Happy Taste Buds and Maple in the County

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I like food. Or at least I used to think so when I would eat anything anyone put in front of me. I would accept food that was "good enough" and consider it that. Good enough. It wasn't until we moved to the county that I slowly started to appreciate what good food was. What good food is.

 {visiting the baby lamb at Nyman Farms during Maple in the County}

Carrots are ok. Unless you've tried heirloom carrots from Vicki's Veggies, which are outstanding. I mean, carrots were always those orange vegetables mom used to make you eat, not these mouth watering, get an excited feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know that dinner will include such mouth-exploding flavours. I mean they are freaking carrots? How are they so good they may be the showstopper of the meal? Crazy, but true.

Or Marilyn's Award Winning chili that I picked up from a local craft show last year. Chili so delicious that we keep her jar with her information on it so we can hunt her down when we're looking for the some of the county's best sweet chili sauce. That said, the hot maple chili from Haystrom Farm is full-on, in your face hotness. Not too hot your face melts off, just hot enough to make you hankering for more.

{Eggs is probably lucky he couldn't catch the hen at Nyman Farms}

Speaking of hankering for more, if you ever have the chance to try the goat cheese from the county's Curious Goat, do it! And good luck not making excuses to find something, anything, to slather it onto so you avoid eating it directly from the jar. Seriously, if you place a jar of their maple chevre in front of me alongside a jar of nutella, Curious Goat would win, hands down. Yes, I went there.

As everyone knows, there are many outstanding chef's sharing their craft in Prince Edward County. Rockstar and I have made the trip to a number of restaurants in the community, and the chef that won my heart, and my taste buds, is Chef Neil Dowson from the Agrarian. I'm not sure if it's his British accent, or his appreciation of The Inbetweeners that made me take note, but Chef Neil makes using every last one of my weight watchers bonus points well worth it.

{Taking the back seat on the Firetruck at Honeywagon Farm during Maple in the County}

18 months ago my taste buds finally understood what so many of my true food loving friends have been talking about. The abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, preserves, meats are endless, and I look forward to taste testing my way through each and every one of them. Baked goods including homemade bread, fresh tarts, award winning pies, are as mouth watering as you imagine. And I haven't even talked about the local wine and craft beer taking over the world.

Prince Edward County, thank you for finally teaching me what great tasting food looks, smells, and tastes like. Non-county folks, many of the county's farmers set up shop at Toronto's Brickworks Farmer's Market which means you too can bring the taste of the county to your dinner table. And for those looking to escape the city and have top-notch chefs cook for you,  there's Countylicious which runs in the spring and the fall.

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Remembering a Family Matriarch and Community Awareness

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Yesterday our family made a trip up to Ottawa Valley to say goodbye to Rockstar's grandmother. To say Granny was the matriarch of the family is understatement. Granny was more like the matriarch of her community. Rockstar was telling me about the years that his Granny would send all the grandkids out, door-to-door, selling tickets to whatever fundraiser she was currently involved in. Fundraisers for hockey teams, church, school, it didn't matter. There was always something she was helping raise money for. He then went on to say that as soon as you had a job, you were expected to buy tickets as a way to contribute to the community. It was what you did.

It got me thinking about how we, as a fairly new-ish family to our community, should be much more involved in our community. Yes we attend as many festivals as we can, and yes I share via social media any cool things that are happening in the area, but we can do more. I can do more.

So friends, as a start, here is a list of a few community projects/fundraisers, folks in Prince Edward County are doing. Cool people doing cool things, at little cost to you.

Alysa and Jesse, from South in Milford, are looking to start an electronics club at the local school (Eggs and Lobster's future school) to teach computer programming, machine language, basic electronics, and programmable logic controllers. They are looking for 20 - 25 laptops in working order.  It doesn't have to be pretty, or from this decade but it does have to work. Is there a closet at your office or at home that is filled with old computers? They want them! Contact Alysa and Jesse here.

Krista, from my favourite artist's escape, Small Pond Arts, is working on a super cool library project and need your stories. "Over the next few months I'm going to be collecting stories about libraries: memories, misadventures, anecdotes, maybe even tales of romance between the stacks! It's all part of a community arts project, Re:Collections, and everyone is invited to participate: adults, kids, seniors, school groups, and current and former library staff and volunteers. Although my focus will be on our local community of Prince Edward County, I welcome stories from anywhere across the globe." Read more about the project here!

Friends of ours in Toronto (yes, they are not from the County, but they like the county) are on the hunt for used glockenspiels, xylophones or various percussion instruments. They are trying to help start a music club at their daughter's school, so if you have anything, let me know and I will put you in touch with them.

I remember as a kid hating selling chocolate almonds. The sheer thought of having to embark in future chocolate/book/plant campaigns already sends a shiver through my spine. That said, it will be for a good cause. A good cause for my children, and those in our community. So, I think it's time for us to start planting our roots instead of visiting, one fundraiser at a time. Pin It

Rockstar Rocks Out and Photos by Local Talent

Friday, March 6, 2015

The night I met rockstar, and he told me he was in a band, I was confused. What do you mean you are in a band? Who plays in bands? Why I thought it was bizarre, I don't know. Perhaps it was because I didn't know anyone who was a fulltime musician.

Through our relationship, I've watched Rockstar tackle a number of events:
  • when his band was almost signed to a Canadian music label
  • when he parted ways with his band
  • when he played and toured with some Canadian artists
  • when we heard one of his old band's song recorded and being performed by a former Canadian idol
  • as a band member of Blueman Group
  • when he toured and performed as part of a reality show
Rockstar would never advertise his accolades, as he's not one to name drop or advertise how awesome he really is.  If Rockstar could sell himself as well as he plays, he'd likely be playing in some internationally world-recognized band, and I would have never met him. So a win for me I guess.

When we moved to the county, Rockstar hated it. I took him away from his musical outlet, his people. For me, moving to the county was an easy decision, as in my industry, I can do it anywhere. For someone as shy and awkward as Rockstar, this has been a hard adjustment. Watching others playing gigs as a side job or fun project, when music is his livelihood, is frustrating for him..

That's the old Rockstar.

Ladies and Gents, I introduce you to the new Rockstar.

During the month of February, Rockstar spent his free time writing, performing, and producing a 10 song album as part of RPM2015. He reached out to county photographer Jason Sommer to capture his new look, his current vibe, and he's working with another local talent, Lindsay Casey of 12 Grain Creative, on revamping his website. Our friend Robin, choreographer extraordinaire, has reached out Rockstar to do a dance/music collaboration next month, and hopefully, some other cool things will start to happen this year.
Check out Rockstar's album here, and be sure to send him some love and support on twitter or in the comments. And for those looking to hire an exceptional musician, you let me know and I will hook you up!

** All photos in this blog post were taken by Jason Sommer of Prince Edward County. Check out his stuff, and think of him for your next photography needs **

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Commuting from the County and Weekly Date Night

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's been 4+ months since I've gone back to work full time, on a long-term contract. The company I contract for is in the data storage industry, an industry I was introduced to back in 2004. I enjoy this world... Fast paced, surrounded by highly intelligent individuals. And being 10 years older, I'm much more mature for this industry.

This company, and my manager, is flexible with working from home, but at least 2 days a week it's recommended we show our faces if we are not on a client's site. Since we only have one family vehicle, this means I take the via train in once a week to Toronto, and spend the night with my ultimate bestie.

Moving away from Toronto was hard, and it was moving away from her and her dance family which proved to be the toughest adjustment. Initially I thought it was the community as a whole I missed, not being able to teach the students and take pride in knowing that a small part of my teaching made them as successful as they are. And while I do miss that, them, it's really my friendship with my friend of 11+ years, and seeing her many times a week that I took advantage of. Fast forward to now, and being able to have a weekly grown-up date with her, outside of the studio. We pick up some food, go back to her place, drink wine, throw on some netflix, and chat. We chat about everything. I missed my person tremendously, and I'm glad we've found a way to get some much needed time with my twisted sister.  Pin It

Local News Headliner

Friday, February 6, 2015

When Eggs was born, I told Rockstar I had big plans that included him being the first ever Olympian/Juno winner. Well, looks like we're on the right path of future Olympian.

If you want to see the behind the scenes video of this photo, you can see that here.

PS - Although it would be cool for Eggster to be an Olympian/Juno winner, I'm totally kidding. I just want him to be awesome at whatever he decides to do and let the city council decide where to erect his life-size statue. Ha! Pin It

House Decisions and the Winter Carnival

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Every once in a while I wonder if our current house is our "happily ever after" home. I love this house, but at 3,200 sq feet, it's a big house. And unlike Toronto, any upgrades we put into this house does not guarantee we'll get that money back. So what's a home owner in the county to do? Do minimal upgrades in case we decide to move? Or go all in, enjoy the improvements, and if we decide to downsize, know we may lose our investment?

{Milford Winter Carnival 2015}

The couple of times I mention a possible future downsize to Rockstar, he responds the same way. "If we are selling this house, we are not re-locating to another part of the county. We are moving back to the city". Ugh.

{Milford Winter Carnival 2015}

While I'm not one to kick and scream at the idea of moving back one day, I really do love living here. The family friendly events, the abundance of farmer's market, the beautiful backdrop every minute of every day. The county is pretty damn special and a great place to live and grow with my family. That said, the city has my family, our friends, more job opportunities, and musical outlets for Rockstar. The only things, yet important things, missing from the county (although I do have forever friends within a 30 minute drive who I don't see enough).

{Milford Winter Carnival 2015}
My smart Rockstar said to me "Why are we thinking about this? Do we really want to live here thinking that maybe in x amount of years we'll be moving?". How right he is. Why try and predict what we'll be doing in 5 years? Instead, I will enjoy each day growing with my family, embracing this amazing community, and make an effort to form lifelong friendships. Oh, and make upgrades to our home along the way.
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Shared Room and a Cuban Wedding

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A week before Christmas, Rockstar and I enlisted the help of Pam Nease, Sleep Consultant. We used Pam with great success for Eggs when he was a wee little babe, and decided to use her to guide us through our next big transition. A shared bedroom.

{Photo of my bestfriend and me at her Cuban wedding. 14 years of friendship with this girl 
who knows all my deepest and darkest secrets. Photo by the amazing Erin Campbell Photography}

While pregnant with Miss A, Rockstar and I decided that it made most sense to move her into Eggs's room as it's the warmest room (coolest in the summer), and made the most sense logistically (you have to walk through his room to get to the other rooms in the house). Up until this point, Miss A was sleeping in my office, and with work ramping up, it was time for her to relocate.

{The dresses we wore were convertible dresses that can be worn 30+ different ways.  
I opted for the sleeve style to hide my  chicken wings and tan lines - photo by Erin Campbell Photography (crop by me}

So here we are, a week into the "shared-room experiment" and so far it's going amazing!
  • Miss A is still napping 3 - 4 times a day. On most days Rockstar is able to align their nap times so they both go down during Egg's sole nap.
  • Bedtime routine consists of a shared bath, book reading by kid #1, final feeding for her, the "goodnight" ritual to Frank the Monkey (toddler clock), song led by Eggs, and both are down, in their cribs, between 7 - 730pm
  • Both are usually dead to the world until 7-730am. The odd time she does wake up (one quick cry), he doesn't make a sound. They are learning quickly how to ignore one another.
{The beaches in Santa Clara are amazing! While the other gals in the photo didn't 
quite get the "jump after 3", I am quite impressed with the air I captured. Yay me! 
photo by Erin Campbell Photography

The kids seem to really enjoy having one another in their room.  Some times we hear R singing to Miss A with her cackling along, and sometimes we get the worried cry from him that "Lobster is crying!" But in the end, the sleeping is going strong (with his final 2 teeth and her first coming in during this time as well) and us parents continue to sleep 9+ hours nightly. Yes, 9 consecutive hours. 

{For more photos of the wedding, and some INSANELY awesome photos, check out Erin's gallery here}

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