Tag Archives: anniversary

Nom, Nom…Thank You, Mom!

We pretty much ate our way through the weekend due to birthday celebrations and Mother’s Day…hence the title…

Saturday was Brianna’s 15th birthday…we were invited to Jim’s parents’ house for a combo birthday party for Bri and Jim’s brother-in-law, Chris, whose birthday is May 12th.  Jim’s mom made a delicious ham with scalloped potatoes, vegetables, and broccoli salad (one of my favourites!).  For dessert, we had two cakes: ice cream cake for Bri and chocolate cake for Chris.

Brianna and Grammy...photo by Jim

Brianna and Uncle Chris showing off their birthday presents...photo by Jim

Bri was happy with the underwater digital camera Jim got her…Anna, Hope and I got her a pair of snazzy rubber boots for when the kids go looking for frogs at the pond, and some cash to buy more clothes (because I need more challenge when I’m folding and sorting laundry – I don’t ask “Whose is this?” quite often enough!).

Sunday was Mother’s Day, of course, but also Jim’s and my third anniversary.  It’s lucky that we’d gone out to dinner a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of our special day being overshadowed by other activities…we were so busy on Sunday, we hardly saw each other!  I’m incredibly happy that our online dating experience turned out to be a success story…Plenty of Fish…you rock!

All four kids brought me breakfast in bed (even Devin, who rarely gets up before noon on weekends…he poked his hand out from under his blanket wrapped tightly around him, and presented me with my silverware).  There were cards and presents too, including my garden stone from last year, which had gotten broken and been epoxied back together.

Mom French Toast made with 12-grain bread...

Anna and I had arranged that Jim would get Bri out of the house in the afternoon so that we could make her a birthday cake.  Hope wanted to help too, but Anna wouldn’t let her.  I told Hope she could decorate a Mother’s Day cake for Kaylee, who was coming over for supper with Scott and Elise.  Jim took Bri and Devin to see the new Thor movie…while they were gone, we made these:

Anna's cake for Brianna...Kerri (the cranky judge from Cake Challenge) would not have been happy with the fondant, but it tasted good!

Hope's cake for Kaylee...the icing was mauve, and a little odd (I don't know what Anna did to it!)...tough to work with...

Kaylee, Scott and Elise arrived just as the girls were finishing the cake decorating.  I was washing the huge pile of pots and pans that had accumulated on the counter and in the sink.  Jim, Bri and Devin returned home shortly after that.  Jim and the kids got right to work making supper: lasagna, fusilli, caesar salad, and garlic bread.  It was nice to have time to just play with my granddaughter (and hard not to interfere with what was going on in the kitchen!).

Elise fist-bumping Auntie Bri...Bri took the photo with her new camera...

Kaylee and Scott got me a HUGE pizza stone for Mother’s Day (we may have to build on another room to store it!).  I can’t wait to try it out…I hope my pizza will turn out as well as Kaylee’s does!

Supper was delicious (Thanks, hon!), although Elise decided that throwing fusilli on the floor for Jake was more fun than eating it!  After licking ten spaghetti sauce covered plates, Jake needs a bath…his beard is a lovely shade of orange now.

Elise sharing her Cheerios with Jake...it's the only time he really likes her...

When we’d finished eating, I showed Kaylee my seedlings, and then sent her out to the yard to gather some rhubarb to take home…it’s just starting now, but when she comes back in two weeks, it will be huge!  Here are some fiddleheads Jim gathered down by the river last week (fiddleheads are ferns that grow in swampy areas…delicious cooked with lots of butter):

Fiddleheads fresh from the riverbank...

After Kaylee and Scott left, we loaded the dishwasher and sat down to play our highly-addictive computer games relax for a while.  Then we watched the two-hour finale of Amazing Race…I was happy with the winners, although I liked all the remaining teams and would have been fine with any of them winning.  I’m looking forward to the premiere of my other favourite reality show, So You Think You Can Dance, in a couple weeks!

Happy Mother’s Day to all my Mom blogging buddies…hope you had a fun day!

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Filed under cooking, family, food

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago today, I sat down at my computer and began an odyssey into a strange and wondrous place that I knew virtually nothing about: the blogosphere.  Armed with a desire to get back to writing regularly after a three-year hiatus, I sent my thoughts hurtling into cyberspace.  What a positive and enlightening journey it’s been!

The Readers

If people didn’t read my blog, it wouldn’t have a reason to exist…I am so thankful that each of you takes the time from your busy day to come for tea in Hammond River!  I would like to make special mention of my first blogging buddy, Jane at PlaneJaner’s Journey.  Jane’s been with me since the very first day, encouraging me and telling others about me!  I will always be grateful that we found each other, Jane, and am proud to call you my friend!  When I first started, hits on my blog averaged about 35 or 40 hits a day…now I’m getting 125 to 150 a day!  I’m closing in on 25,600 hits, and 4100 comments for the year!  If you’re a “lurker”, don’t be shy…please leave me a comment…I promise to answer it!

The Community

I really had no idea that there were so many crazy talented writers out there when I started this project…smart, thoughtful, funny people who have taught me so much about good writing!  I have blogging buddies on five continents!  I’m sending all you guys a virtual brownie (I hope nobody’s allergic to cyber-sweetness!)…thanks for “getting me”!  In honour of my “blogiversary”, I have added several new people to my blogroll today (see “He Said”, “She Said”, and “They Said”).  Please take the time to check out their blogs: there’s nothing that makes me happier than hooking people up with great writers!  Many of these folks have been Freshly Pressed, and most are the recipients of multiple awards…Mama don’t allow no junk on her blogroll!

Take two...they're small...I made them just for you!

The Posts

If someone were being really nice, they would probably classify my blog as a “cornucopia” of topics.  Truthfully, I write what I feel like writing…several of my readers have commented that they never know what I’m going to write about next!  I like not being “predictable”…that equals “boring” for me!  Some days, I’m a “mommy blogger”, others I’m a “foodie”.  I write about gardening sometimes, and tell stories about the wild animals that share our land.  Other times, I’m an amateur historian, or relate stories of my own childhood.  I rant…a lot!  I talk about music, and books, and our bookstore.  I’ve dabbled in fiction.  I even took an action figure on a tour of our city!  Changing things up is how I like to roll!

Recognition

Herding Cats in Hammond River has been Freshly Pressed twice by the powers that be at WordPress.  Thanks to the folks there for maintaining a quality blog site…there were a few technical issues last night, but they seem to have been resolved!  My fellow bloggers have been very generous about awards: They think my blog is “Bloody Brilliant”, “Versatile”, “Stylish” and “Memetastic”!  Thanks for the love, you guys!

The Family

I couldn’t do my blog without the love and support of my family…thanks for waiting patiently for dinner while I finish a post (or photograph what I cooked), and letting me make fun of you in public!  With you guys around, I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to write about!

Here’s to another year of Herding Cats in Hammond River!  Thank you, everybody!

Hugs,

Wendy

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Filed under blogging, friends, self-discovery

Bits and Pieces…

I’ll start by apologizing to my regular readers for the long hiatus from posting…it was a combination of laziness, and not having much to write about.  Here’s what’s been going on the last little while:

1. Kaylee and Scott celebrated their fourth anniversary together last Monday.  Anna put her artistic touch on a Black Forest Cake I made.  We also made cupcakes, which Hope and Brianna decorated. 

This is the cake...we found out afterwards that neither Kaylee or Scott are fans of maraschino cherries...

Brianna's cupcakes...

 

Hope's cupcakes...

 

The cake recipe was from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook…I’d like to try pairing it with my brownie recipe for a “chocolate overdose” dessert…maybe a layer of each with chocolate ganache in between?  Yummy!

2. Jim made a delicious turkey soup with the remains of our Christmas bird and some more of our garden veggies, and served it with awesome homemade biscuits.  That was a good supper!

Jim's soup and biscuits...delicious!

3. Jim was on vacation last week, but spent almost every day doing something IT-related…a great deal of time was spent building my dad’s computer for him (Christmas present).  We installed it at the bookstore on Wednesday (the same day I was running late, and Dad decided I wasn’t coming and left ten minutes early, without me!)…unfortunately, neither Jim or I remembered to feed the parking meter out front in the afternoon, and we got a parking ticket!  On Saturday about lunchtime, Dad’s monitor “went black.”  We didn’t find out about it until Sunday morning about 9, when we came down to find a note he’d left us.  If he’d called us at one of the three phones we have between us, we could have fixed it for him Saturday (my dad’s picture is in Webster’s under “passive-aggressive”)!  I discovered this morning that the monitor had bitten the dust…luckily my old one was still out back, and I got it hooked up with no help from my techie guy…I was pretty proud of myself! 

4. Last week, I was honoured to be asked by my blogging buddy and fellow Ohioan, Maura at 36 x 37, to be a guest host at her blog while she is offline this week.  You can find me over there on Thursday with a post from when I had five loyal readers my early days.  It was neat to get the invitation…it’s lovely to know that someone likes (and trusts) your writing enough to put it on their blog!   I told Maura that I finally felt like “one of the cool kids” (the other writers who are filling in are also on my Blogroll).

5. I have a famous visitor coming in the next couple of weeks…all very hush-hush for now, but of course, I’ll be blogging about her visit!  We’ll be showing her the highlights of Saint John, New Brunswick…she’s never been in the Maritimes before!

6. We got a big bunch of books in on Thursday…17 garbage bags full…yes, I did say “garbage bags.”  Believe it or not, they’d been thrown in the back of a pickup truck!  It was all anybody could do to lift them, and of course, all the corners were ripping through.  What a mess!  At least there were some decent books in the lot.  That was a first in ten years…it amazes me how stupid people can be, especially with valuables!

7. Devin went to driving school last week.  He had some bad luck in the classroom simulator the first day…I asked him on Thursday after he got home if he’d hit anything that day: “I don’t think so,” he replied.  Probably not the best answer…he reported that at least when he had hit something, he didn’t scream and take his hands off the steering wheel the way the girls in the class did!

8. I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction/support to my last post…so far, we’re doing well with our “experiment.”  Anna and Brianna de-decorated the Christmas tree on Friday, and Jim dismantled it (that’s probably a record for early removal!).  I almost “slipped” on Saturday, when Anna demanded I make breakfast for her.  I was making my own anyway (the same thing), so Jim suggested I do it at the same time in a larger pan (I was going to make mine first, and then hers, after she got out of the shower).   Anna floored me yesterday by asking what I needed help with while I was trying to get dinner ready (I needed someone to take stuff out of the washer and dryer, and put more clothes in, which she did).  Anna and Hope have even been getting along better!

9. Anna’s friend, Celia, came over on Saturday for a sleepover.  It was her first time visiting.  Jake liked her as long as she was either sitting or lying down (or feeding him treats)…standing up, not so much!  Luckily, Celia works part-time in a veterinary hospital, so was fairly comfortable with our neurotic dog.

10. I am now the proud owner of a “pastry cloth.”  After a search through Saint John’s kitchen stores, I finally found what I was looking for at Decor 8 in Brunswick Square…a thick cotton cloth especially made for rolling out dough.  It even came with a rolling pin cover: $10 plus tax.  It will make things easier not having to use wax paper!

11. Elise and her parents were here for a visit last night.  Elise’s vocabulary of words (and signs) is growing quickly…that was the first time I’d heard her say “NO”!  I warned her parents that Kaylee had hit “the terrible twos” at eighteen months (Elise was 16 months old yesterday).  I’m working on trying to get Elise to say “Gramma.”  She is also having fun with the Elmo drum set that her sadistic “Uncle Ben” got her for Christmas…glad those things stay at her house! 

12. The kids go back to school tomorrow, after the longest Christmas break ever!  We’re all happy!

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Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, friends, rants

Reader’s Digest Condensed Books Make Great Firewood…

That’s just one of the things my dad and I have learned after ten years in the book business (and we’re still learning every day).  We celebrated that milestone with an Anniversary Open House this past weekend.

Here are some things we learned from the Open House:

1. Sending out press releases doesn’t guarantee coverage of one’s event.  I sent out more than a dozen well-written (if I do say so myself!) press releases a month in advance, and did exactly TWO interviews!  I was very happy with the story which appeared in here magazine (the picture – not so much!).  I was disappointed that neither CBC or our daily newspaper called.

2. People get really excited about my famous “West Side Wendy Brownies.”   I even had a marriage proposal from a man who was already married!  There were customers who just happened to wander in during the Open House, and were happy to have munchies!

A guy took one bite and said, "Will you marry me?"

 

3. Customers like sales – we had a special on $6 books (2 for $10 and 3 for $15).  We had a guy who was thrilled to get two Kerouacs (paperbacks) for ten bucks!

Posters on our door...

4. Our visitors appreciate our seating area…many sat down and had a nice long chat with us.

5. Assembling our “Art of the Book” display made me realize just how many gorgeous books that we have…we don’t often get to see them displayed with their covers “face out.”  A lot of people commented on the fact that we have a book from 1629 in such good condition!

Art of the Book - Part 1

Art of the Book - Part 2

6. We are very fortunate to have space in a building where the landlord cares about us and our business.  He and his wife brought us a lovely fruit arrangement, and two plates of shortbreads she had made!

Pineapple Flowers!

Shortbreads our landlady made...

7. Even though the attendance at our event was small, we enjoyed seeing the many friends we may not have made had it not been for the bookstore! 

Thanks to everyone who attended!  And for those who don’t live in the Saint John, New Brunswick area, please stop in and see us if you’re visiting  the Maritimes!

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Filed under books, food, friends, memories