Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese

I love Mondays!  Shawn get Mondays off, so its like our little extra Sunday that no one else gets.  I love it!  This morning whilst I prepared a little Halloweeny snack, Shawn hooked us up with some Ghoulish tunes.  It was great.  We danced like crazy people - okay, I danced like crazy person and Nevin bopped his head to the beat - and at the end of it, we ate our snacks to the Devil Went Down to Georgia.  Not totally Halloween, but much better than Thriller, Nightmare on my Street and the Adams Family Theme Song, according to Nevin. 

The recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese is below.  Do yourself a favour and give your bagel a little Halloween love.

Image from

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Raking Leaves

October 30, 2011 by SashaWarner
October 30, 2011, a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
Today was fall clean-up day. While Shawn worked on getting the garage ready for winter (in other words, finding room for the car), Nevin, Gwennie and I raked leaves in the back yard.

I forgot how much I love raking. Probably mostly because our yard is so small and there is only one large maple tree. It makes me nostalgic for living in the forest as a kid and all the games we used to play.

I snapped a picture with my shadow included, very purposely, because I had this on my mind.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Scarlett's Butterflies

Scarletts Butterflies by SashaWarner
Scarletts Butterflies, a photo by SashaWarner on Flickr.
I made a little collage in Scarlett's room. I do not want her room to be very girly, but I can not resist some feminine touches.

The butterflies are cut out of card stock. To make nice clean folds, I scored the folds with a ruler and exact-o knife prior to folding the wings. I used putty to attach them, which is holding fast so far.

The project cost less than $5 dollars, and took less than one nap time.  That's our kind of project.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Emilie's Shower

Its a official.  My big brother is a parent.  This was an extra-crazy-special year for our family - all three of us had babies (or, in the case of my older brother, is spending most of the year waiting patiently for a baby).  How often does that happen?  I have to admit, its pretty cool to go through all the same celebrations and hurdles at the same time as your siblings.  I'm already looking forward to dealing with teenagers together.

My older brother and his wife are the last ones to hop on the baby train, and we are all so excited to welcome them to parenthood, so we held a baby shower for them yesterday. 

It was a collaboration between my mother and I.  My mother, the oh-it-sparkles! oh-it-says-baby-on-it!  oh-it-has-booties-and-pastel-abphabet-blocks! lover, and me, the every-one-knows-why-we're-here-were-don't-need-the-decorations-screaming-reminders-at-them! lets-step-away-from-pastels! stick in the mud.  It made for an interesting preparation, and more than one "I know its pastel, but it was only five dollars!"  In the end, I think it came together well, I was proud of my mother's restraint.  And I covered the "BABY!" table cloth with as much food as I could find.

(How'd this get in here?   Pre-game snack)
Made by Emilie and Grandma Whitson
Well wishes poster

Baby Taylor is lucky!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Healthy Double Chocolate Brownies?

Shawn: "Just a heads up, on Thursday I'm going to start being healthy and getting in shape."

Sasha: "Oh no, not one of your health kicks again."

Shawn, shaking head: "You are the worst for this. I love how you are so supportive."

Sasha: "But this means no more pie.  I can't eat pie by myself.  Its like a pieaholic, it means I have a problem."

Shawn: "I'll still eat pie, just maybe not for breakfast and snack.  I never did that until I met you."

Sasha: "So like maybe a pie will last more than 12 hours?  Okay.  I think I can live with that."

Thursday is quickly approaching.  We need healthy desserts, stat, before Shawn goes over to the dark side.  So last night I got out another handy Government of Ontario recipe publication (seriously people, that's really where are taxes are going) and tried the most ridiculously healthy dessert I could find.  And you know what?  It was good.  It tasted even better today, the next day, which as you can read above, means I am being supportive because it has lasted more than 12 hours in the house and I didn't have any for breakfast.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lazy-Day French Toast

This morning everything went exactly according to plan.  They did exactly what I wanted them to, without me even asking.  In other words, they all slept.  I was alone in a quiet house. 

It all started with Scarlett waking up exactly one minute before my alarm was set to go off.  A quick feed and she went back to sleep.  She went back to sleep.  A banana snack later and I was off to fitness class. 

I got back and they were all still asleep.  I put the french toast in the oven (I prepped last night) and sat at the kitchen table reading while I waited for the french toast to bake, hoping that child #1 wouldn't wake up, demanding "french toast NOOOOOOW!"  He didn't.  I just read.  Quietly.

They all woke up, at the same time, without my help, a half an hour later, just as the french toast was coming out of the oven.  Life never, ever, ever goes that way in my house.  It was divine. 

So was the french toast, so I'm sharing the recipe.  It was on Steven and Chris last week.  You prep it the night before, so its easy-peasy in the morning.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Name Plaques

Today, it was raining, so we did a project I've been wanting to do for a few weeks.  We invited over the neighbours and made name plaques.  I got the paints and letters from a yard sale.  We've got enough letters and half empty paint bottles to make name plaques for the entire town.  Nevin made a huge mess and did a really good job. 


This was day two of my near perfect mothering, from the outside.  Yesterday, I took the kids to the library for Toddler Time, which is basically stories, songs and rhymes for two year olds (never to early for literacy!), and quickly followed that up with playgroup, which is facilitated by a early childhood specialist and finishes with more circle time.  Home for lunch, Nevin to bed, then I turned around and returned to the library activity room for Baby Picasso with Scarlett (never to early to foster right brain thinking!).  And did I mention I walked to all these places?  Just trying to reduce my carbon footprint and leave a healthy world for my literate, right-brained children! 

Sound too perfect?  Ummm, yes.  I can't keep up with the cliches.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted.  And when I went to bed at 10:30, after an intense boot camp session (because perfect moms always find time for themselves!), I was sooo ready for a good night's sleep.  Scarlett woke up at 11:30.  If frustration was a noise, it would be the cries of a baby interrupting a deep, perfect sleep.  I got up, went downstairs, grabbed a blanket, layed on the couch and put a pillow over my head.  I was literally hiding from my child.  Or, more accurately, from my duties.  It lasted about three minutes, until Shawn woke up, and started looking for me.  Turns out she was just hungry and went right back to sleep after a snack.  Five minutes of crying/screaming could've been avoided.  Turns out perfect doesn't exist. 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cheap Family Fun: Canada Agriculture Museum

Thursday was a big day.  We went to the Agricultural Museum in Ottawa.  In other words, we went to a farm.  Admission for kids under three is free and teachers are free, too, so we only had to pay for Shawn, which was $7.  We also packed a picnic lunch, so it really was an affordable way to spend some family time in a toddler wonderland.  When some of your relatives own farms, I guess $7 doesn't seem like such a deal, but Nevin is a bit uneasy around close-up livestock, so this saves us the judgmental glances from locals. 

Tracker simulator... a two-year-olds' dream!

To round out the cheap fun, before we went home we went over to the airport, parked and watched the planes take-off and land.  Sometimes, the best things for toddlers really are free.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Pumpkin French Toast

Shawn is on holidays this week, and Scarlett has decided to stop sleeping like a normal person.  As a result, we are a little down and exhausted, but we have the time to do something about it.  I wanted to start today off right so I took the pumpkin loaves I made yesterday and made french toast.  Just what we needed.  It might be just what you need on Monday morning after your Canadian Thanksgiving extravaganza on Sunday.  Consider it the Hair of the Dog of the food world.

Stop judging.  I like my pink flannel pajamas and green house coat.

You'll find the recipe below (the loaves were the same recipe as the muffins I made a couple of days ago.)

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Squash Week: Pumpkin Muffins

Yesterday was one of those days.  The kind of day that one is so happy that one's mother lives close enough to come over and help.  Except when one's mother is vacationing in Europe.  Then one is up the creek, without one's paddle.

Scarlett spent a better part of Friday night crying, apparently for no good reason, because when she decided to stop crying, she proceeded to play for the next hour and a half.  Shawn and I didn't get much sleep.  I ended up sleeping on the couch downstairs with Scarlett in the baby swing next me, while Shawn, who works Saturdays, went back to bed.  At 6a.m. I awoke to a very loud thump-thump.  I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say the house shook.  I layed on the sofa for a moment going through in my head what furniture could have made that kind of noise on the second floor.  There was only one thing: it was the sound of someones head hitting the floor.  Obviously worth getting up for to check on.  When I got up stairs, I found Shawn sick to his stomach and sweating profusely.  He had passed out.  I need not remind you that that is a 6 and a half foot fall for his head - I think it bounced.  I value Shawn's head and his ideas most days, so I thought it was worth going to the hospital to double check on.  Except we have children.

Enter the neighbours.  Not only do I have a fantastic Mom, but I also have great neighbours.  Since her kids like to start the day at 5am, my neighbour was up, and was more than happy to drop everything, bundle up the kids and have a pyjama party at my house.  We are so lucky to be surrounded by such kind people.

Off to the hospital we went.  Happily, Shawn's head is as tough as it is smart.  Besides a bit of a headache, he is neurologically as sound as he was before the incident.

The neighbours were very deserving of a HUGE thank you - the best I could do was bake some muffins.  Here's the recipe.

image from Love from the Oven

Award-Winning Pumpkin Bread Muffin Recipe
(Adapted from Cindy on Chowhound)
* I doubled the recipe and made 24 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups whole wheat flour
¼ tsp. double-acting baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup apple sauce
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling), I used homemade
1/3 cup water
½ cup craisins (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or line 12 muffin tins.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. In another bowl beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin puree and water.
4. Add to the flour mixture and beat until the batter is combined. Stir in the craisins (if using). Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
5. Bake in center of preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Go cougs!

I'll let the pictures do the talking.  Possibly a crafting crowning achievement.  The girl, or the leggings.
Cute, obviously, but look a little closer....

Go Cougs!!!
Fight, fight, fight for Washington State and victory!

(I made these from old toe socks that given to me as a gift back in the college days.  Instead of making them with a frill on the bottom, like I did here, I folded over the raw seam, put an ouchless ponytail elastic in the hem and sewed.  You don't have to use the elastic, but I wanted them to be gathered a bit at the bottom, like old school jogging pants, so they wouldn't be longer than her ankles.  Since the people who set the shipping rates on everything WSU related seem to have a thing against Canadians, I am thrilled that she has something thrifty to wear for game day.)
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