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    Three Layer Salad

    2013 - 05.26

    So I think we’re going to start posting more recipes here, not so much to turn things into a food blog, but because it’s just easier for us to find them if we post them here.

    This is one of my favourite “salads” typically had at a larger family gathering, so that would have been Easter, Thanksgiving, American Thanksgiving, Christmas or maybe a birthday or something like that.  In general we’d have these only at Grandma’s house, although there were exceptions.

    Three Layer “Salad”  [quotation marks are mine]

    • 1 pkg. lime jello (small size: 4 serving size, 85g or 4 oz)
    • 1 pkg. lemon jello (small size)
    • 1 pkg. cherry jello (small size)
    • 1 cup undrained crushed pineapple (you can use the whole 398ml can if you want)
    • 1 pkg dream whip (Kraft)
    • 1/2 cup cold milk (for dream whip)
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla (for dream whip)
    • 3 oz of softened cream cheese (that’s about a third of a 250g package, works fine if you use upto half a package)
    • lots of boiling water (4  1/4 cups)
    1. Assemble your ingredients
    2. Boil water
    3. Make the jello all at once (because of the differing amounts of boiling water they will inherently take longer for the upper layers to set)
    4. Add 1 cup/25oml boiling water to the lime jello in an appropriate serving dish (should have at least 2.5 litre/10 cup capacity, you may need more depending on whether you stick to the original sizes or not)
    5. Add 1 cup/250ml undrained crushed pineapple (or the full can) to the lime jello, and allow to set
    6. Add 1 1/2 cups/375ml boiling water to the lemon jello and allow to set in an appropriate mixing bowl (but not completely)
    7. Add 1 3/4 cups/438ml boiling water to the cherry jello and allow to set in an appropriate mixing bowl (but not completely)
    8. Make the dream whip, combine 1/2 cup/125ml cold 2% milk1/2 tsp/3 ml vanilla into a mixing bowl, add 1 pkg Dream Whip, whip at highest speed of the electric mixer until topping forms peaks, about 2 minutes.  Continue beating 2 minutes more (4 total) until topping is light and fluffy.  Makes about 2 cups.
    9. Add the softened cream cheese and the partially set lemon jello to the mixing bowl, and mix until combined.
    10. Pour the dream whip/lemon jello mixture over the set lime jello/pineapple layer, return to fridge and allow the new layer to set completely
    11. When the second layer has set, add the partially set cherry jello as the top layer (you can remelt the jello by warming up the bowl if necessary).
    12. Allow to set, and enjoy.

    It is possible to make multiple containers of this “salad” if you don’t have any which are big enough, or if you want to make individual servings or something.  Glass serving dishes are best, as they clearly display the layers.  Other flavours of jello can be used if desired (resulting in different colour and flavour combinations).  Some people prefer the middle layer best, it can be made by itself, or you can repeat step 6, 8 and 9 and make them a separate container of their favourite.

    It should look something like this:


    4 Month Letter

    2013 - 05.16

    Dear Nadia,

    Yesterday you turned 4 months old. We’ve had a really busy month, flying home from Edmonton, going to two new parent and baby classes, visiting and being visited, and lots of firsts.

    We flew home from Edmonton and you were a super star, once your Oma and I figured out that you were overheating, and cooled you off. The man in the seat next to us was very nice, probably at least partly because he had a little girl of his own at home and had gone on some airplane trips with her when she was very little.

    We started our two newest classes, music and dance. You love music and will sit and listen to it for hours tens of minutes. You especially like looking at all the other babies in the classes. This month we also did yoga again, and for the first time, you weren’t the youngest in the class…there’s another little girl who is about two weeks younger than you. In dance, you’re the youngest by about six months and it’s so neat to watch the other babies and imagine what you will be able to do in way too short a time. Baby music is lots of fun, but I do get some of the songs stuck in my head for hours at a time. Speaking of music, Dad and I have been hunting down music for you to listen to. Dad likes the classics (Raffi, Sharon, Lois and Bram, Fred Penner) and while I like those too (as well as Charlotte Diamond and [old] Sesame Street) I’ve also found a great album by Kimya Dawson called Alphabutt. I like it because it’s kind of like all the silly songs I randomly sing to you that I make up as I go along, but because Kimya is a musician, she writes them down and records them. My favourite song starts out like this…

    The first thing in our list of things to do
    Is to wake up right next to you
    Second thing that we have planned
    Is to kiss both of your hands

    Third thing that we’ll do today
    Is look you in the eye and say
    I love you sweet baby, I love you sweet baby
    I love you more than anything

    Our geek indoctrination of you is proceeding as planned, from outings and purchases to decor for your room. May 3rd was Free Comic Book Day, and we all went to Taz Comics in Vancouver to pick up some comics. I got a few for myself that you can read when you’re older (some Stan Lee, Batman) and one for when you’re MUCH older (Walking Dead) and a few for you that we can read together now (Strawberry Shortcake and Pippi Longstocking). I finally got a frame for an amazing poster your Aunt Munira and Uncle Rob got for you before you were born…an alphabet poster of 26 different spacecraft…and Dad put it up for you. I’ve also finished painting a triptych of pre printed canvas of a dragon with a bird on his nose. It looks very cute. Yesterday, we went to see Iron Man 3 with Myka and Renae. You seemed to enjoy the parts you saw, although you were asleep or eating for a lot of the time.

    You had your first Mother’s Day. Your dad and I hosted both sets of your grandparents and your aunts and uncle for lunch. You were up for most of the day, then you and I crashed for the next two days and basically stayed in bed. Thank you so much for your gift! You and Dad gave me a special mixer that I’ve used to make bread and cinnamon buns, and I will be making a bunch of your baby food with it. Dad used it to make some food for the Mother’s Day lunch, so it’s getting a lot of use so far.

    Things you’ve learned to do this month: You’re still blowing raspberries, although a lot fewer of them than before. You started last month, but now you can roll over from your back to your tummy like a superstar. You always seem to get stuck there and are pretty unimpressed by that. You’ve also done it in your sleep a couple times, which nearly gave your father and me a heart attack when we checked to see you face planted in your crib. You’ve found your toes and will sometimes grab them and just chill out like that for a bit. You’ve also started reaching for toys and will pull them into your mouth. You will do the same thing with people’s fingers and your shirt and washcloths and blankets and OUR blankets…I have a feeling our floors will be very clean once you’re mobile and can stuff ALL THE THINGS EVER into your mouth. You’ve also started being able to maneuver your soother. You’ll pull it out, grin at us and put it back, or if it drops out, you’ll turn your head and half roll over to pick it up from beside you. Sometimes you’ll slide it to the side of your mouth and chew on it where your molars will someday be so that it squeaks, then put it back when you’re finished with that. Your Aunt Jen even saw you lift up the front of your sleeper to let it drop back into your mouth after it fell onto your chest while you were lying down. It’s so cool to see you making purposeful movements to interact with your environment.

    Although I’ve always loved babies and children, I never really understood how amazing parents found their kids until we had you.



    Log Driver’s Waltz

    2013 - 05.15

    Karin played this on her phone (just the audio) earlier tonight.  I was pleased to find the official version of it on YouTube as posted by the NFB (National Film Board).

    Mother’s Day

    2013 - 05.13

    Technically, this is my second Mother’s Day as a mom. I learned I was pregnant with The Passenger in late April and Mother’s Day was May 13. I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day from the child’s side of things with macaroni art and hanging baskets, and also from the teacher’s side, trying frantically to come up with a great craft project for the class. Last year, only Dave and I knew that Nadia would be arriving, so we had a quiet acknowledgement together, including some gift cards and some empty planters for the vegetable garden I was planning for the balcony. At that point, we were only six weeks along, and Nadia was about the size of a cake sprinkle. What a difference a year makes!

    The Cowbels hosted a Mother’s Day lunch at our place and we had a bunch of cold cuts for people to build their own sandwiches, different types of savoury and sweet salads, veggies, pickles and so on. It went really well, and was a great excuse for us to clean up Stately Cowbels Manor. I even baked some of the bread using my present from David and Nadia…a bright red KitchenAid mixer from Costco. I love it so much. :D

    So, thanks to our moms for coming and spending the afternoon with all of us and thanks to Nadia for making me into a mom.

    Love you, sweet baby girl,


    Month 3 Letter 2.0

    2013 - 05.01

    Dear Nadia,
    It’s actually been two weeks since you turned 3 months. Sorry about that, but you’ve been too darned cute to let me get onto a computer and type at you.

    I can’t believe how much different you are already. I have a feeling I’ll be saying that in most of your letters…but it will always be true. You’ve got from being a completely reactive infant to becoming more interactive with us and items in your environment.

    Your third month was full of amazing first, as well as some scary and not-so-fun firsts. Only a few days after you turned two months old, you went for your first round of immunizations. You had to get three shots in your legs and a syringe full of something that tasted sweet and didn’t bother you at all. You were NOT happy with the shots though. I was holding you and you let out a scream that I’d never heard before. Wowza…I’d thought that your crying before had been loud, but that was just a warm up. You settled down pretty quickly, and even visited with Oma for a little while before we went home. You had a couple of grumpy days, but all of a sudden you decided that night time wasn’t party time any more and that you were going to sleep through the night!

    Your dad and I were pretty surprised. We had put you into your crib to hang out while we watched TV, and you just kept not waking up, so we went to bed, and you woke us up the next morning around 5 am. That kind of blew our minds, and you decided to that for almost a week straight.

    You had your first Easter on March 31. You found a couple baskets that were hidden by the Easter bunny. They had some chocolate in them (which you generously shared with your dad and I…we’re so lucky it was our favourite kinds!), some bubbles to play with when the weather got better, a butterfly that lights up for your mobile and some canvases with space scenes printed on them for me to colour in with paint for your room. So far I’ve only painted the black background, but you seem to really like the black and white contrast, so I’m leaving it like that for now.

    We were all watching hockey one evening (your dad and I like hockey a lot, so we’re pretty excited that you seem to like it) and you were lying on the floor and it looked like you were about to roll off your back and onto your tummy. You gave two big practice heaves, then just as I grabbed the video camera and turned it on to record you, you flipped yourself over onto your tummy! You were pretty startled, especially since you didn’t especially like tummy time very much yet. You started fussing a little bit, then complained even louder. I could almost hear you yelling for the manager…that someone had stuck the floor in your face.

    The next day, we got some full on giggles from you. It was pretty late at night (you’d gone back to partying until 4 am) and your dad was bicycling your legs in your favourite place ever…the change table (you’re kind of a weird kid…definitely mine!) and suddenly you were giggling! It was pretty much the most awesome sound I’d ever heard, and I stayed up way too late trying to get some more out of you.

    A few days later, your Oma and I took you on a plane ride to Edmonton to visit your Urli (nickname for ur-grosmutter, or great-grandmother) for a few days. I wrote a few posts about that already, so I’ll just hit some highlights. You gave Urli and Oma some giggles. You charmed everyone in the halls from Urli’s home. You hung out on the floor a lot and were very happy with your cousins (once removed). You let out the most ear piercing scream I’ve ever heard from you, except when we had to get your vaccinations…in a very fancy restaurant. Whoops. You teased Oma, Urli and I all week that you were about to roll over again, but didn’t do it until Urli was the only one watching on the very last day of our visit. You were awesome on both plane rides, once I figured out that you were hungry/too hot and fixed that problem. You listened on the phone to Daddy when we called to tell him how much we missed him.

    We’ve continued doing yoga once a week together. I like it a lot, and you seem to enjoy it. You like looking at all the other babies, and I really like seeing where you are headed over the next few months and talking to the other moms.

    We’ve managed to make it through your 3 month growth spurt although you went through all the milk I had frozen, and it seemed like you’d never slow down enough to let me build up a stash ever again. Slowly, I’ve gotten a tiny bit ahead of you again, but it’s always a pretty close race. You’ve grown so much…you weigh over 13 lbs, up from 8 lb 5 oz when you were born (although your dad is probably going to correct me with how much you weigh in grams, haha) and are in 3-6 month clothes, right on schedule.

    I’ve got a bunch of other things I could write about, but a lot of them happened in the last two weeks, so I’ll cover those in your four month letter.

    Love you, Nadia-pants.

    Love Mum

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