ShelCor

Three nights

(tap tap tap)

Anyone here?

(radio silence)

Anyways, on we go…..

We love eating. And cooking. And drinking. with our meals.

Often I’ll take pictures of the food we make. I post them to my twitter account, and sometimes link a recipe. I enjoy doing this. I’m not sure it’s everyone’s cup of tea but some people like it and I like it too, so there’s that.

So what I’m trying to say is: Here’s some recipes we used this week as inspiration for evening meals – and leftovers to bring to work too!

Cajun Shrimp with Asparagus-Spinach Pesto Pasta

It only took me about 15 minutes the night before to make the pesto. We use an immersion (hand) blender but a food processor should work too. A smaller one if you have it. When we got home the next day it was easy as cooking a pot of pasta (we used the medium-sized shells) while quickly frying the shrimp. Then mix in the pesto once the pasta is cooked, and serve with shrimp on top.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Raisin Coleslaw

Another pretty easy meal except this one is even better because it comes very cheap! And delicious to boot! You get a pork shoulder (approx $5-7), a bottle of bbq sauce (Cory makes his own usually, but when time is short), an onion and some buns. You must have a slow cooker. Again something that is not the biggest slowcooker on the market. The pork shoulder should fit in there and enough for the chopped onion and bbq sauce. Put that all in together in the morning and when you get home for supper it’s ready. Well once you physically pull the tender meat apart using two forks. That can be a bit of a pain in the ass. And I only ever did it once. But it’s so worth it. And you get 5-6 sandwiches out of it usually. In our case one each for adults supper & lunch, and one or two for the kids to share.
I used the coleslaw recipe pretty much to a T for the dressing and just cabbage, red delicious apple & raisins for the chunky coleslaw.

Fish Taco’s
Hear me out on this one. Sure it sounds weird, funny, or something else but they are great. It’s homemade fish sticks in a corn tortilla. You can use the cabbage & lime as the recipe suggests and if you are going to do that (it’s delicious) I would suggest you buy a soft cabbage such as chinese cabbage. If you don’t want the cabbage & lime then salsa & sour cream work well too.
Oh, and definitely get the corn tortillas, and not the wheat ones.

Let me know what you think. If you think you’d try any of them. And of course if you do you definitely have to let me know.

Halloween par-tay!

I think we all know that at times I may take on more than I can handle.

And that perhaps since Cory has been in my life I might, just sometimes, take on even more because now there are two of us to carry the load.

Especially if that task has to do with cooking. Specifically, entertainment cooking.

In related news: we are having a halloween party on Saturday. And are inviting a boat load of people. Maybe even a ferry load.

You can come too. If there isn’t enough room for you on the boat you can go in a liferaft. Cory will have jumped ship long before you arrived, I’m sure.

Elsa Reads

We have a nightly bedtime routine with the kids: bath, brushing teeth, pyjama’s, read books while eating a yogurt. We’ve done this since Merrin was young. Very young. Although I’m not sure when the yogurt snack started, possibly when Elsa was a newborn (she got milk, not yogurt) when we were trying to break Merrin of her bottle of milk before bed habit. Yes, that’s right. We let Merrin have a bottle of milk before bed right up until she was past 2 and a half years old.

Wait, this wasn’t supposed to be about our lack of discipline around food with our kids. This was supposed to be about reading.

We’ve been reading to our kids since they were infants. We read books to them at least every night. Sometimes in the morning, or during the daytime – but that usually only happens on weekends.

Plus I talk. A lot. Perhaps not as I used to, but it’s still more than Cory does. But come on, it can’t be working out too bad for me. I mean the word “communications” is right there in my job title after all.

Anyway, all the reading and talking have seemingly help our kids pick up fairly decent speaking skills. And apparently reading skills.

Tonight Elsa read* her first book. She turned 2 on Saturday.

When Merrin read her first book she was almost 2 and a half. Nearly twenty-nine months old to be more precise.

The first book Merrin read was a Sesame Street character tome about bubbles in the bathtub. For her first book recitation Elsa choose “My Pretty Kitty”, a delightful foam board book that mom bought her in Labrador.

So without further aideu, here is Elsa’s book of the night selection:
(italics of Elsa’s recitation)

My kitty’s so pretty so soft and small,
she runs and plays and catches her ball.
My pretty kitty’s so clean and neat,
after each meal she washes her feet.
I love to pat her silky fur,
and listen when she starts to purr.
My pretty kitty has so much fun,
and then she takes her nap in the sun.

*clearly I am using the word loosely. Even so, she’s pretty smart wha?

2nd Bday pics

I may write a post later about Elsa’s party, but for those patiently waiting for pictures of the big event here they are!

New Day(care)

Before & after supper tonight Merrin was throwing up. It seems that she may have picked up whatever it was Elsa had at the end of last week.

Then going to bed Elsa had a screamfest – and then woke up a couple hours later for another screamfest. I think her week-long runny nose is finally starting to affect her sleep.

But maybe it’s not a true rotting-sesspool of virus and disease that is affecting their bodies.

Perhaps it is excitement and anxiety.

Today I brought the girls to their new daycare. It was just for an hour, but they went into their new classrooms and met their new teachers and played with their new friends.

Elsa was not phased at all – she jumped right in there playing with all the other 2* year olds.

Merrin however was a little more apprehensive. Not at first. At first she was very excited to visit her new daycare. She’s been asking about it for months. But once we got there and she saw the big rooms and the different teachers and all the new kids – well, I think she got overwhelmed and didn’t want me to leave.

I did leave though, and she was fine. I’m expecting her to be sooky and whiny – and maybe even crying a little – when I leave her there on Monday morning, but I’m sure she’ll be fine when I pick her up in the afternoon.

Her best friend Olivia, who she’s been in daycare with since they were 13 months old, also starts her first day at the same daycare on Monday.

Yes, I’m pretty sure she’ll be fine.

*She’s not 2 until Saturday. But she’s practically 2. Right?

Safe & Sound, and Sleeping Over

Igor has come and gone and left more destruction than Earl. But anything is more than what Earl left, unless you count 3 days of the best weather of the entire summer.

As you’ve likely seen – or experienced – Eastern Newfoundland was pretty hard hit by Hurricane Igor. Lots of people & businesses had lots of damage to their property. One person lost their life.

We were very lucky and escaped relatively unscathed. We lost power for about 4 hours, one small section of our fence fell out (five 1X6 slats), and some blowing debris must have hit our windshield and we have a 6 inch crack along the bottom of the drivers side. So that’s the worst of it, we have to replace our windshield.

Precisely because we’ve had it so easy with this storm we’ve been enjoying it. Or at least I have. But the girls are too. All three of them.

Yup. You read that right. Three girls.

Merrin had her first friend sleep over on Monday night. And then again on Tuesday night. She’s here tonight, and may be here tomorrow night as well.

Our former (and best ever!) tenant was in an accident last week. It was her versus an SUV on a busy street during a dark & gloomy supper rush hour and, well, she lost.

But she could have lost more. And we’re all thankful she didn’t.

While she is recuperating (in the hospital still, for now) and before her mom arrives several of her friends are helping with taking care of her little one.

It’s our turn for this couple of days and we are happy to help out however we can. And Merrin has enjoyed having a buddy around, plus I think she thinks sleeping together on the futon mattress on the floor is pretty cool. Elsa was trying to be bossy with her on the first day, seemingly trying to impose a pecking order but has given up on that hopeless endeavour. Now Elsa has gladly resigned herself to pretending she’s a big girl by running around after the older two, trying to keep up and do whatever they are doing.

Just last week I was whining about how to balance child rearing activities and goals with adult & work responsibilities – and this week we’ve tipped those scales right out of whack.

And we’re still thankful that Igor didn’t demolish our scales altogether.

Poppy’s Tractor

Elsa speaking skills really shot up over the summer. By mid July she was saying a couple of dozen words clearly. By the end of August she was stringing several words together, forming incomplete – but coherent – sentences. These days she repeats nearly everything she hears – so DEFINITELY be careful what you say around her.

Elsa is also a huge fan (HUGE) of “big trucks”, or anything bigger than a personal sized vehicle that moves. Lucky for her we moved to an area of town that is directly underneath several of the flight paths for the airport. When we are driving around town, to and from daycare (or the farmers market, the only other place we go) Elsa’s eyes are peeled on the roads and she always lets us know what she sees: “Tractor!” “Bus!” ” ‘copter!” ” ‘cycle!”.

While on vacation at the Codroy Valley this summer Dad brought his tractor out of the barn on the day we were leaving to go home. He’d asked me when we first got there if he could take it out to give the girls a ride but all I could picture were Elsa’s not-quite-2-year-old bones and their still soft and malleable joints/tendons/ligaments/whatever taking a possibly life-altering and permanent beating while bouncing around in the tractor trailer. So I said no.

But on the morning when we were about to leave the girls did get to sit on Poppy’s tractor and pretend to drive it. Both of them loved it but Elsa was in her glee.

And since we’ve gotten home – more than a month ago – Elsa wants to read a farm machinery book we have almost every night. And you can’t get through it fast enough to get to the page with the tractors where she bounces up and down with the biggest grin on her face while pointing and hitting the book shouting over and over again “Poppy’s tractor! Poppy’s tractor! Loud! Poppy’s tractor loud!”

Poppy's Tractor

I won’t be surprised if this is the first thing she asks for when we go out there next year. And there’s no way I’ll be able to stop her (or dad) from going for a ride on it.

Balance

We’ve been in this house for going on two months now. Some days we move about the house with such second-natured swiftness that it feels as though we’ve been here forever. Other days the two large and completely empty rooms look as lonely as the picture hooks and nails jutting from the blank walls.

In the past two months we’ve settled in to our daily routine well, being unpacked and settled enough for all the essentials – sleep, bathe, eat, cook, play.

And though we have empty and cavernous rooms and unadorned walls – we have hardly stopped since we moved in. Most nights of the week, once we get the kids to bed and while I am getting the basic daily chores done, Cory is usually puttering away at one task or another to make the house more comfortable for us. Getting our tv & internet was a first priority, of course, but he’s put up shelves, changed locks, rearranged lightswitch wiring, installed (our first ever!) garage door opener – and lots of other little things. I’ve unpacked a my share of boxes too, but not as many as Cory.

We’ve also spent a fair bit of money – which takes a lot of work and time. We nearly tripled our living space and so we have rooms to fill. Though we aren’t interested in cluttering our newfound space up with ‘things’ just because, we *are* interested in having a comfortable and lived in house. And this requires more furniture than we previously owned.

This blog entry has taken a turn from what I set out wanting to write, and I can’t blame anyone but myself for getting off track – haha! I intended to write an entry talking about the balance between enjoying time off work and doing responsible adult things.

Now that I’ve re-read the first couple of paragraphs of this entry I think what I was trying to get at is (bullet points might keep me on track!):
- we want to settle in to this house, to make it a home we are comfortable in
- to do that we need to do some work
- to do that it takes time
- we both work full time, so that leaves evenings and weekends
- we want to spend time with our kids and each other on the weekends
- we want to take the kids outside the house, doing activities and experiencing things (ie: playground, swimming, library, farmers market, visiting friends, special events, etc – but not all in one weekend of course!)
- we want to spend time at home with the kids, doing nothing (playing, arts & crafts, movies, etc)
- to be most comfortable in our home ‘doing nothing’ we need to do more work and take more time to do that work
- and so on, and so on….

So, where’s the balance?

This is not a new struggle to us just because we are in this new-to-us house, but it does exacerbate it.

Anyone out there reading this with small kids (knock knock knock.. [hollow echos] ….. anyone?) or who at one point had small kids:
How do you balance family time with adult responsibility time?

I’d love to hear.

With labour day now behind us we hope to return to a more regularly scheduled blog & flickr account maintenance.

For your long overdue enjoyment here are three sets of pictures:

Codroy Valley early August

Renews mid August

Labour Day Weekend early September