Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's Cooking: Lasagna

This is one of our favourite meals.  It comes from my Fantabulous slow cooker cookbook ("Ultimate Slow Cooker").  Sadly, I discovered a crack in my wonderful slow cooker that goes through the whole thing, so it's out of commission now.  Tonight I'm doing the sauce on the stove. 

This is a double-duty dinner.  It's meant to be used as a pasta sauce one night and then turned into a lasagna another night.  I don't like it as a sauce so I make two lasagnas with it.  As you read the ingredients you'll see it's a vegetarian lasagna, feel free to add meat to it, but I would highly suggest trying it meatless the first time (it really doesn't need the meat).


2 small eggplants, cut into 1" cubes
1 large zucchini, cut into 1" cubes
3 medium peppers (any colour), chopped
8 cloves of garlic (4 tsp)
4x14oz cans of stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (I never add)

**this is the pasta sauce recipe.  To make the lasagna, keep reading**

16oz jar of Alfredo sauce
10oz package of chopped broccoli or asparagus
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or mozza)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 package of frozen spinach (the recipe doesn't call for it, but all lasagna needs spinach)
1 package of oven ready lasagna noodles (I usually use whole grain)
5 cups of pasta sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine Alfredo sauce and frozen asparagus or broccoli; set aside.  In another bowl, combine shredded cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. 

2. Lay down lasagna noodles.  Cover with pasta sauce.  Add more lasagna noodles, cover with Alfredo sauce (this is the key to the recipe, so don't skip the Alfredo sauce), sprinkle with cheese and add more lasagna noodles.  Continue to build layers until you are out of room (the recipe calls for 2 layers of Alfredo but I can't make it fit so I do the Alfredo sauce in one layer). 

3. Bake covered at 350 for 40 min.  Uncover and bake for 10-15 min, until heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Let stand for 10 min before serving.  It says it serves 12... it doesn't.  Maybe 4 with some left overs. 

For those of you who want/need nutritional facts: 270cal, 14g fat (7g saturated fat), 72mg chol, 749mg sodium, 28g carbo, 3g fiber, 13g pro

If you do make 2 lasagna to freeze the second cover with 2 layers of saran wrap and freeze.  To cook, defrost in the fridge, place into cold oven (put the dish in the oven before you turn it on) and add 15 min cooking time. 


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Birthday Preview

Lynden turns 3 in 3 months (where does the time go??) and it's a little surreal for me.  Not because he's growing up, well not entirely.  What's making it all so surreal for me is remembering our oldest niece at this age. 

6 years ago, when Danny and I started dating, our oldest niece was just about to turn 3.  I was there on her 3rd birthday (we got her dress up clothes and a plant that grew with a saying, or something like that) and to think my oldest is about to be that age is... well, surreal.  I remember what she was like at that age (I can't believe she'll be 9 this year.  Seriously, where does the time go??). 

As I watch Lynden stand on his tippy toes to flick the light switches on and off I am pulled back in time to when our niece was learning how to do it.  I remember her being able to turn them on but not off (she had the "old style" switch in her room, not the flat ones we have now). 

Yes, other kids have turned 3 before, but it's having that marker that's mind blowing for me.  Seeing where our niece was 6 years ago and where she is now is almost like looking into a crystal ball.  I can visualize what Lynden's going to be like in only a few short years. 

Somewhere along the way of writing this out my mind wandered over to Lynden's birthday.  I'll have to make a final decision about what cake to make him this year.  I like making his birthday cakes each year, hopefully I'll get better and better each year (his first birthday the cake was good but the design wasn't fantastic - Nothing like the picture I was going for.  His second birthday the cake was not good but the design was pretty cool).  I'm torn on Mickey Mouse, Elmo, Diego or Lightning McQueen.  I've also need to come up with an idea for a party (that's suitable for a large number of people).  Thankfully I still have 3 months. 

3 months... wow.  Alyssa will be 8 months, which means crawling, eating solids, sitting up.  Wow, time flies!

Lynden's first birthday cake
It was suppose to be an ocean
Can you see it?
Eating his cake
Lynden's 2nd birthday cake
I was quite impressed with myself

Eating his cake

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Out And About: Airport Day

Today was Airport Day at the Pitt Meadows Airport, what a great way for Lynden to see airplanes up close.  It was fun!  We saw all sorts of planes, sit in a helicopter, firetruck, and garbage truck.  There was a car show and a train of planes (which was madness to get on).  A great way to spend a Sunday.

Enjoy some photos!

in the helicopter

Lynden & mommy in the fire truck


I love this picture

my sweet baby girl

some planes

this picture was taken on the go
makes me a little dizzy

Lynden & mommy on a plane-train

Friday, June 24, 2011

Five Question Friday

(click the link to check out My Little Life)

1. What is your current favorite tv show?
 Of all time?  Would have to be LOST.  It took me a bit to get into it (12 episodes to be exact), but once I was hooked I was a Lostie.  The mind blowing plot lines and never knowing what exaclty was going on kept me coming back for more.  I still don't know what was fully going on.
- what did Ben say to Kate at lunch?
- are Kate and Annie the same person?

- what did the others do with children?
- why was Walt so special?
- what did the fortune teller tell Claire?
- why can't women get pregnant?

- what was the Dharma Initiative?
Danny said there was a mini episode on the Season 6 DVD that answered some of the questios we had, I should watch it.

Currently?  I'm onto Dexter.  We bought season 1 and 2 at a Boxing Day sale last year and it's so dark and twisted.... I love it!

2. What's the worst haircut you ever got?
Hmm... I don't know.  I don't like a lot of my haircuts, but it has less to do with the haircut than it does with me hating my hair.  It has a mind of its own and does whatever it wants, no matter what you do to it.  After it's cut the hairdresser syles it in such a way that it always looks good and I can never duplicate it. 
Well... they almost always style it in a nice way.  A few years back I got a cut and colour and the hairdresser was determined I did not want it as short as I was saying and refused to cut it to the length I requested.  I  had to go back a few days later to have her recut it to my desired length (I had super long long hair when I was younger and cut it all off when I was 18 - greatest thing I ever did.  Since then I don't let it get much farther past my shoulders).  When I went back for the recut, she felt bad and went to style it.......!  She backcombed, teased and did all sorts of horrible things to it.  I left in tears and called a friend of mine to pick me up, I could not sit on a bus with what she did to my hair. 
That was the worst haircutting experience of my life.

3. What was something that you did as a child that you thought you were so cool for doing?
Everything, haha.  In hindsight.... not much was that cool.

4. Do you have any GREAT frugal family fun tips?
Not yet.  The kids are still small that we don't do a lot of trips.  If we're going to be out and about for the day I try to pack food so we can have healthy snacks and/or meal instead of forking out $6 for a hotdog. 

5. Would you drive across country if you had the money to fly?
Drive.  As I mentioned in my Bucket List, I want to take the kids on a cross country roadtrip one day.  I want to stop at national parks, see attractions, and see this wonderful country of ours.


On a diving update (in case you missed it check out my attempt to learn to scuba dive here and here), Danny and I talked last night and we're going to try again.  He's going to take me one-on-one and go back to the shallow end and work my way deeper.  Keep your fingers crossed for me. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bucket List Update Part 2

I'll start by warning you, this does not have a happy ending.  If you missed part one, check it out here.

Wednesday - Mod 2:

We get to the dive shop and start choosing our gear we're going to use.  I was going to wear a bigger wet suit so it wasn't so tight around my neck, but no such luck.  The next size available last night was way too big.  I also wasn't able to get a small BCD, as they were already claimed by other students, so I had to take a medium, which was way too big (and you'll see the problem with this in a bit).  However, I found a better mask to use which allowed me to see a bit more than the one I had the day before.

We get to the pool and I'm suited up waiting for Danny and my mother in law.  I'm looking at the diving board and I notice the taller one is 5m, which is about 15ft, which is how deep the pool is.  Oy!  Now I have a visual idea of how deep the pool is, this is not good and I'm starting to get anxious about everything. 

Danny and my mother in law are ready and we get our gear all set up (I did remember how, yay me!).  Because the BCD is too big it's very awkward to stand with everything on.  Now to get into the pool.  I have to step off the pool deck into the water, eek - this is not my ideal way to enter a pool.  After a few attempts to do it I'm able to talk myself into doing it (after warning Danny I may have a panic attack when I hit the water, which I didn't). 

We're in the water and practicing using our snorkel, switching to the reg and back to the snorkel.  We also practice swimming on the surface using our snorkel.  Remember the BCD that's too big for me?  Well, it kept rising up and the strap across my chest is now across my throat making it hard for me to breathe.  Danny kept apologizing and undid the top release so I could breathe easier, which was nice but this caused my shoulders and up to want to float and my waist down to sink.  The tank of air kept knocking the back of my head since it was higher than it was suppose to be. 

Next, we're getting ready to descend so we can do another partial mask flood and clearing.  We're also going to do a mask removal, 30 maskless breathe (with our reg), see what it's like to run out of air, and that's as far as I heard... running out of air got my heart racing.  I get why we need to learn this, so we know what it feels like and can recognize it if it should happen on a real dive.  Not my idea of fun

This is where the unhappy ending starts.  I start to descend and I can't control anything, since the to half wants to float and the bottom half wants to sink.  I try to equalize, with no luck so I kick to move up a bit to try again.  Well, the top half of me takes over and I keep going up.  So, I stop kicking to go down to go to fast to equalize.  I can't control anything and I start to panic.  I kick to the surface (Danny said if we need to go up then do, but try to stay down) and cling to the wall while I try to calm down and control my breathing.  I try to go down again, only to see everyone else in the pool but Danny and my mother in law (logically, it's a pool and they can't go far but I panic anyways).  I find them and try again with the same thing happening.  I'm back on the surface (I think I managed to get down 5ft).  Try a third time to completely lose it.  I got out of the pool and gear in record time. 

I'm really upset about the whole thing.  I really wanted to do this, and it seems like a lot is stacked against me - I don't swim if I can't see the bottom and being in the deep end of the pool where I can't touch the bottom without being able to touch the top freaks me out.  I had time to get myself worked up before we even got into the pool, which I was already apprehensive about.  My BCD was too big, making it really F-ing difficult to control anything (and I like control, this is why I don't drink, I don't like not being in control of myself). 

I don't know what happens next.  I don't know how to try again since I couldn't descend past 5 lousy feet, nevermind get to 15ft, or heaven forbid 50ft if I ever make it to open water. 

It took me forever to fall asleep last night as I kept replaying everything over and over again.  The moment I woke up this morning I thought about what happened.  I googled panic attacks underwater, and got no definite help - either I need medication, therapy and shouldn't dive.  Helpful google folks. 

Thankfully, Danny's teaching tonight so I don't actually have to talk to him about any of this until tomorrow night, among his getting some quality time with Lynden, looking at a place and hopefully some grocery shopping.

Ok, I'm ready for encouraging comments now (and please no, "just get over it" or anything along those lines.  I'm already feeling like poop as it is over the whole thing.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bucket List Update!

As I mentioned I'm learning to dive (yes, it's a cheater item off my bucket list, but what the heck). 


Danny brought home the book for me to read before I could do my confined water dive.  It's a dry book.... but I'm getting through it (can't get into the pool if I don't pass the written test). 

So far I've learned:
  • There's barely any difference between ata and bar and that for every 10m/33ft it's 1 more ata/bar
  • You need to be able to equalize
  • You need a mask, snorkel, fins, BCD, cylinder and valve, regulator, and a buddy
  • light and sound travel differently underwater
  • take slow breaths
  • there are different types of diving suits (I think I am going to like the dry suit.... I don't like being cold)
  • there are lots of gear that you need
  • do not wave when you're on the surface, it means "help!"
  • ALWAYS have a buddy (many many reasons)
  • different types of ocean motions (surge, undertow, currents, etc)
  • pre-plan your dives
  • how to dive off a boat
  • what to do if you have air problems (eek)
Now to watch some cheeeeeeeeeeeesy videos and take a test. 

Tomorrow we're off to the pool to do the confined water classes. 

While lying in bed on Monday night Danny and I were talking about various diving things when I turned to him and asked "can I be a dork and bring my camera tomorrow?"  He answers with "yes, you need pictures for your blog".   Oh how I love him. 


rockin' the wet suit
 We did module 1 (AKA mod 1) and it was... Interesting... It is quite something to breathe underwater, but I'll get back to that.

The wet suit is super comfy, but we think it was a bit small since the neck was tight, too tight for me.

We had to set up all our gear, which seemed like a lot at first but was easy to do (I say that now, we'll have to see how much I remember tomorrow).

Then, into the pool and get you gear on (and flippers). Danny made me try to put mine on by floating on it and flip to sit on it and try to get it onto your shoulders. It didn't work - I think it was really his way of getting me wet. I ended up doing it the easy way of putting it on like a jacket (why would anyone do it the "other" way?)

Then practice inflating and deflating - easy.  Push a button.  I can do that.
with my gear on

On to breathing underwater with a snorkel, taking it out (while blowing bubbles), replacing it and clearing it. Much easier said than done (in hindsight I think this should be done after the second exercise). I keep trying to breathe through my nose and getting water in my mask, which caused water to go up my nose, which lead to choking and panicking. Thankfully we were in 4' of water so I could (attempt) to stand (in flippers). Didn't help that with a deflated BCD and weights I still kept floating so I had one hand on the wall to help keep me down.  Turns out I needed extra weights. Eventually I got it enough to move onto the next exercise. Also, my snorkel wasn't set up properly so everytime I cleared it of water it just flooded back in (again, I think he was just trying to give me the worst case scenario).  Not a great first skill. 

Next, do the same thing with the regulator, which for my typing ease will be called "reg" from here on out (MUCH EASIER). I took me a while to get going because you have tunnel vision when you are wearing your mask, you can't see anything unless it's directly infront of you.  Danny kept signaling me to remove my reg but I couldn't see his hands so I just kept waiting.  (on a side note, Danny's eyes are Incredibly green underwater).

This is when Danny switched over to "instructor" mode, which was kind of funny to see. I'm not used to him like that.  His whole demeanor, vocabulary and how he talked to us changed, instantly.  He went from Danny to Instructor Dan.  When I told him about it later he said he didn't even notice. 
After that we did mask clearing - I did not like this. The moment the mask was moved away from my face (which was hard with it being suctioned to my face) I could feel air and my instincts kicked in and I went back to breathing through my nose. Not good when you're flooding your mask. More choking and panicking. The hardest part was remembering to keep breathing through my mouth. It was hard, for me, to not hold the reg in my mouth (it can't fall out if I'm holding it right?). So I had to practice not holding the reg in my mouth while my mother in law tried to clear her mask. I kept catching myself holding the damned reg. Eventually, she got it and it was my turn again. I couldn't flood the mask properly so Danny had to do it. I managed to clear it - no idea how since I didn't blow through my nose and I lifted it too far from my face I think I'll have to practice that again to make sure I understand fully (since Danny says he has to do it each dive).

We also worked on recovering our regulator in case it gets knocked out of mouth. Pretty easy as long as you trust your instincts and lean (I forgot to lean).  I couldn't see what way my reg was when I grabbed it so I'm sure I looked like a blind woman and had to move it right up infront of my eyes to see it. 

Last was alternate air source. We had to get our buddy's attention, say (sign) "I'm out of air", "share air" and get their alternate air supply, clear it, and breathe through it. One of the easier skills I thought.

We finished off with attempting to swim in a very crowded pool - it didn't work so we got out.

look at me!
Getting used to trusting you air supply is weird. I had to psych myself up before submerging my head under water so I would remember to keep breathing, because your instincts say "you can't breathe underwater". Danny, at one point, told me it was just like breathing through labour - ya... I don't recall breathing in labour. With Lynden Danny had to keep eye contact so I would remember to breathe.

It'll take some time to get used to it. I don't have a choice (since I'm married to the cute instructor and all, did I mention he's cute??), which my grandpa says may be a good thing and I think he might be right (I wanted to get out and quit after the snorkel skill because I just kept inhaling water). I'm determined to make it through this, but I'll be honest, after being in the pool I'm more nervous about being in open water. I like being able to just stand up (as well as you can with flippers on) when I'm not confident in what I'm doing. To be down 30 ft freaks me out... A lot! But Danny says by the time you're done 5 mods (we're actually getting 6 since we're also getting a dry suit orientation too) you're fine in the water.
We'll see how I am after tomorrow's class in 15 ft of water.

my mother in law & I
before the fun starts

we're doing it!

mother in law underwater

what a hottie instructor :-)

Wordless Wednesday

A little teaser for an upcoming post (hopefully tomorrow if my headache will ease up a bit)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Follow Me Back Tuesday

Something new I'm trying out. 
BWS tips button

Follow Me Back Tuesday
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Potty Training Update and Prediction

We have resorted to full on bribery for potty training.  Lynden went through a funk where he refused to pee on the potty (sigh), which resulted in a lot of laundry.  (I have now instituted a new rule: 1 pair of underwear per day, if he has an accident it's back into a diaper - a "diaper" is a pull up during the day and "night underwear" at night.  He doesn't want to be in a diaper anymore and so it seems to be helping) 

We've also been bribing him for weeks now.  If he goes all day he gets a chocolate egg (Kinder Egg, he's very excited about the toy inside) after dinner (double duty egg, all day with no accidents AND he has to eat his dinner).  Thankfully, he doesn't remember every night he's gone accident free about his egg so he doesn't get a full egg every night an hour before bed. 

He also gets a sticker every night and when he got 5 consecutive stickers he would get a Ryan Kesler picture for his room (thank you grandma for finding one!).  Last night, after realizing I hadn't been putting stickers on the calendar Danny and I were counting out they days.  We thought we were on day 4 but when I went to put the stickers on the calendar turned out yesterday was the ever illusive day 5.  Ya hoo!!


"I go pee"

Last night after dinner he got his Ryan Kesler picture!! 

5 more days and we're getting him Cars (which is crazy expensive). 


I am calling it now, I predict Alyssa will be crawling in 6 weeks or less.  She moves like an inch worm all over the house now.  All she's got to do is figure out how to position her arms to hold herself up and she'll be off to the races.  Lynden was 8 months when he started to crawl.  If Alyssa does start in the next 6 weeks she'll be just under 7 months, yet another difference between them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

6 Years

As I was lying in bed last night it dawned on me that Friday was June 17th.  6 years ago, on this day, Danny and I started seeing each other.  We've never been ones to celebrate our anniversaries so it didn't surprise me to have missed the date all together. 

It's been a wonderful 6 years (for the most part.  I'd be lying if I said everyday was great and easy) and I am glad that I get to spend my life with such a great man. 
our first pic taken together
freezing at a wedding
I love this pic
I look good and Danny looks like he's seen a ghost
A "normal" Danny pose
Us freezing at the Winter Classic
There was a baby growing in me at this game

at a wedding
I'm 7 months pregnant

our family of 4

some wedding pictures

Since we don't celebrate anniversaries, happy 6 years babe.  I love you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

An Amazing Dad!

Danny is an amazing dad, he loves his kids more than anything in this world and not a day goes by that I am not thankful that he is the father to our children. 

From the moment we started trying to get pregnant with Lynden (it didn't take long) I knew he was going to be a wonderful dad.  He was excited from moment 1 and was head over heels in love with Lynden the moment he was born (as I might have mentioned here). 

Danny & Lynden's first photo

proud papa
When Lynden was a baby Danny was as involved as he could be.  He did bottle feedings, he paced with him in the middle of the night, he snuggled with him when he cried (Danny was a bigger softie when it came to crying than I was), he changed the poopy diapers, he did it all.

It's a wonderful thing to see Lynden's face light up when Danny gets home from work.

Even last fall when he was living back down in the lower mainland while Lynden and I remained in the Okanagan (until Alyssa was born) Danny made a point of coming up for Halloween, we didn't do anything overly exciting but he didn't want to miss out on watching Lynden experience it. 

It was tough on both of us, being apart and having to shuffle Lynden back and forth every other week, but Danny was determined to help keep our son's life as normal and loving as humanly possible.  It was harder on Danny being away than it was on Lynden (not because he didn't miss his daddy, but because he spent a lot of his time in his own environment and in his normal routine).  Even now, he hates being away from him for a night. 

a day at the beach
learning at the Aquarium
walking in the park
after a day at the park

Danny missed a lot of the end of my pregnancy with Alyssa but was determined to make it for her birth.  It was a whirlwind of a day (I'll blog about it closer to her birthday) but he made it.  I am so glad he did (I would have been heart broken if he had missed it and I think it would have further scarred my sister for life if he hadn't made it in time). 

daddy and daughter

I find it so sweet that Danny has made up a song just for his daughter (I don't know anything about the song, just that he sings it to her when I'm not around).  It took her some time but she's finally realized that her daddy's ok too and gives him big smiles when she sees him. 
Our children are so blessed to have such a loving, wonderful and all around amazing dad.  (I hope they can appreciate how lucky they are later in life).  He is the best daddy in the world.

To all the wonderful dad's out there, Happy Father's Day!!