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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Recipe: Cherry Cheesecake

This was another recipe that I was supposed to bring to the baby shower that got kiboshed by the snowstorm on Sunday.  Of course, my family appreciated that I had to stay home and share it with them.  It's another one of those recipes that is so easy to make.

I've had this recipe since January1999.  It originally came from one of hubby's favourite aunts.  She makes it every year for Christmas, and one year, I asked her for it and she sent it to me.

I love that it's her handwriting on there.  The edges are curling and there are a few stains on it, but I like to pull it out and see as it was sent to me, on the back of a Christmas card.  I'm sentimental like that. :)

This cherry cheesecake is very light and fluffy.  This time around I did not bake the graham crust, because the package that i bought said I didn't have to. It turned out really well, easier to cut.  I've made a few small changes to the recipe as you can see below.

Here is the Recipe:

Aunt Kathleen's Cheesecake


Graham Craker Crumbs
1 Container Cool Whip (or 1 Package  Dream Whip)
1 8oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
I cup Icing sugar
1 Can of Cherry Topping (or any other flavour you like)


Mix crumbs according to direcitons on box

Cook then cool completely.

Mix together Cool whip and cream cheese. Add sugar, and mix well.  
Put cheese mixture on top of crumbs. Top with Cherry topping.

Chill in fridge for 4 hours or for best results make it the day before serving.

This recipe is intended for 8x8 square pan. For 9x13 pan double recipe.


Are you sentimental like me and keep handwritten recipes as you receive them from people?  Is there a recipe that you have that you make at Christmas time? Do share.

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I'm linking up at: Work it Wednesday, Christmas Wonderful Link-Up, Inspiration Monday, The DIYers, Give me the Goods, Tasty Tuesday, Show me What ya got, Time to Sparkle, Saturday Night Fever, the Party Bunch, Sunday Best, Strut your stuff, All things Christmas, Sunday Showcase, Wow Me Wednesday, Thrifty Decor Chick Christmas, Mega Inspiration

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

DIY: Sparkly Winter Wreath

With the move this summer, somehow my Christmas wreath disappeared.  It was just a green wreath form that I have used to DIY over and over for a bunch of years.  I'm wondering if I donated it or something on one of my many decluttering rampages prior to the move.  I don't know.

So what is a girl to do when you want a pretty wreath on your door, but you  don't want to get out of your pyjamas to drive to store because it is so  darn cold outside?

Well, you make one.

Problem # 1: I didn't have a wreath form. That put a damper in my plans.

Solution: I hunted around and found a couple of wire hangers and some green garland.

Problem # 2: Bookie the cat likes garland. >:(

Solution: I moved him (I know rocket scientist here).

So once the kitty was otherwise occupied, I undid the hangers and then made a circle out of the two of them.

And then I wrapped the garland around and through the circle I made.  Of course my little supervisor was always around wanting "to help". >:(

Once I had wrapped my garland around the form I fluffed the branches until I was positive my wreath form was fluffy enough.

I then looked through my Christmas hoard stash and found a Christmas tree topper that I had bought at Goodwill a few weeks ago for $1.00. (it had a tag for 14.95 on it from whatever store it was originally purchased from.

I tore off the bottom part and then hot glued it onto my wreath form. I looked around some more and found some sparkly Christmas picks and glued those on too. And then made a pretty bow from some left over ribbon.

And ta-da... I have a Sparkly Winter Wreath!

I love that it's simple and sparkly.  It looks like there are beads of ice on the tips.

Since I had everything from years and years of hoarding, it cost me nothing to make it.  Well, I guess $1.00, since I know I purchased the tree topper this year.

Isn't she pretty?  Looks like a winter bride doesn't it? (just nod and agree with me)


If you are looking for more wreath inspiration check out this wreath blog hop that is going on from 14 fellow Canadian bloggers.  Such talent.

Let's Keep in touch with Facebook!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Holiday Meatballs

Yesterday I was supposed to co-host a baby shower with my sister for my sister-in-law, in my hometown of Hamilton, which is over an hour drive away.  However, with the snowstorm, my plans got foiled.  Lucky for my family, I had a fridge full of yummy food, and no where to bring it too.

So while hubby was clearing the drive, I walked the dog in our neighborhood through over 70 cms of snow and the kids made snow angels.

While we were making the best of our snow day, I put together one of the party foods that I had planned for the baby shower, dumped everything into the crockpot and when we had enough of frolicking in the snow, it filled our bellies.

One the my fail-proof party foods is my Holiday Meatballs.  Easy to make, saucy and delicious.  It's one of those recipes, that you can keep all the ingredients in the pantry for last minute gatherings, or if you need something to bring to the office potluck.  It was always requested from Hubby's co-workers for the Christmas office potluck. Of course, I never knew when it was until the night before he was to bring it in, so I always kept the 3 ingredients in my pantry.

Holiday Meatballs

1 package of prepared frozen Italian/Sweadish Meatballs
1 can of Cranberry Sauce (either wholeberry or jelly)
1 jar of favourite BBQ sauce ( I use Chicken & Rib)

Dump all ingredients in a crockpot and heat on high for a couple of hours until meatballs are hot and sauce starts to bubble.

Soooo yummy.


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Linking up : Our Sunday Best, Monday Funday Link Party, Get your DIY on, Work it Wednesday, Christmas Wonderful Link-party, Inspiration Monday, The DIYers, Give me the Goods, Before/After party, Tasty Tuesday, Time to Sparkle, Saturday Night Fever, the Party Bunch, Strut your stuffAll Things Christmas, The Sunday Showcase, Wow Me Wednesday, All Things Christmas, Creative Muster

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Snow day!

We've been listening to the weather man the last couple of days, and he was calling for 10 cm of snow in my area.

Now, I'm not good with math, but this looks like more than 10 cm.  What do you think? And it's still coming down.

I think we will be cuddling indoors today, in between snow-man building and frolicking in the snow.

Stay warm wherever you live.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever found a recipe that is solo easy it's crazy?  Then you tweaked just a little bit that you feel better about drowning it in chocolate chips?

This Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies is one of those for me.  I found it years ago on the back of a Oatmeal Package and then cut back on the sugar and added 1/2 cup of ground flaxseed for the extra healthy benefits.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie


3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp (30 ml) water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cip all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 cups quick cooking  or minute oats
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven at 350 F (180 C)
  2. Grease baking sheets
  3. Cream butter, sugars, egg, water and vanilla together
  4. Combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture, and beat on low speed. Add in oats, flax seed and chocolate chips and stir.
  5. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to baking sheets.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown.

This is a great after school snack.  Apparently this cookie is really good dunked in chocolate milk too.

* This recipe was found on back of Robin Hood Minute Oats bag but I adapted it by adding ground Flax seed and less sugar.

Linking up: Saturday Night Fever, Christmas Cookie Exchange, Creative Muster

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Turn on your imagination with Imaginext Adventures and a Contest (Canada only)- #ImaginextAdventures

There is nothing sweeter than listening to your children play.  Using their imagination and creating all sorts of scenarios that only children can come up with and get away with.  There is still that innocence about them, that in their imagination anything is possible.

I remember when my girls were little and I loved listening to them as they played with their dolls and barbies.  Since Haley is younger than Sydney by two years, Sydney was always the "director" in their playtime.  One thing that still stands out in my mind is that they  would be playing and I would overhear Sydney say to Haley " and then you said..." and then Haley would repeat whatever she said.  After awhile though, Haley caught on that she had her own mind and would say whatever she wanted to say, so an argument would always ensue. then barbies would go flying.  Many times I would overhear them say lines  as pretend parents that their father or I would use on them.  My favourite was always "because I said so!"

They are 15 and 13 now, It feels like sooo long ago since, my girls stopped really playingsiiiigggghhh

But now, I get to listen to Anthony during his playtime.  With Anthony it's all about the super heroes and rescuing someone or something from iminent danger.  And there seems to always be a paper airplane in the mix too.

It's very rare that I see all three of my kids play together anymore.  It's mostly Anthony and Haley that still play together.

So when I saw this happening this weekend, my heart swelled with pride.  Let me give you some backstory though.

We recently received the Fisher-Price - Imaginext Rescue City Center to play with. 
We were pretty excited to get to try it out. *  
We brought it over to a friends house to share with them.  
Our friends boys are 7 and 8 years old.

 This toy is recommended for children aged 3-8, which Anthony and his friends were at the top end of age range.  Yet, it kept them busy for over an hour.  Of course there was food involved as well.

I loved that there was enough room for them to all play together. 

The Rescue City Center Features a Gas Pump, Fire Station, Police Station, Hospital.
  • Theres is a currency exchange with a figure disk activation that will either open the vault in back or drop down a gate blocking the front door and a hotel with a jewelry store on the first floor.
  • The hospital has an elevator, lobby an X-Ray machine and an operation table.
  • The police station features a jail door that operates via turn disk. 
  • The fire station has a pop open front door that is activated via a turn disk on the sidewalk. This will also unlock the “ActionTech” Technology that allows this playset to magically communicate with other accessories. The Fire Truck which comes with the playset also features this technology and will unlock the dispatcher once activated.
  • One other turn disk activates “flames” that pop up inside the hotel! You can put the fire out with the projectile water blob from the fire truck.
  • It comes with two figures, fire truck, satellite dish, antenna, parking meter, street light, axe, fire hydrant and flag for the bank. 

The kids played a variety of roles: bad guys, cops, fire fighters.  The city was very interactive.

Once we got home, I set up the city on our dining room table and Anthony sat down to play some more. 

At one point I heard this conversation:

"Hey Chief! What are you doing up there?"

"I'm waiting for instructions on what to do next! And... can someone bring me my underpants?"

I looked over to see what was happening and laughed at that one. I'm assuming "Chief" didn't have any underpants on?!?!  ;)

The best part for me was when I saw my three kids playing with the toy.  Of course the older two were just being nozy at first.  Anthony loved to play with his sisters and getting the attention from them. He had fun showing his sisters, the trap doors and the fire truck that shoots water at the building and all of the other cool gadgets.

Their vision is to inspire & empower kids through imaginative play that helps them build confidence, solve problems & discover who they are.

I would agree that this toy did just that!

You can Check out the World of Imaginext® with Ed Venture and his friends.

There is a contest going on right now until December 13, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. ET and it is open to residents of Canada only.

So are you ready to turn on the Adventure??

* - “Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Imaginext Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Sunday, 10 November 2013

It's Official! A New Teen in the House!

I'd like to introduce you to a new teenager in the house.

Her name is Haley! She is officially a teenager!

Actually her birthday was yesterday, but her and I were busy all day long, 
so I never got to posting about her birthday.

Yesterday, we went for Birthday Mani's.

She got a colour called "summer memories" (I think).  It was sea-foam colour.

Haley said that was her first time getting a professional manicure. 

I think she took careful notes, so she can do it at home.

After that, I took her to the get some gifts from Make-up counter at Shoppers.  She picked up some face cleaning stuff and other girly stuff.  I find that it's easier to bring her to pick out her own products than buying them, and hoping that she likes them.

And then we went for  lunch at Montana's.

I had casually mentioned to our waitress that it was her birthday, 
and when we ordered a Shirley Temple.

And right after dinner I saw our waitress carry a large  hat towards us.  :)

Apparently it was quite heavy!

The staff sang her happy birthday, and I think she turned 13 shades of red.

Mission accomplished.

We ended our day by going out and ordering new mattress for her bed (and mine too).

She was having a ball testing out all the memory foam beds with vibrating 
and remote controlled front and bottom lifting. 

Happy birthday my beautiful thirteen year old.  I enjoyed our day out together, 
I hope you had as much as fun as I did.

Today, we are having family over for dinner and enjoying an ice-cream birthday cake 

from the Marble Slab.  yummm

Thursday, 7 November 2013

So far this month...

Remember last week, when I went on about my bad shoulder? And how much pain I had been in for about two months?  And how much better I was feeling?  And how I was looking forward to getting some things done around here?

Famous last words.  Shoulder-feeling-better-my-patootie.

Monday night I was on my way to the basement to check on the cat food and stuff and I lost my footing on the top step and then tumbled down the stairs.  With my arms flailing trying to grab at the imaginary hand rail, my foot went out from under me and my thigh hit the step at a perfect angle to leave a lovely black bruise and I slipped down to the bottom of the carpeted stairs, all while trying to stop myself with my bad arm/shoulder.  And to add insult to injury I got to the bottom step and bent my ankle in an awkward way and then slammed my head on the step. Somehow in my attempt to stop my fall I also twisted and turned my lower back the wrong way. Good times!  Good times!

Yes, I'm a mess once again.  Ice and heat and drugs have been my bestest friend this week... again.  Oh and of course, hubby is away on business trip, so guess who gets to walk the big puppy? Twice a day. Sometimes in the rain.  Trying to stop the big puppy from jumping on the nice-old-lady-walking-tiny-dog and meanwhile still trying to keep the umbrella from turning inside out, I'm sure has been quite the sight.

But, so you don't think I'm a big complaining klutz, I actually did something before my fall.  I painted the master bedroom. But earlier today I went to take pictures and my camera battery was dead, and now it's charged but it's too dark to take decent pics.  whomp whomp whomp.  Just when you thought I'd end this post on a positive note, I didn't.  Oh well.

Anyhow I'm taking some drugs and going to bed because...

Monday, 4 November 2013

15 Year Ago

It was 15 years ago today that I became a mom for the first time.  It's still all so vivid in my mind, just like it was yesterday.

I was 26 years old.

A few days earlier I had gone to get an ultrasound to check up on things, since I had not had one at 20 weeks, like is customary.  My doctor wanted to make sure everything was o.k.  Two days later, after a day of pampering myself with pedicure, shopping and lunch out with a friend, I received a call from my doctor asking me to go hospital the following day (November 3) for another ultrasound.  She was not worried, but she wanted to check something.  So I did.  I was still 3 weeks from my due date, so I thought nothing of it.

I took a taxi to the hospital.  Hubby had taken the car to work in Toronto, because he was picking up my mom from the airport that evening.  She was arriving from Portugal.  I arrived  at the hospital by taxi at about noon, and I was brought right into the ultrasound room.  The technician was there, and started the ultrasound. And then she left the room to get the doctor.  Those techs have such poker faces, you can never read anything on their face.  The doctor checked the ultrasound and turned to me and said "how would you like to have the baby today?"  huh, what? She then started to tell me, she was slightly concerned about the levels of amnionic fluid and that the placenta looked "aged". I was 36 weeks along  at this point.  My mind froze.  I hadn't bought newborn diapers yet.  I hadn't packed the baby bag.  What if hubby had a meeting at work? I said "I have to call my husband to see if he is available".  So I called him, and said "doctor wants the baby out, is that o.k.?"  It seems kind of comical now, that I was asking permission to have the baby that day, but I was totally serious.

The doctor started the induction process, it was about 4 o'clock at this point.  Within minutes, I started to feel contractions, very lightly.  The doctor checked me again and said, "o.k. everything is started, and now we'll just wait.  Why don't you go home, rest and labour there." Panic started within me.  I honestly thought it would only take a little while after that , and I would have my baby within a few hours.  Little did I know.

So here I am now at the hospital by myself, labour has been started, and I had taken a taxi to the hospital and had no way of getting home.  Great.  I didn't want to be in a taxi with a stranger and possibly have my baby.  I called my younger brother at work, same place that I had worked at two weeks earlier.  I asked him if he could pick me up from the hospital after work.

He picked me up some time after five.  First words out of his mouth were "do not have this baby in my car! I just had it cleaned."  I still laugh about that to this day.  I made him stop at the grocery store to pick up my favourite Roma pizza and a pack of newborn diapers.  The contractions seemed to be coming on stronger and stronger.  In hindsight, those contractions were nothing compared to what was to come.

We went home and ate I happily ate my pizza ( I may or may not have eaten the entire thing) because right after I delivered the baby I was going  to start my diet.  Hubby got home with my mom a few hours later.  By this point, I had put together a hospital bag for me, hubby and baby.

I had contractions throughout the night, and somehow slept.  The following morning, I woke up to stronger contractions than the night before and I paged my doctor.  She told me to come into the hospital after 10 a.m. to be checked again.  I'm pretty sure we arrived at 10:01 a.m.!  I was checked and she told me I had progressed nicely overnight.  No kidding sherlock, the contractions, were now taking my breath away.  By 10:30 a.m. they broke my waters and then left me alone.  Hubby and I paced the hospital corridors for a while, until the Jacuzzi tub was available.  Once tub became available I was in there.  I had decided that I didn't want any drugs or epidurals.  I wanted it to be all natural.  I reminded my husband again, that no matter what I said, no drugs.

After a while, hubby got hungry and decided to go grab some food.  He went to get a submarine sandwich from a place across the street from the hospital.  Apparently they put extra onions in his sandwich, because as soon as he stepped into the steamy bathroom, that was all I could smell.  ONIONS!! I yelled told him to go brush his teeth! He turned to the nurse, and she confirmed, that "yes, he needed to brush his teeth." He came back, and jumped right in to help me with my contractions.  He came close to me and as he told me  "to breathe".  I nearly clocked him!  I'm pretty sure I muttered through the contraction "THERE ARE MINTS IN THE BAG! GET THEM! NOW!" Let's just say for the other two births of our children he never ate a sandwich with onions again!

After a while, my contractions were out of control and I wanted out of tub!  I was brought to a labour room and was supplied with ice popsicles to keep my mouth wet.  After one popsicle, I started to feel really sick to my stomach. I started to vomit uncontrollably. The contractions were one on top of the other and I was vomiting at the same time.  I started to get delirious.  I started begging for the epidural.  My husband calmly reminded me that "I didn't want drugs and I could this on my own.  I was strong and blah blah blah".  Apparently the story goes that I turned into a crazy woman and told him "to forget anything I ever said and get ME SOME DRUGS NOW!!"  Luckily enough the epidural person was available to shut me up get to me right away.  It had been about 24 hours by this point since my labour had been induced and contractions had started.

As soon as epidural kicked in, it was bliss.  I became the delightful girl my hubby had chosen to marry and not the raving lunatic I had turned into earlier.  Hubby went home, after the doctor telling him it would probably be a few more hours.  I took a nap.  I think I slept a couple of hours.

I woke up again, when I felt things started to change again, and mentioned it to the nurse.  By this point, hubby was back, and I was told it was time to start pushing.  I pushed for about 2 hours.  I started getting annoyed with myself, cause I couldn't get the job done already! I was dang tired, and the epidural had worn off.  Just when I thought my body could do no more, it happened...

I delivered our baby.

It was 8:05 p.m., on November the 4th that we met the most beautiful baby that I had even seen.

She was perfect. 7 lbs 6 oz, 10 fingers, 10 toes. Lots and lots of hair.


That was then...

This is now!

Happy Birthday baby girl!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Friday Five

Happy November!

I guess I took a little unintended vacay from blog after Haley's surgery.  In case you are wondering, her surgery went fine, although she did get a bit of an infection that was quickly cleared up with antibiotics. Me on the other hand, is slowly recuperating from TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome).  After about two months of popping pills, one day I realized I couldn't take a deep breath, couldn't move my arms, my hands were numb and weak and I had a sharp pain in my chest.  First thought, heart attack (I don't even know if those are the proper symptoms or not).  Anyways I made an appointment to go see the doctor and in the end this is what I was told I had, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  I'm feeling much better now, although at times, it still hurts to take a deep breath.

But now, unto my Friday Five!

1.  Halloween at my house this year consisted of a Vampire, A witch and the Incredible hulk.  Of course, like the mother of the year that I am, I forgot to take proper pics, so these ones are courtesy of my cell phone pic posts from Facebook.  Only Anthony and Haley wore their costumes trick or treating, and wore orange and black to school.  Sydney on the other hand wore costume to school and then stayed home to hand out candy and do homework.  It was a crazy rainy windy day in our area, but we still managed to stay out for an hour.  I was completely drenched when we got home and my running shoes are still drying off.

2. I've been getting quotes to add more storage to my kitchen.  So far, I haven't been able to match the cabinet perfectly, although I might have found the original supplier for the builder of our kitchen.  So I might be getting close. I want a desk in the kitchen and I came accross this pic From Commona - my House, that shows EXACTLY what I'm looking for.

Commona - My House

Oh and this kitchen island too. Maybe not so many drawers though!

3.  This pumpkin Recipe has been made twice in my house in the past two weeks.  So moist and so yummy! I want to think it's healthy too because of the pumpkin, but the sugar kind blows that theory out of water. (Sorry cell phone pic again  - check out Inspired room for better pic!)

4.  We all had tears running down our faces from this video.   I love Ellen!

5.  I asked my friends on Facebook, if it was ok to put up Christmas decorations now that Halloween was done.  I was promptly reminded of Remembrance Day. So I'm starting mine on November 12th.  So I'm wondering, when do you put your's up?

I will be back next week with regular blog posting and sharing two teens birthdays!

Have a great weekend! Stay warm!


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