Simple Sweet Treats

Sharing a few of my new yummy treats I made this week for various Christmas parties.  I found all but one on Pinterest.

First up Rolo cupcakes. If you love Rolo's then these cupcakes were made for you.   The original recipe was for 12 regular size cupcakes but because they were going to Faruq's work I  made them as mini's.  They were just a perfect "one" bite of chocolaty caramel goodness.  The recipe made almost 40 mini's so we had lots left to enjoy at home.

Find the recipe here at one of my favorite blogs "My Baking Addicition".

Next up Red Velvet Cupcakes with a cream cheese icing.  I tried one of the new Red Velvet cakes mixes that the President's Choice brand at Superstore has brought out.  For a mix it was actually quite good.  But to be completely honest  I'm not a huge fan of Red Velvet because no matter what recipe I have tried you still get the same taste and it's from the amount of red food coloring that needs to be added to the mix to achieve a nice color.

But if you wanted to give it a try from scratch I found this recipe from A Farm Girl Dabbles that looked pretty darn good.

Next up were Caramel Cashew Clusters which were so easy.  You can find the recipe here on My Baking Addiction.

Lastly, I made these super simple and yummy treats.  These little beauties are called "Rolo Turtles".  You can find the recipe here but all you need are pretzels, Rolos and pecans.   I have made these a few times now and honestly prefer to make them just before I want to serve them but I'm sure they would freeze fine as well.

My motto for this year has been "keep it simple".  I love creating and experimenting in the kitchen but as a busy mom with three kids I just don't always have as much time as I would like so I search out simple recipes.  I would love to hear about some of your family favorites !!

I still have more of our Christmas favorites to make but most I will do when we are all off for the holidays and there will be people around to eat it.  I have a notoriously heavy sweet tooth and do not need to be alone with all this goodness.

Happy Baking !!

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Happy Birthday Laila !

Our lovely little Laila turned four on Monday so we celebrate her special day on Sunday.  As always the person celebrating the birthday got to pick the meals for the day so for breakfast we dined on sausages, pancakes and fruit.  For lunch Laila asked to go to MacDonald's with her daddy.

We had originally planned a little party for her on Sunday afternoon and the two friends she invited both ended up getting sick (our preschool has had a nasty virus going around) and were not able to come.  Laila was sad of course but we forged forward and celebrated her birthday.

Meatballs and pasta were on the menu for supper then we ate cake !  Sophie has been watching Yo Gabba Gabba so Laila watches by default.  When it came to what she wanted for her cake it was Yo Gabba Gabba's Foofa character.  I created Foofa out of gum paste/fondant and Hayden helped me decorate the actual cake.  I think we did a pretty good job and she was thrilled !

Grammie and Grampie skyped with us to sing Happy Birthday.

Then we opened presents.  She was thrilled to get the Tangled barbie, a few more sets for her dollhouse and her first LEGO set.

All in all it was a really nice day and I think she was really pleased.  On Monday her class threw a little birthday party and again she was so happy to be singled out.

Laila has had an incredible year of growth on a number of fronts.  This time last year she was barely speaking but now she is very fluent and her vocabulary continues to grow every day.  Her preschool has been a perfect fit for her and we are excited for what will happen for her in the new year.

Happy Birthday sweet Laila !  We know you will rock out this coming year with style and grace !!


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Wordless Wednesday (December 7th)

~Sophie - December '11 ~

This kid cracks me up daily with her humor.
She has been watching a Pirate show on the Disney channel 
and has been winking and saying "Arrrrrr".

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Like everyone we are busy getting ready for the fast approaching Christmas season.  Even with simplifying  our celebrations there seems to be an endless list of things to get done and honestly I'm just looking forward to having a few weeks off with the kids.  We all need the break so it can't come quick enough.

Last weekend we attended the adult and children's Christmas parties for Faruq's company.  Both events where beautifully done and we were so impressed.  Sadly, I forgot my camera on Saturday evening and Sunday Laila threw a bit of a fit on us so I was only at the kids party for a short while so I didn't get many pictures then either.  Honestly, with all I have seen with Cenovus I was not surprised by the type of party they put on and it was a great way to start the holiday season.

Both cats are still residing with us and probably will stay.  There is definitely benefits to having older cats but there is also a few negative things.  We first suspected that one cat had been fed human food but now it appears that both have.   They will whine at us when we are making supper and we can't leave anything on the counter at night.  As well, with them both being outdoor cats they still howl at night possibly wanting to go outside.  But on the positive side they are both really good with the kids and let me tell you Sophie has I'm sure tested their patience's but neither have reacted badly to her.  I'm really trying to get some good pictures of them but I'm having a hard time with that.  Black cats are crazy hard to photograph and the other little guy just looks angry in all his pictures.

This is Gilroy  and he is 5 years old.
(The kids didn't change his name although Laila & Sophie call him Gilbert like the cat in Caillou)

This little guy is Dexter and he is 2.5 years old.

Funny we went to the shelter looking for female kittens and definitely not black.  Instead we got two older boys with one being totally black.  Yup we knew exactly what we were looking for. 

This weekend we will be spend doing our Christmas letter and cards, baking yummy finds from Pinterest as well as a few family favorites.  But more importantly we will celebrate a special little girl's 4th birthday on Sunday.  

Calgary is being hit by a smallish snow storm today which just adds to the crazy weather we experienced on Sunday with the crazy wind storm.  But honestly, we really should not complain as the weather has been actually pretty good up until now.

Happy hump day !!

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Wordless Wednesday (November 30th)

~ Cenovus Children's Christmas Party ~
November 26th

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It's just that time of the year I guess.  We are busy doing lots of little things so I don't have a lot of spare time to blog.  Between school and work during the week, workouts for me and some fun family time there is just never enough time in the day to everything.

I have been doing a lot of Christmas shopping in hopes that I have it done within the next few weeks.  I will most likely end up at the mall the week before Christmas but only as a bystander while my mom does some shopping.  Much less stressful when you really don't need to find anything.  We have really cut back this year as far as gifts with each child only getting 3 gifts (1 from Santa and 2 from us) and of course, their stockings.  Faruq wants this super high tech (insert expensive here) running watch so that will be his gift and I want a sewing machine.  I even have my parents gifts purchased which is a huge relief as they can be tough ones.

We have the Cenovus Christmas parties for the adults and kids this weekend which I'm thrilled about.  Getting them over in November will be nice as Suncor's were usually held later in December.

I'm super excited for New Year's this year as well because Faruq and I have booked a suite at the Delta Kannaskis Lodge for two nights.  We never do anything when we stay home and with my parents here through New Year's they told us to take off for a few days.  It will be nice to have a little alone time before we start a busy 2012.

I'm still trying to decide what to do for teacher's gifts this year for Christmas between Laila and Hayden they have 12.  Honestly, what happened to 1 per kid.  It is getting tougher each year to spread the budget across that many while still getting or making something meaningful.  I'm leaning towards some homemade sweet treats but might just cave and get chocolates from one of the nice stores.

Lastly, we finally made the decision to add a few fur babies to our family.  We went through our local MEOW foundation and went to the shelter on Saturday to have a look at who they thought would be good for our family.  We originally went to look at the kittens and end up with two adult cats.  They are beauties and have been really good (except the scratching which might kill me).  Gilroy is 5 and Dexter is 2 but we are still not sure if they will accept Sophie or not.  It might have still be a bit too soon.  They are slowly coming around but we do have 30 days to make a final decision.   Dexter is warming more quickly to the kids but poor Gilroy might just be too old for this kind of noise.  Wish us luck as I know it will be tough if we have to return them.  My status as "Mommy of the Year" will mostly likely be revoked by my kids if this happens.

So life has just been busy around the Suleman's place and I don't except it to slow down much before January which is fine with me.  Christmas is my favorite holiday hands down and with the kids getting older they are more involved which only makes it that much more fun.

I will post a few pictures of the boys when I get a chance and try to pop in from time to time !

Wishing my American friends a very blessed Thanksgiving this week and hope that you are able spend time with loved ones.

Stay warm !!

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Pukegate 2011

If I only knew what was in store for us while I was writing my Halloween post I would have got out of dodge immediately.  Laila was the first to fall to sickness but last Sunday one by one we all joined "Pukegate 2011".  And of course because the sickness was not enough to deal with Faruq was scheduled to leave on a 4 day business trip starting Monday that he was not able to get out of.  On Sunday I had exactly 8 hours to recover from my bout of the nastiness and for the most part I did.

Everyone stayed home on Monday and Tuesday so there was no need to leave the house.  We feasted on popsicles and Pedilyte then start the BRAT's diet on Wednesday.  Sophie was the last to fall and she fell hard on Tuesday morning but by lunch she was starting to come around.

Hayden returned to school on Wednesday but I decided to keep Laila home for the whole week.  She seemed to get the worse of it all and even with the sickness gone her energy levels where so low.  I know they go really hard at preschool and I didn't want her to get sick again.  Sadly, Faruq came down with it on Wednesday while he was away but it only lasted the day and he had recovered.

Now a week later we have all recovered and the kids are back to fighting with each other so life has returned to normal.

Last week wasn't a total write-off because while we were homebound I managed to do quite a bit of Christmas shopping on-line.  The kids "Santa" gifts have been ordered and now it's just a few little things from us and the stocking stuffers.

We are so pleased that my mom & dad are going to come again this year for the holidays.  They arrive on December 16th and are here until January 7th.  The kids are thrilled to have Grammie and Grampie here for Christmas.

We are now ramping up for Laila's birthday in a few weeks and let me tell you little girlfriend has a few demands for her party this year.  We are having a combo Tangled/Yo Gabba Gabba theme.

Here's to only healthy weeks to come and no more sickness !

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Halloween Fun

I'm so late getting this post up because we have had sickness visit our house this week.  So there has been very little computer time and in it's place lots of cuddles and popsicles.

We did manage to have a wonderful Halloween last Monday.  Be warned this post is going to be picture heavy !

We started on Sunday with some family pumpkin carving which everyone really enjoyed.

Of course, I had to harvest the pumpkin seeds to roast.

Laila picked Tinkerbell (again) and Hayden chose Angry Birds.

I think we have found the new Suleman family pumpkin carver for next year.  Hayden did his totally by himself and helped a lot with the other ones.  So next year little buddy we will gladly turn that job over to you !!

Sophie just enjoyed being in the thick of it all the way she typically does.

These were their final creations for this year. 

Laila and I did up loot bags for her little friends at preschool.

On Monday we delivered treats to friends and neighbors !

Cupcakes and Halloween popcorn treats !

And finally we were ready to head out for a little trick or treating !  
This year a dragon, Eyeore and Mario tagged along with us.

We spent 10 minutes coaxing Sophie to get down with the kids and she wouldn't but as soon as they got up she was all over it. 

What a difference a year can make !

Off we go but.....

Sadly, within 5 minutes of leaving our house the complaining started.  It was very cold that night and honestly all Laila really wanted to do was hand out the candy at our house.  So we went around our cul-d-sac then the girls and I returned home to enjoy the rest of the night.

Although I think someone could have probably gone all night in her comfy ride she kept getting so angry at every house because all she wanted to do was go in for a visit.

I find as the years pass and the kids get older we have more and more fun at each holiday.   I can hardly wait until Christmas !!

I hope you all had a great Halloween and are enjoying some yummy treats !!

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Yummy & Healthy Treat

With Halloween over for another year and Christmas planning starting my daily schedule has just been ramped up from busy to insane so I have been thinking a lot about how I will maintain healthy eating during this busy time.  Meal planning takes care of the core meals but it's sometimes falls down when it comes to snacks.

I found a super yummy treat this past weekend when we attend a Halloween party at our chiropractor's office.  It was so neat that they had a Holistic Nutritionist there to give the kids a lesson in healthy eating and the amounts of sugar in candy.  She was giving out samples of something called "Sun Energy Balls" and of course my monsters took them because there was a smarties on them.  Sophie & Hayden finished the whole thing but Laila handed hers over after the chocolate was eaten (baby steps with her).  I finished hers and was surprised at how yummy it was.  I picked up the ingredients on Sunday and whipped up my own batch.

They are super easy to make and certainly pack a punch for nutrition.

Here's the recipe found at  Bundles of Energy

What you will need:

  • 1 cup Organic Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup of either Sunbutter or natural peanut butter or raw almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 cup Hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
How to make them:

Here is the tough part...Ready !  Place all the ingredients in a med. mixing bowl and stir until completely mixed together.   Use your hands (I used my smallest melon baller) to scoop and roll into small balls.  Place in a storage container and store in the fridge or freezer.

If you would like a little extra sweetness you can roll the balls in shredded Coconut, Cacao or shaved raw chocolate.  I did try the Cacao but did not like the taste I might try the coconut next but they are perfectly fine on their own.

Enjoy !!

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Wordless Wednesday (October 26th)

My reading tonight courtesy of my darling husband !

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How Time Flies....

It's so hard to believe that 6 years ago this week we left Fort McMurray the city we called  home for so many years to embark on a new life in Calgary.

We would miss our cute little home and all of our very special friends & neighbors.

Hayden was so tiny when we left and has grown so much over the last 6 years.

While we were happy about the new adventure it was very scary to leave the 
known for the unknown.  But we embraced the move and knew it would bring great things.

We were excited about our beautiful new home and discovering what Calgary held for us.

The most joyous events for us were the two additions to our little family. 

Laila in Dec'08 and Sophie in Dec'10

So much has changed in 6 years but in a good way.  Faurq is working now for an amazing new company which offers rewards he has deserved for a very long time.  Hayden is now in grade 3 and Laila has just started preschool.

The Suleman's
Sept '11

The last 6 years have been some of the best we have had.  We only look towards the future with excitement and hope.

We are proud to call Calgary home and hope to have many, many wonderful years here.

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