Friday, March 30, 2012


i am ready for birthdays and tooth-losses,
but was entirely unprepared for the
won't-fit-in-the-grocery-cart-seat-anymore milesone...
keep up the great work, my big girl.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

great skates

 kingston has a really great little refrigerated ice-rink at the town square,
and this year it was warm enough for us to give it a go...

i had intended to showcase these shots during the winter...
(dad had sent them through after our visit with them in january)
but i lost them on my desk-top.

kind of nice, though, to re-visit the frost and snow
after the recent 26 degrees C in march nonsense...
thanks for the lovely outing, grandpa,
and the post-skate pub lunch was pretty lovely too!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


mum's visit added another project to my list last week, but i'm glad it did!
it is seville orange season, and she brought along enough
oranges and sugar to make 12 jars of bittersweet marmalade.
we shredded and boiled, and it finally jelled...
the house smelled so lovely, too.
she has takers for her share,
but i did get to keep a few jars to brighten up my pantry!
(we used david libovitz' recipe.)

eyes on the prize

a recent gluestick adventure...
the attempt to repair mr. polly pocket's arm led to an accidental googli-eyeball graft...

Monday, March 19, 2012

safety first..

edgar suffered a little toe boo-boo,
and while i was digging around for a band-aid, he spotted
my stash of finger-cots.
i explained that if i have a cut on my finger,
i need to use them when i'm working in order to protect the bandaid.
he requested one for his boo-boo toe, which
well, that seemed reasonable to me.
edgar found the look so fetching, however,
he felt the need to cover all ten little piggies,
then forgot which toe had originally been injured...
he's got it covered.

special vietnam crispy rolls

we go to one particular local vietnamese soup shop for the #21, but also a delicious roll we haven't found anywhere else. i saw this recipe, thought it looked pretty close, and gave it a whirl! 

they did turn out beautifully, and were so tasty. 
the leftover rolls were delicious reheated in the toaster oven.
it took me a few to figure out the rolling technique;
the first few were not really rollish...or beautiful!
i'm sending this one out to jill,
who nimbly rolls acres of happy hour treats for the extended clan,
has a love of spectacular and simple food,
and can find taro root nearby!

Crispy Roll with Salad Wrap
from culinary vietnam by daniel hoyer
in a large bowl whisk together:
1 egg
2 T fish sauce
1 T sugar
1/4 t salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t ground pepper
stir in:
11/2 ounces bean thread noodle
(usually 1 bundle)
which has been soaked in hot water for 20 minutes,
drained, and cut into 1 inch pieces,
5-6 shiitake mushrooms
(soaked in hot water 'til plump, and minced),
1/4 C minced scallions
1/2 C minced white onion
1/2 C grated taro root
4 oz cooked shrimp, chopped
4 oz cooked crabmeat
1/2 pound cooked crumbled ground pork
1/4  C shredded carrots
prepare the rice paper wrappers by:
mixing the 2 litres warm water with 3 T sugar
in a large flattish bottomed bowl.
lay a smooth towel on the counter, dip a rice paper wrap into the
water for a few seconds, drain well, and lay on the the towel.
repeat with another rice paper, so you can roll two in succession.
(don't stack 'em...they will stick!)
place about 2 T of filling in the bottom 1/3 of the wrap,
and shape it into a rough cylinder.
fold the bottom of the paper up first, then one side, then the other, and finally
roll it away from you, making sure not to trap any air inside the roll.
place, seam side down, on an oiled tray.
repeat until filling is used.
(roughly 24 rolls)
pour enough oil into a skillet to the depth of 2 inches, and heat to 350-365 degrees.
fry the rolls a few at a time, tuning occasionally until golden brown on all sides,
(about 4-6 minutes)
drain on papertowels, cut if they are large, and serve immediately
with lettuce, herbs, sliced cucumber, beansprouts
and shredded carrots.
dip in:
dipping sauce
mix together:
3/4 C warm water
1/2 C fish sauce
1/4 C rice vinegar or lime juice
2-3 thinly sliced serrano chiles
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced


vegan jam thumbprints

had to try this recipe out...
and so happy i did!
it is chock full of almonds
(so not school lunchbox friendly, but packed with protien)
and oats...the recipe says they can happily be made wheat-free by subbing
oat flour for the wheat flour.

the mix itself is quick and simple to prepare, 
while the rolling, poking and filling is well worth the final product!
the resulting treat is (not too) wholesome and nutty tasting,
and has a lovely tender texture.
i used marg's wild raspberry jam...mmmmm
from the tassajara cookbook by carla oliviera


preheat oven to 350 degrees
mix up in a large bowl:
1 C unbleached flour
2 C ground almonds
4 C ground oats
(whizz rolled oats in the cuisinart until a rough flour)
1/2 t salt
1 C maple syrup
1 C vegetable oil of choice
let dough rest for 15 minutes before using.
roll dough into 3 cm balls, and place closely on baking sheet.
gently poke each ball, and then fill the dents with
drops of:
jam, (you need about 1/4 C) thinned with a little water.
bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
please don't overbake
(although i imagine they will still taste great!)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

savannah haven

 with the luxury of the ship slipping away like a dream in morning,
they doze as contentedly on the pull-out couch
at the georgian travel lodge...
and we make our way back home.

this was mexico

a beach

a beverage

a sombrero,

a dip in the pool,

then back on board!

mini-mini golf

yes, mini golf for the minis.


this fabulous kids' water park was on the top deck.
we visited daily; the lure of the splashy fun was irresistable,

and highlighted by the self-serve frozen yogourt area.
(jayesh, pictured here, also made sure that edgar finished his broccoli at dinner!)


the boy most enjoyed the blasters,

while the girl demonstrated her daredevil side.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


first port, labadee, haiti, was the kid's first experience with the ocean.
labadee, untouched by the earthquake, is a consturuct of the cruise line...
it employs haitians, but from what i understand is not so haitian.

there were two main beach zones;
this one, exhibiting a sportier side of the ocean waves,
(and alive with the whirring of zipliners whizzing past on wires)

and the lagoon side; better for sandcastles and sunbathing. 
also great for those passengers worried they might miss the boat...
i had forgotten how buoyant one feels in the salty water,
and how the sand was once coral, not stone.
a few bands of men performed what may or may not have
been the ancestral music of haiti.
regardless, it was hauntingly lovely.

we didn't miss the boat...even though esther successfully begged that we stop
for a "labadoozie" on our walk back.
this ceremonial beverage of labadee
is a tropical fruit/coconut based smoothie.
e + e had them without the traditional top-up of rum.
(the 'doozie' part?)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

mama's pride

the kids enjoyed the talents of a very enthusiastic ship-board facepainter...

cheeta # 1, esther,

and cheeta # 2, edgrrrrr...!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


it is impossible to relay the scale of the ship through a few photos, but i must at least try.

 lots of room to sun and splash,

 and promenade.

and the dining room.

the allure of "the allure"

the sailing date that best suited everyone's schedule was on "the allure of the sea".
i had never "cruised" so i was sure it would be just fine, regardless of its' features;
the whole thing would be such a novelty regardless.
i didn't realize that the family would be seduced by the wiles of the top rated,
 newest "megaship" on the seas today.
she certainly is an impressive feat of art, engineering, entertainment, service and snacking...
and that is a lot to tackle for an 18 month old!

Friday, March 09, 2012

florida without disney?

of course we couldn't miss disney...
(i remember my brother and i going with our grandparents almost 30 years ago.)
we stopped in orlando, where
marg and dennis treated us to the magic kingdom.

 "it's a small world" was our first ride.  it was such a hit, we went through twice!
in fact, at the end of the day, esther maintained that it was her very favourite...
the girl heard someone joke  that "disney jail" was being stuck on that ride for 4 hours;
she was not amused.

it truly was adorable.
although the haunted house was "too scary",
peter pan's ride was "amazing", and
pirates, jungles, outer space, giftshops, and pooh corner were all well explored.

 those mice really made us feel like part of the family,

and cinderella learned a thing or two from our princess.

everyone was pretty spent by the "country bear jamboree".
 we all rambled back to the van to continue the drive to the port of fort lauderdale...

field study

our junior naturalist was thrilled with florida's variety of shrubbery

and majestic palm trees!

south of the border

our family took a very important journey recently;
we joined david's extended family on a cruise-ship holiday
to mark his parent's 50th wedding anniversary year.
we had decided to drive down to meet up with the rest of the clan.
 marg and dennis, being great sports, elected to join us on our road-trip.

perhaps childhood impressions made while visiting my own grandparents in niagara falls
influenced my morbid love of roadside attractions and tourist traps,
but this one would have been compelling none-the-less...
pedro's south of the border.
(and the place was practically deserted, which enhanced the surreal atmosphere)

the highway billboards for this place started beckoning with lurid
colours and clever puns long before i realized we would really need to find a rest stop...
pedro's offered the food, gas, and well,

the toilets we were looking for.

the menu listed, alongside the usual burgers and fries, a pound worth of hot dog.
(which, of course david chose, then topped with chiili)

the girl seemed to really "get" the flourescent concrete figures and the kitch factor 11,

edgar?  maybe not so much.
we did return to pedro's on the trip back north...
sadly, the reptile zoo we had planned on investigating there was closed due to power outage,
and we didn't stick around for the hotdog.