Daily Life

Giving Thanks

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Life has been so very busy lately and I’ve been out living it.

Wagon ride, out at the orchard
Wagon ride, out at the orchard

Autumn is in full swing here in Ottawa. We have had some incredibly beautiful weather, which has facilitated a lot of outdoor time for little man and I. Weekends have been spent in the yard, at local farms, orchards and parks. I think we all feel a little bit desperate to make the most of the nice weather before the cold comes. photo

We had a lovely Canadian thanksgiving this past weekend. On Saturday we joined Liam’s Nanny and Grammy for dinner, followed by a trip to the pumpkin patch, a visit with DH’s cousin on Sunday and our own dinner at home (my first time roasting anything and it turned out great!) with my BIL. Monday was the great big family dinner at my SILs. The kiddos played, the men played guitars and sang, and the ladies caught up on life events. It was perfect.

I’ve been loving bringing small touches of the outdoors in for autumn. This is our dining room table right now. I love it!

Orchard apples, patch pumpkins, pretty flowers.
Orchard apples, patch pumpkins, pretty flowers.

I am so thankful for all of the incredible blessings of my life. I have such a beautiful, brilliant son who teaches me something new every day. I have a best friend who is my husband, who has my back no matter what. My sister, the other half of my heart, is thriving and making me so proud. I have some of the most incredible people as my closest friends, and my family is supporting one another and becoming a part of my son’s life. We have a roof over our head, a full kitchen and the time and ability to create art and share our experiences. I am happy.

Thank you, friends, for being a part of making my life as sweet as it is.

Daily Life, Recipe

A beautiful long weekend

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. With my reduced hours at work (which continue into december), I have an extra long long weekend. This past week of my pregnancy has been interesting. I’ve been on edge, but hopeful. Nausea is back, but so is my desire to eat things that aren’t bread/potato/pasta related, which is a massive relief. I’m actually getting sick of carbs. i want some veggies! Some meat! Some variety! Unfortunately, with this week comes intense headaches and nightmares.

This weekend we have a lot of good stuff going on. Friday was my cleaning, relaxing and prep day. Pat and I had date plans! (Oooo! We haven’t been on a date in a long damn time. Saw the new Jason Stratham movie. Surprisingly good) Saturday, we we’re off to the in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. We had a lovely time! My SIL, Kina, did a fantastic job of the meal and we all had a great time hanging out.  Sunday we went going Apple Picking with Nana Jan and Cathy (and the girls from the wonderful family that I’ve adopted. Pat’s best friend, Jan, has been a huge support to me the last couple of years). Monday was basically a laze about day, mostly with video games and left overs.

One of my favourite things about thanksgiving, or any major family meal, is the dish that I made and brought to the dinner on Saturday. As you all know, it’s been a tough couple of years for my family. Pat and I try to keep traditions from both of our pasts alive as we move forward together. One of those traditions is a simple casserole dish that was present at every Sutherland family gathering for the last 10 years or so. I think it was introduced by my Dad’s daughter, Kim, at Christmas one year. Or maybe it was easter. Either way, it was a complete hit and became a staple right away. It is always a sneaky way to get non-veg lovers to get just a tiny bit on their plates (yes, it’s kind of a lie. The veg is practically bathing in cheese and cream. At least it’s still veg). It’s also one of the very few dishes that I’ve brought to mixed family events that everyone seems to enjoy (well, mostly everyone). Coming from a strange background, I have some dishes that are best left to…well…me. I’ve recently discovered that not even my little sister likes some of the Ukrainian dishes we’ve grown up with. Don’t worry Mum, I’ll keep eating those Latkes and cabbage rolls. Even if its all by my lonesome (Pat prefers his potatoes in non-pancake form, and will eat only the rice filing for the cabbage rolls. Before it comes in contact with cabbage.)

So, here’s a page from my well loved and very abused personal cook book that my Mum put together for me:

The inside cover of my recipe book <3
Mum's actual entry for this recipe <3

The Sutherland Family Veggie Casserole


  • 2 cups fresh broccoli
  • 2 cups fresh cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 10oz can of Cream of Whatever Soup (traditionally, we use mushroom)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (usually cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 pkg croutons, crushed

1. Cook veggies in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Spread evenly in 8 x 12 buttered casserole pan

Boiling broc and cauli

2. Beat eggs. Combine with mayo, onions, soup and 1/2 cup cheese

All mixed

3. Pour mix over veggies. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top

Just needs butter and crunch!

4. Pour over – melted butter. Sprinkle crushed croutons on top

5. Bake for 350 F for 40 min.

Source: Dad’s daughter Kim, and most likely from the back of a Campbell’s Soup Can. Who knows.

Make it your own! Add whatever veg you like, whatever soup/cream sauce you want, change up the cheese and go to town!

Note: My changes this time around – I used 1/2 an onion, a mix of mozz and cheddar, 1/2 fat cream of mushroom soup and I used panko crumbs instead of croutons.

As it turns out, it was a massive hit on Saturday with no leftovers for me at all. Lucky for me, I have the fixins for Part 2 at home. Veggie Casserole for dinner one night? I think so! For my fellow Canadians, I hope the long weekend treated you well! For everyone else, take care and have a great one!

Daily Life


This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. This year is a strange one, without my parents around. My mother’s house was the center of my family’s universe. With her gone, we were all over the place. My sister was at my uncle’s in Calgary. My other siblings gathered in a suburb an hour out of Montreal and I joined my in-laws here in the burbs of Ottawa.

My brother in law and his wife hosted a lovely dinner. We spent the night catching up, watching my nephew chase and be chased by the pug and puggle of the house, and playing cards. It’s been a rough road, the last few years, but I look around and I definitely feel that I have a lot to be thankful for. So, in honour of the day, here’s a nice little list.

I am thankful for…

  • My husband. He is my very best friend. He listens to me at 3am when I wake up from awful nightmares. He makes me laugh with a single word. He understands me better than anyone, and loves me truly. He is an excellent guy, an amazing friend and pretty good at this whole hubby thing.
  • My critters. Even though they drive me nuts and that I sometimes think about leaving them to nature, I love my furbabies. They bring us lots of laughter and comfort. Our house would be so empty without them.
  • My family. Despite the drama and the heartache, I am still thankful that they were there with me through Mum’s stay in the hospital and her passing. My sister is amazing, and even though she’s far away, she is my dear dear friend. I know that day or night, I could call her and have her support immediately.
  • My extended family. My in-laws, my friends, all those people that may not share blood with me, but give us more love, understanding and support than we could ever ask for. They are the people that get me through the hard days. It’s with them that we celebrate the good days
  • My education. Even though I don’t use my degree in my current job, I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the freedom, rights, financial ability and opportunity to get my education.
  • My country. Even though our politicians make a lot of ridiculous decisions and do things that I don’t necessarily agree with, I consider myself very lucky to live in Canada.
  • My house. Even though it drives me nuts (having spent all day cleaning it, for instance), I love our little disaster. We are so lucky to have a roof over our heads and a home that we can call our own.
  • My access to therapies. It’s a slow process, but thanks to my ability to attend my various therapies, my body and mind are slowly healing.

I feel so blessed to have the life that I do. Despite all the pain and loss, I have so very much and I am so thankful for that. Happy thanksgiving everyone!