Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Ok, it’s been an extremely long time since my last post. But, guys, you know what is really hard? Two kids, that’s what. And it seems to be getting harder as the days go on. One toddler who is still adjusting to no longer being the only star in our sky. And one baby, no longer a newborn and all of a sudden MUCH more fussy. Especially between the hours of 9 pm and 3 am. WTF is up with that, I want to ask her, in the sweetest way possible.

I startled myself when I saw my reflection up close in my medicine cabinet one of these nights. It was an accident – I’ve been avoiding my reflection for awhile now. But all of a sudden I was face to face with myself under the harsh fluorescent lights. Startled might not be the right word. More like horrified. I look like a zombie. And not like the way you say it affectionately when someone is kind of tired and dopey. I mean, I could have been an extra for The Walking Dead. A well-preserved zombie, but still. My eyes are SO bloodshot from lack of sleep, they are bright red. And the lovely bruise-like under eye shadows are highlighted nicely against the anemic pallor of the rest of my skin. Take a chunk out of my cheek and I’d have everyone running for cover. I probably already do.

But everyone knows dealing with a new baby is hard. This is nothing new. So instead of boring you, I’ll show you something that is much prettier than me:

MintChocoCupcakes2 Continue reading

Blackberry Pie Bars

Spring has been well-established here in Geneva. Everywhere you look, it is green. Flowering trees are in their glory and my lawn is a carpet of wildflowers. Having never experienced a true spring before (you know, where stuff grows and there are leaves on the trees), I find the weather kind of miraculous. We’ve been trying to get outside everyday, enjoying some fantastic sunshine and resting when we can!

With the beginning of the nice weather comes my increasing interest in fruit-based desserts. Time to shed those fatty winter recipes and heavy chocolate treats, along with the layers of pregnancy fat that’s surrounding me! Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t eat delicious things.

I’m actually able to do some baking, largely in part because E will only settle down when she is wrapped up in a sling on my chest, and I am moving around. There’s no sitting down these days, which would be fine if the newest little monster slept at all during the night … but these are the challenges we agree to take on with kids. The upside is: more baking. Continue reading

Book reviews

I forgot about sleep deprivation. About why it was and is used as a (very effective) form of torture. I’m basically at the point of bursting into tears, screaming: I’ll tell you anything! Just let me sleep!

Somehow, I’m trying to do a little bit of reading. Most of these books were read before E came along, or in the hospital when everything is weird and you exist in this kind of continuous twilight and the only thing to do is read (or fall asleep while nursing then have the midwives yell at you, so reading is kind of the preferred activity.) Since getting home, the reading has dried up. I’m happy I had such a head start on my reading challenge list, otherwise it would never happen. Here’s what I have been reading:

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl

Book description: Marisha Pessl’s dazzling debut sparked raves from critics and heralded the arrival of a vibrant new voice in American fiction. At the center ofSpecial Topics in Calamity Physics is clever, deadpan Blue van Meer, who has a head full of literary, philosophical, scientific, and cinematic knowledge, but she could use some friends. Upon entering the elite St. Gallway School, she finds some–a clique of eccentrics known as the Bluebloods. One drowning and one hanging later, Blue finds herself puzzling out a byzantine murder mystery. Nabokov meets Donna Tartt (then invites the rest of the Western Canon to the party) in this novel–with visual aids drawn by the author–that has won over readers of all ages. Continue reading

Recipe Roundup

I’ve surprised myself by making some supremely tasty dishes since having E. Who said that having two babies is hard. It’s a breeze! (Omg, I’m so kidding. Most of these meals were made before E was born, and anything I’ve done since then – usually with a newborn glued to my chest – has only happened thanks to my amazing Mom, and also my amazing husband who help me so much).

I’m too tired/busy to really post these recipes, but basically I don’t want to forget about them, so I’m doing a bit of a list of good things I’ve cooked lately – as well as where you can find the recipe on the internet. The only full recipe I’m sharing is for my husband’s aunt’s absolutely fantastic Macaroni and Cheese, because I believe the best is worth sharing.

ThaiCoconutCUrry

Chef Michael Smith’s Thai Coconut Curry Soup
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Somebody liked my book!

NewCity

This is some shameless self-promotion, so look away if you’ve reached your quota of people talking about themselves for the day. I was recently interviewed by my childhood home’s newspaper, the St. Albert Gazette, about the novel I published last year, New City! This was the first time I’ve received a professional review for the book, and let me tell you I was pretty nervous about what was going to be said. You tell yourself it doesn’t matter, but secretly inside you are pleading: Please like it! Please like me!

Anyway, there was no reason for all the worry because the journalist, Scott Hayes, wrote some really nice things about it. So I’m feeling pretty good about that. If you’re interested, check out the article here at the St. Albert Gazette. It includes an embarrassingly ridiculous headshot of me, in case you wanted to see that.

And, as always, if you would like to download a copy of New City (now with great reviews!), you can check it out on Amazon, here. It’s only 2.99, you know, so less than your morning cup of coffee. C’mon, you know you want to know what it’s all about!

Birthdays and Anniversaries

April 4 has a special significance for me. One year ago today we arrived in Geneva, a little bewildered, more than a little jetlagged with a very cranky toddler in tow. We left Alberta in the grips of a major spring blizzard, minus-30 weather, and showed up in the middle of a glorious sunshiny springtime in Alpine Switzerland. Wildflowers grow abundant and chocolate was available at every street corner. It seemed as if we had arrived in a dream.

We have been through a lot over the past year, and I haven’t regretted a day in that time. By far the highlight of the year occurred just last week: the birth of my beautiful daughter, Élodie Grace Magnan.

ELODIE

Born March 27, she is strong and healthy, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome her to the world. Right now we’re just enjoying our new life together as a family of four, balancing the needs of a newborn and a very active little boy. I’m not sure when I’m going to get back to regular blogging – maybe it will be right away, maybe it’s going to be a few weeks, but I’m going to take the time I need to get my metaphoric feet back under me. Until then, happy Easter everyone!

Chocolate Cream Pie: Dear God Yes

ChocolateCreamPie3

Ugh, I am still “Great With Child,” as the Herdmans would say. Any day now … But in the meantime I have to keep myself busy. And X takes care of that for the most part. Like, 96% of my time. Just running after him is more exercise than I ever got ever before in my entire life. Only 35 ungainly extra pounds putting an extra graceless waddle into everything. It’s delightful. My particular favourite is taking him to his swim lessons, where the only thing that still fits me is a teensy weensy bikini. It looks … different now, is all I’ll say. Have I written about his terrifying swimming lessons yet? Remind me if I haven’t. But that’s for another time. This post is all about chocolate. Continue reading