Monday, 31 January 2011

Mmm...bacon dip...

We had a birthday party for Jagger not too long ago (he hit the big 3-0!) and in honour of his birthday I made one of his favourite dips.

My friend Amanda gave me the recipe, and it's a total crowd pleaser.  Hope you enjoy it!

Bacon Dip

What you need:
- Bacon
- Bacon Dipper crackers
- Brick of cream cheese
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- Shredded cheese
- Dried onion flakes

What you do:
- Cut up and cook the entire pound of bacon.  Trust me, I know this seems like an insane amount of bacon for a dip, but it's really better with the whole pound of bacon.
- While your bacon is sizzling, mix your cream cheese, mayo, shredded cheese (about a cup, but I don't measure) and your onion (a couple of tablespoons will do, but again, I don't measure anymore)
- When that's all nice and blended together, spread it in your baking dish.  I have a nice little hot dip dish, but any 8x8 pan should work.
- Top your dip mixture with the bacon (yes, the whole pound of bacon)
- Top it all with about a half a cup of crumbled Bacon Dipper crackers (I usually do the whole put the crackers in a Ziploc bag and smash away method)
- When you're ready to eat it, heat it in the oven at about 350 until it heated through - the cracker crumbs will brown a bit when it's done, but you can just play it by ear.  You could eat it cold, but it's better when it's all hot and delicious
- Serve it with more Bacon Dippers
- Watch it disappear insanely quickly.

Like I said, this dip is a major crowd pleaser.  Even more so if your crowd happens to contain people who enjoy partaking in certain activities, if you know what I mean.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Vivian Vendredi - This about sums up our week...

Vivian is currently boycotting napping during the day, unless that nap happens on me.  We've been working hard to get her to sleep in her own bed, or her playpen, or her vibrating chair, or her swing, or anywhere that isn't me during the day.  She's not a fan.  I did get one day where she slept on her own for 2 hours, but mostly it's not more than an hour, and usually that hour is on me.  We're making progress though.  She doesn't have a problem sleeping on her own at night though, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much.

She's also been super congested all week, which has led to us making lots of saunas in the bathroom.  Sometimes as 4:00 in the morning.

In other Vivian news, we started on our cloth diapers this week, so there will be a post about that up soon.  We also have a very busy week coming up with lots of visiting and classes, so hopefully that wears her out enough that she'll nap at some point.

Hopefully your weekend is filled with lots of naps!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hey, Wii Fit - Shut up.

The Wii  Fit and I have been having some issues lately.  See, there was a time when I was pretty into the Wii Fit.  I would do it everyday, even if it was just for a quick weigh-in and body test.  It was fun, and it was nice to have an accurate weigh-in to keep myself in check.  I found I got really familiar with my body and could really tell when I fluctuated even a couple of pounds.

Then I got pregnant.  And I got scared of the Wii Fit.

See, for some ungodly reason, the Wii Fit doesn't have an "I'm pregnant" function.  So while I wanted to do the exercises on the Wii Fit, I couldn't bear to step foot on that damned board.  I just knew that every time I tried to do something good for myself and get some exercise, it would give me a hard time about gaining weight - even though it was totally justified.  (Yes, gaining 60 pounds while pregnant is totally justified.  Thank you, Taco Bell)

Of course, by avoiding telling the Wii Fit about my gradual weight gain, I had to face it down after having the baby.

I don't know why I thought it was a good idea to get on it two weeks after having a baby, but for some reason I did.  And then it called me obese.  And it's still calling me obese!

Not cool, Wii Fit.  Not cool.  I'm not obese - and you would know that if you had known that I lost 30 pounds in 2 weeks!  (Never mind that 8 pounds of that was a person)

Stupid Wii Fit.  Seriously, why isn't there just a little button you can hit to indicate that you're pregnant?  Then it wouldn't judge you so harshly when it weighs you.  That little animated board can be really harsh.

So, kind Japanese Nintendo people - the next time you decide to revamp the Wii Fit (Wii Fit Plus really was an improvement, by the way) please do us a favour and add a "I'm pregnant" function and give us all a break?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

The other day I was thinking how documented kids are today.  When I was a baby, my parents didn't have a camera, so they would just take a bunch of pictures when they could borrow one.  I feel so lucky that we can take so many pictures and videos of Vivian so she has lots to look back on one day.

Of course, this afternoon I dropped and broke my camera.

I had it coming.

Did I mention the dishwasher broke this week as well?  Yeah, it's been a good week.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


So now that I spend good chunks of my days sitting in a rocking chair or on the couch with a baby who has a bad case of the "don't-put-me-downs" I've started recording all kinds of shows that I would have never normally had the time to watch.

Now, if you know me, you may know about my love of trashy TV, especially of the reality type.  The Hills, Teen Mom, The Bachelor, Flavor of Love...the trashier, the better.  But one of my favourites is Rehab.

I was so excited the other day when I found "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" on Global Reality.

We first discovered Rehab when we were on our honeymoon, basking in the glow of American TV shows.  Yes, a good part of our honeymoon was spent watching TV - what of it?

Anyway, Rehab is this awesome show about the party hosted at the pool of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.  It's your basic behind the scenes type reality show - you get to see the fights, the drunks, and most importantly, the waitresses arguing over who gets to serve the best cabanas in order to secure the biggest tips.  It's basically an hour of girls running around in bikinis, and I love it.  Seriously, it's wonderful trash TV.

The second season seems heavily scripted (not that I mind, it's still entertaining) so be prepared for that.  The first season is awesome though.  Wikipedia tells me that there's a third season, but I have yet to find it.  Global Reality had a marathon on this past weekend of the entire second season, so I'm hoping for another marathon soon with the third season.

Have you been watching any good trashy TV lately?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Intense

Six weeks now with Vivian.  We've had a better go of things this week - she's taking a soother now (!!!) and let me get 4 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep the other night.  Who knew that one day I would be excited about that.

She's learning lots of new tricks - and has been chatting up quite the storm lately.  One of the funniest things that she does is that she stares like crazy.  Seriously, she beats me in staring contests all the time.  Sometimes I worry that she's forgotten how to blink or something.  She's our little Samuel L. Jackson.

Of course when I tried to capture it for the blog, she tried to make a liar out of me by not performing.  Babies suck like that.  You tell someone "Oh, watch what my baby can do." Then the baby just looks at you blankly and never performs on cue.  They make you look like a jerk.

So here's my baby making me look like a jerk, but also kind of performing.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Glue Movies and Sick Day Movies

Have you ever heard of a glue movie?  I first heard the term on the blog 1000 Awesome Things (which is a much better blog than this one, you should be reading it.)  They described "glue movies" as those movies that you watch every time they're on TV, no matter what's going on.  I definitely have glue movies.

My glue movies would have to be...


I love this movie, and something about it is just perfect for lounging on the couch for three hours when you should be doing something far more important.  Plus, I'm blown away every single time I watch it by how much the kid version of Ray Liotta at the beginning of the movie looks like Ray Liotta.  Insane.

A League of Their Own

Does anyone not love this movie?  I love it so, so much.  I love it even more because it was almost filmed in London, Ontario.

The Fifth Element

I don't really know what it is about this movie, but it's awesome.  Bruce Willis is great and who doesn't love Milla?

For me, glue movies go hand in hand with sick day movies.  Those movies you pull out when you just want to doze your way through an illness/hangover on the couch.

My favourite sick day movies are...


I love, love this movie.  And I love it even more every time I watch it.  It's one of those movies that not a lot of people seem to have watched, but you should.  It's fantastic.

Almost Famous

Quite possibly the perfect movie for couch surfing.  It's funny and sad and has awesome music.

Big Fish

Oh, Big Fish.  You get me every time.  I love Ewan MacGregor (as should everyone) and he is awesome in this movie.  If you love Tim Burton (as should everyone) and you haven't seen this movie, you need to do it immediately.  Don't be surprised if you cry at the end.

What about you?  Did you spend any time vegging out on the couch over the holidays with your favourites?

Friday, 14 January 2011

Vivian Vendredi - My Baby Sucks

It's been something of a long week for Vivian and I.  I hit a bit of a wall a couple of days ago, my first real breakdown of motherhood so far.  Vivian is in this stage where she doesn't like to nap during the day unless she's on me (as soon as I put her down, she'll sleep for 45 minutes, tops).  So, I don't get much of a break from her and haven't been sleeping nearly enough.  She's also going through a stage of being super fussy in the evenings from about 7-11 p.m. where she just wants to scream and eat.  Not even eat really, she just wants to suck.  Super fun for me.

She's a crazy sucker, but she refuses to take a soother or a bottle.  We've been trying both this week (I've been trying her with a soother since she's been born and she's not into it) but she just screams around them.  My mom says she's never seen anything like it - she's seen babies who will gag and just spit a soother out if they don't want it, but Vivian just screams and refuses to close her mouth on it, like she won't even acknowledge its existence.

She also has a rash on her face right now, and has taken to rubbing her forehead against my shoulder to try and scratch it.  She's so crafty.

But then after it all she wakes up in the morning and smiles at me like this to make me forget the whole thing.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Internet Etiquette in Real Life

I had something weird happen to me the other day.  Vivian and I ventured out to Masonville Mall in London to go walking.  (Yes, I've become one of those crazy mall walkers who just go around in circles without buying anything.  It's too cold outside to walk with a baby!)  Anyway, as I'm walking along, I'm checking out other people's strollers - I'm dying for a new stroller (and have my eye on this one) and couldn't help checking out other fancy pants ones.

Anyway, as I'm walking along, I notice a girl with a nice green stroller.  Then I realize the girl looks familiar, but I can't quite place her.  As I walk by, I cast a quick look over my shoulder to see the baby in the stroller - baby seems familiar too.  Then it hits me - I recognize her from her blog!  I read the blog Five Blondes and enjoy it because they're from the London area and the blog is kind of similar to mine - a little all over the map.  It was so weird to see someone in "real life" that I recognize from the internet.

I did another lap and walked by her again and didn't know what to do.  Do I stop and introduce myself as a blog reader and run the risk of looking like a lunatic (who is also wandering around a mall in jogging pants and hadn't dried her hair) or do I keep walking?  What is the etiquette on meeting people you "know" from online?

What would you have done?

Friday, 7 January 2011

Vivian Vendredi - Birth Story

Like I mentioned before, I wasn't sure if I wanted to post Vivian's birth story or not.  I wasn't sure if it was too much to share, but in the end I decided that I always enjoy reading other people's birth stories, so other people might enjoy reading this one.

Leading up to the end of my pregnancy, I had the mindset that I was going to kick labour's ass.  I looked at it like it was a marathon and was prepared to meet it head-on with focus and drive.  I felt confident in my plan, but was prepared to be flexible depending on the situation.

I was not prepared for what ended up happening.

I was overdue, and had been stuck at one centimeter dilated for about a month.  At the doctor's appointment just two days after my due date, I was all chipper about being overdue and didn't insist on being induced, wanting things to progress naturally.  I should have listened to the cues the doctor I saw that week was sending me as she insinuated that if I complained, she would induce me that week.  She was my first choice doctor and I was really hoping that I would go into labour that week while she was on duty.

Didn't happen.

Another week went by and I went for my weekly checkup.  The doctor on shift that week said we could induce me anytime I was ready.  At that point, I was totally ready and told him as much.  We headed upstairs for a non-stress test to check on the kid and wait for me to get some cervidil to get things moving.  (I'll let you go ahead and google cervidil if you don't know what it is).

Unfortunately, because of the wicked winter storm that was hitting nearby London, there was a shortage of OB nurses, so we got sent home and were told to call the next afternoon and see if we could get the cervidil then.  So, on Tuesday, December 7th we got to go back to the hospital for another non-stress test  and to get the cervidil.  Two hours of waiting showed that I was having some contractions, but they weren't bothering me and they weren't consistent at all, so we got sent home for the night and were told to come back at 5:30 the next morning to get things moving unless things happened on their own overnight.

Of course, nothing happened on its own overnight, just the same inconsistent contractions.  Off we went to the hospital the next morning ready to go.

We got set up in a room and waited for the nurse to come back with my IV.  While we waited for her, I suddenly started feeling really hot and faint.  A quick check of my blood pressure showed a major drop for some reason.  I'm not afraid of needles, but for some reason, my body just was not ready for that IV.  They tried to give me oxygen, which just made me gag.  So, things were delayed a little bit longer while I relaxed and got my blood pressure back up before we could get the IV in and get the pitocin going.

Things started slowly.  I got a lot of magazines read while the contractions came and went, but I wasn't really bothered by them.  I kept thinking "I shouldn't complain about things yet, because it's only going to get worse."

Some strange things started happening.  My nurse would check to see how dilated I was and then would go get another nurse to have her check how dilated I was.  At first, this wasn't much of a problem, but as things progressed, it got more and more painful and being checked twice was not fun, or fair.

Around noon, I wanted to get out of the bed and try walking around and using the birthing ball.  I was quite happily working through contractions on the birthing ball when the contractions started to get more regular and more painful.  The monitors on my belly to track how strong my contractions were and the baby's heart rate didn't seem to be working right.  My contractions wouldn't show up on the chart (and I was getting upset that I "wasn't getting credit" for how strong the contractions were) and the baby kept moving off of the monitor so it would pick up my heart rate rather than hers.  They decided to get me back into bed in the hopes that the monitors would work better if I was laying still.

So, there went my plans of happily labouring on a birthing ball or in the jet tub and instead I got stuck in bed again.

The monitors still weren't working right, so I was never left alone.  Someone was constantly moving the monitors around or checking me out in some way.  They were constantly monitoring my blood pressure and kept putting the cuff on my arm with the IV, even though I begged them not to because it hurt so much.

At some point a lab tech came in to take my blood as well.  Apparently because I hadn't had blood taken since I was 37 weeks, it was out of date and they needed a new sample.  Why they couldn't have taken this blood first thing in the morning or the day before when I was at the hospital or the day before that when I was at the hospital is beyond me.  For some reason, they decided it would be more fun to wait until I was in labour and try to take my blood between contractions.  It was awesome.

Around 1:00, my mom and sister showed up to see how I was doing.  It was around this time that things went from being uncomfortable to being really bad.  My sister asked why I wasn't using any of the nitrous oxide gas to help with the contractions, but no one had offered it to me.  The nurses hadn't asked me how my pain levels were, and because the monitors on my belly weren't working right, they didn't have an accurate reading of how strong my contractions were.

So I tried the gas.  I was really excited to try out the gas before labour because I was hoping that I could get by with just using it.  I was handed the gas mask and the nurse told me to breathe in while I was having the contraction until I got to my peak, then to let the mask go.  The problem with this advice is that my contractions were very short, but one on top of another.  So I would take two quick breaths and let it go.  This does nothing.  It just made me nauseous and I cried because it wasn't working.

The contractions started coming faster and faster, and I progressed faster and faster.  They kept the pitocin drip going though, so things just started snowballing.  I wasn't getting any break between contractions, they were coming one on top of another, and there was still no reading of how strong they were.  Jagger told me at one point the nurses were actually consulting a manual to see why it wasn't working.

I was checked (and checked again by the second nurse) and learned I was at 5 centimeters.  It was at this point I asked for the epidural.

Now, let me preface this part by explaining a little bit about this hospital.  I decided to go to the small town hospital rather than going into London.  My original plan was to use a midwife, but they're not allowed to go to my local hospital and with this being my first baby and it being winter, I decided I would rather use the hospital that's 3 kilometers away rather than using a midwife and having to drive 40 minutes to get to a hospital.  (Which ended up being a good thing because of the monster snowstorm that had us stranded for several days.  Had I gone to the hospital in London, I probably would have ended up staying in the hospital for much longer because of the weather).  Now, with the small town hospital they warn you that while they have an anesthetist on staff and on call at all times, it might take up to 45 minutes for them to get to you depending on where they are.  I was assured that this is no different than in a larger hospital where they often have to track them down.  I was comfortable with this risk.  So, when I asked for the epidural, I did it thinking that I could hold out a little longer, but not too much to give them time to get to me.

That apparently was not the situation.

I asked for the epidural.  I was told that the anesthetist was busy in surgery and would be there soon.  "Soon" became longer and longer.  I could hear the nurses getting things ready for the epidural, but no anesthetist showed up.  I think it was around this time that my mom and sister left to wait at our house for the news.  Things get pretty foggy after this point.

Hours passed.  I kept begging and crying for the epidural.  I was told the anesthetist would be there in 15 minutes, then an hour.  I would alternate between crying that I needed the epidural, that I was too exhausted to finish and crying that the anesthetist wasn't going to be there in time, that I had missed my window to have an epidural.  I felt like the nurses were lying to me.  I would have felt much better if they had just said, "You're right, the anesthetist isn't going to be here in time."  Instead, I kept getting false hope.

Jagger kept rubbing my head and putting a cold washcloth on my face while I cried and cried.  I can remember him pacing back and forth swearing about the fact that the anesthetist wasn't there while I was in so much pain.  Like I said, I was kind of in and out of things at this point.

The doctor arrived and said I could have some fentanyl to help with the pain.  I was told it would just take the edge off the contractions, but I found it just gave me a break between contractions.  Not much of a break, but a bit of a break nonetheless.

At some point, they got very concerned with the fact that the baby kept moving off the heart rate monitor.  They attempted to put a monitor on her head to keep track of her heartbeat.  No one told me this was happening.  They tried it twice before it took, and during the second attempt I finally yelled, "What's happening?"  There were so many people touching me and moving me around I had no idea what was going on.  My eyes were closed for hours.

The contractions got stronger, and all of a sudden when I would have a contraction my stomach would almost involuntarily start pushing.  I couldn't help it, it was like with every contraction my stomach would suck in on itself.  The doctor told me to stop trying to push and to focus on my breathing, that I was just going to have to deal with this, the anesthetist wasn't coming.

Next thing I knew, the doctor said it was time to start pushing.  They started to raise the bed up and asked me if I was ready to push.  All I could do was cry and say, "No."  I looked over at Jagger and the look of fear on his face was unmistakable and just about broke my heart.  He stepped out to call my mom and sister to tell them the baby would be here soon.

Like I said, while I was labouring, I lost all track of time.  I couldn't see the clock and I had my eyes closed for most of it.  Now, when they positioned me to push, I was facing a clock.  It was a full hour of pushing.  Between pushes, I was basically blacking out while Jagger wiped my face with a cold cloth and gave me sips of water, like a fighter in the corner.  At one point, the water went down the wrong tube and I started to choke, which I don't recommend during labour.  I kept crying all through the pushing, saying that I didn't have enough energy left to finish.  This was my greatest fear - I'd already been told the anesthetist wasn't coming, so what would happen if I started pushing and couldn't finish on my own?  What would happen if I needed a C-section at that point?

I pushed and pushed for what seemed like an eternity.  It just didn't feel like anything was happening.  They kept telling me how well I was doing, but I didn't feel like anything was happening, or that anything was going to happen.

At one point, I opened my eyes and there was literally about 6 people standing around the delivery room.  It was shift exchange, so I had two sets of nurses there, the doctor and apparently the anesthetist showed up at the 11th hour to announce, "Well, I guess I'm too late!"  Jagger was ready to kill her.  I had no idea who she was or what she was doing there.

Finally, mercifully, the pushing paid off and the head was out.  I was told to push once more to get the shoulders out.  I was so done at that point, I just wanted to keep pushing but was quickly told to stop and to pant with short pushes to get the rest of her out.  Panting quickly turned to hyperventilating as I just wanted to get it over with.

And then - there she was.  She was a whole, real person and she was on my chest.  It's a girl.  She was so quiet, she just laid there and was cooing at us right from the start.  Jagger kept asking if something was wrong because she was so quiet, but she's just that good of a baby.  They asked me what her name was and all I could do was cry and say her name was Vivian.  They whisked her away to clean her up and Jagger went with her for pictures and to share the good news while I got to continue with the fun stuff.

I was prepared to delivery the placenta - I just wanted this whole ordeal to be over and to hold my baby. What I wasn't prepared for was all the stuff that came after.

What no one told me was how they have to check to make sure things contract back down after the birth.  This involves the doctor pressing on your stomach, which basically feels like someone is punching you in the gut.  Of course, you are told to stop resisting and just relax your muscles.  Easier said than done.

It was determined that I wasn't contracting back down like I should be and that I had some major clots that needed to be cleared out.  A nurse handed me the nitrous oxide mask again, but I pushed it away.  "It doesn't work for me," I tried to explain.  The nurse just shoved it back in my hand and insisted "You're going to need it."  This time, the nurse told me to just keep it over my face and keep breathing.

She was so right - where was she all day?

Apparently, my drug-free lifestyle did me no favours in labour.  I had no idea how to inhale the gas until this point.  I kept breathing into the mask and floated away happily.  Finally, some relief.  Jagger came back into the room and I giddily announced, "I like the gas now!"  Turns out I got to use the gas for a bit longer when it was determined I had a second-degree tear and needed some stitches.  I relaxed with my gas while they did what they needed to do to put me back together again.  As I started to become aware that they were done with me, all I could think was one thing - "Where's Vivi?"  I could feel myself swimming to the surface of the gas haze and asked where she was.  They brought her over to me and Jagger and I could finally look at her all cleaned up and happy.  My mom and sister were allowed into the room to see us and to meet little Vivi.

It's strange, but that point was about the time that I started to forget things.  It's amazing how quickly your body and mind starts to shut out everything that you just went through.  This is the reason why people have more than one kid.

Jagger was still super upset about everything that happened with the anesthetist, but I was just happy that Vivian was here.  It was over, what else could we do, there was nothing more to complain about.

In hindsight, I feel like I wasn't given any choices during the labour.  There was a lot of things happening that no one explained to me and I didn't like that.  It was extremely frustrating to think that they knew I was coming that day to be induced and no one told me that there was a chance that the anesthetist wouldn't be available when I needed them.  I feel like that was something I should have been warned about.

Next time, things will be different.  I want to use a midwife next time, that way she's there for me and not anyone else in the hospital.  Hopefully that will give me more control over the situation.

Like I said, in the end, we got Vivian and that was all we wanted.  She was happy and healthy and that's all you can really ask for.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Four Weeks with Vivian

It's hard to believe, but somehow it's already been four weeks since Vivian arrived.  It's pretty much taken those whole four weeks to start to figure her out.

It's been a weird four weeks because of the weather and the holidays.  Vivian was born on a Wednesday and we came home on a Friday.  Beginning on the following Sunday, our area was hit with an insane snowstorm that ended up with a state of emergency being declared.  Luckily, my mom had cooked us enough food to last through the storm.  After that, it was pretty much time for the holidays so we haven't really had many "normal" days with her yet.  We also weren't able to have our home visit from the public health nurse because of the weather, so Vivian and I had to do a lot of figuring things out on our own, especially when it came to nursing.  My mom was a huge help though, and now things seem to be going much better.

So far, I've learned that Vivian is quite particular.  As my mom likes to say, Vivian likes to make people work.  She likes to rock in the rocking chair - but not all the time.  She likes to be bounced - but not all the time.  She likes sitting - but not all the time.  She likes standing and walking around - but not all the time.  You pretty much have to constantly be moving her around to keep her satisfied.  She loves the car, but only if it's moving.  She hates when I go to the drive-thru because the car sits still too long.  She's also not a fan of city driving because there are too many stop lights.  She's a good napper during the day, but in the evenings she prefers to be held while she naps.  She hates Facebook and my Blackberry because they take too much of my attention away.  She smiles in her sleep and when I kiss her on the forehead.  She's awesome.

Sleepy smiles.

She's super alert and pays attention to everything.  She's been following faces and recognizing people since she was about 2 1/2 weeks old.  It's so much fun to realize she's recognized me or Jagger or my mom or sister.  She'll follow us around with her eyes and smile.

She's like a little opposite baby.  She doesn't like to be swaddled (but she does like to be held tightly - she doesn't think it's the same thing as swaddling apparently) and she spends quite a bit of time just being happy and awake.

We're finally getting into a eating every three hours routine, after a few weeks of every two hours and some  days where she just wanted to snack every hour or so.  Not so fun when I'm the snack.

She loves her bath - but only if it's super warm.  No lukewarm baths for this baby.

All in all, she's a super smiley (she's been smiling since the day she was born.  Seriously.) happy and agreeable baby.  I really can't complain, she's done so well.  We had a few rough days where she was dealing with some gas issues, but a little switch in how I feed her along with some changes to my diet (goodbye caffeine, chocolate and fast food!) have made a huge difference.

I love the way she cuddles up on my chest and pulls her little hands under her face while she sleeps, or when she turns her head to look up at me while I'm holding her.

Did I mention she's awesome?

Monday, 3 January 2011

BLT Pasta

I mentioned this recipe before and there was some interest in it, so I documented it while I cooked the other night!

I got this recipe from my friend Kelly, but have made some modifications to it every time I cook it.  It's super easy and makes lots really easily, so it's awesome for crowds.  It also reheats really well, so it's great leftovers for lunches!

BLT Pasta

1 pound of bacon
Pasta (I usually use whole wheat penne)
Cherry tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
Green onions
Shredded cheese
Baby spinach

Start out by boiling your water for your pasta while you cook the bacon.  I usually use a whole box of pasta because I have no idea how to measure out a proper amount.  I also don't believe in cooking less than a pound of bacon at a time, so cut up your pound of bacon into smallish pieces and cook in a large skillet.

You want to let the bacon cook in the grease until it almost deep fries itself and gets nice and golden and crispy...

While the bacon is cooking and the pasta is boiling, chop up your green onions and grate your cheese.  I don't measure the cheese, but it's usually about a cup and a half.  Just do however much you want though.  Don't forget the cheese - I almost always forget it until the very end.

Once the bacon is cooked, scoop out some of the bacon grease and reserve it.  I usually take out about half of it and just keep it in a mug.  You'll want it later!

Add your green onions to the bacon and grease and let them cook up a bit.

Once your onions have cooked through (and your kitchen should be smelling awesome right about now) add the can of stewed tomatoes and let it cook until it's heated through and starts to simmer.

I hope you've drained your pasta by now.  If not, drain your pasta and put it back in the pot (use a big one so you can mix everything together in it.)  Cover the pasta with your spinach.  I usually use a whole bag of baby spinach - probably about 4 cups.  It seems like a lot, but it cooks down to practically nothing, and it's good to get your vegetables in there.  Also, throw in a handful of cherry tomatoes to mix in, however many you want.

Pour your bacon/tomato mixture down over your pasta/cherry tomato/spinach in the large pot.  Mix it together.  As the hot tomato mixture mixes in, it will cook down your spinach.  If you find you need more to cover it, add your reserved bacon grease as required.  (I know it sounds crazy, but it adds soooo much flavour!)

Once you've mixed it up a bit, throw in your shredded cheese and mix that in too.  Like I said, I usually forget this part.  Use any kind of cheese you want - I usually use marble.

Once your shredded cheese is mixed in and melted, just serve your pasta!

I usually serve it with some crusty bread.  It's awesome.

So there you go.  This is why I don't often post my own recipes, because I don't really use measurements for the things I cook often.  Trust me though, this turns out awesome - the stewed tomatoes help to make a sauce and the cherry tomatoes turn into little yummy flavour bombs.  Let me know how it turns out if you ever try it!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

How did I do, 2010?

Last year I wrote a post about my outlook and goals for 2010.  I thought I would recap it here and see how well I did.

1. Find our first home. This is the big one. We're starting the house hunt, and we're both super excited and super scared.

Starting off with a win!  We bought our house at the end of January, so score one for us!

2. Work on growing a person. Once we have the house, we're ready to start trying to fill it up. My sister is having a baby in May, and it would be awesome if there were cousins who are close in age.

Another checkmark!  Just a couple of weeks after we moved into our house, we found out we were expecting and Miss Vivian arrived on December 8th.

3. Make our new house a home. This is really exciting to me. The idea of finding unique pieces to fill our house and make it special is something that I've been waiting to do for a long time. It's just not the same with an apartment.

Decorating and revamping the house kind of took a backseat to baby preparation.  I would still love to spend time yard saleing this summer to fill the house (especially the basement) with some great pieces.

4. In order to make our house a home, I would really like to find some fantastic vintage pieces of furniture and work on refinishing them myself.

I didn't really refinish any pieces, but I did paint a lot of furniture!

5. Along the same lines, I want to get myself a new sewing machine and learn how to use it. I have big plans for pillow making and who knows what else I'll get into!

I don't have a new sewing machine, but I have a new to me sewing machine.  Unfortunately, I still haven't learned how to use it.  This will go on the list of things to do in 2011.

6. Keep track of the books I read. I mentioned this in my last post, I've started keeping track of the books that I read. I think it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and see all the ground I've covered.

I actually kept up with this, but it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be.  I didn't do as much reading this past year as I wanted to.  Maybe I'll do a post later about my 2010 books, I haven't quite decided.

7. Try to be more creative in the kitchen. I tend to fall back on the staples, but I blame this on the fact that our current kitchen is basically a closet. My hope is that once we have a house, I'll be free to cook more interesting and complicated things.

I think this one was a success as well.  I got really into Rachael Ray recipes and cook them quite often.  It really does make a difference having the room to cook.

8. Host parties! I can't wait to have the room to be able to invite people over. We've already decided that we're having a cheeseburger picnic themed housewarming party - I can't wait!

Yeah...still no housewarming party.  We are talking about having a party in January for Jagger's 30th birthday though, so hopefully that will work out!

9. Take care of myself. Not only physically, but financially. I would really like to make some good headway on my debt this year. This is definitely easier said than done!

Hahahahaha...oh, am I ever funny.  Yeah, the financial stuff didn't really work out what with the whole baby on the way thing...and physically didn't really work out either with the whole gaining 60 pounds while pregnant thing.  Coming up in 2011 though - lots of weight loss (hopefully!!!)

10. Enjoy a satisfying finale to LOST. Oh yes, 2010 is a big year indeed. Come May, we'll know how LOST all ends, and I am confident that Darlton will not disappoint us.

I'm going to say this one was a success too.  I actually haven't rewatched the finale yet since May, but I've decided that I am happy and satisfied with the finale.  I know that not everyone agrees with me, but in the end I thought it was a good way to close out the series.

I actually didn't do as badly as I thought - I guess I did a pretty good job of setting some manageable goals for myself!  2011 will no doubt revolve around Vivian as I'm home with her for the year, but I am hoping to get lots accomplished around the house (including painting and building a vegetable garden) and will hopefully get going on some sewing projects.  And of course, there will be lots of blogging.

How did you do with any goals for yourself in 2010?  Any major goals in 2011?