Saturday, October 31, 2009

Do You Neti? (H1N1.. Part 2)

I'm sure you've received the email describing ways to stay healthy and avoid catching the flu. I know I've gotten it at least 5 times, probably 3 of those times from my mother :) Most of the ideas are common sense - don't pick your nose, don't cough on people, wash your hands, take a multivitamin, eat healthy, exercise, sleep..

Since school started in September I've really been slacking in the whole taking care of myself area. You'd think I'd be smarter and up the precautions since I'm surrounded by germy kids all day, but that hasn't been the case.. until now! I am starting now! Why? Being sick in any way is the pits!

Here's my lineup...

apples, soap, vitamins, neti pot, hand sanitizer, listerine, garlic

Most are self-explantory. I've been thinking about getting a neti pot for a couple of years so I finally went out this morning and got one. I asked M to take some pictures of my first time use. Bahahaha. It was actually quite refreshing!

Have you changed any of your habits because of this whole H1N1 scare?

H1N1 Craziness

H1N1 is causing pure pandemonium! Everyone I've talked with seems very confused about how to deal with this virus. To get the vaccine or not to - that is the question. It's been the topic in the staffroom at lunch everyday for the last week. My opinion changes every 5 minutes.

I was reading an article this morning that made an interesting point - you're MUCH likelier to die in a car collision driving over to the flu clinic than from the virus itself. Even if I wanted to get the vaccine I can't, so there's no decision for me to make - yet.

The clinics here were supposed to open to the public on Monday, but that has been cancelled and they are still servicing only high risk people. I hope by the time the vaccine is available to the general public some of the panic has passed. Toronto can't seem to deal with anything effectively and I refuse to wait in line for 5+ hours.

Nice - pregnant ladies, children, elderly, and sick people waiting for hours in the rain. I walked past and thought there was some sort of festival going on here! Hot dog vendors set up and everything!

Look out for Part 2 later today to see ways I am trying to stay healthy, some of which are quite amusing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Auntie Again

I have a new nephew! He is two weeks and one day old. I got to meet him last weekend. He's so tiny and perfect. You MUST go here to check out some photos. They will make your heart melt, I promise.

Here's a pic my brother or perhaps sister-in-law took. Awww.

Welcome to the world!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mom's Deluxe Apple Pie

My first experience making apple pie was a hit! Thanks to my mom's trusty old recipes, the pie turned out scrumptiously. My pictures are not very nice because I was too busy trying to make everything properly, but you get the idea.

2 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
1 egg
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vinegar
pinch of salt

Mix flour and Crisco together just a bit. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and add. Mix everything together just enough but not too much. Separate into two balls (one for bottom crust, one for top) and roll flat between saran wrap.

My dough was blotchy looking because I forgot to mix the egg and all those other ingredients together before adding them to the flour. Whoops.

Apple Filling:
6 apples (I used about 8 huge ones)
6 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter/margarine
6 tbsp cream

Core, peel, slice apples. Combine sugars, flour, cinnamon, salt, then mix with apples. Spread into unbaked crust. Dot with butter, pour cream over, then cover with top crust. Seal crusts carefully and make slits to allow steam to escape. Bake at 450 for 10 minute, then 350 for 30-35 minutes. If you want you can brush top crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

That's it! Delicious and much easier than I expected! Here's my pie, ready to go into the oven and make my place smell sooooo yummy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Apples Galore

Ahhh, fall... the season that means winter is on its way. Kidding, sort of. My favourite thing about fall is the changing leaves. I miss living in the country and catching the beautiful fall colours, so I was happy to take a drive out to Applewood Farm a few weekends ago with M.

Applewood is an orchard plus a winery, so after picking a big bag of apples we tasted three wines. Yum! They also had a corn maze (very sad looking) and pumpkin patches.

I finally got around to using some of the apples to make pie tonight. Oh lordy! My belly is too full right now so I'll share with you the pictures and recipe tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Festivities

Today is my older youngest brother's 30th birthday! Happy Birthday to him! We celebrated on the weekend with...

1) Black Forest Cake

2) Gyroscopes

3) Wonky Eyeballs

4) Tricks by Gunther the Wonder Dog

Plus.. pizza, trivia, and a euchre tournament. Family fun!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Justin Bobby Jam

I dislike when people ask, "What kind of music do you listen to?" I don't know how to answer this. Anything that's on 102.1? A bit of everything minus this that and the other thing? I do know that I can't believe I grew up with a best friend who belted it out to Whitney and Mariah. Blech.
I saw this guy on the subway the other day just rockin' out (and I mean ROCKIN' out) and I was so curious as to what he was listening to. Last year at Christmas our friends in BC sent us a CD with all their favourites tunes from 2008, which I thought was a great idea.

Since I know all of you are dying to hear what's on my playlist, I thought I'd share with you the best CD I have ever compiled. Ohmygosh, it is just so good. I call it the "Justin Bobby Jam" and if you are a 14 year old girl you might know where I got that title from :)

1) Sleeping Sickness - City & Colour
2) The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
3) Sex On Fire - Kings of Leon
4) The Girl - City & Colour
5) Take Me To The Riot - Stars
6) When The Night Feels My Song - Bedouin SoundClash
7) Keep The Car Running - The Arcade Fire
8) Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups
9) Welcome To The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
10) Life Of A Soldier - Ill Scarlett
11) Starlight - Muse
12) Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis

I made this CD almost a year ago and I still love it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

A few weeks ago I told M we should try to go heat less until January. Why, you ask? I'm not really sure other than I like to live on the edge.

When it gets too chilly there is only one thing to do. Bake! Then leave the oven door open. Not while the oven is still on, of course. This does the trick every time and increases the condo temperature by a degree or two in minutes. I am my father's daughter, that's for sure.

After eating the most delicious pie at Thanksgiving, I had to have more pumpkin. I found this recipe for Pumpkin Pie muffins. I followed the recipe exactly except used applesauce instead of oil. All I can say is om nom nom nom. And guess what, M liked them too!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Even More Balcony Sightings

This morning I woke up to cheering and wahooing noises from the street. I went to investigate. Aha! The Goodlife Marathon! Very cool.

It must be so encouraging to be cheered on by people on the streets. One day, maybe one day...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

A few things I learned this Thanksgiving:

1) Cooking can be stressful! Now I understand why my mom runs around like a crazy lady on holidays.
2) Turkeys take a long time to cook.
3) I need a meat thermometer.
4) It takes hours to prepare dinner and just 15 minutes to eat it.
5) Pumpkin pie has become more and more delicious over the years.
6) It doesn't matter if all the food is hot. Just pour on steaming hot gravy!
7) Holidays are a lot nicer when spent with family.
8) Fancy platters = more dishes. Serving right out of the pot is the way to go.

The picture above was taken on day 4 of bleeding eye syndrome. The picture doesn't do it justice. On Thursday (day 7), three different people asked me if I got punched in the face. Thankfully now (day 9) the redness is gone and the peeling skin has begun. I hope by Monday (day 11) I am back to normal!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving creeped up on me. I didn't mention one word about it to my class. No Thanksgiving story, no turkey artwork, not even a "Happy Thanksgiving" at home time on Friday. Shame on me! How could I forget about a 3-day weekend?

I had no plans to go home because I'm going there in a couple of weekends, and no plans to go to parents-in-law because M is in hard core study mode, which means zero fun for him.

Well... then my mother felt sorry for me, so her, my dad, and my grannie are coming to celebrate with us. That means today I was cooking up a storm so tomorrow isn't too crazy in the kitchen. So far I've made cranberries, mashed potatoes, rancho beans, creamed corn, and prepped the veggies for glazed carrots and turnip gratin.

This is only a sneak preview because I kept forgetting to take pictures. Mmm, it's going to be good!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bleeding Eyes

This is what my face normally looks like:

And this is what it currently look like:

Bah! I'm so annoyed! About a month ago I bought a bunch of new makeup. Good, expensive stuff. To be exact, a Bare Minerals kit that included concealer, powder, and bronzer, plus some Urban Decay eyelid primer that helps make eye makeup last. Oooh, I was excited! New makeup - fun! After using everything for a week or so, my eyes started watering like crazy. Then a couple of days later under my eyes got all red, dry, and itchy. Really attractive. And so sore.

I stopped using all makeup and went to my doctor to get a prescription for some cream. About a week later my students finally stopped asking what was wrong with me and my face was almost back to normal. I figured I must have been allergic to the concealer since that's the only thing I was putting under my eyes.

Well this week I thought I might as well start wearing my old makeup again, plus the new eyelid primer. And of course, two days later my eyes are red and itchy AGAIN. Damn you eyelid primer! I am so sad because this stuff was amazing. And how come my lids (where the makeup goes) are not red and swollen? I'm so confused.

Now... should I retest the concealer that I thought I was allergic to in the first place or give up and bring everything back to the store? What if I'm allergic to everything?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nie Nie on Oprah

Wheeee! Nie Nie, who I mentioned once before here, is going to be on Oprah tomorrow!

I've got my PVR set so I won't miss it. I'm excited. I can't wait to see what she has to say. Holy brave. Tune in if you can. I think the interview will surely put life into perspective and remind us to count our blessings.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

One Last Wedding Gift

I think we've received our last wedding gift. I can't believe we're so lucky - a year and three months later and we're still getting stuff! My family's friends couldn't make it to our wedding - they were on an Alaskan cruise, a pretty good excuse. Fortunately for us, they have a tradition of making quilts as gifts so I was very excited to see what they made for M and I.

I can't imagine how many hours a quilt must take to create. What a wonderful gift. It's personalized just for us with lots of teacher fabric for me and music fabric for M. Very nice! It's the perfect temperature blanket too, I've been sleeping with it ever since we got it!

Funny enough, our friends' initials are the same as mine and M's!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Must See TV

I've found a couple of new shows that I think might be worth watching... if you're into that sort of leisure activity.

1) Flash Forward.
I've had the series premier on my PVR for a week and finally watched it tonight. I liked it, I really liked it! It actually held my attention for the whole episode, which rarely happens. Seems similar-ish to Lost. Drama/sci-fi. I liked the kangaroo.
Thursday, 8pm, ABC.

2) Vampire Diaries.
High school teeny bopper vampires. Very Twilight-esque but better. Cute boys. Thursday, 8pm, CW (or 7pm on CTV).

Have you caught either of these shows? What did you think?