A weekend of ups and downs...

This past weekend was lots of fun... but there were some serious emotional highs and lows!

The ladies brunch

Brunch for Wishes - centrepieces (pretty, huh?)
After weeks (mmm... months) of planning I finally held my "ladies only" brunch fundraiser at the Bifthèque restaurant in Boucherville. I was very happy with how things came together and the "feel" of the event - and was incredibly touched by the lovely ladies who came out, offered their support and words of encouragement. You can read more about it by clicking here.

The brunch was all cleaned up by 1:30 p.m. on Saturday... leaving us plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful weather with the girls - and head out to a BBQ in Ville St-Laurent. The BBQ was fun... but as we got ready to leave - we had the "down" moment of our weekend. For about 10 minutes we could not find Layla.

Where's Layla?

Convinced that she was hiding somewhere because she didn't want to leave, I took my time gathering our stuff and saying my good-byes. I went to look for her in the house... she wasn't there. Brandon went looking around front... she wasn't there... I went back in the backyard...

Panic was setting in. Brandon dropped our stuff and went looking. With Meaghan in my arms, I raced back to the front and then again to the back. I could feel my heart beating like it was going to come right out of my chest. All I could think was "This can't be happening to me... I can't be that Mom... I don't want this to be my story...". Soon several of the bbq guests were looking for Layla with us... one guy jumped into his car to start driving around the neighborhood and others ran from backyard to backyard. I yelled "Layla, Layla, sweetie, Layla where are you?" over and over.  Meaghan echoed my calls "LAyla, Ayla, Ayla". Finally a few people took off running around the corner - they had spotted her, poor little thing, a few houses down, standing on the sidewalk and crying "Mama"...

Be still my heart. Breathe. She's there. She's okay. Nobody took her away.

I passed Meaghan off to the nearest person and ran to pull Layla into my arms - Tears of relief covering both of our cheeks. Everyone had a good scare. It didn't take long before she was looking for her Dadda too. He took her into his arms, and I accepted the comforting hugs from those nearby.

The next time we go anywhere - I am tying her to me (well maybe not, but you know what I mean).

It's hard not to think of the what if's or to be beat myself up for not worrying sooner - but in the end, I'm just happy that she was only around the corner, and that we found her. The new rule to enforce will be: "you don't have to be beside me all the time, but you have to be able to see me - you can't go further than that. If you can't see me, call for me".

Thankfully our weekend didn't end on that note...

Sunday BBQ

On our way home from church on Sunday I turned to Brandon and said "we should call around and see if anyone is up for a BBQ tonight - it's just too nice of a day to not do something". Some might call me crazy for adding another activity to my already packed weekend, but there was something nice about having a few friends over, cooking and baking in my kitchen (just for fun), and enjoying a relaxing evening with good food.

Setting everything up in the backyard made it feel like a "real bbq"
(whatever that means!)
For a spontaneous BBQ, it was easiest to throw together a couple salads (my famous caesar salad and a pasta salad from my trusty Betty Crocker basics cookbook, pick up some corn (which is in season and totally delicious!), and ask people to bring their own meat. 

Meaghan enjoying her corn and saying "cheese" for the camera

No "event", no matter how informal, is complete without dessert. I checked what I had on hand and decided on a peach/strawberry crisp and ice cream sundaes for the kids. The peach crisp was PERFECT - a real hit... and no kid I know says no to ice cream with chocolate or caramel sauce and bananas!

Recipes will come... eventually :-)

After the kids were put to bed and the kitchen was cleaned - I counted my money.

Fundraising for Summit for Wishes has officially passed the $11 000 mark (that's almost 70%). I'm thrilled. obviously.

How many people does it take to change a tire?

I have a confession to make.

As much as I consider myself to be a "modern woman", capable of doing all of the traditionally man tasks and making it on my own - I'm really a girly girl when it comes down to it.

I don't take out the garbage.

I don't mow the lawn.

I have never changed the oil in my car - or changed a tire.

When I was on my way home from work this evening, my car started wobbling and I pulled over to see what was wrong (the last time this happened, my tie-rod was busted... and I was in real trouble).

I was relieved to see that it was just a flat tire.

I took a moment to consider my options - option 1: attempt to change the tire myself and option 2: attempt to drive home and get B to take care of it for me.

The tire was looking really flat... and I could do this... right?!?

I went with option 1.

Had I been able to actually loosen more than 1 bolt I think I might have managed to jack the car up on my own - but after 20 minutes of grunting and pulling and pushing with all of the strength I could muster, those bolts weren't budging.

Why wasn't anyone stopping.

Tears of frustration were starting to make their appearance.

Finally 2 guys biked by and after considering my poor state, turned around to ask if I could use some help.

Of course the "boy" could loosen the bolts that I couldn't.

But once the bolts were loosened and the car was jacked... the tire wouldn't budge... and I am not exaggerating here - it was seriously stuck.

Finally 2 older men came out of a machine-shop or air-hanger (I was driving along the airport service road) and brought tools (hammer, jack hammer, a giant wrench) to help.

15 minutes later - my flat tire was still attached to my car. One of the men went to find some oil.

(Note: You should always have a spray can of oil in your car!)

About 30 seconds after he started spraying, the tire finally slipped off.

About 5 minutes later I was back in the car, on my way home.

Did I mention that the girls were with me?  That I was wearing a pencil skirt with a particularly high slit in the back? That in the end I was standing there with not 2, not 4, but 6 men helping me - the poor girly woman on the side of the road :-P

I feel like such a girl !

A fundraising update...

Another one down... more than half way!

Dad has too much hair on his face to have it painted... so...

The last few weeks of my life have been busy. Mini-vacations, sickness in the family, my first "hike", my first yard sale, regular life, regular work, a fundraising weekend at IGA... and now... the final preparations for my ladies brunch fundraiser. The number of to do lists floating around in my head is finally starting to decrease and I feel like I'm regaining some sense of normalcy. Sort of. ;-)

Aside from the lessons learned from my most recent fundraising activity - I'm really excited to announce that we have passed (by far) the 1/2 way point of this crazy project. With less than 5 months to go to Kilimanjaro, the total amount raised stands at $ 9600 - pretty exciting if I do say so myself. I'm not done yet - but I feel like I've made it far enough that I'll be able to start sharing the focus between the fundraising and the physical training aspects of this adventure.

Which brings me to my next announcement...


a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (30) Bake sale treats

(written yesterday afternoon)

I spent this morning baking for the bake sale portion of the fundraiser I'm organizing at the local IGA Grocery story this coming weekend. It's going to be a busy weekend... and if you're in the area, it would be awesome if you stopped by (click here for details).

I have lots of help for the bake sale thanks to the following lovely ladies (and gentleman!): Aimée, Arlene, Sylvia, Calvin & Carolyn, Charlene... and my special helpers this morning, Rachel and Layla. There should be a pretty great assortment of baked goods. Muffins, cookies, brownies, rice krispy squares, rocky road bars... and maybe even some mini-cheesecakes.

I've limited my own baking to some pretty simple stuff but it was a good opportunity to try a new muffin recipe - APPLE MUFFINS - the result being a definite "do again", especially with apple season right around the corner!

So this morning we made: Blueberry muffins , Apple muffins (see recipe below), Rice Krispy Squares (a classic bake sale favorite) and Ghiradelli chocolate brownies (this is a mix... don't turn your nose up because  it's fantastic... I made over $80 selling these brownies at a bake sale at my work place and they are a new staple in our home!) 

Now it`s time to make some posters and make sure I have everything I need for tomorrow (and then it's girls night out tonight too ... busy day!... busy weekend!)

Apple Muffins (original recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apple juice*
*I didn't have any apple juice on hand so I supplemented 1/2 cup of apple sauce & 1/4 cup water.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup apples - peeled, cored and finely diced


1.Heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Grease bottoms only of 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.
2.In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, combine apple juice, oil, and egg; blend well. Add dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened (batter will be lumpy.) Stir in chopped apples.
3.Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 minute before removing from pan. Serve warm.

a.o.k. trial gourmet (29) Sweet and Sour Pork

We've been blessed with particularly nice weather this summer haven't we? Beautiful weekends for everything from camping, garage sales and star gazing to lounging around the back yard and playing with the girls in the pool. We've definitely put our AC to good use these past couple of months... but lately there's a chill in the evening air... and I'm starting to crave slow cooker meals - which can only mean that fall is slowly creeping up on us.

Truth be told, I love the summer months and I'm sad to see them coming to an end, but I also love the Fall (when it's not cold and raining!).  I started "officially" dating Brandon on Sept 25th in our senior year of high school. Thanksgiving has got to be a close 2nd to Christmas for my "favorite holidays" - mostly because of the food! Oh and my birthday also happens to be in the Fall as well... :-)

Why am I talking about the Fall? Well.. When I made this a.o.k gourmet meal - which the original recipe refers to as "Cantonese Dinner Recipe" - it made me think of other "comfort/one-pot" meals that are so typical of my fall/winter dinner repertoire.

I found this recipe using Brandon's new ipod touch. What a cool little gadget... and it's not even the iphone! Allrecipes.com has an app to search for recipes... you put in your main ingredient, the type of meal you're looking for and how long you want it to take... and presto... a list of recipes at your fingertips.

I had these pork cubes which I'd gotten on special and didn't know what to do with them. I modified the recipe I found on the ipod (by reading the recipe reviews) and was really happy with the result. Actually - everyone was thrilled with the result and I will be making this "sweet&sour pork" again and again in the months to come.

Curious... Here's the recipe (can you say easy!!!???)


  • 2 pounds pork, cut into strips or small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
  • 2 1 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1.In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown pork in oil. Drain off excess fat.
2.Place pork, onion, mushrooms, carrot, peppers, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and Worcestershire sauce in a slow cooker. Cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.


Crazy August... and it's not over yet!

What a crazy month it`s been - and we're only half way through!

The month started off with a mini-vacation to Tremblant with my in laws. I took the opportunity to take off on my first hike in my "Kilimanjaro" boots.

The hike was brief - as the boots are "intense" and need to be broken in slowly. It was also steep enough to make me question this crazy project.  As my breath became more laboured my thoughts wandered. What the heck am I doing? How can I possibly think I can do something like this? ... and of course the occasional thought of how I would respond to a random bear attack seeing as I was hiking alone (you can say it... crazy!)

(read more)

Wordless wednesday: Meagh at the water park

Related Posts with Thumbnails