healthy eating in 3…2…1



You know that post-Christmas feeling you get when you’ve spent too much time with your family, watched too many movies, and you’ve got the gluttony blues? Well I sure do. We’ve got cabin fever and expanding waistlines, so it’s time to wrangle this bronco and get us back on track! Don’t worry, I haven’t completely lost my mind. I’ll still make sure we’re indulgent and excessive on New Year’s Eve! Even if it kills me.

I’m making a big pot of delicious Pioneer Woman Chicken Tortilla Soup. It was a hit with my girlfriends a few weeks ago, so why not force it down my kids’ throats tonight? Seriously. I think it’s the only way I’ll get them to eat vegetables. Right now, they’re existing on a diet of Lifesavers and Frosted Flakes, so I went a little “crazy-ass mother” on the household today and threw out everything that even remotely contains sugar. It’s going to be the annual Findlays’ Christmas meltdown tonight, when all of us go looking for something sweet. There might be gunfire.




boxing day sales…


Last night, a wave of generosity washed over me–the kind that only happens during the dreamy fog of a prime rib and raspberry tiramisu hangover–and I offered to drive my daughter “downtown” to hit the Boxing Day sales today. What the what?!?! I wasn’t impressed when I woke up this morning, and the reality of the situation hit me. There was no feigning an illness, no strained muscle, and no family emergency. I was forced to succumb and we headed to Vancouver. Surprisingly, we found amazing parking spots, the crowds weren’t cranky, and the champagne mimosas at the bar I planted myself in were delicious (it also helps when your darling husband offers to drive)!

christmas nativity…


This is my most treasured Christmas collection. It’s a tiny–seriously it’s only 4 inches across in this scene–pewter nativity scene that was hand-crafted in Nova Scotia. It means a lot to me, because I grew up in the United Church, and the real meaning of Christmas for me is the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Although we don’t attend church any more, it still has a place in my heart and it’s woven into my very fibre.

christmas addiction…


Believe it or not, Scotch mints are probably one of the top selling Christmas candies in Canada–at least they used to be. A million years ago, I was a sales rep for Dare Foods, and these little sweeties were my bread and butter. I used to get all my Christmas candy samples in August, and you could usually spot me with a candy cane hanging out of my mouth like a cigarette while I was driving around my sales territory! Good times.

everywhere except where i want it…


I just got a new Nikon 50mm f1.4 lens and I’m trying to make friends with it, but it just won’t cooperate! It’s a manual focus lens–because I’m the world’s worst researcher– and no matter what I do, it never focuses on the point I want it to focus on. So, adios bitchacho!!! Back it goes. I don’t care if it looks all shiny and new with seductive settings and abilities. It’s driving me bonkers! If anyone has any other ideas, please share. I need all the help I can get!!!

filbert fantasy…


Well…it’s official. I cannot be held responsible for my gluttony when it comes to filberts, a.k.a. hazelnuts. Every Christmas, I fill the house with fresh, sweet, meaty filberts and then proceed to chow down. I swear I’m part squirrel (I can just hear my husband’s smart-ass comeback). There’s probably worse things out there, but my waistband is getting tighter by the second, and I’m okay with that!!!

My cousin, Gerry Bowler, wrote a couple of books on Christmas, and I always refer to his The World Encyclopedia of Christmas for the origins of our Christmas traditions. Did you know that nuts at Christmas are, “…a symbol of fruitfulness long associated with midwinter festivals”? Or that hazelnuts were thought to possess, “…a special virtue of…preventing famine”? It’s pretty apparent that they’re preventing famine at the Findlay homestead!!!

christmas treasures…



I did it! I braved the risk of massive spiders to crawl under our staircase and drag out all our Christmas decorations. Shudder! This is my favourite time of year. I love to set up all the family gems that have thrilled our kids and their friends since they were just wee monkeys.

The main goal at our house is to entertain our children, so nothing is actually colour coordinated or matching.  And much to the horror of some folks, we always include our kids in the tree decorating, which meant that some years all the decorations were jammed around the bottom branches.

When my son was two years old, we had to keep a small Christmas tree on top of a buffet, so he wouldn’t pull it down. He still managed to find the one stick in the house (a dowel used to reinforce the closed kitchen window) and used it to play pinata with various handblown glass decorations. I laugh now, but at the time, I wasn’t impressed by his ingenuity.

My daughter would sit with the snow globe for hours, turning it upside down to make it snow, and winding it up to make the little train run around the base. I loved to watch her blissed out on the living room floor.

My 15 and 18 year olds still love it when all of our kitsch comes out of their boxes. It’s just such a wonderful family time. And yes…I do go WAY overboard.



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