Only 3 Months More...

I don't remember exactly who introduced me to "The Hunger Games", probably one of my sisters as they are the ones that I hear most book recommendations from, but I have been in love with the books since day one.

When they announced they are making a movie I was a little skeptical mainly since I remember a little book-turned-into-a-horrible-movie named "Twilight" but then I saw this preview.

I was sold.

Then one boxing day I came across this lil late Christmas present on the internet... 
The first official song off the soundtrack sung by Taylor Swift.
I was a lil wary at first, as much as I love Taylor Swift, cause I wasn't sure how the two fit together...


You can bet that this is one movie that I will be fighting the crowds on opening day to see... 
Booking off March 23rd right now. 


Where Have You Been All My Life???


Cafe Rio.

This is a restaurant I have heard ALOT about. Everyone knows and loves it and my amazing mother-in-law even recreated Cafe Rio salads for our wedding reception. It was amazing and it solidified my desire to one day become a patron of the restaurant.

Cue our current trip to Gilbert, AZ.
We were all going out for dinner and someone suggested it. 
"Cafe Rio"

Finally! After all this time, I got to go to the Restaurant.

I am sold.

How do I bring this restaurant to Lethbridge?

GIngerbread Dreams

Making Decorating gingerbread houses (I don't saying making because there is NO way I would make the house from scratch. I am all about the kits) is something that always sounds like fun and a way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Ah... I love being tanned... but I digress

 The Bevans clan decided to whip out our Christmas spirit and have a traditional gingerbread-decorating-off; the houses were bought, the teams were made and it came the time to actually make them.

Three problems:
1) It is inevitable that someone is gonna bow out and disappear come gingerbread house time *cough* Todd and Matthew *cough*
2) There is NEVER enough candy given in the box. I would LOVE to see the magician who decorated the houses on the box cause how did they make that candy stretch that far? I am pretty sure they only decorated the two sides that are shown in the picture.
Supplementing the candy supply is a MUST
3) The IDEA of decorating houses are sometimes more fun than the actual event and I was a lil weary about wanting to do it this year

But I am glad we did... Because we KILLED it...

Okay, not really, but we pulled a decent result.

Alright, who am I kidding, we were dead in the water till Shawn pulled out his secret talent.
Shawn can make a legit candy Santa. We all laughed when he suggested it but he made us believers.

This lil guy helped keep us in the decorating race
I learned that Jenny is a freakin star of decorating. Martha Stewart should hit her up for tips.
Apparantly the key is to decorate BEFORE arranging the house.

Pure Martha Steward talent

Kyle and Shadolyn win the slow and steady award. We were all done and they had only the walls done but they came through in the end.

But the best part is afterwards, when they are all done and I get to take pictures, celebrate the Christmas-y-ness and think "Yep, just another memory to store away for a fantastic lil Christmas"
 Love how every group pulls out something different. Aren't the hollies on the middle house adorable?

p.s. if anyone has actually ever been brave enough to actually try and eat the gingerbread house from the kits I will salute you cuz that stuff can't even be classified as food in my books.



Oh the things that your walls can hide!!!

This is a good example of why you should always wash the walls in your newly-purchased house that was previously smoked in....

The picture above shouldn't have surprised me, after all I did see how clean they kept their house but the thing that surprises me is that that is AFTER we washed the walls the first time...

Yep... If you look at the next picture... The far left is after being washed with soap and water, looks decent right? Well, then we sprayed on the heavy duty "Tough Job" and on the right is what it exposed hidden in the walls!!!!!

Lots of thanks to my mum who helped me scrub everything down twice.... Now, on to painting!!!


Difference Between Shawn and I

Don't get me wrong. 
I like to work.
But I also like to rest, sleep, read, watch T.V. and especially eat
(trust me, I get grumpy if I don't eat)
Not like Shawn. He's a freaking machine.

Let's compare:

6 am- Get up
7 am- Go to work
4 pm- Get home from work
4:30 pm- Go out to Taber
5 pm- Paint 
(Yep, we are on to painting!!!)
7:30 pm- Supper break
8:10 pm- Wal-Mart break
9 pm- Home time!!

6 am- Wake up, start Valena's car 
(love him)
8:30 am- Go out to Taber to work on the house
(everything and anything)
7:30 pm- Eat pizza while tiling the shower
10 pm- Still out there working

Yep, my husband puts me to shame...
He can work like no other... I am a lucky girl because:
a) he works so hard
b) doesn't expect me to keep up

He has high hopes to be in the house in two weeks... Can't wait to post some pictures so you can see just how much he has done. It's amazing! He has skills... 
Working on the bathtub tiling

Almost done

How nice is this??? 


Admit It, You've Done It Too

I    LOVE pinterest.
It is one of those sites that I can spend hours on
and not feel so bad because
I could be preparing for dinner, babies, outfits, christmas presents, housecleaning tips...
Anything, really...
So really, I am studying life when I am on pinterest...
(that's how I justify it to myself anyway)

But there is another reason I love it...
Every now and then you come across a 'pin' that
  speaks 100% truth...

Today I found one...

I thought I was the only one.
Don't tell Shawn but I do this ALL the time... Especially now that the basement light is burnt out and I find myself needing to go down at LEAST twice a day... 
I would be good in a horror movie. I do the 'once-all-over' sweep with my iPhone flashlight and then a second 'make sure there is noone hiding in any nooks or crannies' sweep before grabbing what I need and booking it upstairs at top speed all while looking behind me just-in-case. When I reach the top step I know I'm safe, this time... 


The Good Thing About A Delayed Honeymoon...

When Shawn and I got married we were so busy with moving, school, work and other life things that we never got around to going on a honeymoon. But that's changing now. Due to future plans of ours we decided that December is the best time to go in the next near future so two days ago Shawn and I booked a our trip to the Mayan Riviera for December 11 - 18th. The best thing about a delayed honeymoon is that this counts as a honeymoon and our one year anniversary celebration.

I am ridiculously excited. Beaches, ocean, and tanning are all things I have missed ridiculously the last year and a half. But even more, I have a husband that is fluent in Spanish, loves everything Mexico and am so excited for him to see a different part of Mexico...  And if it happens to look like this

Then I am just even more excited....


Rural Nursing

As much as I love my job on 3C I hate winter driving. It's one of my completely irrational fears. I haven't even got into a big horrific accident before to explain the fear away... Scratch 'big' accident, I haven't gotten into any accidents at all in the winter but somehow between the ages of 20-23 the fear emerged and is quite persistent. 

BUT more than hating winter driving, I hate not working. My job provides so many things; social interaction, learning, helping others and money. Not working takes away all of those but mostly takes away the money in two ways because usually when I am not working, I inevitably spend money. Not working in the first 6 wks after we moved to Saskatoon killed me, I was so excited to get a job and start working I literally skipped to work. 

So what do I do when I hate driving on (inevitable) bad winter roads once we move to Taber but I hate being stuck inside all day during winter not working? Get a job at the Taber hospital! Now I can work half and half so I avoid 50% of potential panic attacks by not driving through snow storms and blowing snow, still be able to work full time AND now I get to learn so much more by starting out a rural nurse...


Pregnant ladies coming in to give birth and they expect me to be able to be their nurse. Let's just say I have no experience whatsoever in pregnancy and birthing. The semester you spend learning about it in second year of school and two births I "helped" with as a student just doesn't cut it. I am so over my head. But I am excited. I love 3C and plan to try and keep a position there while working casual in Taber... I have had two days of orientation so far and I think I am really gonna like it and will learn so much for rural nursing.  

I just have to get used to all their idiosyncrasies;
-Like having paperwork that is from 1970. Seriously.
-Or having MASSIVE rooms. I am so not used to having so much space in patients' rooms
-Or having no charge nurse and no assigned pt's. How do you decide who charts what???
-Or pulling up right to the hospital, parking for free and walking less than 5 m. to the doors
-Or having to mix up all my IV med bags and giving respiratory meds. I miss RT's and Pharm already
-Or getting an admission phone call from emerg... and the pt appearing 2 seconds later (as Emerg is literally behind door A)
-Or having to do ANYTHING women's health. A woman came in today to get induced and all I could think about was that there was a newborn in her stomach just waiting to get out, how much it was gonna hurt her and how much babies destroy women's bodies... Think I need to reorientate my thinking.


Snapshot into Home Renos

Shawn has done so much to our house it's hard to explain... 
He's basically gutted it and we are almost to the stage that we can put things back together... 
Just imagine a house and then imagine having to change everything; walls, ceilings, floors, cupboards, light fixtures, plug-ins, light switches, appliances, etc... 
That's what we need to do

It still is a LONG way to go but I am so excited because I can see how amazing it will be in the end... 

Gotta Keep Traditions

Last year Shawn and I wanted to carve pumpkins but every grocery store was sold out so Shawn went out of his way to go to a farmer and get some that were still growing... 
... and then my little brother stole them and carved them both 
So no pumpkin carving...

This year we decided to take back the tradition...
AND we might have rocked the pumpkins...
and I actually free carved it, woot woot

Finished masterpieces... Just in time for Halloween...

Things I Learned at a Halloween Party...

1. There are some super crafty people when it comes to making costumes

Robin Hood and Maid Marion (home-made)
Luna and Neville
complete with Mandrake, glasses and
radish earrings
A homemade Mandrake
2. Shawn is wicked awesome at bobbing for apples and not afraid to get a lil wet

3. All my "People" magazine reading has rubbed onto Shawn. When we played games when you had to explain to your teammates who a particular famous person, it was Shawn's turn and he not only did he know who Tim Burton was but he knew who his wife is... Impressive.

4. Shawn's and my taste in ties are not similar... When it came to our costumes, (me: a flapper girl, him: a hobo) I picked out a good "hobo" tie. When Shawn came to the party dressed up as his hobo his reaction was "She picked out my favorite tie to be the hobo tie!"      Whoops

5. Thanks to timbits, chocolate, sprinkles and pretzels you can make adorable acorns. Pinterest is such a fantastic site to find ideas for everything! These were so easy to make and so cute!


The Ill-Fated Trip

We decided at 2 pm on Saturday to go for a quick trip to the Great Falls' Home Depot with plans to be back home by midnight. The trailer was hitched and we were getting ready to go when we hit our first snag. 

Missing passport.

Now, depending on whom you ask it was either Shawn, me or Chelsey who lost Shawn's passport. (Shawn just threw the whole "Chelsey" option out there as if she was a gremlin who likes to go through our belongings and lose things on purpose just to see us fight over who lost something... ha ha... She denies this allegation) After an hour of ransaking my car (random benefit... my car got cleaned up 10x faster then if we hadn't lost the passport) Shawn came outside from the bedroom with the missing passport in hand, and somehow still found a way to blame me...
I think my bad memory is making me an easy scapegoat.

We were only 20 miles away from Great Falls when we hit our second snag. The low diesel light came on. We were a lil stressed until we hit Great Falls, took our first exit and cruised into a gas station on fumes... And realized they didn't sell diesel. We crossed all our fingers and all our toes and turned out in search of the next station when we definitely, totally...

Ran out of diesel.  

Running out of gas? No big deal. Used to do it so often that all my closest acquaintances would carry a jerry can just in case. Something I learned since being married to Shawn: It's not so easy when you run out of diesel. What an ordeal! Geez, makes me glad that I never got the diesel Jetta I wanted so badly when I was younger.
Shawn and I decided that Chelsey would baby-sit the truck as we ran to the nearest diesel gas station. I am not a runner. Period. So I am impressed I made it a kilometer before I decided to screw that and flag down the nearest car and bum a ride. Shawn was a lil hesitant if anyone would drive us but the two nicest local girls picked us up drove us the last 3 km and dropped us back at the truck. Love them.

Shawn was able to prime the air out of the engine enough to restart the truck (with the help of a kind local gentleman with a wrench) and we were on our way... for about 30 yards and then we sputtered again... so Shawn primed the engine again and then we were on our way for another 30 yards and then we sputtered until we finally got it all out of the engine and we were on our way to Home Depot with 45 minutes to spare before it closed. We could still do this. Until...

The lug-knut do-dad thing busted..
Shawn the next morning with the needed piece.
Such a bad picture but it shows you
how tiny the piece that foiled us was.

 I don't think I can explain much better than that.. ha ha.. All I know is that it was fiddled with one too many times, broke, and needed to be replaced or air would keep getting into the system causing the engine to stale... Shawn did his best to use his Mexican skills to find a way to fix it till we could drive home but it just needed the real deal which wasn't that available at 9 pm. Which meant we were in for an unplanned overnighter! Chelsey is a genius and got us an awesome deal on a Super 8 hotel room (where the smoke alarm went off only once) and the next morning after a free continental brekkie we were ready for a re-do. And it went smoothly. 
We were tired, dirty and
frustrated but it's always
an adventure... 

-Bought all our home reno supplies needed.
-Ate some yummy Fuddruckers burgers.
-Bought the do-dad and placed it in it's rightful spot.
-Drove home just in time for turkey dinner.

All's well that ends real right?

Well, the next night Shawn and I were talking about the trip when Shawn mentioned how surprised he was about the final tally at Home Depot. He thought it was a lil high, so we pulled out the receipt and went through the list as good as we could (no words, just numbers) when we saw "84" of  item 39382829 for $9.95 each for a total of $780. We were 99% sure we didn't buy 84 of anything so I thought I would give Home Depot a call and just clarify which item that was....

The lovely Home Depot lady informed me that we were charged for 84.... door knobs. Now I don't know about your house but I can guarantee that our house does not have 84 doors. We were charged for an extra 76 doorknobs. For real. For real. That's an extra $740. Yep. That makes the trip just that much more awesome... I should have had them pay me back for the duty I had to pay at the border.

Must say, to their credit, they didn't hesitate to credit the full amount back to our card. But all in all, what a ill-fated trip.

Turkey Pumpkin Risotto

Every thanksgiving I find myself with heaps of left-over turkey and one can have only so many turkey sandwiches so I decided I needed to find a good go-to recipe for turkey leftovers.

My mum always had made Turkey Divan each year but last year I tried it out on Shawn and he's not a huge fan. Luckily I wasn't that attached to Turkey Divan so I was able to shake off the shadows of my childhood memories and start my search for a new recipe. And then I thought of it.

Chicken Pumpkin Risotto...

When I was in Australia living with my Aunt and Uncle I was treated to some of the most amazing cooking I have ever had. My aunt is amazing. Every night she would pump out a 3-part dinner that was different than the day before, healthy and ridiculously delicious. If I could be 1/10th of a cook she is... but that's prob not gonna happen. So I will settle for stealing one of her recipes.

Just to set some things straight first: in Australia they refer to Butternut Squash as 'pumpkin' and measure ingredients by weight (inconvenient I know, luckily Chelsey has a food scale) and I obviously swapped turkey for the chicken. The other thing is the picture... I forgot to take a picture of the dish until Shawn and I had devoured half of it so this is why the food looks a lil pushed off to the side, promise it tastes so much better than my pictures suggest.

In Canada we tend to think of pumpkin/butternut squash primarily for deserts but Australia taught me that it can shine in savory dishes. And here's the main thing, this is delicious! It seems like such a fancy dinner but here's the even better thing. It's so easy! It's the easiest risotto you will ever make. Hands down. So if you find yourself with lots of extra turkey then you need to try this.

2 c.      Arborio Rice
5 c.      chicken stock
120 g.  butter (I never use the whole amount)
700 g.  diced pumpkin (butternut squash)
700 g.  turkey leftovers
1/4 c.   freshly grated Parmesan 
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 190 C (oh ya, they actually use Celsius on their oven...)
2. If you are not using turkey leftovers or a precooked chicken then you will want to cook the meat as to your liking.
3. Combine the rice, chicken stock, diced pumpkin, and chicken in a casserole dish that has a lid.
4. Cook for 30-60 minutes (once the pumpkin is tender and the stock has been absorbed it is done)
5. Mix in the fresh grated parmesan and add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and a touch of salt. 
6. Enjoy and bask in the glory of how delicious and easy this whole thing was.

*this recipe makes ALOT so if it's just you and your hubby or for just a few people, try halving the recipe so you won't be eating leftovers for 3 weeks. 


One Small Step

Signing the final papers in purchasing our home today, it still felt surreal that Shawn and I have bought our first home officially tomorrow.

You think so many things might have got us excited. Getting pre-approved, putting in an offer, getting it accepted, going through all the lil details of buying a home? None of those... We just weren't getting excited.

...until we found ourselves on a last-minute road-trip to Medicine's Hat's Costco to buy some amazing flooring. Somehow in between Shawn lifting 38 boxes of flooring from the display to the trolley to his truck (while I watched each time, ever so helpfully), we got excited. Really excited. 


In my mum's back-yard there is an apple tree that is ridiculously run rampant with apples so Shawn and I thought we'd nice and help her out by taking a bag of apples off her hands...

Once we got home, we decided to do the most natural thing next:

Apple Crisp Bake-Off!

It was the battle between "The Recipe Nazi"(me) and "The Free Spirit" (him)... I don't know what Shawn has against measuring cups and spoons but as I scooped and measured he just free poured and spooned here and there and wouldn't you know it, his Apple Crisp looked darn good. Curse him. I was still confident that recipes would prevail over willy-nilly eyeballing.

So we brought our home-made best efforts and presented each of our jury one scoop of each and we waited for the verdict.. And the winner is....

A TIE??? 

"They taste the same" "They're both good" "Hmm, I can't even tell the difference"

Say what?!?! 
Can they not tell that Shawn's was a mis-matched stack of layers while mine was amazingly proportionate?? 
Apparently not...       

I think I might appeal the verdict... 
So much for justice.


Where will you be...

2.14 weeks from now?

Shawn and I will....

Be moving into our first house!!

Yes, in Taber 
but contrary to previous jokes
Shawn didn't trick me, I am actually quite excited!

Shawn is Mr. Fix-it and so I am so excited to watch him flip our house from this:

to this:

My expectations are totally reasonable eh?

But seriously,
I am so excited for our first home
Our initial plans are to rip out the floors and repaint all the walls and then...

But Shawn has a lot of teaching to do because renovating homes is as natural to me as doing algebra... or breathing underwater... or playing basketball (just learned how to dribble 5 yrs ago)..