Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cheesy Corn and Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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Good thing squashes have a long shelf life.  I think I bought this one at least two weeks ago after seeing some pretty delicious looking recipes for spaghetti squash lasagna.  I picked up the sausages for dinner and didn’t feel like having a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce as well as sausages, so I came up with this recipe and it was delicious and gluten free!  Although the sausages were not but they were pretty good too.   I will definitely be making this one again. 

1 Spaghetti Squash
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 oz Goat Cheese
4 oz Sharp Cheddar
1/4 cup milk
1 kernels removed from 1 ear of corn
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut Spaghetti Squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds, brush with olive oil and season with Salt and Pepper.  Bake cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 375 for 45 minutes.

2. Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/2 of a finely chopped large onion in 2 tbsp of olive oil until translucent.  Add 3oz of goat cheese (I used Boursin), 2oz of shredded cheddar (I used white cheddar), 1/4 cup milk and one ear's worth of corn off the cob.  Cook until combined.

3. Shred Spaghetti Squash and remove from skin.  Place in casserole dish.  Stir in sauce.  Top with 2 oz of cheddar.  Season with Salt and pepper.

4. Return to oven and back for another 1/2 hour.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Summer Reading

I started off the summer reading up a storm. Andrew gave me a Kindle and I love it!  I also wanted to finish a couple regular books that I had bought long ago be never read. I'm terrible about doing that. I've now misplaced the one I was in the middle of, I think it must be with my old purse and banjo picks. 

I liked this book, it was funny but I've read a lot of books by non-professional authors lately and I am finding that I've been wanting to read books with a more literary feel.  

My boss gave me this book for my birthday which was very sweet of him. It's about a Mum and her son who live in Toronto and their birding adventures. It is memoir and she nailed a lot of birding idiosyncrasies which was cool. 

Another birthday book, Margot gave me this one. I read it quickly and then went to see the movie.  I like John Green books, even if they are teen lit. 

I loved this book, it is a dystopian future story where clones are used to harvest organs for transplant. It's creepy and thought provoking. 

This book was about a group of people that met in a special summer camp for gifted artistic teens and follows their lives into adulthood where some become rich and famous, some normal and some criminal.  It's about relationships and potential and jealously.  I enjoyed it but didn't love the ending and that the part that really sticks with me which is too bad. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Extra Curriculars

The kids' fall activities have started up again. This season, Alice is taking ballet and Sacha is a beaver scout. Scouts actually goes all year long and his first camp out is next weekend! They jump right in. He doesn't have a uniform yet, I think he gets that at the next meeting. Alice loves ballet but also desperately wants to be in scouts too but is too young. The world opens up to five year olds (activity wise). 

I need to find a banjo teacher. I bought a banjo. I don't want to call it a whim. I'd been thinking it might be fun to learn to play for a couple of months but I had wanted to rent one. Unfortunately, they aren't to keen on renting the weirder instruments. So I bought it and was told I could bring it back in 30 days if I didn't like it. But I love it. Even if I don't play much, I think it's beautiful. I'd hang it on the wall like a piece of art.  I already know how to do forward rolls in G! 

I'm disappointed in myself though because I bought a new purse a couple of weeks ago and moved my most important things to the new bag. But I left my cheque book and banjo finger picks in my old bag and now I can't find the bag. It made paying for daycare interesting this month, I kept maxing out my daily atm limit. 

I just need to teach the kids how to play a jug, a wash board or spoons and we could have quite the little family band going. We will need to purchase a 1970s VW camper to roam the country side but I don't want to get ahead of myself. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Black Hole

I am determined not to let this blog die! After the road trip, we really didn't do much for about 2 weeks. The kids went back to daycare, I had the house cleaned and the carpets shampooed and promptly peed upon by Oliver.  Went birding a couple of times, went back to work, we all spent a weekend at Bowen and Siobhan, Colin and Adrian joined us one of the days. 

Then after 2 weeks of leisure, I switched gears into being so busy, I didn't have 15 minutes to up date anything.  On top of the regular start of the new school year craziness, I have taken on/been given major roles in two new projects at work. So it was even crazier than normal. 

I realized that I forgot to update that I did end up selling my house in Roberts in June. The tenants moved out on Labour Day so Andrew and I went up to the Sunshine Coast for the day and started going through boxes of stuff we had stored in the crawl space.  We had geared up for a long wait for the ferry home but ended up sqeaking on after only waiting in the terminal for 15 minutes. Pretty snazzy!

Mum took the kids to Bowen last weekend and Andrew and I were back up on the Coast. There were a couple loads of stuff to the dump, a truck load of items to donate and a truckload of items to bring home.  We spent the night at my aunt Sall's house and made sure we hit some nostalgic spots, chilli cheese fries at Molly's Reach in Ginsons is a must!

I was sad to say goodbye to the house, but ultimately relieved that I don't have to manage two households. 

I have chosen to be happy to have lived there, not sad that I had to say goodbye. I will miss the ferry line ups least of all!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Final Leg

Day 6

Barkerville, the historic gold rush town, was our first stop of the day.   It is really cool but so remote.  Sacha, who loves museums was in a grumpy mood when we got there and took a while for him to warm up to it but once we hit the general store and picked up a couple pieces of liquorice for the kids and soap candies for me, moods improved all around.   It was our first really rainy morning and it was not crowded at all.  We took the stage coach ride and panned for gold.   We found 6 flakes the size of salt crystals, Sacha was slightly disappointed, he was hoping for a golf ball sized nugget.  I also purchased their authentic sour dough recipe to take home.


After Barkerville, we stopped at another historic house, Cottonwood House for lunch.  It was on the road to Barkerville.  They had some good soup and scones.

Then it was on to Horsefly to visit our friend Marc and his 4 month old chocolate lab puppy named Charlie.


Day 7

So it was kind of crazy to plan a trip with two kids under 7 that only had one non-driving day but I would say they did really well considering.  And if they don’t know any different (all people travel like this as far as they know), then they don’t expect anything different.

We spent the day playing in the tall grass and picking wild flowers  in the fields around Marc’s house, and briefly touring the town; it is about 3 blocks in total.   Marc had signed up Andrew and himself for a horseshoe tournament at the pub in the afternoon, so I took the kids to swim in Horsefly lake.  I think it was the first time either one of them had swam in fresh water and it was very pleasant.  Not too cold and fun to watch baby trout swimming around. 

It was very nice to have a day to relax and hang out, I even got another new bird, the hammond’s flycatcher and saw a merlin.


Day 8

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig.  We took the Fraser Canyon route home.  We were pretty tired so we debated about finding a lake to stop and take a quick swim but we decided to press on home instead. 

It was a really great trip and I would definitely do something similar again.  Ideally giving ourselves a bit more time so we didn’t have such long driving days. 


This map says the drive was 11 hours, but that is not even close.  It is more like 6, we stopped for lunch in Cache Creek in a sit down restaurant and stopped for gas and it wasn’t anywhere close to 11 hours.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 5

The day started off a little rough.  We had stayed at our timeshare in Banff for the night and because of that, there was no free breakfast with it like the other hotels.  I had promised the kids that we could go to McDonalds for breakfast.  It might have the only McDonalds for 100km and because of that it was very crowded.  I found a table with the kids and Andrew lined up to get food.  There was a major disagreement about who got to sit next to me and who had to sit across the table.  This lead to screeching and thumping each other so before our food was even ordered, I dragged them both out.  This lead to more crying and screaming and carrying on and us pulling over on the way to the grocery store and both children being removed from the car and being given a stern talking to on the side of the road and the option to take up residence there if they decided that they wanted to continue to carry on as they had been.

But after this initial set back, everyone’s attitudes changed and we had a great day.  Our first stop was Lake Louise, which was crowded but beautiful.  The kids got to splash around in the ice cold water,  run around chasing ground squirrels and I got to add two new birds to my life list (Clark’s Nutcracker and Grey Jay).  Somewhere between the squirrels and the car, Alice lost her camera which was really disappointing because she was having such fun taking pics. 


Next up was the Athabasca Glacier.  I had been there when I was about 9 and there are signs to show where the glacier was in different years before receding.


We were the same age as Alice in 1982, so I thought this was an especially cute picture.  That’s me in green huffing it up the hill in the back ground.  It is really steep.  I was definitely the fattest person that actually climbed up the hill while we were there.  (You can take buses up to the top).  We walked all the way to the glacier and the kids go to stand on it but I wouldn’t let them climb up too high on the actual ice but I didn’t think it was safe. 


We had dinner in Jasper and filled up the tank.  The next leg, between Jasper and Prince George was the one I had been most worried about on the whole trip.  It is 4 hours, after dinner with little or nothing to stop for.  So after dinner, we whipped out the ipads and headphones and gave them to the kids.  It turned out to be the most civilized part of the trip, we didn’t have to take music requests, we could have adult conversations and admire the view.  We made such good time that we pressed on all the way to Quesnel rather than spend the night in Prince George like we thought we would.  


If you are ever driving the yellowhead highway, I totally recommend the bakery at Purden Ski Village.  We had ice cream but their pies and baked goods looked amazing and the bathrooms were really nice!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 4

We spent the morning at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller and it was amazing!  It is such a great museum. I loved looking at all the dinosaur fossils and dioramas. The kids definitely enjoyed it too.  I think we spent about 3 hours just walking around and didn’t even get to everything they had to do. 


The ticket prices were really reasonable too, because Sacha and Alice are both under 7, they were free and it was just $11 for adults.  I felt that Sacha and Alice were a bit too young to take part in the “Dig Experience” programs so there is something to come back for when they are a bit older.  Since it is only 90 minutes outside of Calgary, it wouldn’t be too difficult to make a second trip down the road. 


Stegosaurus are my favourite!

We took the Dinotrail drive through the fossil canyons around Drumheller and then headed down to see the Hoodoos.   The hoodoos are really unique.  Rocks that are left on top of  pillars of sandstone after the rest of sandstone has been washed away.  The prime examples are roped off and you aren’t allowed to climb on them, but you can explore the cliffs behind.  The kids had a blast climbing up and sliding down the sandy slopes, and hiding in sand caves.  But we didn’t last long there because it was so stinking hot. 


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Alice had blisters on her feet from wearing her shoes on the wrong feet in the museum, so she ran around the hoodoos with bare feet. 

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We had hoped to meet up with my friend James who lives in Calgary for a meal but it didn’t work out.  We were heading through Calgary on our way to Banff around 3pm and he was still working.  One day I will see him in his native environment.