Thursday, July 14, 2011

Decorations and Boxes

Last weekend we celebrated Kathleen’s Stagette and it was LOVELY. Not only did Kathleen feel loved, but people also had fun and everyone got along really well. On top of that I had a BLAST decorating and preparing for the party (as per usual). I made such cute decorations and then completely forgot to take any “before” pictures, and the after pictures won't load. So here is what I have, a picture collage of some of the decorations - so you can get an idea of theme.

Saturday Paul and I slept in until 10 and laid in bed (talking, laughing, etc) until 12. It was so nice to not rush out of bed, like every work day morning. Then I moved to the living room where I proceeded to read for 4 hours. So lovely. We snacked and ate and rested. It was a perfect day. Then we headed out to Langley to visit our friends Shannon and Josh for dinner and board games. We taught them Peurto Rico, it's a game we really like. Sunday I was up bright and eary to meet up with Amy and Brittany (friends from the Island) for breakfast, then I headed off to shopping at Metrotwon (overwhelming), ended up at church straight from the mall, and then to picnic at the park after church. Church was wonderful. It was a spirit filled time. I met a new girl and she came to the picnic with us. I really enjoyed chatting with her. After the picnic I went to "Horrible Bosses" with my friend Sarah and came home at the end of the night to sit on the couch with Paul and watch some PVR'd Jeopardy (exciting, I know).

This week at work I have been continuing to pack like a mad woman. I have packed SO MANY boxes. SO MANY. By the end of the week I'll ahve packed over 200 boxes in the last month. Geez! I'll also have gone through 15 rolls of tape. The office is slowly emptying and the boxes are slowly stacking up.

This weekend is my 10 year reunion on the Island and I am half excited and half nervous. We'll see how it goes! and our student from Japan comes next week to stay with ius for 3 weeks. I'll keep you updated on how that goes.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Canada Day and an Island Day Trip

This past weekend was great. Really wonderful.

Friday was Canada Day! I sure do love a good holiday day off – and a chance to wear Red and White to celebrate my country. As I mentioned yesterday, I spent much of Canada Day prepping food for Prakash’s stag. BUT I managed to also have a good sleep in, and a chance to eat breakfast with my sweet husband. AND I got to rest for a bit before Kathleen came over. As soon as we were done the food prep I headed out in my red and white (no blue!) to join our church’s Canada Day BBQ. When I got there they were playing games in the park; I arrived just in time to join in on waterballoon volleyball. Excellent. Then we wandered over to my aunt and uncle’s house for a BBQ. There were mini hot dogs, mini burgers and mini chicken burgers. There were tons of people to talk to and I managed to stay in their back yard chatting, eating and relaxing from about 5:30 until 11! At that point I needed to head home to finish cleaning the house for Paul so it would be ready for the stag.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (6:20am!!) to get ready to meet my parents (at 6:45am, yech) and head to the Island for the day. We caught the 8:30am ferry. Mom did crosswords, I read people magazine and Dad slept in the car. We had lunch with my Grandma in Port Alberni, and Jenna and her boys were able to join us. We are the Pine CafĂ©, which despite it’s greasiness and complete unhealthiness, is one of my favorite restaurants. I love choice! And buffet!

My parents and I went back to my grandma’s to take naps (we’d been up so early!!) before I headed out to visit Amy and Tami. Love seeing friends! Then we headed out to the lake to go to the Fall’s house. It was Mr. Fall’s retirement party – and the reason for our day trip. Mr and Mrs Falls both taught me and have been good family friends since before I was born. They also host the best parties. Specifically, the best teacher parties. I have always loved their parties. Every New Years Day they host one and I loved going growing up. Interestingly, they have a son my age (and in my classes at school) and he would invite friends to the party as well…but he was popular so his friends were popular. I was NOT popular. So I’d go to these parties and downstairs were a bunch of my classmates. I definitely never felt I could go join them – terrifying to face popular people uninvited! And my school was one with a MAJOR class division. There were populars and unpopular and there was a huge divide between those two. SO I would always stay upstairs with my parents, and their friends (including many teachers). Especially as I got older, I loved the chance to talk to my favorite teachers. There were 4 in particular (well 3 teachers and one teachers wife) that I just LOVED talking to at these parties and every year we would have great chats. I was so hoping they would be at this party and they were!!! I was so excited, and happily they were just as excited to see me. Hopefully Paul and I will be able to get together with them the next time we’re in each others respective towns and in the mean time it was great to connect. They all said I hadn’t changed at all – well this year is my 10 year reunion, so I’m surprised to hear that in 10 years I appear fairly similar as I feel I sure have changed!

Mr and Mrs Falls have a great house for throwing parties, but there is also something in how they host that makes it feel welcoming and lovely. It’s a trick I would LOVE to learn. When I own a home, I’d love for it to have a similar feel. It is probably partially due to the fact that they have a great home; an open wooden a frame, overlooking Sproat Lake with dock and hot tub...that’s a pretty good start to any party. But they have a system of food and drink that works well. They both always appear to be enjoying the party (not seeming to worry about making sure everything is perfect) which allows guests to really enjoy. That is a huge skill!

It was a great weekend. I loved spending the day with my parents, I loved seeing old friends and I always love a good trip to the Island. I sure do miss that place. Vancouver may be where my friends and family are. It’s where jobs are. It’s where my community is. BUT if I could take all of that with me, I’d leave Vancouver in a split second for the Island. I miss lakes and rivers. I miss swimming without a billion other people on the beach next to me. I miss only driving 5 minutes to Costco and Wal-Mart, rather than an hour. I miss small towns and good restaurants that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I miss going grocery shopping and knowing half the customers there.

Anyways, it’s time to get back to work – I have a crazy full office to pack up for a lawyer here. This weekend is full with Kathleen’s stagette and seeing friends on Saturday in Langley. Pictures of the party to come!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Stags & Independance

Last week (I think) I read a great Blog Entry about preparing for outdoor parties easily. I loved the ideas. You can read her entry here. At the end of the summer I will be hosting an outdoor BBQ for friends and international students. This will be the perfect trial run for the easy party prep kit that I made yesterday.

Here is how mine turned out:

Friday night I am hosting a friends Stagette sleepover at my house. There will be food, drinks and a lot of fun! I’m pretty excited. I think Stagette’s are an amazing opportunity to send a friend in to marriage knowing that they have friends around them that love and support them. Specifically, great girlfriends. I know, personally, that my stagette weekend was amazing. I felt so loved and enjoyed. It was great.

Plus, I love to feed people.

For Kathleen, I wanted to make sure to serve her favorite foods. We will be having baked ham, cheesy mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. She also loves “Sex in Pan” (tasty and bachelorette themed, haha), which her fiance’s sister will be bringing. We picked her favorite girly drinks (sour puss raspberry and sprite) and snacks that she will love. Every guest is brining $10 towards the food (instead of paying $20 out at a fancy restaurant) and a gift for Kathleen. I think it will be a great night!

Last weekend Paul hosted Prakash (Kathleen’s fiancĂ©)’s Stag at our place. First Paul, Prakash and the other groomsman went on a camping hike Friday and Saturday. Then they arrived back at our house Saturday afternoon for a BBQ with a bunch of guys from church and Prakash’s work.

Now, my lovely husband Paul does not love to cook. When he was single he made food to live. He likes to eat. He enjoys good food. He does not enjoy cooking. (That’s why we work well together as I love to cook and HATE doing dishes…and he doesn’t mind dishes!). So with Kash’s Stag coming up I wanted to make sure Kash felt very loved. Prakash LOVES to feed people. He loves to feed people well. He cares about hospitality. Prakash has also been a great friend to me, as well as to Paul. I wanted to make sure the food at his stag was AMAZING.

I decided to help Paul out with the food (something he was and is still VERY thankful for). Thursday I did a big grocery shop for both the Stag and the Stagette. Friday I spent the day (with Kathleen’s help) prepping all the food for the party. The menu was gourmet burgers (cause men love to BBQ in the summer), Honey Garlic Chicken Wings, Chips (Guacamole Flavour and Havanero Flavour), and Potato Skins. Kathleen and I marinated the Wings. We prepared all the toppings (cheese, lettuce, pickles, jalapeno’s, guacamole, bacon, tomatoes, etc). We cut up onions and mushrooms and put them in bowls with becel and seasoning for Paul to grill up the day of the BBQ. We baked potatoes and turned them in to skins ready for topping and baking on Saturday. I left step by step instructions for Paul on how to prepare all the food. I cleaned the entire house and made a giant mud pie (thanks to this link for the recipe); layer of oreo crumbs, fudge icing and then chocolate cookie dough ice cream with chunks of brownies. And sprinkles on top to make it girly, haha. Paul says the mud pie was much raved about. AND he managed to get everything out for the burgers and only forgot the lettuce. That is a huge victory. All of the food was polished except some of the pickles and a bunch of tomatoes (which re purposed made a great tomato boccocini salad the next day).

Monday was the 4th of July and I wanted to make the day special for my special American. I also invited our friend Candace over (also American) to celebrate. I decorated and cooked and then enjoyed great company. The decoration ideas are thanks to the many American blogs I read with very creative women!

I made “Chicks on a Stick” (found here), double stuffed potatoes and roasted veggies. Here’s how it turned out:



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