Monday, December 19, 2011

Ottawa Mission Christmas Dinner

This is the second year in a row that I've had the chance to donate cupcakes for the Ottawa Missions' Christmas Dinner.  It was through word of mouth that I learned about Cupcakes for Christmas.  These fantastic people have used Facebook and local bakers who all talk to each other to amass 3000 cupcakes for the annual Christmas dinner at the Mission.
My manager, Lindsay and I have been able to do this together both years.  This year, her cupcakes were Lactose-free, which is awesome as many people have lactose intolerance.  Lucky for me she has a vehicle, otherwise I have no idea how we'd transport dozens of cupcakes!

this is what four dozen cupcakes looks like!  thank goodness for Costco and the perfectly sized boxes that Lindsay picked up for me.

Next year, if we can find a way to not have to work ( hard to do in retail at Christmas!) we can also volunteer that day - I'd love to see all the different cupcakes that everyone has made.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread House Party

It looks like this could become an annual event!  Last year, I had our wee friends Constance and Jonas over to decorate gingerbread houses before Christmas.  This year, we invited Jacob and his brother James to join them.
Thursday,  I cut and baked all the gingerbread.  Friday morning, I joined all the cookies together to give them time to dry for Saturday night.  You could join them early morning the day of, but I had to work, so I did them Friday.  As long as they get an eight hour day for the Royal icing to dry.

Two batches of Martha Stewart's gingerbread recipe and one batch of Royal icing were enough for five houses and a few cookies.  I cut out a tree and gingerbread man for each house.  Small tweak for next year?  I need to change the size of the roof so that it doesn't matter whether the house is put together long or wide.

With a selection of candy from the Bulk Barn, the kids were ready to go.  I learned a valuable lesson this year.  M&M's are expensive in bulk!  You get far more mileage out of jubejubes, jumbo gum drops and liquorice all sorts.  I also had some Christmas sprinkles which look great if you can handle most of them ending up on the floor!

Disposable plastic icing bags are a great help.  I cut the holes small enough that the icing doesn't leak out all over the table.  It still ends up everywhere by the end of the night though!

Melissa helps get more of the candy on the houses and less in the bellies!

Constance is a good big sister, helping Jonas with his house.  I think he gets too excited to focus.  Candy can have that effect on kids!

Jakes' awesome house - completely covered in candy!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

New Camera!

Well, it is not a new camera, but is new to me.  It is also vastly superior to my camera, which took another hit with the Mister on his trip. I bought my Olympus in 2003, it's a 3.2mp!  It would still take great shots -  especially super macro - if the poor thing hadn't been knocked about more times than it could handle.
So now, I have the lovely Hollie's Sony Cyber-shot.  It has a completely different feel and with a different system, it will take some getting used to.

I took my new buddy with me on a walk down a path I've never explored.  Running past the entrance to the path, I've wondered about it many times and also figured I might be able to use it, to get a better look at the horses at the nearby Greenbelt Farm.  There was a light dusting of snow this morning that threatened to melt if I didn't get my butt out the door.

I did eventually find the horses.  It was tricky to get a decent shot as one couldn't get too close.  There was a stream running around the perimeter of the property and it was quite thick with bushes in most places.  I did manage to get one shot that I liked.

I like that you can catch a glimpse of the snow that was still trying to fall, despite the temperature hovering around the freezing mark.  This path was lovely and quiet, there was one other walker with a skittish dog, but they didn't last long and then I had the area all to myself.  In a big city, it's not easy to find a quiet spot without traffic or shopping.

Along the way I found an abandoned nest.  I saw others as well, but this one I brought home.  Of course now that it is thawing, it is coming loose.  Aren't these things usually tightly bound?  I will have to find a way to reinforce it without wrecking the look of it.  This one pictured below was higher in a tree and was perfectly cup-shaped.  One of these days, I'm sure to find another - just gotta keep trekking.