Friday, August 28, 2009

Salad of the Week

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
This was inspired by the pizza we had last week and my friend Heather, who I created the pizza for. I added the leftover pesto (Bombay style), sundried tomatoes (in oil), black olives, toasted pine nuts and light feta cheese. I would have added the artichoke hearts from the pizza as well, but they were all used. The pizza used the exact same ingredients and used the pesto as the sauce. Both the salad and pizza were super tasty! Highly recommended, not sure how much had to do with the type of pesto, as I have never used pesto before and I think this one had some nice spice to it!

Soccer season!

This year we registered Devin in U4 (under 4) soccer and Jasmine in U6. Jay acted as the convenor of U4 for all of Kanata and had to find and organize coaches for 8 teams, with over 200 kids in total. For all his hard work, they gave him the white polo he is wearing below. He didn't mind this job, except that Kanata soccer is extremely unorganized and relies heavily on email chains. By the time it actually filtered down to the parents, often the information was too late. We did find this terribly frustrating, but overall it was a good experience and chances are he will do it again next year for the U5's.

I was one of the coaches for Jasmine's U6 team. In the end there were 5 of us running the team of 30 kids, but 3 of us that had the main responsibilies. I was in charge of the snack roster, giving out team photos and am still handing out the medals to those who couldn't make it to the last day. We were given a curriculum and each week I had a station to run. 3 groups of kids would take turns at my station over the course of 30 minutes, then we would end with a scrimmage and snack.
U4 is played with a grown up on the field with you all the time. There is a hired coach at this level and they run the little & big person through a series of drills and games. Devin wasn't much for some of the basic drills, like toe taps and "boring" things, but he did have his favorite games. One of which was constructors and destroyers, destroyers knocked pylons down while the constructors had to run around and pick them back up. Devin's practice overlapped with Jasmine's, so honestly I only ever saw about 10 minutes of it and then Jasmine and I were off to her field which was just across from Devin's. Below you will see Devin doing some of the drills with his "big person", daddy. In one he is trying to grab the ball out of daddy's hands from above and then playing tug-o-war with the ball.

Jasmine was #16, her favorite number is 6 right now so she really wanted a 6 in her number. Below you can see her in action during the last day scrimmage. This was a fun day, so parents and siblings are on the field, too! I didn't get any pictures of the water guns or water balloons, as I was pretty much under attack the whole time, but it was a fun last day!

Above Jasmine received her medal from Coach Paul and I happily took pictures. Below you will see a swarm for the final snack which were Tim-bits from our sponsor. The last 2 photos are the kids holding up their medals. Both very excited to have one and happy to have soccer season done - they were both ready for a break!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beating the heat - day 2!

Well, technically it is more like day 5 of intense heat, but we spent the first 3 days primarily hiding out in the air conditioning, not too exciting! Today we made our first visit to Constance Bay Beach, about a half hour drive out of town. We met up with some old friends; I first met Lianne (who actually spells her name just like my mom - wow!) and her two daughters: Lauren and Leah, when Jasmine was just a baby. We met at the Abbeyhill weigh in clinic. A number of mommies formed a "mommy group" and we met once a week with our babies to chat all things baby. Lianne was our role model as she was the only one who had already had a child, the rest of the group were all first timers. Lauren and Leah attend the same school as us and Leah and Jasmine are in the same grade, even though they have never been in the same class.

I know my kids love the beach from past years, but what I wasn't sure is how wet they would get. Jasmine has been a little fish at the pool, but I wasn't sure she would like having her face in the water at the beach - it didn't seem to be a problem. She borrowed some of her friend's goggles and went to town. I did not expect Devin to really get more than his feet wet, maybe his bum if he sat in the water, but you can see in the photos that he went out quite far and with hardly any encouragement - I was impressed! By the end he was in the shallow end floating around on his tummy. He loved digging large rocks out of the water and throwing them, while Jasmine made a collection of mussel shells.

As for the beach itself, it was nice shallow water which I loved - they could go out far and you didn't have to be too worried. The water was also warm, which made it nice to swim in for quite a length of time, it was however quite rocky. The sand on the beach was so hot, like burn your feet off HOT and it too was not very soft. The view would be really beautiful, except today it was a little too smoggy to see the hills and trees on the other side. The port-a-potties were nasty, definately needed emptying! Jasmine refused to go in there and of course Devin had to go poo and there was no toilet paper (I got desperate and used a receipt from the car, but he doesn't know that). All that said, we had a really nice picnic lunch with friends and the kids want to go back to the beach when daddy doesn't have to work.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hot fun in the summer sun!

Today was a HOT one, still is - 39 degrees with the humidity right now - PHEW! Ottawa has put out a heat advisory for the last few days up until Tuesday. Hot and smoggy! So far we have beat the heat mostly by hiding in our basement, but we'd had enough of that over the last few days, so today we tried something new with the help of Jay's gaming buddy Diggin' Dale Matthie.

Grampa Shadbolt, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think Devin has ever been in a motor boat of any sort? I know Jasmine had been in our family boat, The Baby Beezer for a quick ride, but I think Devin is limited to ferry rides, paddle boat and maybe canoe/kayak. Devin has never been real comfortable on the water and today wasn't much of a change, but he did go for a ride. He gripped his daddy's hands through the whole ride and did not like to go fast and thought it was noisy, but we can say he went for his first real motor boat ride. Yeah, Devin! (The boat could only have 1 adult at a time besides the driver, so I wasn't in the boat to witness this or take a picture - shucks!) When it was my turn for a ride, Jay stayed on shore with Devin and Jasmine wanted to see that boat go a little faster. She had to hold onto her hat, until we decided we should just let the wind blow through our hair. (or more like blow in our eyes, ha!) Then Jasmine decided she was ready for her first try at the tube!

You can tell the day was a good one because both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home, a rarity these days! In fact, Devin is supposed to be at soccer in 5 minutes, but between the fun and the early morning from his sleepover with his "girlfriend" Rilla, he is tuckered right out. Plus, did I mention it is 39 degrees - not my favorite weather conditions for running around and playing soccer for an hour. Jasmine and I are supposed to be on the field in half an hour, not sure she will make it either, as Rilla's sister Bronwyn was in Jasmine's room last night and they were up around 6:00 a.m., but I'll have to go regardless as I am one of the coaches.

Dale, thanks for taking time out of your busy pickling schedule to take us out on the water. Even though Jay and I are not water babies like my dad and his family, I would sure like to give my kids the opportunity to be out on the water. Jasmine is quickly becoming a little fish in her swimming lessons, so you never know maybe it just skips a generation? Thanks again for a great afternoon!

Salad of the Week

We have still been eating salads and pretty much one or more a week, but not all seem worthy of blogging. This week I made a large couscous salad, still have some in the fridge - edible, but not worth sharing. Devin ate seconds of it the first night, but none after that. It was a little too plain for my liking. I did however make myself a salad for lunch this week, which I almost never do, but hope to do more regularly come the school year. I even bought myself a nice salad lunch bowl with compartments for dry items like nuts or croutons and it has a center section for dressing as well. I have great hope for this bowl... anyhow, the above salad was simple, but nice. Leftover grilled salmon with pineapple, mushrooms and fresh garden tomatoes on a bed of lettuce with toasted walnuts! Yummy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fun with the cousins!

Here they are, 4 of 6 Shadbolt cousins: Allison, Jasmine, Devin and Tyson (Missing Samantha and Hayden). For not seeing each other very often, like once a year if that, these kids get along great! Jasmine and Allison drew pictures, wrote fairy letters, read stories, played Polly Pockets and generally had a fun girly time. Tyson was so good with Devin, a much larger age gap, but they played airplanes, read stories, played with superheroes and made up superhero stories, too! I can't get over how much Tyson and Devin look a like, both have that short buzz cut but also the long rectangular shaped heads, same pale, white skin and big, beautiful, blue eyes.

Allison and Jasmine were practically attached at the hip. Always wanting to hold hands everywhere we went, which made walking down the streets and busy tourist attractions sometimes difficult. It also made it easy to spot them in a crowd, because you only had to find one of them. Jasmine picked up a lot of "coolisms" from her older cousin and came home talking like more of a big girl. I won't be surprised when these two figure out they can phone each other and chat - they will be on the telephone every week.

When we got home Jasmine was sad because she realized she didn't get to spend as much time as she would like with Tyson. Sure they did lots of things altogether, but they didn't really have any alone time and I think the next holiday we spend with the Bennett family, she will want to be sure she gets in on some of the superhero action, too!

These two boys, both December babies, will have a lot in common as they grow up. Beyond their looks even their personalities are similar. Both showed great bravery on this trip, trying out many new rides they may usually not have been up for and both generally get along with their sisters, although neither would likely ever admit it! Both really nice boys in my opinion!

My kids had such great fun on this trip and not because it was Chicago and not because we did so many cool attractions, but because they got to hang out with their older cousins, who they adore! Jasmine's favorite part, ranked #1 and the first thing out of her mouth everytime we ask is playing with Tyson and Allison. When we ask her to pick something specific, then she says the waterslides.

As for Jay and I, we love these kids! Sure because we have to, I mean they are our neice and nephew afterall, BUT... these are really good kids! No temper tantrums, no grumping, no backtalk, no "I'm too cool to hang out with a 3 year old", just good listening, good behaving and nice personalities. Fun to talk to, fun to play with, just all around good, well rounded kids - you did a good job Les and Trevor! Our only wish... that we could see them more often! Love you Tyson and Allison - keep being the great kids you are and don't forget when you turn 12, we will fly you out to Ottawa for a visit (if your mom let's us).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Are we watching them or are they watching us?

Day #6 - Chicago! Our day started with a ride on the subway. As exciting as it was for the kids, I am glad I don't have to take that everyday - another ride that made me motion sick. (I don't actually get sick, just feel queazy.)

Here we are waiting for the sea lion show to begin at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo is open everyday and IT'S FREE! At this point the kids had already taken a miniature train ride and crushed some pennies for the new penny passport.
Now you will see the onslaught of pictures I took of all the animals. I won't put them all up, but figured you might as well get an idea of what was at the zoo and what the kids had a chance to see. Below is part of the sea lion show, not really a show, but they showed us how they feed them and check them everyday. The lions were fairly active this day and we saw them on the move and the male was roaring even. The gorillas were quite the sight to see and it left us all feeling... a little sad actually. They had such depth to their eyes and you couldn't help wondering what they were thinking. One was curled up in an almost fetal position in the corner, maybe just taking a break, but he was right by the window and just staring out into our eyes. The silverback sat with such authority, but also an empty stare. It made you wonder if they enjoyed the zoo at all, if they were sad and helpless or if that is just how they express themselves in nature as well. The jaguar paced back and forth with a fury, like he was trying to plan his escape and was waiting for the right moment to get out! Again, it gave you this feeling that the animals weren't too happy to be at the zoo.

After the zoo, we headed home again for a break and my sister and her family took the bus to the Field Museum - they were like the engergizer rabbit and could just keep going forever. Leslie and I made plans to meet back at 5:00 to go the Oprah store - it was our last night and this couldn't be missed! We took a taxi, on our own in the big city, even that felt exhilerating (strange, I know). I expected a huge building, big signs and loads of people, but it was the opposite. The cab actually passed the building and we didn't even realize it, the studio itself had little signage and was a plain, brick builiding - seriously, I didn't even take a picture of it! The store had only this one spot with a sign, really not at all fantastic, understated and simple. We entered the store thinking there might have even been a line up to get in, but the store was empty, we pretty much had it to ourselves. In saying this, I have to acknowledge we were smart and called ahead to find out their hours. On this night they extended their hours due to another store opening nearby. I don't think most people knew this and we weren't there when a taping was going on. You weren't allowed to take pictures inside, well except in one spot. The chair below used to be on the actual Oprah stage and yes the large green bag is all that I bought while I was there. I couldn't help but feel inspired: Angel network shirts, Girls School of Leadership sweaters, workout clothing (how can I not be inspired to work out wearing an Oprah shirt, like come on!) The link above has Oprah take you on an actual tour of the store and I had taken the virtual tour before I went, so I knew to save some money for the big shopping day. Leslie treated herself to a cashmere sweater for work, while I blew a wad on exercise clothes and shirts with inspirational sayings to wear to school. It really was so much fun!