Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Weekend On The Tree Branch

Not literally, mostly because my ability to climb anything is non-existent! 

This past weekend was spent with family! 

First off, let me just say, THANK YOU so much to our wonderful hosts for the weekend.  There have been a few e-mails passed around with thanks, and I was going to do the same, but then I thought...."hey, what is it you do best?!!?  BLOG!!"  To those of you who read what I write regularly, welcome back and to those of you checking it out for the first time, enjoy and bookmark me.  I try and update about once a week.  And if you have some spare time, go back and get caught up on the adventures of my everyday life!

It was a Hutchison Family Reunion.  It's the branch of the family from my Grandmother's side.  My gramma was a Hutchsion and had 4 sisters.  As a child, I fondly remember the get-together's at my Aunt Phyll & Uncle Jeff's cottage on the Otonabee River.  So many memories were made. 

Slowly, the sisters passed on and the get togethers got few and further between.  The last one was probably about 5 years ago.  After having met up about 3 times in the past year at funerals, it was decided that perhaps we should get together somewhere other than a funeral home.

My cousin Barry, his wife Jean and their 3 girls, Sarah, Kailee and Darcee offered to host this fabulous get-together at their beautiful cottage on Lake Muskoka.

We packed up the van, so that outside observers or those without kids would think we were planning on staying much longer than one night!

We were greeted by the girls at the end of the driveway, welcoming us and taking food orders for lunch and dinner.  Sarah led the way up the driveway to the cottage and showed us inside. 

Instantly, we felt welcomed and happy to be in the presence of family.  We unloaded our things to our room and set out on exploring our new surroundings. 

Pictures do tell a story and that is about what I am going to do..share some photos.  I will admit right now, I "stole" some of them from family members that posted pictures already...but please, give me a break, I have kids and no time to use the camera!

But before I get to the pictures from this weekend, let's kick it old school and bring back a few memories from reunions of the past!

Myself and Brad Shaw....1982?

Gary, Uncle Al, Uncle Laurence and way in the back, Uncle Jeff - 1984

Gramma and Aunt Phyll - 1984

Me - 1980?

Gramma and Ashley - 1984

Aunt Doreen, Aunt Phyll, Aunt Shirley and Marlene Shaw - 1984

Adam Dickie - 1984

Chris, Uncle Jeff and Grampa - 1984

Amy and Adam - 1984 (FYI, the doll is Lionel)

Scott and Steve - 1984

Boy, have things changed, the main one being that all the Hutchison girls are now watching down on us, but I am sure they were partying along with us all night!  If you doubt me, ponder this....

Mom said she was going to bring some tomatoes up and just chop them up in a bowl, because Aunt Shirley always brought tomatoes.....I get home to an e-mail from Barry and in it he mentioned that Uncle Al (Aunt Shirley's husband, for those of you not in the loop) was not going to attend, but he sent tomatoes!  Coinkedink?  You decide!

And now for the updated photos:

The Cottage
The boathouse
Afternoon Wine Tasting on the dock

My hubby Brian and Hayden on the jet ski

Brian and Abby

Brian, Abby and Cindy with the pig-tails
Abby in the beach area


Our host, Barry Stock

Grampa (Gary) and Hayden in the paddle boat

A game of beach volleyball in progress
A beautiful sunset

The talent show...since when is drinking a talent?  Go Karly!!!
In truth, I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't get asked to compete
Must be because I have kids!!

Gord Koehne, Dad, Barry, Allie Koehne and Julie Koehne, enjoying a campfire

Brandon MacDonald, apparently looking for his shoes...
what do you expect when your "talent" is a drinking game? :-)
Good morning Jenn, Bob and Adam Dickie

Mom (Lynne), Hubby (Brian) and dad (Gary)

Hayden and Abby

Gramma and Abby

I hope you made it through all those photos without getting bored!

There were a few noticeable absences from the tree, the entire Shaw and Reid "branch" were unable to attend, as well as a few from the MacDonald, Stock and Coulter "branches".  But we were about 45 strong and with a family as large as ours, it a feat in itself to get that many together in one spot.  I hope we were all well behaved enough to get invited again! (hint hint...wink, wink)

It really was the perfect way to end the summer!  Thanks again to our wonderful hosts!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Pigs Fly!

Amy will catch them and turn them into Pulled Pork sandwiches for dinner!

Tonight, I made this yummy dish!  I haven't been making it that long and was only inspired after my husband was craving it and the local pork restaurant was closed for the season.

Let me tell ya....I have NO idea why I didn't start making this sooner.  It's so simple and delish!

I have had a number of people ask me for the recipe and decided to just do a blog about it...because I want to keep up on my blogging and I wanted to make you all hungry!

First off....just know that this recipe is one of those of the ones that has no actual real ingredient list, just a bunch of stuff thrown in together.  It is also one of the 4 things I use my crock pot to make ( I have a previous post about my love/hate relationship with the crock pot)

First, assemble all the items you need.  You need a cheap cut of pork, I use the shoulder.  Also, an onion, some garlic, salt, pepper, liquid smoke and marinade.  I use clubhouse's, steakhouse mesquite marinade. The liquid smoke is optional, I have made it without and not really noticed any difference.

Place the pork in the crock pot, liberally salt and pepper both sides, rough chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic and pour over about half a bottle of marinade.

Now personally, I like to do this the night before so that Brian can start it when he goes to work, but you could do this all the same day.   I cooked it on high and actually, it was done in about 4 hours, so by the time Brian put it on and I got up, it was ready.  I turned down the temperature and had my sitter turn it off around noon.  That will give it enough time to cool down before you pull it.  I don't see why you couldn't cook it on low overnight and pull it the next day.

The next step is messy but totally worth it.  Now you need to "pull" the meat or shred it.  The meat is so tender that it easily pulls with a fork.  Pick away any fat, you don't want that, but it makes the meat tender and juicy.  Once it's all pulled, put it back into your crock pot and add your favorite BBQ sauce.  Mine is Bullseye with Guinness.  Add as much or as little as you like.  It's a great way to finish off those bottles you have in the fridge that don't have enough to use on a regular basis but would do in a pinch.  Just add some water and pour it in.  Then just mix it all up to coat the meat.

Next, get a baking sheet and either spray it with Pam or parchment paper.  Put on some french fries and fish sticks

Wait...Hold up a second you are saying....FISH STICKS??

Yup, it's for the kiddies that won't eat pulled pork!  At the same time, put in some onion rings, because I feel they are the perfect compliment to this dish.  These are our make them in the oven, but still get all crispy like you have fried them

Now you need some buns.  I prefer an onion bun, but you can use your favorite.

This next step is optional, but increased the yum factor!  Make a garlic spread and put it on the buns.  Toast them in the oven like garlic bread.

Now, this is about where the pictures end.  The kids were screaming and we were all getting hungry.  My hunger took over and I forgot why I took all these other pictures.  Anyhoo, once the buns are toasted lightly, remove them from the oven, spread on some pork and a slice of cheese if you like.  I add a Havarti cheese with jalapeno peppers.  Put it back in the oven to melt the cheese.  Slice the sandwiches in half and serve with onion rings.

There you go.  PLEASE!!!  Try this just once in your life and tell me how much you love it!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventures at Wonderland

Ok, so I have intended to do a couple more blogs about what we did over the holidays....BUT, obviously, I haven't gotten around to it yet. 
I have a good excuse though!

Mom and I are planning to participate in a craft show at the Keene Pumpkin Festival and suddenly, it occurred to me that it's only about 2 months away and I had NOTHING ready.  So that is what my nights have consisted of.  So, please bare with me as these posts develop.

The day after the cottage, we planned a trip to Canada's Wonderland.  We had talked about going, but made no concrete plans.  At about 6:30 Monday night, we decided to go and also decided to invite our niece and nephew along for the day.

That Tuesday morning, we headed out bright and early.  We had to make a pit stop at Costco for discount tickets and then had to drive past the entrance to the park about 3 times (sorry hun, but it's still funny to me!)

THEN, we waited in line to park! 

THEN, we waited in line to buy a ticket for Hayden, cause you can't get them at Costco.

THEN, we waited in line to get into the park!

But once inside....memories came back to me.

In clear view was the mountain and waterfall.  My childhood came rushing back, with the help of the expression on Hayden's face.  He was in complete awe and shock!  It was more crowded than any place he has ever been, there are people selling toys and gifts the moment you walk in, Charlie Brown and Snoopy are hanging around.

We found ourselves a park map and headed straight for the washrooms and then the kiddie area.

We made the trek over the Rainbow Bridge into Planet Snoopy.  When I was a kid, it was Hanna Barbara Land, with all the good old characters like Scooby Doo and Fred Flintstone.

I wish it was still the same actually, because thanks to the Retro Cartoon channel, Hayden knows who all these characters are.  He has no idea who Snoopy and Friends are!

I mean, I remember you could ride Scooby Doo on the Merry-Go-Round, eat lunch in Fred's car, walk through Smurf's Village and if you were real lucky, Captain Caveman would eat your father' hat!  Ok, perhaps that last one was just our experience...AND, his "handler" did make him spit it out!

Just see for yourself what it used to be like!

Please ignore the fashion....apparently, dad and I liked to wear short shorts and neither one of us had any fear of skinning our knees if we fell with THOSE socks!  Actually, I can bet my last dollar that mom dressed both of us, but she stayed behind the camera...probably because she matched us!

This is what it's like now!

It was great day and fun was had by all!  It was fantastic to have our niece and nephew go with us and it also gave Hayden company on the rides.

We have discussed going one more time this year, but on a Wednesday once all the kids are back to school!  We'll see!