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    Packing Superstar!


    2016 - 05.25

    This weekend, Karin was a packing superstar, labelling tens of boxes and purging like a rockstar! Thanks to her efforts we have at least 6 fewer carloads worth of stuff that will be coming with us to the new house. That’s AMAZING!

    Lemon Tarts


    2014 - 10.20

    One of Karin’s favourite treats at Farmer’s Markets is lemon tarts by Sweet Thea, so for her birthday I decided that I’d make her some lemon tarts. Problem is, I don’t like lemons, so not really in my cooking wheelhouse, nor do I really want to taste as I go along, because I won’t be able to tell if it’s good, because I wouldn’t expect to like it.

    The tarts Karin likes are 4″ tarts I believe and they go for about $4/each, so the goal was to beat that, and aim for similar quality/taste. We already had a bag of lemons from Costco because Karin was thinking of making lemon cordial but hadn’t gotten around to it yet (approx value $6-7 for ~11 lemons). I found this recipe for lemon curd and thought it sounded reasonable, it’s an Ina Garten recipe (Barefoot Contessa).

    I bought 120 3″ tart shells from Costco (~$11 on coupon), and ended up pre-baking one package of them (30).  Used 4 lemons as suggested in the recipe, which resulted in 3/4 cups of juice instead of 1/2 cup (I added it all anyway). Instead of using a food processor, I just added the zest and the sugar to the mixer and let them mix together for a bit.

    The end result is that it’s the right amount of lemon curd to fill the 30 shells.  If you haven’t made lemon curd before, it’s actually pretty easy, the one thing to be aware of is that after you’ve finished the mixing but before you’ve gone through the heating/cooking portion it’s going to look like it’s been ruined, the slow heating melds everything together again and it turns beautifully smooth.

    Now if I need to make Karin some tarts in the future, I’ll be able to find the recipe again.

    Christmas Card?


    2013 - 11.19

    We haven’t in the past sent out Christmas cards.  We’re thinking about doing it this year.  Mostly because of Nadia.  So, are people actually interested in getting or exchanging Christmas cards or is that something that our generation doesn’t do?

    If you’re interested in getting one, let us know and make sure we have your current address.

    Month 5


    2013 - 07.15

    Dear Nadia,

    You won’t be reading these for a few years, so you won’t notice that I’m posting this on what is actually your 6 month-eversary, but I wanted to acknowledge your fans who have been awaiting this next installment with bated breath. I’ll confess, I’ve actually had 90% of this written by pretty much a week after your 5 month-eversary but haven’t been able to pull the trigger and actually post it. I wonder how much of that is me not quite ready to acknowledge that my little baby isn’t quite so little any more.

    I should probably get used to it. I’m pretty sure that you aren’t going to be getting any smaller. :)

    You’ve been very busy this month! We’ve been working on our garden out in the front yard, and you like to lie on the grass and watch the clouds and leaves as they move over you. We’ve gone to watch Dad play Ultimate a few more times, and even gone to two disc golf tournaments. Dad was playing in one of them and he and I were in charge of another one. You were a superstar at both of them and helped me BBQ and sell hotdogs. We’ve been seeing your cousins and uncles and aunts and grandparents, and going to Galloways, and Toys R Us and Starbucks, and for walks and runs on the trail to the library, and at the track. We even visited your Aunt Jen at her work.

    Some of the biggest news happened just after you turned four months…your first tooth appeared! We had about a week of grumpiness, then a night of relief, then your SECOND tooth appeared! Now you’ve got two teeth on the bottom and you like to chew on people’s fingers. You’ve finally started rolling from your tummy back over onto your back so that you can fix yourself instead of getting mad that you’re on your face again. This also means that you can roll over and over so you can move across the floor, and we need to be extra careful when we put you on the bed or couch or change table! You’ve also learned how to play peek-a-boo. We will put the blanket over your eyes and you’ll pull it down and smile at us, but if you feel like it, you’ll also hide under the blanket yourself when we ask you if you want to hide your face, then look out at us when we ask “Where’s Nadia??”

    You’re starting to get verrrrry interested in what other people are eating. Some people think that’s a sign that you’re ready for solid food, but you’re also becoming very interested in what people are holding, and you’ll try to eat that too. You’ve become especially enamoured with my iPhone and will swipe at the screen, especially when I’m playing Candy Crush. We play a lot of music through my phone for you as well, and you’ll watch as it moves around, even when there’s nothing on the screen.

    You still like baths, your Douglas duck and your hug bug, as well as your bear mobile, but you’re also very interested in other stuffies, like your Tigger and fox (from a box). We also bought you a noisy toy (oh my!), a garden of flowers that light up and chime when you touch them. You like that one a lot, although usually you just watch when we set the flowers off.

    Hopefully I’ll get your 6 month letter up in a bit more timely manner, but hey! At least I can’t be any later with these unless I want to owe you two!

    Love,
    Mum

    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,

    Mum

    Edmonton 2013: Day 2 & 3


    2013 - 04.15

    Thursday April 11: Day 2

    Nadia and I slept in a bit, then visited with Oma and Mom upstairs. My Auntie B and cousins I and Z came over and we all visited for a while. I had seen all of them at thanksgiving when David and I went out to visit in October, and we all get along really well, so that was exciting. I and Z follow me on Twitter now, and we’ve been Facebook friends since October. Good thing they already don’t think of me as a good influence, haha. They played with Nadia and she gave them lots of smiles. :)

    Mom, Oma and I had KFC for dinner, and after dinner I got to see M, one of David and my close friends who had moved to Edmonton a few years back. She and her boyfriend D came over and we hung out for a while catching up on all things near and far.

    Nadia was asleep by 10 ish although she woke up for a couple feeds through the night. Surprising nobody, I didn’t sleep well that night, so it was almost as if she slept through the night, since I was awake anyway. Boo, yet again. :p

    Friday April 12: Day 3

    Super busy day. During the morning and afternoon, we mostly visited with Oma, although we also went grocery shopping I think. Mom and I show Nadia off shamelessly, as we almost always take the long route through the hallways so that Nadia can be admired and cooed over by as many residents as we can find. It’s a good thing she doesn’t understand all the compliments she’s getting or else she would be extremely conceited. :) She absolutely loves people and always gives out lots of smiles to everyone.

    Auntie B, and cousins I and Z came over again, as did my Uncle P and Auntie A, and my Uncle R and Auntie L plus cousin G. It was the first time in MANY years that all my Mom’s siblings were together, plus a ton of cousins, from four different cities (I’m counting Mom and I as from Vancouver, even though that’s not totally accurate). All twelve of us were in Oma’s apartment chatting until we all went out for dinner at Ric’s Grill. By the name, it sounds like it should be a greasy spoon or a burger joint but it’s a very VERY nice restaurant.  We were joined by my cousin Z and her husband and 2 year old daughter.

    Nadia is a very calm and happy baby. Even when she cries, it’s usually fairly quiet and brief, and ALWAYS has a reason, which is usually quickly remedied, which makes the next bit extremely bizarre. At two points in the evening at the restaurant, Nadia went from a full sleep to a terrified shriek for absolutely no reason that I could tell, which then dissolved into hysterical sobbing. :( My best guess is that she was hungry, hot, had a gas pain, had a nightmare or some combination of those. Both times, I scooted out of the restaurant as quickly as I could, hoping that I could walk her out of her discomfort by getting her into fresh air. I mouthed apologies as I walked between tables to get to the door…I was pretty sure some of the people there had gotten babysitters in order to get away from crying children and I felt badly that they were being interrupted.

    There was a lovely man at one of the tables near us who came up to me at the hostess station and told me there was no need to apologize for Nadia because that’s just what babies do. He said she was “cute as a button” and had done very well for a long while. I was so happy to hear that…I really needed it, and I almost cried. So, thank you, lovely Edmonton man. :)

    All 15 of us went back to Oma’s again for dessert and socializing, (after a quick return to the restaurant to collect my purse which I’d forgotten in the attempts to calm Nadia) then Oma, Mom and I collapsed when everyone left. Luckily Nadia was tired too, crashing around midnight and sleeping until 0930 with a quick breakfast around 0600.

    Of course, I didn’t sleep that night…except I did!!!! Yayyyyyyy!!!!

    Cooking


    2013 - 04.06

    A few weeks ago, I started a challenge that I would start cooking more meals from scratch. So, how am I doing? Not too badly, but not as well as I’d like.

    We borrowed a bread machine from David’s parents and I’ve made three loaves of basic white bread, and David has made one. The first three loaves we made were pretty tasty, but very dense, and barely rose. I’ve been making detailed-ish notes so that I can see what the problems might be. It seems that the dry yeast we had been using was the problem, as the bread I made last night was much lighter in texture (less like a cake) and rose a lot more. I used yeast that needed to be refrigerated that I got from my mother in law and slightly warmer water (the recipe calls for room temperature water, but we have a fairly chilly house). One or both of those things seemed to work…since I’m not practicing strict control over variables, I’ll just keep doing both, at least until I run out of refrigerated yeast. (Note to self, and David…we’re essentially out of white flour. Costco run this weekend?)

    David and I made a trip to Galloways, one of my favourite places, where I took pictures of things that inspired me so that I could check out recipes and how to use them before the ingredients were staring at me from my kitchen counter. Something that has always caught my eye, whether I’m at Costco, Safeway or Galloways, is dried bean mixtures. They’re cheap and I’ve really liked most pea/ bean/ barley/ legume soups I’ve had. I finally bought some instead of just checking it out, since the recipe was on the back and seemed fairly Karin-proof (1/2 c bean mixture, 2 liters of liquid, simmer together for 90 minutes.) We keep a variety of Better Than Bouillon on hand in the fridge, so I made up 2 L of chicken broth and simmered the beans as instructed. Not exactly from scratch, but I’m taking baby steps. :)

    Overall, it was pretty tasty, especially with the bread I’d made. It was even better the day after, although I had to dilute the broth a bit because it concentrated during simmering (I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to cover it, and figured it would be easier to add water later. I figure it cost about 30 cents to make the whole pot of soup, and I’d definitely make it again, but with some fresh vegetables and some herbs next time.

    I also made brownies, but those were from a mix. They were absolutely delicious though. :D

    Month 2 Letter


    2013 - 03.15

    Dear Nadia,

    Happy 2 month-iversary! You’ve gotten a lot bigger since you were born and you’re starting to move out of the baby blob stage and becoming more interactive. This month, you’ve been smiling like crazy, cooing and gurgling and maybe even laughing a bit. You love snuggling with both Dad and me, but you’re becoming more independent as well. You love lying in your bassinet and staring at the bear mobile, even when it ran out of batteries for a few days. You will also go to sleep on your own in your crib or in the bassinet.

    One of your favourite things to do is to watch DVDs. I don’t mean on the TV though…we have a bookcase full of DVDs and you will stare at the colourful covers of them for hours. I’m pretty sure your favourite is the six seasons of Lost that we bought but haven’t watched yet.

    You hated tummy time at the beginning of this month, and sometimes you still aren’t too fond of it, but other times you love it. At first, you would only lie on your tummy on the floor for 30 seconds to a minute, but in the last little while, you will be happy for up to seven minutes! You love being on your back on the floor, and will hang out for a long time, especially if you get to be warmed up by the heater. You like to stare at the monkey that our friend Jeff brought you, and you’re starting to figure out how to chew on Sophie the Giraffe, a gift from my cousin Kristy and your cousin KJ.

    We’ve started almost totally cloth diapering you now and will only put you in disposables when we go out and it would be easier than cloth. I love seeing you with your colourful diaper covers, especially the printed ones. You’ve got one with ladybugs, one with rockets and two with frogs!

    I can’t believe how much we lucked out with you. You’re such an easy going kid who goes with the flow almost all the time. You’re happy to nurse, eat from a bottle, use a soother or suck on your fists and you’ll go back and forth between all of those. I haven’t had to change anything that I eat because you don’t seem to be sensitive to any of it. You’ll sleep if it’s loud or quiet, whether you’re on the couch, in your crib, on the floor, in our bed or in the bassinet. I’m pretty sure you even dozed off in the change table a few times! You love car rides (unless you’re hungry or wet, and then you will definitely let us know!) and being in your stroller, although you hate being in the car seat and not moving. You don’t seem to mind whether we put you in cloth or disposable diapers, and have only had a tiny bit of diaper rash that cleared up right away. You still aren’t a huge fan of baths, and when you want out, you want out NOW!

    You and I started watching Doctor Who (2006) and I had to stop watching one of the episodes until you went down for a nap because every time you heard the Dalek’s voice, you would start to cry. I wonder if I’d better avoid watching some of the older Doctor Who…I think there’s a pretty large Dalek storyline. :) I guess you’re not quite old enough to go behind the sofa yet. :)

    This month, you got sick for the first time. I’m sorry…I gave it to you, and I’m not sure where I got it because I’ve never washed my hands as often as I ever have in my entire life since you were born. We’re really lucky that Dad didn’t get it too because he took extra care of us for a week while we recuperated. It was just a minor cold, but we slept a lot. I got it a lot worse than you. I had a sore throat, cough, sneezing and a stuffy nose. As far as we could tell, you just had a stuffy nose and a bit of a cough when you couldn’t figure out how to breathe through your nose. We spritzed saline water up your nose a couple times a day and used a suction tube, and after a few times of that, you didn’t even cry, although you were not at all happy when we used the suction tubeto try and clear your nose out.

    Things you’ve learned this month:

    • how to find your fist.
    • that toys are cool.
    • that stuffed up noses suck, but sea water and a suction tube help. (pun intended)
    • that you can expand to fill any bed, no matter how much room there should be for Mum and Dad.
    • the best time to party is still between midnight and 5 am. (We really need to get your days and nights straightened out!)
    • how to charm the pants off random store employees, shoppers and coffee shop customers.
    • yoga is pretty fun, especially watching all the moms doing the movements.
    • lifting your head a bit during tummy time on the floor, and a lot if you’re on our chests.
    • shopping malls are a lot of fun, especially when Grandma and Great-Grandma are there.
    • you can get our attention by cooing and gurgling, not just yelling at us.
    • if you want to get out of the bassinet or crib and it looks like we might turn the mobile on for another couple minutes of sleep, give a big grin and we can’t resist you.

    To My Daughter: International Women’s Day


    2013 - 03.09

    Dear Nadia,

    Today isn’t a special “milestone” day for you, so this is kind of a bonus letter. You’re now 7 weeks and 3 days, or 52 days old. In a week, you’ll be two months old. Those numbers blow my mind. In some ways it feels like you’ve been  with us forever, and in other ways it’s like I breathed and suddenly you’ve grown out of your Sesame Street sleeper. (note to self: get new Sesame Street sleeper in age 3-6 months)

    But I actually wanted to talk about other women today, not just us (although I’ll definitely get back to us). Today is International Women’s Day and that’s really important on a lot of levels. It was only a few generations back that women had very, very few choices in our part of the world. Your Urli (my Oma, so your great grandmother) went to university as a girl, but that was very unusual at the time, and once she was married, she didn’t work. Your Oma (my mother) had a lot more choices of occupation, but it was a lot more difficult to branch out beyond a certain number of jobs. I had even more choices! I could be anything I wanted, although even today women are significantly under-represented in politics, high level management, science and mathematics jobs. I can’t wait to see what you decide you want to do for your career, and hopefully you will find it even easier to find your passion and do what you love. (Although your Dad has already decided that you’re going to be an astro-paleontologist and discover/study space dinosaurs. I’m ok with that…just make sure you pack a lunch. And don’t push that red button that says “Don’t Push”.)

    In the time it’s taken me to write the above, I’ve changed you, fed you and soothed some of the squawks that have come from your bassinet. I’m so lucky that I get to choose to stay home with you and be your mom. That’s something that has only been a choice for women for the last fifty years or so, and in many places, it’s still not a choice. I’ve chosen to nurse you and cloth diaper you, choices that weren’t available fifty years ago. That’s what is so amazing about this world…I don’t have to do what “everyone” does. Instead, we all get to figure out what works for us.

    Your Dad and I are trying really hard to keep you out of any society-inflicted, pre-determined destinies. Right now, that’s small things. We dress you in orange, pink, blue, green, yellow, red, purple, black, white…all the colours of the rainbow and then some. You own a pink tutu (although it doesn’t fit you yet), denim overalls, a rocket ship diaper cover, a dinosaur onsie and a bubble gum pink sleeper with a mouse in a hair bow on it. You also have a purple, sparkly headband with a giant purple daisy on it.

    When you get older, you’ll have the choice of different activities. If I get my way, you’ll be in martial arts, gymnastics, art and music classes and creative writing. (Not all at once though. That’s crazy.) Your Dad would probably be thrilled if you were in soccer and skating. We’ve decided you’re taking swimming lessons…sorry, but you don’t get a choice there. You’ll also have lots of toys, and you’ll get to tell us what you like and we’ll do our best to get that for you, whether it’s a dollhouse or a helmet and sword. (I would have written the same thing to you if you had been a boy.) Maybe you’ll decide that you love dance, soccer and building model rockets, and that’s fine too (as long as I can launch rockets with you, because seriously? Rockets are AWESOME.)

    I have to admit, I was a little bit worried in the hospital when your Dad announced that you were a girl. I still am, but am more confident now. I worry about body image issues, and your future partner(s). Your Dad and I joke about how you aren’t allowed to date until you get married, but we both know that’s unreasonable, just because you’ll probably wind up with his stubbornness and my sense of adventure. With any luck you’ll also inherit my complete inability to lie convincingly and we’ll be able to keep tabs on you for a little longer at least. I think I’m less worried about your future partner(s) than your Dad is, because I know that children model their relationships after what they see in their own home, and your Dad is a pretty awesome guy who loves both of us very much.

    Women in Canada have only been allowed to vote since 1918, less than 100 years from when you were born. That seems like an awfully long time in some ways, but it’s such a short time. So much has changed, even from when I was a baby and I can’t wait to see the world that you grow up in and how you are going to make it a better place. You’ve already made our corner of the world a better place, and I know your grandparents and other relatives and friends think so too.

    Love,

    Mum

    PS. I missed New Years this year, so I’m going to make a Women’s Day resolution. I resolve to be a role model of how I want you to be: independent, creative and healthy in body, mind and soul. Thank you for making me a better person.