play date

So, my last blog post was on the 20th.  Eleven whole days ago.  What can I say?  I was enjoying the Christmas season!  This year, it took me FOREVER to get into the Christmas spirit.  I pretty much wanted nothing to do with Christmas (gasp, shock).  However, all those feelings melted on Christmas Eve; I love being surrounded by my family and friends (many who I only see once a year) to celebrate the holiday season.  It's magical.  From singing Christmas carols at Oma's house to laughing so hard at my In-Law's house that I almost couldn't breathe, this Christmas couldn't have been better.

That said, with all the Christmas craziness, Hubby and I really haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time together, just the two of us.  So I was so happy when we had a date night planned for last night.  It was nothing fancy, we went out for dinner and then to the play White Christmas; it was perfect.  Hubby and I have watched this movie every Christmas that we have been together, so when I saw that the Arts Club was putting on a production of this Christmas classic, I was thrilled.   It was a great night; we laughed, I cried (don't judge, it's a cute story), and, most importantly, we got to spend one of the last nights of 2010 holding hands and singing.  We ended 2010 on a high note, literally!

I hope that you all have had a great 2010, and wishing you and yours a safe and happy New Year!!!


man, oh manicotti

It has become a recent tradition that most every Sunday night Hubby and I have dinner with his parents.  We go over to their house and have a nice, home cooked, family dinner; it's such a nice way to end the weekend.  To switch things up, yesterday I invited the in-laws for dinner at our place - it gave me an excuse make Hubby's favourite dinner:  Manicotti.

I made three pans of the manicotti and I'm sure that Hubby could have finished all three by himself.  He likes it that much.

The recipe I use is from Giada De Laurentiis, however, I've modified it to suit our tastes and dietary restrictions.  I wanted to share this recipe since it's such a goodie, so enjoy!
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Manicotti (I used 1.5 packages)
  • 1 container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups freshly-grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans marinara sauce 
Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool.  Once cool, pulse in a food processor for a couple of seconds, until mixture is no longer really chunky.  If you don't have a food processor, this step isn't necessary, but I find that it creates a really good texture for the filling.

Combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled (and food processed) meat mixture into the cheese mixture.

Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over.

Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese, then the remaining Parmesan  cheese over the stuffed pasta.*  Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes and serve.

*The dish can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 8 hours - great for a dinner party!

lunch:  bratwurst with sauerkraut and mustard - delicious

PS:  Hubby and I also went to a German Christmas Market yesterday (his idea - I love him!).  We had a blast walking around, shopping, and eating delicious food.  Great weekend!


tell me more, again

Being the completely Type-A person that I am, only coming up with 12 things in my previous post was really starting to bother me.  So, I set out to finish what I had started.  Here are 13 more things about me:
  1. I hate starting new jobs, absolutely hate it.  I hate not knowing how to use the photocopier, how to pull up the letterhead, or even how to use the coffee machine.  I am definitely not one of those people that gets antsy once they've been in a job for a little while.  I'm not saying that I like to be comfortable in my job, but I do love to be comfortable in my surroundings.
  2. I attend Jazzercise classes.  They are awesome, you should try it, and, no, leg warmers are not mandatory.
  3. When I have money I have a hard time not giving it away.  I'm always looking at things thinking "so and so would love this, I should get it for her", or "Hubby really deserves this, I'm going to buy it for him".  I really believe that if I won the lottery all of my winnings would be given away to friends and family in a matter of days.
  4. I'm still 12 years old, seriously.  I love Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and I could still watch endless amounts of Full House
  5. I love nothing more than hosting dinner parties, I guess it's the Betty Draper in me.
  6. This may sound really strange, but I believe I'm an "old soul".  I'm still on the fence about the whole past lives phenomenon, but I just have this feeling like my soul has been around for many, many years; that my body is new, but my mind and soul have existed for years beyond my age.
  7. Each time I sing O Canada in a crowd, I want to cry.  The thought of our nation banding to declare love for our beautiful country makes me so full of happiness and pride.
  8. I've never left the continent of North America.
  9. When I try and explain to other people what I do in my job, it always sounds extremely boring.  I find my job extremely interesting, yet I can never seem to make subdivision plans and title searches sound exciting.
  10. Each time I smell lavender I think about our honeymoon, and what a great time Hubby and I had.
  11. I completed the West Coast Trail when I was in grade 10.  It was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would love to go back!
  12. The best beauty tip I've ever received is to use baby oil right when you get out of the shower.  Seriously, you will never suffer from dry skin again.
  13. I have the best husband ever; he is so caring, kind, funny, supportive, and loyal that I couldn't have asked for a better partner to go through life with.  I love him more and more with each day, and I can't wait for what the future has in store for us.
There you have it, folks, 25 things about moi!

these two bring me so much joy and happiness


an open book

I have a confession to make:  I love books.  I could spend hours upon hours in Chapters just soaking up all the book-y goodness.  I know, I'm such a nerd.  However, the surprising thing is that as much as I love books, I don't read for pleasure all that often.  I blame school.  When I have to read 80 pages per week about exciting stuff like Aboriginal land claims I really don't want to pick up another book.  That's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it.  Lately, however, I've been reading non-stop.  To me, there is nothing better than shutting off the television and curling up with my meow meow, a cup of tea, and my delicious book.  Bliss.

During my break from school, I've decided to make a conscious effort to turn off the television and get reading.  It's amazing to me how much more relaxed and calm I feel after reading a chapter in my book as opposed to watching some mindless reality show; go figure.  I've only been out of school for a week (not even!), and I'm already one book in.  After watching the new Harry Potter movie, I couldn't resist reading the last book again.  Say what you want about the Harry Potter books, but don't knock 'em until you've read them.  They are so beautifully written and are filled with so much symbolism that you get completely engrossed in the world of Harry Potter.  They are amazing books.

After finishing Harry Potter, I moved on to a book that one of my co-workers lent me:  The Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky.  I'm a total history buff, and a sucker for any books about WWII; I just started the book last night, but I know that I'm going to love this book.

For me, the best thing about books is the escape; an open book is an adventure just waiting to happen.  For however long I'm reading, I get to escape my world completely immerse myself into the lives and stories of the characters.  I'm not thinking about our mortgage, work, or what I'm going to make for dinner; I become part of the story, part of the characters, and that's something that television will never be able to give me.


giving spending the boot

I almost hate to admit this, but after writing about how material things don't bring me happiness, I went straight to the mall to buy a ridiculously expensive pair of boots.  Yep, I basically have no self control.  When I want something, I want it bad and I will figure out a way to get it, NOW. 

I left the office and walked across the street to the mall* and all I could think about was how awesome these boots were going to look on my feet.  I was outfit planning, I was thinking how awesome it was going to be to hand over my hard-earned money for these beautiful boots.  As soon as I got into the store, I felt another rush of excitement, I couldn't wait until they were mine.  I tried them on and they fit perfectly.

It was then, as I was looking at myself in the mirror, that I realized that they really wouldn't make me a happier person.  They wouldn't change my life in any way, shape, or form.  As soon as I would have walked out of the store with them, I would already be thinking about the next thing that I just HAD to have.  So, I stayed true to myself and I took them off, thanked the clerk, and walked out of the store.  I didn't spend a single penny.  The really surprising thing?  I didn't regret it at all once I got back to the office and sat down at my desk.  Actually, it was kind of the opposite, I felt GREAT that I didn't give into the temptation of beautiful boots.

beautiful boots, just like wearing slippers

To be honest, I also really have Hubby to thank for my self-restraint.  I could imagine the look on his face when I told him how much I paid for foot wear that looks like giant wool socks.  I just couldn't put the poor guy through that kind of shock.

Another day, another life lesson learned.

*This is where my bad shopping habits come from.  I work beside a mall and I spend every lunch hour there. Can you blame me?


tell me more, tell me more

I recently found my self in a social situation where somebody I don't really know asked me to tell him about myself.  Awesome.  My mind instantly went blank and the most interesting thing that I could say was "I grew up in Squamish".  Riveting.  I've been thinking about this situation a lot over the past couple of days (I'm such an idiot), and, in doing so, I realized that it's really, really hard to tell people about yourself.  It also made me think about this silly thing that went Facebook viral a couple of years ago; it was simple, all you had to do was write 25 things about yourself.  I LOVED reading all the lists, and writing my own; I was always surprised to learn something new about my friends.

So, I decided to do it again, using different things about me.  Here is what I came up with:
  1. At times, I can be a pretty jealous person.  I really never thought that I was, but lately I've found myself becoming really jealous of others. However, I've also found something that combats the jealousy: admitting it.  Yep, if I "own" my jealousy and actually admit to others that I'm completely jealous, all those envious feelings fade, and I can just be happy for the person.  Lululemon, you're right again: Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.
  2. Things that scare you are actually the best things for you.  Example: Pie crust.  Once I accomplished something that scared me, I had so much confidence that I felt that I could do anything; ok, maybe not anything, but you get the point.
  3. I've changed a lot in the past number of years.  I'm different.  My priorities are different.  I'm a (eek!) grown up!  I've definitely changed for the better; I'm more confident in who I am, and I'm an all-around happier person.
  4. I'm completely addicted to my iPhone, which makes me think about those families on Oprah who give up their "stuff" for 48 hours...I just might have to challenge myself to leave my phone at home for a day.  This is making me squirm just thinking about it...
  5. Having a creative outlet is awesome for my soul.  I never realized how much I actually enjoy writing until I started blogging.
  6. I'm a total cat person.  I never thought that I would see the day, but it's here.
  7. I'm constantly trying to be a better person.  Not that I think I'm a terrible person, by any means, but I do believe that there is always room for improvement.
  8. Even though marriage doesn't really change anything, I can't imagine anything better (except for kids).  Ever since Hubby and I have gotten married, things are the same as before, except better.  I can't explain it, and I have no idea what it is, but something is different, and it's awesome.  Trust me, it's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it is pretty amazing.
  9. I need to travel.  My travel bug grows each day, and I can't wait until 2012 when Hubby and I can actually get the heck outta here!
  10. Material things don't make make me a happier person.  Period.  Would my life be any different without my Jimmy Choo shoes, Macbook, or Coach purse?  Nope.  Not even a little bit.  Now, if only I can remember this as I'm standing in the store drooling over the beautiful shoes...
  11. I ache to be a parent.  I want to have kids.  Right now.  However, it really, really scares me.  What will happen to my job, my career, while I'm on maternity leave?  How will we be able to support ourselves, and our family, while I'm not working?  I don't do well when I don't get a good night's sleep, how will I ever survive as a parent?  I know, I need to stop worrying; we will survive, and my job will be here when I come back.
  12. If you haven't already noticed, I love commas and exclamation points!  I may or may not have a problem!  I also have mad respect for the semicolon.

yep, total cat lover now

So, I didn't exactly get 25 things, but I thought that 12 was pretty good.  I also realized that most of these aren't really random things about me, but things that I've learned since writing my previous list.  It's actually kind of neat to see how much I've changed in the past couple of years.


a festivus weekend

This past weekend was filled with so much festive excitement that I can't believe it's Monday already.  The first festive activity was my firm's annual Holiday Christmas Party.  I love these parties, they are always a lot of fun, however, this year was extra-special because one of my co-workers let Hubby and I spend the night in the hotel room that she rented.  It was a BEAUTIFUL room with the most spectacular view that I've ever seen.  I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Friday night.

this picutre just doesn't do the view justice

Satruday, my Mom and I did some cross-border Christmas shopping.  I managed to spend all of my Christmas bonus, but I finished ALL of my Christmas shopping.  Man, that feels good.  It was a long day, but it was so nice to spend the entire day shopping with my Mom.

we couldn't resist trying the eggnog truffle.  it was as delicious as it sounds

Sunday, the festive weekend continued, as Hubby, his parents, and I went to the Santa Clause Parade.  I love going to this parade, and I'm so glad that it's an annual tradition with Hubby and his family.  We got all bundled up, grabbed some festive drinks from Starbucks, and watched the floats, bands, and Santa Clause himself, march through the streets of Vancouver.  I love watching how excited all the little kids get at the sight of Santa, it makes me really excited to have kids; really, really excited.

We've also finished putting up all of our Christmas decorations; written, addressed, and sent all of our Christmas cards; and planned all the festive activities that we want to attend.  I love getting all the "stuff" (decorating, cards, shopping)  done early so that Hubby and I can relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Ho Ho Ho!