Easter With the Family

This year we celebrated our Easter Sunday on Saturday. Our daughter and son-in-law in Hamilton invited us over for an Easter dinner of lamb ragu. We invited my niece who is working in Toronto and our oldest daughter and my daughter-in-law drove to our house, where we all jammed into one car and made the 40 minute drive to Hamilton. IMG_1668

The day started out very rainy but in the afternoon the sun came out and we experienced an early summer day. We spent a good deal of time outside without jackets and went for a nice walk to the park down the street. My niece had never been to G’s place and she enjoyed hearing stories of being pregnant and she saw first hand what it can be like raising a toddler. She’s due to have her first child in August.

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Our granddaughter is always a little shy around new people and even her grandparents who she hasn’t seen too much of this winter because of illness on both sides. It didn’t take long though before she warmed up to her cousin, once removed and they engaged in a game of peek-a-boo in the backyard.

For Easter this year I bought Winnie a garden set because she likes to help her father   clean and plant flowers in the the garden bed.  I knew she’d love the watering can because she loves anything to do with water. When I showed her how it worked she let out a shriek of joy and came running to her Oma. For the next hour or so she kept busy watering the garden and herself.

After spending some time in the garden and walking to the park we enjoyed a very nice dinner. Our son-in-law made the pasta from scratch and the ragu had cooked most of the day. We were in charge of dessert so my husband called up one of his favourite clients who works in an Italian bakery and asked her for advice on what dessert we should bring for an Easter dinner.

She quickly recommended a pastiera, a south Italian Easter tradition. It’s a wheat and ricotta pie flavoured with orange blossom water and adorned with a lattice top. Yum!IMG_1666

Today I’ll be spending time with a friend whose partner went into the hospital yesterday. He’ll be there for a few days as the doctors try to figure out what kind of treatment he will need.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday. Lucky me, I get one more day off tomorrow. Time to get the snow tires off the car.

 

Shopping, Shopping and More Shopping

….after our long walk this morning we decided to go out and buy food for the weekend

Not any old food, mind you. We were shopping for food for our family get together on Sunday. Four of us are driving to Hamilton to celebrate Family Day at G’s and B’s home (parents of Winnie). I suggested that we do a pot luck lunch and everyone quickly agreed.

Our contribution is going to be a charcuterie platter and then some smoked pork chops, German style (Kassler rippchen). To get all the ingredients we needed we drove out to Mississauga and went to the Brandt Meat store. What a treat for all the senses.

We left with 5 different meats and three cheeses for the platter, 8 smoked pork chops and meatloaf for tonight’s dinner. As we got back into the car we decided that potato salad would be a nice addition to the chops so I went back inside and bought a few containers of ready to eat salad.

Hard to imagine that I couldn’t find everything that we needed in this one amazing store but we did need milk, cream, fruit, vegetables and dog food so we made another stop at our go to No Frills grocery story just down the road from our home. I love the produce aisles in this store. It is so bright and colourful and everything is very fresh.

After we loaded up the car with more groceries than we had planned to buy my husband thought of another thing we forgot to pick up. Batteries. Instead of going back into the same store he suggested that I go over to the Dollarama which was next door.

Here’s another store that appeals to the eyes. Bright and colourful and kind on the pocketbook. The line-up was pretty long so I decided to take a quick look around and took a few more photos of some of the merchandise. You can tell that St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are just around the corner.

The teacher in me wanted to buy numerous items for my classes but I resisted temptation. Besides my husband was waiting in the car and if I had returned with anything but batteries he would have given me a questioning gaze.

As soon as we got home we put away the groceries and I started dinner. For those of you who know me well I did it voluntarily and without any coercion from my husband. Once in awhile I still like to cook.

Hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend. Mine is just beginning. Hopefully I’ll have more photos and stories about our Family Day get together tomorrow.

Cheers!

Share Your World 2017 – January 2, 2017

…..thanks Cee for continuing to host Share Your World

Would you prefer to receive a unicycle, bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle?

I already own a bike and a unicycle is impractical. I think owning a Vespa could be fun.

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photo courtesy of : Just Bikes. in

What is one thing you’d like to accomplish this year?

One thing I’d like to do this year is continue to lose weight and get healthy before  I retire in June.

What was one of the highlights of 2016 for you?

There were two highlights for me and they were the weddings of two of my children.

Would you prefer to fly a kite or fly in a hot air balloon?

I’ve flown kites and I like the sensation of getting your kite airborne but I’m curious about hot air balloons. The problem is I have a fear of heights and I’m a bit of a nervous Nelly.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for time spent with my family and being able to talk to our son on the phone. This week I’m looking forward to some quiet down time. I’m hoping to do some art, read a book and visit my granddaughter. fullsizerender-31

The Best of 2016

…..despite the terrible events that took place in 2016 on a personal level it was a wonderful year

Most people would agree that 2016 had to be a terrible year for natural disasters, untimely deaths of beloved celebrities, horrendous terrorist attacks around the world, the Syrian refugee crisis, Brexit and a nasty election campaign in the U.S.

Even on a personal note, 2016 hasn’t been all sunshine and roses but there were many memorable and special moments.

In January our son ended up staying with us for an extra week before heading back to London, England. The circumstances of his extended stay aren’t exactly positive but we did have him with us and for me that was special. By the way, at the end of December of last year, he slipped on the ice and broke his upper arm and he required surgery. The surgery was successful and he was released from the hospital on January 1st. IMG_7188

In February my friend M celebrated her 64th birthday and my niece, S, her 26th.

The biggest event in February was our daughter’s wedding to her first love and partner of 10 years. They met on Feb. 10th so they decided on their 10th anniversary they would make it official and tie the knot. What a special day!

In March while we experienced snow, our future daughter-in-law was sitting in an outdoor caffe in Assisi planning her wedding.

In May we celebrated Mother’s Day with the family in the backyard (a little chilly) and at school we had our Forest of Reading celebration, Jump Rope for Heart and our annual Fun Fair. Winnie also had her first swimming lesson and her Daddy started Go Cart racing. Also A and J and their brother-in-law, G, ran the Sporting Life 10k.

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In June two of my colleagues retired from teaching, my very good friend, A, celebrated her 75th birthday and our son and his love were married in London at City Hall.

Our school choir also sang at a Blue Jays game and we put on our annual outdoor extravaganza at school.

July was the highlight month of the year for our family. We took a trip of a lifetime. My sister and her family from Calgary and my two daughters and their families and my husband and I travelled to Italy to celebrate the union of our son, B, and his beautiful Iranian bride, Az. We travelled for the first 11 days visiting places like Venice, Florence, Bologna and Lucca and then we all met in Assisi where the actual wedding took place. After three days in Assisi we made one more stop in Rome before flying back home.

In August  I was able to open up the cottage and spent about 5 weeks there off and on. My husband and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary and I had another birthday.

September brought a new school year and my last first day of school. My husband had  been coaching a small group of boys from our extended family to get them ready for this year’s cross country team and they were all entered into the Railpath Community Run. In fact there were 11 of us from the family that ran that day. I was happy to do 5k without stopping in 45 minutes. At least I wasn’t the slowest person on the course. The boys did really well and some of them walked away with some prizes.

October was another busy month with a lot of milestone birthdays. My husband turned 65, my dad 90, my son-in-law 40 and Winnie celebrated her 1st birthday. I also organized and ran my last book fair school. We raised the largest sum of money ever. I now I have the fun job of buying books and supplies for the library and classrooms.

In November my oldest daughter, A, celebrated her 37th birthday. Where has the time gone? My younger daughter, Winnie and I attended the Royal Winter Fair and I, along with five other teachers took 59 students on a three day overnight winter camp in the Kawarthas.

In December my Dad moved from his apartment to the retirement home across the road. We held our annual craft night at school, held a Christmas concert and had our staff party at a local restaurant. Christmas was a three day affair; one day in Hamilton, another in Toronto and the third in Oshawa. On the 30th of the month we celebrated the birthdays of our twins who are now 35. As my principal and friend M would say ‘Carol you’re old!’

So as you can see there were lots of bright moments in 2016 for me and the Cormier family. Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.

Cheers!

A Busy Week

….a lot of driving, twice to Oshawa and twice to Hamilton

Since Christmas Eve we have been constantly on the go. This year we celebrated Christmas Eve in Hamilton and on Christmas Day we celebrated some more here at home. No turkey this year, another first.

On the 27th I drove to Oshawa to bring my Dad his Christmas presents from my family. In the move a few weeks earlier he lost the remote control for his radio/CD player and he had to unplug the machine every time he wanted to turn it off or change the CD. Our daughters, A & J picked up a new remote control from a store downtown close to where they work. Dad was so happy to finally be able to play his music properly.

Two days later we drove out to Oshawa again but this time the whole family went to celebrate with Dad. There were 11 of us and because his new apartment is so small we all met in the library of the retirement home. After opening presents we headed out to the restaurant to enjoy a meal together. Today my sister sent me a few more photos that I can share with you.

Yesterday we were back in Hamilton to celebrate the birthdays of our twins. Our son, unfortunately, is not celebrating here in Canada but is with his new family in Iran. From his photos and messages it sounds like he’s having a great time. Our daughter opened her house for yet another celebration in less than a week. Our good friends A and W, who were unable to join us this year on Christmas Eve, made the trek to Hamilton as well. It was a lovely time with family and friends. Very low key and relaxed and of course the baby stole the spotlight again.

The Perfect Gift

…..besides being with family over tshe holidays

I know that in a previous post I declared that presents weren’t important to me and that family was everything. Despite that sincere sentiment I did have some very thoughtful and welcome gifts given to me this year.

Anything to do with art is always most appreciated. This Christmas my secret Santa gifted me a five drawer rolling organizer and a desktop marker organizer. Hopefully this will help me get my supplies neatly organized and free up my work table so that I can actually create some art. She also gave me a new set of Pigma pens and artist’s hand soap. My son in London sent me paper and a beautiful set of pencil crayons.

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Last year my husband gave me a very nice camera, a Panasonic Lumix, DMC-GF7 and for my birthday he gave me a macro lens to go with it. Unfortunately the camera has so many features that I frequently get lost trying to use it. My brother-in-law who  is very proficient with all types of cameras, confirmed that I had a very fine camera. When he was here in October he gave me a quick lesson on how to use some of the features. As soon as he left the camera malfunctioned. No one seemed to know what was wrong with the camera. When my brother-in-law returned in November he brought me one of his old zoom lenses that he no longer uses and that fit my camera. The problem with the camera, however, had not been resolved at that point so we couldn’t try it out.

Eventually we found someone who knew how to solve the problem. It turned out to be a quick fix.  Now I have a working camera with two amazing lenses and I still don’t know how to use them. Voila….the perfect present arrived. My husband enrolled me in two camera classes. The first class takes place in January and I will learn all about the ins and outs of my camera and the second class in February will teach me how to get the most out of my camera and how to use the camera in some creative ways. I can’t wait.

Since my husband and I are foodies the other gifts that are always most appreciated are items of food. This year I received homemade tomato sauce, chill sauce, relishes, jams and a variety of condiments and spices. Of course chocolates are always present in our stockings and under the tree. I love dark chocolate and anything filled with marzipan.p1020167

The last gift that was very special was a beautiful Pandora leather bracelet with a silver charm with our granddaughter’s initial. This was also from my husband.img_0793

As nice as all these things were I still find time with my loved ones the most precious gift of all. Today we travelled as a family to visit my father in Oshawa. Eleven of us went to his new apartment in the retirement home. His wife is very ill at the moment so he showed off his new place quickly and then gave us a tour of the facility. Everything is very new and beautifully decorated for the holidays. We ended up visiting in the library on the main floor. We were the only ones in there. It was the perfect spot where our granddaughter could run around, look at the fish tank and play with the soft decorations and remote controls. For the adults there were comfy chairs and a fire place where we could visit and talk. After opening a few gifts we headed over to the restaurant where we enjoyed a family meal together.

After describing all the fantastic gifts I received this Christmas I’d have to say that having  my granddaughter wiggle out of her mother’s arms to run over and hug me today was my most ‘perfect’ gift.

Did you have a perfect gift or a special moment to share this holiday season?