Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekend in LaConnor

This past weekend my hubby and I went away to La Connor. After living in Washington for a few plus years, this is one area I had never been to. so now was a perfect time to check it out! We had the chance to walk around the town and bay and visit the stores, shops and artisans who make this town so unique.

This is the first signs of Christmas we saw. . .this is the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at: The Wild Iris Inn. It was absolutely beautiful! The lobby and gathering room was decked out for the Christmas season and so cozy.
We ate dinner at this restaurant, Seeds Bistro and Bar.
Here are some of the pictures from walking around the town. . .just some of the things we saw.
Fire museum photo for my hubby.

This was my favourite shop. When A was a baby, she had a cute little bunny outfit and blanket from this store. They make so many great story books, clothes items and of course some vintage-type bunnies. It is designed like a great big nursery with the "workshop" in the back. Very cute!
And here are a few more pictures of The Wild Iris.

Above is our welcome in our room. This place was absolutely amazing! Everything was placed so perfectly. It was so warm and cozy. . . our room had its own small deck and the view wasn't so bad either--we sure lucked out with having some sunshine fr the weekend amidst all the usual rain for this time of year! And the food was phenomenal! We were greeted with these lovely flowers and cookies (you have to understand--these cookies were the size of a pie!And delish!) In the morning we had a two course breakfast. The owners/staff were so friendly and warm. i would definitely recommend this place to anyone who needs a weekend away!

Menu Plan Monday

It is Monday again! A busy week again for me. . .report card writing, my LAST assignment for my course due. . .and all the ins and outs of regular life! But here is what we are eating anyway!

Monday-left-overs (too much food from Sunday-see my last post)
Tuesday- my original plan was Tuna Buns, but we'll probably have more left-overs (too much food--Pizza Buns to finish off!)
Wednesday (S&S)-Chicken Salad or Egg Salad on pitas and Cheddar Broccoli soup
Thursday (CP)-Chicken Pot Pie recipe with crescent rolls
Friday-Ham, Roasted Potatoes, carrots
Saturday's Snack-Peppermint Fudge Brownies
Sunday (BFS)- Egg McMuffin-type deals

Mmm. . .do you see the photo of the brownies? By Saturday, I think I'll need a small Christmas treat like that!
{Photo is from, a very cute blog I stumbled upon!}

Monday, November 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well this week will be an interesting one. . . Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! I have Parent-Teacher Conferences for two of the nights, so I'm not around for all of the suppers. :) Hopefully this still gives you a few ideas!

Can I also just add that from last week the Slow Cooker Gingered Beef was AMAZING!?!?!?! If you try nothing at all, try that one. If you are new to crock-potting, try that one. It is yum-a-licious!

Monday- Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken, Scalloped Potatoes (Thank you, Mom!!!)
Tuesday-Chicken Wraps (not sure what kind yet. . .Asian or Fajitas. . .)
Wednesday- Conferences--kids out with Opa and Oma
Thursday- Conferences. . .Mac 'n Cheese or Grilled Cheese?
Friday-Waikiki Meatballs (minus the peppers and cherries--ew!), rice
Saturday-no snack. . . today. Just wait until tomorrow! We'll probably have leftovers or so instead today.
Sunday- not breakfast. . .see below!

Sunday is Christmas Tree Day! I know, it's kinda early! Here is the story. . .

Long ago, my husband asked me to marry him on December 1. (I obviously said yes!) The following year, when we were married, we decided to do something special on that day, but all the restaurants we liked in town were closed and we landed up getting a whole bunch of appies and spending the evening at home instead. The next year, we were kinda thinking about getting a tree for the first time, and decided to combine the appies tradition with the tree. . .and it has stuck ever since. So, that is our way of celebrating our engagement anniversary (we never seem to get around to celebrating our actual anniversary!) and our way of starting Christmas.

The difference now is that we have kids who like in on the action, and celebrating it on the 1st cuts in to a week routine and all, so we are doing it on Sunday instead. We've also changed to doing some store-bought and some home-made appies (aka: junk supper!). So, here is what we are planning. . .
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
CP Pizza Dip
Pigs in a Blanket (a kid and hubby favourite!) or this one (we add cheese slices though!)
Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres (compliments of PC brand)

I'll let you know how it all goes. . .but if you are looking for some appies for the holiday season (or in our case to start the holiday season, there you go!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Report Writing in Primary Grades

This past month we studied Africa and its desert areas as part of our Theme. One Language Arts activity I tied into this unit was research and report writing. Since this sounds like a scary thing to try out in the first term of grade one, I will show you what I did! It takes some time and planning, but the results are GREAT!

First of all, we did a report on elephants as an entire class. (We chose elephants because we were using our Kidogo Project (an opportunities for students to take home an African package, complete with a stuffy, a book, and postcards that each student has to make that night). We read one book, collected facts and wrote them on chart paper. We cut these "big " facts into strips and glued them onto other pieces of chart paper titled, Home, Appearance, Food, and Other. This was our "practice report writing."

Our next job was to choose a desert animal to research. It was a unanimous vote for camels.

Next, I prepared a page that listed those same research topics (home, appearance, food and other), followed by some blank spots. Along with their grade four buddies, my grade one students looked at some website about camels. The grade four buddies would read some of the information to the grade one buddies, and together they would write down one fact they learned under each heading.

After that, I compiled all these facts (and a few more) onto lined paper. I photocopied this onto different coloured paper, for my four table groups to use.
Then each table group also got a matching coloured pocket folder.
I cut all these sentences into strips. Their next job was to read the sentences and place them in the correct topic pocket. (I have a few high readers that were able to help out two groups, I led one, and my EA led one. In the past, I have also assigned parent helpers to come in during centre time to do this same job.)
Here are the strips in the pockets. . .
Then, each day we did one topic. they got their "report paper," pulled out the sentence strips that went along with the topic, and chose one to start copying. Each student had to copy two sentences, and they could do more if more fit or if they had extra time. They also got directed drawing pages about camels so they could make a picture that matched what the sentences said.Here is a final copy of the cover. I led them in a directed drawing activity to draw a camel on the cover of their report. . .
Here are some examples of the inside pages:
One page at the end that we are not quite finished with yet, is one called "praise." On this page we will write a few sentences of our own in praise or prayer to God about how He created the African camel so unique and able to survive in desert conditions (more like a journal or prayer journal activity). We did an "Eric Carle" piece of artwork about camels, (hopefully I will post about that soon!) and this report will hang beside their artwork on a hallway bulletin board to show the school the great work we did!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Look! I even managed to sneak in a few blog entries in the last little bit! Yay for me!

Here is the week:

Monday-Taco Soup (from the LC cookbook), buns
Tuesday-Harvest Potatoes (also from LC cookbook), Slovakia, salad
Wednesday-Pizza Roll-Ups (OAMC)
Thursday (CP)-Slow Cooker Gingered Beef, rice
Saturday's Snack-Caramel Popcorn
Sunday's Breakfast- Pancakes and sausages

Saturday's snack. . .Caramel Popcorn! My mom, and then my sisters and I, used to make this for my dad as a Christmas present. We'd make about 3 batches of it, but it in a HUGE bag, and voila! Merry Christmas! (He was kind enough to share. . .that was the only benefit, in my humble opinion, of a hockey game on at that time of the year!) But. . .my advice. . .take the suggestions and cut the butter in half!
November 20 Update:
Yep, I made it again this week--its a constant craving!!! About the cutting the butter in half idea. . .do it! It doesn't take quite as long cooking time--I did a 20 min, 20 min, and 15 minutes cooking time--but it seems a little bit healthier, and tastes just as great! The Carmel part is just a tad bit more "crystallized, but the stirring helps! I also used 6 quarts of popcorn the second time, just to justify making it again!
Above is the yummy-ness baking for a bit. . .and below is the mess I had to clean up following it all!
See more MPM at!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

X-mas Cards

So. . .I finally had some free time. . .and I didn't spend it on school work or course work. While E was out putting up Christmas lights (single-handed-ly, of course. . .and notice the Holmes on Homes influence? He needed his safety strap to go on a ladder. . .however it goes nowhere. . . )
. . .and J was helping him. . .
. . .so that eventually it would look like this. . .
. . .I got a few essentials ready
and decided to do some card-making! My friend had told me that her Christmas cards were all done, and I was kinda jealous! So, now I had a few free moments. . .
I'm not very good at coming up with original ideas when making cards, so my inspiration came from a card from the past (Thank you, Tara).
Here was my first try. I wasn't completely happy (and sorry the camera's colour was so bad!) The Christmas paper (Christmas Baroche from Michael's) just wasn't Christmas-y enough for me, and it all turned out really red.
My next try was this one. . .(can't remember the name of the paper, and it is all gone right now, but its from Michael's too). I like this one better. (Stamps are from Stampin Up and Michael's--can't remember the name of the set, either. I bought it used so it doesn't have the cool name sticker on it). We'll see if i get around to any others. . .

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas already in November

Last weekend, I went on our second annual Holly and Ivy Tour with my Mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I loved it last year and was really looking forward to it again this year. Pretty much, you get to tour all these beautiful houses that have been decorated by various designers and so forth. . .to give you some Christmas ideas and to cause you to covet. :) I wish I could give credit to where it was due, but I don't have names and not really permission to post pictures on my blog, but they did invite us to take pictures at each place, so that is kinda like permission, right? (Don't sue me--its not worth it anyway. I have nothing. That is why I was coveting!)
We went to one place that really stole the show for our groupie--the Sweet Dreams Luxury Inn. This was a gorgeous B&B that I wish I had known about before! Here are a few pictures from there. (I do have to admit, that my pictures don't even do justice to the place--I was just snapping ideas for Christmas decorating, not the vast beauty the place held!)
Plum as a decorating colour--this was one of the mantels in one of the rooms available.

Here is another mantel--very pearl-y and ice-y against a bold background of room colour

This wow-ed me because I love the look of country Christmas. As a qualifier, some country Christmas can be quite tacky. This one wasn't. Its setting was a rec room. I've seen something like this before in a children's playroom--where each child in the family could decorate their own Christmas tree and then the family still had their fancy big one in the main room. (As a side note--we have all on one tree. Tacky and beautiful!)

This was a table setting. (One of them. I don't know why I didn't take pictures of more of them!) My picture cut it off somewhat, but the "favour" was a Christmas ornament. We saw lots of this lime or apple green colour in Christmas decorating this year. . .along with feathers and birds.

And this final picture was just tacky (in my humble opinion!)! Come on--so the one store in the local mall did an upside down Christmas tree one year. . .a few years ago. . .how many of you out there actually do this in your home? Come on!!!
Sorry to ruin the ending! I regret not taking more pictures. We were in a time crunch and wanted to get through as many houses as possible. And some decorating was pretty typical anyway. One more thing that stood out to my little groupie was the stockings. last year we saw a bunch of stockings on the mantel or on the banisters or somewhere hanging up in family groups. This year there were very few stockings. The one house that did host stockings had each stocking in the child's bedroom, hung on a chair or at the end of their bed--and colour coordinated with the room colours. I thought that was a neat way to incorporate Christmas decorating into each room of the house. (You have to understand that on these tours, the bathrooms and laundry rooms are decorated for Christmas as well--and not just with a towel set or soap dish. Most, I have to say are done well, but I wouldn't take Christmas decorating that far in my own home.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Okay, my blog has not been agreeing with me lately. I hope it hasn't been just as naughty for you. Things are just not working or not loading properly. Talk about a frustrated blogger!

Okay, that is it for my complaining. Now on to a menu plan. . .on a Monday for a change!

Monday-Tacos with fixings and the Salsa Rosa recipe from a previous post

Tuesday- Fish and Chips--from the freezer, but we are just liking this lately! and with gravy with the french fries. . .think poutine. . .mmm. . .

Thursday (CP)-Thai chicken (didn't do this one last week, so we will try it again!), rice, salad

Friday (freezer)-pizza. . .or leftovers from the week

Saturday's Snack-Crescent Wrapped Brie I serve it with crackers. . .and put preserves (peach!) or chutney as a topper

Sunday (breakfast)-Easy Quiche breakfast using leftovers. . .shhh. . .don't tell the hubby!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween 2009

Well . . . Saturday was Pumpkin Day! It started out with some pumpkin carving. This was pretty special for E because he was able to use a pumpkin that "he" grew all on his own in the garden.

A wasn't so impressed with the goo-ey parts of it, so she decided to find something better to do at this point. She decided to rejoin us in the carving part!
E loved touching it all, but he also loved making faces and commenting on it! We toasted the seeds and ate them, too!
And here are the happy carvers after a job well done! It was pretty exciting lighting it. . .we did it once right away and then again at night for the jack-o-lantern glow! A thought it was "soo-ky!" which we interpreted as "spooky!"

And here is my feeble attempt at making E's bat costume. We have a Bob the Builder, and firefighter one, but E decided this year that Halloween was about being scary. So he wanted to be a bat. Life has been a little busy around our place lately, so, Saturday a.m., there sits me searching the web for some ideas! E's "mask" came from this site (and attached to one of my headbands) and his cape came from looking at some ideas, and giving it my best shot! (I cut out the wings and then made ties to attach it around his collar and hands).

Then, for some crazy reason, we thought it would be great to take the kiddos to the mall-thinking that we would collect a few safe candies and see some cute kid costumes. Instead. . .it was a ZOO!!! One store said they had already handed out 600+ chocolate bars--and we could believe it! I feels o sorry for the people who were actually trying to shop! We made a few stops and then decided to pack it in! Here are my Halloween cuties: a bat and a fairy/butterfly. A wanted to be a princess. . .good thing she isn't too bright on all that yet. . .and that my costume for her made her happy!)

We went out again at night for a visit to the grandparents and the aunts and uncles. We also met up with a few friends and got to wander around with them for a bit before going home to bed.
Here are a few other "memories" of the day. . .the glowing spooky faces and the loot!