Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas has been lovely. 
I have been in the spirit.
Mmmm. Skinny Peppermint Mocha FTW

 Paul fell asleep...I got to mess with him:

 Friday, December 23rd, we got to enjoy a party with many friends. 
Irene and I had much fun! Ebony and Ivory!

Paul and I love to hang out with friends.
Their was a gift exchange - we were trying to get some sweet gifts out of the deal.

Hopeful....partway through

Let it be true! (and it was!)

Our dear friend Astrid returned home to the Philippines - some of the gang made a photo of her to bring along to keep her with us. 
We miss you!

Can't wait until you return!

Christmas Eve we headed out to Surrey for Christmas with Paul's family. Rum & EggNog, Turkey and all the fixings, TriBond and laughter. It was a perfect time. Paul and I were bunking up in the family room on a cozy mattress in front of the fireplace. It was a perfect night.
In love at Christmas!
Merry Christmas from the Morgan's.
 Christmas day we spent the morning with Paul's family still, and then headed back home to tidy up and get ready for my families arrival at our place.  My sister's family, my parents, our friend Jason, and our upstairs neighbours all came for dinner. It was loud, crazy, and absolutely perfect. Kids shrieking, food cooking, dishes stacking up....We loved it. 

Me, serving drinks during the card playing portion of the evening

Jason, Dad & Jenna during our game of 31

Paul, Colin and Mom:
The boys getting 'er done on the PS3 and Mom happily watching "The Help" on the iPad.
Today we slept in and then joined our friends the Chibota's (see Irene above) for a day of food and relaxation at their place - it was a perfectly lovely Boxing Day. We were there for almost 6 hours.

After we returned home we dragged a mattress in to the living room and set up camp: drinks, leftovers dinner, chips and cuddling....we got through some Arrested Development and all of "Love Actually". 

Side note: In all our time together I have NEVER made Paul watch a chick flick....I finally decided to make my move...and guess what, he actually enjoyed "Love Actually". I'm glad I saved it not only for something good, but also for one of my favorite movies. 

Cuddled up in our makeshift floor bed, with the Christmas tree as our only light, a favorite Christmas movie playing in the background, and my husband snug beside me, I realized I could hardly be happier. 

This Christmas we have gotten to spread God's love to others through gifts, time spent and hosting those with no where else to go. We have gotten to spend time with friends and family. We have gotten to have wonderful quiet times together that let us savour being in love. We have had amazing talks about what it looks like to love God, and follow him, and take steps to walk that out. I LOVE this time of year.

Next up, tomorrow: Shopping with my sister, movies alone on the couch and then Christmas "Eve" Fondue at our place....welcome more family!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Season

That's right. I said Holiday season. I do celebrate Christmas and I proudly call it that, but this post is about the season that includes Christmas and New Years, so I needed to generic. I wasn't being PC.

Last night was a perfect, soft glow, mellow, Christmassy spontaneous date night. My plan was to bake some cookies and make treat bags to give to my family. I’ve already made all the other desserts. As Paul and I were munching away on leftovers, I realized we hadn’t gotten to spend much alone time in a while, and since Karen was out for the night and we have plans each night until the 26th, that it was a perfect time to choose him. I knew that I could pull the treats together that I needed for Christmas before we left for Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve, and that I had honestly probably already baked way more than enough. So I chose my husband over baking and crafting. I chose my husband over business and productivity.

We curled up, entwined, under blankets on the couch, Rum & Egg Nog for him, Sangria (followed by Disaronno) for me. We had a show on in the background, I had a book, and we also talked. Restful, loungeful, lovely. So needed and so appreciated. The time felt so intimate and like a huge gift. We were in bed by 10pm, curled up cosily – I sleep best as the big spoon. It was perfect and it felt like a picture of what marriage should be. I mean, the intimacy part…there’s obviously more to marriage than just being close.

I’m so excited for Christmas. SO. EXCITED. I LOVE Christmas. Love. I love family and friends…and Christmas is always filled with both. Here are our plans:

Christmas Eve, eve (aka Dec 23rd): Work until 3, home to bake cookies & wrap gift exchange gifts then to a Christmas party thrown by the Philipino life group at church.

Christmas Eve: SLEEP IN, pick up last minute gifts (as shopping time proved elusive this month), head out to Surrey for Christmas Dinner with Paul’s family and Christmas sleepover!

Christmas Day: Sleep in-ish, unless we’re sleeping in the family room in which case we might not get to sleep in that late. Breakfast with the family. LOVE it. Head home whenever the heck we want (love freedom and no rushing at Christmas) to get ready for dinner at our place with my family. Cooking big Christmas dinner [Turkey (already cooked from last weekend, frozen in the drippings, ready to be popped in the oven in an oven bag to keep tender in the reheating], Mashed Potatoes, Gravy (made last weekend and frozen – will be mixed with leftover drippings and recreated to ensure freshness), Roasted Veggies & Green Bean Casserole (because you have to)]. If no one brings dessert then I’ll whip up at batch of Christmas Cookies that I saw a recipe on a blog for, and oh man, do I hope I get to do that.

Boxing Day: No real plans! There are no family gatherings planned [shocker] so Paul and I will be resting, watching movies [he’s promised to watch Love Actually with me] eating and playing board games. WE may randomly visit family, we may not. The world is our oyster.

Dec 27th: Mitchell Family Fondue – favorite tradition for my immediate family and my Auntie Lesley. It’s our Christmas Eve Fondue that now doesn’t have to belong to one date. We LOVE it. This will also be at our house. Cheese Fondue with bread and veggies, Oil Fondue with meat & Chocolate Fondue with Fruit and Pretzels.

Dec 28th: Another free day! Paul will be back at work but I will not be. I will be at home. Sleeping in. Then organizing all my crafts.

29th: Another free day time, I will be making cards and then getting together with my 13 year old cousin Jessica to make Reindeer Cupcakes and Snowball Whoopie Cakes for our family dinner. Awesome! Big Mitchell Family Dinner – all the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc (except for those in England  and the Grandma in Port Alberni) together for dinner. There will be 21 one of us to start, though usually others get invited.

30th: No plans!

New Years Eve: Don’t know what to do. New Years Eve 2 years ago was my absolute favorite. Last years was petty quite. I’d love to find a way to replicate what was awesome about the one 2 years ago…but with many of those people now living in other places it seems hard. We had 4-5 couples over for New Years (Dinner and board games). It lasted until 5am, then the last set of us went out for breakfast until 7. I crawled in to my bed at 7:30. Paul and I were engaged then, so he went to the couch. How much better would that be if we were married? BUT I think only one of those couples are living in Vancouver now…and I fear if we try to recreate it won’t be as awesome, you know?

New Years Day: We used to always go to a New Years Day party – if we end up joining someone else’s party on New Years Eve and don’t throw one of our own, I think we’ll host some sort of shindig – I love the post New Years Eve party!

There you go, a tentative overview of our plans. Can’t wait!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - on Tuesday, again x2

Monday: Games night at our place.
Appies (Pizza, Wings, Cocktail Weiners, Hot Crab Dip and Chips w. homemade Guacamole & Salsa). I was feeding 6 people…I could have fed 20. When will I learn to cook appropriately???

Tuesday: Night at home, final baking and putting together of food gifts.
Leftovers – seriously, so much food is leftover from Monday

Wednesday: Karen (our homestay student)’s parents over for dinner –Their first Canadian Dinner.
Baked Pesto Chicken, Pasta & Roasted Veggies

Thursday: Upstairs Neighbour from Jordon over for dinner with kids – also their first Canadian Dinner.
Chicken Rollatini Stuffed with Zucchini and Mozzarella, Pesto Pasta & Sauteed Veggies.

Friday: Potluck Christmas Party, I’m making Reece’s Stuffed Cookies.

Saturday (Christmas Eve): Morgan Family Dinner – and we don’t have to bring anything! Woo.

Sunday (Christmas Day): Family Dinner at our place for my side of the family – Traditional Turkey Dinner…though I’ll admit, I am playing with the idea of doing a different take on dinner. We’ve all had many many traditional dinners and it’s fun to play around. I’ll let you know what happens.

It’s shaping up to be a great week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weekend was full. Bursting, even.Friday night Karen and I made dinner together and did some baking together: Peppermint Fudge and Peppermint Bark. Then I took to tidying the house – and it was BURSTING with Christmas (as you can see in the previous post ). We had friends over for dessert and games and then I happily blogged. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas and Clothing

I see a lot of fashion bloggers and/or friends of mine posting pictures of themselves in their daily outfits. I am DEFINITELY not a fashion blogger...and I pick my clothes at home, stuff them in a backpack, ride a bike to work, then change into my clothes at work - so it's generally a crapshoot as I often discover strange oddities...wrinkled shirts and pants that don't quite match my top in the light of day.

Outfits from this week:

Monday: I thought it was a cute idea. In person it seemed a little wrong and frumpy, but I'm not sure.
Also I learned I'm not great at bathroom self portraits.

Tuesday: I love this's cute in person than the mirror though.

Wednesday: I felt tired needed to look professional. Quick grab from the closet and I'm happy with the end result.

Friday: I wore this at work and liked it so much I wore it home. Cuter in person, again, than the photo.
But much easier to get a photo when Paul is willing to take it!

Me blogging, moments ago :) 
Also our house is even more decked out for Christmas now and I'm loving it! We're getting ready for a Christmas Dinner at our house tomorrow with friends, family and some new international students; students who have never been in a Canadians house!

Treats for a visit with Ana and Josh.
Karen and I made Peppermint Fudge, Peppermint Bark and the mini Festive Cups.

Karen and I made these hats last night, aren't they adorable? So festive, easy and fun!

Alright, time for bed - I've got a turkey dinner to cook in the morning for 12 people and, as speak, a turkey defrosting in the sink. It's been in the fridge, unfreezing for a week but needed some water time to fully defrost before the cooking tomorrow. Oh Turkey, groped with butter and garlic, cooked in a will be so tasty tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holly Mini Muffins

So I’m still waiting to get my photos from my last project but in the meantime, last night Karen and I made Festive Mini Muffins using this recipe.

Theirs looked AMAZING:
Ours looked fine, still cute but not quite amazing. This is mostly because I have been unable to find red hots in Canada, so made do with random red candies from the grocery store. They were much larger and a bit in proportionate and have the tendency to look like a pair of eyes, but hey it’s still cute and no one I feed will have seen the original, so hey!

We left ours a bit too long in the oven…I need to remember always that our oven runs hotter than most and will always take waaay less time than a recipe calls for. But once you cover them up with icing you can’t tell that they are slightly brown. Tonight will be the taste test, so we’ll see!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Catching up

I have been terribly remiss from blogging for two reasons 1) I tried to blog but blogger wouldn’t post my pictures the right way around and my post desperately needed pics and 2) It’s been super busy and I’m very tired from all the busy.

I can say that this weekend was lovely.

Friday: Every Nation Vancouver Christmas Banquet – I organized it with some friends and it was lovely. All the planning and flow went well and people had a great time, wahoo! Paul had to stay home sick but it was still a great night.

Connor, myself and Lyndsay

Dancing it up - I'm in blue there

Dancing with my nephew - who was the center of attention as he danced...always in the center of a group of girls.
Super popular.

Lynds and I!

Many new friends enjoying the night!

Myself, my Dad and my nephew Austin. Love!
Saturday: Paul was sick so we canceled all our plans and stayed in. We slept, rested, chatted. He slept more, I visited my sister, he played video, I bought groceries and finally we both went over to my aunts house for dinner and the hockey game. By that point Paul was going stir crazy and had to get out of the house. He’d been inside our house since Wednesday at 5pm, so by 5pm Saturday he needed to get out.

Sunday: We slept in again – did crafts at home (pictures to come once I can get them to format properly), ate many leftovers, went to church and then headed to Stef and Jodi’s place for a Christmas Morning / Pajama Party. What a fun night! We ate Breakfast Casserole and Crepe’s…we all wore PJ’s and played Christmas music trivia (which I rock at – I’ll admit though that while I am great at it, the main reason I won was that no one else played) and then ran around the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt that they created for us, complete with caroling and ending at an outside fire. We also did a gift exchange where Paul and I brought one real gift (home made baking mix and chocolates) and one silly gift (a picture frame, complete with photo of us and the caption “true love”). We left with 5 dollars wrapped in duck tape and 5 dollars to whole foods. So pretty good!

Monday: Was back to work as usual. After work I had fun making dinner with Karen and finishing off the crafts we started Sunday. Then our dear friend Laura dropped in for a visit, and after she left our life group came over for a planning meeting since we are in charge of the sermon on Sunday. When that was over, Lynds and I stayed up chatting and Paul and Jonathan took a trip to Richmond to drop our car off at the mechanics. It was a great time. Paul and I went to bed so pleased/content/joyful about the life we live. We were ecstatic to be where we were at…still are!

Tuesday: was work again, bike home, and then getting ready for my work’s Christmas Party. We took a taxi there and back, and met up at the Irish Heather in Gastown. We felt very urban that evening…both in leather jackets, me in heels, taxying around, hanging out with downtown people…it was fun to sort of pretend for a night. It was great to talk with my co workers and their spouses outside of work – you understand so much more about people when you see them in a different environment like that, and especially when you see their spouses. It explains so much about who people are…and it’s really fun!

Wednesday: After work was done I transited home and took a long nap to make up for the late night, then joined my friend Sarah downtown for dinner, and then we joined a group of girlfriends going to see “New Years Eve”. It was a wonderful night and a great movie. I love my friends!!!!!

And now it’ Thursday – work has been super super super busy, this is my first moment all day to stop. After work I’ll be biking home to cook dinner, do some baking and hopefully be asleep by 10pm. Please God let that happen!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday & Must try Monday.

This weekend was lovely – update with photos to follow. But in the meantime:

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Meatball Casserole with Roasted Veggies

Tuesday: Work Christmas Dinner

Wednesday: Freezer Casserole / Tara out for dinner

Thursday: Veggies Soup (to make up for the indulgent dinner Tuesday)

Friday: Leftovers / Paul at work Christmas Dinner.

Saturday: Christmas Dinner at place for 16 ppl. Our part is Turkey, Gravy, Appies & Dessert.

Sunday: Mom’s Birthday Dinner. Bruschetta Chicken, Roasted Veggies, Brown Rice as below without meat, and Pita Crisps.

Must Try Monday: 
Though sadly I couldn't figure out how to link up today...but here's her blog. Oh wait, maybe I did. See below.

This recipe is my go to recipe when I need to use up leftover rice. I seem to always make at least twice as much rice as I need for any recipe and always have tons left! I usually have some sort of chicken or turkey, cooked and willing to be offered up for this meal and I always have at least a few Zucchini’s in my fridge. I’m sure other veggies would work as well, but this is my favorite. This meal can also be made without meat if you’re wanting to use it as a side dish, and not a whole meal.

Easy Rice Mix:


• Zucchini – 1 large, cut into quarters and sliced.
• Rice – whatever leftovers you have, but probably 3 cups cooked
• Chicken or turkey, cooked and cut in to cubes. Probably 2 cups cooked
• Spices (I use Johnny’s Greek Garlic Seasoning, but any garlic mix from epicure would work, or a simple mix of garlic and onion salts.
• Becel, to taste


Sauté Zucchini in Becel (or butter if you prefer) and garlic and onion salt to taste for about 4-5 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add chopped chicken and sauté for another minute. Add another scoop of becel, and as that begins to melt, toss the rice onto the pan. Mix together, and slowly add in Johnny’s Greek Garlic Seasoning to taste. And voila – a side dish or meal, all prepared.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A look back - years on today date.

The hope was a look back at the last 6 or so years on todays date but there are a few years I didn’t write in December, so November will have to do! Either way, I find it FASCINATING to watch the transition of language, lifestyle and sense of self as I start in 2004 as a college student, running away from God, drinking and smoking pot, to 2011 working wife, Christian, leader in church. Fascinating. All the while, noting how many things haven’t changed.

December 8th, 2004 – a blurb:

Tomorrow i shall study and finish this damn paper, then dad drives me home. i will study more since two of my 3 finals are thursday, but i will go out after i'm done studying and get somehwat buzzed if not drunk, then i will wake up and go to my essay, with all the notes i have rewritten into one large cohesive notebook, and take my open book test. i will then eat and drink with the kids from school till our next test. then after that i will get super drunk and that will be thursday, wait before the drunk i will have dinner with auntie sandy, john and grandma, THEN i will watch survivor or the OC THEN i'll get super drunk..just in case there was any confusion

Friday i will wake up far too early(11) and go to work. i will stay there and be tired or take the bus but that takes 2 not worth it. Then i will work all night, and then i will go home to sleep, and then go back to work for a dance party with the girls....360!

Saturday i will sleep in really really late and LOVE every second of it. I will then finish cleaning my house since that's important. I will go to work then probably knowing myself drink at sara's again since that's all i do.

**I still like survivor and if 360 was still on TV I’d watch it all over again**

December 10th, 2005 – a blurb

Another major event from February was gong to court about my car. I (With the help of my lawyer) do not get any criminal charges or have to pay a huge fine. I pay a small fine and loose my license for exactly a year, but I do not have a criminal record, and I really learned my lesson, a bunch of them. (PS this means that to this day, I only have a month and half till I can get my license.)

Also I saw a lot of Sherry; we spent many an afternoon drinking and smoking on my balcony watching the city. It was nice to have a girlfriend in Victoria, especially a new friend, because there is always so much to learn about new friends. I think this is when Sherry cleaned my house, but again June is a blur so I couldn’t really tell you.

Finally in August I realized although I like some people I work with at the Ramada and would still be there if it weren’t for the fact that the owner is kind of crazy, and deep down, really Cruel, I HAD to leave. I morally can not work for someone who degrades people on a regular basis. No matter how much she liked me, and always treated me well, she didn’t treat most other people well. Also the place was falling apart, we had weeks of no paper supplies because she owed monk’s office supply money and they wouldn’t send us things, or the power would go out constantly, or the phone lines would die, and we had customer complaints all the time, because the rooms weren’t clean. Plus Sally Ann is a big bitch and I’ve never in my life had someone be as rude to me as her. And I deserve better than that.

**I still you shouldn’t work for terrible people and if Sherry lives in BC I’d still love to be friends, just without the pot smoking**

December 12th, 2006 – a blurb

Christmas Banquet = so much fun

Trip to Vancouver = totally worth the lack of sleep

Visit with Jenna = refreshing

Work = making money

Church = super fun

Finals = only one left

Essay = not even close to done

Me = very tired and not looking forward to my exam in the AM

What a blessing to have such an amazing church family in Vancouver…I so miss being thre, and can’t wait to be a part of your day to day lives next year (fingers crossed)

**Tonight is our Christmas Banquet and they are still fun! I would have to say that other than the Finals and the Essay I still agree with each thing on there!**

Winter, 2007

I just called to say I love you - Actually I wrote because there are many of you I miss interacting with.
I just got a hair cut and dye...
I'm feeling good.
I am wearing my favorite blouse and sweater vest combo
I am happy
I am full
I am so busy but not overwhelmed
I am poor but aware that God will provide
I will be single for at least 6 months (not that that means there are any plans to date someone - but I don't like making year long commitments)
I will be getting a perm in March
I have 2 novels in my bag (Jill Mansell Novel's)
I have every book written by Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Celia Ahern and Mirian Keyes.
I have been LOVING the song "Belief" by Gavin Degraw
I have also been loving Rap.
I have just got back from Washington
I have 3 1/2 big bottles of rose wine in my house
I have not fallen in love with any guys
I have fallen in love with this city (it has shocked me)

**I miss the sweater and blouse I refer to above. I am happy and full right now also! And I wrote this last entry exactly one year before Paul and I started dating, so I was right! The perm was a poor choice, I still love all the same authors, rap and drinks from Washington**

December 3rd, 2008 – a blurb

I am having a great day.

I have been having a great week again. Paul taught at KLMS on Wednesday which was awesome. I loved listening to him teach church history. So cool - I never thought history would be so attractive! Actually though I do really enjoy learning about history - especially when I really like the teacher. he's teaching again next week and I look forward to that.

I am fairly tired because each day I try not to see Paul but I so enjoy it! Instead of trying to see him though, he calls me! He says, hey, can we hang out? Or hey, want to come have breakfast? or hey, you're cool, lets have lunch. For the first time I am actually pursued! Marvellous!

Alright, I am going to sleep

**I still can feel just as giddy about being with Paul as I did in this post**

Winter, 2009 – a blurb

It is a rainy Thursday morning. Wind, leaves & rain whip past my windows. Rainy days always make me feel very contemplative….and actually quite content and thankful. I thought it would be fun to write about where Paul & I are at in life right now….what our lives look like on a daily & general basis.

God has placed me (& Paul) in amazing families (biological and spiritual). We each come from strong & loving families who offer us support, kindness and so much love. We share a church family; who whenever we need something will drop anything to help. A church family we both have the joy of serving in and with. We both live with friends who are huge gifts from God. My roommate Sarah has opened her beautiful home to me; she has created a space that is welcoming, clean & homey….and nicely decorated. She is funny, helpful and Godly. Paul lives with 2 of his groomsmen (Prakash & Daniel) and a friend. He gets to experience a time of complete bachelor living; complete with poker nights, empty pizza boxes and a bed that is really a futon in the living room…and a cot bed upstairs. He has 2 beds! Neither of which are really beds. He loves it.

We play A LOT of board games. Our current favorite is Settlers which we play religiously. One evening we played 7 times in a row! We adapt rules to make the game more exciting for us. We teach everyone we can get our hands on to play. We also love “Ticket to Ride” and any card game. We have started playing “Puerto Rico” with our friends Nick and Laura (Nick is one of Paul’s groomsmen) and that is also a lot of fun. We spend a lot of time laughing…at each other, at silly TV shows, at the funny things we both say. We meet with our pre-marital counselors Doug and Kari frequently…we have so much to talk about with we love playing Settlers with them and their kids

**We still love to play Peurto Rico with Nick and Laura and if Doug and Kari still lived here we’d definitely continue seeing them very regularly**

Winter, 2010
• I am VERY tired despite getting 8 hours of sleep (it’s 8:45am and I have been at work for an hour and awake for almost 3 hours)
• Last night, again, I dreamt that Zombie’s were attacking. It was stressful and woke me up early. Stupid Zombieland for being so graphic. I only watched the first 20 minutes of the movie and realized it was too much for me. Community also had a Halloween episode featuring “zombies” (Actually people with Rabies) and between these two I have had several really stressful dreams. I don’t like it. I usually have to wake up, turn on a light, read a book on my kindle while cuddling up to Paul, pray…then I can get back to sleep without dreaming of them again. And while all those things are nice to do, I sure hate having to miss sleep!
• I am going grocery shopping in the states with my dear friend Shannon this weekend. We will be spending the night with her great friend Shanna. Both these women are thoroughly enjoyable, and I always love time spent in the states. It should be a great visit…and I am running out of my favorite American groceries, so it will be great to have inexpensive milk, cheese, eggs and meat in the house again!

**Still love shopping in the states! Still have Zombie nightmares. Still read books on my kindle **

And today? Well I’m at work for Brookfield Asset Management, the day of the church Christmas Banquet (which I have mostly organized), still loving being married and so glad that I have documented so much of my life.

And with that I head back to work!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grad Party Photos.

Finally! Party pics! Thanks for the great photos Laura!

The Desserts

Go Ducks!

Peppermint Bark!

The Spread

Grad hat cookies!

Pumpkin Cups

Cucumbe Shrimp Rounds

Mini meatloaf cupcakes with Mashed Potato "Icing"

Reece's Bark

Skor Fudge

The Beverage Station

The Happy Couple - and the new Apron Aunt Jamie gave me!

Joel and Katie ejoying themselves

Jodi and Irene, awesome friends and helpers!

Awesome night! Wonderful. 


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