Tuesday, September 28, 2010


On Friday we hosted a Mexican Night at our church.  It was lots of fun.  I was very nervous because we tried out a new menu and I wasn't sure how it would go.  Thankfully everyone was happy and looked liked they were enjoying the food.  The food was largely done by two talented ladies with very efficient kitchen skills.  We had pulled pork tacos (can anyone say yum in Spanish?),  nachos, 4 Mexican salads, sundaes... I better stop I am getting hungry again!  It was awesome.  I made my guacamole.  (I wish I could come up with a cute name for it but how many words rhyme with guacamole?  Chipotle, holy- can't go there, I give up!)

Remember I said the the secret ingredient to any recipe is you? (Borrowed from Kung Fu Panda - I have two boys and that's all I am going to say!) Well sometimes the secret ingredient comes in a little glass container called a jar.  Read on and enjoy!

4 Avocados (Ripe)* mashed
5-6 cloves roasted garlic** (You can substitute with raw garlic, but roasted is much better)
1 cup of mild or hot salsa depending on you taste buds (shhhh secret ingredient)
1 teaspoon of lime (or lemon) juice
1/4 cup of sour cream (You can add this if you like your guacamole a little light on flavour and texture)
Salt to taste

Combine all the ingredients and blend to ensure smoothness.  Make sure the garlic is mixed in properly.  Cover  (make sure to press directly on the guacamole) with a plastic wrap to prevent discolouring.  Apparently you can add to the seeds of the avocado to ensure the guacamole stays green.

From our kitchen to your table!

*You can ripen avocados by placing them in a paper bag with some apples.  Poke a few holes in the bag and voila!
** To roast garlic cut off the tops and rub with olive oil.  Place in the oven at 350 until the juice from the garlic oozes and turns brown.  The garlic should be soft and sticky.

How to dice an avocado:
Smack the knife into the seed so it pierces it.  Twist the seed and it should come out clean.  Try not to squeeze the avocado too much while you are doing this.

Score the flesh with horizontal and vertical cuts with a knife.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
Lovely Yellow Ribbons
It's a Blog Party

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

I have been away for a little bit.  Very busy with our Mexican night on Friday.  I had a lot of fun planning the event and really wanted us to provide something very special for the ladies. Some of my crafty attempts were a bit disappointing.  I may have lost the crafter's touch.  Oh well...

This was my inspiration...

I tried...

On a personal note...
The boys started their joint swimming lessons this week.  I love watching their relationship develop into a more loving and supporting one. (Don't think for a moment that they are like this all the time.)  Even though it is not very good quality... I will cherish this photo.

We have a winner!
Patricia Caputo-Price won the Marmee's Circle gift pack.  Her inspiring comment about what really matters made her stand out the most.  Thanks to all the other participants for visiting our site and leaving a comment.  Patricia's prize pack (say that fast 5 times) includes a Rock Star necklace from Cherryappleart, a pack of holiday cards from Lucky 7 Designs, and a Nappy Pail from Sew Me.  All the items are being personalized just for Patricia.  Thanks to all the other participants for visiting our site and leaving a comment.
Lucky 7 Designs

Here is Patricia's winning comment:
What insipires me most is when I see children that have less than ideal parents. It Insipres me to try harder to be a better mother to my children. I believe our society has become enthralled with materialistic goals and you often find parents so wrapped up in their jobs trying to gain their financial goals they tend to neglect the emotional needs of their children. Often...most people seem to be having children for the wrong reason...they think it will give them some kind of status boost if they can say they are "married with children" when in fact the reason you should chose to have children is to share the love between spouses and to watch that grow and flourish within your children.
Just beautiful!

What's New
Marmee's Circle is hosting Durham's first trade show featuring products made and promoted by women.  On November 20th 2010 everyone will see what all the planning is about.  I have to say I have stopped myself many times along the way.  I am always full of ideas.  Some are small and most are big.  Sometimes I wonder why I don't dream small.  I know we are taught to dream big and see beyond our limits.  However, I often wonder if I should just slow down a little... after all I just had a baby!  That would not be me.  I keep busy to know that I am alive and still be passionate about my life.

Thanks for hanging in while I was hanging out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicken For Two (Meals)

When the weather starts turning on me (by getting colder) I turn to my soups for comfort and warmth.  We have this great little farmers market near our house and what a treat it was.  I wish I had taken some pictures!  There were butter-tarts (you know how much I love me some butter tarts), fresh vegetables, fresh sweet popped corn, sausages to die for and the best honey I have ever tasted.  I spent about 40.00 there.  I could have doubled that.  Oh and I almost forgot about the cheese and rye bread.  Ohhhh I need to write this recipe quick- I'm salivating!

So I picked up all the fresh ingredients from this very sweet farmer.  He caught my eye because he was so polite and attentive.  He found my kids amusing so naturally he was a good catch- for my friend's sister.  I don't know if it was the pollen I tried at the previous stand or the smell of sweet popped corn but he made a good impression on me.  I vowed to return with my friend's sister in tow.  We will see what happens.  Okay I have some 'splaining to do... I love to match make.  It is one of my most favourite actives.  I dream about opening a match making service one day!

Now for the recipe.  With all these fresh vegetables I thought about making a Chicken Chowder and then a Chicken Pot Pie.  I use the Chicken Chowder recipe to make my chicken pot pie.  Now I have more 'splaining to do because usually I cook/bake from scratch, but sometimes I use a base for my chowder.  (Also, they were on sale.)  I hope you enjoy making them.

The Soup
3 tablespoons of butter
1 large Shallot minced
2 medium carrots diced
1/2 head of broccoli
4 fresh corn (cut)
1 cup of fresh peas
3 cans of clam chowder (buy a good quality one)
2 cups of milk
sprinkle of celery seed (or you can use 2 celery sticks if you like)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove minced
4 Chicken legs or Two chicken breasts

The Pie Part
2 cups of Bisquick mix (make this bulk version from and never have to buy it again!)
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of grated cheese
1/4 cup of flour

Put butter in a large heavy pot and melt over medium heat.  Add shallots, carrots, corn, broccoli, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until tender.  Add clam chowder, milk, garlic, celery, fresh peas and chicken.  Cook until it has thickened a bit and the chicken is cooked.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken and cut it up.  Return the chicken to the pot and stir.

Serve some of the soup as it is or freeze some for later.  I usually remove the amount I need for the pot pie and place it in the dish I will use.

Pot Pie Part

Mix the Bisquick mix, flour and grated cheese together.  Make a well in the middle and add the milk.  Stir with a fork and form it into a ball.  If it is very sticky add a little more floor.  It should feel soft and  a little sticky not wet.  Turn dough onto a work surface and shape into the shape of your dish making sure it is not more than 2/4 of an inch.

Use a sharp knife (it will make them rise higher) to cut the dough into diamonds.  Place the dough on the dish and brush with butter.  Place in a very hot oven (425) and bake for 15-18 minutes (until the tops are golden brown.

From our kitchen to your table.

Heard around the table...
"Mom you are the best maker." Kiran
"Amazing." Greg
"Can I have some more biscuits please?" Cohen
"Yummy, Yummy for my tummy!" Kiran
Pin drops, crickets chirping, pregnant pauses. Hannah

Monday, September 20, 2010

Going Back to My Roots!

My Mom and Cohen enjoying the steel pan.  This man was the most enthusiastic performer I have ever seen.  It was almost child-like!
This Sunday afternoon my mom and the kids spent some time at the Toronto Natural Hair and Beauty show. I didn't want to bring the kids but my mom insisted.   This event took me back to the first neighbourhood I lived in when I came to Canada.  This neighbourhood is now just called The Hood.  For some very scary reasons.  I have to say when I lived there I had no idea it had a reputation.  We went to the church across the street from our building and went to the school beside the church.  I felt pretty safe in my cozy community blanket.  And who wanted to admit that their early beginnings were from The Hood anyway?
Colourful hair designs!

So after 30 years I stepped back to the place where my Canadian life began.   I see faces that hold pieces to my past and I feel comforted and connected.  We are here to celebrate the natural black hair movement.  It has been over 1 year since I stopped chemically straightening my hair.  I made the decision after I found  out I was pregnant with our fourth child.  I said good bye to hair that would behave when it woke up and not grow into a mountain of frizz on the first wave of humidity.  It has been a troublesome road going natural.  As a teen and for most of my adult life I wouldn't be caught dead with frizzy (and don't even mention nappy) hair.  Smooth, straight, and long were the only words I wanted associated with my hair.
Loved seeing the beautiful braids on the little girls. 

Going back to the hood and the natural hair show I was surprised that I felt pride.  I didn't care if anyone could see the unruly curls peeking out from under the smooth bits.  I didn't even think about my hair that much to be honest.  I was too busy admiring the locks of all the women around me.  I also was grateful that I took my mother's suggestion to bring the kids.  My boys were soaking in every piece of visual beauty in front of them. Where we live they are not exposed to these sites and sounds.  I forgot how important it was to give their roots a home.  As my almost three year old danced to the steel pan playing rasta and my older son looked wide eyed, I was filled with awe and gratitude.

Afro-tar! The most creative hair team. (In my opinion.)
Loved this woman's (the one in the dress) passion and excitement for her craft!

I was grateful that I had something to pass on.  Grateful for the pride I felt in my people, my awe-inspiring friend Stephanie.  Grateful for the chance to return to a place that I turned my back on.  Grateful for women who take a chance even though it is not popular, it isn't comfortable and doesn't always slide graciously into the minds of others.

Thank you God for taking me back and allowing me to bring my children with me.

Join Ann Voskamp as she gives thanks!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Awarded and it feels so good!

Thanks to Dawn from  Mom-a-Logues (great name isn't it?), I was given a Lovely Blog award.  Feeling the love Dawn!  I have the wonderful task of awarding other bloggers.  Here is my list and reasons why I love these blogs:

1. Impress Your Kids- I know, I know, I rave about them all the time.  (No! I don't work for them!) I just love how they inspired me to pass on my faith to my kids in a real and relevant way.  Who can beat that?  

2.  I am all a Twitter About Life - I just stumbled on this blog today.  I was so touched by Lisa's story about losing her mom to Breast Cancer:(  I also loved her on-line book store.

3.  Pitter Patter Art - I have been in love with this blog from the moment I discovered it.  I have no idea how I stumbled on her blog.  I love how her life and passion for art have come together in the name of compassion and adoption.  I can't get enough of her beautiful and awe-inspiring art!

4.  Cherryappleart - I knew Rebecca through our church and I can't believe how much we have in common.  She is so passionate about her art and family.  She has the energy I envy and the drive that inspires me!

5. Chloe from Lucky 7 Designs- When I met Chloe I was inspired by her resolve to persevere.  She is so devoted to her beautiful little guy and her cards- oh don't get me started.  I can hardly believe she does this all by hand.  

6. Lamp Unto My Feet- I love this site.  I go here for amazing takes on dinner.  My personal favourite is the Cowgirl Casserole.  My kids love it!  Sherry is great for her homeschool tips as well!

7. Mike and Katie's blog is so wonderful.  I love their adoption story.  What really impresses me about Katie is her interest in meeting the cultural needs of her children.  I love how she threw herself head first into the hair-stories of her bi-racial daughter. 

8; Silly Precious Piggies is another fun blog.  I love the crafts she does with her children.  Everything looks great! 

9. Ordinary Inspirations is another one of my favourites.  I get updates on facebook- I love her commitment to her family and her faith.  

10. Last but not least is another new find:  Home School Creations.  Since I started homeschooling this year I have really appreciated the blogs that provide ideas, support, and connection.  This blog does all three.  I feel blessed to have found HSC.  

Thanks everyone.  I would have done more but I have soooo much to do with our upcoming Trade Show!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marmee's Circle Giveaway!

I usually don't post give-a-ways but this one is too good not to share.  Earlier this week I posted some pictures from my new web site's launch.  This website is dedicated to women who create and pursue their passions.  Please scroll down for pictures of our launch party and the amazing talented women.  

Here is the give-away: Visit the website, Marmee's Circle.  Go to the Win page and follow the directions.  It is super easy.  

What do you win?  A cute Nappy Pail - you have to see it.  Rock Star necklace by our talented accessories guru from Cherryappleart and a 10 pack holiday gift card from Lucky 7 designs.  This woman designs cards that are works of art.  Just check out this card... you have never seen anything like it!

Blessings to you and have a great weekend!
My Wee View

Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We Made It!


Hair by Cherryappleart

Well, they made it.  From innovative cards to gorgeous hair accessories. I felt so proud to know women who make beautiful awe-inspiring creations.  Speaking of hair accessories, I was seriously loving my black rose head band!  It was a perfect addition to hair that wouldn't cooperate.  We also had a few surprise additions.  CC's friend came with her deliciously smelling lip balms.  I just had to snag the mint!  My lips can hardly wait.

Some of our ladies in Marmee's Circle

Wall Art by Lucky 7 Designs

Paper Poppy Wall Art by Lucky 7 Designs

Not your average card by Lucky 7 Designs

Two talented ladies meet and share!
Beautiful accessories!

Lip Service! Scented Lip Balms by Shauna.

Beautiful cards by Lisa's Cards.

Spooky Halloween cards by Lisa's Cards.

Overall the launch was a huge success!  Marmee's Circle is so full of talented amazing women.  You have to check out this Waterfall Card made by Lucky 7 Designs.  We also had cute cards from Lisa's Cards.  (Look for the link later.)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

My Mother's Dedicated Ambition

Today is the day I have been waiting for.  My new website Marmee's Circle launches today!  This venture was inspired by the talented and driven women I have met over the past 2 years.  Most of all it is dedicated to my mother!

I was born in a very small island called Dominica.  My mother had me when she was very young and my father died when I was 6 years old.  I will always admire my mother because of the decisions she made after this terrible incident.  My mother could have stayed in the comfort of her family and friends and seek the expected.  She could have settled for "it worked for me", or "I turned out okay- so will she".  She could have stayed and given my life an "okay shot".  She didn't.

My mother came to Canada by herself without a person to connect to.  She was only 23 years old.  She left me behind so she could work.  It must have been agonizing that the only way she could provide a better life for me was by leaving me.  The thoughts and anguish that would torment her every night- I can only imagine.  The early years in Canada were rough for my mother.  She was called a monkey and other racists names that I won't repeat.  She was treated like a second class citizen.  She was beaten down by the racist names and terrible treatment by her employers.  As she bathed another child, she must have cried for the opportunity to take care of her own.  As she cleaned a house, her heart must have sank with the reminder that she was very far from home.

When I arrived a year later my mother's devotion went into overdrive.  She worked all day, went to school at night and paid another family to take care of me.  She rarely got to go on the trips to Florida, Atlantic City and so on that I went every year.  I sit and think how hard it must have been for her to work so hard but never enjoy the fruits of her labour.  We spent time together on weekends. I missed her so much during the week.  She would often come to my bed and kiss me at night when she got home.  Even though my mother's life was difficult she never complained.  She did not develop a hardened view of the world or grow weary in her desire to provide a better life for me.  She used all that to propel her (and her daughter) into a better situation.  Because of her I had stability in the midst of loss and chaos. Because of her I became a follower of Christ.  Because of her I learned the value of people instead of things. Because of her I was given the education she dreamed of.  Because of her I had a chance.

Today my prayer of thanks is simply,

Thank you Lord for my mother's dedicated ambition.  Thank you for her desire for more time with me, better role models, and a life rich with experiences that propel.

Join me at 7:00 pm est today as I celebrate Marmee's Circle and the dedicated women like my mother - Emelda!

I join Ann Voskamp every Monday to give thanks.

holy experience