Thursday, August 07, 2014

summer To Do list


Well hello there....
It's been a while.
I've not blogged in ages (nor read any) though it's not for lack of stories, or things swirling around in my head. I guess I've just been busy with other forms of social media.
Facebook & Instagram for the most part. Feel free to check me out on IG @ cherryparsnips.
Also as Lulu gets older, I need to respect her privacy and not go too far when it comes to spilling the beans about her day to day life.
Which essentially is my day to day life.
Especially now that summer is here.
She has been my constant companion 24/7 since school got out.
And is very reluctant to partake in over night camp.
No matter how pretty I paint that picture, she is just not interested. sigh...
And seeing as things have been "strained" (to say the least) with my parents this summer, (long story) there have been no offers for camp Grandma & Grandpa this year either.
But that is a whole other post...
So I guess I have a perma miniature shadow all summer.
But I'm making the most of it, and trying to embrace having the opportunity to hang out with my little buddy everyday while she actually wants to hang out with me.
I know these years are fleeting.

So speaking of summer I usually make a "To Do List"
And seeing as we are already at halfway mark, I figured I should get on it.
So without further delay....

Summer of 2014 wish-to do list

Spend most of it at our new place out of the city (check)
order blinds & curtains, rugs, some art, new doors and start to tackle the garden. (working on it)
have some friends down to visit (check)
theatre (check)
mini road trip to upstate NY.
cycle. a lot.
run & work out. (check)
fly a kite (check)
have a picnic
watch some fireworks (check)
go to a few concerts (check)
vineyards & wine tasting (check, check and more check) (in fact a few too many checks...)
paint a picture
do some baking
pickle something
have a campfire (check)
watch the fireflies (check)
take a few days to go off line...no computers or iphone.
crafts with Lulu
swim
go to the beach (check)
hike
do some yoga
get a massage
read (check) the town library is fantastic
buy fruit from local farmer stand (check) love Quiet Acres...
make Popsicles
speaking of food....
want to eat these things this summer...

Burgers
potato salad
pasta salad
cold cucumber soup
fish tacos
cedar plank salmon with salsa verde
blueberries
cherries
watermelon
homemade pie- still warm if possible
peaches, plums & apricots
lots of salads
corn
zucchini
beans
eggplant
ratatouille
cold soba noodle salad
smoker chip ribs
grilled tuna niciose
lobster roll
my jerk chicken
watermelon & cuke salad
S'mores
Ice cream
oysters
homemade granola with fresh fruit
avocado & spinach banana smoothie
poached eggs
grandpa ham













Wednesday, April 02, 2014

spring cleaning


It's that time of year when I get kind of crazy and feel the need to completely disinfect my entire house from top to bottom.
And after spending far too much time cooped up at home over the winter, it really could use an overhaul.
I try to stay on top of things on a fairly regular basis throughout the year, but truth be told, the winter always tends to bring out my lazy side.

So I'm on a mission.
Trying to do a few tasks each week before the weather gets nice and I don't want to be spending any more unnecessary time inside.

We finally got rid of the dead evergreen Christmas planters the other day and I feel much better already.
They were frozen in place so I had no choice but to wait until the big thaw.
But lucky me gets to still stare at my neighbours plastic snowman, tacky reindeer and Christmas lights (probably until June) grrr...
But that's another post.

First on the list is the windows & screens.
Between the crazy storms, tree debris and construction across the street from us, we can barely see out of the windows.
I use all natural household cleaners. My favourite being Mrs. Meyers.
I love all the scents, package design and the fact that it's earth friendly makes it that much better.
However, after several attempts at getting a streak free shine on the windows I finally caved and went and got a bottle of the blue stuff.
As much as I hate to admit it, it worked SO much better.
I know I could have used good ol' vinegar & water, but I hate the smell.
I really try to refrain from using any toxic house hold cleaners, but sometimes I can't see any other option.
I know bleach is the worst.
But I have a small bottle of it that I use occasionally only when I need to get the stains out of my white kitchen cloths.
I've tried the "natural" alternatives and they just don't seem to work as well.
Anyhow exciting post I know...my life is so glamorous that I feel the need to write about cleaning products....sigh....

But I do try to use natural products the majority of the time, but sometimes they just don't cut it.
How about you? (all three of you) what do you use to clean you house?






Friday, February 21, 2014

pearly whites- notsomuch



So Lulu is officially in the "transitional tooth phase".
Or as I like to put it, the jack-o-lantern-smile-phase.
She has a big gummy grin and is missing 4 teeth at the moment. Her new teeth are having a hard time coming in as she has a tiny mouth (though you wouldn't know it with her endless chitter chatter)
Like I did, she is most certainly going to have crowding issues.
Off for an orthodontist consult next week... whoopee!

I have to refrain from constantly asking her to let me get a closer look to see if her new front teeth are coming in yet though.
I'm becoming obsessed.
It's been since Christmas and still nothing. poor thing.
I'm trying my best not to give her a complex. Probably failing miserably...
She's the last in her class to not have her two front adult teeth and my heart goes out to her.
I was that kid too.
I remember how self conscious I felt when my two front teeth were missing when everyone else was sporting a regular smile.
Plus I just want to see if her two front teeth are normal or not. The waiting is torture.

Unfortunately she has some other dental issues.
She has Hypoplasia on all four of her 6 year molars and one of her bottom front teeth.
Thankfully the other bottom tooth is ok. whew..
The dentist can't give us a reason for it or tell us how many other teeth are affected, other than possibly while they were developing, she had a bad virus or infection that interrupted the enamel development.
So long story short, Lulu can no longer consume sugar. Which isn't the end of the world, but in the eyes of an eight year old, not great news.

We already limit sugary sweets, drinks and candy anyhow but now it's pretty much forbidden from here on in.
I was always one for moderation, but now, even that isn't enough.
Zero sugar, otherwise risk loosing her permanent teeth completely.
No orangina with her pizza on a special night. No juice, granola bars or candy from loot bags.
I don't even want to think about next Halloween...
It's actually amazing how much sugar is in our diet when you start to think about eliminating it.
It's not as easy as it sounds.
But from a health perspective, maybe it's a good thing anyhow.
So Lulu's super sensitive teeth might just be a blessing in disguise for our whole family.
At least that's what I keep trying to convince myself to stop myself from getting depressed about it.
Just have to convince friends and grandparents that "just one candy isn't the end of the world."

But things could certainly be worse.
I think about all the kids (and adults) with severe food allergies and I can't even imagine how difficult that would be.
So things are not that terrible and I need to keep things in perspective.

But it all comes back to my quest for perfectionism.
It's not possible.
Life isn't perfect.
Nor are teeth.

But thankfully there are great dentists to remedy that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Home is where the frozen heart is


After spending a glorious week in California (Palm Springs and visiting family in L.A.) it's back to the never ending winter here in Toronto.

I had such an incredible time and really, I mean really didn't want to come home.
So much so in fact, that when we did arrive home, I found myself checking out neighbourhoods and homes on MLS and researching the best school districts in L.A.
I could SO live in California.

Great weather- obviously being #1 on the list.
We have family there.
Great economy and plenty of career opportunities. Albeit, having to start over is a wee bit daunting...
Amazing (and I mean Amazing) grocery stores and restaurants.
I love you Trader Joe's!
Lovely homes and cool architecture. (Reasonably priced I might add.) Especially when you compare to Toronto's over inflated real estate market and often ugly boxy brick houses.
People are so friendly and laid back.
So much to do. Especially if you love being outdoors.
Hiking, cycling, walking the dog (no coat and booties required) surfing, skiing. You name it, you can do it in Cali.
Excellent shopping. Bonus that you wouldn't need 18 different types of winter coats and boots.
Great people watching. Keith Urban was on my flight and Eugene Levy was at the airport when I landed.
Hiked past Moby's house on my morning walk and I just missed Orlando Bloom at the local coffee shop according to my sister-in-law. rats...
So you never know who you'll bump into in Los Angeles.
It's easy to live a healthy life style and stay fit and optimistic.
Everyone is so into fitness! Plenty of inspiration.
It's on the ocean.
Delicious wine. My favourite pinots all come from California. Not to mention that the wine is a third of the cost as it is here in Ontario. damn taxes.
It's green. I love all the varieties of trees and flowers. It's a gardener's paradise. We picked fresh lemons and made lemonade one day. Seriously. I mean where is the justice in the world?
Oh and the biggest bonus of all...
Rob Ford doesn't live there.

So needless to say there are plenty of reasons to want to live in California.

But for now we are here.
And for better or worse, Toronto is our home.
Business is good.
We live in a great neighbourhood.
Lulu loves her school and has a strong sense of stability. Which is very important to me.
We have a lot of great friends that I would miss if we moved.
My family is here.
I do love Canada and all that it stands for. So I would miss that for sure.
Free health care. Whoopie!
And sure, the weather really, and I mean really sucks. But it builds character. Right?
At least that's what I keep trying to tell myself every time I venture out and freeze my ass off.
Bonus that in the winter you don't need to wear make up. Especially blush.
My cheeks are always a rosy shade of pink from the wind chill.
And I don't have to wash my hair every day. Hats rock.
In fact I don't really have to get dressed at all.
I often drop Lulu off in my PJ's and no one is the wiser.
Gotta love big puffy all covering winter coats and snow pants.
Speaking of pants..don't need to shave my legs so often. Those pasty white bad boys are completely covered up, so who really cares about stubble? Also a bonus that I don't have to unveil the lovely little blue broken veins that no amount of self tanning cream will conceal.
I don't really see or hear my neighbours for half of the year as they go into hibernation for the winter.
Trust me, this is a very good thing.
Just wish they would shovel the driveway and sidewalk on occasion instead of always waiting for us to do it. grrrr.
But hey, shovelling works the biceps, triceps and quads! So their loss.
And at least we don't have to garden. Screw you weeds, tiny squishy rotten apples, and pesky wasps and mosquito's.
Yay no bugs!
The water is crazy cold when it comes out of the tap. I love a nice cold glass of H2o. Don't you?
My back deck doubles as a fridge and freezer when the need arises.
Snow is pretty. So are green leaves and flowers. Oh how I miss you green trees...sniff sniff
And let's face it, winter is a perfect excuse to be lazy and anti social.
Which is kind of okay once in a while. Summer can be so exhausting with all that going out and having fun.
Right?
And hey, we save a fortune on babysitters and restaurant tabs.
Sitting by a fire, drinking red wine reading a good book is the best. Sitting in the sun, drinking white wine, reading a trashy magazine...oh how I miss you summer....sniff sniff
T.V.  I love binge watching all my favourite shows on HBO. Currently obsessed with Downton Abby.
I'm a television junkie, what can I say? And I feel too guilty watching during the fleeting summer months.
And last but not least...winter gives you something to bitch about.
That is until the heat and humidity of July & August set in...

But in my mind...I'm going to California....(some day)















Tuesday, January 21, 2014

resolutions



Now that that we are finally above zero in the weather department, I feel a sense of relief and optimism for the first time in almost two months.
What can I say? the weather really affects me.
Though I know we are still in for many more long cold weeks of winter, it has been a nice reprieve.

While in hibernation mode I've had a bit of time to reflect and think about some of the changes I would like to make in 2014.

1. Simplify.
when it comes to pretty much everything. I don't need so many options. whether it be clothing, meals, activities.

2. be more mindful about waste and being more green.

3. be more grateful. I live a very blessed life and I need to continually remind myself of that.

4. have fun. spend time with people who make me laugh and who I enjoy making laugh in turn.

5. Love more. my husband. my daughter (if that's possible...) myself.

6. Make peace with my past so it won't disturb my future. this one will take some work, but it's so true.

7. ignore the word perfect. Because seeking perfectionism will surely be my demise.

8. do something out of my comfort zone.

9. give back. volunteer. play it forward. do something unexpected for someone. maybe even a stranger.

10. be more positive. the glass is always half full. if it isn't, fill it up.



Tuesday, January 07, 2014

okay..I lied. I don't like change.



I had originally planned on saying good-bye to this blog.
At least for a while.

I've pretty much felt like I've had nothing really too interesting to write about these past few years  months.
When I do, I sensor myself so much because it's no longer anonymous, so where's the fun in that?
Besides, I never really seem to find the time to sit and collect my thoughts and write them down, so why bother?
Excuses excuses..

But truth be told, I miss rambling on about myself and my family.
It's such a great outlet at times.
So I'm back.
Probably not consistently or with anything ground breaking to discuss, but I just need a place I can call my own.
So without further adieu...

Can I just start by saying how freaking happy I am that the holidays have come & gone?
I've never really been a fan of Christmas. 
I know. Bah humbug.
I just find it all so exhausting and intense.
I'm very relieved that the glittery balls, wooden snowflakes, miniature reindeer and all the other holiday accoutrement are safely packed away for yet another year.
Thankfully there are no more cookies lingering around (pretty sure they are all attached to my waist & butt I'm afraid) and I cleared out the refrigerator of all things sinful.
The latter due to the fact that our fridge died over the holidays due to the power surge & outage from the big ice storm.
Good times...
I'm secretly kind of happy though, as I kind of wanted a new fridge.
Sadly it's not the built in subzero I've been dreaming about for years, but it fit through our tiny doorway and into our tight space in the kitchen, so I'm thrilled.
Bonus, it died during the boxing week sales, so we ended up saving a bundle.
Always a silver lining.

But it's a new year and a great time to start fresh.
Eat healthy and exercise often.
Though I try to do this through out the year, it's always nice to have a clean slate.
I don't really have any resolutions per say.
Maybe I should.
There are several things I would like to accomplish this year, but I have to admit, I find it difficult to get motivated to do too much when it's minus 40 degrees outside!!
Holy cold!
I hate to bring up the weather, but geez...this is ridiculous.
Enough with winter already.
I woke up in the middle of the night to loud banging noises, which I discovered were "ice quakes".
W.T.F.???
I had never even heard of such a thing.
I'm so over it.
71 days. 1 hour. and 13 minutes and 21 seconds until spring.
20 seconds...19....18...
but who's counting?

Happy New Year!








Sunday, December 22, 2013

farewell...for now..

dontbeafraidofchange 10 Quotes die je inspireren en aansporen tot verandering
When I first started this blog, blogs were a new thing.
I was also stuck at home with a new born and wasn't really part of any "new mommy group".
I was alone and trying to figure it all out by myself.
Then I found all these funny (and some not so funny) mommy blogs to read and it kind of helped me get through it all.
The blogosphere became my salvation back in the day.
It was my stay-at-home mommy group.

I also wanted to document the early years of parenthood and all the cute (and not so cute) things that Lulu did each day.
It gave me a creative outlet during an often monotonous and challenging time in my life.

Flash forward eight years and well, Lulu is still super cute, but I'm guessing that she wouldn't be so thrilled about me writing about her and sharing tidbits about her life with people she doesn't know.
Plus life is far from monotonous these days.
Then again, what is really private these days?
with Facebook, Twitter, Instragram..there is not much left when it comes to privacy.
But out of respect for her, I think it's time to hang up the petite gourmand's hat.

It's been great.
A wonderful outlet and a way to remember.
But I'm thinking that I would like to move it in a new direction in 2014.
Not sure if it will still be called the Petite Gourmand or not, but it's time for a change.
So for those of you who still stop by or have been along for the ride for the past eight years
-Thank-You.
It's been swell...but I'm going to take a break for now and go on a bit of blog hiatus.
But until then...

Happy Holidays & wishing you a very happy and healthy new year.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

workin it


Regardless of how dismal things can sometimes feel, (and yes, unfortunately there are days when I just feel blah)  the perfect antidote for me is a good workout.
I love to exercise.
It's my life saver and totally keeps me feeling not only fit and healthy but so much more balanced as a wife & mother.
It's such a huge stress reliever and I need my kick boxing class fixes, the way Rob Ford needs carbs & crack.

But seriously, I never thought ten years ago when I joined an all women's neighbourhood gym that not only would it become such a part of my weekly routine, but that I would also make so many genuine friendships with so many incredible women.
I've been going to different fitness clubs since I was in my early twenties, along with yoga studios, but there has never been a place I enjoy as much as my current gym.
I walk in the door and instantly feel happier.


run fitness quotation

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

roast me a grape





It's been a while since I posted anything to do with food...or pretty much anything for that matter.
With Pintrest, and all the amazing food blogs I figured why bother?
But I had to share this one.

We had some friends down to our new place a few weeks ago and we had a nice late lunch/early dinner on a Sunday afternoon.
Love doing that.
Anyhow being in wine country I tried to use as many local ingredients as possible.
So we started out with this delicious roasted grape and ricotta crostini.
I had something similar once on a trip to California and wanted to try to make my own version.
so tasty.

Roasted Grape & Ricotta Crostini   

1 good quality baguette, cut into 12 half-inch pieces
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese 
a bunch of red grapes - you want about 48 grapes total.  Keep the grapes as clusters.
5 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and pepper
10 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and toast on a bake sheet until golden - about 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn heat up to 450*F. 
In a large bowl, toss the grapes with 3 tbsp olive oil, good grindings of pepper and salt and 6 sprigs of thyme.  Place on a parchment lined bake sheet and roast until skins pucker - about 8-10 minutes.  Meanwhile, spread the ricotta on the cooled baguette slices.  When the grapes have puckered, remove them from oven, let them cool until you are able to comfortably handle them but are still quite warm.  Remove them from their stems and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Place 4or 5 roasted grapes on top of the ricotta, garnish with some fresh thyme sprigs and serve immediately.  Makes 12 crostini.   

You could also add a few crushed roasted walnuts on top or substitute a creamy goat cheese for  the ricotta.
enjoy!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving






This year Thanksgiving was kind of bitter sweet.

On one hand, it was amazing to be able to spend four days at our new country home and soak in the beauty of the area.
The weather was near perfect and I couldn't seem to get enough of the fresh air and gorgeous trees and vineyards everywhere.
I actually didn't want to leave.
It was so peaceful and relaxing.
All I kept think all weekend was "I could so see myself living here full time."

I also had a great visit with my brother and his family and kind of bonded a bit with him for the first time in a long time.
We've never really been close, or at least not since we were kids, but now that he has a young family, things are slowly changing.
We actually had some meaningful conversations this weekend and found ourselves reminiscing and sharing stories about our relatives.
We are pretty opposite in many ways, but the bottom line is that we are family and it's just the two of us.
And family is everything.

Speaking of family, there was a strong absence from our Thanksgiving weekend this year.
Unfortunately my parents were not with us.
They were with my grandmother out East.
Who, after a long fight trying to hang on and keep a foot in this world, finally gave in and took her last breath surrounded by her family on Thanksgiving Sunday.
I am so thankful for all that she's done throughout the years.
Without her, there would be no me.

She was an amazing woman and I was always so in awe of the fact that she had eight children!
To me this is so incredible.
But not only did she have a big family and married the love of her life, she also worked full time.
She was the head nurse at the hospital for years.
I remember my mom telling me that she worked the 4pm- 12 am shift Monday-Friday.
All the kids would sit down for a hot lunch everyday at home though, so they could all have "supper" as a family.
That is also amazing.
I have one child, work a little here and there 1-2 days a week and there are still times I feel like I can't keep up.
But she just got on with things.
"No fuss- no muss" was her motto.

She also had a great sense of humour and a real zest for life.
She loved a good party and never left the house without her lipstick on and her perfectly pressed coordinating outfits with a simple strand of pearls or her gold bangles.
I can still picture them on her wrist making a gentle clinking sound as she moved around.
She was smart as a whip and was always in the know about pretty much everything and everyone on the island.
She loved to read and could pretty much strike up a conversation on any subject.
She was a fantastic story teller and I think passed the gift of gab on to several generations.
Not mentioning any names or anything.....

92 years...wow.
Exactly 50 years older than I am today.

I'm sad that she is no longer with us, yet I'm happy that she is no longer suffering and was with all of her children who looked after her with great care and compassion.
She was lucky woman to be surrounded by so much love and devotion.

One of my favourite quotes (and there were many....) was  "enjoy every day dear...'cause there's no getting out of this world alive..."

So true.

R.I.P. nan
you will be missed.
xo