August 31, 2008

I Heart Stoneware

As some of you may remember, 5 or so years ago I was a consultant for Pampered Chef. I became a consultant because I was absolutely obsessed with their kitchen products. However, it wasn't until I became a consultant that I actually owned my first Stoneware product. I was reluctant to purchase any, in part because of the cost. I also felt that my good-ole pans were doing just fine, thank you very much.

Until the day that my Director invited me over to bake some cookies. We baked one batch on the traditional cookie sheet, and the other batch on the large Bar Pan Stoneware. OH MY GOD! What a difference. The cookies baked on stoneware were perfectly even, perfectly cooked. The others, while not bad, were not cooked evenly (the bottoms were slightly overcooked compared to the tops).

Since that day, I have gone on to replace all of my pans with Stoneware. They are SO easy to clean (scrape 'em off under hot water, no soap), and they cook EVERYTHING evenly. I have NEVER, repeat, NEVER burned anything since I started using stoneware. Everything is juicy and delicious. Even Ian will tell you how much he loves stoneware.

One thing - don't bother with the cheapo $10 pizza stone you see at the grocery store. It is NOT the same thing. The material is cheaper, and you just won't get the same result. Not to mention - Pampered Chef has a 4 year (if I remember correctly) guarantee on their stoneware. Which is a guarantee I've used twice.

Most of my stoneware is now a glorious dark brown, well-seasoned and completely non-stick. My favourite pieces are the large round stone, the large bar pan, the small bar pan, and muffin pan (you'll never need muffin liners again), and the rectangular baker.

It's been a few years since I updated my stoneware collection, and now that I'm home for the next 8 months (yes, 4 months have already gone by, yikes), I plan to really start some serious baking. Thus - it's time for some more Stoneware.

If you haven't already been converted, I highly recommend you try it. Start with the medium bar pan or the large pizza stone - I find that these are very flexible, and can be used for cookies, pizza, chicken breasts, bars, etc etc etc. Always cook something with fat in it first - I usually start with cookies or croissants - so that it seasons the stoneware right from the start.

So - time for a Pampered Chef show. I'm going to book one for either late September or early October... so if you're in town, hope you can make it! (Jill, wish you were here! I'd TOTALLY use you as my consultant).

By the way - half of the fun of a Pampered Chef show is the free food, wine, and good company. I don't care if you buy anything - I appreciate the discount that I get if my guests purchase things, but I always save up enough to buy what I want with or without the discount! So please, don't feel any pressure to buy. Do feel pressure to come and eat, drink, and be merry!

August 24, 2008

Sleep Well

I've hesitated to post this, in fear of jinxing it. However, I think we're in the clear...

2 weeks ago, Luci started sleeping through the night. She started on vacation (amazingly enough) and surprised us all by keeping it up once we got home.

I am fully aware that I'm extremely lucky in this regard. Cohen started sleeping through the night (6pm-6am) when he was 2 months old, and though we had some issues when he was a toddler, he's been pretty consistent. Lili, well, she slept through the night from the day she was born, and we've never had a single problem. The girl loves her sleep, plain and simple.

We were certain that we'd end up with a terrible sleeper this time around. As it is, after the first few weeks, she only really got up once or twice, and only for 10 minutes. I thought that was pretty lucky. But now...

She goes to bed at 8:30, and sometimes I'll wake her at 11 before I go to bed, but lately, not so much. Either way she sleeps until 6am, and even then, if I feed her and snuggle her, she'll go back to sleep until 8:30. Of course, now that school is starting, I actually have to get up at 6. But it's nice to know I have the option!

Regardless, I'm extremely grateful. Getting a full night of sleep does incredible things for the soul.

Next step - putting her in the crib, rather than the cradle. I'm reluctant to give up on having her so close to me though, so I might wait until she's 4 months, which is how old the other two were.

Nighty night!

August 18, 2008


Vacation Photos

August 16, 2008

Back Home

SO glad to be back home.

We had a good vacation. Luci was great for the long drive there and back (she cried, but the soother soothed her), as were the kids. Our condo in Okanagan Falls was fairly nice - location was great - right on the beach, and we actually had a private beach just steps from our door. Our main issue was 1) the decor (terribly tacky, though this was a minor complaint) 2) the BED! MOST UNCOMFORTABLE BED EVER! Seriously, I am still have spasms in my back. It was terrible. And rather ironic - Luci actually slept through the night EVERY night, but I didn't. Neither did Ian.

We spent a lot of time in Penticton, which is about 15 minutes North of where we were staying. The first two days were spent on the beach all day. The third day, we thought we'd enjoy a day at the amusement park, playing mini-golf etc - too bad it was 37 degrees out. So, we paid our $30 to enter, and then found ourselves rushing through a game of mini-golf in 20 minutes so that we could get the hell outta the heat. I even won a free round (got a hole-in-one on the last hole), which we gave away to someone else as we practically ran back to our air-conditioned van.

Spent the rest of that day in our air-conditioned condo.

Day 4 was sort of a mess - we drove around for quite a while looking for somewhere decent to eat breakfast, and then tried to buy tickets to the cruise (around the lake) that I was dying to go on... only to find it was sold out :( so we went to the beach, and then decided to go on the train tour in Summerland. Which meant we had to pack up pretty much right away and get moving. The train ride was nice - the kids were excited at first (I'll admit, hearing the "all aboard!" was pretty cool, as was the train whistle)... but again, it was 37 degrees out, and the train was NOT air conditioned. halfway through the 90 minute trip, we were wilted. the kids were asleep and soaked in sweat, luci was cranky, and i, well, i got food poisoning. fan...TASTIC day. we headed back to the condo afterwards, everyone cranky and hot. i was really upset... it was our last day, and it was a disaster. back at the condo, ian took the kids out on the lake in our boat (first time we had a chance, and i had to miss it darn it) while i hung out on the bathroom floor in agony.

did i mention, ian and i celebrated (ha) our 8th wedding anniversary while we were there? first off, we got the day wrong - we thought the 11th was the 12th. we went out to dinner on the 11th - no easy feat. there are NO nice places there. seriously. unless you want greek food. we ended up at the white spot, where luci threw a fit (i ended up nursing her in the washroom in a stall, as i'd forgotten the bottle). the waitress forgot my salad and in fact, forgot all about us for the most part. we forgot to order a bottle of wine, and the food was terrible.

once we realized (the next day) that we were a day early, we gave up. i'm hoping we'll find a night to go out together this week - kid-free!

i also managed to sprain my thumb on this trip, and pull a muscle in my shoulder.

despite it all, we had a good trip. we nixed our original plan of staying in kelowna for 2 nights, and came home early. we were desperate to sleep in our own bed.

also - no internet at our condo! i was very surprised, and not happy! it wasn't that bad, of course we were too busy to worry about it. i did take my math book and got lots done at night.

now we're home... and it feels like summer is over! we have the weekend, but on monday we go back to watching all the kids... cohen starts grade one on wednesday (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), ian goes back to work on thursday... hockey, ballet, skating, art class, preschool... all start in a few weeks. heck, i may be starting university again in a few weeks! yeah, that. i have some serious decisions to make in the next week. not to mention, i have to get my butt in gear and advertise for some students! i need at least 10, if not 15. 15 for sure if i want to go back to school.

hey - does anyone know what the rules are about going back to school while on mat/parental leave? Nancy?

anyways, there's the quick update. i'll post some pictures tomorrow... SO happy to be back online!

August 10, 2008

Some Pre-Vacation Photos

Here's some updates of Miss Luci and her loving siblings!

I had a reality check - saw a newborn at the Farmer's Market - LUCI IS HUGE! Oh my. Almost 3 months. My little darling, she'll be crawling in no time.

August 8, 2008

I don't know!

Wow. If I seriously want to apply for nursing, I have my work cut out for me. I'll have to immediately apply for the BA program for THIS September (yes, that would mean classes start in 3 weeks) so that I can raise my GPA, which will increase my chances to get accepted in the nursing program in 2009. So, estimate about 1400$ for tuition, due in 3 weeks... Plus, I have to do online upgrading for Math 30, Bio 30 and Chem or Physics 30. Now, I don't have to do these until January, but seriously, I can't take all three of those courses at the same time! Especially the math, which is going to take an enormous amount of studying for me.

So, I'm going to try and get at least bio 30 out of the way now, starting in September, while I'm potentially taking 3-4 courses at Mt Royal in the BA program. Oh yeah, did I mention that the upgrading is going to cost me about $1400 too? So, $2800 just to be eligible to GET IN to the nursing program.

However - any courses I take at Mt Royal this year will be courses that I can put towards the nursing degree anyways - so that will save me $ the year after.

I'm seriously stressing over this. As Ian pointed out, suddenly I'll need childcare while I'm in class, and all of this on top of watching all these other kids, teaching, etc etc!

SO much for my mat leave!

I don't know what to do. More later, as I process some of this information.


August 7, 2008

Blogging.... Check!

jeez time is just flying by! we leave for our first "real" vacation (real as in, longer than 2 days and not taking place in Dawson Creek) as a family. we have a lovely condo on the beach of skaha lake in penticton. i can't wait. growing up, we went to penticton all the time, and i loved it.

of course, ian is working from now until the day we leave, so it's up to me to prepare. despite making several lists and a spreadsheet (laugh it up), i still feel as though we're going to be forgetting things and scrambling at the last moment. oh well. i've got to relax, somehow...

luci! she's almost 3 months! insanity. she is growing like a weed, and becoming more "human" and less "alien" every day. i absolutely adore her. she absolutely adores Cohen! he is the only one that can really get her to stop crying when she's having a really bad day. the second he appears within her field of vision, she grins. it's amazing to watch. and he is so patient and loving with her.

i will post some new photos soon! i am working from my new laptop, and haven't quite managed to get everything of mine transferred from the desktop yet. this week for sure! (just added it to the spreadsheet!)

in other news - i'm meeting with an academic advisor at mount royal college on thursday to discuss my future.

i'm absolutely terrified! there are moments when i think "what the HELL are you doing, thinking about going back to school! tuition!!!!!! who can afford it???? HOW will we afford it???? how am i going to have time???? do i even remember how to study????

but then, i just tell myself that we'll find a way. and it's for the greater good, really - although it will be tough for the 4 years, in the end it'll be better for the family.

i'm still waffling between 2 (sometimes 3) degree options. right now i'm considering business, communications and out in left field, nursing. the challenge i have right now is that my GPA for my last 5 courses at UofC sucked. i was pregnant, sick, and generally distracted for the last year of my degree, and it shows in my grades. not to mention the 2 errors that were made on my transcripts - an "audit" instead of an "a" for orchestra (explain to me how one audits orchestra?) and an "f" rather than a "completed" for class piano. i even have a letter from the head of the department at that time stating that these were errors made internally. it doesn't matter. 6 years ago when i applied for the master of teaching program, they basically informed me that the letter was useless. so frustrating!

on the positive side - if that's why i can't get into any of these programs, i will just apply as a part-time student and take 5 general studies courses to get a new GPA. it would delay me for perhaps a year (although i could possibly get those courses done this year if i tried hard enough). another option is getting accepted as a mature student. that's what i'm hoping. take nursing, for example - are they better off accepting an 18 year old applicant who had a 95% average in high school, or me, who has at least SOME life experience and maturity?

of course, we all know that this doesn't neccesarily come into play. i'm surprised to find that the nursing program does not require an interview for acceptance. for EMS, all schools require an interview and this is usually the most important step in the admissions process.

the communications degree DOES require an interview. and - big plus - no math 30. just a writing sample. and you all know how much i hate to write ;) PLUS the communications degree requires that you spend lots of time on a paid internship... as opposed to the unpaid clinical practicums with nursing...

i just don't know. hopefully my meeting on thursday will help clear things up for me.

all right. according to my spreadsheet, i am supposed to be at wal-mart and winners this morning, not blogging... so i'd best hop in the shower and get my butt in gear!


August 1, 2008

Organic Basketball

Ok, no-one is going to understand that title but Ian...

Regardless, some of you may be VERY interested in this website (I'd create an actual link but I'm still figuring out this Blogger Buddy thingie.

And baby makes 5 2008 © Blog Design 'Felicidade' por EMPORIUM DIGITAL 2008

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