Friday, April 5, 2013

Of Shopping, Rockstar Jeans, Easter Crafts and family dinners

6:15am did in fact come early on Friday - a day off from work! But I managed to drag my self out of bed, get dressed and throw the coolers and US shopping gear into the car and head over to Irene’s by 6:45am. We headed off to the border “knowing” the lines would be short since we were up so early. WRONG. Usually that’s true but Friday ended up hitting all time high records for wait times and amount of people crossing. Yikes. We got to Peace Arch and the line of cars stretched down the highway. We took the last exit before the line of cars to head over to the truck crossing, which was even longer! It stretched past the lights. One time my sister and I waited for 3 hours at the truck crossing and this line was longer than the one we’d waited in! I refuse to wait that long to cross into the states, so we drove over to Sumas at Abbotsford and joined the line there – still long but not stupid long. We crossed in an hour and 5 minutes. With a 20 minute longer drive to get there, that still put us ahead of the 2 hour wait at peace arch.

We headed straight down to Marysville to hit up Target – where I found many awesome things including these two pieces to hang on my wall, for $4.58 each!


Then it was off to Walmart Supercenter and WinCo foods and Costco, with a repeat stop at Target. Thankfully each of these stores is within 3 exits of each other on the I5 so it was nice and quick to get to each store. We headed north and ended up at Burlington for Old Navy and Panera. The Panera was for sustenance and the Old Navy was for jeans.

Let me tell you about jeans. Well, Jeans and me specifically. I can’t wear all types of jeans – I’m very picky. When I find a pair that fits well I basically buy it in every color that I can and always go back to that store for that brand. My most recent discovery for jeans was at Dress Barn for skinny jeans. I loved mine. I loved them so much that I have gone through 3 pairs of the same black jeans and 3 pairs of the same denim jean in the past 2 years. They are lovely but they always eventually wear out in the thigh – sad. When I went to Dress Barn on my last US visit to pick up a new pair of each I discovered that they no longer carried this brand, and the internet didn’t offer any ideas on how to track them down. I was crushed.

I started telling people about my dilemma in the hopes someone would have a suggestion for replacement jeans. Thankfully my friend Steph Hanlon told me that she swears by Rockstar jeans at Old Navy. I’ll admit I was skeptical. Old Navy jeans? I’ve tried on pants there before and they always seem to thin and cheaply made – could this really be a solution for me?

And the long and short of it is yes. They are indeed awesome. So awesome I bought 3 pairs – light and dark denim, as well as black. I’m in love. Not only are they the perfect type of skinny (tight on the ankle, no bunch at the knee) but they also look good with a belt, which I’d given up all hope of ever finding.

Needless to say I’m constantly in my new jeans currently.





Old Navy also made me happy in another way.
Recently I’d noticed this adorable outfit on Kendi Everyday – I love black and white, especially with a hint of pink. I was smitten. I wasn’t totally sold on the mixed prints personally, but she looked super cute. Sadly, I didn’t have a pink belt nor black and white bottoms.


Enter Old Navy’s adorable black and white striped dress and double belts and voila!




I felt fun and springy in this.
I wore it to church on Easter Sunday – the day was hot and sunny – part of the service was outside and this was the perfect outfit.  I look forward to discovering more ways to wear this.

We got in late Friday night – Paul was away at a stag – so I was left to unload alone. Thankfully our roommate Duncan was home and he very kindly lifted all the heavy stuff for me J Thanks Duncan!! We got everything inside as quickly as possible, throwing all fridge and freezer stuff into the fridge and freezer downstairs and then it was time for bed! My body was sore from all the shopping and car rearranging. Thankfully though we’d had a super quick border crossing on the return, less than 10 minutes! And so I was in bed by 11pm.

A late night rest with "Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds" and some Grey's Anatomy



And to my wonder and amazement I was woken up at 8:30am by the sun streaming in my room…and I didn’t mind being woken up at all – the sun was so lovely. I cranked open the blinds and did some tidying and then made my way out into the real world to get supplies for Easter dinner that night. I put on the neon t shirt and belt with jeans combo that you see above and headed out to find decorations for easter. I went to the Dollar Giant, and $15 dollars later had all the supplies I’d need to make decorative place settings for 20 people. Here’s what I did:

I cut strips of chalkboard from my chalkboard roll – this is the same $12 roll I purchased a year ago and now 6 projects later I’m still using it!

I bought a pack of plastic tumblers at the dollar store, placed a piece of chalkboard roll onto them and wrote each persons name. It already looked amazingly festive.

Then I filled each cup with grass – yellow for the girls and green for the boys. I added sugar filled plastic carrots to the green grass cuss and white mini eggs to the yellow grass cups. And voila! Finished.

Inexpensive, easy and super super cute.


I also made a simple centerpiece:


I set the tables early - and made it all beautiful and it made me so happy to look out over the tables while I worked.





Then it was time to get to cooking. I was hosting dinner for 20 at our place that night. There was my sisters family, my parents, our friends Dylan and Deve, mine and Jenna’s homestay students and 3 international students from Langara. Dylan and Deve were bringing the appies (spring rolls!), Jenna was bringing buns, salad, dessert and sautéed vegetables and Dad was bringing the mashed potatoes. I just needed to cook a ham and a turkey, toss up a cold green bean salad and bake a green bean casserole. Easy peasy.

For those of you that think “Turkey? Easy? Really!?” Let me tell you – Turkey bags are the way to go. I get mine as Safeway, but you can get them most anywhere. I butter up my turkey with becel (margarine, that is), sprinkle it with garlic salt, onion salt and seasoning salt and then toss diced onions and minced garlic on top of it. I do this all with it sitting inside of the oven bag, in the roaster. Then I close up the bag, cut a few holes as specified on the package and put it in the oven for 2-3 hours. I always end up with tender, juicy, tasty turkey.

For the ham, I’d grabbed a spiral cut at Costco. I put it in the crockpot using this recipe found on pinterest. I found that it didn’t heat at the rate the recipe said it would, so after 3 hours I put it in a pan and threw it in the oven with all the sauce on top and MAN IT WAS AWESOME.



Duncan hates ham and he texted me after he’d tried it to tell me that I was allowed to make this every week if I wanted – that’s approval!

I made the rest of my side dishes easily and then concentrated on my fun food addition: Birdsnests. I made these last year and they were such a hit, I knew I’d make them again. I made enough for our dinner and to bring to the church Easter reception.




And God must be extra good because I even had time to lay in the sun with a book and a drink for an hour before the first sets of family arrived.



The dinner was a great success! Everyone had fun and the food was amazing. The party mostly emptied out by 10:30pm, which was perfect as I was getting pretty tired. 


The only damper on the night was that Paul had come home from the stag with the flu or something flu like. He felt poorly the entire time he was away and it didn’t get any better over the weekend. He missed the dinner, just slept in our bedroom. We had family plans for Sunday morning but instead we had to cancel and stay home so he could rest. While Paul slept I put my laundry away and tidied up our room and then we ate food, with Paul wrapped up in a blanket on the couch. He was terribly cold…and then terribly hot…and then cold again and hot again. It was so frustrating for him! While he vacillated between temperatures on the couch I finished putting away all the canned goods  and shopping from the trip – the family room downstairs had gotten pretty messy! It was all tidy by the time we needed to head to church and by then Paul was feeling a bit better, so he joined us. After church we headed over to the Mitchell’s for family dinner – we were able to stay for a few hours before Paul’s sickness sent us back home. It will still so nice to be all together as family – and have Jodi and Joel with us. Sadly Lyndsay wasn’t able to join us – and LeAnna and her family were back in Europe. But the rest of the crew was there – and we did a lot of talking and laughing and eating.

Monday morning was another beautiful sunny day – I got to sleep in since my boss was covering the morning and I didn’t have to take over until 12:30. I did more tidying around the house and ate a nice leftovers brunch then headed into work in the sun on my bike. Happy happy again.

Monday night we had the MacLeod’s over for dinner and it was a time of laughter and great conversation. Devin and Lydia are LOVELY to spend time with. 

Tuesday night was Lifegroup for Jodi's birthday - I made Burgers with sauteed onions and mushrooms, Ranch Bacon Devilled Eggs, Avocado Greek Pasta Salad (recipe to come) and served it all with chips and Mango Salsa. I also made a home made Ice Cream. This meal seemed super simple to me - and yet the constant raves and shouts of excitement were enough to convince me that this was indeed a rave worthy meal. 

Wednesday it was my friend Lindsay's birthday, so we had her and her husband John over for dinner. I made us Baja Fish Taco's and man...soooo good. 

Original: 




Lindsay, Paul and Duncan were particularly ecstatic and effusive in their love of this meal. This will be made again for sure!!! And I'm so pleased that I went out of my way to get the Queso Fresco - really great taste. Also I accidentally refered to Queso Fresco as "Mexican" for white cheese. Oops. That's Spanish. Right. Embarrassing. 

Last night I babysat the nephews and hung out with Jenna afterwards and bam - it's Friday and the weekend! It's Gabe and Sunny's wedding on Saturday, so that fills up most of the weekend, and add in some babysitting and a McCarthy dinner on Sunday and it should be a good weekend. 

3 comments:

Mrs. R said...

Tara, those jeans look amazing on you!! Seriously, you look great!! Love reading your blog, your style, the food, decorating and entertaining. Love it!!

Stephanie said...

Never doubt me, again. ;-)

The Porters' Lodge said...

Your Easter place tags are amazing! I might need to steal that idea for next year :)

We also spent Easter with the flu. booooooo.

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