Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Year Ago Today

Exactly one year ago today, something so magical and exciting happened to us.

We discovered that I was pregnant! Yes, it was that special "two stripes = you're pregnant" moment. It was that defining, life altering moment where you just pause because you cannot believe that this is actually true and actually happening to you. We couldn't contain the excitement, surprise, elation, and disbelief.
To celebrate this special day, we took Little One to the beach for the first time. Though it was a bit on the windy side and definitely not swimming weather yet, it was still very special. It was special because we went to the beach where Hubby and I got married back in June of 2006.

We also dined at one of our favourite restaurants. I've mentioned the Garden's Gate Restaurant several times on the blog. What I love about the Garden's Gate is that it's a quiet place with good, healthy, wholesome food. This said, their desserts are sinfully delicious.

I had the cauliflower and potato soup and the chicken schnitzel with veggies and risotto cakes. Hubby also had the chicken schnitzel with risotto cakes, veggies and a salad with homemade salad dressing. I have to say that this is the best schnitzel ever. Slightly crispy, never greasy...and always very flavourful. The carrots and asparagus were the perfect accompaniment and the risotto cakes were delicious! The Student had the whitefish with mashed potatoes and the cauliflower and potato soup. He said it was delicious. It was beautifully seasoned and cooked to perfection.

Little One enjoyed just looking around and people watching. She also enjoyed looking at the garden and particularly the mushroom shaped solar lights.

This is my feeble attempt at snagging a photo of a hummingbird. It was a gorgeous Ruby Throat that kept coming up to the window where the bird feeder was. So beautiful, but so fast! I wish I had a better camera! Oh, well. My SONY Cyber-Shot has served me well for all the "point and shoot" shots I take.

I know I keep saying how I'm not much of a dessert person. You couldn't tell from all the dessert reviews we do on this blog.

I had the key lime pie. It is TO DIE FOR!!! The texture is perfectly smooth and light. It's not too sweet and just tart enough. If I do have dessert, I like it to be on the slightly tart or sour side. I know. I'm a bit of an odd duck in that sense.

Whereas my husband prefers the sweet, decadent, super rich Mad About Chocolate Cheesecake. It is really rich. If you are a chocolate lover, you'll love this dessert.

The Student chose the Hawaiian Tropical Cheesecake. He said it was light, fluffy, airy, and just the right amount of sweetness. He isn't a fan of the over-the-top-rush-me-to-the-dentist-I-have-a-cavity kind of dessert. He doesn't really have a sweet tooth at all. This, he said, was the perfect dessert.

The presentation of all the dishes was fantastic and it was just the right portion size. We left with our bellies full and our taste buds content :)

Here's Little One saying goodbye. She was all tuckered out from her day out celebrating the day we found out we were expecting her :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Before I Became a Mom

Before I became a Mom...

I never understood what my Mommy friends meant when they said "We have to work around the baby's nap time".

I never realized how truly wonderful it could feel to have your little one wrap their tiny hands around your finger.

I never knew how exhausting it could be having a newborn.

I never knew that babies have different cries for their different needs.

I never knew how frustrating it can be to not know what your baby wants even after she/he has been changed and fed.

I never knew that all the frustration in the world could melt away once your baby looks at you and gives you a big, drool-faced smile.

I never knew how sweet babies' breath smelled.

I never realized how stinky baby poop could be!

I never knew the thrill of witnessing baby's "firsts"! From discovering her own hands to realizing she has a voice (and that she can use it!) finding out she can roll from her tummy to her back.

I never knew that the laughter and coos of your child sounded like music to one's ears. True magic.

I never thought I'd get all choked up just because my baby is growing up.
I never realized how much love I could have for another human being (other than my husband).
I never knew how all encompassing, all consuming the love one has for their baby can be.

Her sweet smile just melts all the problems in the world away.
She loves to snuggle in her Maman Kangourou.

Her legs are non-stop moving! When she hears music, she just kicks away! She's always drooling. She's smiling more and more. Her "vocabulary" (by which, we mean the sounds, cries and coos she makes) multiplies by the day. Her hands are getting busy! Before, she was touching, swatting, and hitting things, but it seemed almost accidental. Now it seems as though she is much more aware of the world around her.She's also starting to get a bit clingy and a little demanding, but nonetheless cute. I'm in constant awe of her. She's growing by leaps and bounds. She went from a 2 lb, 3 oz preemie six months ago to a 9 lb, 8 oz girlie! Just this May she has really discovered her hands and she has gained almost 2 lbs this month. She's still being nursed, and is getting a bottle of breastmilk which Daddy gives her. She now takes about 10 to 12 oz of milk in the bottle! Is that crazy or what?!?!

Remember this photo from her first few days back in November 2008?

What a difference a few months can make!

*Updated to include: Before I became a Mom, I never realized the importance of watching every single word that comes out of my mouth! At my cousin's wedding in Montreal, I was changing Little One's diaper and boy, was it ever a stinker! It was a diaper explosion and I gasped, "Oh! $h!t!". My adorable two year old nephew looked up from what he was doing and casually said, "Oh, shirt. Oh, shirt." I looked up at my SIL in shock and luckily, my cousin was really quick and said, "Hey, Kenny! What colour is your shirt?". LOL! Nice save. Before I became a Mom, I never realized how much kids soak in when you speak. *sigh*

Something I Think You Should Know

I never thought of this blog taking on a life of its own and turning into a sometimes "Mom Blog". Really, that was not the intention at all. The blog started off as a mélange of snippets of my life here on the Island.

Then I had a baby.

Now I find myself constantly researching everything related to babies, preemies, motherhood, parenting, baby products, and yes...even what colour and consistency baby poop should be when your baby is six months old. *sigh*

For all you Moms (and Dads!) out there, Mom Central makes things easier for you. You can check them out at .

Mom Central logo

Smart Solutions for Everyday Moms

The cool thing is that now Mom Central has come to Canada! Yes, this means good news for Canadian Moms! You can register and get involved in the Canadian Testing Panel to test out the latest and greatest products and services available...and have your voice heard by the companies. How great is that?

If you sign up in the month of June, you can win one of these beauties!

Enter to win one of five Canon PowerShot cameras.
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh, No! He Proposed!!!

Okay, in my last post I revealed my inner geek. In this post, you'll see just how much a geek I really am.

I was watching the news with Hubby and Little One, when it was announced that Archie has just proposed to Veronica! Yes, I mean Archie as in Archie, Betty, and Veronica! BAH!!! I've always liked Betty more and was hoping that she and Archie would end up together. *sigh*

Tell me that you didn't grow up collecting or reading Archie comics or Archie Digests!?Did you think he'd choose Veronica over Betty? To celebrate the 600th issue of the popular comic, readers will see Archie Marries Veronica Part 1: The Proposal . The issue will be the first of a six part series. I guess anything can happen. Perhaps things will go awry as they always do in Archie comics, and he'll somehow end up realizing that it was Betty all along? That would be too predictable, wouldn't it?

I can't believe I'm blogging about fictional comic book characters. Just out of curiosity (I know some of you really don't care either way. Fictional characters...I know!), who do you think Archie should marry? Betty? Veronica? Neither?

Speaking of REAL weddings, remember the wedding I attended in Montreal the other week? The photographer's photos are up and boy, is she ever talented! Hubby was laughing at me as I checked out the wedding photos this morning because I was CRYING! Yes. Crying. Pretty sad, eh? Just seeing all those beautiful photos recaptured the couple's special day. It was like reliving true love all over again. You can really "feel" the emotions of that day when you look at the photos.

Truly and honestly, I am so happy for Sharmander and Rrrrren (AKA: Sha-Ren). I always cry at weddings, but this time it was different for some reason. The couple is really important, close, and special to me and you can honestly feel the love they share. I'm getting weepy again. Gah!

If you're in Montreal and in need of a photographer to capture your special moments, check out this site. Christina Esteban is one talented lady! My cousin looks so happy and his bride is absolutely stunning! Plus, there's a really cute photo of Little One on her site!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Pirates Are Coming! The Pirates Are Coming!

I must warn you that I am about to reveal just how big of a nerd I really am. The Pirates of Penzance is going to be performed at Burns Wharf Theater! I am soooooooooooo excited!!! Not only is it one of my favourite operettas, but my lovely and talented friend, E is playing the role of Mabel! Okay, I'm so excited about seeing Pirates that I've been singing songs from the musical for the past two weeks!

I had my first taste of Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas at the tender age of seven. Well, sort of. I was in highschool when I first fell in love with HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado, but I was seven when I saw The Pirate Movie.

The Pirate Movie was loosely based on G&S's Pirates of Penzance. Okay, it was a zany adaptation of the operetta! With a tagline like "Buckle Your Swash and Jolly Your Roger for the Funniest Rock 'N Rollickin' Adventure Ever!", how could you not laugh?

The 1982 film starred Kristy McNichol as Mabel and Christopher Atkins as Frederic. The movie has Atkins in a pirate actor role and during one of his performances, he meets a group of girls. McNichol is a rather shy girl and not as confident as the rest of the girls in the group. Frederic (Atkins) invites Mabel (McNichol) for a ride on his boat, but her "friends" go with the stud muffin of an actor and leave without her. She tries to catch up with the group but falls into the water and ends up unconscious. She begins to dream about the attractive young lad she met. This is where the movie follows the storyline of Pirates of Penzance. Well, not quite the same storyline, but I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen the operetta.

It's a witty, charming, funny musical. I had a huge crush on Christopher Atkins when I was a kid. You probably know him more as Richard, Brooke Shields' love interest in the 1980s movie The Blue Lagoon. Isn't he dreamy? ;) Oh! I just noticed that in both The Blue Lagoon and The Pirate Movie he is shirtless and super tanned! Coincidence? I think not!

If I had to liken the depth of my infatuation with Christopher Atkins when I was a kid to anyone I currently have a crush on (errrmmm...besides my husband!), I'd say I liked Christopher Atkins as much as I like Robert Pattinson! ;p

*sigh* My husband is shaking his head and laughing as I type. I believe he thinks I'm insane.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mi Vida Loca

I'm often surprised at how my life turned out the way it did. I constantly mention on the blog how I never ever imagined living in the rural north and being married to a farmer. Everything just seems so odd to me, yet somehow it all makes sense. Instead of joining the throngs of commuters in Toronto's rush hour traffic every day for work, my means of transportation for work is by foot. Instead of all the shopping I used to do (pretty much whenever I felt like it, because the school I taught at in Toronto was downtown and near all the shops), I only shop once in a blue moon. I no longer get my daily fix of Tim Horton's iced caps or hot chocolate (remember, coffee puts me to sleep!). I have to travel 74 minutes for my Timmie's and therefore only have it if I'm headed to "the city".
Oh, I don't really miss the city. I'm a very social person and I just miss my friends and family. I also miss the restaurants, cafes, museums, art galleries, theater, etc. I miss having my girls' days with my friends. I miss just hanging out with the girls over Thai, Indian or Japanese food. I miss dinner and movies. I miss Gavie's Gal and the other girls we hung out with.
I no longer eat out at restaurants on a regular basis and I no longer order in whenever I'm not in the mood for cooking. Oh, how convenient it was to live in the city and be able to eat whatever you want, whenever you want...or order your favourite meals and dine in the comfort of your own home. Of course, when I was a single gal, my routine often included teaching, eating out with friends, going for a few drinks at Happy Hour, taking the dog out for a walk, going to bed, and doing the same thing pretty much day after day.

My life is so different now. Hubby likes to say that I am now "frugal". I've learned to make due with what we have and live modestly. Oh, we do splurge and spoil ourselves once in a while, but in general, we are very careful to live within our means.

Since I've had Little One, I've put teaching ESL on hold for a year. She is now six months old and is keeping me very busy! I'm talking so-busy-I-sometimes-forget-to-eat-on-time-or-need-to-schedule-bathroom-breaks busy!
Since I left the city and married a farmer, my life also includes being a Chef at Home. I'm constantly trying new recipes. Most of the meals I prepare are from scratch. Hubby's used to country living and this is something I've had to adapt to. This said, I've been able to broaden his horizons as well. I've introduced him to travel, arts, culture, international cuisine...and I am proud to say that he enjoys these new-to-him things. The photo below is of the supper I made tonight. I had absolutely no time and no idea of what to cook for Hubby, The Student and myself, and I came up with this baked salmon, potato salad and Caesar salad dinner. If you want the recipe, I'm including it at the end of the post.Likewise, Hubby teaches me new things on a daily basis. Life on the farm offers so many valuable lessons. Hubby is also full of interesting tid bits like...
Upon seeing the sunset tonight (above photo), he said, "Oh! The sky is telling us that we should be expecting rain in a day or two." I'm thinking, "Wow! Who says these things!?" Apparently, one can tell by the sky what kind of weather will be brought on. It's actually really interesting.

Here are some slices of my life...

Sunset from our living room window from last night.

Getting Little One ready for a walk. Funny...When I lived in the city, I absolutely hated dandelions! I think I was brainwashed into thinking that they were unsightly. I remember wanting our front yard to have the greenest lawn possible...perfectly manicured, with no dandelions. Now, I think they're beautiful. Odd, isn't it?

Little One on our daily walk up and down the highway. Look! No cars in sight! I think I counted five vehicles in total as we walked. Mind you, we went right before ferry traffic! Yes, that's Little One inside that odd UFO type contraption! Hey, it's got a bug screen and UV filter! Gotta keep Little One safe in there!

Baked Salmon Recipe
If you're like me and have little time to slave in the kitchen but want to prepare wholesome dishes for your friends and family, this is a time saver! This salmon dish takes less than 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish! It's quite possibly the easiest dish you'll ever make.
*Salmon fillets (one 3 oz serving per person)
*Garlic (minced)
*Soy sauce
*Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Marinate salmon fillets by spreading minced garlic over fillets (however much you like). Pour soy sauce over fillets, and then pour maple syrup over fillets. Make sure fillets are covered with mixture. I used the maple syrup that we made on our farm. YUM!

Place fillets flat on a baking sheet. If the fillets have skin on, place skin side down. Bake for 20 minutes. Depending on your oven, it can sometimes take just a little more than 20 minutes, but be careful not to overcook. There you go. Presto! Add a salad and a side dish and you've got dinner in less than 30 minutes!
Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Power of the Mighty Pen and Paper

Though Little One is a breastfed baby, we decided to have Hubby give her one bottle of breast milk at night so I can sleep a bit. I have to admit, I felt guilty about letting her have a bottle, but for the sake of my own sanity, we did this. I seriously don't know how farmers' wives do all of the things they do: work, help their husbands with whatever jobs need to be done, do all the cooking (mostly from scratch!), take care of the house and family, and breastfeed exclusively! Anyway, I feel a little less guilty knowing that she is getting breast milk in that one bottle at night.

We purchased Platex VentAire bottles. Though Hubby said they are good and he likes the design and the way the bottles are constructed, we have had a few issues with them.

1) The numbers (oz and mL) have rubbed off after only a week or two of using them. We wash the bottles according to the directions and Hubby only uses them for that one feeding at night. That's only seven times a week, so there should not be any reason for the numbers to disappear so quickly after such little use.

2) The bottoms of the bottles have started leaking. The bottles are designed to reduce gas, but the piece at the bottom seems to let liquid escape.

What did I do when Hubby told me this? I used to be the type of person who just accepted things like this, but I decided to write a letter to the company. The image above is a copy of said letter.

Within only five days after I sent the letter, I received a phone call from Playtex. I had a delightful conversation with the customer service person and she was so kind and helpful. She really appreciated the letter I wrote and said the company appreciates letters like that. We went through the issues we had with the product and she offered some suggestions and tips for caring for the products. The company has sent me four new bottles and two $5 coupons for more bottles if we buy more.

This experience has made me realize just how powerful the pen and paper (in this case, make that the keyboard and printer!) are! A letter written to a company in a positive way results in lots of positive feedback for both parties involved. I have to say that Playtex has been great in their response. We are thoroughly pleased with our experience with them.
Friday, May 22, 2009

Fantastic Friday- Funnies, Give Away, and Maman Kangourou!

Just to end off another wonderful week with some laughs, here's my adorable nephew playing with my daughter's "elbow". Too cute!

Mom Central is having an awesome give away. Remember playing with Fisher Price's Little People when you were a kid? I do! Ahhh...the memories! :) Well, Mom Central is celebrating Fisher Price's Little People's 50th birthday by giving away two Play 'n Go farms! To enter, click here!

One last note before I head out...

My cousin and his wife gave us (Little One and me) this fabulous Maman Kangourou! My cousin's wife has one and she carries her twins in it (not both twins at the same time, but I think there's a way that you can carry twins in the carrier if you wanted to). Okay, this is not the greatest photo of me, but I just wanted to show you what the Maman Kangourou looks like.

Maman Kangourou is amazing! I've got a Baby Bjorn and a Peanut Shell and use them both with Little One. For some reason, Little One seems to prefer the Maman Kangourou. I think it's because she's snuggled so close to me when she's in it. I think it's so funny how she can sleep in the carrier as I vacuum and do dishes!

For some interesting reading material on babywearing and its advantages, read this.

Have a great weekend, everyone!
C and Little One xoxo
P.S. We just got back from Montreal and were en route again yesterday. This time it was a 2+hr drive to the closest "big city" to the Island for Little One's neonatal follow-up. Our little preemie now weighs 9 lbs, 1 0z and is doing fabulously! :)

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About the Blog Author

City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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