New Thing #292: Elementary School Christmas Concert


With my daughter in her first year of JK we were treated to our first ever school Christmas concert tonight. In what can only be described as an act of mercy, they split the event by grade so as not to, ahem, overwhelm the audience with the entire student body.

What we did get to see was our daughter recite five poems (some vaguely seasonal, some utterly nonsensensical), but fun none-the-less. It’s the type of thing no sane human being would enjoy if it weren’t for the fact that their kid is up there yelling their heart out. Almost in unison with the rest of the kids. Or in some cases, no where near it.

Really, the best you can hope for is that there’s no tears and no one wets themselves, so in that regard I think tonight was a complete success.


New Thing #288: Buy the First Christmas Tree I See



Picking a Christmas tree is a time honoured tradition in the Gaede family dating back decades, possibly further, since my Grandfather was always very proud of the trees he’d pick when I was a kid.

There’s much searching, spinning, poking, gazing, chin-scratching and gut-checking to finding that perfect tree. I always feel that, even when I find one that seems close, there’s an elusive majestic specimen just hiding around the corner.

But today was different. I don’t know if the stars were aligned in my favour or if I was just lucky, but I knew that very first tree that I laid my hands on was the one. I had to fight ever urge in my body to keep looking, to at least pick up a few more trunks, tap them on the ground and see how many needles dropped off. 

I’d booked off at least an hour in my head for the search and found myself walking out within 5 minutes to my car. Within the hour I was sawing off the end cap of the trunk while Audrey watched in wonder. And as if Christmas miracles were going cheap today, Shauna even let us replace the white tree lights with multicoloured ones for the first time since we’ve lived together, much to my and Audrey’s delight.

Oh Tannenbaum indeed.

New Thing #267: Toronto Santa Claus Parade



I’ve been living in Toronto for going on 14 years and this is the first time I’ve ever made it to the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

It helps that I have a little girl bursting with Christmas cheer to get me out into the cold November air on a Sunday afternoon. It also helps that it was extrememly warm by November standards this year, hitting 14??C while we were out.

Armed with a latte (boosted by some concealed Kahlua that was magically revealed from inside a friend’s bag) I was ready for the three hour parade.

It was spectacular. Marching bands, floats, costumed children, clowns, clowns and more clowns made their way through the street. There was a dinosaur float featuring my favourite dinosaur (the parasaurolophus pictured above) AND a video game float with Ratchet and Clank. It’s like they knew I was coming.

Santa finally made his appearance preceded by the good old Mounties and then we made our way back up the street home. And any chance I get to walk on a street usually teaming with cars and trucks just makes my day.

I can’t wait until next year.

New Thing #226: Bake Molten Cakes


I finally got around to using a Molten Lava Cake mix that my friend gave me at Christmastime last year.

Although the molten-ness of the cakes is a bit questionable I’m amazed that they’re actually fully formed, moist and, well, delicious!

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