Christmas Crafts -Day 9

The kids and I usually make a gingerbread house from a kit around Christmas. The goal isn’t about the baking, it’s about the decorating and spending time together creating something.

This year my son mentioned seeing a train gingerbread kit that he would like to make. So I went to the store he thought he saw it in and there was none to be found. I then asked my husband to pick a gingerbread house kit up at the grocery store but he decided not to get one because in his words “we usually end up throwing most of it away anyway”. I do agree but as I mentioned it’s not about the gingerbread, it’s about the time spent together.

Now it’s 2 days before Christmas and after going to 4 stores in search of a gingerbread house or train, or anything gingerbread like we ended up with a cookie decorating kit.

The cookies are hard as rocks because I ate one, just to test it out. Let’s hope none of us have a dental emergency in the next week as a result.

  • On the first day of Christmas my true loves made for me, an Ornament Wreath.
  • On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me, Hot Chocolate Mugs.
  • On the third day of Christmas my true love made for me, Plum Wine.
  • On the fourth day of Christmas my mom made for me, A Nativity Scene.
  • On the fifth day of Christmas a random stranger made for me, Cotton Candy Chemo Cap.
  • On the sixth day of Christmas my true loves made for me, Spontaneous Snowmen
  • On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me, Tiny Knit Scarf Ornaments
  • On the eighth day of Christmas my little loves made for me, Reindeer Balls.
  • On the ninth day of Christmas my little loves made with me….

Dentist Approved Cookies.

If you want to make these too, good luck! Hopefully you find a kit in fewer than four stores.


Christmas Crafts – Day 3

On the first day of Christmas my true love made for me…an ornament wreath.

On the second day of Christmas my true loves made with me…mugs.

We have two plum trees in our yard that are big fruit producers. This past summer we picked 60 pounds of plums! What on earth do you do with 60 pounds of plums as a family of four. We gave 30 pounds away to anyone that would take them. I pushed plums on neighbours, friends and co-workers for weeks.

And with the rest, we saved for the third day of Christmas when my true love made for me……

Plum wine. MMMM, wine.

Want to make wine?

I went to a local wine making shop with 30 lbs of pitted frozen plums in September. They did a little wine magic and 3 months later there was a huge jug of wine ready to bottle. I bottled it and labelled it and voila 30 bottles of wine ready for consumption.

If plum wine isn’t your thing, wine making shops have different wine kits that you can buy. It’s not difficult or expensive.

Floating Market

In addition to temples, and tuk tuks there are many markets in Thailand. The Damnoen Saduak floating market was about an hour and a half out of Bangkok but it was worth the drive for the experience. There are a few floating markets in and around Bangkok which are primarily for tourists.

We were dropped off at a boat dock where we boarded long tail speed boats. The ride was terrifying. We rode through man made canals and saw homes, temples and shops. The boat driver was a bit of a speed racer. It was rough and the water was a lovely shade of brown. We ended our speed boat ride at the floating market.

Boats full of everything imaginable could be found in the floating market but most vendors were selling food. Anyone want a banana? How about a mango? Coconut?



Next up the Sampran Riverside Village followed by a day at Elephant Hills.

Railway Market

I think that I love to be surprised, but I am not good at accepting surprises. The truth is that I love the idea of being surprised. When we go on vacation I painstakingly research everything, so that we can make the most of our time and money. This vacation was different, I asked my husband to surprise me.

Which went something like this;

  • Him: where do you want to go for your birthday
  • Me: surprise me
  • Him: can you narrow it down
  • Me: somewhere I have never been
  • Him: how about you pick a continent
  • Me: Asia, or South America, or Central America, or how about Europe
  • Him: how about we look at potential vacation destinations tonight
  • Me: then it wouldn’t be a surpise

The moral of the story is that I am a pain in the ass, and he is not confident that he could pick somewhere that I would like. He was right, he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell (my dads saying). BUT, my super smart mom said why don’t you contact our travel agent. That was an AH, HA moment. Vacationing old school.

We used a travel agent, they did all the work, and we had all the fun. We were picked up at the airport by our guide and driver and spent the next few days getting a private tour of Bangkok. There is no better way to travel. I have done bus trips, train trips, cruises, backpacking, you name it I have probably tried it, and a private car and guide can not be beat.

On the second day Rose (our guide) arrived to pick us up at our hotel, and decided that she was going to alter our itinerary to include the Maeklong Railway Market. I didn’t fully understand everything that she was telling me, so most of the time I just followed her around. We were dropped off in the middle of the street, and she walked us down train tracks. She started shopping as we walked through the narrowest market I have ever been in. Rose stopped to buy dried squid. Not my idea of an afternoon snack.


Then comes an announcement to get off the tracks and behind the red line. Up to this point my husband and I fully believed that there was no train. How on earth could a train come through this market? There were people, canopies, tables, baskets, and garbage can lids full of products everywhere. The market was full of vendors and shoppers, where was everyone and everything going to go to make room for the train. I’m thinking that a tiny little train is coming through, until I saw a full size train.

It was amazing. Bonus – I was surprised.

Up next, the floating market, and an Arts & Crafts village. Followed by Day 3 at Elephant Hills.


With all my heart

my-valentineHappy Valentines’s Day! I am a celebrator, I celebrate everything. Including Valentine’s Day which my husband lovingly calls a Hallmark holiday.

On a side note, have you seen the price of cards lately? Ridiculous. I pulled out the Valentine’s card that my husband bought me two years ago. I think if you use them over and over again that maybe you can get $5.00 worth. Only three more years to go.

Last year we celebrated Valentine’s day with my parents at the Kennedy Space Station for an out of this world Valentines’ extravaganza. This year the celebration is much more subdued, and will include a giant heart cookie. When I was a kid we would go to the mall and I always wanted one of those giant chocolate chip cookies. Now that I am a grown-up and can operate the oven (most of the time) I figured that I would bake one for the family as a Valentine’s day treat.

I used this recipe but I cut the quantities in half for a medium sizedvalentine-cookie_making-a-life heart shaped cake pan.

Christmas Crafting – Day 10

I have made many gingerbread houses over the years and I am getting much better at it. By getting better I mean I now buy them assembled. Not just pre-baked but pre-made. Baking and assembling gingerbread is for the professionals. It is so hard to get those pieces flat, and then getting them to stay together requires an engineering degree. So skip all of that and go right to the fun part.

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Carrot & Lentil Soup


Full disclosure I made carrot soup with homemade bread for dinner, but fed my kids McDonald’s for lunch. In my world that is balance. I don’t like to cook, but it has become my job Monday to Friday. Sometimes I come up with healthy and delicious meals which everyone will eat. This soup is one of those meals and pairs well with Crock Pot Bread.

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Crock Pot Bread

crock-pot-bread-_-making-a-life-4Making my own bread was something that I did years ago before having kids, when I had a smidge more time and no one holding onto my legs while I was cooking. Back then I used a bread maker which simplified the process, but now I have discovered crock pot bread which is just as easy.

I don’t enjoy cooking, I do it out of necessity. I like fancy bread but fancy bread is expensive. I need to save money so that I can get my hair done every 6 weeks, so home made bread it is.

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Date Night Apple Pie 2

making-a-life-apple-pie-1A wonderful friend dropped off a big bag of apples and pears on my doorstep recently. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but fruit flies not so much. It was a race against the fruit flies to do something with all the fruit. We are all fans of apple pie so we had a pie making marathon.

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Pickle Pub Crawl – Victoria

Last weekend, I got pickled. I spent Sunday with a group of moms on the Victoria Harbour Ferry Pickle Pub Crawl. Unfortunately, we picked the only rainy day in Victoria all summer, but we weren’t going to let a little rain stop us!

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