:)

July 12, 2017 at 4:38 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties | Leave a comment
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Happy Birthday to my biggest-little one on her 14th Birthday.  Love you more than words can say 🙂

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Blown Away …

June 26, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Family Ties | Leave a comment
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I have two girls, both of which I am enormously proud. However, this post is dedicated to my biggest-little-one, Lexy.

I would have thought that the words would have flowed so easily, but truth be told, I’ve had some difficulty composing this post. It isn’t very often that I’m at a loss for words, but this is one of those times.  You see, my daughter graduated last week from Grade 8 and she blew me away.  I’ve always known how smart, and funny, and kind, and caring she is.  She has challenged me since she was born – she always had an argument at the ready for anything I had to say.  On more than one occasion, I’ve had to concede.  This kid will make her mark in the world, and as her Mother, I can’t wait to find out how.

Lexy changed schools this year since neither her, nor her Sister needed daycare any longer (keep that in mind at the end of this post). She was very hesitant to change schools, because her old school and old friends were her comfort zone.  She knew everyone and fit in well.  At the beginning of this past school year, both Lexy and Caity would hang around at lunch and recess together because they were the outsiders, not having made any friends yet.  I shouldn’t have worried.  Both girls soon were invited to Birthday parties and after school to their new classmates’ homes for projects or play.  Lexy immersed herself in the extra credit assignments offered in her classes.  She signed up for, and got, the female lead in the play at her school.  I had heard her sing before, to the radio, but never really on her own.  When I heard her belt out “The One-Feathered Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz”, I cried – I had no idea she could sing so well.  That was the first time I was blown away by this kid.

When Lexy first learned to read, she was absolutely positive that she could not, would not, ever be able to read. It was impossible, hard and impractical.  Why couldn’t I just continue to read stories to her?  I remember one day as I was helping her read a story, it felt like a light bulb was turned on – all of a sudden she could read most of the words.  Pretty much since then she has read anything and everything she could get her hands on, and always at a much higher grade level than she was in.  Her Teacher commented earlier this year that her reading list rivaled his own.

Along with the prolific reading came her writing ability. Since she was little she would create stories with vivid descriptions and characters.  Her skill with writing was also far beyond her years.  She said she planned on becoming an author.

As a result of her performance in the play, and her amazing writing ability, her Teacher suggested she apply for our local school of performing arts’ theatrical programme.  That was the second time I was blown away by this kid.

At her Graduation last week, not only did Lexy graduate with honours (not a surprise), but she received awards for English, Music, Performer of the Year, and the Kiwanis Citizenship Award for Student of the Year.

Lexy accomplished all of that in just one year, while at a new school. That was the third time this year that my kid blew me away.

I could not have been more proud of her than I was, than I am. She left me at a loss for words because there isn’t anything sufficient to adequately describe how I felt, how I continue to feel.

But I just have one thing to say to her… OK Lex, now what are you going to do for an encore? 😉

 

Let the Girl’s Weekend Begin…

November 26, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Christmas, Daddy-O, Family Ties, Food, Movies, Recipes, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Alex is disappearing for most of the weekend since it’s Grey Cup time again.  The girls and I have the weekend planned.  We’re going to make Chocolate  Crunchy Shortbread Cookies, have an indoor picnic complete with Pizza and “Home Alone” tonight, and tomorrow we’re going to the movies with Grandma to see “Moana“.  Should be a great weekend, me and my big-little ones 🙂

Last year I found a copy of my Mom’s Shortbread recipe around the house somewhere.  I was so happy that I finally found a copy of the most incredible Christmas Shortbread that I had been searching for, forever.  My Mom can no longer bake or cook, or for that matter, even hold a coherent conversation any longer.  She can’t tell me her recipes because she doesn’t remember them.  Somehow, after I found the recipe I misplaced it, and it made me very sad – sad to the point of tears, over a stupid recipe.

So I searched the internet and stumbled upon the ‘Robin Hood Flour’ version of “Melt in Your Mouth” Shortbread Cookie. The ingredients, from what I could remember, were similar.  Damn they were good.  I cut up pieces of Dairy Milk with Crunchy (available at Walmart in the British Food aisle) and put them in the mix.  The cookies lasted until Tuesday. Except for the chocolate, they were my Mom’s recipe.  Mom used to shape the cookies into crescent moon shapes and after they were baked, she dipped half in melted chocolate.  Mom also sometimes added finely ground almonds to the dough.

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Ingredients:

2 cups (500 ml) Unsalted Butter

1 scant cup Sugar

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup Cornstarch

4 oz chopped Chocolate (if using) or more

“Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take your butter out of the refrigerator about an hour before baking so it will be nice and soft. This will make it easier for the sugar to mix in with the butter or shortening.

Cream butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.

Creaming butter with sugar adds air to the batter, increasing volume to help better mix the flour into the butter mixture.

Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined.

Flour straight from the bag may be compacted. To loosen it, scoop it out of the bag with another container or spoon before pouring it into your measuring cup. This will help you get a more accurate measurement. Level it off with a knife to make sure you have just the right amount.”

Chop the Chocolate Bar into smallish pieces and mix them into the dough.

cookie and chocolatebatter 2

“Place ball of dough by heaping  tbsp (15 mL) on prepared baking sheets 2” (5 cm) apart.  Press down with a fork.

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Place your cookies about 2” (5cm) apart to allow for spreading

Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.  Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.”

baking

cookies

Keep the dough in the fridge between baking and use a second cookie sheet – let the first one cool off completely before you use it again (put it in the fridge), this will help prevent spreading.  Take the cookies out a minute or two before the time they’re done to avoid brown edges.

You can either scoop out balls of dough, round them, flatten them with a fork or roll the entire batch into two logs and slice when chilled (this method is easier for decorating).  You can pre-cut chilled logs, wrap well and freeze for 2-3 months – you can have cookies whenever you want 🙂

I rolled two logs, put them in the fridge and let them chill for an hour then cut them when ready and prepared the next tray while the first was in the oven.  The prepared tray was put into the fridge until ready to bake.  This greatly reduced the spread.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Should be a good weekend 🙂

Time Marches By Too Quickly…

July 12, 2016 at 12:17 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I’ve had a lot of difficulty composing this post, after all it isn’t every day that your biggest-little one turns 13.  I’ve had a lot of things in my mind that I want to say to her.  She’s heard them all before a million times – yet one can never hear that they are loved too many times.

I’m not sure where to start. My beautiful daughter has far exceeded my expectations. Her sweet smile is all I need at the end of a tough day.  Lexy is so bright and intelligent and charming – she has a soft spot for babies and animals and they naturally gravitate to her.

I am so unprepared for her to grow up – I’ve said this every year. I wanted her to stay three, because when she was three, she was goofy, and cuddly and wanted nothing more than to be with her Mom.  Now she’s a teenager (EEK!), who’s still just as goofy, cuddles on occasion and wants nothing more than to be with her iPod… sometimes it feels like she no longer needs me.

I’ve tried to teach her the best I can about the things I know. How important family is, especially Sisters.  When you have a good family like ours, they will stick by you, no matter what.  I’ve tried to teach her to be respectful of others, to be kind, and have empathy for those less fortunate than yourself and to be a good person.

Happy Birthday Doodle – I love you more than yesterday and almost as much as tomorrow… Love, Mom xo

More Cheesecake…

July 3, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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It seems like I bake a lot more than I do.  I created this blog originally to capture the crazy antics my kids were doing.  My blog evolved over time to include family recipes – so that my girls would always have them for when the are older.  Hopefully some day they’ll make some of my recipes for their kids…

Ingredients (Crust):

  • 1½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (half a stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Shredded Coconut

Ingredients (Cake):

  • 3 Packages (8 Ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Package less 1 cup (reserve for the Ganache topping) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (PC Decadent Brand if you can find them, otherwise Nestle Tollhouse will do)

Ingredients (Ganache Topping):

  • 3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 6 Squares Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
  • 1 cup reserved Chocolate Chips
  • Scant 1/8 Tsp Cinnamon

Let all ingredients come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place a cake pan filled with warm water on the bottom rack, just below the rack where you will put your cheesecake. This will create a humid environment and can prevent cracking.

IMG_1673Method (Crust):

In a separated 9” Springform pan, place a piece of non-stick foil over the bottom plate before putting the two pieces of the pan together.  Crumple any excess foil up over the edge.

Spray the entire inside of the pan with non-stick vegetable spray.

Place Graham Cracker Crumbs into the prepared pan

Melt Butter and add to Graham Cracker crumbs.

Add Cinnamon, Sugar and Coconut.

Mix by hand for best results.

This mixture should feel like damp sand and should hold a shape if you were to press it in your palm.

Press into the bottom the Springform pan using your hand or the bottom of a metal measuring cup.  There should be enough crumbs to go up the sides of the pan by about a ¼”.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

IMG_1672Method (Cake):

In a mixing bowl, beat Cream Cheese, Sugar and Vanilla together on medium speed until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition – careful to not over beat.

By hand, gently stir in Chocolate Chips.

Pour batter into the pan and tap several times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

 

Bake for 50 minutes, turning after the first 30 minutes.

At the end of baking, turn the oven off, but keep the Cheesecake in the oven for another 1/2 hour – don’t open the door! Don’t even peak! Just let it be…

When the 30 minutes are up, take the cake out of the oven and allow the cake to cool for an hour on the stove top or counter.

At the end of the hour, run a knife around the edge of the cake, but don’t take the ring off.

Place the cake, uncovered, in the fridge to cool for two hours.

Remove the cake and cover with either foil or plastic wrap.

Chill at least eight hours or overnight keeping the ring attached.

IMG_1677Method (Topping):

Remove the cake from the fridge but don’t take off the ring.

Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring just to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in Cinnamon.

Add the baking squares and reserved chocolate chips and continue to stir slowly until incorporated (this takes a minute or two).

 

The sauce should be very thick when all of the chocolate has completely melted.

Pour over the top of the Cheesecake.

Chill at least 2 hours for best results, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake.

When you’re ready to unmold the cake for serving, remove the Springform ring and place a piece of paper towel on the top of the cake, invert the cake in your hand and remove the bottom Springform plate.

While the cake is still upside down, place a cake plate or serving platter on the bottom of the cake and invert carefully.

To serve, use a hot, dry knife to slice each piece.

Sometimes, depending on my mood, before the ganache sets, I’ll sprinkle the top with roasted, slivered almonds.  Or mini chocolate chips.  Or toasted, chopped hazelnuts … or … fresh, ripe raspberries!

For an extra treat, serve with some fresh Whipped Cream and sliced Strawberries.  Yum Yum!

Twelve Already…

July 12, 2015 at 1:43 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment

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Happy Champagne Birthday, beautiful girl 🙂

It’s hard to imagine that my biggest-little one is not a little kid anymore, but a fabulous, bright young lady.  I hope you know how proud I am of you.  I write about your strengths and your stories and accomplishments, because you amaze me all the time.  I don’t know if I’ve ever told you that you have my Dad’s smile.  I realized that one day when you were standing there smiling at me, just happy to see me, that it was the same as your Poppy’s.

I hope you know how much we love you.  You’re a wonderful daughter and a great big sister and we’re so lucky to have you in our lives.

Never stop singing.

Love,

Mom

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#GameNight Was a Blast

November 13, 2014 at 10:48 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Contests, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Product Testing, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money - a capitalist at heart.

Lexy loved collecting the Monopoly Money – a capitalist at heart.

We recently received a copy of #MonopolyJunior from @Influenster free for review. I’m so glad we did because it was our first #GameNight in a while and the girls absolutely loved it.

Caity getting the game pieces ready

Caity getting the game pieces ready

After opening the box, the girls made quick work of setting the game up.  They were a great help, putting the board pieces in nice piles and helping to distribute the money and game Tokens.

Alex was the Banker and Caity, being the youngest, was the one who rolled first.  You should have heard the giggles of glee when Caity landed on a spot and was able to buy it.  That wasn’t as gigglesome though as when one of us landed on her property and had to pay her rent.  The little Slum Lord kept saying “oh yeah, more money, oh yeah…”.  She’s pretty silly 🙂

It was a good evening filled with laughter and the girls managed to get us to play a few games with them.  It was very easy for them to learn how to play.  The next day they played another few games on their own and after dinner their Dad and I joined them for a couple of matches.  Every day after school, when I pick them up from daycare, they make plans to play yet another game lol.

Caity taking a "Chance"

Caity taking a “Chance”

@Hasbro has done it again.  #MonopolyJR is sure to become a classic in our house and we will no doubt have many cherished memories of the girls.  I’m pretty sure I know what they plan on putting on their Christmas List to #Santa – more Hasbro games! Even the Cat tried to get in on the game a couple of times! 😉 

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Mavvy wants the Cat token!

Note: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

 

What Makes a Girly-Girl?

September 29, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Hello, my name is Kelly and I’m a nail polish addict.

I’m a firm believer in accessorizing and colour isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.

Let me back up on that last statement a bit and redefine it. I’m not talking about scarves, shoes and bracelets, although my love for designer shoes is another matter.

I’m talking about accessorizing yourself – hair, nails, skin.

I’ve always loved funky hair and nail colours. I’m not necessarily brave enough to try them on myself, but kudos to those that do. I have several different colours in my hair as we speak, but more in the “normal” spectrum. The wildest I had ever tried was a bright Auburn and black tips mixed with blonde. I loved it, but it was hard to maintain. I admit, I love Kelly Osbourne’s Lilac tresses (and her make-up line). The new on-trend Grey hair (Kelly Osbourne again) makes me giggle with glee. The latest bottle of bright, neon nail polish fills me with squee and makes me feel like a kid at Christmas – I can’t wait to try it on and experiment.

Caity, my 7-year-old, told me this weekend that she doesn’t like nail polish because she’s a Tom-boy. She looked at me like she was expecting me to tell her that I didn’t think that was acceptable. I think she was surprised that I told her that it was OK for her to be a Tom-boy and I was one too when I was her age. The few times I tried to put nail polish on her, she asked to have it removed two minutes later. She doesn’t think girls should have nail polish on their hands, yet she likes to wear headbands and bows and pretty dresses

I told Caity that I wasn’t a Girly-Girl. Then I heard my Husband snickering from the Kitchen.

I told him that Girly-Girls get their hair done and wear make-up and get their nails done at the Salon all the time. He rolled his eyes at me. I suppose it was hard to prove my case when I had just come back from getting my hair coloured the day before and had just finished applying my new Christian Dior Vernis Lacquer (“Pied du-Poule”, thank you very much) about an hour before that.

I think a true Girly-Girl is someone who wears dresses or skirts (I don’t), curls or flat-irons their hair (or at least blow dries it), wears high heels and always looks put together. That is so not me. I neither have the body, nor the budget for any of that. My idea of blow drying my hair is to drive with the windows down on my way to work. In fact, my hair was still damp when I wrote this from my shower this morning.

My oldest daughter, Lexy, on the other hand is a Fashionista in the making. She loves nail polish and clothes. She has to make sure her hair is perfect before she goes to school. She wants to have a couple of coloured extensions put in this Fall because she wants to experiment with colour, but not necessarily commit. I’m OK with that. I encourage her to be her own person.

I seem to be stuck in the middle of my two girls. A Girly-Girl wannabe.

My Little Fashionista

My Little Fashionista

11 Already??

July 12, 2014 at 7:00 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Family Ties, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Dear Lexy:

Every year for your Birthday, I always write a post to let you know how much I love you (here, here, here, here, here…).  This year is no different.

IMG-20140711-00709Somehow the past 11 years have slipped away.  It seems like yesterday I was having and holding a squeaky little thing that I wasn’t sure I would know what to do with.  We learned together and somehow I figured it out.  Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you certainly didn’t.  I think that’s what has made it much more fun.

A parent’s responsibility is to teach their children the many things they will need to know in life.  I’ve tried really hard to do just that and have loved every minute of it.  You filled a place in my heart that I didn’t know was missing until you were born. I’m thrilled with the young lady you’re growing into.  Like I’ve said before,  you make me proud every day.  You’re smart and beautiful and have a generous heart. You love to sing and act and write. You take care of your family when we don’t realize we need you to.  Your little sister adores you, you are her best friend.

I want many things for you in life, my Doodle.  I want you to be happy.  I hope you will have a life filled with happiness – with good friends and family all around you.  I want you to be accomplished.  You are so smart and I know you can do anything you put your mind to.  I hope it leads you to a career you can be proud of (so far you’ve said you want to be a Teacher, a Writer and a Vet’s Assistant).  I hope that if it’s in your plan, that you find a man who loves you and treats you well.  If it is what you desire, I hope you have children so that you will find out how wonderful they are and understand how I feel about you.

Please slow down a little bit.  You’re growing up way too fast and I can’t keep up.  It won’t be long before you won’t need me anymore, but I hope you always will.  I love you.  Happy Birthday Doodle.  Love Mom.

That’s My Girl…

July 9, 2014 at 8:04 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Caityisms, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters | 1 Comment
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I’ve said before many times that I’m proud of my daughters, I have good reason to be. Among her other wonderful qualities, Lexy is a prolific writer and I think she has real talent. On the way home today, she read to me something that she wrote in her Journal.

“My Little Sister: one of the miracle kids though she doesn’t know it. She was born sick, but now she is a healthy 7 year old. Her hair is yellow like the Sun and her eyes are like the sky on a clear day. She may have troubles with Asthma but she is one of the sweetest things ever. I see her look outside with curious eyes and her mind hungry for learning. She is a gift. I am happy to call her my Sister.”

She also wrote: “Mom’s Advice: Mom gives me wisdom every day to lead me on the journey of life; to dodge every obstacle and face every challenge. Thank you Mom.”

It’s hard to believe sometimes that she’s only ten years old. 🙂

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