January 30, 2008

Welcome to the World!

A gigantic congratulations filled with love and good wishes to Cara & Herwig!! They are the proud parents of a lovely baby girl. Yes that's right, a GIRL. Everyone was wrong, nobody guessed a girl. Well that's not entirely true, a few weeks ago Cara had her first "feeling on the babies sex" and she said she thought she was having a girl - mommy's instincts were right.

She was born last night around 1030pm EST, weighs in at "7 lbs something" and is 53 cm long. When I spoke to Cara they had not fully decided on her name so I won't post that info until I know for sure. Unfortunately I won't be able to see the little babe for a few months (she's across the country) but I'll be sure to share pics when they are sent my way.

Now I have an excuse to shop for cute girlie baby fabrics!

Already 7


Our nephew Michael is seven years old today. It blows me away to think that he's been here on earth for just seven years, it seems like he has been part of my world for much longer. That being said I can't believe he's seven already - only three years until he's in the double digits! Time flies!

I can still remember the day Mike called me at work to tell me that there was a new little man in our world named Michael, I couldn't wait to meet the little nut and fell in love as soon as I did. Happy Birthday little buddy!! Looking forward to birthday cupcakes & a celebration tonight!

Today is a snow day so I took some time to make wee Michael a birthday card. I'm new to the whole card making thang so it's certainly not perfect and maybe has a little too much going on but check it out anyways:

The outside - obviously.

The pic below isn't great, the colours are a little off (not sure if it's just my monitor or poor lighting when I took the pic) but I sealed the envelope before checking the shots out so it will have to do. fyi: his name is actually written in red, not black.

I need to get some letter stamps & rub on transfers for lettering on cards; marker certainly doesn't look the best but I think it turned out pretty good nonetheless.

Happy Happy Day!

January 29, 2008

Tantalizing Tuesday

I nearly forgot today is the day I am supposed to share something delicious with you. I'm tired and need to get to bed so this is going to be a quick one - it's fast & easy to prepare but it's a superduper yummy recipe. It's perfect for when you're having serious sugar cravings but be warned you'll feel like ass if you eat an entire tray of this stuff. Nearly as bad as one feels after eating an entire bag of those Cadbury Bite thingos - trust me, I know from experience. I had a 3am bolt to the bathroom once and it was no stomach flu. Chocolate is great going down but not so nice coming up. Now that I've helped you work up an appetite give this delicious treat a whirl

Graham Cracker Brittle

aka Fanfriggingtastic Chocolate Treat
Thanks to Liz for this yummy recipe

Graham crackers
1 cup margarine OR butter (really makes no difference, I've used both and sometimes a combo)
1 cup brown sugar
Appx. 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 pan (make sure you do this! it will save you from cursing and throwing things around your kitchen later)
3. Line the pan with whole graham crackers
4. Place butter & brown sugar in a microwavable bowl, cover loosely and microwave on high for 4-4 1/2 minutes.
5. Pour this bubbling hot mixture over the crackers
6. Place in over for 5 minutes
7. Remove pan and turn off the oven.
8. Sprinkle chocolate chips over bubbling mixture
9. Place pan back in hot oven for 2-3 minutes, just until the chips are melted.
10. Remove pan and spread chocolate out with a fork
11. Place a tea towel on a shelf in your fridge and set pan of goodies on towel. It's definitely easier
12. When chilled cut into squares or break up like peanut brittle (break it to save yourself the frustration)
**Add almond slivers, peanuts, pecans while chocolate is still hot if you want - I've never done this but I'm sure it would be extra yummy

If you want this sweet treat to be ready super fast then stick it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes rather than the fridge. The key to removing the hard block after it comes out of the freezer is to slam the bottom of the pan on the counter. Be warned it's easier to snap it into bite sized pieces when it comes from the fridge, it's a messier deal when it exits the freezer (due to your hot little hands touching the cold chocolate).

Yeah mon!

It feels like it's been forever since my last post but I've been soaking up the sun and the sea so please forgive me. We spent the last week in Negril, Jamaica and it was PERFECT. I considered hopping on-line to post for appx 2.5 seconds and then went back to sipping my pina colada and reading under my palm tree on the beach. Bwa ha ha ha!

Here's a quick review I know, I know, quick never means short when I say it, it means you have to read faster than usual. Mike and I took off to Jamaica with our friends Jessy & Colin and stayed at the Riu Tropical Bay last week; it was a superb resort. We spent a week at a Riu in Cancun a few years back and loved it, we were pleased to find that this resort held up to the last one we visited - I would definitely recommend this chain to singles, couples and families. The staff was friendly for the most part, the entertainment crew was excellent and the food was delish. The buffet food was really excellent and I'm rarely impressed with buffets. Mike is a 'selective eater' aka picky and he raved about the food as well. Overall I would give the resort 4.5 stars.

We stayed at the Grand Palladium in Mexico for our wedding last year and although the resort itself was nicer in Mexico the food and staff (except for on our wedding day) brought it down a tiny bit for me so I would have given it a 4. We've been spoiled and spent one week for the last three years at a Sandals resort and they definitely get 6 stars - so damn good they get a bonus star.

We were in the older section of the resort originally but there was a flood in our room the first night so when we went and politely complained the next morning the management was excellent and moved us into an ocean view suite - beautiful view!!

Looking to the left from our balcony
Looking to the right at my man

Not only did they move us but they sent us a bottle of rum and a fruit plate the next evening with a letter telling us they hoped we were pleased with our room and enjoying our stay. The day after that they called the room to ask us whether everything was ok. Every time we saw the manager he asked us personally if we were happy. I swear we were nice when we complained, granted there was smoke pouring from my ears since I was holding back from snapping but I was polite!! Fabulous service!

The beach was absolutely fantastic: 3 km of beach around the bay we were in, we could access appx 2 km of the beach and the last bit was private. We were able to walk to the Riu Negril and could eat, drink and play there too if we wanted - we had lunch there one day and it was yummy. The ocean was warm and clear and blue andahhhh.... I love swimming in the sea.

We could walk all the way to the end of the Riu Negril: the white buildings

The shows were superb on a few nights. A killer steel drum band one night, reggae bands on two, or was it three, other evenings. One of the reasons I love Jamaica so much is because of the music, rarely were we tortured with cheesy dance music, there were reggae bands wandering up and down the beach that would stop and play for you for a tip. On our last evening a band stopped on the path below our balcony and played a few songs as the sun went down - such amazing memories.

We went on one outing and it was super fun. A catamaran cruise to Rick's Cafe. They stopped at a reef so we could snorkel and woo hoo Mike is a pro! It was his first successful snorkeling attempt and he loved it. I'm stoked - this means we can go on snorkeling trips when we go away from here on in! Yay! The second stop was at some caves where we swam in and looked around. Finally we made it to Rick's and it was awesome!

Rick's from the water on our way out - the sun was just starting to go down.

What a view! It's basically a restaurant/bar on top of some cliffs overlooking the ocean - there are tables sitting in the pool and cliff divers to watch.

From our table at Rick's
The guys diving were crazy, they were jumping off of tiny boards nailed to trees high above the cliffs - probably 60 feet from the waters surface, maybe a bit higher. Nuts.

One of the divers flipping as he dove.

There were also cliffs that visitors could jump from, they were 35 feet from the ocean... and I jumped! Colin went first and then I did it. Super scary but so fun! I think that my man has a whole new respect for me now, although now he figures there is no good reason for me not to fly down a mountain on a bike next to him: "if you can jump off that you can mountain bike no problem."

I think this series shot that mike took is funny - what you can't see is the look of terror in my eyes as I stepped off the cliff.

Next trip to Negril we'll cab to Rick's and stay for longer, it would have been fab to watch a sunset from there although the sunset from the catamaran was still beautiful!

I am certainly not complaining BUT after last years three week vacation (wedding and honeymoon) this trip went by in a flash. We just started getting used to being lazy and relaxed and then it was time to go home. Next time we hope to go away for two weeks... in the meantime I'm grateful for the one fabulous week I had with my awesome husband and two of our best friends. What a fantastic "almost our anniversary" trip!

January 16, 2008

Worth a Look or Two or Three

On occasion I come across things online that make my insides light up; other times I read/see something that would cause liquid to shoot out of my nose if I had happened to take a sip of something just before viewing it... and almost always I think to myself 'I should post that', and then I don't. Here's hoping I start to share my fav findings with you a little more often. I'll kick things off with a few of my most recent favs.

Today's post over at Dooce is one of the funniest I've read. I dare you to make it through this one without cracking a smile or letting out a giggle... maybe even a snort.

I am presently working with youth and therefore should not find humor in the following video but this kid is so utterly ridiculous he's funny. The last bit where he goes on about his glasses being famous made me laugh pretty hard. I thought the entire thing was a joke but it's not, this really happened and this kid is serious, as serious as he can be looking the way he does. The media has done a fabulous job of making this kid and his sunglasses more famous than he could have ever imagined. Ridiculous but quite funny. Please god do not 'bless' me with a son anything like this little jackass: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qm61svN4U5g

It's very possible, and quite likely, that the police dealing with the brat above would have found use for the following fabulous Etsy find: CarolyLeeDesign Shop's HateMail had me giggling like crazy. Here's one of the designs that my probation officer friend would surely love to have on hand, as would many a teacher I'm sure:

And this one was so random I couldn't help but laugh, and share.

My girlfriend Cara sends me the strangest cards imaginable, so strange I won't even post them because it's likely you would be disturbed and wonder whether there is something terribly wrong with her there's not, she's just odd. I'm thinking I'll snag a few of these cards to send her way with the hope of brightening her day every now and then. Oh how I love my twisted friends.

These photographs by Jason de Caires Taylor are incredible.

Finally, I'll share with you a blog I stumbled upon this evening that is filled with fabulous photographs and lovely crafts that make me smile: moonstitches.

January 15, 2008

Tantalizing Tuesday

I am sick of eating the same things every week so I'm trying to mix things up a bit. Last week I made a simple chicken recipe out of the Weight Watchers Simply Delicious cookbook. Yum! I didn't have much on hand so I was looking for something tasty using basic ingredients. This recipe delivered:

Rosemary-garlic baked chicken
Makes 6 servings - 5 points per serving if you're counting

1 small onion chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used regular mustard and he didn't even notice the 'disgusting' taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried, chopped (spray with nonstick spray before chopping and it won't fly around as much)
2 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, cut in eighths skin removed - I used boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Lay chicken in baking pan (spray with nonstick spray or line with tin foil)
2. Combine the onion, vinegar, oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Place the chicken in the baking pan. Spoon the onion mixture on top of the chicken. Bake until the chicken is browned and cooked through (do not turn), about 45 minutes

I cooked the chicken breasts for 30 minutes and they were perfect! Moist and yummy.

Pink Polka Dots

I am relieved to say that I have completed my first sewing project and drum roll please I like sewing! I really wanted a sewing machine for Christmas but was a tiny bit afraid of the thing once I had it sitting in front of me. Thankfully a free one hour lesson was part of the deal and Kim (my instructor) was extremely helpful. I pulled together my first sewing project on the weekend and although it certainly isn't perfect I'm pleased with the end result.

The fabric is super cute and the ribbon turned out pretty good too, I was going to leave it off because it was a little too wide but I'm glad I went with it. The thing I love most about sewing is the fact that mistakes are pretty easy to fix, just take your time ripping the stitches out and start all over again.
You can probably tell from the pics that the zipper isn't perfect, it's a bit wonky on the one end; next time I'll be a bit more of a perfectionist when it comes to the zip.

What you can't see is the lining, and that's because it doesn't have one. I can't seem to figure out how to get the lining in there without the stitches being visible on the outside. The fabulous book I took this pattern from, Amy Karol's book Bend-the-Rules Sewing suggested hand sewing the lining but when I tried it turned out looking like a mess. I think I'm going to have to locate an on-line tutorial to help me out with this part, I need a visual aid.
I think I'm going to make another one of these little bad boys before I go on to something completely new, it's a good practice piece.

January 12, 2008

Counting Down

One week from right this moment our plane should be landing in Jamaica!
We're heading there with two of our amazing friends Colin and Jessy to spend a week soaking up the sun, the sand and the sea!! The four of us travelled to Jamaica two years ago together and had a blast, the shot above is one that Colin took of my rasta-husband hamming it up for the other guests on the catamaran cruise. As you can see, I thought he was pretty funny.
The countdown is on: 7 more sleeps.
It's going to be fantastic!

January 9, 2008

Dad & the Demon Barber

I ventured out with my dad on monday for dinner & a movie: a terribly late as in 2 years late father's day gift. Yes I'm crazy busy but really that's brutal - 2 years late?! bad bad daughter. Unfortunately we didn't have much dad & daughter time in 2007; it was such a ridiculously busy year and usually one of the other mutually adored ladies in our lives mom or my niece Neve was with us when I did find time to visit. I'm not suggesting that this is a bad thing, because I love every moment I have with my fab fam, but hanging out with dad on monday reminded me of how much I enjoy spending quality time with him. Our plan is to spend some more time hanging out this year: dinner and movie nights every other month. The bonus is that dad is willing to watch just about any movie out there so he's a great date!

We saw Sweeny Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Oh Johnny Johnny. I've had a thing for him since his 21 Jump Street days yes I know, me and 8 billion other females and don't miss an opportunity to gaze at him. I remember tacking a poster of him to my ceiling when I was a kid so that his face was the last thing I saw before I went to bed - my first celebrity crush.

Besides the obvious fact that he's a seriously sexy man, he's one of the best actors alive and chooses great films to show off his skills. Johnny Depp & Tim Burton are the most perfectly matched duo. Weird meets weirder = perfect weirdness. Burton must be one twisted man, his movies always amaze me, to crawl into his bean for even just one hour would be quite the experience.

I wasn't too sure about Sweeny Todd, the fact that it's based on a broadway musical made me a bit nervous: musicals are meant to be seen live, not on a screen. The first twenty minutes were a bit painful but I was pleasantly surprised with the remainder of the film. It wasn't the best movie but worth checking out. Depp and Helena Carter sounded fabulous together; who woulda thunk Depp could sing? Yum.

January 8, 2008

Tantalizing Tuesdays

It's a new year and my plate is quite full (no pun intended - you'll see what I mean in just a sec), so my plan is to introduce some weekly themes here on Planet Jaime.

Tantalizing Tuesdays will be the day I 'tantalize' you with yummy recipes. I keep promising to share recipes that I love but rarely take the time to actually type the suckers out. I'm also hoping that this will be the kick in the arse I need to get back into 'trail and error' cooking; I'm getting bored with the same old things for dinner and need to find some new flabuless (in other words: healthy) recipes to help with my plan of making my 30s more fabulous than my 20s. Speaking of which, a lovely 13 year old man told me today that he thought I was 27 at the most - thank you Cory.

To kick things off here is one of the least flabuless recipes I have but one of the most fabulous. Healthy recipes will come in time but let's be honest, most of the best tasting foods are the worst for you.

'Low-fat' (ha!) Slow Cooker Smashed Potatoes
snagged from Allrecipes.com

our lovely model Tina diggin' in
5 pounds red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 container sour cream
1 package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook the peeled potatoes, garlic, and bouillon until potatoes are tender but firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving water. In a bowl, mash potatoes with sour cream and cream cheese, adding reserved water as needed to attain desired consistency. Use the mixer here if you like your guys smooth. Toss in some salt & pepper here too and I usually toss in a couple tablespoons of butter here for good measure.

2. Transfer the potato mixture to a slow cooker, cover, and refrigerate OR go ahead and cook on Low for 2 to 3 hours (I usually throw it on high if they're coming out of the fridge and plan for 4 hours heating time). Just before serving, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. YUM!

January 6, 2008

Disappearing Act

This song takes me way back - Rebecca and Jen know what I'm saying.

A week after our latest girlie gathering I realized I had slopped red wine down the front of my new pink shirt. I wasn't impressed and chose a colourful array of words to express myself when I found the unwanted visitor. Just about everyone has an incident with red wine at some point in time and I have found the ultimate solution to the problem. This might not be news to some of you, it's all over the internet, but for those who don't know the secret here it is: hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. The key is to mix them together and pour them over the stain (can't do one and then the other, has to be a group effort). Going, going, gone. Fabulous!

January 3, 2008

Another Year Bit the Dust

A belated Happy New Year to everyone from moi. I'm hacking up a lung, hence the late post, it's my bodies annual gift to itself: forced relaxation.

Time to get back on track with the blog. I thought I might have a sewing project to share but have yet to attend my free one hour lesson which means I don't have a clue of how to use the machine. I think I might play with her tomorrow - haven't named her yet because I don't think "Oh Shit" is appropriate, her name will come in time. Don't fret, you'll be the first to find out what she has been christened with.

Besides being forced to curl up on the couch for 5 days straight I did manage to pull myself together for New Years Eve and had a fun filled evening with our crew I nearly lost my voice which everyone thought was quite funny, no need to hunt for her batteries if she's worn them out herself and this is where my New Years resolution comes into play: I hope to spend more time thinking and listening rather than talking. I think the universe is telling me to shut up so I figure I may as well give it a shot. Hardy har har, pick yourself up off the ground and wipe the giggle spittle from your chin, I'm capable of being quiet dammit and I'll prove it.

I had planned to do this earlier, but didn't, so here goes somethin'.

Fabulousness from 2007

Dream wedding in Mexico, married the best man ever and partied with a fantastic group of people we love followed by two phenomenal weeks in Jamaica for our honeymoon - damn that was great.
Followed up by an at-home-reception that was out of this world - I fell on my ass twice, or was it three times, in my wedding dress and laughed hard each time. I'm a class act, that's for sure.
Met and partied with a pile of my new Irish family and can't wait for round two, hopefully in Ireland this time.
Trip to Vancouver for Cara & Herwig's wedding reception which meant being with three of my best girlfriends twice in less than 6 months for more than one day (this NEVER happens)
Started blogging - cheese? yes I know but whatever, it's good for my soul.
Less negative self-talk - you have no idea how good it feels to be able to say that. I'm not a put myself down in conversation sort of gal but I'm not so good in my head sometimes, getting better.
Pilates!! Love it
Week in Wasaga beach before the main strip was burnt to the ground - so happy we went and saw it one last time and had such a fabulous time
Finished the bulk of my degree this year - one course to go!! It was a hard year but so worth it.
Became even closer to my girl Tanya - so thankful to have her in my world.
Beth & James had a baby boy named Jordan James - can't wait to meet the little man!

Future Fabulousness for 2008
Trip to ?? two weeks from now! Not sure where we're going but it's going to be hot and hot is always good.
Cara's having a baby very soon! I'll meet him/her this year. YAY!
Graduating from University this spring
Starting teachers college - no clue where but I'm going
Another trip to Vancouver this summer to see my girls & visit Whistler
Ireland? maybe...
Become a fabulous sewing diva
Spend more time than ever with everyone I love!
Learn to use our camera WELL.
Become more organized - one can dream.

That's all for now ladies and gents. Please feel free to comment, tell me your deepest, darkest secrets please and thank you.