Friday, November 25, 2016

Two for ONE!

Two for one post!!

Okay, so we have gone to two different countries since the last post. Last week we explored Latvia, going through parts of my own family's history. And tonight Smarty decided we should go to Greece.

We made Sklandrausis and schnitzel for last week. A rye dough crust filled with mashed potatoes and mashed carrots (with sour cream). They were delicious! And dessert was manna. A cream of wheat custard type pudding.

I got a text from our good friends right before we were starting cooking asking if we wanted a play date and to combine suppers. So we shared delicious food, combining our Latvian cuisine with their enchiladas :)

The next night I was going out for a conversation night and I brought red wine hot chocolate. I had never made it before, but WOW! I am so glad I tried it!

And tonight we did Greece. Smarty chose spanakopita and finikia, so I worked with phyllo pastry for the first time. Fresh spinach and feta.  Yummy!

I really wanted to take pictures while putting it together, but I had to work fast. 

The children enjoyed eating the filling and being able to peel the layers away. Sergeant enjoyed eating the pastry.  A lot. 

These are the finikia. An orange, cinnamon cookie dipped in a cinnamon syrup. Girlie says she enjoyed them perhaps a little too much. Lol

That's all for travelling for now. Last weekend we dug out our Christmas boxes and decorated the house. We set up the tree and started playing our Christmas music, which has been in the CD player ever since, occasionally changing the CDs but keeping with the theme :)

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baby Bear

So, Hubby is off and away again. This time on course in Ontario. We all were able to drive him to the airport and see him off on Monday, for which I'm grateful. The kids enjoy getting those last hugs before seeing him go off into the building.

Monday morning was nice and slow. Didn't have to drop anyone off at school, no rushing around anywhere. We were able to drink our coffee together, sort through what might be missing from his bags , and have some low key time.

Monkey was worried that her daddy would be lonely. She has these two bears. One is smaller than the other, but their colouring is very similar, so she calls them mommy bear and baby bear. She walked very sombrely up to Hubby as he was zippering up his back pack that last time with baby bear in her hands.

"Daddy, baby bear is worried you might need company. You can take him with you if you want." (Imagine those big blue eyes...)

"But won't you miss baby bear, Buddy? Maybe baby bear wants to stay with you."

"Dad, it's okay. You take him with you. So you won't be lonely."

So Hubby tucks the bear into his bag, asks if that was okay with Monkey, and then we all went off.

For our countdown this time away we have four little jars, filled with Hershey's hugs, with a label on each written "A hug from Dad for ___" and that first night they were so excited to get their hugs from Dad.

The next morning the first thing Monkey asked was "Mommy, I wonder how baby bear is doing?" So I texted that to Hubby along with a picture of Monkey and mommy bear. They first words Girlie said were "When can we set up the Christmas tree?" but that got other thoughts of mine going. Where will we put it, how will we move things to make space for it, things like that.

But, back to the bears, Hubby brought the little guy with him to the course. He took a picture and sent it so she could see him keeping her company. And today the little guy was all over the place! Nearly eaten by another hungry padre! All cuddled up with another. There are some chaplains from a European country there with our Canadian ones for the course and some of them took pictures of the wee bear and sent them back to their homes far far away! It looks and sounds as though baby bear is having quite the adventures!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remembrance Day

Lest we forget

Yesterday was difficult for me. Remembrance Day usually is. I have always felt immense pride and gratitude for the service of our military, and Remembrance Day is an amazing way to stop and reflect on the sacrifices that have been made and are daily made.

Wednesday evening, Hubby got out his black kit and rag. We sat in the kitchen, him on the stool with a shoe in one hand and a soft rag in the other, I sat on a kitchen chair, and we talked as the reflection in the black began to shine. The motions of the rag rubbing and polishing and the smell of the polish itself is so familiar. Talking about the household, the kids, the outcome of the election we witnessed to the south of us, plans for the week and the school services the next day.

I can remember in snippets and images seeing my father do the same when he was in the service. Seeing the blackened soft rag amongst his shoes in the closet when my sisters and I would go through and try mom's shoes on (didn't last too many years for me as my feet are nearly twice her size now). I recall wanting to wear his hat too, and smile every time our crazy crew gets Daddy's hat from him to carry into the house and they wear it and grin.

Last week when we went to visit family I learned some really neat and interesting things as my parents and I went through tons of old pictures. I knew some of the history about when my grandfathers served in the second world war. I knew that my mom's dad was Canadian and fought with the Allies. I knew that my dad's father was in Latvia and fought over there. How it was originally explained to me, eons ago, was that they fought for whichever side served their country's interest. So I knew that the Russians and the Germans both occupied that country and that some likely fought on both sides. My grandfather fought under German command. And did what he needed to do. My father said that his dad never spoke of what happened, didn't keep pictures of that time, and let it lay buried deep. You do what you have to do.

In a world where there is the talk of black and white, and "bad guys vs good guys" it's incredibly important to remember the grey. After getting back from the service yesterday I spoke with the kids about what they saw and heard, what they know, and what is important to remember. They have their father, who proudly wears a uniform. Many good friends who wear a uniform, and not only military. We've seen a lot of the red serge of the RCMP this week, including some very close friends. I reminded them that one of their grandfathers used to be a serving member. That all four of their great grandfathers were in the service during WW2, three for the Allies, one for the Reich. Then I had to answer questions from the four year old about why one of her great grandfathers was one of the "bad guys".

Lots and lots of feels. Watching some amazing advertisements that highlight the service and unlimited liability that comes with it. There's a Guinness commercial that brings out the all the emotions (here it is). Hubby showed it to my dad when we were there and they shared a moment.

As we started during our Halifax posting, Hubby and I went out with another service couple (RCMP) last night. Lots of fun, some serious conversation, some light hearted, very needed. Our server was an American, was in the Marines for four years and came up to Canada for school and her husband. Really neat to hear her experience and the mutual respect among uniformed members across borders.

On the edge of our table we had a drink for those who have fallen. In loving memory of the sacrifices made and are daily made, of every day putting that uniform on and feeling the weight of the past generations, the weight both supporting and guiding. We will remember them

Sunday, November 6, 2016

another little trip

This week last week was a really good one. We had Halloween (and I totally didn't take any pictures!! So sorry for anyone who was looking for some), Smarty had his last French cooking class (chocolate mousse. YUMMY), Monkey had her first preschool field trip (to the public library), and we took the kids out of school the last two days of the week to go visit family down in the southern part of the province. My maternal grandmother has been having some health issues and we wanted to go visit. 

As we were planning out the time we'd be away, I realised that we could either postpone our trip to Peru for next week, or we could take my parents to South America with us. I am glad we went ahead and did our kitchen travels! Since Hubby has been to Peru, he helped Monkey make the choice for the meal and he prepared it. I made the dessert. We had Lomo Saltado, a beef stir fry served with rice and french fries.  Dessert was Turron de chocolate (it was a toss up between that and Tres Leches). Big hit, both of them.

Work and school again tomorrow, though. And Hubby leaves again for a few weeks starting next Monday. This week we prepare for Remembrance Day. Sergeant is so excited. He came home from school one day and was talking about how his class was in charge of doing the Remembrance Day assembly at school and he hoped he would be chosen to MC because he volunteered for it. Then he brought home, a couple days later, a copy of the Act of Remembrance that he will be saying part of during the program. He's been practising, Daddy is going to be there and speak for a few minutes to the students, and possibly later in Smarty's class as well. 

As part of a tradition we started in Halifax, the evening of the 11th is a date night. We have a sitter booked, we'll be going out with another service couple (he's RCMP). And, of course, we will attend a service during the day. Hubby is leading one in the city and we will be there.