Mama's Weekly Wrap-up (February 27th)

  • We had our yearly eye exams on the weekend.  The kids eyes were all fine but both mine and Faruq's changed a bit.  I have been having an issue reading the small print for a few months but our doctor wants to hold off giving me different glasses for this until at least the age of 45 so I have a few more years.  Do you get your kids eye check every year ?  In Alberta it is free until they are 18 so I don't see why anyone wouldn't do it.
  • We took the kids out to eat afterwards and realized that we have never taken the whole family out at once.  We don't eat out much so it was a bit of treat for us to go as a family of 5.  We ate at Montana's and I have to say it was a wonderful meal.  They have a great menu for kids and even modify one of the meals for the girls.  The service was fast and the server was attentive.  We will definitely go back when we go out again.
  • I got to help a friend on Friday night with some prep for her kiddies birthday party this past weekend.  We did a fire truck cake, a dora inspired cake and some cupcakes.  It was nice having some practice with a different cake and the cupcakes are always so much fun to do.
  • I sorted Laila's old clothes yesterday and changed out Sophie's from 12 month to 18 to 24 month clothes.   I'm having a hard time believing she is that big now.  :{
  • Sophie is a full-time walker now and is getting faster everyday.
  • We have been researching were we want to go for Christmas this year.  So far Hawaii is still at the top of the list so I guess  know it will be to decide what island we want to stay on. 
  • Anyone watch the Oscar's last night.  I missed watching it but went to bed and got a few extra hours of sleep which was probably better for me. 
  • We are counting down until March break in our house.  If the weather is good we are going to take a trip to the coast for 10 days.  It will be nice for the kids to see their grands and we might even get a little time away on our own.
  • I rented "Life as We Know It"  from iTunes when the boys were away but didn't get a chance to watch it.  I finally watched it last week and have to say it was an okay movie.  I wasn't sure about Katherine Heigl but it was funny with some sad parts as well that will make you cry.  The little baby in the movie was named Sophie so that was extra special for me.
  • I'm currently watching season 5 of The L Word.  I'm surprised at the number of big name celebrities they had as guest stars on this show.  I will be sad when I'm finished with Season 6 as I have really enjoyed this show.
The weather is yet again ugly in Calgary so I don't think we will be leaving the house for much.  We have friends coming over to play a few days this week which suits me perfectly.

Spaghetti Pizza

~Spaghetti Pizza ~

I have been making this recipe for quite a while now and the whole family love it.  But in never ending search for new recipes for the the family I found this one.  I made it the other night for supper and it is very similar to the first one so I figured it would be well received.   It was for the most part but Hayden and Laila really only like cheese pizza so they  picked off the pepperoni.

Give either a try if you are looking for something a little different for the family !

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Mama's Weekly Wrap-up (February 19th)

I've had a quiet but busy week at home with the girls.  I have also figured out I don't want Faruq to ever work away from home for long periods of time.  I don't do well at the single parent thing.  Maybe if my kids were a little older and more self-sufficient but right now having 2 out of the 3 relying on you for most everything is very tiring.

We did managed to get up to a few things while the boys were away....

  • I have been trying to use some canned beans I have had in the cupboard for a little too long so I experimented with a few salad recipes.  The first one is a Chickpea salad.  I didn't add tomatoes because with me just eating it I figured they might go soggy before I finished it so instead I added a red pepper.  I also added 1/2 can of corn niblets and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  It was very yummy and I just made my third batch last night.
  • Another recipe I tried was this  Corn and Black bean salad.  I made it almost exactly as directed except I left out the cilantro only because I don't like the taste of it.  I also added some red pepper (I had a few in the fridge ready to expire) which added a nice crunch to the salad.  
  • For Valentines Day I made Red Velvet Cupcakes.   I used a recipe I found on Bakeralla's website but instead of making a cake I made cupcakes.  (I'm sorry I don't have a picture but I have no camera this week)   One word - AMAZING !!  I made a double batch and iced them with her simple cream cheese icing.  We spend Monday afternoon delivery them to our friends and by all accounts were very well received by all.  I'm going to give the cake a try for a friends birthday at the end of the month but I'm sure it will turn out just as well.
  • For dinner last night I tried this Roast Chicken recipe (just scroll past the salad recipe).  For some reason I have not roasted a lot of whole chicken's but it is by far more economical do to it that way so I vowed to try a few different recipes this year.  The recipe is definitely a keeper and I will try it again when Faruq and Hayden are back.  We had dinner last night with enough meat left over for sandwiches for lunch today and probably a casserole for dinner tonight.  I'm currently boiling the bones for soup tomorrow.  Do you have a favorite Roast Chicken recipe?  I would love to hear about it.
  • We had a quick visit with a friend passing through Calgary on her way to a new life in another country.  She and her family have been  living in Toronto for a few years.  Her husband is doctor and has accepted a job in Australia (Insert "Jealous" here).  We only had a night with them before they went onto Vancouver to see her folks before the big move but it was a lovely visit.  Now this just gives me another reason to visit that beautiful country.
  • I put this on my FB status yesterday but I'm very thankful for Steve Carell and Despicable Me this week.  My kids don't watch a lot of TV but this week out of necessity I had to find some way to distract Sophie from clinging to my leg every waking hour.  I think because Daddy disappeared she is most definitely going to be on the Mama train if it pulls out of the station.  She doesn't speak but her actions have spoken volumes.  Well I had to figure out something pretty quick or  I wasn't going to get anything done.  We tried a variety of different TV shows and she would last maybe five minutes but when we put Despicable Me on she watched almost an hour before she even moved from her little chair.  BINGO !  I felt like I won the jackpot.  I discovered when you hurry you can get an amazing amount done in 60 minutes.  So I will admit the movie was played just after breakfast and early afternoon this past week.
  • Anyone watch The L Word ?  While I'm waiting for new seasons of Mad Men, Dexter and Rescue Me I figured I would try a new series on Netflix.  It's actually a pretty good series and it's nice that have streamed all 6 seasons.
  • Survivor started this week but I haven't watched it yet as Faruq and I like to watch it together.  But it doesn't appear the ratings are that great.  I still find it hard to believe that it's in the 22th season.  I still remember going to a friends to watch the very first season finale when Richard Hatch one.
  • Amazing Race starts on Sunday.....Yea !!  This is my favorite reality based show.  Could you do the race with your spouse?  I honestly don't think I could with mine.  This week he has managed to get lost about a dozen times and I had provided him with directions to each place he was going.  I think men just don't have a sense of direction or at least a very good one.
With the weather so chilly in Calgary I think for the next few days I'm just going to snuggle with my honey and wee babies.  

Have a great weekend !!

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Trip Update

Sorry I haven't updated much since the boys have been gone but the little ladies of the house have been keeping me busy and by the end of the day it's all I can do to just crawl into bed.  I have said it before I'm not sure how single parents do it day in and day out.   I applaud them and totally respect what they are faced with everyday.

I'm going to keep it short and sweet tonight but just wanted to post a few pictures of Faruq and Hayden at Disneyland.  They had a fabulous time, got to see everything they wanted, rode every ride at least a few times and even managed a trip to Target for mama.  I think this has been an incredible trip for both of them with lots of wonderful memories created.

The highlight of the trip was the Jedi Training yesterday - Hayden was thrilled to be selected and that's all he talked about last night.  Thanks Disneyland for all the great memories that my sweet boy is bringing home with him.

The boys are just outside of San Diego tonight and are going to LEGOLAND for the next two days then heading back to us on Saturday.  Although Hayden is convinced that we just need to relocated down there because the weather has been so nice.

If you are in Calgary stay warm as it appears winter has returned yet again.   We have no plans to leave our house for the next few day.  Spring is around the corner....Right ?

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Watch out Mickey the Mouse

Hayden is packed and is comin' to meet you !!!

Bags are packed, taxi is booked for the morning and both boys are in bed getting some rest.  Their flight leaves at 7:00 am so they are just cabbing it to the airport as the girls aren't up that early.  I still can't believe that the time has actually come for their trip.  I remember when I (Oops I mean Santa) booked these tickets and we thought it was so long away.

I'm sure they will have a blast together but of course the mama in me is worried about their safety.  While I'm happy they are going I will be even more excited next Friday night when they will be home in less then 24 hours.

We set up Skype so we can chat with them while they are down there which I know the girls will enjoy. 

Have fun boys you both deserve this break away from "the girls".

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Mama's Weekly Wrap-up (February 11th)

I haven't done this post in a long time but thought I might start it back up...lots of little stuff to chat about.

  • Does anyone else use Kijiji ?  I love to look for stuff for the kids & house and really try to buy things previously used when I can.  But the other thing I love to do more is read the "wanted" ads. Some people are so funny when they write the ad....they are literally begging you for something but it needs to be in excellent condition, needs to be a specific brand/model, needs to be free (because they have no money) and the final request is that it needs to be delivered to them because they have no vehicle.  I get that people are in need but seriously I think they need to lower their standards just a bit.
  • We took Laila for her second haircut yesterday and she is like a seasoned veteran now.  She just walked right up to the chair, hopped on and let our stylist do what needed to be done.  So I guess it's true....all good things come to those who wait.
  • I think she is officially potty trained (at least for daytime).  It's been a few weeks and not one accident at home or out.  She has started to do # 2 in the big potty as of Tuesday so life is good.
  • Still on the subject know as Laila..... she "allegedly" ate almost a whole box of chocolates today.  I left her to watch TV for no more then 20 minutes while I had a quick shower.  When I returned the empty box was sitting on the coffee table but Princess Laila swears she didn't eat them.  The next day or so should be very interesting for her and the bathroom trips.
  • The boys leave on Saturday morning for California and they are pretty excited.  Now I really wish we had of booked tickets for everyone but know this was the right decision for just them to go.
  • Funny miscommunication with one of the hotels.  They left us a message last week saying that if they were arriving after 3 the front desk would be closed and that there was a number for them to call when they arrived.  My first thought honestly was "What kind of hotel have I booked them that their front desk would close that early".  Well didn't we look stupid when Faruq called today to say it would be closer to 4 when they arrived and the man that he talked to laughed then said "No sir we close the front desk at 3 am so you should be just fine".  Oopsy !!  I'm sure they are thinking "Bloody stupid Canadians".
  • Sweet deal of the week was when I went to get American money for their trip and  it only cost me 2 cents on the dollar.  Sorry to my American friends but we have paid so much higher exchange rates before that this was a treat.  I'm sure that they will come home with very little of it so at least we are boosting your economy a bit. 
  • I have resisted thus far setting up Skype but finally caved tonight so we could talk to the boys while they are away.  I feel that we are so depended on electronics and social media that it's nice to just disconnect sometimes.  I admit It's pretty neat though and I might use it more often now that I have it setup.  Do you use Skype?  Do you like it it ?  I'm thinking it will be good for the Grands to talk to the kids.  I usually talk to my Mama on a cordless so I can at least get a few things done around the house.
  • Survivor and The Amazing Race start next week.  While we don't have the satellite anymore I can still watch them off the internet.  Honestly, I'm not sure about either this time around.  They are changing Survivor a bit so when you are voted off you actually go to an island vs. home plus two villains are coming back again (really get a life boys).  Then on The Amazing Race it's all returning teams that got booted early from their original seasons so these are people we have gotten to know before.  I'm personally not a fan of this and prefer to see new contestants.  They are doing the same thing on Top Chef this season and have to say I haven't watch much of it.
  • I'm trying to finish season 5 of Rescue Me before it's due back at the library on Saturday.  It's such a funny show and I feel slightly sad that's I'm rushing through it but al the discs came to me at the same time and their are 22 episodes for this season so it has been a bit of a marathon every night since Monday.
  • I'm also trying to finish the book called "The Help" before I have to return it to the library.  It's good but I highly doubt I will finish it before next week when it's due back and I can't renew it as it has holds outstanding on it.  I can't buy it because we have made the family deal not to buy any books unless they are really needed so I'm bummed I may have to wait a few months to finish it.  
Okay I didn't mean for this to be that long so I will save the rest for another post.  

Chow !

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Still Here

I'm here and reading lots of blogs but not feeling the urge to post much.  Hubs and I have been having many discussions over the last few weeks.  Truth be told I kind of hate these discussions because it tends to force me make serious adult decisions.

When Faruq and I got married many, many years ago we said that we would take a look at our lives every 5 years and decide if we were in the right place physically, mentally and emotionally.   It's hard to believe but we have been in Calgary for 5 years but we have so we are again deep in discussions.  There are lots of factors driving decisions now....The kids, Faruq's job, quality of life, family.

Calgary is a beautiful city but it is a city and with that there is traffic, crime and huge growth which tasks all services needed.  I get frustrated when it takes me an hour to get somewhere that should only take 20 minutes.  I hate the fact that you need put your kids on a waitlist from birth if you want to get into one of the better charter schools.  It's expensive to live here and sometimes I feel like we are never going to get ahead.  Then a few years back the real estate market took a nose dive so we watched the equity in our house drop dramatically almost over night (thankfully that is rebounding).

We have no family in Calgary and it's been tough doing it all on our own.  If we made the decision to move we would have a support system that we could rely on if needed.  Faurq and I could reconnect as a couple and we might actually get away together once in awhile without the kids.

So there is so much more to consider this time because in 5 years all of our kids will have entered school, I will be deciding what I want to do for my second career and Faruq will finally be happy with what he is doing.

While I can't share a lot of the details of what we may embark on later this year we are excited by the possibilities.  I admit I do get a headache when thinking about everything that will be involved if we make the decision to move but know if it is meant to be it will all work out.

Decisions....Decisions !!

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A few other good eats....

In an effort to save time I'm just going to post a few links to a some recipes I have discovered or been given....

Two Bite Brownies - These are very yummy ! We had them heated with vanilla ice cream and a little bit of chocolate sauce.  I really like Julie's blog and have used many recipes from there.

Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry - Very good and really simple to make.  All members of the Suleman family tried it which was a victory by itself.  Like most stir-fry's I actually found it tasted better the second day.

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Hands down best recipe I made in January.  We love to have these at Joey's but with 3 little ones don't get there often.  Well we can reproduce them at home now almost exactly the way they are prepared at the restaurant.   Beware as they are a little messy to eat but totally worth it.

BBQ Pork Loin - Very tasty and was liked by everyone !

Taco Soup - I have made this numerous times during the winter.  I love Becky Higgins' site and she has a ton of great recipes.

I love to receive recipes that have been tried and loved by friends as well I always like to share the ones I find.  I hope you will enjoy the ones listed above.

Happy Cooking !!

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Salisbury Steak

I'm all about quick and tasty meals so when I spotted this recipe for Salisbury steak I knew I had to give it a try.  It has minimal ingredients and takes about 45 minutes to prepare best of all everyone in the house liked it so it will be a keeper on our rotation of recipes.

What you will need:

1 pound of ground beef
1 egg
3 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onions (I just used 1 tablespoon of onion salt)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I personally don't think I will add this next time)
2 (4 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms with juice (I just used 1 10 ounce can and next time I would drain the juice)
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used the flour you use for making gravy)
3 cups of milk
3 cubes beef bouillon

How to make it :

  1. In  a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning using your hands.  Shape into 6 patties about 1 inch thick.
  2. Fry the patties in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned.  Drain off grease, and remove patties to a platter; keep warm.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet and add mushrooms.  Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour over and mix in until blended.  Stir in the milk and beef bouillon.  Cook and stir medium heat until smooth and starting to thicken.  Return the patties to the gravy and cook over low heat, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I served it with mashed potatoes and cream corn.  Everyone attempted to eat it and for the most part it was a success.  The only thing I found was it was very salty so I could probably drain the mushrooms, cut the salt out the hamburger patties as well as the poultry seasoning.   You could use unsalted butter and I'm not sure if you really need that much beef bouillon either so I may try adding a little less next time.

My camera is presently in for repairs so I couldn't take a picture but my darling husband said to picture "Hamburger patties in gravy with mushrooms on top".

Enjoy !

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