Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bye Bye Wedding Shoes

Thank goodness for Le Chateau outlet. I have one pair of jeans that fit me properly and unfortunately I tore the crotch out on them (so now I have to wear spandex underneath just to avoid scandal!) so I was planning on going to Calgary this weekend to stop by the Le Chateau outlet and pick up a new pair for $20 (or less!) Then when I got home today from another unsuccessful attempt to make lattes for the staff (the cafe was being rented out by a school group) I found three pairs of my dress shoes on the kitchen floor in various states of disrepair. Our dog Cash had pulled them out of our shoe closet, ate the heels off of my white strappy shoes that I wore to grad, he ate the toe off of my white lacey shoes from my wedding and he tore the sole off my black strappy pair. In one 1 hour block my dog successfully ate all of my dress shoes. Fortunately for me I can fix my black pair but my two other pairs are beyond fixing. I'm most upset about the wedding shoes :( The other white ones were affectionately named my "Devil shoes". So, when I'm in Calgary at Le Chateau outlet I will also be picking up some new dress shoes.
Today was a bit of an interesting day... Gabriel was grumpy beyond belief. At the church today we saw Matt's mom and Gabe actually pushed her away from him in the middle of a fit - something he has never done before. I could tell he was just overtired because when he wasn't grumpy he was super cuddly and affectionate, however his morning nap only lasted 40 minutes so the grumpiness ensued.
A friend from the church lent me her copy of the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice which I had never seen. Since I realized Gabe was not going to let me clean much today I popped in the first volume and got a good 50 minutes (and 1/5) of the way through! My immediate thoughts surrounding it were the following: Mrs. Bennet is much too sharp and not nearly motherly enough. Brenda Blethyn did a better interpretation I think. I enjoy the inclusion of all characters, including Mr. and Mrs. Hurst who were exempt from the later version. On a similar note, I enjoy the fact that when you make a 5 hour production you can include almost all of the original dialogue from the book. Lydia is wonderfully spoilt in a way Jena Malone never got screen time for. The actress who plays Jane is not exactly the breathtaking beauty she ought to be, and perhaps it's the difference between classic beauty and modern, but I'd much rather look at Charlotte Lucas than Jane. Regarding Elizabeth, some speeches are so remniscent of Keira Knightley's mannerisms in the latter film that I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Keira had studied the BBC version for her role. Actually, lots of transition scenes so far are paralleled between both versions and I think the people who did the 2005 version saw the merit of the BBC filmography and decided to copy a few details. And lastly, I really don't remember a bathing scene with Mr. Darcy in the book :) Yah, they didn't show much, but still, shameless excuse to have a shirtless Colin Firth? I think so.
Oh, and Colin Firth is a sweeter, gentler Darcy for sure, but Matthew MacFadyen trumps all. His unintentionally harsh manners making it all the better when you realize he's just shy with strangers and really a wonderful guy. Even his self-reproaching looks after he's been rude are so perfect.
Anyway, that was my Jane Austen rant for... well, the week. Well, actually, no guarantees. Let's just say for today :)
After I finally got Gabe to sleep for a second nap (and woke up myself after dozing off from cuddling him) I took an inventory of some craft supplies. I figure I can make a pair of teacup candles for three people for Christmas this year. I also found some jars my Grandma gave me that I can put some truffles in, and an old wool scarf that I'm going to felt a design on for myself!
After a late dinner Matt and I decided to go for a walk so we bundled up Gabe in about 40 layers and had a nice stroll!
Next week I'll need to get started on my Christmas projects. This week, I'll just look at pretty pictures of Christmas decorations and drool over them!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

First snow!

Well, the felting project was a bit of a flop. After a few hours in the wash the wool failed to shrink and felt properly. I blame the wool. So, what I have instead of a felted wool hat is a fuzzy looking wool hat. I need to get my electric de-fuzzer out and see if I can salvage it. I am not, however, overly disheartened. I should have perhaps started with a swatch and tried to felt that, so I think I'll do that this week and if that fails too I'll know it's just my wool being funny.
Today I woke up, looked outside and was pleasantly surprised to see snow! Now, some of you may question my sanity at this point, but my reasoning is that if the weather is going to be cold anyway, we might as well have pretty snow accompanying it! I've already been itching to dig out the Christmas music and I spent a chunk of the morning planning some homemade gifts that I will be giving out this year. Along with some homemade biscotti, syrups and truffles, I will also be making a variety of crafts off of marthastewart.com. I plan to make her Gilded Pinecones, Walnut Ornaments, Snowy Balloon Ornaments and some ornaments out of ribbons. Oh, and I have a few craft supplies kicking around from projects I've done before (Teacup candles mainly) so I'll do some of those up too. My only original thought that didn't come to me whilst looking at a picture of something was to use up some leftover vinyl from putting in new floor in the kitchen. I'm going to pick up some cork board and make coasters! I think they'll look great.
I may invite my mom to come have a craft day with me and we can make extras for her to give away to some of her friends too.
I'm excited for Christmas, can you tell? I get so excited thinking about decorating our house (with two Christmas trees this year!), baking dozens of treats, buying presents, listening to my Kenny Roger's Christmas cd that I got last year... I'm determined to host a Christmas wine tasting party this year. For some reason we've never been able to host one. And I really want Matt to be able to have some poker parties here too during the holiday season. He can have the boys over for beer and nachos and I'll have their wives over for homemade chai and baklava!
Before I get too excited however I must bear in mind that Matt doesn't tolerate excessive Christmas joy before December 1st. Actually, more like December 15th, but before the 1st he's a positive Grinch! So, while I may listen to Christmas music starting November 1st, it will not be in his company!!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Whoopsie! Apparently I've been a little preoccupied lately! Over a week since my last post and no good excuse... my bad!
I suppose I have been a little busy, what with family visiting, cafe stuff and trying to get our house fixed up. Not to mention Gabe is getting more molars in so he's a bundle of joy lately. But I think the main reason I haven't posted has been a lack of inspiration. We're still finishing our renos in the kitchen, which means my baking cart and stand mixer are still located in the living room. Obviously this is not very ideal for baking. Then we've been out alot lately during dinner time so our meals have been either not prepared by myself, or rushed to make sure we're out of the house in time to make it to our commitments. This week we've had Spaghetti and meat sauce and hamburgers at our house - and that's it! In the past few weeks (since the crazy biscotti baking marathon) the only things I've baked have been a Beet-Carrot Cake and last night I whipped up a loaf of Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Oh, and for some reason, whenever I'm knitting and switch between a knit and a purl, I get this huge gap that I can't figure out how to fix. It's not tension and it's not how I put the yarn over, so I need to seek help, and until I can do that my Christmas knitting projects are on hold. That's another thing: Christmas. I'm excited for it and want to decorate my house but I'm not allowed to until at least the middle of November (just ask my husband.) All in all, I've been feeling rather unimaginative as a result of these things and every time I went to start a post I felt like I had nothing to say that would be worth reading. (pretty high up on myself to think what I normally say is worth reading, eh?)
Anyway, all that has changed as of today I have decided. You know what's changed??
Today is Martha Stewart Day :)
Yep, I got my magazine today and now the world seems bright again! When I first got it I skimmed through it and still felt blah, but when I took the time to actually read every article I realized the brilliance of the issue. There's a section on how to organize your front closet, your fridge and your table for having lots of company over and they had some really good tips in there! Another section I loved so far was the Follow Your Art section - a look at 3 women and how they made their crafts profitable. Oh, and one more noteable: To The Letter - a look at the art of note writing and a reminder that handwritten is an uber personal, super cute alternative to just sending off an email. I personally love note writing. At HomeSense the other week I found a box of 50 cute cards in different designs for dirt cheap and I've already used nearly 1/4 of them. Thank You cards, Birthday Cards, Just Because... there's almost always something that you can write someone a card about. When I was pregnant with Gabe I pre-wrote a load of cards for anniversarys and birthdays so that all I had to do was mail them at the right time. One of my items on my eventual wishlist is personalized stationary for my note writing hobby. I think it's nice when people get things in the mail other than bills and I like to contribute to that cause!
I have kind of overcome my knitting stall too. I simply changed my project. I'm knitting my first felting project! First, I'm knitting a hat using oversized needles and double strands of wool. Then I'll wash the hat and shrink it down to felt. Then I'm going to needle felt a pattern on.
Well, I'd best go pull some meat for dinner because as soon as Gabe's finished his snack we're going on a nice long walk. The sun's up, it'll probably be one of the last night days of October and I'm feeling inspired!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

I can see! I finally got my new glasses! I'd forgotten how far I should be able to see. You know, the world is much more beautiful when you can actually see it!
Anyway, yesterday I hit up the grocery store for some staples and saw that turkeys were on for 99 cents a pound. I picked up a 12 pound turkey for less than the cost of 2 turkey breasts. Matt and I had been fully planning on not having turkey this Thanksgiving - and not by our own doing either - so I had planned to buy a turkey and cook it up in November for a turkey dinner with my parents. We actually lucked out and were able to have a turkey dinner yesterday with Matt's parents, even though our actual Thanksgiving meal with them will be next week and we sure won't be having turkey. We'll actually be eating gourmetten. In case you've never had gourmetten before (and if you're not Dutch, the odds are high that you haven't) it's a make your own meal sort of dinner. You each have your own tiny little frying pan and burner and you decide what veggies, meats and sauces you want to cook in your pan. If you time things right you can be continually eating and cooking for the whole meal. It's a very social meal and it's fun to see what new concoctions you can think up! All that to say, I still did end up buying a turkey and it was a stinking good price. My sister is coming to town at the beginning of November so while we have a bunch of family around for dinner I think I'll cook up the turkey with all the fixings. And if we have leftovers, I know a number of bachelors who wouldn't mind some frozen dinners, I'm sure.
For the turkey dinner yesterday I whipped up some steamed brocolli and cauliflower, roast squash, apples and peppers and some cheese sauce for the brocolli and cauliflower. Well, the veggies were all eaten up but I was left with 3 cups of cheese sauce! That did solve the issue of what to have for dinner tonight however: Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese. It was a really quick dinner to make but it tasted awesome. Having the cheese sauce pre-made did shorten the time, but it still wouldn't have been that hard anyway. I'll give the recipe at the end of this post.
Today I was driving home from the church after making lattes for the staff and I was fuming over a couple of mishaps that had kind of made the time less enjoyable than normal. I had things going through my head like, "Great. This is just what my week needed," and, "When will things start getting better?" Just as I pulled onto my street a song came on the radio that at first I didn't recognize and then I realized it was my wedding song (in my defense, the radio was turned way down). The song we chose for our wedding was All I Ever Wanted by Brian Melo. At first I just sat and listened because of the fond memories from our wedding but then I actually started listening to the words again. The chorus starts off with the line, "This is all I ever wanted," and when I heard that it hit me that right now I have that. I have all that I ever wanted. You may question my use of the word "all" since I obviously have other wants, like chickens and a farm and to travel and to buy an early edition Jane Austen novel. However, when I was younger and I was trying to outline what I really wanted in life, it was to be married to a great man, to have children, to have a home that I could bake in and decorate and do gardening at, and, to use a catechism which asks "What is the chief end of man?", to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. I realized that I have that. All of that. My "when I grow up" is completed. Sure, I've set new standards and new things that I want to accomplish, but how can I be unhappy when I have so much going for me? I was grumpy last week because I didn't get my glasses soon enough (glasses which we had enough money to buy in the first place), because I couldn't rent a cello (but if I check back this week I probably can now), because I didn't get to see a friend (a friend whom I have had since our early childhood) and because I felt like nothing was going my way. I may be lucky and blessed, but sometimes I sure am stupid. Last week was still not the best week that I've ever had, but it definitely was not the worst. Not by a long shot. My Grandpa was hospitalized... and he pulled through and is stabilized now. We kicked off Auxano and it was an incredibly worshipful experience. My family stayed relatively healthy and I staved off my earache and my son was absolutely delightful the whole week! All in all, that actually makes for a pretty decent week.
Anyway, I've smartened up, for now. I just hope I've learned for next time life throws a few curves at me.
Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese Recipe:
Cheese Sauce:
4 tbsp butter or margarine
4 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash white pepper
2 cups milk
2 - 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 tbsp CheezWhiz

Melt butter in saucepan over low. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until doughy. Add milk all at once. Turn up heat to med-high and cook quickly, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar and CheezWhiz. Set Aside.

Cook up 1 pound ground beef with a little bit of oil in a frying pan. Drain off grease. Spread beef flat across the bottom of the pan. Using a squeeze ketchup bottle, make a big wavy line of ketchup across the beef, from one side of the pan to the other. Using a squeeze mustard bottle, make two smaller lines on the beef, one on either side of the ketchup line. Stir up.

Cook up 2 cups macaroni, fusilli, rotini or, well, any other type of pasta you think will work. Make sure you salt your water. Drain water once pasta is cooked but do not rinse the pasta!

Fold all of the ingredients together in a casserole dish and bake at 350 until the top is lightly browned!
Bon Appetit!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No Cello

No Cello. The place rented all their's out since I spoke to them 5 days ago. The girl seemed like she barely knew what a cello was and clearly never had anything to do with them, so I almost asked for a second opinion about what the status was on them all, but didn't. She did mention that they had one that was listed as "Repair" and that it had been that way for a while apparently but she didn't know what was wrong with it. So, while I was walking out and noticed a cello missing a string and leaning against a wall in the corner I was rethinking my urge to get a second opinion again. Honestly, if that's all that's wrong with it you'd think they could work a little magic for me? Oh, and she wouldn't take my name and number or put me on a wait list or anything. She just told me to keep coming in and checking if they had one in.
So, that's one more thing that has not gone well for me this week. And I still don't have my glasses!
This really is shaping up to be a sucky week. I had lots of things going on this week that I was really excited for, and none of them have really gone as well as I had hoped, save Auxano on Monday night, and granted, an hour of worship, discipleship and teaching does count for a lot, which I suppose is why I haven't been reduced to tears yet.
I still have things to look forward to of course. Things like finally getting my glasses, going to Calgary on Saturday to see my family and help get my aunt's new apartment ready for her, and spending all of Sunday in some joyful business that comes along with double-booking myself for cafe work and infant care at church.
I'm not actually feeling all that inspired right now - mostly just down. It's hard to blog when you don't feel inspired. It's probably best that I go read a Jane Austen now instead.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mid-week Weekend

My weekend has finally come! Not this weekend - last weekend. I was so busy on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday that there was no kidding myself that those were anywhere near days of rest. Friday - baking. Saturday - more baking, set-up and worship practice. Sunday - Ministry Fair. Monday - Auxano kickoff. Tuesday - lattes at the church and one awful meeting. Wednesday - sweet release!
So far this week has not, in general, been going the way I had hoped it would. Yesterday I was excited for a friend to come over, which didn't happen, and to get my new glasses, which didn't happen then either. Monday night rocked since it was the Auxano relaunch at its new location, but I killed my voice singing. Today I got up early and hoped to get lots done before Gabe woke up. Unfortunately, he got up early too. I did manage to make breakfast for Matt before he had to go to work but that was about it. We were at the church by 11:20 to make lattes for the staff and that was a little more hectic than usual. Lots of people kept coming up and asking me questions while I was trying to get set up so I wasn't as prepared as normal. AND I found a fly in a pot of hot water that a ministry group had just finished using and I was emptying for them. Sick. Anyway, I got my drinks made and my machine cleaned and then needed to wait around for an hour since I had a meeting at 2. Unfortunately, the meeting did not go at all the way I had planned it. It was supposed to be a planning session but it was more like a shoot down session for me. Everything I proposed was nixed by a party because of reasons ranging from "insurance claims", "we're not allowed to move those tables" and "I can't remember why, but you can't." By this time, Gabe was 4 hours past his usual nap time and was wandering aimlessly through the cafe while I tried to keep him reasonably corralled, to voice my opinion and to listen to all the decision making that I was really not a part of. It was frustrating to the extreme. I wanted to walk out but held my temper, and my tongue, and stuck it out. It was all I could do to wait until I got home to phone Matt and rant about how awful the meeting was. Oh, and Gabe finally got down for his nap at 4.
But all that is behind me now! Tomorrow I am determined to do as little as possible! Which will actually be quite easy since Matt has an evening meeting with dinner provided so I can eat whatever I feel like without worrying about anything too impressive. I'm hoping to go rent a cello tomorrow too! I'm not sure if I've mentioned this yet, but I am determined to learn cello. It had always been a want of mine (always since I was 12 that is) and I had never done more than thought about it until a week ago. I was looking up barista training courses in Seattle and it turns out the ones that I would need to take to learn more than I already know cost upwards of $2000 for a weekend. I tried finding the Canadian equivilancy and it turns out, there aren't any. Well, not really. There is one in Calgary I could take but it has prerequisites which would be a waste of time and money for me. And I'm a bit worried that the only thing they would teach me that I didn't already know would be latte art - which, given enough time, coffee, milk and willing drinkers, I'm sure I could figure out on my own. That would cost about a grand to go through all the courses, not to mention a lot of time. So I'm at the top of what I can learn unless I have $2000 to shell out, not to mention flights and accomodations. Maybe someday, but not now. So, what does this have to do with the cello? That night I was watching The Big Bang Theory and Leonard was playing cello and it reminded me of how much I want to play the cello. So I decided I would. Not that I would think about it, or that I would someday do it, but that I would go out and rent a cello and learn. I called a local music shop the next day, found out that they rent cellos for $40 a month and have only held off on going and picking one up because I've been so incredibly busy. But I'm really going to do it finally! Yay!
Well, I'm going to start my weekend by going to bed in decent time. Being that it's almost midnight, I'm not doing hugely well, but it's a start!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ministry Fair Done!

It's over!!
The Ministry Fair is done!
What a fiasco today has been! Not only did I not sleep well last night, I woke up at 5 because Gabe lost his "boo" (soother) and then he took 45 minutes to fall asleep again and I was supposed to get up at 6 so I figured I'd just close my eyes for 15 minutes... and then I woke up an hour later. At 6:45. I was planning on being at the church at 7.
I rushed my little bum and got to the church by 7:30. I started making coffee and everything was going well considering I was a half an hour later than I had planned on being. And then I forgot to close the valve on a 50 cup coffee urn as it was filling... and it spilled all over the kitchen floor. It took me about 20 minutes to finish mopping up. Oh, and all the rolling kitchen carts were missing so I had to carry all the coffee urns across the church. They're heavy :(
I got all the coffee made and my booth all set up, made a latte for a very tired friend and then right as the Ministry Fair was starting I ran to the cafe to give some last minute pointers to my volunteers and ran back to meet everyone at my booth! Everyone loved the new Ugandan Relationship Coffee and they especially loved the biscotti. Unfortunately for me, we went through coffee at amazing rates. They ran out of coffee in the lobby before the break between first and second service was even half way done. I had to make Matt watch my booth while I ran and made even more coffee. Matt went to service then and I manned the booth myself until the second service ended and we got our second wave of people. Matt left shortly after and I was relieved of my duty at 1, at which point I packed up some stuff and got home to have some breakfast/lunch by 1:30. I ended up going back to the church by 4:30 since the Fair was supposed to restart by 5:30 and I needed to make all the coffee we set out in the church before then, but when I got there the door was locked and no one was around. I waited for 40 minutes outside. Lucky for me it was a nice day! At 5:10 someone opened up the door for me and I had 20 minutes to do what I had planned to take an hour to do. I managed - barely - and was at my booth in time to greet people and serve one of the helpers his 10th cup of coffee. Anyway, between meeting up with other volunteers, running the booth and all my other duties I stayed busy until it was time to pack up, which took me about an hour. I got home by 9 which was at least half an hour earlier than I thought I would.
My legs feel dead, I'm exhausted, my entire body aches, I barely ate anything all day and tomorrow isn't exactly a day off. But all in all, it was a good Ministry Fair. So, we'll say it was worth the pain :)
Tomorrow I've got a friend coming over and then Auxano kicks off.
I hope I'll sleep well tonight because I'll need to recover enough to walk tomorrow, which is looking doubtful right now.

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)