Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Movies

Aren't holiday movies one of the best parts of the season of merry?! Give me the blockbusters, the Lifetime cheeseball specials, the kid movies--- all while sitting on the floor wrapping my presents or having some sweet treats! Here are just a few of my favourites.


My kids adore this one and  it has enough adult humour to make me giggle as well! This is a must see for us and we talk about Buddy all the time. And how good is Zoey Deschanel's "Baby, it's cold outside"?!

The Sound of Music

A day or two after Christmas is when we like to watch the Sound of Music and sing along to all.the.songs. SUCH a feel good, family movie. I wanted curtain dresses as a kid too!

Love Actually

This has got to be D and my favourite adult Holiday movie. So many different characters, so many funny and poignant parts! 

Honorable mentions go to The Family Stone, The Holiday and Four Christmases :-)

What about you? Any favourites to recommend?

Linking up with Shelly and Katy today for Spiel The Beans!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekending-- beginning to look a lot like Christmas

First of, a SWEET teeny tiny nephew of mine was born this weekend. How I love him already! I cannot wait to meet this new addition to our family next month when we go to TNT!!!

This weekend was packed but low key all at the same time:

On Thursday, American Thanksgiving, my American friend Dani and her family came over for our own little tradition of turkey and fixings. We're team players like that! Is it Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving? I dunno but I will SO miss them when they go to NC next year.

On Friday, I did some Black Friday shopping in our local mall for the girls and their friends' birthdays.We then headed to our family/friends' house where we hung out, ate awesome chicken marbella and C went with one of their boys to a cooking class. They LOVED it so I'm definitely looking at signing them up again.

Our family headed out on Saturday to a complimentary event with a company we do business with. Visit with Santa, horse drawn carriage through the city, crafts and sugary treats- my girls were in HEAVEN.

 We then walked a bit on a trail, made a quick trip to  a couple stores before heading home to start the tree decorating and watch some Gilmore Girls (and of course eat some junk-- apropos for the show, no?)


Sunday was yet another kiddie event- this time one of D's work Holiday Parties. The girls loved their visit with a mad scientist and the brunch! Mama also loved her visit to Michael's and Marshall's after (I had a vision for my tree). 

Appies, drinks, a yummy Nando's takeout dinner, tree decorating and Gilmore Girls was an awesome end to a terrific weekend. 

Linking up with   

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Favourites: Let's talk Christmas!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.... especially after American Thanksgiving! 

Here's some Q& A in the spirit of the season.

What's your best childhood holiday memory?

I grew up on the island of Trinidad and Tobago where Christmases were warm and glorious and Christmas was until almost a week after New Years' Day. Seriously, so much family, food  and fun--- these were huge back on the islands more than lots of gift giving. I  remember tons of family get togethers, The Sound of Music on with the special snacks and feasts brought out like the blue tin of Danish cookies and the fancy mixed nuts. My aunts from the US would come back to  TNT to visit us and bring their American treats, eats and little presents. So it's the family time and the air of festivity that I'd remember most fondly from the season as a kid! Oh and the book my dad would take my brothers to the bookstore to choose before Christmas each year.

At holiday parties, I sip on...

Usually red wine. If I'm at a big cocktail party at someone's house though, I sometimes switch it to white as I don't want red wine to spill on a light sofa or anything.  In my twenties, I didn't mind mixing and matching--- these days, not so much!! 
If my host has a signature cocktail though to start the night, I'd usually sample--- I'm nothing if not a team player!

What's your ideal host/hostess gift?

My friend Jenn gave me this one time- a hurricane with a candle inside. To me it is the perfect hostess gift. 

Some other wonderful gifts I've received is a homemade bread for next morning's breakfast and a scone mix coupled with some hot chocolate. 

(How) do you entertain over the holiday season?

We are all about easy entertaining. Easy (well presented) appies, drinks and simple meals. Oh and if someone asks to bring something I usually graciously accept. We're not one for being all over a hot stove when we have guests. I try to  do lots before so when my guests come I can enjoy their company... I do always find myself running around still though.

  These days, I've being doing a girls' appie night where everyone brings an app to share (food pictured above), a couple get togethers families with small kids at a time throughout the season and one for our family.... oh and my parents come to visit most years -- but that's not really entertaining, right? We usually all pitch in during holiday time when they're around.

What are your holiday decorating secrets/tips?

Hmmm.... everyone's style is different but in the past few years I've stayed away from lots of red. I love textures, different layers and colours and not everything totally matching. 

For my tree, it takes a couple of days and these are my tips:
- the lights have to pass the squint test. 
- the garlands and the flowers go next.
- clear bulbs on the inside to make the tree look like it's glowing from within.
- The entire tree has to be layered. every.single branch, back and front with the not so favourite decorations on the inside and the very favourites on the outside.
- I have small children so the very breakable ones to the top.  
- And then I change ornaments around for the next few days that follow!

 What's your current favourite holiday tradition?

I have so many favourites I posted about here--  the shoe-box donations, holiday baking, the parties, taking the girls to see the lights, the cookies, the wrapping presents while watching Christmas episodes or Christmas movies, the decorating.... 
I do love Christmas morning with my family though... if I really, really have to choose a favourite--- and the stockings more than the presents followed by a huge breakfast!

What's Christmas Eve and Christmas Day like in your house?

Christmas Eve is usually spent with D making a last minute trip to the mall or a pharmacy (stocking stuffers) and with me puttering around in the kitchen and doing last minute stuff to get things ready for Christmas Day and most years my parents visiting. 

In the past few years since the girls were born, we've done Christmas Eve with some family having appies, some festive drinks, a delicious dinner and carolling. They live less than an hour away so the girls usually fall asleep in the car and my mom, D and I get things ready for Santa :-) (my seven year old sometimes peeps into my blog) and fall asleep in the wee hours of the morning. 
Of course the girls are up bright and early in the am and so are we unwrapping presents, breakfast and a late lunch into dinner. If my parents are around, we stay home but if they are not, we've gotten together with a friend and her family and have a gourmet meal with wine pairings-- quite civilized!

I love reading about other people's Christmases so over the next few weeks, I'll be having some of lovely ladies guest post about their favourites for the season. 

Hope everyone is beginning to feel merry and bright!

Linking up with 
AndreaErika and Narci for Favourites on Friday
  and Amanda for Friday Favourites

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday- November 2016

So much to talk about. Let's get into it!

What we're eating this week?

Monday: tacos with slow cooker chicken, black beans and corn
Tuesday: Chinese corn soup
Wednesday: Burrito bowls using the slow cooker chicken with some rice and veggies.
Thursday: American Thanksgiving- even though we're Canadian, out of respect/just for fun, I'm doing a turkey and some fixings for dinner and inviting a friend and her family over.
Friday: dinner at a friend's house

What I'm reminiscing about

Christmas seasons past. Christmases here, the season back in Trinidad. Like most of the populace, I adore this time of year.

What I'm loving

Quite a few things, friends:
+That Christmas is coming soon!!!
+Slow cooker meals. LOVE the time saving.
 This slow cooker coconut curry chicken I posted about yesterday was awesome

+How Anjali wants to read ALL the time and brings her book bright and early on a weekend to read!!!
+Our Chromecast--- Google Play and Netflix on TV, yes please.
+ We've discovered PC Cooking classes for kids and signed some of us up for a couple  classes in December!

  What we've been up to…
  Getting ready for the happiest season of all- spending time together, consuming sugar, decorating, a bit of online shopping and organising our festive season. Oh and life: school, work, extra curricular, semi clean eating most days ;-P

We decorated on Saturday for a break and took a little break

Later that evening, D and I had an adult treat. #boozy eggnog.
 D's cousin bought her a lavender marshmallow (A chose it!?) and she lapped it up!!

What I'm dreading…

It is SO cold and only getting colder and the Farmer's Almanac does NOT predict good things for this winter. I totally dread my walk to pick C up but then I think of last year when I would have to lug a sometimes sleeping and very reluctant three year old into sub zero weather with me and think that yes, it could be worse.

What I'm working on

+ Decorating my house slowly for the season! 

A certain four year old promptly opened every single door in the Advent calendar to see if Santa left anything and a certain 7 year old quickly closed them back

+ Doing Christmas boxes for children and a local women's shelter. I've even roped asked my neighbours and friends to help donate items so I think we'll amass quite the stash

 + Getting stuff ready for our visit to sweet TNT
+ Working on problem solving with my seven year old and patience with my four year old. 
+Our Christmas cards. My friend Andrea did a little shoot with them the other day and here's just one of her beautiful pics!


What I'm excited about…

My new nephew/niece comes in a few days!!!!!!
D has also asked for some quiet time this season for just us four. My kids are at such a fun age. I am so excited for the season with them. 

And Trinidad right after Christmas to visit family and friends and my new family.  I cannot wait!

What I'm watching/reading…

Our book club is discussing The Girl with The Pearl Earring and I love it. Such a quick read but great book detailing a fictional account of the Johann Vermeer painting and it's origin. I've also reread the Winter Stroll and read Winter Storm-- two holiday books by Elin Hilderbrand. Captivating trilogy about the Quinn Family!
I've also finished Downton Abbey Season 5. Netflix only goes so far so I'm waiting for Season 6 from a friend of mine.

What I'm listening to..

Christmas carols all.the.time. Google play at home and I finally found a radio station that's playing Christmas music for pick ups and drop offs.
And EfX Radio-- this Trinidadian radio app with music streaming from the islands. 

What I'm wearing…

My Barefoot dreams cardigan at home!  I've even busted my down jacket and cardy-uggs out on some especially cold days. And scarves, gloves and winter head bands. Brrrr.....

What I'm doing this weekend…

I signed Cassia up for a kid's cooking class and she is going with some family/friends of ours while we go to dinner at their house. Saturday is a carriage ride through town and some time with Santa.  And on Sunday, we have a kid's Christmas party to go to. And the tree is going up for sure!

What I'm looking forward to next month..

Christmas and Trinidad :-). It will be a busy month but Darin has also asked for some quiet days with just us four doing our own little Christmas things.

What else is new?
Not a whole lot else!

What's my favourite Thanksgiving tradition?

In Canada we celebrate in October (the US Columbus Day) but it has to be the delicious meal and family time we spend together giving thanks for a wonderful summer that just passed. 

 Linking up with the lovely Mel, Shay and Shaeffer

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

My family went crazy for this concoction the other day. The blend of curry, coconut milk and other spices left even my very pickiest eater very happy. Such comfort food for this blustery weather.


1 onion
2 pimento pepper (optional)
1/4 cup cilantro
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced ginger (or more like me)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1.5 tablespoons curry powder
Pinch red pepper flakes(more to taste )
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 cup of frozen peas
1 red pepper chopped
Cilantro and green onions to serve


1- Chop onions, garlic, pimento peppers and cilantro. I use my mini chopper so that I don't cry. Onion tears are real tears!

2- Put mixture into slow cooker with the chicken and combine until the chicken is well coated. 

3- Add all the spices together with the coconut milk and stir until combined. Again for ease, I used my mini chopper.

4- Add mixture to slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 5-6 hours on lower heat. Each slow cooker is different!

5- In the last 15 minutes, add your peas, red peppers and mushrooms and shred your chicken using two forks. They will continue to cook with the heat long after. 

6- Serve warm over rice (or in my case, cauliflower rice). Garnish with green onions and extra cilantro if you wish!

So delicious but super easy-- it's hard to mess this one up!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Seven hours in Sonoma

Better late than never for this one....

Sonoma was a must-see when we visited California in August. Only a half an hour away from Napa Valley, it was a perfect little sojourn for the day-- though we could have probably spent quite a few days there with over 400 wineries to visit! So quaint and quiet but so full of character.

First up, we headed to the town square where we wandered around for a bit, admired the local architecture and then had some breakfast at a little cafe.

I didn't have all this for breakfast. The urge was strong but we resisted.

Next up, the Benziger winery. This was one of my very favourite places in my entire trip. Such beautiful grounds and family run wineries. They run their farms using biodynamic, organic processes  and their white wines were crisp, clean and  exactly to my liking! We did a walking tour of their processes, wandered around the vineyards and did some tastings. It was there that I discovered my new friend, port. 

The flowers, the fruit, the vineyards-- SO pretty!! We ended up buying three bottles of wine here.

Buena Vista, the oldest commercial winery in California, was the next stop. This one is a national Californian landmark and was another picturesque site. 

Can you tell how seriously we were taking ourselves?

Last up after a quick diner lunch, Gundlach Bundchu, another family run winery with its sixth generation of owners. This one was different with the walking trails, eclectic murals, views of the water and beautiful rustic look.

Funky artwork, no?

And finally we hightailed in out of there for a meal at Ad Hoc back in Yountville, Napa. A four course, family style menu that changes daily with wine pairings for each course. Their tomato gazpacho, salmon, cheese and pots de creme are the stuff foodie dreams are made of. Such a memorable dining experience.

 Such a wonderful day!!
You can read about our experience in Napa here.

Happy Monday, loves!

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