorly, I will simply have to plow through my duties and just suck it up. Today has just been a yucky day overall. It snowed today. I was really tired this morning. Gabe isn't feeling 100%. I was supposed to go to my optometrist this morning but I called and canceled because neither Gabe nor I were feeling up to leaving the house. I light of the suckiness and blah-ness of the day, I have declared it a roast beef day. I almost put off making the roast that I had pulled out of the freezer last night, but then I thought about how good it would smell and I got excited for it. And now that it's been in the oven for about an hour, I'm so glad I did throw it in. It smells fantastic! Add some beets and some gravy and some mashed potatoes and I think it's going to be a really nice dinner all things considered. Typically I would have made yorkshire puddings too, but we'll just be glad that I made dinner at all.
Our biggest guppy in the tank is just about ready to burst she's so pregnant. She'll probably end up having 20 - 30 babies so we won't bother containing them all since our hatchery is already full - but I wish we could :)
Hopefully I'm feeling well enough to get up bright and early tomorrow because I want to make Matt some crepes for breakfast! We have a fridge full of fruit that we need to use up and I've never actually made crepes so I'm excited for my first time. And I know Matt will be excited for crepes! Gabe will get to try canteloupe and Cash will just be happy that we're all up to play with him.
So my whole house smells like dutch licorice. The candy, the licorice tea, the dutch licorice flavoured blocks that you mix into hot milk... As soon as you open our door the smell hits you (except for right now, thanks to the roast) It's actually a really nice smell, just not the normal smell of our house.
This week the normal smell might actually be baking. I'm hoping to make a birthday dake for my mom and dessert for dinner on Friday with Matt's Oma. Also, I plan to perfect the art of making bagel that taste really good (I've made bagels before but the recipe I used was mediocre) and I want to make some kettle corn! Matt and I got some from the Farmer's Market in Edmonton that was fantastic and since I have a popcorn kettle I figured I'd give it a try. However, for now I suppose I'd best stick to making dinner. I'd better go peel potatoes!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Awesome weekend!

Wow! Fantastic weekend! And it's still only Saturday night! Matt and I just got home from an overnight stay in Edmonton. We went to visit Matt's sister and her husband and got to stay at their gorgeous home while we there! This morning they took us around town to show us how to live in Edmonton. We started with the Edmonton Indoor Farmer's Market. It was great! I love Farmer's Markets and this one was awesome. Matt and I ended up getting some sourdough bagels, beets, tea and a gigantic bag of kettle corn. Seriously, it was huge. Then they took us to a dutch store called Ben's Meats. They had a load of stuff that is really hard to find! And, it was all really well priced. Usually specialty shops are more expensive than chain stores but that was not the case with this one. Matt and I loaded up on dutch candy and some smoked pigs ears for Cash. We then went for lunch at West Ed and after we ate we took Gabe down to see the Flamingos... only they aren't there anymore! Now there are lemurs! They were cute and Gabe loved watching them. We were headed home and decided we needed one more thing - bubble tea! So they took us to a place called Dream Tea House which was awesome. After stopping off at home again for a bit we headed out for dinner and went to a place called the New Asian Village for some Indian food. I was a little bit worried about whether or not I would like it since I'm not a huge curry fan, but I was excited for the experience. I'd never eaten in an Indian restaurant before. Well we weren't able to get one of their cool rooms without a reservation but they were able to seat us right away. They have a $20 buffet that almost all of us decided to go for except Matt who decided to get Goat Balti (yep, goat). I tried about half of everything in the buffet, which still was a load and piled my plate up for sure. I had the saffron rice, some curry lamb, butter chicken, naan bread, chili chicken, tandoori chicken and a bunch of other things I can't remember. It was all good. I won't say it was all really good because there's just some things I don't like - like cilantro. But if you enjoy the flavours, the food was fantastic. Our waiter was awesome too. He saw that all of us had gone with the buffet except Matt and came back to tell us that the dish Matt ordered actually takes 30 minutes to cook so he told Matt that he could help himself to the buffet and that he'd pretend it wasn't happening :) And then, 10 minutes later he brought Matt's food and told us that he'd asked the chef to cook it in the tandoori (aka stupidly hot) oven so that it would cook much faster. I then had some of their masala tea, rice pudding and mango custard. The mango custard was better than I thought it would be since I don't really like mango, but the rice pudding was awesome. It was super creamy and was done with a short grain rice so that it looked like cottage cheese but it was cold so that kinda threw me off. It had more flavor than conventional rice pudding though. It had pistachios and almonds in it and had a distinct chai flavour to it. I really liked it. Well, we came home with only one mishap on the way (we stopped at a gas station and as I opened up the door to get out, Cash jumped out of the back seat and ran into the parking lot. Typically we don't have much luck getting him to come back near the car and after some running towards moving vehicles he got so scared of all the noises and cars that he came back to Matt even though he knew he'd have to go back in the car) and unfortunately found that our gerbil had died. But it's not really sad since it was almost 5 years old. Seriously. They usually live 3 years.
Well, it was an awesome weekend and we still have tomorrow to go! I'm going to go eat bagels and drink tea now!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Finally Friday

Well today hasn't run quite the way that I thought it would. For one, I didn't get out of bed until after 8. Not horrible, but I wanted to get an early start on things. Ah well. Since we're headed out of town tonight and taken both Gabe and Cash with us there's a whole lot of packing and organizing to do. It's amazing how much you need to simply stay over one night.
Choir practice last night was fun as usually. We were almost late again on account of second helpings at dinner :) I did up our pork roast in apple cider, white wine and rosemary and it was really, really yummy! I didn't even brown the meat before I roasted it, but I did take off the foil covering it and turned up the heat for the last 20 minutes. It got all nice and crispy on the outside!
I'm so excited for this weekend, if for no other reason than to get out of our house and relax a bit. I could feel my energy waning more and more as the week went on. It is hard to get a good night's sleep if your baby doesn't want to go to sleep himself, and unfortunately that's been happening more often than not lately.
You know what I hate? Surprises. Not really, but I hate planning to surprise someone with something and then being so excited about it that you want to talk about it but unfortunately you can't because that would ruin the surprise. Gah. And now that I just made your curiousity spike I'm going to change subjects again :) But not to tease you - only because if I stay on subject I'd end up saying what the surprise is and whomever it is for could possibly read this.
You know what I wish I could do? Learn. Like, I wish I could be in college, without it actually being college, but just go to classes for sake of learning, not for the sake of passing - which basically was what I went to school for with my business diploma. I didn't even go to half my classes, I would just show up on days when we had tests. I understood the stuff so I was really just paying for my diploma, not the classes. But I really do enjoy lectures. And writing essays. Of course, you'd have to make it on a subject that I enjoy and am truly interested in - like ancient history, or organic chemistry, or anthropology, or theology. Actually, if I hadn't gone into business (or cooking, but that's another story) I was planning on taking Ancient History. Of course, I never intended to be a teacher and since I always intended to stick around my hometown there would have been very little that I could have done with a Masters in Ancient History. Organic Chemistry was my third choice. But again, I'd have to move to get a job relating to that subject. Anyway, back to the original subject of this particular rant, if they did offer classes in the community that you weren't graded on and that you didn't need to be enrolled in post-secondary education to take, I'd be all over it. But I suppose I'll just stick with upgrading to my Bachelor of Commerce.
Matt and I have some crazy goals in life and some really crazy "plans". I say "plans" because there are some things you can't plan for, but if conditions happened to lead you to a certain conclusion or a different chapter of life, we have some notions of what we would do. Our retirement plan is actually to have multiple self-sustaining businesses that we can go in and work at when we feel the need for the activity, but that we don't need to go to regularly. Once all our kids (however many we end up having) move out I want to take my professional cooking training. Then Matt and I want to move to France for a year so that we can experience the culture and travel around Europe. When we do settle down again we're hoping it will be into a bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island that we can run until we're old and gray. Activity excites me. Both Matt and I actually. We have a bunch of different hobbies and interests and while we could definately fill our time up well without any jobs, we also need employment. It's something we like.
Well, speaking of employment, I'd best be going. We're leaving almost as soon as Matt gets home from work and I still need to pack some more!
Have a good weekend!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Two-Bite Brownies

Mmmmm Grapenut, spinach salad and a two bite brownie for breakfast... at 12:30. Matt worked late last night - really late - and when he got home we watched a bit of TV and then talked alot about sermons and scripture. Matt's taken to listening to Mark Driscoll sermons on his Ipod while he's at work and yesterday a friend of ours posted some John Piper sermon clips on Facebook that were really amazing. Two very impassioned preachers who go straight to the heart of the message. No beating around the bush. No changing what the bible says to try and fit in with the times. Matt and I actually watched a series of Mark Driscoll sermons in our couples life group. It was the Peasant Princess series - a look at Song of Solomon. It was fantastic! At the end of every sermon he gives you questions to ask your spouse and yourself about your marriage. I have to admit, I was sceptical about watching hour long sermons every Wednesday. It seemed like a weird idea to me. I take it all back :) We actually told all of our family members that they had to watch these sermons. And Mark Driscoll is a funny guy too, his sermons are impassioned and funny. Seriously, if you're married or planning on being married someday, go check out The Peasant Princess sermon series.
Well, I did manage to make some of my two-bite brownies yesterday but due to wind and all around sucky weather I didn't want to take Gabe out so we didn't get any of our errands done around town. But I did get in a lot of reading time and I played my guitar for Gabe. He loves it! He's our little musician. He drums on things whenever there's music and he likes to "sing" along with us and whenever he hears a funny sound he'll imitate the pitch! He does that mostly when people whistle or when something beeps, like our microwave. Because Matt got home so late last night I left our pork roast until tonight so I've got to have that on in good time today since we have choir practice tonight. And this weekend, we get to go see Matt's sister and her husband! Yay! I'm actually super excited for this - we love hanging out with them but because they live out of town we only get to see them when they come here. We decided that wasn't very fair to them so we're going to their place this weekend and they're going to show us how to live in their town!
My dog likes to play with potatoes... ugh, he keeps grabbing them out of the bag in the kitchen, tossing them around like a ball, and then when one finally breaks open he likes all the starch. Crazy dog.
You know what I haven't done in a long time? Posted a recipe. Mostly because of the baking embargo and renos, but I plan to remedy that. I told Matt that we had to have people over to our house more so that I can bake more :) Well, here's a recipe for you: my two-bite brownies. I love these things! They were the first thing I baked when I got my stand mixer for a wedding present and they are super fast and super easy.
Two-Bite Brownies:
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 c sugar
1/3 c melted butter
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Sift first three ingredients together. In a seperate bowl mix the next three ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well. Add in the chocolate chips and stir in. Spoon batter into a greased mini-muffin tin - makes 24. Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (make sure you check with a toothpick!) Don't overbake! They get rock hard if you do!
Well, that's all for today. I'd best go be productive now!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My conviction

K, so you know that guy in church that you see and you think "Whoa, dude, chill." and he seems so into everything and seems to take everything in the bible too literally?
I envy that guy's faith. I envy his devotion. I envy his guts and his commitment and his desire to do what is right no matter the cost. I come from a long line of people afraid to offend anyone. In my family, you think before you talk and you use your manners and you don't say anything if you think someone will disagree strongly with it. It's a habit I need to kick. I'm all for manners. The bible speaks of getting along with others to the best of your ability. But I will not hide what I believe for fear of making others uncomfortable.
What do I believe? I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I believe He died for my sins and through Him alone I will be saved. I believe that the Holy Bible is the word of God; that scripture is God-breathed. I also believe that all too often we are labelled Christians without really deserving to be called such. I believe that we coast and that we find a comfortable spot in life where we can go to church, pray at the dinner table and think our job is done. Salvation is through abandonment of your own means and your own life and acceptance of a sacrifice. It is not earned, it is accepted, but when you've really tasted salvation - the difference between life and death - you'll want more than just to coast. Would you go to the ends of the earth? Right now? I hope you say yes.
Right now my 11 month old son is singing in his playpen, trying to get the dog's attention so that they can play together. He's so perfect in my eyes. Everything he does just shatters my heart.
How will my son learn what is right and what is wrong? By what he sees Matt and I doing. How will he form his understanding of the world? Partly by what we tell him and partly by what he observes. How will my son come to know God? Hopefully because his parents lived with such reckless abandon that he saw God working in our lives and knew that it was our faith guiding us. I hope that I can be a great example for my son of how to be a Christian and I don't think that a great example merely goes to church and prays at dinner. It's a start. But that's all. I want to give him more.
I want to give God more. My Creator. My Protector. My Saviour. What wouldn't you do for the person you loved most in the world? What wouldn't I do for my husband? Would I tell the world that I loved him? (Have you read any of my notes on Facebook??) Would I give up my own money for his cause? Would I trust him and follow him and believe in him? Then how much more for God? Not just any god. The Living God. The Alpha and Omega. The one who knit me in my mother's womb. I can't express the way I feel towards God. The love, the awe, the reverence, the gratitude... So if I feel that strongly towards my God, how can I not do everything in my power to worship and exalt Him?
This is my conviction that's been building for some time now. It's about being a better person but it's more about being a better servant. A better Christian. I will not back down. After all I know, how could I?

Mrs. Vander Leek

Ugh. Clouds.

Well this is interesting... I've been up for almost two hours now and I've already done all the cleaning I had hoped to get done today! I'm quite pleased with myself. Our house has been clean off and on for the past couple of months while we renovate the main floor. Our biggest problem is having to move things from room to room, so what may be organized in one room, like my magazines on our coffee table, is actually just clutter in another room. Of course, with all the construction supplies around the house won't look finished for a while. We've still got to paint some accent walls and put in the bench seat and then we can start putting supplies away.
Early mornings really are my favorite time of day. However, I like sun in the mornings. Today, there's no sun that I can see, just clouds. These clouds are better suited to happy, rainy, springtime afternoons. I love sunshowers. I also really love total downpours. I remember when I was younger and whenever there was a big rain storm we'd turn off all the lights, sit in our living room, look out our big bay window and count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder. Then, as soon as it would stop raining and the streets were full of puddles we'd run outside and go jump in them. I've never fully outgrown that tendancy. The first time I ever went to Matt's house my friend Miriam and I had been out biking and in that ride we hit every single puddle that we could find. We were both soaked and muddy when we showed up at Matt's... whoops! Ah well, he still married me. I also can't seem to avoid hitting big puddles when I'm driving. Although, I do try to refrain from doing that when the car is clean. In my old car it was never a problem because I never washed that thing, but now that I'm married, well...
Our close friends had their baby yesterday after much anticipation! A little boy and we got to go see him when he was only 5 hours old. He was gorgeous. One of those actually cute babies. Some people say there's no such thing as an ugly baby but I beg to differ. It was weird holding a baby that small again. He was two ounces lighter than Gabe had been when he was born but I didn't realize how much Gabe had grown since he was that small until they were side by side. Now I see why my mom calls Gabe "Bam-Bam".
So hopefully you've all heard of, that amazing website where people sell handmade and vintage items. Well, if not, go check it out now. Here are a few of my favorite sellers and items:
Shop - womanwoodworker Item - they're all really cute but I especially like her long train sets and her Semi Car Transporter
Shop - CuteAbility Item - tonnes!
Shop - Fineartreflections Item - the Black and Silver Pearls Victorian Bracelet

I love looking through this site and it's one of those sites that I don't mind getting emails from everyday. I must confess that I still haven't bought anything from but that's only because of copious amounts of self-control, not for a lack of finding anything worth buying. I plan to purchase all future wedding presents for friends from this site and any jewelery for myself as well.

Well, I've slacked enough today. Even though I got all my cleaning done I've still got loads to do and maybe I can get some baking in.
I hope the clouds part over your home... I think I just saw a sunbeam so there must be hope for us all.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday's Gone

You know what I hate? Actually, I don't think hate is the appropriate word. Abhor. That's better. I abhor typos. Spelling errors on websites? What a turn-off. Actually, in one of my old jobs I was supposed to be looking for suppliers and if their website had typos I would automatically nix them from our list. Granted, no one is perfect - even in my last blog post I noticed a spelling error in the first paragraph. However, you will notice that I fixed it. Or maybe you won't notice, but regardless, it is not there anymore. But in a professional website? A website that has a higher purpose than simply being an outlet for a housewife? Really now.
Anyway, on to the show.
Yesterday Matt and I went out and ran some errands when he got home from work. I needed to hit up Michaels and he needed to meet some clients. We had to be somewhere by 7:00 and drop Gabe off before that so when it was 5:30 and we were still out and about and we realized that I hadn't pulled any meat, we decided that it was a "Hot and Ready" night. Oh, Little Caesar's... what would we do without you? Perhaps eat less grease, more salads and come to exert ourselves a bit more, but I digress. Well, we did eat the pizza (Gabe had peas) and then we went to our "thing". The thing is called Auxano - an evening of teaching and worship. It's a relatively small group but it's sweet. I crave biblical teachings and the wider variety of sources that I draw those teachings from, the better chance I have of thinking more objectively and looking deeper into the message. Well, we went for the hang out time afterwards as well and very quickly did the boys cluster in an amongst themselves. So us girls went and got our own table (we're too cool for them anyway). Now normally I have issues with girls. I was a tomboy until grade 6. Like, hardcore. I still get along better with boys (although, some guys are so worried about offending me because I am a girl that they don't know how to respond to me. Maybe if I stopped teasing one of our friends because he called me fat - twice, in one night - then they would be more comfortable...) However, last night I got to hang out with a whole group of girls that I could actually talk comfortably to and who didn't send off those girly-snotty vibes. It was refreshing.
Today Matt had the day off so I conscripted him to do some work with me. We walked around downtown while I dropped off posters and talked to people about donations for our Haiti fundraiser. I went into one store (I'm not going to name them) and asked if I could hang a poster on their already poster-ridden window and the lady said, "I don't know... most of our posters are for cultural events..." So, I go in, say that I'm with a group putting on a fundraiser for Haiti, it's a Red Cross sanctioned event, we're doing charitable work, and you don't know if my poster is appropriate to hang next to the posters of all the bands playing at pubs around town? Really? One lady told me I had to go find my own tape to hang the poster. Ah well, you can't win 'em all I suppose.
After hanging posters we went to Scott's Parable, our local Christian book and music store, and we ended up buying a few books. Matt's been looking for a biography on John Calvin for quite some time so he got that, then we got another one that was plugged at the event last night called The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy and I got the Love Dare Book. If you've seen the movie Fireproof you know what I'm talking about. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've heard so much about it from everyone. The Love Dare is basically a 40 day challenge to love your spouse better. Each day there is a different dare, challenging you to step up and really show affection, or really connect. So Matt and I are accepting the challenge starting tomorrow :) Our philosophy on marriage is not so much the, "If it's not broke, don't fix it," but more of the, "It won't ever break if you keep up the maintenance."
We had ichiban for dinner tonight because we took so long to get our errands done that we kinda skipped right over lunch and were both feeling a bit faint with hunger. So we whipped up whatever was fastest to make. We're having coffee with Matt's grandparents tonight and after that we'll probably have something that more resembles a meal!
Well, I'm going to go make Gabe's dinner before he wakes up from a nap. That's basically the only time you can count on him to be fussy - when you take to long getting the peas into his mouth!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, March 15, 2010


Okay, so you know how I said we had 6 baby guppies? Well, we left the tank alone for a while and I got some work done while Gabe napped but when he woke up the first thing he wanted to do was see the fish. So I set him up in front of the tank and I was looking in too when I saw another baby. And then another. And another! Another female in our tank had her babies after I had scooped up the first 6. Well, this batch had 6 as well and I managed to catch 5 but one was so fast and so sneeky that I kinda doubt he'll have anything to worry about. 12 babies! Wow! And still 6 pregnant females to go! Fortunately we've got that tank at the hospital that we can "donate" to.
Today is a kinda slow day. Our dog is in at the shop getting fixed so he's not running around barking his head off today. Gabe and I slept in... I didn't mean to but I was cuddling him at 7 a.m. so that he'd fall back asleep and I ended up dozing off myself, but that spring forward really sucked it out of me this year. Add to that the fact that I've been trying desperately to not get sick for the last few weeks and this morning I'm feeling kinda groggy and really achy. But, I have errands to run today so I'll have to get things together long enough to hit up some craft stores and some shops downtown. I'm actually going to try and make my first teacup candles today so I needed to hit up Michael's for some wicks. Also, I need to get invitations from there for my mom's tea party! That's one thing I am absolutely incompetent in - scrapbooking and making cards.
I got a Family Circle magazine last night and one of the neatest things I found in the issue was blurb telling you to check out - an online community that posts step by step instructions for everything from "Baking a 5-minute cake" to "DIY Stereo Condenser Microphone with Adjustable Toe-in/Toe-out Angle". Not that we all do that, but someone obviously does. Some of the cuter ones I saw in the brief time I surfed the site were How to Make Paper Beads, Make a String Pendant Lamp and a Chalkboard Table. What I liked most about the site is its look. When I saw in the magazine that it was an online community I was bracing for a chat room style, limited pictures and difficult surfing. But it's clean, it's cute, it actually looks fantastic.
Well, my baby is tugging on my laptop cord which means he wants me :) Here's hoping we get more baby fish today!!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baby guppies!

Yay! We have baby guppies! 6 of them actually!
I wasn't feeling well enough to go to church this morning so after sleeping in a bit and slowly getting Gabe and myself settled I sat down in front of the fish tank just to see how many pregnant guppies we had. I noticed one that I had thought previously to be quite pregnant only looked slightly pregnant now. I thought it was weird but just assumed I had been mistaken previously. Then something tiny caught my eye. In one of our plants I saw a little baby! And then another one! I was so excited! I phoned Matt to ask him if he thought they would be too small to net but he gave me the go ahead so I caught the first little one and put it in our hatchery. Then I looked back to get the other one and there were still two of them! We had three! Well, those two proved to be harder to catch so I had to get Matt's help when he got home. After we got them all secured we put the plant that we had to pull out to get them back in and we topped up the water. About half an hour later Matt was still watching the fish in the tank and he said "Hey! There's another one!" I went over to look and actually saw a couple more hiding under a rock! So, after pulling out every decoration in our tank and scaring all of our other fish we finally caught them all (and this time we're pretty sure we got them all) And of course all of our other females are pregnant :) But we won't be able to use the hatchery for them because they could eat the other babies. So I suppose over the next few days/weeks we'll be repeating the baby-netting fiasco. We're actually in danger of having far too many fish in our tank but fortunately Matt and I just agreed to volunteer at the hospital - cleaning and taking care of the fish tank in the peds ward! So we may be giving them all of our excess guppies if we end up having too many babies.
Yesterday on our way to Calgary I was saying to Matt how I would love to have some antiques from Jane Austen's day - pre-Victorian, more Napoleonic. I'm just entranced by the style of living in those days - the elegance, the romanticism... I wish I had been born back then. I tried looking up some stuff on ebay and the most I could find were some coins and a locket which was charming but not exactly what I was looking for. Then I decided that what I would really love is a first edition Jane Austen novel. THAT would be priceless to me. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, they are very hard to come by. Perhaps the biggest reason being time. The second being that many collectors have thought of getting one far before the idea crossed my mind so people who have them probably aren't willing to part with them. Another reason is that the quantity of the very first publications were so small and most of her books were actually volumes. The original publication of Pride and Prejudice had 3 volumes and actually had two publications in the first year. However, it being a first or a third wouldn't be so big a deal to me as it being from her life time (which limits me to only 4 of her novels since Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously) Oh, and I don't have the thousands of dollars it would cost to purchase a first edition even if I could find one that somebody was willing to part with.
J. K. Rowling has one supposedly... But I suppose if I were that successful I'd have enough contacts and money to track one down too.
Well, I should go wake my baby who has been napping for a very long time. And I should clean.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Blue Rocking Horse

Well, you know how I said that we had season ticket seats for the hockey game on Friday and how it would be a good thing because then we'd be away from the rowdies? Little did I know that the guy behind us would have a cow bell. Yep. Fun hey? Ah well, at least our team didn't score enough for him to really use it.
Today Matt and I went to Calgary for my Grandpa's 85th birthday dinner. We basically got there, ate, and then turned around and came home! It's kind of exhausting spending that much time in a car. Gabe certainly thought so. He was ready to be done by about half way home. And he did not hesitate to let us know that :)
It's kinda nice to be home though - as much as I would have loved to stay and hang out with everyone. It's just that home is home, you know? I'm the type that sleeps the best the first night I'm in a different bed. Not even a bed, maybe a floor or a couch. Whatever it is, the for the first night it feels like the most comfortable thing I've ever slept on. Unfortunately, Matt is the opposite. He sleeps best in his bed. Period. He even complained about the king sized bed we slept in last year before he ran a 10k in Banff. For all the complaining he does that I'm a bed hog, he couldn't sleep in a bed that big because he kept thinking I'd fallen out of bed since I wasn't on his side. Now, even though I may get a good sleep, if Matt doesn't then it's not fun. I'd much rather have him feel well rested and energetic than for me to feel so (partly because I handle lack of sleep surprisingly well) But the sleep isn't the only reason it's nice to be home. Cash, our dog, was ecstatic to see us and now he's doing everything he can to be as close to us as possible. I can get another load of laundry done tonight before bed. I get to choose what I have for breakfast tomorrow because I'll be the one making it. I can start a new Jane Austen novel (yep, finally finished Mansfield Park, again). I can choose what to wear to church tomorrow! I'm a constant changer. I used to be so bad that I'd wear three or four outfits a day. I've gotten better but I definately change what I wear depending on how I feel and whenever we stay overnight anywhere I pack at least three different outfits so I at least have choices in the morning. And more often than not I wish that I had packed something more.
Home is home. I love it. It's restful. It's comforting. It's a haven for me.
I've got to write on a more serious subject than I typically write on. Just something on my mind.
My cousin Cayley passed away nearly 4 months ago now and while things are getting better, it's still hard to think about her. Well, today I went looking for a gift bag to wrap presents for my cousins' kids and I found an adorable one with a little blue rocking horse on it that was the perfect size for one of the presents. I checked the tag to see if I needed to remove it or not and it was already written in. It said "To Gabe, from your favorite cousin Cayley." A perfect piece of her :) I couldn't part with the bag. I probably won't. To be honest it's probably going into a keepsake box now, along with all of the pictures I found of her when I dug through my thousands of old pictures last week. It reminded me of Elementary School. You know, when you kept that valentine from the boy in class that you totally had a crush on just because he wrote on it, even though he gave them to everyone? It's trying to be closer to that person by retaining some piece of them. It's silly, I know. But I don't regret it. Call it a souvenier, a keepsake, an heirloom, that stupid little gift bag with the blue rocking horse on it is sticking around even though there will probably be a hundred times in the future that I'll need one that color and that size. But it was Cayley's. A perfect piece of her, reflecting who she was and I won't let it go.

Mrs. Vander Leek

Friday, March 12, 2010

Busy Friday

Well I missed posting yesterday but fortunately I had posted twice the day before, so that made up for it ;)
Yesterday was a decently busy day. After a slow morning Gabe and I went shopping to Value Village where I got a pot to melt wax in since I wouldn't dream of using the set I got from my Grandparents for my wedding for such a purpose. Then we went grocery shopping where pork loin rib portions were on for a very good price, and since it was so sunny I was in the mood for a picnicy feeling meal. I picked up some sourdough buns and some potato salad and I made a fruit salad when we got home and I barbqued the pork. It was really good. Too good - we had seconds and that made us late for dropping Gabe off on our way to our choir practice. Choir was fun, as always. Perhaps a bit more fun this week since it was a full rehearsal and not just sectionals. Then we hung out at my parents' house where I looked through pictures and talked tea parties and Matt watched Monty Python's And Now For Something Completely Different.
I'm so excited for the tea party I get to host! I'm confident that no one attending reads this blog since it's only a couple of my Mom's friends from church, so I can tell you all about my plans! I've decided to make extra teacup candles and give those out as favors. I'm going to be making some petit fours and some tea sandwiches as well as biscotti and something in the way of an amuse bouche. We'll be using my mom's china set and I'll get to try my hand at some flower arranging for the centerpiece. The only thing I would like to do is get some cafe tables and chairs for the event (which I managed to do one Valentine's Day for Matt a few years back) but seeing as I no longer work at a cafe I think we'll have to skip that part.
Today has been a fairly productive day. After some nice chats with my sister and my mom I spent a bit of time finding Silent Auction donors for the Help for Haiti Gala on April 16th. One of the hotels in town got in touch with me and offered up 3 coupons for their Jacuzzi Suite, 2 for their spa and 1 for their inhouse gym. They also told us how interested they would be in donating their banquet hall to us for next year if we decided to make it an annual event. They were really great. And actually, they even offered to collaborate with my Event Planning business for other events throughout the year. I think I made a friend.
We're going to the hockey game tonight and I am so stoked. Some lovely man sold us 2 tickets for pretty cheap and in a decent spot too... they were season tickets so it'll be nice to not be too near the rowdies.
I have been craving going to Invermere and Fairmont for about a month now. I think the weather has reminded me of that place and I actually just remembered yesterday that we'll be near there this August for my cousin Sarah's wedding. I'm stoked to take Gabe out there and show him around. By that time he'll be even more inquisitive than he already is.
Well, this is all I have time for today since I've to to move everything back into the kitchen that we had to move out so we could paint. And my mom is dropping off a seed-starting stand (my love-in-a-puffs are up already!) so I've got to figure out where that is going. I hope everyone's weekend is as good as I anticipate mine will be!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Part deux

Two posts in one day! Man... I can't believe it's still today... Well anyway, I mentioned how Matt and I had meetings to attend tonight. We both went and came back with much success. My meeting only lasted an hour (silly me, I was hoping I would get a chance to eat! HA) but after the official meeting ended three of us continued to chat about the event for another hour after that. I, or rather my business, Meticulous Event Planning, am/is volunteering my/our services to a Haiti benefit dinner called Help For Haiti. Champagne reception, five course meal, silent auction, live music... As the official event planner I really want it to go off well. That, and we're hoping to raise $25,000 for Haiti in that one evening. Well, I volunteered for a number of things that will keep me fairly busy for a while but most of which I can actually do from home (which is why I'm in this field) and the few things I can't do from home I can do on a Saturday - such as going in and talking to different business owners. The meeting really did go well though and I'm excited for the actual event. I'm also tired.
Matt's meeting went well too. His was more casual though. And he got to eat.
Gabe had the most fun evidently. He went swimming with his Gran and Papa and apparently crawled through some fountain without flinching, face planted in the water and just pushed himself up and kept playing and tried to grab the water streams in the shower. He also had two fake naps today. By fake naps I mean that he falls asleep briefly, say 4 or 5 minutes, and then something happens that wakes him up and he feels just as refreshed for the next 4 hours as he would if he had an hour nap. Normally he has three naps a day and if one of those is a fake nap he'll sleep really well that night. Well, he only had one real nap early this morning and two fake naps since... he didn't even make it home awake. :) Such a little cutie...
Okay, well my head is starting to hurt and my chicken burger that I picked up from Dairy Queen on the ride home is finally filling my stomach so it just may be time for bed. I hope Cash agrees...

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tea Cups

This morning was a nice morning. I got up at 6 with Gabe and he fell right back to sleep but I had no such luck. I got up eventually and made blueberry lemon muffins before Matt even got up. We had to take our car back into the shop for them to replace the sunroof so Matt took that in and when he got back the work began. We moved the fridge and the oven and I finally got to clean back there (although it looked like that was something the previous owner never even thought to do). We're painting the kitchen today which I'm pumped for! The only issue is it's hard for me to cook (Subway for lunch! Pizza for dinner anyone?) After I bathed Gabe and got him settled for the afternoon I decided to run out and look for some teacups at thrift shops. Martha Stewart's trendy teacup candles are going to be part of my birthday present to ma mere. But first I needed the teacups! I had looked at Value Village a couple of days ago however their cheapest cups were $4 a piece. Not horrible but I was hoping for cheaper and for more than just one of a set. Matt pointed out that I'd actually be better off going to Homesense and buying some new ones - which he was, of course, right about. Well I decided to try my luck at the other thrift shops around town. The first one was a no go. They had one piece of china in the store and it was a 25th anniversary cup. The second store was a jackpot! I got a complete tea set (teapot, creamer dish, sugar bowl and 6 cup and saucer sets) for only $12 as well as a bunch more cups and saucers and a few solo cups for only $5 more. Well, I came home and looked up a couple of the sets online. The first ones I looked at I had paid $1 for a cup and saucer and I had gotten three of the sets. Online? $30 US for a cup and saucer. The second set I only got 2 cups and saucers and paid 50 cents for a set. Online they were $18 for a cup and saucer. The other ones are more difficult to find. The full teaset is actually labeled in Chinese and since I can't read Chinese I doubt I'll ever find out what it is or how much it is worth (that is, unless I decide to trouble the nice people at who will identify your set if you send in a picture and measurements!) The solo cups will again be very difficult. Most manufacturers put their information on saucers but not cups - as is the case with these. And since I don't have the saucers, it only tells me that they were made in China. Those ones however wouldn't be worth as much anyway since they were, as mentioned, made in China, and not early enough for them to be worth more because of that fact.
Well, tonight Matt and I are meeting hopping. We each have a meeting scheduled for 7:00 on opposite ends of the city. Mine will be short though so that will be nice. In the meantime, Gabe is going swimming with Gran! He's really excited. I can tell :)
Oh and if you have ever wanted to be frustrated and confused by a book read the last three paragraph's of chapter 30 in Mansfield park and then skip ahead to Chapter 46 and read til the end. Chapter 30 has some of the most gorgeous and thoughtful reflections from a man professing to be in love with a woman and you totally want this guy to win over the girl but then you get to 46 and want to spit on him. Part of me wishes that Chapter 30 could be re-written with a different ending. Take that chapter, a few from before, and make a gorgeous love story. However, as I have said previously, Mansfield Park is more of a moral story than a romantic one and I suppose the fact that it doesn't end at Chapter 30 is what makes it one of Jane Austen's least popular novels (in spite of it being the most widely received and most successful one in the author's life)
Well, I'd better get my baby ready for his swim meet! Here's to finding good china in thrift shops!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh Homesense...

I'm usually very good about not buying absolutely useless things, except when it comes to my kitchen utensils. (okay, my husband added that last part about the kitchen utensils when I wasn't looking... apparently he doesn't agree) I have a few good decor items such as candles and fake flowers, but I burn the candles and most of the flowers were from my wedding. Well, Matt and I went to Homesense today. We decided that we needed a bigger mirror for our livingroom and Homesense had some very good prices. We actually got a huge, gorgeously framed one for only $40. While we were in there I saw something so incredibly adorable... so beautiful... so useless.... I had to have it. It was a brown, rough clay egg with white flowers and vines painted on it. An egg. Really. But it's so gorgeous! And so is our mirror!
Well Matt surprised me today by telling me we were going to the hockey game on Friday! It's just WHL, but it's still fun and I really enjoy the atmosphere (assuming you're not sitting in front of idiots). Now just to find a babysitter...
This one's going to be short since I'm hanging out with my mom and dad before they go to Hawaii and their computer is dying!
Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mmmmm tea

What a beautiful morning! The whole family slept in until about 8 today and I was worried it would feel like we'd wasted the morning, that is, until I came downstairs and opened the blinds. The sun at 8:00 this morning looked like it does at 5:00 a.m. in the summer! That's actually my favorite time of day - 5:00 on a summer morning. I love seeing the sun just come up so perfectly. It reminds me of camp out at Pine Lake and early morning runs with my cousin Jen and getting up before everyone else just to go sit by the lake. I still prefer waking up with the sun in the summer, only Matt hates the sunlight in the morning so we keep our blinds shut through the night.
But today really has been nice even though it's only 12. I got a chance to sip some really nice tea while my baby slept in his playpen and my dog slept on my foot and I got to catch up on my reading. I'm reading Mansfield Park for, what, the 5th time? I've actually lost count. No where near as many times as I've read Pride and Prejudice, I do know that. But I really do enjoy this book. It's interesting how at times you almost find yourself cheering for the villian and you sincerely hope that he has changed and that the heroine will fall in love with him. It's Jane Austen's most extensive novel ranging over the most time and the most distance (excepting, maybe, Northanger Abbey which is infact her shortest novel). It's a harder one for me to plow through than say Persuasion or, as I mentioned before, Pride and Prejudice. That's partly due to its length and partly due to its characters. I hate Mrs. Norris. Which is good. You're supposed to hate her. I haven't actually found an interview that confirms this but I believe J. K. Rowling named Filch's cat after the character Mrs. Norris in this book. She's a real witch; just wretched and almost everything that comes out of her mouth makes you despise her. However, as much as I can appreciate how well written the character is and how precisely Jane Austen gets across the emotions you are supposed to feel towards this character, sometimes I find myself so exhasperated by her that I want to put the book down. The other character that I have issues with is Fanny, the heroine. This is for a completely different reason. With Fanny, if you have any sense of empathy for her you'll find yourself worn out with concern and anxiety. The poor girl is so timid, so frightened and introverted that for the first half of the novel anything pertaining to her invokes pity. I want so bad for her to have some glimmer of hope or some reason to really rejoice that for the first half it's actually hard to read about her. The second half picks up a bit, but it's not really until the last chapter that you can breathe a sigh of relief. (I'm not really giving away anything here. If you've ever read a Jane Austen novel, all is already given away) The most interesting thing about this book I think is that it is not so much a romantic story as it is a moral one. If it were a more romantic one your sigh of relief would come far before the last chapter and would last for more than 2 or 3 measley paragraphs. Don't get me wrong, it's still the epitomy of girliness, as is any Jane Austen novel, but that's moreso because of the era it was written in and the way life was and simply that they are written through the female perspective so guys may think that Fanny is being absolutely ridiculous while girls will tend to relate more. The only Jane Austen novel that I think most men may have a chance of enjoying is Persuasion. It has, by far, the most action (a bump on the head and a broken collar bone) and many references to the navy and the military life of the day. Having said all that I have already about Jane Austen novels being girly and men not enjoying them I have two more points to make on the subject. The first is that I know of at least one very cool and very manly guy who really actually enjoys Pride and Prejudice the movie. Bravo. I think my dad enjoyed the cinematography of it and the herd of red deer that are used as a scene transition at one spot. But most guys watching it won't giggle when they see Mr. Darcy flex his hand after handing Elizabeth into the carriage. And they won't say Mr. Darcy with an sickeningly breathy English accent for ever hence (yes, I do. I even wanted to name my dog that but only if it were pronounced "Mr. Dahcy"). My second point to be made is that Jane Austen is surprisingly ungirly. Some of her characters are. There are a number of stereotypically girly-girls who talk about dresses and hats altogether too much, however, unless it contributes to the portrayal of a specific character or the story on the whole, you won't find any ranting about finery or much ranting at all actually. She tells stories remarkably well, portrays a number of charicatures which are composed from people you would have met back in those days, and is very good at making you loathe certain people :)
Anyway, a little update on our fish - they are all still alive, surprisingly, and I think we have a couple more fish that are preggers. It's actually quite hard to tell until they are really far along, but we think.
Tonight we're having steaks for dinner and I'm excited to barbque assuming I get it done before the sun goes away and the snow comes. I'm also excited to find a good marinade for the steaks. That's something that always manages to elude me: good marinade recipes. I think my biggest problem is that I don't know what I want but I definately know what I don't want. I only have this problem with beef however. I always am confidant in whipping up an impromptu marinade for pork, chicken or even lamb. But with my beef I don't want any prettiness. I want ruggedness. I want charring flavor. I want something you would get in a steak house. sigh. I'll try and think of something.
Matt and I are games people. We love playing board games whenever we get together with his family, we have boardgames for just two people that we play by ourselves fairly regularly and we even bought a bunch of board games for our honeymoon! The only difference between our taste in these games is that I love card games and Matt does not. In my family we play cards ALOT. You doubt? Come to one of our family reunions. Hand and foot canasta is the specialty of the family, however that's not the only game we play. Lately my mom and I have been playing alot of crib (as I believe I had mentioned in a previous post) Well, I'll never be able to get Matt to enjoy canasta, but I did manage to teach him crib over the weekend and he actually enjoyed it. He didn't enjoy it so much when I skunked him, but the game that he beat me he really liked! Here's to many happy nights playing crib!
I'm now allowed to go full tilt with baking again! - assuming of course that I freeze the majority of it. My sweet tooth is waning however and though I have been craving cookies, it's definately the shortbread variety rather than the sugar or chocolate chip variety that I have been craving. The problem with shortbread is butter. Or rather, my problem with making shortbread is my lack of butter in the house. I only keep margarine in the house typically but I wouldn't dream of making shortbread with anything other than real butter. Oh, and I need to make some earl grey cookies for Matt. For our honeymoon we went to Fairmont Hot Springs and visited the town of Invermere while we were there. Invermere has a fantastic little gelato store/cafe called Gerry's Gelato. This Gerry makes all of his gelato and comes up with some fantastic recipes. Matt's favorite was the London Fog gelato. He loved the Earl Grey in it. We actually picked up a litre of it for the way home (It only made it as far as Canmore, we ate the rest of it that night in the hotel) But it just proved how much Matt adores Earl Grey in anything.
Well this beautiful day is turning very windy and my baby wants to play. I'd better say bye for now!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sunny days...

What a gorgeous day! Man! It totally feels like spring!
We went and got more fish today. We needed to replace the male guppy that died and we got a few more as well but there was a different lady working there today. She gave us all grey female guppies and one male guppy with torn fins. He doesn't swim very well and probably won't last very long. She also poured the fish into the bag. Like, scoop up water and fish in a bucket, dump bucket contents into bag. So fortunately she also reminded us of their 2 week warranty on their fish :)
I got some of my seeds started! It was so pretty and so warm that I needed to do something outside. So I sat on the front step and started two of my seed packets: Love-in-a-puff and Vulcan mallow. I want my flowers to actually come up this year so I decided to start some extra early. Here's hoping they work well!
I have made a decision to be crafty this week. I have a craft table in our basement and the crafts are beginning to pile up. A few of the things I need to deal with are late. For example, my cousin's son was born in December and I still haven't finished knitting his present. I also have some other projects to get caught up on. First off I just got a hold of a bunch of burned down candles. I'm going to make a stop at Value Village tomorrow to pick up some mismatched teacups, then I'll melt down all the wax and make teacup candles! I also need to knit some more baby clothes for all of my friends who are expecting. Oh, and make more pillows.
Tonight I whipped up some strawberry shortcakes - sans strawberries. Blueberries actually. And real shortcakes, not just white cake. It was quite nice. And for dinner Matt just wanted nachos so I had a toasted Cheese and Tomato sandwich. It's actually one of my favorite sandwiches :) A little mayo, a little salt... a lot of goodness.
Oooh! And I taught Matt how to play crib! And I was trying to teach him the lingo of crib but he kept saying "Fifteen two and totes-ma-goats"
Well, hopefully tomorrow is as beautiful as today was. It just makes your whole day go well!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear people with cars: Pity Me!

So, our car went into the dealer today just to get some stuff fixed that is covered by our warranty. The only problem with this fact is that I now have no mode of transportation! This isn't typically an issue. Normally I do spend all day in or around our home, and rarely have further to go than to the Co-op two blocks away. However, today is different - primarily because I know I can't go anywhere! It's the knowledge of being relatively confined that all of a sudden makes me feel like I need to get out; cabin fever. Although, I was just out last night... and the night before... and the night before that too. The other unfortunate part about this story is that I just looked outside, thought how absolutely gorgeous the weather is and decided to take a walk, when I realized that I left the strolled in the trunk of the car. Gre-at. Well, maybe we'll just sit in the snow in the backyard and play out there.
So you know how I got my fish? Yah, well one of them was not smarter than the piece of foam we keep surrounding the filter tube so that they don't get sucked up. This one actually got stuck behind the foam. Brilliant eh? Now, this fish was an integral part to our tank. He was our only male guppy. And I do, so badly, want baby fish. This just means we get to go buy even more fish! (Once again, as soon as we have the car back)
Now, I'm going to talk about something very serious here... crying at movies. Not even just movies - TV shows too sometimes. In my opinion, the sadest movie in the world is Legends of the Fall, followed closely by Object of my Affection and UP (yep, the Disney). Stupid Legends of the Fall... Matt made me watch that with him Valentine's Day last year while I was pregnant. We actually had to stop the movie because I couldn't breathe because I was crying so hard. How dumb! As for UP, I can't believe how much I cried during that movie the first time I saw it. Then I warned my sister and my mother about how sad it would be and they made it through the first two sections of the movie that had made me cry... but they couldn't get past the third part! Other movies that have made me cry: Heidi, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (where she sees her dad in the row boat), and Run, Fat Boy, Run (seriously.) As for TV shows, who didn't cry when Chandler and Monica finally got engaged? Oh, most of you? Really? Dang it... Well, how about for anyone who watches NCIS - Season 3, the Season Finale, Episode Hiatus pt 2. Yah, I cried a few times in that episode. The first time was when Gibbs has amnesia and is saying how much he misses his murdered wife and daughter. Well done Mark Harmon, Well done. The second time was when Ziva David is trying to help Gibbs remember important information and reminds him of how she shot her own brother to save Gibbs' life. Okay, REALLY well done Cote de Pablo. However, none of these are as bad as the fact that my sister and my mom teared up during the Olympics opening ceremonies whenever they saw countries which were being represented by only one athlete. :) For some reason, seeing that lone athlete carrying the flag was a cause for tears to both of them. HA.
I'm going to finish this posting with a rant about stupid kid's books. Gabe has a series of books which are intended to teach babies their first words. One book in that series is about trucks. One of the words in that book is "excavator"
We're going to teach our 10 month old babies to say the word "excavator"? Why don't we throw in a book about geography and topography and teach them to say isthmus? Or better yet, how about one on medical conditions and teach them to say Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis? Which, yes, is a real word and it's actually a type of lung disease similar to Black Lung Disease. (*cough cough* Zoolander anybody?)
I also "enjoy" those kids books where the main character does something wrong and gets away with it. That's exactly the type of moral story I want my kids hearing. I vote we go back to the old Brother's Grimm fairytales where, just so you know, Cinderella's evil step sisters actually cut of parts of their feet in an attempt to fit into the glass slipper and then they eventually got their eye's pecked out by birds - presumably the same ones that help put together Cinderella's dress in the classic Disney movie. Oh, and in the original story of the Princess and the Frog, she didn't kiss the frog, she threw him against a wall.
Well, apparently I get quite sarcastic when I'm stuck in my house :) That's okay, like the man who was turned into a newt in Monty Python and the Holy Grail... I'll get better.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)