Eric and I celebrated our 4-year Anniversary yesterday! I'm looking forward to opening our stockings together on Saturday and having our own little Christmas before joining our families for the real madness. I found the Eberjey romper on sale at Holt Renfrew and couldn't help but treat myself. It's so soft and comfy, it kind of makes me wish I never had to leave the house.
I always tend to use the Pretty Woman guide to cutlery- start from the outside and work your way in. A friend also taught me a little cheat when trying to figure out which bread and drink are yours at a large table. Make a circle with your thumb and middle, ring and pinky fingers. With your pointer finger sticking up you should see a lower case "b" and "d." B is for bread and D is for drink. Now you'll never forget!
On Friday night we celebrated Michelle's birthday at Mango Shiva. I'm still salivating over the lamb "pops."
Saturday, we got to meet our dearest friends' new cub, Charlie Rando and he's absolutely perfect.
Charlie, Eric and proud papa Rando
I'm counting down the days until I can see him again. Congratulations Brittany and Rando!
Yesterday, we braved the snow covered highway and headed up to Leduc for a little family get together. We made some ski plans, my brother and I beat my dad and Eric in a couple games of crib and we got to see Norman!
Every year I swear I won't leave my Christmas shopping until the last minute, but once again, 8 days before Christmas and I still have shopping to do. I'm hoping to avoid the mall entirely and hit up a few local shops for all of my remaining gifts.
First stop is Livingstone & Cavell Extraordinary Toys. This independent toy store is a blast for kids and adults. I'm hoping to pick up the old school Fisher Price record play for my nephew. I remember watching a family video of my 3rd birthday and my brother helping me open my gifts. When he unwrapped it he exclaimed (with a little lisp) "It's a recorrrrrrd player! This thing weighs a tonne and TWO halves!"
On second thought, I might just give it to him instead.
Next on my list is Steeling Home. This store is my go-to gift store. They carry great jewellery, trinkets and home goods. I usually end up spending 20 minutes just looking at their stationary and cards.
I can never seem to find tins to fit baking in. I try not to stack baking because I find it make a bit of a mess of everything so I decided to use memory boxes. They have plenty of room and look nice all wrapped up.
I used saltine toffee to separate the other goodies. You must make it. It's insanely good and it takes about 10 minutes. My mom had sent me a version using graham crackers, but the saltines make for the perfect salty sweet.
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 350. Bring the sugar and butter to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Line a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with tin foil. Arrange the saltines in a single layer. Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes or until the toffee is bubbly. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and let them melt. Spread to cover evenly. Put it in the fridge to cool. Once fully cool, break it into pieces and try not to eat it all.
This might be the best possible answer to the age old question: is Santa real?
"Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible."
Now if that doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will. Read the rest of the answer and the full story here.
We had a great weekend in Banff. A Christmas party on Friday night, relaxing on Saturday and the first ski/snowboard trip of the year.
I was quickly reminded that snowboarding at 26 is different than snowboarding at 18. There was a time when a friend and I would wake up at 5:00am, drive out to Fernie, snowboard all day and drive home. Now, I can barely make it through the day and a 2 hour drive home. The snow was great though and it felt good to spend the day on the mountain.
Sorry for the late baking post. This week went a little off the rails somewhere around Tuesday. Anyways, the last entry is for lemon squares. I'm a lemon dessert junkie and with their shortbread-like crust, these are the perfect tart/sweet combo.
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. icing sugar
1 c. melted butter
Stir together flour and sugar. Add melted butter. Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until just brown.
2 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. + 2 tbsp. lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)
Beat eggs until light. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking powder and flour. Mix to get rid of any lumps. Stir the dry mixtue into the eggs and add lemon juice and zest.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until set. Let cool completely. Once cool, dust with icing sugar.
I shopped a lot this weekend and somehow, none of it was for Christmas. Yikes! Most of the purchases were for our home. Now that we've got things somewhat sorted out, we definitely needed more storage and few decor items. In addition to the stuff we bought, a trip to Crate and Barrel had us longing for a couple of new items.
This trunk is the perfect replacement for our current coffee table. It has lots of storage (including a wine rack in the centre) and the rustic look we've been searching the antique markets for.
We both fell in love with this bar cabinet. Now, if only we had somewhere to put it!
I had a lofty goal of cleaning and organizing our whole place and getting our Christmas decorations up this weekend. That may have been somewhat unrealistic. Maybe we'll get the tree up tonight. Fingers crossed!
These soft and fudgy crinkles are sort of like brownies in cookie form.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 sq. unsweetened chocolate melted (or cocoa equivalent - see side of cocoa container)
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. bp
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. icing sugar for rolling
Mix oil, sugar, chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time. Add dry ingredients. The dough will be surprisingly wet. You can refridgerate it for an hour to make it easier to work with, but it's not necessary. Drop teaspoonfuls into icing sugar. Roll into balls. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12min.