Wednesday, April 29, 2009

mighty katie mugg

This year for Katie's birthday we just couldn't decide on a gift. Nuno's been hired by Teletoon to produce a winning contest prize - a personalized Mighty Mugg of the Wolverine contest winner. To get a bit of practice, he made a Katie mugg for her birthday. It's been fun to see how the process has come along. Here it is in photos: The process started with several coats of Krylon spray to prepare the surface.
Here is the work station at home. Sanding, mixing paints and masking.

Nuno started the whole process by breaking down all the pieces in Illustrator and printing off the template to work from. It really helped with making the mugg perfect!

Here she is and Katie loves it!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

happy birthday katie

Yesterday night we celebrated Katie's birthday by attending Trash Palace's first Niagara screening at the NAC. It was a great time, especially since so many of our friends came out. Katie got the chance to promote her Incredibly Strange Movie Night and her sign-up sheet was impressive. Looks like loads of people are interested in being a part of her idea. So to explain - Katie is organizing summer-long backyard screenings of underground/hard to find movies. I can't wait to help out and host one myself. It's probably one of the things I'm most looking forward to this summer and I'll be sure to blog about them as they happen.

I made these cupcakes for the birthday party we had before the Trash Palace screening. They remind me of soft serve from Dairy Queen, but I've heard these style cupcakes are called Hi Hat Cupcakes (which are typically finished by dipping in chocolate). They may look like a ton of work, but they are not. I decided to bake them because I had all the ingredients on hand and was limited to baking without butter. Both recipes are from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. The cupcakes were the One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcake and her Almond Swiss Meringue frosting. The frosting was different than any other I've made in the past. I actually prefer it to butter cream or whipped cream icing. Can you believe it only takes 6 ingredients? Egg whites, sugar, salt, vanilla & almond extract and cream of tartar. I think of it as a somewhat guilt-free icing. The finishing touch was a toasting from the handy kitchen blow torch. One day I think I might do the chocolate dipped version. They are so fun, I can't wait to one day bake these for my children's grade school bake sales.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

cravings continue...

The cravings are still going strong. This is probably the most intense and characteristic pregnancy symptom I'm having on a week to week basis. So here's my running tally of food I had to eat or I could not continue - salads, broccoli & cheddar salad, avocados, Italian wedding soup, chocolate milk, buffalo chicken wraps, falafels, fruit smoothies, breakfast for dinner, rich tomato sauce over pasta. Being pregnant is so unpredictable, and it may sound silly to feel this way - but it's fun.

I sometimes wonder if I'll start to feel a bit more isolated from friends with our new baby. In the short term, I'm wondering if it'll be strange to be the only pregnant girl. I know only a couple of people who've been through pregnancy recently and I'm not close to anyone going through it right now. So in that respect, I think as I grow I'll make an effort to put myself out there more. It would be nice to meet other new moms and make friends with people who could potentially be friends. My plan is to take prenatal yoga which I just signed up for beginning in early May. I'm really looking forward to it because I haven't done any yoga since discovering I was expecting (ashtanga yoga while expecting - not a good idea, right?). I'll also be taking prenatal classes - probably as many as a can because I need a major parenting crash course. I trust my instincts and common sense, but I'm open to as many pointers as possible.

This may sound totally selfish, but I wish with all the planning I'd done to get life in order for the baby that I'd planned a pregnancy with a friend. Is that too Gloucester Massachusetts High School pregnancy fiasco of me? I guess I see the attraction of it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yesterday was my nephew Ronan's 2nd Birthday. As you can well imagine it was the cutest! He never walks - just runs everywhere. As he plays and runs his tongue gets right in on the action - it's quite hilarious.
Ronan and I share something in common, we both love the movie Cars. So is it any surprise that we gave him the ultimate Cars gift? It went over
so well, it managed to be not only the biggest hit with Ronan, but with the adults alike.
Ronan's Cars cake had the most intense red icing which he licked off the cake and smudged all over his face. He looked a little like the Joker.
Today I spent a few hours in the backyard pruning back the mangy rose bushes. They look so good now! Only problem is my hand is so sore I can barely type. So this entry is really brief for the sake of my stiff left hand and that I'm quite exhausted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

monthy photos

Yesterday was the day Nuno and I decided to share the happy baby news with my grandparents. Our baby will have three great grandparents on my side and one great grandmother on Nuno's. I'm so excited for them to get the chance in their lifetime to be great grandparents. They were all so pleased. We had a few requests to have the baby named after them. We like old fashioned names, but I'm not big on naming children after family members. I want our little one to have their own identity.

My sister-in-law, Sarah, who's also expecting (she's midway through her pregnancy now) has sent all of us belly shots to see how she's growing since we don't get to see her (she lives in Calgary). I thought it would be cool to do the same thing so I took a shot this morning. I don't think I'm showing yet, I'm the same size from the start. So here's the establishing shot - only to grow bigger!! Can't wait!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

easter brunch

I mentioned in a previous entry that we were holding an Easter Brunch, now that it's over I'll share. We held the brunch Saturday for my in-laws who all came down from the GTA.
Nuno and I spent all Good Friday prepping for the brunch. I began by making mini quiches - spinach & gruyere and some asparagus & gruyere. Tot loves to hang out in the kitchen when there is baking going down. Look what our little snooper got into.
The other appetizer we prepped was a veggie tray. We also premade the creme brulee because it tastes better if it sits a day or two.

Yesterday morning we got right to work making the brunch. We served eggs benedict, honey & grainy dijon glazed ham, thyme roasted potatoes with shallots, buttermilk biscuits - half cheese and half plain with strawberry whipped butter and spring salad with olive oil & lemon dressing. I served my favourite coffee from Sarnia which everyone couldn't get enough of. The brunch was a total success. We put a lot of effort into details and I was so happy everyone noticed every little detail. From the vanilla bean for the creme brulee to the from scratch crusts for the quiche, they are the sort of people who notice the small things, like me. Everyone loved their meals and it looks like the family wants to start a yearly tradition with this. I don't mind because I love throwing brunches over dinners, I'm not quite sure why. This was our first time having all the in laws over, so I have a lot of confidence we can definitely do this again.
My only regret was that I was too busy having the brunch to take photos. This is the only shot Nuno grabbed before everyone arrived.

Yesterday, my nephew Ronan was pretty much the star of the show. We gave him an Easter basket with Cars eggs and an Easter book. Because he loves toys and is small, Hot Tot spent the whole time watching Ronan. She trailed him around like a side-kick. They even went on a walk together to look at the boats which Ronan got completely obsessed with.

I have so many nice memories of our Easter this year.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Because it was so gloomy and rainy, I decided to spend all Saturday afternoon in the kitchen. Nuno and I started out making salad rolls for next week's lunches. We made so many we had to stop only because our largest container couldn't fit any more!
Next up, a brand new experience for us, turkey dumplings! The recipe indicated that we would be making 80. The filling included ground turkey, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, green onions, soy & sesame oil.

I think I may have found my new calling - dumpling assembly.

Too bad it begins to get a little monotonous and by the end I was pretty spaced out. I don't think listening to Yo La Tengo while doing all this helped take me out of a dreamy state.

Here's our army of dumplings. We froze most of them.

But we steamed a bunch for dinner along with some of my absolute favourite dim sum - shrimp dumplings and pork shao mai. The turkey dumplings were the best of the bunch. Definitely worth the hours of labour!

Friday, April 3, 2009

ultrasound #1

Yesterday was our first ultra-sound, a very exciting time for first-time parents. I got a little nervous about this experience because of the movie Marley & Me. I saw it two days before the ultrasound and there is a scene in the movie where Owen & Jennifer are having their first ultrasound to discover a miscarriage. I nearly lost it - talk about bad timing. But, not so typical to my usual outlook, I have an optimistic view on my pregnancy and I feel strongly that everything will be just fine. I am happy and loose no sleep in worry about any detail of our lives. Everything feels so right and hopeful.

So yesterday's ultrasound was, in a way, very cliche. I had to drink 2 of my water bottles full of water in an hour, so every bump on the car ride was intense. Once they took me in for the ultrasound I could not believe how ancient the building and equipment is! I bet I looked the same to my mom & dad during their first ultrasound 30 years ago because, I don't exaggerate when I say, the equipment was
that dated. Eventually after a lot of prodding, which was only uncomfortable because of my intense need to pee, the technician let Nuno come in so we could see our baby. It's a bit too early to recognize very much, but the one thing we could see was a heart beat. That's all I wanted to see and it made me ecstatic! The beat is so fast, I think the baby was nervous about having us see it for the first time. Since I don't have all the horrible, typical signs of first trimester misery, I sometimes wonder if I really do have a life inside me. So yesterday solidified it in my mind. Since getting pregnant my senses seem heightened and I have extreme joy knowing there really is a baby inside me. It kinda blows my mind!