Monday, December 27, 2010

Clean House...Fresh Start.

I am the world's worst house keeper.

Seriously. I am not able to have surprise guests over - it makes me anxious. My house, on the best of days, looks like the aftermath of that twister that took Dorothy to Oz, minus the shriveled up witch's feet and singing munchkins.

However, I have this habit at the end of December. While others are relaxing and enjoying the leftovers, I am in cleaning mode.

And I mean crazy cleaning mode.

Blame it on my mother, (just like everything else, as she would say...ha) but she always stressed the importance of starting anything new with a clean room, clean closet, clean everything and as an adult this has extended to my entire house.

Ah, many Labour Day weekends were spent sweating in the depths of my closet, rooting around for lost socks and toys that I had forgotten about or searching the expanse of space under the bed vacuuming dust bunnies the size of my head.

Well, since we're heading into a new year, with new goals and new outlooks, I guess it only fitting to have a tidy house.

So, here's to being a better house keeper in be continued.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Tunes

I am SO tired of Christmas music.

I should qualify that by saying I hate a lot of Christmas music - I wish they'd play better stuff on the radio.  Since the powers that be at CHFI will not listen to me, I made my own Christmas mix.  Enjoy!

Old Toy Trains – Nana Mouskouri
I’ll be home with bells on – Kenny & Dolly
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Christmas Don’t be Late – The Chipmunks
Happy Christmas/War is Over – John Lennon
The 12 Days of Christmas – Bob & Doug MacKenzie
Ho Ho Fucking Ho – Kevin Bloody Wilson
Oh Holy Night – Josh Groban
I’ll be home for Christmas – Rascal Flatts
You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch – Boris Karloff
Christmas Time is Here – Charlie Brown (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
Do they know it’s Christmas – Band Aid
Santa Claus is Coming to Town:  Bruce Springsteen
Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie & Bing Crosby
Silver & Gold – Burl Ives
River – Joni Mitchell
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings – Barenaked Ladies
Wintersong – Sarah McLaughlin
Christmas Lights – Coldplay
Christmastime – Smashing Pumpkins
Last Christmas - Wham
Christmas Day - Dido
Oi to the World – The Vandals
Christmas at the Zoo – The Flaming Lips
I’ll be home for Christmas – Sheryl Crow
Walk the Sleigh – Robbie Williams
I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Shirley Temple
Christmas , Baby Please Come Home – U2
Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles

Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 10 of Christmas

I ADORE Christmas shows.

...this goes back to the whole, nostalgic sap thing.  So here is my list of favourite Christmas shows/movies for kids and grown ups too...drop me a line if I've missed a good one!  I'm always looking to expand my regular repertoire!

My Top 10 Christmas Shows/Movies for Kids.

10.  Shrek the Halls
9.  A Garfield Christmas -
8.  Frosty the Snowman - 1969
7.  A Chipmunk Christmas
6.  Muppets Christmas Carol/Muppet Family Christmas - 1992
5.  The Polar Express - 2004
4.  A Charlie Brown Christmas - 1965
3.  Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer - 1964
2.  Santa Claus: The Movie
1.  The Grinch who Stole Christmas - 1966

My Top 10 Christmas Shows/Movies for Adults
10.  Fred Claus
9.  Love, Actually
8.  The Santa Claus
7.  Monty Python's Life of Brian (Hey!  It starts in a manger!)
6.  Elf
5.  South Park:  Christmas in South Park/Woodland Critter Christmas
4.  The Nightmare Before Christmas
3.  Die Hard
2.  National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
1.  Bad Santa

So, pop some pop corn...sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat, settle in with a nice cup of coca and enjoy the best this season has to offer! xo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas time is here....

...time to spend some money.

Lots of it.

And I am as guilty as everyone else.

As I sit here wrapping this mound of presents purchased for my hubby for our very first "married" Christmas, I can't help but think - why?  Why do we feel the need to spend, spend, spend every year?

My mum and I were discussing the whole Christmas gift thing yesterday in the car.  We have, as a family, decided to pare down to a stocking and one gift each.  My mum said it reminded her of the year we went out west to visit my dad's family in Edmonton.

I was around 7, my sister 4 when my parents flew us all out to be with my dad's family for Christmas.  At the time, my mother was a secretary making just over minimum wage, and my dad worked at a gas bar.  As I'm sure you can imagine, things were tight - so tight in fact that by the time all was said and done, there was less than $20 each for Christmas gifts for my sister and I, and my mum and dad went without.

But you know what - I remember that Christmas clear as day, because that was the I got my very own box of 60 Laurentian pencil crayons.

It still is, to this day, one of the best gifts I ever received.  I used those pencils down to nubs.  I was the only kid at school who had them and when I sat there, watching my cousins opening gift after gift after gift, I took each colour out of the box and read its name to my mum.  I didn't know copper was a pencil crayon!!

She said it was the most awful Christmas ever, but to me, it was one of the best.

So, the next time you're standing in line with a shopping cart full of stuff that you know your family won't remember in a few days, let alone a few years, remember, spending won't make it a memorable Christmas, but giving from the heart will.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Let them eat cake!

Or not.

I love carbs in any form I can get them.

I would think by the size of my waist line, that is probably pretty obvious.

Recently, my brother-in-law discovered that he cannot have gluten...that holy binding agent that makes so many of the foods we love stick together.

No bread.
No pasta.
No sweets.
No beer.

An all out death sentence for that part of our brain that craves comfort foods, and that other part of our brain that craves a cold brew on a hot summer day.

Now obviously there are ways around all of this, and with a major lifestyle change, his family fully on board, they have learned to adapt.

Bread is now made with different types of flour.  Rice pasta replaces traditional wheat pasta...etc. etc.

But I have to say, for me, Christmas baking has been taken to a whole new level because I think everyone should be able to indulge in homemade holiday sweets, even those living gluten free.

But for those of us who don't live gluten free (or in my case, in gluten overload!), knowing where to start was a challenge.  Needless to say, with a lot of googling and visits to, I think I've done a pretty good job navigating this new world.

I can honestly say, I've never read so many labels in my life!  I have researched every ingredient before carefully re-reading it's ingredients list one more time just to make sure that the dreaded "g" word, and all of it's counterparts (like evil malted barley!) are absent.

And, after a whole lot of research, I have adapted one of my family's favourite recipes to be gluten free!  You can make it the good old fashioned way too, just use regular ingredients.

I hope these join your family's favourite holiday recipes - it's quick and easy and makes LOTS!!

"Keith's Peanut Butter Krispie Bars" 
(so named for my Uncle Keith - these were his favourites as a kid!)
*NO BAKE - 10 Minutes - Makes TONNES!!

1 cup of sugar- white or brown which will give a more maple flavor - both are delish!
1 cup of light corn syrup  (corn syrup is gluten free, but be sure to check the label)
1 cup GF peanut butter - I used PC Blue Menu "Just Peanuts" Crunchy peanut butter
6 cups **Crispy Brown Rice Cereal you can find in the organics aisle in the grocery store
PLEASE NOTE: Rice Krispies cereal is NOT gluten free!

Bring to a bubble 1 cup each of sugar and corn syrup.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup peanut butter.  Then add 6 cups of rice cereal and mix thoroughly.  Either press into a greased 9"x13" pan OR let mixture cool in a greased pan until cool enough to handle and roll into 1" balls.  Let cool completely!!

Melt 1 cup (or 1/2 cup each of white & dark) chocolate chips, pour into a piping bag or ziplock baggy and snip end.  Drizzle on top of bars or balls.  To avoid cracking the chocolate while cutting bars, warm the knife in hot water and dry.

Photos to follow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Memory

I am nostalgic.

Like, watching the same holiday, made for t.v. movies year after year and loving them only more, reminiscing with friends about the same shinanagins we reminisced about in high school and, well, pretty much any other ridiculousness you can imagine.

Basically, I'm a sap and love to let any situation overwhelm me with memories, good or bad, that have helped shape who I am.

Dorky, yes. But I guess that's me, take it or leave it.

Tonight while I was sorting through some stuff on our dresser, I came across the little handout that we received at a friend's funeral. His picture featuring the wide, toothy grin I remember so well and it even captured the sparkle in his eyes that always made it look like he was smiling.

I couldn't help but join him.

I took a moment to sit and reflect.

His name was Eric. He was my little sister's best friend in the entire world. He suffered a very tragic end to a life that never seemed to be under his control. He and my sister were like two little lost souls who, instead of finding the rest of the world, found each other.

He was like a member of my family. My parent's loved that kid like he was their own - he was referred to by everyone as my "brotha from another motha" which always made me laugh. He was such a neat freak, it was hilarious. He loved great big old man cars and could always be found making his latest find shiny and clean. He was a kind, loving person who laughed from his soul and hugged like no one I've ever met.

We were all devastated when we heard he was gone. And even now, I'm surprised at how often I see a big, land yacht of a car driving down the road and wonder if it's him.

Every time we pass the spot where he lost control of his car, I can't help but mouth the words, "you little shit!" as if saying them out loud would change what happened.

It's been nearly 5 months since the accident, and I know that time may dull the pain, but it will never really be gone. After all, the pain that we carry with us helps make us stronger.

As I sit here, on the edge of the holiday season, pining for all those memories of yesteryear, I know that this Christmas will be a little bit different. I'll hug my loved ones a little big tighter, tell them I love them more often and take in the sights, sounds and smells that help make the holiday season so special. You never know when it will all be over.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Tis the Season...

I've been absent for...months.

Not because I want to, but because I haven't really been in the mood to write.  It seems that this year that my annual case of the Christmas BLAH'S has struck early and with a vengeance rivaling that of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman in the first Die Hard (now that's a Christmas movie!).  This has ultimately made me into some sort of fake smiling, tree decorating, carol singing Grinch.

Don't get me wrong.  I love Christmas.  Christmas trees, baking, giving presents ( MY FAVOURITE!!) and big roast beast dinners surrounded by family and friends.  Sounds perfect, so I'm sure you're asking yourself the question, what the hell did Christmas ever do to you, you big, whiny, cynical Scrooge?!

Christmas, as seen through the eyes of a child is the most magical time of an adult, it has become a gong show of trying to arrange schedules so that we can be here, or there, or wherever, uncomfortable Christmas dinners with an extended family who has decided, once again, that the Knutson's are on the outs and quite frankly, I'm sick of it all.

"The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all May have been that his heart was two sizes too small." 

So, on that note, Bah-Freaking-Humbug.

And now that I have that rant out of my system, it will be a very happy/merry festivus.

Ho Ho Fucking Ho.