No lines from songs to open this post. I figured that with New Year’s Eve upon us, most of you would be tired of the Christmas Music Assault that has been waged against us since late November. Instead I will take you on a picture tour of our Christmas.

This year we did things a little differently. With worries over how I’d manage myself on Christmas Day, Lee and I did the family thing on the weekend leading up to “the big day”. We spent Saturday visiting various Grandparents and then spending the evening/night/next day with his parents (and Russell too.. when he was popping in and out). It was a nice quiet time that saw me shed only a few tears here and there. Mostly because I didn’t win at either Scrabble or Yahtzee… but I was oh so close. Damn that deduct the total of the value of your remaining tiles!!! Damn that rule to Hell!!

Oops. I lost the Christmas Spirit there for a moment.

So we left Stratford on Christmas Eve and returned to Milton Keynes. We did our last minute wrapping, delayed going to sleep, went to bed, got back up to open just ONE present, then I sat up reading whilst Lee enjoyed his PS2 for a while, by the light of the Christmas tree (which not as massive as last year’s tree and shed far more needles, was still a good old tree and served us well!).

This is the night before. There were more presents under there on Christmas Day I swear.

Oh Christmas Tree....

We also quite liked to turn the lights off to enjoy my “table feature”. Instead of putting up lights outside, since I decided I was okay with acknowledging Christmas a little late, I tried to find different things I could do to Christmas Up The Place.

St.Kitts Rum Meets Christmas

Please note that I who always seem to be procrastinating, set our table not one, two or three days early, but four!! I was so impressed with myself. Right… back to the goings on.

So we woke up Christmas morning and instead of doing the whole adult thing of getting showered and dressed, we threw on bathrobes and ran downstairs for the gifts. That was once we popped the cork on the Bucks Fizz (no, not the group that went on to Eurovision fame and fortune, but sparkling wine and OJ).

Morning Hair and Booze. Mmm Mmm

I’m almost scared of myself in that photo and it has nothing to do with the fact that my robe can bring a blind man sight or send a seeing man blind. I also don’t remember the drinks being such a neon colour.

After the presents were opened, we finished the bottle of alcoholic goodness, got showered and dressed and then did the Gender Role thing which saw me in the kitchen whist Lee plopped himself in front of the PS2 to make sure he fully appreciated the games he was given, in case my Mom or I thought he didn’t like them. We’re convinced Lee, really we are. Another person who should feel they did some good gift giving is Stacy. As seen in the next photo, the fleece was barely out of the wrapping for 10 minutes before it was on him. At least he bathed first!

PS2 time!

While I prepared our Feast For Two, I did my Saturday Morning butthistimeonamonday Call with my Mom, and aunts Sue and Cath. All that gossiping led me astray from my duties at least once or twice, and to be honest Lee and I kept up the British tradition of drinking all day (note the Winter Pimms in the PS2 shot)but I still managed to pull this off:

Christmas a la Kirsty

I am not sure you can really appreciate the sheer magnitude of the offering from this photograph. You’d have to realise that those plates are the super huge ones you normally get in posh restaurants where they then place a bread plate with three peas in front of you and then charge you £40. That is also set on a dining table that is meant to seat 6, but for this occassion and really all occassions to date, has sat just the two of us.

By this time we had changed yet again into our Christmas Dinner outfits. Though a good idea at the time, the outfits did not last long as lounging around was more important.

Throughout dinner we continued with the alcohol theme, complementing our turkey and sides with some Pinot Grigio blush. Personally I prefer the one at ASK!, but let’s not kid anyone, at that point I was a bit beyond caring. I mean, proper wine would have been wasted on us when we were doing things like this:

He Likes It Really He Does!

And this! (Yes, that sparkler is being supported by broccoli and cauliflower on a fork)

Vegetarian Christmas Lights

After dinner, which was a record short one seeing as we were both full halfway through one plate, I put on a One Woman Show of Not Much Other Than Being A General Tool …..

General Tool

And realised that perhaps I would stop the drinking. After a few more family phonecalls and some teary outburts, Lee and I decided that all in all we had a Happy First Married Christmas and quite enjoyed spending our day how we saw fit. It also helped that there was no one else in the house to witness me talking to my Dad’s photo while I cooked. Hey! Someone’s got to keep me company when Lee is in PS2 Game Appreciation Mode, right?

So here’s to a Christmas that we successfully saw through and our fingers and toes are crossed oh so tightly in hopes that the New Year holds more positive experiences for us. At least a month or two where I can just exhale a little and catch up on some sleep!

Oh!! OH!! P.S!!! I got a Pasta Machine! That means proper thickness when making my pasta. No more crazy rolling pin that is too small action. I cannot wait. Doesn’t really go with my whole Need To Eat Healthy plan, but I can figure ways to incorporate my love of homemade goodness with my need to not love the results so much.

So I hope you all had a happy holiday and wish you all the best for 2007!

(and I miss you more than you could ever have imagined, Daddy.)

… 2006 was Good and it was SHIT.

It was one of the best years of my life and then it turned in to the worst year of my life. Along the way I stopped updating and some events that deserved celebrating were left on the shelf, waiting for me to return to. It is nearly the end of the year and I haven’t quite gotten to them yet. As a bit of reminder to myself and to those that are perhaps waiting for the posts that discuss these events, I shall post a few photos, and when I return from Toronto in January (actually probably when we return from Dublin the week after the Toronto trip) I will get on with getting on. At least where this thing is concerned. Put your cursor over the photo for a little description.

In June I failed to write about Steph’s Shower. I also never posted about her stagette and once I get the photo’s from Lee’s computer I will be able to post a sample of that (if she even wants to be reminded of it!).

Stephanie the Bride to Be

On Canada Day, 1 July 2006, my teeny weeny baby brother went and did something that should make me realise he is all growed up, but I refuse: He went and got married! Here is a shot of Scott and Heather at the reception:

Scott and Heather

Found Steph’s Stagette photos! -> Also in JULY!

Enough Said!

August was the month that started off as AMAZING and ended completely numb. There was the trip to Vegas, other good stuff, my Mom’s 50th, losing my Dad and Randy’s Birthday.

Paris .... Las Vegas

Astaphan's Come Together

Rnady and Jamie Blow Out the Candles
September saw Jamie turn 32, October was Halloween and somewhere in there, Luke started catching up to his big brother and stopped being the little baby I saw in August!

Adam and Luke

November was the month that Steve and Rosie entered married life with a BANG, or fifty … being married on Guy Fawkes and all.

The Parsons!

And well, it is December now and I have been trying to keep up.. sort of.. to date. There have been some days where the last thing on my mind is being connected to reality, never mind the online world and there are days when I think I might just be doing well. It’s been a case of one step forward, two steps back with me and I am hoping (as I am sure Lee is) that 2007 will bring me the strength and understanding I need to get through. Oh and it would be nice if the New Year also brought me some anti-jump down your throatedness. See, I don’t always think of myself. I think of Lee too. 🙂

Like most days, today was an up and down day.  I was in a mood that I wouldn’t wish anyone to deal with. Unfortunately for Lee, he lives with me and in our Doll House it is hard to escape each other, even if we are on different floors.

Something did come out of the bad mood though, we cleaned a little, shopped a little (grocery shopping that is) and then I cooked a lot.

I attempted Turkey Roll Ups, in the even that I do have to make them for work on Wednesday.  More often than not when I am cooking, I never try out the recipe before hand.  That seems to be how I am with a lot of things; rarely try on clothes before I buy, hardly ever did any proofreading of essays in uni (though that explains A LOT).  This time I had to give it a go because I wasn’t convinced that I would like it. A) I was going to use ENGLISH stuffing and not my beloved Stove Top (at £3+ a box that stuff is almost on par with little blue boxes with white bows) and B) I am not a big fan of soft tortillas.

We got home and I whipped some up, well after waiting 35 minutes for the turkey to cook. No, not a whole one, just a couple breasts.  Rolled them up, sliced them, and then served Lee what was similar to having 25 servings of a turkey dinner on Christmas.  I was near gagging when he had already eaten 20.  He gave them 2 thumbs up so I am on standby now for Wednesday.

After using the ingredients up for that I had to think about what we were going to have as our actual dinner.  Lee suggested that I make homemade pasta again as I had purchased an £0.86 rolling pin from Tesco today and was raring to go.  Okay, I wasn’t quite raring as curled up under a blanket on the sofa wondering if I should sleep my life away or actually get up and pee like I had needed to for the previous 25 minutes.

Lee finally gave up and went upstairs and then I got a jolt of energy and inspiration, ran to the kitchen, prepare the worksurface, put the rolling pin on stand by and went for it!

And then I cracked the eggs and they went over the edges of the flour well and I was scrambling to not lose any precious raw egg as I only had two to work with.  Once I saved the day (and added the tiniest bit of water because the egg trauma seemed to affect the dough as much as my psyche) it was on to rolling it out.  This is where I discovered why the rolling pin was so cheap. It is small.  Not fit-in-a-Christmas-Cracker tiny, but too small to help stretch out the pasta to desired thinness.  But it was better than last time, and in fact Lee said that it was how it should be.  Then again, he tells me that I look good when I have mascara smudged under my eyes and Nick Nolte Mug Shot hair.  I love him.

So once I rolled it and left it to dry out a little (not too long because it was already a bit too dry.. oops) I tried to think of a sauce.  I threw some garlic in a pan, added some olive oil, threw in some sliced portabellos and button mushrooms, let them get all garlicy and good, tossed in some chopped spinach, and then added a little bit of marscapone and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, cooked the pasta and Bob’s your  uncle.

If I may say so myself, I would have paid a lot of money for a dish as good as this.

Here is a before and after shot of our lovely dinner!

Before:

Fresh Pasta Kirsty Style

After:

Homemade Pasta with Mushroom, SPinach and Marscapone

She can ruin your faith with her casual lies,
And she only reveals what she wants you to see,
She hides like a child, but she’s always a woman to me.

There are times when I am not girly. That is about 96% of the time actually. But then I get these sudden urges to become what I am, and I throw on make up and make an effort … then sit on the sofa and watch Hollyoaks.

Last week we were going to my “christmas do” with people from work and I thought that perhaps I’d make some sort of an effort. I went so far as to get highlights, since I thought that maybe I’d treat them to a head of hair without four inches of roots. Not that you could really tell. I mean it looked totally natural to have blonde chunks of hair appearing out of nowhere. So I got it done, and was pleasantly surprised.

Exhibit A: (okay so there is no make-up and I am in a hoody..shoot me.)

Look at me! My hair is straight!

Then the Straight Hair Attitude came out and I thought I could conquer the world. But I was slightly lethargic having downed far too much alcohol on the Friday night, and instead decided to conquer the kitchen. And yes, I was successfull!

Exibit B:

I am perhaps not a Domestic Goddess, but I am a Domestic Mistress, hear me ROAR!

*EDIT: After looking at the bags and the fact that you cannot really tell what colour highlights I have now, I thought I would throw in a Bonus Photo.. for a LIMITED TIME ONLY. And yeah, I know, I blend in with the sofa. But normally I blend in with the pillow on the left side of the photo, so I don’t mind so much this time!

My Floating Head

And YES, I am wearing clothes. Perverts.

and change my life the way you’ve done…

Feels like home to me, feels like home to me… feels like I’m all the way back where I come from.

Well I’ve done it.  I’ve reached new depths of homesickness that no one ever knew existed.  Hell, I wasn’t even aware that I was feeling that homesick.  Nope, I was doing just fine.  That was until I started to stroke a lobster that was all tied up and sitting on the ice in Tesco’s fish department.

That’s right… I was stroking a lobster.  I even stole a few moments to whisper to the Lobster and bond with it over our shared homeland and final destinations.

Good thing we only have a month and an hour until the day we fly back to Toronto so I can soak in all of the Canadianess I can until the next time I start molesting shellfish in the supermarket.

(‘Cause I’m Having A Good Time)

It’s official, I am obsessed.  I am turning into Little Suzy Homemaker.  Well, except my name is not Suzy and I am not really big on any homemaker duties beyon the kitchen really.  But I am getting there.

After the success of the cookies, I thought I would try for Lemon Squares.  Where else to start than with a recipe from good old Betty herself.  It turns out that Betty doesn’t make the kind that I am used to, though she has taught me that I can actually make a decent pastry!  Thanks Betty!

Here my second work of art for the night that involved making a dough of some sort and not producing complete crap!

Lemony Goodness

That was the filling waiting to go in to the warm crust which just came out of the oven…

Warm Crust

Lee couldn’t wait to get his teeth into the Lemony Goodness of the squares…

Lee Likes It!

That’s why there is one missing….

Lemon Squares!

Yeah, I know there is supposed to be icing sugar.  I forgot.  But no worries, it is there now.

What shall be my next creation????

that’s good enough for me!

Oh cookie cookie cookie starts with “C”!

Over the past couple of months I have barely been able to drag myself off of the sofa, let alone put any thought into what Lee and I are going to eat for dinner. However, over the past week and a bit I’ve not stopped thinking about what I am going to make next.

There is no doubt that if it requires cooking on top of the hob, I am more than likely to create something good. Once you move into oven territory, the confidence sharply drops off of the map. This is especially so when there is ‘baking’ involved. I am no Betty Crocker .. or whatever the UK alternative is.

The other week I mastered Cabbage Rolls, though my co-workers were not as thrilled by this as I was. Apparently they didn’t enjoy the office smelling of cooked lamb. They were just jealous I think! Last Sunday whilst Lee napped, I tried to think of what I could make him with the little ingredients we had. It resulted in my first attempt at homemade pasta. Don’t let the ‘first’ part scare you. It was actually pretty tasty! The next night I was pumped full of confidence and went for homemade gnochi. Another success! At least the 2nd and 3rd batches were. At that point I was oozing Kitchen Confidence. I’d finally done something that would make my Dad proud. So what if I am not a doctor or a lawyer? I’m now Italian and that is just as good to him!

I actually didn’t do anything creative over the week. My gnochi triumph exhausted me. How do you go up from the top? Today I realised that I needed to focus on what I am not good at. I stood trembling in front of the oven as it mocked me, positive that I would fail.

.oO(damn that oven!) I thought. I sent Lee to the shop to buy ingredients for tonight’s dinner of proscuitto/parma ham wrapped monkfish baked with cherry tomatoes, served with cavolo nero (black cabbage) with cherry tomatoes sauteed with garlic and balsamic vinegar.

I digress. So Lee was at the store, and I decided that it was now or never. It’s the season for baked goodies so now was as good a time as any to make… cookies. I was worried. What the hell was creaming butter and sugar? Was it supposed to be creamy? Because mine wasn’t so much. Am I supposed to mix vanilla extract and vanilla essence? Just because I’ve decided that I am Italian doesn’t mean I can read the Italian on the packet of whatever this thing is!!!

There was panic in the kitchen. With all of my cookie dough ready it was time to pop a batch into the oven. What the heck was I going to do if it came out tasting like crap? I am certainly not at the point where I can whip up homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, never mind the fact that I had no chocolate chips.

After 8-10 minutes I removed the first tray from the oven. Lee timed his arrival for this moment and decided he wanted to try one. I was a bit anxious. His mother makes jam tarts and mince meat tarts and bakes cakes… how on earth could these compare?

I inhaled as he took his first bite, not exhaling until I heard the much anticipated “mmmm”.

AHA OVEN! YOU DON’T OWN ME ANYMORE!!!!

The evidence… my sugar cookies:

C is for Cookie

C is for Cookie