Thursday, December 24, 2009

T'was the night before christmas

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

Anyone else have little inquiring minds asking what Santa does if the fire has been burning all night and the chimney is hot enough to cause first degree burns?

Or what if the house doesn't have a chimney?

Or what if the kids live in an apartment with a doorman?

Or does Santa know the code for our security alarm?

and does Rudolf have GPS in his nose?

and why aren't there any girl reindeer's? that's not fair.
(I say Vixen to that one)

But she has no eyelashes- and all girl reindeer have long eyelashes mama......

It's gonna be a long day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Not a creature was stirring.
not even a mouse......

Monday, December 14, 2009

played like a fiddle

I made a promise to myself that I would do my best to refrain from blogging about being sick all the time.
Last year (and the year before) I feel like that was all I ever wrote about.
Damn germ filled school system...
For the most part I have kept things to myself this year.
But truth be told- the sickies have been making their rounds here at casa petitegourmand since well...the second week of September.
Since then it has been a rotation of one thing or another.
flus, colds, strep throat, bronchitis.....and that's just me I'm talking about!
And I always thought I was so healthy.
What a joke.
We were almost NEVER sick before Lulu started school.
That being said-I am still so grateful that we all have a week off from being sick while we were away in November.
Very Grateful.
I think I would have had a breakdown if that hadn't been the case.
But since we have been back, things haven't been so rosy.
Big daddy had the flu on my birthday 2 weeks ago for the third year in a row- yay!
Lulu has missed three different birthday parties, a Hanukkah party and same goes for me.
Not too into going out these past few weeks due to a very nasty cough that won't go away.
I feel okay- minus the headaches caused from coughing my brains out- but I guess all this phlegm is starting to take an emotional toll on me.
To top things off, Lulu woke up last night complaining of ear pain.
grrreat- here we go again....
she's just getting over 2 weeks worth of feeling terrible and now something new?
I gave her some Motrin and she slept through the night. Fortunately for both of us.
But she woke this morning- super glum.
No temperature- but not herself.
She said- and I quote- "I'm just feeling sad because the sun isn't shining and I feel like staying in bed all day"
I thought these excuses not to go to school weren't supposed to start until at least the 4th grade?!
She also cried her eyes out when big daddy left for work- also not normal behavior.
So I really didn't know what I should do.
Let her stay home and get some rest in case she really isn't 100% better.
Or make her go to school and hopefully being there would bring her out of her Monday morning funk.
There were plenty of tears while I was trying to assess the situation and make a decision-and that's just me I'm talking about...kidding...sort of....
so in the end- Lulu managed to squeeze another home day out of me.
Funny enough-she made a miraculous recovery as soon as I hung up the phone to her school.
So how do you really know when your child is really sick, or maybe just feeling melancholy or even just plain tired?
and how do you react?
Oh and am I the only one catching every single virus out there?
It seems like I'm the only mom I know who is chronically ill- or am I imagining this?

Monday, December 07, 2009

don't judge a book by it's cover

Well these may not look like much.
A bit of a plain Jane looking cookie on the outside.
But it's what's on the inside that counts right?
Trust me- these babies are worth buying the cookbook for the recipe alone.
Chunky White chocolate Cranberry cookies.
Though- to be completely honest- mine for some reason are not even close to being as good as the author's version.
Maybe they used Ghirardelli White Chocolate instead of President's choice?
Either way they are still fantastic.
I was a lucky taster during the shooting of the book.
Two very talented sisters (and friends) wrote this fantastic cook book and I think it's a real winner.
I was drooling over all the delicious recipes last night, putting post-its on page after page.
Oh and the photography isn't too shabby either ;
If you are looking for a great holiday gift- this book won't disappoint.
oh and even Heather agrees- it's a Heather's pick.
She always seems to get it right.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We are back from California.
I'd have to say that all in all it was a fun trip.
We went to Palm Springs for Big daddy's brother's second wedding.

It was a bit of a long haul.
A 4-5 hour flight then 3 hour drive-but it was worth it in the end.
So glad they decided to have the wedding in Palm Springs.

Lulu was a champ and didn't fuss in the least.
We stayed here and were fairly impressed.
Very funky decor and lots of inspiring little details.

Very pretty grounds with nice views and 2 different outdoor swimming pools.

That being said- in my experience with Boutique hotels- it's often style over substance.
and for the prices we paid there were plenty of details that were over looked.
Mostly the fact that it was so child un-friendly.
I know I know, not every hotel wants kids- but business is business.
Anyhow we tried to make the most of it.
But after spending $18 on a hotdog by the pool for Lulu the first day we wised up and decided to leave the hotel for the rest of our meals.
Especially breakfast.
I mean $23 for oatmeal!! for a 4 year old!
and it wasn't even very good.
so needless to say Starbucks was our best friend all week.

does that look like it is worth $18. U.S.?
I think not. oh and the the fries were cold.
Shoulda gone to Jack in the Box.
But fortunately I found this place.

Aside from the crazy portion sizes it was the perfect breakfast and lunch spot.
I think I scored a few points with my inlaws since they had things like chopped liver, kishka and matzo ball soup on the menu.
Speaking of my in-laws..
One of the highlights of the trip was the fact that we got there a few days before the rest of the family and wedding party arrived so that we could spend some quality time with Big daddy's parents whom we don't see very often.
It was so nice to spend time alone with them.

It's taken me almost 13 years, but I must say that I really hit it off with my M.I.L.
I think sometimes certain relationships take a while, and now I can totally relate to the need to protect your "baby".
Big daddy being the youngest of 4 boys and her "baby".
So now I get it.
And funny enough I discovered that she & I are more similar that I had originally thought.
Who knew?
But most importantly, Lulu got a chance to really bond with them and that alone was worth the almost 12 hour journey.

The wedding itself....well what can I say?
Big daddy's brother "p-diddy" seems really happy, and that's what really matters.
we are really happy for him, and it's nice to finally have a sister-in-law that I have a few things in common with.

Lulu was absolutley adorable as a flower girl.
Such a shame that I have no photos of her in focus.

We managed to sneak away from all the wedding hoopla for a drive to Joshua Tree.
So glad that we did.
Very breathtaking.

Bonus that our rental car had satellite radio and we were chilling out to some sort of restorative yoga trance music.
Just what our souls needed.

Mind you we could have done without the constant chatter in the back seat wondering "how much fuuuuuurrrther????"
That was a tad annoying.
Okay very annoying.
But I have to cut the kid a bit of slack seeing as the week was so packed with stuff.
She was pretty great considering..
oh and the 4:30 a.m. wake-ups kind of sucked too- damn three hour time difference.
Just when we got used to it, it was time to come home.
Ah well it was all worth it.
One of the best parts of the trip for me was that for the first time ever-I really felt like a part of Big daddy's family.
Like I mentioned, sometimes relationships take time to develop.
I'm also very happy that Lulu has so many loving people in her life and family.
She's one lucky girl.
But most of all, lucky to be home.
Because as nice as it is to go away, it's always good to be back.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

california dreamin'

We've been in Palm Springs all week and having a great time.
Lots of family, sun & fun.
Oh and a few wedding vows as well.
Lulu was the flower girl and can I just say how absolutely adorable she was.
My heart melted hen she walked down the aisle last night.
There's plenty more to write about- but I have to shower and get the very thick coating of hairspray out of my hair before the good-bye brunch this morning.
I had my hair and make-up done by the fabulous Jose- it looked cute- but holy flammable.
I avoided all the candles for fear that my head might explode.
The morning after.....

Anyhow very to happy to report that we are really enjoying ourselves and have all managed to stay healthy and happy for an entire week. yay!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

germ killer

I wish I had invented hand sanitizer- the stuff is every where these days.
I used to joke that I needed a holster to carry my bottle around everywhere with me-and this was a few years ago, pre swine flu paranoia.
Now I'm sure they exist somewhere- or I'm sure someone somewhere is in full-on marketing mode coming up with one as I write this.
I can just picture it- designer hand sanitizer holders from Louis Vuitton.
Just today I noticed clip on personalized hand sanitizers for kid's backpacks the while at a toy store.
I bought ten.
And pretty much every grocery store in the city has large bins of the stuff at the end of each aisle and wipes for the grocery cart handles- not to mention one at every cash register in the city.
Our school now has them at all activity tables and in the washrooms.
The last few times we were at friend's houses there were bottles to use at the front door.
A little extreme yes- but I think a good idea considering that there were new born babies and pregnant women in these particular houses.
But what next, miniature Christmas ornaments filled with mini hand sanitizer?
hey not a bad idea......
remember folks you read it here first.
anyhow I'm glad that people are finally getting proactive about the spread of germs- it's about time really.
Me being the germ-a-phobe that I am and always have been, no longer feels like a freak of nature.
In fact I'm kind of feeling a little bit like one of the cool kids at the moment.
I'm actually trying my best not to stand in the middle of a crowded mall food court and yell "I Told You So People!!"
Only I have been completely avoiding crowed places - a la Howie Mandel.
What can I say? the guy is a pioneer.
My mom takes things one step further and almost never leaves the house without gloves- even on mild days.
the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree in this constant quest for cleanliness department.
Not a bad idea really- I wonder if in the 50ies people got sick less whilst wearing all those cute white gloves and pill box hats?
And would I look ridiculous in a pill box hat?
definitely- but a fun thought.
I say bring back the cocktail glove- even at the park- no make that ESPECIALLY at the park.

In addition to the mass use of hand sanitizer and improved hygiene habits, I'm also feeling a bit more relieved now that Lulu got her H1N1 shot a couple of days ago.
No line ups- super easy, super fast and no tears at her doctor's office.
AND she got her usual lollipop and sticker before leaving.
Doubt they had that at all the flu shot clinics around the city...
I'm so glad we didn't wait in a line for eight hours like some people we know.
Poor things.
Still waiting for ours though- and not sure when that will be.
But I'm so relieved that the most important little person in our lives is protected at the moment.
Though having said that-I have to share a mini horror story from this morning.

Upon returning from piano lessons this morning- the phone rang- so I didn't get a chance to immediately escort Lulu to the kitchen sick to wash her hands- like I ALWAYS do- the SECOND we get in the door- usually with coat still on.
So I'm chatting on the phone and Lulu sits across from me and starts licking every single finger.
Oh.My. Gawd.
How many kids does her piano teacher teach and how many tiny germy fingers have touched that particular piano?
and has he EVER cleaned his piano keys.
Not bloody likely.
I have no idea why Lulu decided to do this-aside from maybe trying to give me a stroke.
The kid knows which buttons to push with me I tell you.
Oh and the other day while cleaning the bathroom- my favourite thing in the world to do btw- she lifts up the lid of the toilet and wipes the porcelain with her finger and says "mommy looks like daddy got pee on the potty again"
no make that double AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
never mind hand sanitizer- maybe I should keep a bottle of bleach next to the sink.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

teaching the teacher

There are days when I need to remind myself just how lucky I am.
I need to stop feeling so blah and look at the positive things in my life- and there are plenty.
I just got back from my first parent- teacher meeting and can I just say how lucky Lulu is to have such a great teacher and to go to such a fantastic school?
I feel like we won the teacher lottery.
She gave Lulu glowing reviews and I felt so proud...and quite relieved.
Who really knows how your kid acts when they are at school vs. under your watchful eye?
I'm so glad she is thriving and enjoying all the challenges that school has to offer.

I am also feeling pretty grateful about her very entertaining piano teacher.
She had such a fun lesson this morning that it had me wishing I was four again and taking music lessons.
I was so proud watching her play her first full song today on the piano.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart- no less.
Okay sure it was twinkle twinkle little star but still.
and who knew that Mozart wrote that when he was 4 years old? learn something new every day.

So all this worrying about Lulu and her happiness is something I can put on the back burner for today- because she (&I) are so fortunate to have some really amazing people in her life.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer

Sunday, November 01, 2009

bat mobile lost it's wheel

seriously do I really need another mini Kit-Kat bar?
yes...yes I do...

Well another Halloween has come & gone.
Fun was had by all- but for some reason I have been feeling a little out of sorts these past few weeks.
I suppose being sick with the flu/strep throat for almost 4 weeks made me feel a bit off.
Lately things that don't normally bother me-have been.
I've been feeling extra vulnerable and very protective of Lulu these past few weeks-then again, who isn't these days re:H1N1?
Very freaky stuff- but that's another post.

But back to Halloween.
I was the class volunteer at Lulu's school for her Halloween parade-party on Friday.
And we were late. (I'm almost never late for anything)
Only by 5 minutes- but still-we ended up having a hard time finding her class amidst the crowded hallways filled with parents and flashes of cameras.
Damn rain.
Anyhow by the time we found her class (in the gym- which I had no idea where it was) she was more than a little terrified.
Poor thing.
I felt awful.
The party/craft experience was marginally better for her- but again- I think the whole day just started out on the wrong foot.
Like I said- I've been a bit off my game.
Me being me- has being feeling guilty ever since.
So I wanted to make it up to her on Halloween night.
We decorated the house, baked cookies (see above) and invited some friends over for the night for some trick or treating fun.

Blah blah blah...edited after a week of thinking about things.
decided not to post some negative thoughts and delete.
posting and P.M.S. is never a good idea.

Or maybe I'm just ultra sensitive and feeling extra protective of my girl.
Either way I just feel bad about the whole thing.

Blah Blah Blah

Anyhow all was not lost this weekend as we had a really fun time at a 4oth birthday party today (happy birthday dan) and Lulu had a blast with all the kids at the party.
No drama- no tears.
And that's just me I'm talking about ;

Thursday, October 22, 2009

dirty dancing

I'm not sure if it's just me and I'm turning into a complete prude or that So You Think You Can Dance Canada is a little over the top when it comes to "sexy" dance numbers this season.
I find myself blushing while watching some of the routines- and not in a good way.
More like cringing- and wondering if it would be weird to have someones sweaty crotch in you face on national television.
I used to think it was okay if Lulu happen to watch a bit of the show with me, but these days I would never let her watch any of the raunchy routines.
I mean some of the dancers are practically dry humping on stage. (especially Luther's routines)
tsk tsk.
not what I think qualifies as good dance.
S.Y.T.Y.C.D American version is so much more wholesome.
And better.
Are we just much more skanky north of the border?
Do we really want to see that kind of bump & grinding?
and why are the costumes so much more "euro- trash" than our neighbours to the south?
I don't remember it being this way last year- and maybe they have just run out of ideas and inspiration.
Either way I'm glad it will be over and done with this Sunday so I can watch some good routines on the U.S version.
Sans Mia

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The best thing about reading a good book is that it helps you get your mind off of everyday getting the flu for example.
cough cough...
It all started on Thanksgiving and hasn't really left the building as of yet.
Not sure if it was/is the swine flu or not- but either way I feel like a swine's ass.
I can't wait to feel healthy again- no more coughing non stop, feeling like crap or eye socket pain.
yes I said eye socket pain- even my eye muscles hurt- what's up with that?
I slept for almost 11 hours last night and I still feel tired- geez.
one day you start to feel better the next....crap-o-la.
anyhow I won't go on- but at least I managed to read a few great books before the non-stop phlegm ensued.

Still Alice- By Lisa Genova
From the Publisher
Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman''s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer''s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer''s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what''s it''s like to literally lose your mind...

At first I was a little reluctant to read this book- thinking it to be pretty depressing sounding.
But much to my surprise I enjoyed it quite a bit and was drawn in right from the first page.
It really makes you stop to appreciate the every day things in life.
really liked this book and found myself thinking about Alice for weeks after I finished it.

People Of The Book- By Geraldine Brooks
From the Publisher
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient bindingaan insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hairashe begins to unlock the bookas mysteries. The reader is ushered into an exquisitely detailed and atmospheric past, tracing the bookas journey from its salvation back to its creation.
In Bosnia during World War II, a Muslim risks his life to protect it from the Nazis. In the hedonistic salons of fin-de-siA]cle Vienna, the book becomes a pawn in the struggle against the cityas rising anti-Semitism. In inquisition-era Venice, a Catholic priest saves it from burning. In Barcelona in 1492, the scribe who wrote the text sees his family destroyed by the agonies of enforced exile. And in Seville in 1480, the reason for the Haggadahas extraordinary illuminations is finally disclosed. Hannaas investigation unexpectedly plunges her into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics. Her experiences will test her belief in herself and the man she has come to love.
Inspired by a true story, "People of the Book" is at once a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity, an ambitious, electrifying work by an acclaimed and beloved author.

This book was sitting on my bookshelf for months and for some reason I never felt like reading it- until a couple of weeks ago.
Coincidentally in conjunction with the Jewish High Holidays...
This was by no means a light read and at times I struggled through- but I also found it fascinating and felt compelled to keep reading.
All in all a very interesting book, and imaginative. This book is much more about history, human connection, and hope, than it is about a book, or even about religion.
This was my second book I have read by Geraldine Brooks- the Year Of Wonders was also a good pick. (though I didn't make the connection until about half way through the book)

Olive Kitteridge- By Elizabeth Strout
From the Publisher
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

Maybe it's just me, but I found this book boring and underwhelming.
but finished it hoping for some plot twist at the end.
which unfortunately never happened.
Pulitzer prize...humph?

The Ballad of West Tenth Street by Margorie Kernan
From the Publisher
Once upon a time in Manhattan . . .
. . . there stood a pair of fine old brick townhouses on West Tenth Street. One had a blue door with a tarnished brass knocker in the shape of a dolphin. The other was empty. Behind the blue door lived Sadie, the widow of a famous British rocker who died of an overdose, and two of her children, Hamish and Deen.
The children manage to muddle along as best they can with a loving but distracted mother. But their whole world changes when the house next door gets a new owner-a mysterious Southerner who quickly endears himself to his new neighbors, taking them-and their friends-under his protective wing. In doing so, he transforms everything.
Magical, lively, lovely, and unique, The Ballad of West Tenth Street is a contemporary urban fairy tale that delightfully reimagines real life.

I Loved this book! I cannot recommend it enough.
It is absolutely delightful, quirky, sweet and honest and very, very wise.
Makes me want to pack up and move to NYC.

Rush Home Road- Lori Lansens

This novel is a page turner. I didn't want to put it down.
The story of an old lady with many stories to her life and a little girl with terrible stories of her own. You will want only the best for Addy and Sharla- and get frustrated when the best doesn't often happen for them.
Lori Lansens is a wonderful story teller, I found myself compelled to keep going to find out what would happen next.
I am really looking forward to reading her other novels- The Wife's Tale and The Girls.

The Shadow Of The Wind- Carlos Zafon
From the Publisher
Barcelona, 1945-A great world city lies shrouded in secrets after the war, and a boy mourning the loss of his mother finds solace in his love for an extraordinary book called "The Shadow of the Wind," by an author named Julian Carax. When the boy searches for Carax''s other books, it begins to dawn on him, to his horror, that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book the man has ever written. Soon the boy realizes that "The Shadow of the Wind" is as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget, for the mystery of its author''s identity holds the key to an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love that someone will go to any lengths to keep secret.

This book came highly recommended- and well I guess at times I was into it and then for some reason I just couldn't wait to finished it- and it had nothing to do with it being suspenseful- I just wanted to be done with it.
I have only read positive and rave reviews so maybe it was just me??

The Thirteenth Tale- Diane Setterfield
From the Publisher
Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father''s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds a letter. It is a hand-written request from one of Britain''s most prolific and well-loved novelists. Vida Winter, gravely ill, wants to recount her life story before it is too late, and she wants Margaret to be the one to capture her history. The request takes Margaret by surprise - she doesn''t know the author, nor has she read any of Miss Winter''s dozens of novels.

Late one night, while pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter''s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father''s rare copy of Miss Winter''s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

As Vida Winter unfolds her story, she shares with Margaret the dark family secrets that she has long kept hidden as she remembers her days at Angelfield, the now burnt-out estate that was her childhood home. Margaret carefully records Miss Winter''s account and finds herself more and more deeply immersed in the strange and troubling story. In the end, both women have to confront their pasts and the weight of family secrets. As well as the ghosts that haunt them still.

I LOVED this book.
Possibly my favourite of the year so far.
Pick this one up- you won't be disappointed.

The Disappeared- Kim Echlin
This story of passionate love between a Canadian and her Cambodian lover evokes their tumultuous relationship in a world of colliding values. Set against the backdrop of horrific loss, these two self-exiled lovers struggle to recreate themselves in a world that rejects their hopes. Spare, unrelenting, and moving, The Disappeared is an unforgettable consideration of love, language, justice, and memory set against the backdrop of the killing fields of Pol Pot.

This was an excellent book and I found myself remembering all the horrible things we saw on a trip to Cambodia several years ago.
It's hard to believe things like that actually happened and it is gut wrenching knowing how it tore families apart.

I'm currently stuck on a book called A Field Of darkness- not loving it so far...but hanging in there.
you never know...
any other good book suggestions to help get me through cold & flu season?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Orange Crush

Orange, a close relative of red, sparks more controversy than any other hue.
There is usually strong positive or negative association to orange and true orange generally elicits a stronger "love it" or "hate it" response than other colors.

I don't know about you, but lately I'm loving it.

Fun and flamboyant orange radiates warmth and energy. Interestingly, some of the tones of orange such as terra cotta, peach or rust have very broad appeal.

How the color orange effects us mentally and physically
Stimulates activity
Stimulates appetite
Encourages socialization

I'd say that's pretty accurate- especially the part about stimulating appetite...

"Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow." --Kandinsky

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

music to my ears

It's been a musical kind of week so far.
It all started when I was on hold with jcrew the other night ordering these.
The dollar's almost on par again- yay!
Anyhow, instead of bad muzak playing too loud in my ear- as per usual while on hold with anyone-it was David Bowie and The Smiths- How Soon Is Now.
For the first time ever, I was happy to be on hold for so long.
In fact, when the perky and uber polite "Jennifer" from jcrew came back on the phone I was a little disappointed.
Hey I don't mind being on hold a little longer...maybe for one more song?
Anyhow I love music- and all genres.
From the moment I get up in the morning until I go to bed- there is usually music playing.
First thing in the a.m. it's usually Classical-or on rainy days who can resist a little Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday?
I love Indie music and singer song writers like Ryan Adams, Paolo Nutini, Adele, Trespassers William, Tindersticks, Sterolab, Regina Spektor, Fleet Foxes, M.Craft, Joshua Radin, Jose Gonzalaz, Midlake, Horsefeathers, Iron & Wine oh the list goes on- there are so many amazing new talented young artists out there.
I love listening to jazz- especially while eating dinner & drinking a good glass of wine.
Some of my favourites these days are Sophie Milman, Madeleine Peyroux, June Christy, Melody Gardot and Shirley Horn.
I'm on a bit of a female jazz kick these days I guess.
I love listening to folk a.k.a. roots as well- Devendra Banhart, Simon & Garfunkel, William Fitzsimmons, Ron Sexsmith, The Be Good Tanyas, Neil Young, Sibylle Baire and The Sea & Cake just to name a few.
I'm even enjoying Country music, which is a close cousin to folk in my opinion.
Artists like Emmylou Harris, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson always make me feel warm & fuzzy inside, and also make me want to drink Bourbon. (even though I don't really drink bourbon)
I enjoy a bit of hip hop from time to time as well- especially while working out.
K-OS always makes me sweat- in a good way.
Speaking of sweat...gotta love Madonna, Everything But The Girl- remixes, Gaelle- "rain" and the entire Queer as Folk soundtrack, Radiohead- specifically Reckoner, and Coldplay (more to cool down and stretch)
Love working out to that stuff- it's the closest I get to being at a club-not that I was ever really into dance clubs- but still...
Can't forget Electronic music-Hot Chip, Imogen Heap, Moby or Royksopp, very funky stuff and great driving music.
Even Lulu has a few favourites- Danielle Sansone and Frances England always gets her grooving on the kitchen floor.
I love oldies- from the 20ies big band era and yes even some stuff from the nineties.
Hard to believe that's considered oldies now.
But the seventies always makes me happy.
Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, Simon & Garfunkel, Foreigner, James Taylor, America, The Eagles, Journey, Paul Mc Cartney- Band on the Run and Listen to what the man said (my fav songs) Supertramp, and even Jim Croce- such an amazing time for music and totally reminds me of my childhood.
My dad used to DJ on the weekends when I was young so a lot of that music totally brings me back.
My point is that I love love love music.
I only wish I could play an instrument.
I guess it's never too late.
But due to the lack of free personal time these days, I guess I'll just have to add- learn to play guitar or piano- to my life list of things to do before I die.
But in the mean time Lulu has expressed interest in taking music lessons.
Her request was my command.
So I did my research and found a private music teacher that came highly recommended and took Lulu there yesterday for her first music lesson.
Without sounding like a bragging mother- okay- definitely sounding like a bragging mother....
the teacher said she was a total natural and that most kids her age (4) don't pick up notes the ways she did and that he was really impressed.
I was overjoyed.
So I bee-lined it to the closest music store and decided to buy her a keyboard.
Maybe I was jumping the gun a bit- it was only her first lesson- but it's not like I went out and bought a Steinway or anything.
Plus my budding musician needs to practice on something aside from her Melissa & Doug toy piano- right?
Anyhow long story short...
A very nice young guy helped me at the music store and even helped put everything in my car.
He was super cute, in an interesting looking kind of way and he was very polite and really nice about answering all my dumbass questions and had no attitude whatsoever- which you would expect most young hot musicians to have towards some mom coming in to buy her kindergartner her first piano.
He just kind of made an impression on me.
Maybe it was the eyes, or the fact that he reminded me of Elija Wood.....
But I digress...
I asked him if he was in a band- in my most non- cougarish way possible- and he kind of quietly said something about being more of a singer songwriter.
I asked him if he played anywhere in particular.
He then sheepishly mentions something about being on Canadian Idol.
Then stupid me says "oh I never watch that show- but my parents are huge fans."
I didn't mention that I used to chastise my folks for watching it- calling it lame and not half as good as the American version.
I couldn't be more wrong....especially if I had known this guy was on it.
anyhow I happen to notice his name tag and when I got home like the good stalker that I am, I googled his name.
This is what I came up with.
Oh my.
this guy is talented- no wonder he was in the top four!
and why hasn't he been signed by anyone yet?
Talented, good looking, humble, nice and professional.
I hope he does get discovered- that way I can tell Lulu that I bought her first "piano" from a famous musician.
Plus I would love to download some of his music and be able to listen to his songs.

Now would it be creepy if I went back tomorrow to buy a set of drums?...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

eh, what's up doc?

While on the farm this weekend- Lulu fell in love with a family of bunny rabbits.
It was so cute watching her squeal with delight every-time they took a blade of grass from her.
Coincidentally I was at the butcher earlier in the day and almost picked up a whole rabbit for dinner.
I saw these recipes and felt inspired...but at the last minute decided against the bunny.
Something tells me Lulu would have been traumatized.

So chicken it was...

Friday, September 18, 2009

apple of my eye

Being 5'1 never in my wildest dreams did I ever remotely imagine myself to be a "model"- little lone a "cover model"
Not to mention my severe aversion to being in front of a camera instead of behind one, where I'm most comfortable.
There are so few images of me that I wonder if Lulu will one day wonder if I was ever present for any of the many many family photos we have.
Funny that Big daddy's really the main lensman in the house-at least by profession- yet when it comes to taking candid shots I'm always the one with my camera in hand.
But somehow I was convinced that some "quasi-talented photographer" ; that I know could maybe take a decent shot of Lulu & I and make me look half decent.
I had no doubt about Lulu's photogenic capabilities- me on the other hand.....
anyhow long story short...
I'm just glad that I finally have a nice photo of Lulu & I together.
But the best part of the shoot was what an amazing day we had on that farm.
It was one of the highlights of the year for us.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
Dorothea Lange

oh and speaking of apples....
Shana Tova..

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

without a hitch

I'm happy to report that Lulu is absolutely loving Junior Kindergarten so far.
She loves her teacher (as do I) and is feeling right at home in her new class.
Which I might add is the nicest classroom in the school- with huge bay windows and lots of extra space it's the perfect kindergarten class.
It's all about the right ambiance right?
Lucky girl.
I thought I might be a little emotional on her first day- but surprisingly stayed pretty dry eyed.
She lined up, gave her teacher a daisy that she picked on her way to school, gave me a shy smile and a tiny wave and she was off on her new scholastic adventure.
Okay now that I think about it..I am getting a bit misty...
but I'm so happy that she likes going to school so much.
Let's just hope that enthusiasm continues for the next 13 + years.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The summer wouldn't have felt complete without at least one backyard campfire and BBQ.
So last weekend we had some good friends over for a little good-bye summer celebration.
Not that I want to say good-bye quite yet...
So we started with some Peach Juleps.
Yum- who knew peach, mint, fresh peaches and bourbon would be such a a great combo?
Even better served with 2 hour slow cooked ribs with hickory smoker wood chips, homemade coleslaw, fresh peaches & cream Ontario corn and fresh baked corn bread muffins.
Our back-yard smelled amazing with all that wood burning- and so did (does) our house as I forgot and left all the windows open.
Ah well, nothing like your pillow smelling like a campfire to remind you of summer.
And it wouldn't really be summer without S'mores or a version of....

S'mores oatmeal cookies.
Plus we had to roast a few on the fire to make things really feel official.
So fun and I'm sad it's come to an end.
Butternut squash soup anyone?

Monday, September 07, 2009

where's Madge when I need her most?

Dear Dishwasher,
I'm so sorry I took you for granted all these years.
I shouldn't complain about having to empty you all the time and just say thank-you for a job well done instead.
I'm also sorry for abusing you and forcing you to attempt macerating dozens of olive pits & tooth picks.
So unfair of me to have such unrealistic expectations of you.
I swear the guy at Sears said you were capable of that.

Blame it on five years worth of martinis I guess...or blame it on Big daddy- that's what I usually do.
Regardless, once you come back to us- I promise to treat you better.
I swear.
Because living without you these past three weeks is no fun.
I am counting the days, hours, minutes until you are restored to your brilliant splendor.
I miss you.
Please come back to us soon.
Love PG.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

full dance card

Hello September.
Can't believe you are here already.
So many things happening all within a 30 span.
Of course the biggie being Lulu starting kindergarten for the first time.
Very exciting- and okay I'll admit I'm a wee bit nervous for her.
My baby's going to big kid school!
I'm sure she'll be fine and I'm confident that she'll adjust to her new schedule quite well.
And quite frankly I'm looking forward to the "freedom".
In addition to school every afternoon I have her signed up for a few other programs- dance, swimming and possibly drama.
Like my drama queen needs any further instruction.....
Aside from chauffeuring Lulu around to her various social engagements, I possibly have a few freelance things lined up as well.
Looking forward to some creative projects that don't involve glitter glue or play dough for a change.
Between weddings, birthday parties, wedding showers, a going away party, relatives visiting, Rosh Hashannah, a few more get togethers with friends before summer is officially over-it's sure to fly by.
Squeeze in my favourite kick boxing classes, and the many many fun things going on around town and it makes for one busy time.
Oh and for some crazy reason I waited until now to start some projects around the house- like painting and reupholstering furniture.
it never rains- it pours.
and for a change it's not actually raining so I'm trying so soak up as much outdoor time as possible while it lasts.
Speaking of which...
time to hang with all the wasps- and no I'm not talking about my neighbours- holy bee infestation this year!
Anyone else experiencing the wrath of the little predatory, stinging, annoying critters?
Is it my imagination or is it worse this year than last?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

peel me a grape

August has been a pretty low key month so far.
Not exactly what I would consider "the dog days of summer" as there really hasn't been too many super hot days this year.
Which in some ways is fine by me, as I'm not a big hot & humid weather lover.
Usually by this point in the season I'm feeling ready for fall to arrive- tired of the hot, sticky, smoggy weather, I'm usually pretty excited that autumn is around the corner.
With the exception of THIS year.
I feel like summer has just begun.
I almost cried the other day when I saw potted mums at the grocery store.
There's so many things I still want to do before it gets chilly outside.
I'm finally getting organized when it comes to remembering what to pack each time we go to the park.
It only took me 3 months...
I also just started feeling somewhat comfortable in a bathing suit.
That only took me 3 months....
oh who am I kidding?
I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable in a bathing suit, but I guess I'm caring less and less- and instead just having fun swimming with Lulu.
Like anyone's looking at my sorry white butt anyhow..
In reality, it really hasn't been warm enough this summer for a bathing suit- but for the past couple of weeks I've finally been able to wear sleeveless tops and linen without freezing my (as previously mentioned-very white) ass off.
I find that I'm trying to squeeze in as many summer park play-dates and BBQ's as possible before school starts in a couple of weeks.
Also trying to cherish as much time as possible with Lulu before she officially starts "big school".
So no, I'm so not ready for September.

Oh and what exactly does that image have to do with this lame-o post?
Nothing really- except that's what's been a staple in our house this summer.
Frozen grapes on a cocktail stick.
Lulu loves them and thinks of them as a fancy treat.
I also love my grapes-nicely chilled and served in a Riedel glass for my daily treat.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

making lemonade

What an interestingly spontaneous week.
First of all, big daddy had an entire week of work cancelled last minute.
Which usually is not something to be too happy about- but seeing as we didn't book any time off all summer and he's been swamped up until now, we were kind of relieved and a bit excited to be forced to take a week "off".
Ah the joys of being self employed.
Also with all the rain we seem to be having each weekend, a few days off mid week to enjoy some time on the water sounded ideal.
First stop Center Island.
Now that the strike is over Lulu couldn't wait to hit a few rides at the park.
But en route, big daddy aka the skipper-suspected some engine trouble.
Add in some super strong winds, large waves (one of which completely soaked me which has never happened before) and barely any other boats on the water, and I was one anxious momma.
A three hour tour.....
I had images of the professor & Maryanne flashing before my eyes.
Damn I should have packed those coconuts and my trusty tool box- come to think about it, I should have worn a sequined gown.
That Ginger really thought ahead.
Anyhow we decided to head to Ontario Place instead as we were closer, and just as we docked -the engine died.
So much for a brand new-hassle free boat.
Glad we got the extended 5 year warranty.

anyhoo- we decided to take Lulu on some rides at Ontario Place seeing as we were kind of stranded there- and the lovely staff at the marina didn't even charge us the $60 admission fee.
Plus they towed our boat for free to the nearest slip.
I have to say though that the park is pretty lame for 4 year olds-(and 38 year olds for that matter)
There were only a few rides that Lulu was tall enough to go on- which was a bit disappointing.
Then again it could have just been our state of mind- either way, after a few rides we cabbed it back to our marina and called it a day.

Unfortunately the boat is now out of the water and having an entire engine overhaul.
It could be a few weeks before it's back in the water.
In the meantime what do we do?
how do we salvage our "summer holiday"?
So we decide to call here and as luck should have it-we got the very last room that they had available.
Bonus it happens to be a lake front room with a spectacular view.
Things are looking up!
So we jump in the car and book it up north for a last minute get away.

And can I just say how happy I was to get away?
it was so great.
relaxing, fun and nice to just have a change of scenery.

I already mentioned fun right?

Oh and best of all is that I had a vacation from being the usual galley slave.
No cooking, no cleaning- I could get used to this.

Lunch- accompanied by a few very cold coronas.

Dinner- accompanied by a very delicious Merlot.

hmmm...I say screw the boat, let's just go to resorts every summer....

But seriously, sometimes things don't always work out the way you planned but like big daddy kept saying all weekend- when life gives you a lemon- you gotta make lemonade.
That we did.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

not quite Belguim- but almost.

I'm not a big gadget person when it comes to the kitchen.
Not that I wouldn't want to be- but space is at a premium so I've always kept it simple.
Global knives.
good pots, pans and baking sheets.
several cutting boards- bamboo, wooden with groove for meat, plastic for fruit & veg.
a couple of vegetable peelers. a certain someone insists on peeled apples and cucumbers.
mixing bowls with lids.
good graters & zester.
mandolin for my shaved fennel salad- among other things.
mortar & pestle- a la Jamie Oliver- gotta love a good bash up.
extra timer for when there is more than two things on the go at one time.
lots of tongs.
good toaster.
Bialetti espresso maker.
Laguiole wine opener- very essential.
blender- my morning smoothie must.
mini and regular sized Cuisinart.
panini press.
and now...a waffle maker.

It's small and easy to store and best of all has a timer that goes off when the waffle is perfectly cooked.
and I mean perfectly.
If you want the recipe you can find it here.
I topped it with some mascarpone, yogurt & vanilla topping just for fun.
Plus I had some extra kicking around that I want to use up.
Yum. Yum.
Best breakfast I've had in a while.
If you're in the market for a waffle maker you can find the one I used here.

How about you, what can't you live without in your kitchen?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

making peace

For the past few months I've been feeling really content.
I don't often feel this way- in fact I never feel this way.
I'm usually questioning every single decision I make and wondering if I should be doing things differently.
Should I make pasta tonight or rice?
kidding-sort of.
But in all seriousness, when I worked full time pre- Lulu-I wondered- is this it?
Is life all about just working, material things and making money?
Then when I had Lulu I wondered- Is this it?
Now that I'm a mother and at home with my daughter, is it interesting and stimulating enough without my full time career?
Will I be happy staying at home full time?
In the beginning I struggled with my new identity and roll as a mother.
Then again, who doesn't?
I loved it, don't get me wrong- but at the same time I always felt so torn.
I envied my friends who had a career with a paid Mat leave- then after that time was up, they went back to work and just got on with things and adjusted.
No sitting on the fence wondering when the best time to go back to work would be.
The decision was made for them.
Then again I envied my friends (all 2 of them) that stayed at home and completely embraced it.
Ran their home like a well oiled machine.
They were always on the go and out the door, doing all sorts of activities with their kids and themselves.
I was (am) so in awe of these women.
The ones that work full time- I scratch my head and wonder how the heck they manage.
And the ones who gave up very successful careers to stay at home with their kids and do it with such enthusiasm.
Me, well- I fall into a different category all together- kind of a little of both worlds.
Trying to do the odd free lance gig here and there, doing the t.v. show in the summers but still being at home with Lulu full time.
It's not that I'm complaining- in fact I wouldn't want it any other way- but it's always felt a bit like being in limbo.
Until now.
Lately I'm really feeling comfortable in my own skin.
It only took me 4 years...
I'm so blown away by how fast time goes by when you have a child.
I'm so glad I didn't rush back to the craziness of full time work and miss out on all the amazing things I've had the privilege to experience with Lulu.
I highly doubt that I would have said 10 years from now- "oh I really wish I had propped that great photo shoot"
That being said- I am starting to think about my next move as far as work is concerned.
I do miss it some times.
What do I want to do that still gives me flexibility and also satisfaction?
Still trying to figure that out I guess.
And do I even want to do what I've been doing for the past 10 plus years?
Not entirely sure.
But I do know that for the moment, I feel fulfilled and happy.
And very very lucky that I get to make this decision in the first place.