Monday, March 31, 2008

Mum's visit

My mom has been and gone, and we had a wonderful time. I'm so glad she was able to come - one of the things that I find hardest about living in Toronto is that my family is so far away. They can't really share in the things that are important in my life, except insofar as they listen to me talk about them, so it was really good to be able to show Mum my world...such as it is :)

This may sound funny, but one of my favourite things about having Mum visit was just spending time running errands with her. We made a trip to the Walmart to pick up the stuff that had been accumulating on my Walmart list, and I got to show her around my neighbourhood - my yarn store, our favourite restaurants, our dentist, the bank, the pharmacy - essentially the landscape of my life.

We also had a lot of fun just sitting around the apartment watching HGTV and the Food network, chatting and catching up on everything and nothing. On Sunday she came to church with us and met quite a few of our friends, putting faces to the names we've talked about.

On Friday we had Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel just south of Bloor Street. If the idea of having a grown-up tea party appeals to you (and you have some extra $$$), I highly recommend going. We had a marvelous time! The room we were seated in was just lovely, with 12' ceilings, ornate moldings and huge windows. The walls were a rich eggplant colour, and the furnishings were all either white or the same rich purple, with lavendar window treatments. We were seated at an elegant and cosy little table for two right next to the fireplace and underneath the crystal chandelier (sorry for the lack of pictures - TC took the camera with him to Washington).

Mum ordered the Darjeeling tea, while I opted for the Russian Caravan which tasted like tea that has been brewed over a campfire - strong, but good. We were each brought a different teapot (Mum's was a cute little pot covered in pink roses, while mine was a larger sturdy-looking affair with an Egyptianesque border around the top), and they kept the hot water coming throughout the 2-1/2 hours we were there.

Our server then brought out a 2-tiered china platter. On the top tier were three kinds of the cutest sandwiches - asparagus, citrus chicken and smoked salmon. Then on the bottom were 4 scones (2 lemon, 2 raisin) which were the most delicious scones I've ever had in my life! They came with Devon cream and blackberry currant jam - mmm! Next to the scones were an assortment of petit fours, all of which were very yummy. Then we were given a little ramekin full of fresh strawberries and Devon cream. By the time we finished eating all of this - and believe me, we did indeed finish - we were both just about ready to pop!

This did not stop us, however, from stopping at the Godiva store on Bloor Street on our way home and buying far too much unbelievably delectable chocolate :)

The only downside to all of this is that now that Mum has been in my little world, I really miss her and wish she could be part of it all the time - or at least more often... I'm trying to stay positive, though, and focus on being thankful she was able to come for as long as she could.

But will you do me a favour, loyal blog readers? If you live anywhere near your moms, will you give them a hug and tell them how much you appreciate their involvement in your life?


Crisis anyone?

Whenever someone in my department at work has a birthday, we order a cake and have a little party - not usually a blog-worthy event. Last week, though, it was N's birthday, and she was having a bit of a crisis over ordering her own cake for her "surprise" party, as well as over some events that had happened that day. So while she was ordering the cake, her supervisor made a comment in the background, which the baker apparently overheard and decided to write on the cake:

I think I like the fact that our baker has a sense of humour!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh the irony!

I have just discovered, or rather realized, the catch 22 of blogging. One is either doing all kinds of interesting things, but has no time to blog about them, or has all kinds of time to blog, but nothing to blog about! I currently find myself falling into the latter category, though there are some activities looming on the horizon. Mum and I are planning on having Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Arms while she's here - I'll be sure to let you know how that goes! And then there is our mystery trip coming up next weekend...

Sometimes I think the anticipation is just as much fun as the event itself :)

Monday, March 17, 2008


Just a quick update - I passed my French course!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Very Vanilla...

I was in a state of domestic bliss this weekend - my first free weekend in way too long! Saturday morning I finally got around to making the soap that I've had planned for a month or so:

It's a slightly modified version of the castille soap I usually use, with some coconut oil added to increase the lather factor and some castor oil for extra moisture. Then I added some cinnamon and orange essential oils, as well as a vanilla bean (scraping out the bean paste and putting it in, and then chopping up the rest of the bean and adding it as well). It smells sooo good!

Continuing on the vanilla theme, I tried a new recipe tonight - Rosemary Vanilla Chicken.

Very, very yummy! I saw chef Michael Smith make it on his show, and was intrigued by the thought of vanilla and chicken - it's not a typical flavour combination, but it is one of the best chicken recipies I've ever made. You can find the recipe here - I highly recommend it.

So much fun! There's very little that I enjoy more than puttering about the house getting things done and indulging in various hobbies. It's so very satisfying.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Afghan update

Check out the progress I've made already on the afghan - I'm halfway there! This pattern whips up so quickly, though I've had to make a small change in medium sized squares - do you notice the difference between these two?

I found that following the pattern made the circle in the middle look more like a bloated square, so without getting too technical I switched to a longer stich for the corners of the transition row. I think it worked, don't you?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Seat Sales

I'm so excited - my mom is coming to visit! She had told me a couple of days ago that she was thinking of taking advantage of a seat sale that Air Canada has on right now, and then today I got a message from my dad saying that he's booked her tickets and she'll be coming on the 27th! For 4 whole days! I can't wait.

Come to think of it, quite a few people are taking advantage of these seat sales. Cousin P's sister, Cousin H, is coming up this weekend to visit, which will be fun. Then Cousin P is going home for Easter weekend. Then the weekend after Mum comes, TC and I will be going away to a mystery location, to be revealed at a later date :) Hooray for seat sales!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Soapy Goodness

I just have to mention this soap that I bought from our friend Sherrie, who makes it herself from entirely pronouncable ingredients. It is phenomenal! I normally make our soap, but in the recent craziness there hasn't been time and we were running out. I refuse to go back to the store-bought stuff - it's so drying and chemically - so to tide us over until I get another batch underway I ordered 3 bars.

This is Sherrie's Chocolate Peppermint soap, and I have to tell you, I love it. It smells and feels so delicious that the first time I showered with it I ended up showering twice just because the soap was so amazing. I've been using it for about a week now and I still have to stop myself from just standing in the shower and breathing or I'd never get to work on time!

And here is her Cleaning Day soap, which smells exactly like a newly cleaned house - fresh with a hint of lemon. It is now serving as our bathroom handsoap, and again I find myself looking for reasons to wash my hands :)

I also bought a bar of the Lavender soap, but haven't needed to use it yet. If it's anything like the other two bars, though, I can't wait to give it a try!

(NB: I borrowed all of these pictures from Sherrie's soap website, which you can check out here. And if you're interested in purchasing any of her soaps, which I highly recommend, you can do so at her Etsy shop here.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Free at Last!

Whew! It's done! The craziness is finally over! Let me take you on a photographic journey of the last couple of days - here we go...

Here's the cosy little nook TC set up in the bedroom for me to study and do the oral part of my exam, which went really well. Afterward, instead of studying for the written exam like I probably should have, Cousin P and I watched...

The Price is Right with Drew Carey. As much as I miss Bob, I think Drew is doing alright as the new host. The only thing I wish is that he would quit trying to be like Bob - he needs to create his own niche. The fact that I've given this so much thought is somewhat concerning, now that I think about it...

I got up bright and early on Saturday morning to do some studying, then walked out the door to head to my exam and saw this:

It was beautiful, but it made it a little more difficult to get around. On the plus side, I basically had the exam room to myself! On my way home, as a reward for finally finishing the course, I stopped at a little shop down the street from us called In the Loop Cafe, a fabulous place to buy yarn. And that's exactly what I did!

This gorgeous yarn (60% superwash merino wool, 20% linen, 20% silk) is going to be an afghan. Here's what I have so far:

Then it was off to a potluck/meeting with some friends of ours. I took this apple crisp:

I think they liked it :-)

We had a great time, and now my life can hopefully return to a somewhat normal pace. Yay!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Almost there...

Hey loyal readers! Thanks for hanging in there - I promise I'll be back to normal soon. My oral exam en francais is tonight, and the written exam is tomorrow. Then I'm only a grocery run, a potluck/leaders' meeting, a church service, a post-church service social event, and a yarn-buying spree (my reward for finishing the French course) away from the end. I'll try to take lots of pictures along the way!