Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books I Read in 2014

Hey, this blog is not dead! Hooray for me. Just slipping in one last post for 2014; my yearly book list (for posterity, mostly). I was hoping to beat last year's personal record of 46 books read in one year, but alas, this year I did significantly less sitting around holding/nursing a baby and more chasing after a toddler, so I top out at 41! (So close to finishing the 42nd...maybe by midnight I'll have it completed).

Here's what I read in 2014: (* means it was a favorite of mine and you should read it too)

  1. The Magicians Assistant by Ann Patchett
  2. Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by  David Sedaris
  3. The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
  4. My Life Next Door by Huntly Fitzpatrick
  5. Atonement by Ian McEwan *
  6. Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver *
  7. A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout & Sara Corbett
  8. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce *
  9. Perfect by Rachel Joyce
  10. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  11. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  12. Family Pictures by Jane Green *
  13. Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain ** (Yes, TWO stars!)
  14. Frog Music by Emma Donahue
  15. One More Thing by BJ Novak
  16. The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sexsmith *
  17. Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
  18. The Bone House by Brian Freeman
  19. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson *
  20. Finding Me by Michelle Knight
  21. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  22. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  23. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  24. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  25. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
  26. Son by Lois Lowry
  27. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
  28. Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple *
  29. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
  30. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  31. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
  32. Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood *
  33. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  34. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver *
  35. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
  36. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
  37. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
  38. A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham
  39. Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  40. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriaty *
  41. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  42. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews (I'm counting it!)
What did you read this year? I love book recommendations - tell me what you loved!

Monday, September 01, 2014


Last Tuesday, Fiona turned one year old! What a great year we've had.

(I don't think I ever posted her 11 month photo here, but that's it in the top right corner!)

Anyway, this past weekend mom & dad came for a visit so we waited until they were here to have Fiona's first birthday party. Of course I did a farm theme for my little farm girl! It was family and a few friends over for lunch and cake, although when your family adds up to 17 people, there is no hope in keeping it a small affair! 

Two cute one year olds!

Fiona is such a joy to me and Dan. I feel very fortunate to have such a happy girl to spend my days with. She loves looking at books, just turning the pages and talking to herself (obviously reading them). She is a little trickster and loves to play peek and chase. She knows she is funny and does things just to make us laugh, blowing raspberries or giving kisses through the stair railing. She also loves to wrestle with us on the floor, and has a fun game of pushing my face towards Dan's so that we kiss, which she thinks is hilarious. Fiona loves other kids, especially her cousins, and loves to play with them and be involved in whatever they are doing. She is very observant and notices things even I don't register. I hung up a Happy Birthday banner for her party during her nap, and when we came downstairs she pointed at it (as best a baby can point, anyway) and expressed her delight at this colorful and fun sign! She also loves balloons, (what is it with kids and balloons?) so we made sure to have one at her party.

Fiona with her favorite person ever, and Papa! 

I am still nursing Fiona during the day, usually about 4 times. Recently Fiona learned how to sign "milk" so all day long she shows me milk milk milk! And then the sign for "more" so it's like "Chop chop mom! Milk! Now!" I think she uses it as a sign that is all encompassing and sometimes only means pay attention to me or look what I can do! She's a great eater too, and is pretty willing to try whatever we put in front of her. Her latest favorite is lasagna, gobbling up an entire plateful in about 5 minutes. 

Fiona is not walking yet, although does like to hold on to our hands and take steps forward on her tip toes. She is also busy circumnavigating all our furniture all day long, once in a while remembering that cupboard doors must be opened, and drawers must be emptied of all their contents. 

No real words yet either, but lots of sounds. Fiona does say "dadada", especially if you ask her to say mama, and sometimes says "baaa". She also can roar like a lion, which is more like a throat growl, and as hilarious and as cute as it sounds. 

What a light in our lives! Happy Birthday, Poparoo.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Double Digits

Our sweet and joyful little babu turned 10 months old this past Thursday. There have been some huge milestones in her tenth month! She can crawl faster than I can catch her, pull herself up with total ease, and has started to walk along our furniture. One day she discovered the bottom step on the stairs and the next day climbed right to the top. The day after that we got a gate. Fiona is happier than ever these days, exploring our house, playing games (peek-a-boo is a favorite with chase being a close second), wrestling her daddy and growing and eating like a champ. Heat registers and cords continue to be sought after commodities, along with the dvd player disc tray which slides out, and the fire extinguisher that we store in our walk-in pantry.

A path of destruction follows Fiona around our house. There are frequently frying pans and kitchen towels and Tupperware containers dislodged from the oven drawer and kitchen cabinets and strewn about. There is a photo album ripped to shreds in the downstairs bedroom. Bathroom doors need to be kept closed to prevent upended garbage cans and toilet paper un-rolling. (And, let's be honest, toilet seat licking. She just NEEDS to put everything in her mouth. It's gross.)

Fiona is so pleased with herself when she learns something new, and also when she deliberately does something she knows she shouldn't (like biting and pinching me). It's amazing to see how devious she can be at only 10 months, and while I fear for the day she can use words to express her defiance, I can't help but be reminded of 1, God's grace, and 2, that she is JUST LIKE ME.

Our kid brings such delight to our lives. And she's pretty stinkin' cute, which doesn't hurt either!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fiona: 9 months on the outside

Today Fiona turns 9 months old. This babyhood thing is going by WAY too fast. She just gets more and more amazing with each passing day, learning new things constantly, surprising us always.

We've been in Lethbridge this past week along with Hillary and Elsie. Such fun these two little girl cousins are having! (Not to mention their grandparents)

Fiona facts at 9 months old:
  • Just today learned to wave hello!
  • Has 6 teeth (4 on top, 2 on bottom)
  • Crawling, rolling and getting into everything
  • Will try most foods, but loves sausage most of all! (She is a Wall...)
  • New favourite toy is dolls
  • Gives kisses to her dolly, to mama and to Granny (so far)
  • Drinks from an open cup

Monday, May 05, 2014

Cheesy Quinoa & Black Bean Fritters

Today I was making this salad for lunch for myself, and inspiration struck for a quick and easy baby/kid friendly fritter. (But first, go make that salad. It's so good!)

Fiona gobbled these up. I have never see her eat so much of something before. Loved it!

Cheesy Quinoa & Black Bean Fritters

3/4 c cooked quinoa
1/4 c black beans, roughly mashed with a fork
1/3 - 1/2 c finely shredded cheddar cheese
sprinkle each of cumin and garlic powder
1 egg white (you could use a whole egg, I just happened to have egg whites leftover in the fridge)
your choice of oil (vegetable, coconut, olive)

Combine everything except the oil. Heat enough oil to cover bottom of frying pan over medium high heat. Drop batter by the tablespoon full into hot pan. Flatten it out a little to make a fritter. Fry on each side until golden, 2-4 minutes/side. Let cool to desired temperature on paper towel. Makes about 6 fritters.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Baby Girl - 8 month update

Saturday marked Fiona's 8 month birthday. We were in Ucluelet with my mom & dad for a little vacation getaway. It was fun to have a change of scenery, play together and of course hand off the littlest one to her Papa when she decided she was ready to wake up for the day at 6 AM. 

At 8 months old, Fiona is definitely on the move! She army crawls to get around, and desperately wants to pull herself up on the furniture, but can't quite do it yet. Fiona cut another tooth this past weekend, and LOVES to bite on anything she can get her little mouth around (favorites are leather slippers, leather couches, leather belts...anything leather!) She is also getting more vocal, and I love when she squeals with delight (pretty much a guarantee if her legs are tickled!)

Last week I put pigtails in Fiona's hair for the first time. My heart just about burst from how cute she was. My baby girl almost needs a haircut!

(eating Easter ham)

Fiona's other favorites:
 - heat registers
  - taggie bug toy
 - books
 - Papa
 - biting her mama

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Baby Breakfast

I liked the idea of an oat bar or breakfast cookie for Fiona. The baked oatmeal bars were good, but so crumbly, so I thought I've give it another shot. Google pointed me to this recipe, and as usual I made some (slight) modifications. 

Baby Oat Bars (Breakfast Cookies)

1 cup oats
1/4 tsp (more or less) each of ginger, cinnamon & nutmeg
1 or 2 overripe bananas
1.5 T coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Grind 1/2 of the oats into a powder. (Magic Bullet works great for this!)
Combine remaining oats, oat powder and spices. 
Mash up banana and combine with coconut oil and vanilla.
Mix wet into dry, and pour/spoon out onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Pat out with a spoon into a rough rectangle shape, about 1/2" thick or less.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or so. Let cool completely and cut into bars/whatever size your kid can handle. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Baby Recipes

I have a few more recipes to share that Fiona has enjoyed. I feel I am going a bit over-board with this, but then I think, nope, we all have to eat. No reason an 8 month (!) old can't enjoy flavours and try new things. On the other hand, I don't want to be a mom that makes my kid a separate meal every single day, but then she's only 8 months and just has 3 teeth and is only working on the fine motor skills, so she CAN'T eat some of the things we normally eat without modifications....and this is how mom-guilt starts!

Onward. Recipes, right.

Carrot Muffins (adapted from The Baby Led Weaning Cookbook)

These little morsels are actually on the sweet side. I froze most of the batch, because what baby can eat 24 muffins?

1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 large carrot, grated (about 3/4 c? I don't know, use as much as you want)
3 T milk
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce

Combine ingredients. Bake in mini muffin tins at 375 for about 12 minutes. Makes 24 mini muffins.

*I borrowed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook from the library. There are a few good ideas in it, but mostly just regular food, but British. There are some really great BLW websites out there; I just discovered THIS ONE. Going to make the pea fritters for lunch today!

Pear Sauce

Fiona LOVES pear sauce. I spread it on French toast for her, or we spoon it to her by itself. It really is tasty and I should make a bigger batch because I always want to eat it too!

2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored & cut into pieces
splash of lemon juice
sprinkle of cinnamon
about 1/2 c water (more water makes it more saucy)

Combine everything in a pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until pears are soft & mushy, about 25-30 minutes. Blitz with a stick blender (or mash up however you like to mash things). Makes about 1 cup of sauce. Keeps in the fridge for probably about 1 week, but it'll never last that long!

Chicken Parmesan Bites

Have you ever bought and used ground chicken before? It's so gross. Sticky and yuck looking. But just go with it. These actually taste good if you can get past the gross out factor.

1 lb ground chicken
1/2 can salt-free diced tomatoes, mostly drained (or you can use fresh, I just didn't have any)
grated Parmesan cheese, about 1/4 c? (I didn't measure, just grated it in)
1 egg, beaten
some rolled oats to make it less sticky
basil and garlic powder as you like

Just make into nugget size balls/fingers. I think I did about 2 T per nugget. Bake in 375 oven for about 30 minutes or until meat is cooked. Top with more Parmesan cheese if you like! Freeze some for later.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Baby Recipes

We have been doing baby-led weaning (blw) with Fiona for about a month now. It's not really weaning, it's just baby-led feeding. There is a book out there on the subject, which is actually quite helpful. It's easy because there are no purees involved, nor spoon feeding (though we do sometimes with things like yogurt and applesauce). Basically, you give baby food, baby eats it. It's been really cool to watch Fiona learn about food, taste things and figure out how to eat it. She definitely has some favorites already! 

Anyway, here are some recipes for my own reference and maybe for yours too if your kid is just learning about food. It's kinda fun to experiment and make little finger foods for her! 

Baby Pancakes (this one is from Hillary. Thanks!)
1 mashed up banana
1 egg
some cinnamon
some vanilla

Mix up and cook like pancakes. (Duh). 

Baked Oatmeal Apple Bars
1 c oatmeal
3/4 c milk (I used coconut, but almond or cow's milk would be good too) (Also, I didn't measure, but this seems close)
1 grated apple
1 egg, beaten
2 TBSP veg oil (again, I didn't measure)

Mix and spread in a greased 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into bars (I got 12 Fiona sized bars). They will be soft and perfect for a baby to eat! Store in fridge.

Tuna Cakes (another Hillary recipe)
1 can tuna, well drained
1 egg, beaten
1/2 apple, grated (or less)
some cheese

Mix & make little patties or balls. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Makes roughly 12.

*Just a note, Canada Food Guide doesn't recommend that babies have more than one serving of tuna a month, because of mercury levels in the fish. Use your common sense when feeding your baby!

Salmon Cakes
1 can Sockeye salmon, well drained and free from bones & skin
1 egg
2 baby rice crackers, crumbled (I used Baby Mum-mums. Totally optional, I just happened to have them on hand!)

(Here's where you see a trend starting:) Mix & shape into mini patties or balls. Bake at 350 for 15-20 mins. 

I have also been trying to make a good potato and zucchini pancake thing, but haven't have great success so far with that particular combo. It always ends up too eggy or too wet. I'll keep experimenting! 

Can you think of more combo's to try out? I've got quinoa on the brain, so am going to try coming up with something that Fiona would like with that. Also, (another Hillary recipe) I am going to make butternut squash/apple/pork patties. 

I know Fiona can also have one ingredient food, and she does. Girl loves ground beef and cheese and apples and cucumbers and kiwi and strawberries and.....the list goes on! But it's (relatively) easy and fun to make flavor combinations, so why not! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fiona - 7 months

Fiona turned 7 months old today! My love for her grows more each day. I mean, look at this dolly!:

Fiona has hit some milestones this past month:
  • sitting up on her own
  • cut two teeth!
  • eating food and loving it
  • "passed" swimming lessons (hahaha)

 And, today she sat in a shopping cart and was totally amazed and super excited about it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Springtime Baby

So it seems this blog has turned into posts that only have random pictures of my kid. Sorry? Actually, not sorry. She's cute and I like her. Even when she's crying whining herself to sleep (like right now).

We've had some beautiful weather days over the past week. I'll try not to rub it in too much as I know that is not the case in the rest of the country, but hey, I'll take sunshine any day I can get it! 

Today after church we stopped for some daffodils at a roadside flower stand. Spring is here!

(yup, the daffodil went in the mouth right after this, and then it was the end of that game!)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Half Birthday Baby

Oh look, ANOTHER post with mainly pictures of my baby! Good thing she's cute.

Fiona is a 6 months old today. It simultaneously feels like she just got here, and has been around forever. Is the rest of her baby and childhood going to go like this too? Probably!

Anyway, we had our monthly photo shoot this morning. Dang my baby is cute!

We also celebrated last night with Matt, Kori and the kids, because Evie had her half-birthday too! Just a couple of staring babies, sitting with an ice cream cake! Oh these two cute cousins crack me up!

And a few more because I just can't resist:

6 month favorites:
  • Daddy still tops this list!
  • "The Grand Old Duke of York" especially while jumping
  • Books (mostly chewing them)
  • being tossed in the air
  • Raspberries on her bare tummy

What a kid. Love her to pieces.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

(mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I don't think Fiona can get any more patriotic than this! We love being Canadian, and we're cheering on our Olympic athletes as best we can from our living room :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fiona - Five Months Old

Fiona my baby, today you are 5 months old. How the heck did that happen? I don't think there is any cuter baby out there. (Well, a couple others come pretty close!) You are so happy and we love you more than words can say.

Some favorites at 5 months:

  • Daddy (I hope that never changes!)
  • baths
  • Sesame Street stacking cups
  • Jolly Jumping
  • "A Smooth Road" rhyme
In a couple of weeks you are starting swimming lessons. I cannot wait to see your reaction to the pool, plus, you'll be extra adorable in your bathing suits! 

(That tongue sticking out is all Wall!)

Love always, Mama

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Sorry about the silence on the old blog this year! 
Life is very full around here. Fiona is coming up on 5 months old (what the???!!) and we are busy enjoying her. Our daily activities include trying to make her giggle, trying to get her to nap, and giving her chunks of food to gum on.
Fiona and I have been going to a baby program at our local library, and have signed up for swimming lessons too!
We are so in love with our happy girl. Here are a few pictures from the last few weeks that I've posted on instagram.