Saturday, November 30, 2013

Goodbye November!!

Goodbye November. You've been a great month with Divali, my trip to Trinidad and all the pre-Christmas stuff but we're so ready for December when all our Christmas celebrating kicks into high gear. We've started already, the house is all decorated so we can now begin focusing on just spending time together as a family doing all the Christmas stuff. Darin's Christmas dinner was also last night at a lovely restaurant. Today we're out with friends and tomorrow we have Cassia's school's family party. I also want to do a North Pole Breakfast for the girls tomorrow to herald the return of  Patraj our elf. Our advent calendar with treats and the many Christmas activities we have planned also begins tomorrow to count down until December 25th!

In the meantime, today has been a quiet day. We missed gymnastics as Cassia is nursing a miserable cold. We They lazed around in pjs watching Christmas shows, playing, napping and snacking while I finished my decorating (my way to relax).

Snuggling up... just us sisters!
Until this one fell asleep
But then we woke up to make some mischief
And then someone else conked out.

Stay tuned for more Christmas posts ahead during our very favourite month of the year!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our little artists

One of Cassia's favourite things to do- besides watch tv, which she's not allowed to do during the week- is colour. She colours and draws every. single. day of the week. She does it in the morning before school, when she comes home from school and at night before bed. She can be entertained for hours- and it's a great way to celebrate different seasons- printing off colouring sheets for different occasions. D and I both enjoy colouring with her sometimes--- it's kind of relaxing. She also does tons of art 'jobs' in her Montessori... every evening she gets to take her work home and we have piles and piles of these pieces of paper. Let's just say we recycle lots these days.  She's becoming quite good though, staying within the general lines and drawing recognisable figures.

Getting everything ready for some Christmas colouring. 

Not bad for four years old, right?

Crayons are becoming the bane of D's existence as they find their way on the floor, in the bedrooms, in the tub, in the toy box, behind furniture.... all because of this little culprit.

Yes, she loves holding a crayon in each hand and stumbling about everywhere. The thing is though, I think she will also begin to 'colour' soon... the other thing is, we think she will do it on our walls. She just has that stubborn determined streak that Cass doesn't. Guess I will have to buy those Magic Erasers from Costco soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mommy & Me- Christmas Tree Decorating

It was such a cold weekend. There was snow, wind and minus something weather. Besides that, Darin was on call and hardly home. And then also from next week, it gets pretty hectic with all our Christmas stuff going on. So we decided that this weather and weekend would be the perfect opportunity to have our annual tree decorating party (Please note that the word 'party' is very loosely defined in this case). Cassia was thrilled as all of last week she was begging me to decorate.... and as all three of us did it, it really was a Mommy and Me post. Speaking of which, once again, I'm linking up with Everyday Love  for this wonderful series.

So I should preface this post by saying that I am a little bit obsessed with Christmas Tree decorating. I really don't think we'll ever get a real Christmas tree as since we put so much work into the decorating, I like the tree to be up by the last week in November and taken down after January 6th (I've always known that to be the official end of Christmas). I love spending time just staring at my tree all through December and I also enjoy looking at other people's well decorated trees (yes, I mean yours Aunty Mala).

For our trees, I used to do a different theme every year. There's a system, and order in which things go on the tree and it takes about a week of off and on adjusting and readjusting-- I told you it's a lot of work-- but trust me we spend many a winter night having great conversations and special family moments around our tree.

The images really don't do it justice but the first year we got married, I did red and purple.


Then there was that time that I did a fall inspired tree with gold, rust, yellow and green 

When Cassia was born, I did a pink tree. 

For the past few years though, I got tired of spending all this money, creativity and time on different themes every year so now it's pretty much the same tree that I tend to do every year now. 

Okay, I realise I haven't gotten to the Mommy and Me part just yet... didn't I say I'm a little obsessed with Christmas tree decorating.  Cassia was so keyed up for out party . She virtually danced all around us as we were assembling the tree, sulked when we told her she couldn't help with the lights, began hanging decorations the minute I told her she could--- of course all at one level and on one branch--- all the while dancing and singing Christmas carols. Yes she messed with my system and order in which I decorate and yes, that's when I took a wine break (it was a party after all) but all in all I really enjoyed her company and her festive spirit!

Let the fun begin!
Taking a dance break-- I mean who doesn't bust out a move to Frosty the Snowman?

And a smores break.
Posing away
Sweet Anjali also enjoyed the party. She was dancing to the Christmas music, trying to help put up the ornaments and asking me to lift her so she could check all the different ornaments on the higher branches.

Getting in on the action

Does anyone notice a present under the tree 

This is one of the more fun parts of having little girls. Yes, right now, we had to break for food, bath and bed but I can see us all decorating. together in the future. Us and our very own annual tree decorating party--- Daddy can be in charge of lights and takeout!

PS I tried taking pics of the finished product, but the lighting was terrible. When everything is done, I will post more pics of all the Christmas decor.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm kind of a coffee girl now.

Seriously folks, I am tired! I was up  late last night getting our holiday cards ready to be printed like it was my job--- I guess it kind of is one of my jobs as  COO of this family. When we first got married, Darin nominated himself CEO and CFO and left me in charge of Operating and Marketing--- you read between the lines! But back to the Christmas cards. It's a lot of work-- cropping and highlighting, selecting the design, wording etc. I was done everything after midnight-- yep, that's  late for us. Family and friends, you'd better appreciate it! And I'd better get a nice call saying how you like the card and how cute my kids are ;-)

So now, and it's become an everyday thing, I've begun to enjoy my afternoon cup of coffee. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a tea girl. Nothing pleases me more than a cup of orange pekoe with milk every morning.... Even when I was in the corporate world, I would only have a coffee once every couple weeks ... Even at University with all the late nights ( and in those days, late nights were 7 am sometimes) I didn't have coffee much-  this should tell you how big of a deal this is. Tea just doesn't cut it these days. With all the running around after the baby, getting things done around here, gyming, blogging, Christmasing and cooking, I'm usually so sleepy after midday, I've begun to do a small cup of coffee. Initially it was my NF latte at Starbucks and I still indulge sometimes but these days, it is a delicious half packet of Oldtown Coffee we brought back from Malaysia. Seriously, it is some good stuff! It's sweet and creamy and so yummy!!! It reminds me of the coffee the grownups used to drink when I was growing up in Trinidad. My brothers and I used to sneak a sip sometimes and I remembered as a kid thinking that I couldn't wait to grow up to drink coffee.... so I do now! I don't know what I'm going to do when the Malaysian coffee is done!

And of course, all the regular cups have been replaced with Christmas cups around here.... don't judge! It justs make my midday warm drink in this cold weather all that more special....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Anyone who knows me well has heard my philosophy on materialism and my children. In North America, I think that sometimes it can be all about the 'stuff'. Yes, we are fortunate that we have an abundant life. That doesn't mean we should be wasteful however and we should be very grateful for whatever we have. It's really something I try to ingrain in my kids... well, Cassia anyways... Anjali can barely walk in a straight line.   At Christmas time, they get one nice thing from Santa and one from us. I also ask my family to just buy one thing for each child---and stick to a bit of a budget--- sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't :-)

We also try to give back to whatever community we live in, in whatever way we can. We donate clothes, toys, small appliances and food all through the year but at Christmas time especially... a time associated with giving.

We started doing Operation Christmas Child, run through Samaritan's purse, a couple years ago after Cassia was born. Nothing breaks my heart more than a child in need. Although we aren't Christian, I really like their concept as you can choose the age group you can give to and the items you wish to give. You can do toys, toiletries, books, hard candy and even clothes but it just needs to fit into a shoebox. This year as Cassia is four, I wanted her to participate, explaining that lots of kids her age don't have as many toys as she has. She really got the concept- I explained to her what the program was about and how the shopping was for a little girl exactly her age whose family could not afford to celebrate Christmas the way we do.

So off we went to Target, just me and my girl. She was very good about the items she chose- selecting things she would like for the little girl. Then, she  began to imagine what the little girl was like- apparently a fan of Hello Kitty, hair clips and pink. We also used this opportunity to purge our craft box of all these new crayons, markers and stickers we had.

Yes at first, she did ask well what about me... why can't we buy stuff for me too? And when she saw us  taking her stuff, she initially was upset. She's four after all. After an explanation, she accepted and is still thinking of what else we can put in the box--- which by the way is stuffed and ready for drop off.

I really enjoyed this fun outing with my girl- this is the start of a yearly tradition to herald the start of the Christmas season.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mommy and Me- A day in the life of Little Miss A

This week, I've decided to do my very first Mommy and Me post, linking up with Everyday Love and Dear Owen (for some reason I can't post the icon) I feel like technically everyday is Mommy and me Day in this house with my little one so it's only fitting that the first one focuses on our everyday activities . One of the very first posts I did was about Anjali's day. As with all babies, things sure have changed in 10 months. I know we'll forget and as remembering everything I can about my kid's young lives is one of the main reasons for this blog, I think an update is in order.

Our day begins about seven. Usually Anjali is the last to get up, she begins wailing and standing in her crib like a little Napolean. My guess is that she is starving... for company and food.

Getting her nose sprayed this morning. She hasn't decided how she feels about it yet.

We brush our teeth and head down for breakfast. As soon as she sits in her chair she is usually ready to go so she begins with Cheerios while I prepare whatever is on the menu. She eats everything- from toast to oatmeal to eggs to pancakes--- she is not fussy, just a little greedy :-)

Pictures?! Already? But it's barely 7 am!

After we change and bundle up, we head out to Cassia's school. 

Let's do this!

These two hold hands all the way to school. It is the cutest thing. When we get to Cassia's school and we take her inside- it's the most exciting part of the day for her. She stares around at everything and everyone.

So sad without Cassia!

We then head to the gym for a little work out. Mama gets her exercise in .. and baby enjoys time with her friends. That being said, when she sees me for pick up time, she comes wailing to me like she's in misery.... it is the funniest thing since when she doesn't see me, she is absolutely fine- chatting up a storm with her friends and playing with the toys.


As soon  as Anjali gets in the car, she begins to ask for a cookie-- then it's some milk when she gets home and books until naptime which is usually around 11.


This is when I get lots done, I have a shower, lunch, check my mail, get her lunch ready, watch The View, sometimes even start dinner and begin tidying up. Then at about 12:30 or 1, she wakes up starving... We usually eat the same thing, she just eats more carbs.


As I finish cooking dinner, she plays around me in the family room and kitchen. She helps with the chores and explores the drawers and cupboards-- one time I caught her licking every serving spoon before replacing it. Usually, I do one other cleaning or organising activity and she's right beside me as I do those making a mess  helping me out.

Organising pots and pans!? Is this Christmas?
Hey Mama, need me to sweep?
Here we are for tea time at a friend's house one afternoon.
After snack at three, we normally go running errands. I don't do multiple stores if I can help it as this little lady can only handle so much time in the shopping cart or stroller. Our favourite is guess what??

Recognise the red cart? We frequent there at least once a week.

When we pick up Cassia, it's like they haven't seen each other for a month. They hold hands on the way home. After dinner, they usually play and have a snack together.

These are King's Corn Curls from Trinidad-- this family loves them
The make-shift tent that both girls love! Guess what is on the Christmas list?

Of course when Daddy comes home, all else is forgotten.

Bath time is always lots of fun... 


                                             then it's books... then bed all usually before seven.

So there you go. I just know that one day I will look back at these days and think these were the best days of my life. Yes, I'm exhausted at the end of the day, sometimes I barely sit down but these certainly are happy, blessed days.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Five on Friday- Let's Falliday into the Holiday

I know it's early... it really is but I am a Christmas  freak addict junkie girl. Seriously! By the time Divali, Halloween and Remembrance Day is done, the Christmas music begins blasting, the menu and party planning begins, the baking supplies get bought, the shopping starts and I get immersed in the spirit of the season. Scrooge  D thinks it's a bit early to be hearing Christmas music in the morning but my girls love it and we sing and dance our way around the house at this time of year. So in honour of the early season, here are the early signs that my most favourite time of the year is upon us.

Here we go... And once again, I'm linking up with Darci for this update.

1- Is it too early to 1/check out the holiday aisle Target  and 2/put this cute Christmas hat on my baby? It brings a smile to strangers' faces so I'm thinking no. 

3- Oh Snowy Days- If we continue this way, we are going to have the whitest of Christmas. This was around my neighbourhood this Wednesday.

3- The Holiday Cups are here! My drink of choice on this day was a non-fat Caramel Brulee... yum yum! This warm drink  and us girls screaming singing Christmas carols all the way home put me in a festive mode.

4- The Peardrax displays are out in Trinidad already- this shot was taken last week when I went to the grocery to pick up a few goodies when I was back home. Peardrax is a fizzy non alcoholic pear drink associated with Christmas in Trinidad. People buy them by the cases around this time of year and I'm obsessed--- I've even had it on Christmas morning in past years :-) It was a happy day when I found it in a Canadian supermarket one Christmas.

5- Our Christmas card photos are getting done this weekend. I love Christmas cards--- I love to give and receive them- even before kids. I could not wait to start doing personalised Christmas cards when Cass was first born. In the past, with Miss Picture Lovin' Cassia, we had no trouble doing it ourselves. But with Little Miss Movement Anjali, things are a little bit different so we've been forced to outsource the operations.

One of the many shots from 2009! Our first kid Christmas. 
Happy Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My mini visit to TNT

I am back from a very quick, very packed, very special visit to my home country of Trinidad and Tobago. The reason for this visit was to see a very special, very sweet  boy (enough "very's" for ya?)- my new little nephew, Vir... but I managed to also pack a lot  in...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Anjali's update- 15 months

It's been a long while since I've done one of these. Where is the time going?! I remember this like it was yesterday!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Then and now- channa and aloo

Here we are in 2011 with Cassia eating some roti with channa and aloo - an Indo Trinidadian dish- it's basically curried chick peas and potato

Real concentration, huh?

Here we are in 2013 with little Miss Anjali also enjoying her roti and channa, leftovers from Divali.  She picked out every single chick pea to eat before moving onto the roti. 

Again- intense concentration!
                                      What can I say, can't really expect anything else from our kids, right?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Festival of Lights

Divali or the Festival of Lights is a big deal for us Hindus. It is both a religious and festive celebration and is kind of like our Christmas (except we celebrate Christmas too, so double celebrations).  In Trinidad, for weeks before, there are hugh street and store displays with diyas, fireworks, fruit, sweets and East Indian clothing for sale. Hindus spend lots of time cleaning their homes before Divali and the week before, fasting with no meat. Schools and work would have Divali celebrations. We would also visit Divali Nagar, a popular weeklong fair celebrating Divali and the Indo Trinidadian Culture.

For my family, on Divali day, a public holiday my parents would cook a lovely vegetarian feast. It was my job to get the diyas, wicks and oil ready for the night. We would also visit my grandmother who would invite her entire block over for a meal- it was a huge get together. When we went back home, we had our personal family prayers, had dinner and began to light up. This is where it gets really fun as many people go all out with their deeya designs and displays like here and here. When we were younger, my parents would take us out for a drive to see all the diyas but as we got older we gave that up for spending time with friends who would come over to help us light up and celebrate with us.

When I first came to Canada, boy did I miss Divali! I missed my parents, the pre-season, the food, the lighting up, the food, having  friends over, did I mention the food? Now, 10 years in though, although I would love to visit Trinidad for Divali one day and have my girls experience a Divali there, I can life takes you  and we do exactly that here in our little corner of Canada!

 First of all, we usually take the day off now from school and work. We first spend the morning at home. We make some sort of prasad (or parsad as the trinis say) and do our own family prayer (puja), lighting a few diyas at home. In the afternoon, and this is a large part of why I love Divali in Canada, we head over to our aunt's place. We  do a family prayer there, sing some bhajans (Hindu devotional songs), light up our diyas (more inside than outside as it's so cold), have a lovely meal and then spend some time together enjoying each other's company. It is always such a festive evening.

As Cassia is getting older, she is getting more for Divali. This year for Show and Tell at school, she dressed up in her East Indian wear, they read a book about Divali and also sampled some Kurma (an Trinidadian Indian sweet) that I brought in for the class... it was a big hit, apparently the teachers loved the sweets more than the kids did!

This year, Divali was on a  Saturday. We did the usual, prayers at home and then our aunt's house and as usual we had a lovely time. Here are some pictures from our celebration.

Dressed up and ready to go...

This puppy behaved better that both my kids-- seriously!
Here are the trouble makers

The gracious host and hostesses

Somebody looks scared--- maybe Anjali is just about to tip over a fragile vase!

Us four! 

Another us four
The Festival of Lights
Some of the ladies.

Presents time

A few deeyas at home when we came back

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