Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

By

Presents!

As we all know, the true meaning of Christmas is presents. And there sure were lots and lots of presents under the tree this morning! My niece and nephew got lots of nice toys – Madeline’s were dominated by Monster High dolls and Thomas’s included dinosaurs, trucks, and a few toys from Monsters University1. I gave a fair number of presents from Ireland – because Ireland.

As for me, I was spoiled, as always. Here are a few highlights:

A Christmas tree ornament with a picture of my niece and nephew:

Christmas ornament

This book about bears:

Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants

Not shown here: my mom gave me some money to buy two things on my Christmas list – money both because then I don’t have to worry about carrying these presents in my suitcase and because I need to pick the right size. First, a pannier for my bike (since I’m planning to start biking to work once the days get longer so that it is is daylight when I go to, and come home from, work). And second, a pair of minimalist running shoes (both because I tried a pair on once and I loved them and I have been reading Born to Run2 ).

And a molecular gastronomy starter kit and book (because I need new hobbies now that I’m done school3.):

Molecular Gastronomy

There were also countless others things: chocolates and mittens and scarves and jewelry and makeup, etc.

Spoiled!

  1. Specifically, Mike Wazowski, also known (to Thomas) as the Baby Eyeball Monster. []
  2. Also, as part of the running study that I’m in, I get 15% off at the Fit First store where we start all of our Sunday runs, so I’m totally buying them there! []
  3. Well, done except for that pesky industry project paper that I need to finish []

By

Adorable Things My Nephew Says

Two-and-a-half year olds are hilarious. That’s how old my nephew is and he is a ball of energy and says the most hilarious things1.

There are some things that he says a lot, such as “Be careful”, “I’ll be careful”, “What happened?”, and “Can I eat it?” He’ll tell you to be careful if you are doing anything remotely dangerous, like walking up the stairs, walking down the stairs, or just walking. “Be careful, Grandma!” “Be careful, Aunt Beth!” He is always looking out for your welfare. Today when I went out for a run, he sent me off with an enthusiastic “Good luck!!”

He often asks, “What happened?”, as he always wants to know what’s going on. If someone tells a joke and everyone laughs, he looks at you very earnestly and asks, “What happened?”

“I’ll be careful” is his refrain when he’s told he shouldn’t be touching something. To a sentence like “Thomas, the Christmas tree ornaments are for looking, not touching.” he’ll reply, “I’ll be careful!” To a sentence like, “Thomas, that is your sister’s Monster High doll, not yours”, he’ll reply, “I’ll be careful!” I’m sure if there were a flame thrower or a chain saw in the house, he’d just tell you “I’ll be careful!”

The kid loves to eat, so “Can I eat it?” (or, alternatively, “Can I bite it?” or “Can we eat it?”) is another thing that he says a lot, even if the “it” in question is in no way edible. I mean, he definitely asks it about chocolate, chips, candy, the lunch you just made for the express purpose of him eating it, but he’ll also ask it about every single present you open, not matter what it is. When I asked Thomas if we should watch the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, he replied excitedly, “Can we eat it?”

Speaking of movies, he has his favourites. He likes Turbo: “We can watch the snail movie?”2 – and Monsters University: “Baby Eyeball Monster movie!” In the past couple of days he has been very interested in watching the Nightmare Before Christmas, which he’ll ask for by saying: “How about Halloween?” Yesterday, since it was Christmas Eve, we wanted to watch Arthur Christmas, but he said, “How about Halloween?” When my sister said, “How about Arthur Christmas?”, he replied: “How about Halloween THEN Christmas?”3.

He’s also said some good Christmas-related things. He’ll tell you, “I like Santa. He’s my friend” and when the power went out briefly due to the ice storm and he saw the Christmas tree lights go off, he said, “I can fix it!”

But the best saying so far on this trip has been Thomas’ thoughts on the Christmas turkey: “It’s like a monster chicken. I’m going to eat that monster chicken.”

  1. Of course, these things are more hilarious when you here them in his adorable little two-and-a-half year old voice! []
  2. He will also turn to you and whisper, “White. Shadow.”, which is very confusing if you haven’t seen Turbo, but very hilarious if you have. []
  3. For the record, we watched Arthur Christmas. []

By

The Stockings Were Hung On The Entertainment Centre With Care

Picture it – it’s Christmas Eve and everyone is hanging their stockings. Everyone, that is, except my two and a half year old nephew. Stockings

He was having none of it. He would hold his stocking, he would walk over to where the stocking holders were and then he would either run away from it or throw his stocking in that general direction. But he also wouldn’t let anyone else do it. “*I* want to do it!!” he would say.

We tried various tactics, like, “Santa won’t be able to find it to put presents in it for you!” His sister even tried bribery, offering him some of her Christmas chocolate if he hung up his stocking.

Finally, he decide he would hang up his stocking, but only in a totally different place:

Stocking

We were all very satisfied with this.

Stocking hanger

Then he walked over to his empty stocking hanger, pointed at it and said, “Uh oh!”

Happily, however, Santa was able to find everyone’s stocking and we all got lots of chocolate!

By

Gravy Is My Moby Dick

Speaking of best laid plans, our Christmas plans got a little bit turned around this year. We were originally going to do a Christmas turkey dinner at my brother-in-common-law’s cousin’s place last Sunday and then have a light but fancy dinner today, but then, because the whole Greater Toronto Area iced over, we couldn’t go there. So instead we had to make our Christmas dinner here. My mom and sister, unlike me, are very experienced in the making of turkey with all the trimmings. Including my old nemesis: gravy1.

So I asked my sister to teach me her gravy making ways. And now I’m writing down her advice so that the next time I try to make gravy, I’ll remember what she said!

Christmas Eve dinner

Turkey gravy.

Gravy Making Tips

  • Save the drippings from the turkey.
  • Heat the turkey drippings in a pot.
  • Put a few spoonfuls of flour in a bowl and add a bit of turkey drippings to make a slurry.
  • Add the slurry to the pot of drippings and mix it very fast (apparently this helps you avoid lumps).
  • Voila – gravy!
Christmas Eve dinner

Mushroom gravy.

  1. Actually, when I said that gravy is my Moby Dick, my mom said, “me too!” I didn’t know that – I always remember her making gravy. []

By

Walking Dead Board Game

Nothing says “Christmas” like a bleak board game where everyone gets turned into a zombie!

Walking Dead board game

My brother in-common-law refuses to play this game with my sister because it’s bleak and nearly impossible to win, so Nancy made me and her friend Daniel play it this evening.

They look far too happy for people who are about to be eaten by zombies:

Untitled

Everyone is a character from the show. I was Rick Grimes:

Untitled

Nancy was Lori and Daniel was Dale.

Untitled

The object of the game is to get the cards from the four corners without getting turned into a zombie. But almost every square you land on is a zombie encounter and most of them are really hard to escape from without losing a life. I managed to get two of the four – the department store and the police station:

Untitled

But then I got killed at the CDC:Untitled

And so I was turned into a zombie:Untitled

At which point I then started playing *against* the other people in the game. Nancy also turned (I didn’t get her, but she lost all her lives in other zombie encounters), but Daniel managed to avoid us, win his zombie encounters while getting all the corner cards and got back to camp safe!

Untitled

Much like when I did the zombie obstacle course race, I realized that after getting turned into a zombie, life is a lot less stressful. Words to live by, people. Words to live by.

By

Christmas Baking 2013

Christmas Baking 2013 was a success!

Untitled

The intrepid bakers: Beth, Madeline, Ann, Nancy, and Daniel.

We baked a grand total of 9 things:

  • Chinese almond cookies
  • Jan Hangel cookies
  • flaxseed crackers
  • gingerbread
  • marshmallow puff tartlets – which I renamed Hufflepuffs
  • mocha nut butterballs
  • shortbread
  • Turtle bars
  • white chocolate & macadamia nut cookies

Here’s Madeline, baking Turtle bars:

Untitled

Some chopped macadamia nuts:Untitled

Thomas and Grandma are baking cookies:

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Some dulce de leche truffles:

Untitled

These are from the new recipe I decided to try, except instead of putting jam inside with the marshmallow, I put dulce de leche:
Untitled

The recipe was called “Marshmallow Puff Tartlets”1, but I kept calling them Poofy Puffs, before finally deciding they should be called Hufflepuffs

Untitled

A bunch of baked goods (clockwise from top left: gingerbread, Chinese almond cookies, shortbread, Hufflepuffs):

Untitled

And now we are all very tired and filled with sugar. Like I said: success!

  1. Basically, they are Whippets, but homemade and, therefore, better []

By

My Favourite Christmas Tradition

Ingredients for brandy snapsHands down, my favourite Christmas tradition is baking with my family. As far back as I can remember, we’d get together to bake Christmas goodies that we’d give out to family and friends and have around the house for when people came to visit. When I was young, my Aunt Wendy would come over to our house and bake with my mom, my sister and I. And it was always so much fun and the tasty treats were always much appreciated by whosoever was lucky enough to receive them.

Coddled Egg
When we got older, my sister and I carried on the Christmas baking tradition, and for a couple of years we made ornate ginger bread creations – one year it was a whole village of little gingerbread houses, another year it was a living room on Christmas Eve (with a fireplace, a chair, a table with cookies for Santa on it, and a cat asleep on a rug). I wish I knew where I put the photos of those gingerbread creations!

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake - mixtures ready to go

Long time readers will know that in 2009 we held the first ever Snow Family Cyber Cookies, where my mom, sister, and niece baked in Toronto and I baked at my place in BC and we hung out via Google Video Chat so that we could bake “together”. Not as good as baking in person – you can’t sample the baking over the intertubes – but still pretty fun. In 2010 I was in Toronto, so I could bake with my family in person and in 2011 we did Cyber Cookies again. In 2012 we couldn’t get coordinated with dates – I spent a bunch of time at the holidays on the Island with my then-boyfriend’s family and we couldn’t coordinate a day when I was home to do CyberCookies. And this year I’m in Toronto and we are having baking day this coming Saturday!

Chocolate Chip CookieWe decided that we each only get to choose two things to bake, as there are five of us in total who will be bakers (my mom, my sister, me, my niece, and my sister’s friend Daniel1 ), so that will be 10 different baked goods. I have to make shortbread, from my Great Granny’s secret recipe, because everybody loves it2, but I still have to pick my second item. I’m thinking I should do something that calls for sweetened condensed milk, because omg, I love sweetened condensed milk. I should probably get out some recipe books and make a decision!

  1. My nephew will also be helping, but he’s only 2.5 years old, so he’s still to wee to be able to make stuff on his own. []
  2. Everybody except me. I don’t like shortbread! []

By

Trip To The Aquarium

Toronto just got a new aquarium and my Aunt Lynn took us all there for my niece’s birthday1. I have to say – it was pretty cool. We got to pet a crab and a stingy ray and we saw all sorts of awesome fish – my favourite were, of course, the sharks. There were even places where you could go in a little dome so it felt like you were in the tank with the fish.

Here are some pics2!

  1. Earlier in the day, my mom asked my 2.5 year old nephew what kind of fish he thought we would see at the aquarium. His answer: sushi. []
  2. Props to Jeff, from whom I stole all the photos and videos []

By

Cheapskates Unite!

So my brother-in-common-law is setting up a pretty cool little site that I thought would be worth sharing with y’all- it’s what he describes as “extreme couponing for the Internet”. Basically, he finds combinations of deals using different promo sites that you can add up to get really big savings. Right now, he has three deals listed on his site:

Those are some pretty good discounts. He’ll be adding more deals as he finds them, so if you are cheap like me, it will be worth checking back!

By

O Christmas Tree!

Apparently I am all about Christmas trees right now, because not only did I decorate my tree at home and buy an awesome set of new ornaments, but tonight I got to help decorate the tree at my sister’s place! Like mine, my sister’s family’s tree is full of ornaments collected over the years – with a disproportionate number of snowmen.

Here’s a photo of me and my sister in front of the tree:

Beth & Nancy Christmas 2013

And here’s me and my niece:

Beth & Madeline Christmas 2013

My nephew had no interest in having his photo taken1, so there’s no photo of me with him. I can assure you that he’s pretty darn cute though!

  1. My niece did the same at that age. []