Monday, November 30, 2009

Sears/Willis Tower

Today M and I went up the Sears (now called Willis) Tower.

It was a perfect day to go - no kids and no lineups! I would definitely recommend seeing this tourist attraction. The all glass observation ledges were so cool. It looks like we're floating!

Way better than the CN Tower glass floor. And I love the CN Tower glass floor. The views of downtown were spectacular!

You should make a point to go if you ever visit Chicago! I'm sure the lights at night would be amazing too!

See you soon, Chicago!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chi-Town, Day Two

Deep dish pizza is a serious meal. We went to Pizzeria Due and ordered a small "Numero Uno" with cheese, sausage, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, and green pepper. We had to wait about half an hour for a table, but it was worth it! We took a quarter of the pizza home and now the fridge smells like meat.
Today was busy. We saw New Moon, went to the aquarium, saw a show at Second City, and finished off the night with some Cold Stone ice cream. Good day!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chi-Town, Day One

Day one in Chicago was a good one. Our visas were approved in a relatively painless process, we had an uneventful flight, wandered around all afternoon/night, and tried deep dish pizza!

Here's M's new home for the next month. Christmas decorations are out in full force.

He's being put up in a short term rental unit at a hotel. It's basically a standard hotel room with a kitchenette. It may have been decorated in the '80s and it may have been built for hobbits, but it'll do!
Things I've already noticed about Chicago:
1) People are really friendly. Like small town friendly.
2) It's like Toronto but bigger.
3) It's like New York but smaller.
4) People are sloooowwwwww here. I walk like I'm on a mission because that's the Toronto way. Apparently people here are not in a rush everywhere they go?

Tomorrow I'll show you pictures from our pizza eating. You'll all want some and decide you must come visit Chicago so we can take you out for some!

Na na na na na na na, Goodbye

Oh noes. I tried to blog at 2am last night but they my computer died so I gave up. We're leaving for the airport now so here are some pics from M's going away party last night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reunited and it Feels So Good

Big D's girlfriend from Korea is coming to live in Toronto! I'm mucho excited for them because I know how much long distance relationships suck :)

So, carrying on with the Korean theme, tonight I....

1) Made bacon. Not that this is really a Korean thing to do - it just reminded me of when we did table cooking at a Korean restaurant and ate three layer pork and it was so good. Bacon really is disgusting yet delicious. I cannot handle the grease. It grosses me right out.

2) Ate Squid
Big D often gets treats sent to him from Korea and he shared with us some squid that was roasted on the hot stone. Hmmm... it was fishy. And that's all I'll say about that. Perhaps eating it at 11:30pm was not the best idea? I will have to give it another try.

3. Took Pictures of Beef Jerky we ate a long time ago.
This is another treat Big D shared with us. It was thick and meaty. Just like you might think beef jerky would be! The little candy is supposedly the flavour of burnt rice, but it tastes like popcorn!

I like trying new things. Bring it on.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is it December Yet?

Is it December yet? Blogging everyday has become annoying. Writing becomes a chore, which I dislike. Come on, nothing interesting happens on Wednesdays. I can't give up now, though - only 5 more days to go!

I took a picture from my chair since I was too lazy to get up :)

Here's what going down tonight...

Packing! M was working up a sweat while I observed and encouraged. When you're moving to a different country, what do you bring?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Going Away Festivities

This week is busy busy. M is trying to get all packed and ready for Chicago. Wait, who am I kidding.. I am trying to get M all packed and ready for Chicago. Sometimes he needs a little motivation. For example, he's had a pile of shirts to be dry cleaned for at least 6 months now. He talked about bringing them in on Monday. That didn't happen. Now it's too late so he'll be packing dirty shirts. Don't even get me started on the towel rack he broke two years ago and hasn't gotten around to fixing. MEN. End of rant.

Anyway. I'm throwing M a going away party and I'm trying to decide what kind of food to make for our guests.

The plan so far:

1) Taco Dip/Nachos (a must)
2) Bacon wrapped water chestnuts (serious yum)
3) Pumpernickel and spinach dip (it's not a party without this)
4) Apple caramel cream cheese dip (heck yeah)

And what else? Gimme some ideas! What's your favourite party food?

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's a Dangerous Game

M and I play on a floor hockey team and tonight's game was rough! I fell and slid across the floor like Superwoman and M did a leap that ended with a few rolls. It was pretty impressive. I got slashed so hard that my hand started bleeding. Ahhh, all in the name of a good game - in a league that is supposed to be non-competitive. Is there such a thing?

Seriously though, floor hockey can be dangerous! I was slashed about 7 weeks ago in the ankle and although the massive bruise is gone, the bump is still the same. M told me tonight that it could take a year or more to go away! Is this true? Every week I leave with ball shaped bruises all over my body. People at work think I'm being beaten.

Oh well, it is a lot of fun and a great workout! Talk about doing a million lunges!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Merry Early Christmas!

This weekend we celebrated an early Christmas with M's family. The whole shebang - tree, presents, family time, and food!

We made out like bandits! A Bodum french press, tv on dvd, a Chicago travel book, hot chocolate mix with mugs, moolah, and tons of other goodies. Thanks you, thank you, thank you!

Wrapping gifts for this weekend got me into the festive mood. I'm going to have to pull out the tree and Christmas CDs tomorrow! When is it too early to start decorating? I hate going into stores on November 1st and seeing the Halloween stuff gone, just to be replaced with Christmas decorations. That's a little much.

When, if you celebrate Christmas, are you putting up your tree?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Go Sens Go

Ever since watching I Love You Man I can't help wanting to cheer, "Here we go Galaxy, here we go" every time I'm watching live sports. Ugh, I love that movie.

Tonight we went here...

... to see these guys play Buffalo.

I love the opening music. Dum dum dum dum... bumbumbabummmmmm...

It was an exciting game, and victory was ours!

I enjoy going to a game or two every year. In Ottawa going to see hockey is actually possible, and for a reasonable price, unlike in Toronto. I have a feeling we'll be going to see a lot of games when we're settled in Chicago!

Now I'm watching Sydney White with M's mom. Teeny bopper movies are the best! What did you do on your Saturday evening?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Official Weiners

So sorry to keep you all waiting! I was too busy drinking sangria, but don't fret, the winners for my giveaway have been chosen! All twelve of you who commented had a 50% chance of winning. Pretty good odds!

The complicated process:

And the official winners are: stbo, GC, BaconBoy, Velma, Shelly, and Stacey. Wahooooo! Thank you everyone for participating! Be expecting your coupon in the mail soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

And... I'm Done!

Finally, my report cards are written. Ugh, having a split class makes writing reports twice as time consuming as a straight grade. I estimate that it took me 20 hours in total to finish. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. It's all just a part of the job! Last year our report card program went online, which means we can now work on them from anywhere that has an internet connection. So, tonight I worked from my comfy cozy bed. Sweet.

And, that's all for tonight. My brain needs a rest.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stepping Back in Time

Yesterday I took my class on a field trip to Black Creek Pioneer Village, which is a "living history museum" in Toronto. Students in grade 3 learn about pioneers so it's a perfect place for them to experience how life was back in the mid 19th century. There are people dressed up around the village, acting as the blacksmith, tinsmith, broom maker, etc.

The weather was perfect, the kids loved it, and I was just happy to be out of the classroom for a day! In the morning a tour guide showed us around, but in the afternoon we split off into groups to tour around by ourselves. In my group I took five of the most hyper seven year old boys that ever existed - mainly because I didn't want parent volunteers to have to deal with them and I didn't want them to run off and get lost in the woods!

It was.. interesting! Boys are crazy! They literally ran everywhere, and after looking at one place for 5 seconds, they were off to somewhere else! I had one kinda chubby boy who kept trailing behind. The others were too fast for him. By the end of the afternoon they were all exhausted and begging me for a rest. I told them to sleep on the bus :)

PS - Don't forget to leave a comment on my giveaway. Laundry detergent could be yours. Ooooh!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Green Works Works!

EEEEEEEE! My first blog giveaway! Read more!

Need some free laundry detergent? Who doesn't, come on now!

I am one of 50 lucky Canadians, chosen by to receive a nice, big package of Green Works laundry detergent samples and coupons to share with all of you! I've used this detergent a number of times now and I honestly think it's great! (I have no reason to lie, I'm not getting paid or anything.) Here's why:

- This detergent is 95% natural (saving the Earth, yay)
- It smells AMAZING (lemony freshness)
- Gets things clean (hockey clothes, even)
- Works in high efficiency washers (don't have one, but maybe you do?)

Here's how you can win a coupon for a free 30 load container of laundry detergent. It's so easy. Just leave me a comment! I have six coupons to give away, so if you leave a comment, you will most likely win! I will pick the winner this Friday at 4, so you have until then to enter (once). I'll post the winners and then you can send me your address so I can mail the coupon. Good luck!

If you have a moment of free time, fill out this survey about Green Works products. For each survey completed, $2 will be donated to The Redwood, a shelter that helps the less fortunate. Thanks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Fails in One Day

I've lived in Toronto for just over four years and have never been to the annual Santy Claus Parade. It's sort of a big thing I guess, or used to be anyway. This was going to be the year. The weather was nice, M and I went downtown, secured a terrible spot since we didn't line up hours ahead of time, and waited. And waited. And oh my, waited some more. First a bunch of police cars with sirens went by. I thought, this must be it! No.. 15 minutes later two vans drove by with a bunch of clowns. Yay, it's finally happening, so I thought. NO. 15 minutes later a transport truck came, no decorations, and then parked for five minutes. What the? Next came two more transport trucks and more clowns. I couldn't handle it any longer. No Santy Claus for me. What a disappointment :(

Yep, still nothin coming!

We actually had to leave because we had tickets to Toxic Avenger, the musical. They were giving away free tickets to all the shows. I knew it must be really bad - nothing is free, especially in Toronto. Aaand, yes it was quite horrid. A solid 1/10. M said his artsy high school could have put on a better show and I believe it. It was just.. not good.

So yeah, that was my Sunday. At least the swirly pancakes turned out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Swirly Pancakes

I almost had a cooking disaster this morning. But, the disaster turned into a pleasant surprise!

I've been wanting to make pancakes for a while now. I figured it's Sunday, I have time, I'm gonna do it.

I have never really been a fan of pancakes. That was, until I found Angela's recipe a few months ago for "Healthy Peanut Butter Coconut Swirl Pancakes". I've made this recipe twice now and the pancakes turn out so tasty. It's basically regular whole wheat pancakes with swirls of peanut butter mixed in.

I started to get out the ingredients. I realized I had no peanut butter. I looked around, found some leftover pumpkin puree to use instead. I opened the container. Moldy. I looked around again and found yogurt.

Fine. Yogurt Coconut Swirl Pancakes it was. The only problem was that yogurt does not really cook, it just stays soupy. It was touch and go there for a few minutes. In the end the pancakes were lovely and moist with a hint of strawberry.

You can find the original recipe at

First, mix all the dry ingredients together.
Next, mix together whatever you're swirling on. This is yogurt and applesauce.
Pour your pancakes, then add some swirls.
The yogurt swirls are almost invisible. The pb looks much nicer.
Melt your coconut oil and mix it with syrup.
This is the secret to all goodness in the world.
Add some blueberries if you're feeling fancy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

To The Windy City

I'm moving! To the windy city! In 7 months! ohmygosh

How do I feel about this?

Excited. Nervous. Sad that my husband is moving there in two weeks without me. Annoyed that I finally have an interesting social life (sorta), just in time to leave it behind. And sad that my husband is moving there in two weeks without me.

Things that are holding me back from going with him in December? My job. First, I like it, things are good. Second, I feel like I have an obligation to finish off the school year. Last year many of my students had a horrible year. They went through 5 teachers, had no consistency, and are basically behind a whole year academically. The parents were so upset. This leaves me feeling like I shouldn't/can't leave. Would they survive without me? Most definitely. So, what can I say, I'm confused. If this opportunity would have arisen last year at this time, I would have left in a heartbeat.

For now I am focusing on the exciting parts of moving! A new life adventure. A new city to explore. OPRAH!! Target! Experiencing life as an "American". Figuring out whose health care system really is better :) Being a tour guide for all of the friends and family who are going to visit us, right???

Changes are a happening!

Friday, November 13, 2009


This blogging everyday thing is challenging! I have nothing interesting to say tonight. I don't feel like writing because I spent all day writing report cards. Basically, I am boring.

So, give me some ideas people!

For now I will leave you with this... while reading one of my favourite blogs, The Pioneer Woman, I found this CUTE necklace! It might make a nice Christmas gift for someone you know, or hmm, if I remember correctly, someone special's birthday is coming up soon :)

It's like it's meant just for me! You can find it and other neat stuff here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How Do You Like Your Coffee? Crisp.

I do not drink coffee. Well, I do not drink coffee unless the oh so delicious french vanilla coffee-mate is available, which it almost always is at my parents' house. It's gooood. I associate coffee drinking with holidays and something as simple as coffee becomes a treat that I look forward to.
I was scanning through my google reader the other day, and stumbled upon this blog which mentioned the new holiday coffee-mate flavours are now available: caramel apple, gingerbread, peppermint mocha, eggnog, and pumpkin spice. Oh my. How scrumptious do those sound?

On my wishlist this year is a bodum french press, mainly so I can serve coffee to visitors. I'm just afraid that if I actually get a coffee press I'll want to use it so I can taste all of these holiday flavours! With my luck they'll only be available in the USA. Maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Love Books

Since November 5th last year, I have read (or listened to) approximately 73 books. Not bad, not bad! I read A LOT during the summer, and I also read a lot last year because my job sucked and I had the extra time.

A few of those 73 books have been amazing, can't put them down, love them so much I want to read all day books. I like using because I rate each book and when people ask what I'd recommend I can look at my list and suggest the books that I've given 5 stars.

My favourite book this year has been The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum, which is one of the few books I now own. Thanks to M's family I received it as a gift last Christmas! I've also really enjoyed books by Ruth Reichl, who was a food critic for the New York Times, and an incredible writer, in my humble opinion.

One thing I've noticed through keeping a goodreads list is that I read a ton more nonfiction than I ever realized! My 36 in 365 goal of reading 5 nonfiction books this year was way too easy.

Thinking about all this lead me to search for the BBC's top 100 books. I found about 10 different lists and don't know which one is proper, so I closed my eyes and just chose one. How many of these have you read? I've put a star beside the ones I can remember reading.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling *
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell *
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger *
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott *
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling *
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling *
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling *
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl * (Currently reading to my class!)
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery *
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell *
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett *
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding *
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl *
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding *
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl *
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley *
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

My total is 16. That's it! Some of these I've never heard of and some I'd like to read eventually in my lifetime!

Books, my second true love. I think I'll go read.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marking The Night Away

Tonight I spent at least five hours marking. Ahhh, what a relief to have most of it done. Now I can start writing report cards, yippee! For the last two weeks I've had a bin of work sitting beside my desk to take home and I've forgotten it every day (on purpose some days I'm sure).

Here's what my floor looks like and it's almost midnight. I must get to bed!

Usually I do all my work at school because I like to have that division between work and home life. Sometimes it's just impossible though! Do you have the type of job where you have to take work home?

Monday, November 9, 2009


Do you have any unusual piercings?

Many people who knew me were surprised when I got my eyebrow pierced during my first year of university. I remember when I told my BFF she was shocked. I suppose it was sorta out of character? I liked it and only took it out four years later when I started my first teaching placement. Thankfully, that piercing did not hurt in the least. It has left a pretty apparent scar.

The only other "different" sort of piercing was in my tragus, the middle part of the ear. Really, not so different at all. It hurt like a mo fo, basically like my ear was being pulled off. It never healed properly and was always getting infected. You can slightly see it in the picture below.

Also in this picture, you can make out M's labret piercing below his lip. He says it's didn't hurt too much, mostly a big pinch. I really liked it on him. In the picture he's wearing a clear ball, to make it less noticeable at work, but I liked the silver ball best. M also used to have his nipple pierced. Hahaha, stud.

I'd say this is all pretty tame, considering the types of piercings you could potentially get. Oh to be young again :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This weekend the skittle rum and bacon vodka were filtered. It was quite the process, let me tell you. It was compelling to watch.

First, the bacon vodka was cooled in the freezer so that the fat could congeal. Then, the bacon was pulled out of the bottle with chopsticks so the boys could re-fry it. A lot of cheesecloth was used as the method of filtration and finally after 3 years my turkey baster was taken out of its packaging and used!

The bacon vodka needs one more good filtering before it can be taste-tested.

The skittle rum on the other hand is ready to go, and all of the excess sugar has been filtered out. Mmm, frothy. So, not only can you get drunk from drinking this, you can get some diabetes too!