Monday, December 22, 2014

Why do all our Christmas cookies look like Alien vs Predator?

Cranberry orange pancakes
No, no pictures of our decorated Christmas cookies but lets just say, my Stepdaughter and I had fun decorating them but none are picture worthy and I will have  a hard time picking out non-offensive ones to give to my Mom lol.  They taste darn good, however, and that is what matters.

I did snap a shot of these yummy Cranberry orange pancakes we had for breakfast yesterday.  You just use your usual from scratch pancake recipe (I use this one from,  add 1 cup thawed whole cranberries cut in half and juice and meat from one large orange.  I also throw in any leftover cranberry sauce - in this case some I had frozen after Thanksgiving.  The reason you use thawed cranberries versus fresh is that they soften up and are much juicier.   These cranberries are likely even from Vancouver Island as there are a few local cranberry growers who sell all of their crops to that big brand cranberry producer.

Christmas is just a few days away and the entire family is all done their shopping.  We dropped the kidlet off at the mall on Friday and she speed shopped.  Her and hubby need to do some wrapping and I might just make one more set of cookies to take to the neighbors and that's it.  We decided to do a Mexican dinner for Christmas Eve along with spiced rum and cokes and coronas.  We will likely play games or watch a Christmas movie that night and the next day will have turkey and open our gifts.  It is so nice having Mom live two blocks away - we get to spend lots of time together and we can just walk her home.  She has now been living in our town for almost exactly one year and she loves it.

My Mother-in-law turned 80 this week.  We had given her her gifts/presents last month when we visited but sent her a Christmas flower arrangement on her birthday as well.  She was required to take a new driving test but missed the appointment (fortunately) and now has lost her license.  She can only get it back if she takes the exam but she has decided not to do so.  Thank Goodness!!  She has dementia and was insisting on driving when the entire family has been trying to convince her not to.  She had a very bad incident earlier this year when she drove several miles down the wrong side of a divided highway.  A police car finally pulled her over (after several people called 911)  but he let her off.  I know sometimes police are trying to be nice - but seriously - she could have killed someone and she should have been forced to address the issue then.  Unfortunately, you cannot force your family to stop driving - only a doctor or the court can do that.  In Alberta at 80 you have to have a medical exam which she passed and it is up to the Doctor if he thinks you need to take another driving exam - which he required.  She has access to transportation at her senior home and gets meals in but was being very stubborn about this driving issue.  We are all very relieved although I am certain she would not have passed the test anyway.

Hubby has a really bad respiratory/chest infection and is going to the Dr today for medication - the only side benefit to that is that he is forced to sit on the couch and relax (he is type A, that never happens) to try and get better.  I am hoping he gets healthy soon so we can enjoy Christmas and the rest of our holidays.

This will be my final post until after the 25th - so I wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Mom and I did a large blackberry jam making session on Sunday and it came out perfectly.  Now I have another skill under my belt that I was previously clueless about. I was actually surprised how easy it was.  My freezer is now 12 cups of berries lighter and we have lots of blackberry jam to last us through until next August when they are ready to pick again.  Husband immediately topped his ice cream with it and declared it a roaring success.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On Holidays

So we are officially on two weeks of stay at home holidays which I wanted to celebrate with these yummy mint chocolate chip cookies.  They taste like an After Eight chocolate in cookie form -  delicious!  I will be making at least one batch every November now as a kick off to the holiday season.  No, my food photos will never be Pinterest-worthy, I am a real life cook/baker and let my cookies cool off on the counter overtop newspaper and the parchment paper they were baked on. Who needs to spend money on cooling racks?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stop the Rain

As others deal with mountains of snow we on Vancouver Island are dealing with massive amounts of rain - unusually high.  In September after a long hot dry summer we were told to ration water as our reservoir that serves three towns may run out.   Today that same reservoir, Comox Lake is overflowing its confines at a 50 year high.  It has rained 150 mm since Monday.  Many in our Comox Valley (Cumberland, Courtenay,Comox) are being evacuated out of their homes if anywhere near 3 of our rivers.  We have two bridges that connect Comox to the rest of Vancouver Island, one has been closed due to flooding along with many businesses in the area.
Borrowed from City of Courtenay

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Prize

Gift Basket Prize (yes, that is green grass out the patio window - yay winter on Vancouver Island!)
The gift basket I won from the grocery store is shown above.  Hubby and stepdaughter were hoping for things like hot chocolate (stepdaughter is addicted), chocolate(both) and bath products(both). What we got were baking products - score for me!  The only bad thing about this basket?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Won Something!

We have had our first snow - that is if 8 or 9 flakes count.  It frosted and was beautiful all last week and on the day it changed to rain and warmed up winter showed its face for a few minutes.  Then it melted-the benefit of living in one of the most moderate climates in North America.

This week we have been busy with our company wind down - just five more days of work and then we are shutting it down until after Christmas with exception of a couple of hours worth of accounting.  On Friday we went to the Christmas party of the company that I quit in October  as they very kindly invited us. It was great to see my friends and it was a nice night out.  I did not go buy a new fancy-smancy outfit.  I wore one of the two dressy outfits I have for dressing up (wore other one last year) and timed my haircut to have it on the same day and only paid $10 extra for them to do up my hair.  An inexpensive fun night out all around.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sealed Pot Results

Yesterday was results day for SFT's Sealed Pot Challenge.  You pick a goal of your choosing each year, then save bits and bobs every single week year round and at the end you get to see what you managed to save.  My can is an old coffee can that I pasted travel pictures to - as my goal is a weekends away fund.

This year we broke into the can in July for our kayaking weekend away (see post here).  I was going to break into the fund again in October for our second weekend away but due to a refund of an overpaid bill that did not happen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

And So It Begins

We had a nice visit to Edmonton to see family and friends and do some business for our company last week.  We have a November Christmas dinner in our favorite Vietnamese restaurant with the boys (19, 21 and 22) and visited Baba who loved getting a copy of hubby's book and our family picture calendar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


A fast post - bit of a whirlwind week:

1.  We started teaching my Stepdaughter how to drive.  Hubby gave 1 lesson and I gave 2 plus 1 private lesson from a driving instructor.  Let me say, she likes speed.  I was clutching the door, I really have to find a way not to be petrified while at the same time teach her how to drive.  We have a lot of long driving hours ahead of us lol.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thrift Store Finds - A Good Haul!

November 12th is the day that all of the thrift stores in our town put out their Christmas goodies.  They wait until that day to honor Remembrance Day properly before switching over to Christmas.  I was there bright and early Wednesday morning to partake in some vintage Christmas hunting.  I collect vintage ornaments, mainly glass.  I found these little treasures -  Under the "No more Christmas crap campaign" these are permitted as they are used(*one of the primary guidelines for saving money at Christmas - perhaps I should change the name to buy no more "NEW" Christmas crap lol as used is OK).