Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in review

2013 was a very special one for this family. In January I started our family blog, first as a way to remember all the cute stuff that  our babies did but now it is so much more than that. It's our little way of  sharing a bit of ourselves, our experiences, traditions and adventures with the rest of the world. Can you believe that our little blog has already gotten well over 16000 page views? Thank you so much for reading! 

As a family, we made the metamorphic decision for me not to go back to the corporate world but instead to stay home for a bit longer with the littles (only to start working from home from next month), a decision that has really affected our quality of family life significantly and positively. Darin also took four months off work to spend some time with the family before Cassia went to school. 2013 was a great travelling year for us as we journeyed to Turks and Caicos, NYC (twice), Trinidad(just me), Singapore and of course, our extended life- changing sojourn to Malaysia. These are memories we will cherish forever. 

2013 was also a huge year for meeting new family, little milestones and special events for our family. We experienced true goodness and genuine kindness through getting to know and spending time with my aunt and uncle from Malaysia. We celebrated sweet A's first birthday and Cassia started kindergarten and Montessori.  We enjoyed one brother's wedding and welcomed my new nephew into this world. We also learned that 2014 will bring another baby into this world and our  family- my other brother and his new bride are also expecting a baby in July!

2013 wasn't all happy. We had some tough moments but that's not what I choose to focus on. Above all, when I remember this year, I will remember  it as a blessed one,  filled with family, great health,  silly stuff, sweet moments,  and lots and lots of love and laughter. 

Happy New Year! 

Check out this slideshow of a few of our 2013 pictures that Google put together.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Visit to Santa- late post

We had our annual outing to see the great Santa Claus. The girls were all dressed up in their red finery and we made it out to our local Cambridge Mall.

First we perused Target (why the heck not?)

Then we lined up 

We brushed our hair and changed our shoes while in line- A is always losing one side of shoe and I find it weeks later in some toy-box. 

A selfie-- or as some people call it- an us-ie

Then of course there were tears. Quite a bit. This is the first time ever that we had tears. C has always been brave and excited to see Santa but even from before I knew there would be tears. She is too much of a mama's girl to sit on a stranger's lap. And there was too much red in the picture... next time, we're going back to Kitchener.

Luckily Dad came to the rescue to save her after

And then we went to dinner and mama had wine. The end. 

Boxing Day Walk

After all of the heavy eating and staying indoors for Christmas, this mama needed a bit of fresh air. I trudged my way through the neighbourhood and enjoyed every blustery second of it. 

Don't you just love it when you're the first one to walk through a fresh snowfall? 

I was dressed for the occasion in my warmest winter jacket from Gap-- seriously, I wear vests under this to go to the gym and I'm fine. I also wore my mom's Uggs and it was like putting my feet in pillows. I am sold!

So very pretty 

When I came home, Anjali was being fed-- dhal, rice and bhagi! 

And then there was our annual Sound of Music viewing

And then Elsa paid a visit!

What a relaxing day!!

Christmas Morning Fun!

This Christmas was beautiful, bountiful and blessed

Beautiful in that it was a white, snowy, pretty Christmas Day. It was freezing but we didn't have to leave the house so we were able to enjoy our winter wonderland through our windows. The festive Christmas ornaments, joyous carols and white snowy background all contributed to that special Christmas feeling. 

Bountiful in that all that we had around us. As you can see below, and that was only a cross section of the gifts, we had lots and lots of presents. Even though we were very mindful of what we gave, I think everyone was very pleased with all that Sarita  Santa brought them. I was also so touched by all that I received. There was also lots and lots of food and drink and many helping hands. Darin and I took care of breakfast and the ladies took care of dinner. We each took a couple dishes though so it wasn't too much work for any one of us.

We were also incredibly blessed as we had both sets of grandparents here to enjoy Christmas with our little family of four. This was the first time in seven years that all four grandparents braved these cold temperatures to come to Canada and experience Christmas with us. Three generations all under one roof. It just made our holidays that much more special. We played games, chatted, cooked, watched movies, drank and ate! Lots!!!

Enjoy our photos from Christmas morning.

This was our Christmas tree and a cross section of presents taken before 3 am when I finally went to sleep

The stockings are hung by the staircase with care.

First C was waiting at the top of the staircase until we told her she could come down. 
I love her face when she saw the spoils that Santa brought us.
Check sweet A in the background. 

Presents galore!

My kids opening their presents was lots of fun but I must say that one of my very favourite moments of the entire holidays was when my mother-in-law received this present from me. She really wanted a Holiday Barbie 2013. She kept asking about it and it was sold out in a couple places. I finally found it online but we all had to keep making excuses not to go to the stores to check for it. When she opened it and saw what it was, she got so emotional and so happy. We all were affected as well. 

A doll with her very own life-size doll. Let's just say there were lots of dolls as presents this Christmas. Both girls also got American Dolls from my mother in law and then there were Santa's dolls and Grandma's dolls too. We're good with dolls for the next five years. 

Then it was time for breakfast! 

Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas morning!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Christmas Eve

Can you believe that Christmas has come and gone already? Technically though, it's really not over until the 6th of January. Until then,  carols will be playing in this house, decorations up and some sort of sugary treat around.  We've been so busy and  blessed as well, with two sets of grandparents around- lots of food, ole' talk and playing with the grandkids. My parents came in on Christmas Eve as well. 

We spent our Christmas Eve in Mississauga at our aunt's house. This has become something of an annual tradition. Sometimes it's just us and other times, there are lots of other friends and family. Either which way, it's always a very special way to spend Christmas Eve. The house is always so festively decorated, the food is yum and there are always carols-- either being played or sung! 

Here are a few shots from that night. 

This beautiful Christmas Village was the source of great delight for my kids.... and the source of great paranoia for D and me... we were afraid that some grubby  tiny hands would break these delicate pieces. 

Their lovely Christmas tree

Some Christmas love between the sisters!

Our little family! 

And then there was carolling 

Christmas jammers time! 

We ended up getting home close to midnight and then we had to wrap all these presents from Santa I had my mom bring from the US for the girls, prep for the next day and tidy up a bit. I ended up going to bed about 3 am. Seriously, I totally understand why Christmas is so magical for the kids... it's cause the adults make it that way! I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world though!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This Christmas!

Wishing each and everyone a wonderful Christmas season! We hope that you have a memorable holiday season filled with loved ones, special moments and beautiful memories and lots and lots of cookies!
Add caption

From Sarita, Darin, Cassia and Anjali 

Here are a few other shots from our Christmas photo shoot

This one below was on the back of our Christmas card. 

And this one here was our Christmas card shot! 

Cheers everyone!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Baking

We've been doing a ton of baking around here. When I say a ton, I mean like three sets but as I eluded to  already, we've been eating our weight in baked goods so it feels like lots. But it is more than we have in the last couple years actually. Cassia loves it although the extent of her assistance is wearing an apron and dumping a couple ingredients in the bowl. Her attention span is pretty  short but she does love the sampling after though! 

Horsing around for Mommy/Daughter Day 

All decked out and ready to bake 

Even Mama put on her Christmas apron

Yummy Skor Bars, but a distant memory.

Then D got in on the action and began gingerbreading (as you can see my Christmas verbage is very creative).

decorating the cookies

Can you believe my family of sugar addicts finished this batch in 24 hours? There were about 30 cookies and I have a strong suspicion my kids got cookies for breakfast while Mama slept in. 

And here is his masterpiece--- seriously, is he in the wrong profession or what?! 

Today, we made white chocolate holiday bark but I got smart and packaged them into three separate tins! 

What should we bake tomorrow?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recipe Link Up- Ponche de creme

I'm under the wire to get into the recipe link up! This time, I am linking up with Schue Love and The Lovely Cupboard.

I thought of so many different Christmas recipes to share and couldn't decide which one... should I share the yummy Mexican Wedding Cakes, my super easy, super secret Skor Bars, our family Ambrosia, my stuffing, a sorrel  drink and then finally I decided on a trinidadian recipe- Ponche de Creme (also called Punch a creme or ponche a crema) --- if you love egg nog then you will love ponche de creme- an adult version of egg nog which packs a bit of a ponche , I mean punch.

Here goes:

6 eggs
2 tbsp freshly grated lime zest
1 and 1/2 tins of condensed milk
1 and 1/2 tins of evaporated milk (or half and half)
1 and 1/2 cups of good quality rum
1 tbsp Angostura bitters (if you have it on hand)
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste ( a couple pinches)

1- Using a double boiler, boil the eggs, zest and milk which have been mixed together. Stir pot constantly so the mixture doesn't cook and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens a bit
2- Let the mixture cool then add the bitters, nutmeg and rum.
3- Store in the fridge.
4- Serve with lots of crushed ice (I like to add a touch of milk to cut the calories and the thickness a bit). Also add some more grated nutmeg if you wish.

Photo courtesy Largeup.com

Happy Holidaying Everyone!!

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