Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Life has been a little blah lately and while it's easiest to wallow in my own misery (well, maybe not quite misery) I don't really want to. So instead I try to think of all the things I'm thankful, esp the simple things. After writing out a list of all my simple pleasures, it's hard to stay feeling blah.

  • Parker slept in his own bed all night long until 6:30. This is huge as he usually sneaks in our room about 1am and isn't the coziest to sleep with (he loves to head butt in his sleep).
  • A glass of half frozen milk with a splash of vanilla.
  • A few hours of snow, enough to play in before it melted.
  • After days of cloud, the sun peeked out for a very short while.
  • An organized playroom and kitchen.
  • My husband reaching over and rubbing my belly in the middle of the night.
  • Vanilla ice cream with fruit pieces and fruit juice on top.
  • Although I really needed a nap, I loved having peace and quiet to read a magazine while Parker napped today.

So it's not that many but even just these few pleasures made my day less blah. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

34 weeks pregnant

I haven't taken a picture of me once yet during this pregnancy. Seeing as I'm getting close to the finish line, I thought I should get on that!

This is me at 34.1 weeks. I'm carrying so much higher than the last two but because baby is posterior (what is it with my kids liking this position best?!) my belly looks odd. It's a big ball on the top half that stops at my belly button and takes a huge dip on teh lower part. With Parker the nurses were able to tell he was posterior just by looking at my belly when I was laying down.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I *heart* playdough!

Playdough is a huge hit with my toddler and to be honest, I love the stuff too. I find it's very therapeutic to squish in my hands, very destressing! I make playdough about every two to four weeks and I really can't figure out why people bother buying the stuff when it's SO simple to make!

Here's some of my favourite recipes for homemade playdough:

Basic no-cook Playdough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar (you can find this in the bulk section)
4 tsp. oil
2 cups boiling water.

Mix dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add oil and boiling water and mix until combined. Turn over onto counter and knead together, careful though as it may still be hot. You can add more flour if needed.

You can add a few drops of food colouring or even a package or two of unprepared Kool-aid for some colour (the kool-aid also adds a yummy scent). Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to make it smell good or add glitter, sand, etc for texture. My favourite add in for playdough in the winter is to leave it white but add some silver glitter and some mint extract.

For toys, I have in our bucket some rolling pins, small dull knives, a muffin tin, cookie cutters, scissors (although Parker is still a little young for scissors), popsicle sticks, sea shells, twigs, small rocks, etc.

Go ahead, make up a batch today for both you and your little ones. I promise you'll have just as much as they will!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dyeing Play Silks with Kool-aid

Remember that sickly sweet drink we used to have as children, kool-aid? You know, the stuff we'd never in a million years serve to our own children nowadays? Well, turns out there's a use to the stuff! Besides making the yummiest smelling playdough, you can dye protein fabrics and wools with it! I had ordered some 30x30 Habotai Silk Scarves ( as playsilks for the toddler's Christmas gift. But who wants to play with boring all white scarves? Yeah, me either! But I wanted something less toxic and less expensive than most of the dyes available but still wanted bright vibrant colours. Enter KOOL-AID!

First off, you're probably wondering what play silks are aren't you? Well, they are only one of the world's most open ended toy ever! They're fabulous scarves that encourages use of imagination and creativity. I've seen children use them as a peek-a-boo prop (my toddler's fave right now), a cape, a sling for their dolls, a dress, to build a fort, use a blue one for the ocean or green one for a pasture for farm animals, etc. The possibilities are endless! I really encourage you to go out and make your own playsilks or purchase a set and just sit back and watch your children play.
There are so many tutorials available online on how to dye using kool-aid that I didn't know where to begin. I decided on trying out this one:
Here's some pics showing how we dyed 4 scarves (I plan on making two more: yellow and blue but ran out of mason jars):
This is what the Habotai scarf looked like fresh from the mail. Kinda boring, huh?

While you're getting everything ready, soak all your scarves in a big bowl (I'm using the insert of our crockpot) with warm tap water and a few tablespoons of vinegar. It should sit for about half hour.
In a big mason jar (the tutorial I used suggested using old spaghetti jars even) put in 1.5 cups of hot water with a tablespoon of vinegar. Add in 4 or 5 packages of kool-aid in each jar. I used 4 mason jars so I ended up with 4 different coloured scarves in the end. Make sure it's mixed well.
In a large pot, bring a few inches of water to a simmer. Place one silk scarf in each mason jar and mix well. Place as many jars as you can fit in the pot. The tutorial I used never said how long to let it sit but I'd say about 20 minutes is good, just make sure you come back and stir often to ensure an even distribution of colour.
After about 20 minutes, you'll notice that the coloured water in the jars has began to really fade. In lighter colours (such as the green) it may even take on a milky colour when the dye has been absorbed. When this happens, remove the jars (careful, they're hot) from the pot and empty in the sink. You need to rinse them and here's what surprised me: I was expecting excess dye to run out and thought it was going to take forever to rinse (for those of you who have coloured your hair and spent forever rinsing out the colour, that's what I was thinking). But that's not what it was like at all! It was so easy to rinse, no colour came out at all! Here's a green one finished:
Here's all four of them finished and ready to be hung out to dry (notice how enthusiastic the teenager looks):
What I learned from this:
~ 5 packets of kool-aid probably wasn't needed. I could have gotten away with 3 I'm thinking.
~ The mason jars were great but a little small. Next time I'd use something bigger so the scarf doesn't have to be bunched up. Or maybe more solution even. They all came out slightly mottled (the green and purple especially) but I think it looks great anyways!
~ Kool-aid stains everything. My light coloured countertops have splatters of red and orange all over them from me being sloppy. Oops!
~ And finally, I learned that dyeing is really fun and if I was a knitter I'd definitely try my hand at dyeing some yarn.

Well if that isn't procrastination at it's best!

I really wanted to keep up with this blog. Really. I've just been busy. I'd go to write in a new entry and then the baby would wake up (who's now a toddler, btw) and then I'd try again later but the teenager would need my help or have some teen drama to share with me. Then I returned back to work and in all honesty... I forgot. If you could see me now, you'd see that I'm hanging my head in shame.

But I'm back. For today and hopefully for tomorrow and the following week etc but no promises! :)

Just a quick update on life around here...
I'm pregnant AGAIN and am due in two months! Eeep! The husband and I have been TTC for a while but then I decided to return to work full time (or rather the finances decided for us) so we put that on hold. But less than a week after I returned to work, I found out I was already pregnant! This pregnancy has been nothing short of perfect. I feel amazing, my body didn't try to reject this babe like it did all the other times. I'm absolutely happy, couldn't ask for a better final pregnancy. I do still have worries about life when the babe arrives. Hmmm, he or she will be joining: a high maintenance 20 month old, moody and impossible 13 going on 20 year old and me and the husband who both don't cope well with change or little sleep.

The teenager started highschool this year. Yeah, that's been ummmm... FUN! I still think an 8th grader is too young for highschool. I just hope and pray that handles highschool and the experiences that come along with it better than I did. Is it too late to consider homeschool for her? ;)

The toddler is a typical toddler, busy busy busy! I love it! He's starting to talk, runs around EVERYWHERE and is just in awe with exploring the world around him. It's so fun to be a mom of a toddler!

Not much new with the husband. The business keeps doing better and better which is good although now he's talking about opening up another business. *sigh* I'm hoping that one stays a pipe dream for now.

Anyhoo.. that's our life in a nutshell!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sew Inspirational

This is my new inspiration!! Isn't it fabulous? I just bought this yard set from I buy lots of fabric from her to use for my etsy shop ( and she's a joy to work with. I usually hate buying fabric from the States as customs is a pain in the butt but she pops it in the mail pronto and it gets here so quick! I'm expecting it to arrive sometime this week! So excited!
I've been slacking with my etsy shop lately and with sewing altogether since stressing about going back to work on the 2nd. But this fabric trio has got me itching to spend some time with the sewing machine!
Stay tuned for the finished result!

Dinners This Week (Jan. 26- Feb 1)

In my quest to become an organized and "together" momma, I've started planning out my family's dinners for the week to come before I go grocery shopping. Can I just wonder aloud as to why I didn't do this earlier? My grocery bill has been cut by about $70 per week AND I no longer rely on delivery to feed my family! Hopefully if I get things together, I'll make a post each Monday so maybe I can inspire your family's dinner time menu! I know I need all the inspiration!

Monday: Malaysian Chicken and sweet potatoe stew over a bed of couscous (from Janet and Greta Podleski's Crazy Plates cookbook)

Tuesday: Veggie Curry (from Jean Pare's Company's Coming Slow Cooker Dinners)

Wednesday: Barley and Lentil Soup ( which is THE best menu planning website for Canadians!)

Thursday: Stand-by Pasta (so simple but my family LOVES this. I heat a tin of undrained diced tomatoes with a tablespoon of capers and some of the juice and add some oregano and garlic and crushed red chillies and pour over whole wheat rotini)

Friday: Homemade Pizza (I usually use naan bread with some olive oil, grilled veg, thyme and goat cheese and pine nuts) for Pizza and Movie night.

Saturday: leftover Barley and Lentil Soup

Sunday: my daughter's fave: Tuna Casserole

I write this all out on a dry erase board on my fridge so I never have to ask myself "what's for dinner?" ever again. And that, my friends, is bliss! ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So it wasn't teething after all...

Poor Parker has an ear infection. He's on the mend now but still not 100%. He was really grumpy and not sleeping well a week ago MOnday but I blamed teething for it. (FYI... I blame teething for everything. Cranky baby? teething Baby won't eat? teething Diaper rash? teething.... you get the idea.) Turns out it wasn't teething but an ear infection. Poor little man!
We've gone back to full time cosleeping and while I love having him next to me, it's getting a little crowded in our bed! This morning I woke up to Parky headbutting me in the lip and splitting it open. I can tell you that this is not the ideal way to wake up! Nap times are even worse right now, he'll only sleep in the cuddlywrap. I know he needs the extra love and cuddles but I hope that by the time he's feeling better he goes back to sleeping in his own crib even just for naps!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cakes and Pregnancies

Well... the recipe I was going to attempt for my husband's 30th bday party was a utter flop! It was the most vile thing I have ever eaten, so much so that I chucked it and bought a bakery cake for him. And still $75 worth of cake later, I can still taste the dissapointment in the cake I had thrown out. :( The recipe was horrid, the icing was like water, the cake dry from the get go even though I baked it for less than the recommended time. For me, I need more complex cake recipes to be dumbed down for me otherwise it doesn't turn out and I think that may have been the problem with that recipe. I have sinced learned my lesson and will only use recipes that come recommended or are from trusted chefs!
Last night for Dave's bday we went out for dinner and drinks then all came back to our place for some wii and cake. Dave had two highschool friends over whom he doesn't see as much as he'd like so it was nice, but they were both huge transformer nerds who spent the night putting a toy together. Not my idea of fun but whatever!
Tonight we're going to watch the first disc of Season 1 of Dexter. I've been meaning to rent this forever and I finally got my hands on it. Same with the documentary by Rikki Lake: "The business of being born" which I think is a must watch by any pregnant or soon to be pregnant woman. it didn't all apply to Canada but the parts that did had me questioning the care I recieved during my pregnancies. What hit home the most was the parts that discussed how the medical field uses fear to "force" women into making decisions based on what the doctor's want. I had 10 ultrasounds with Parker and fear was a huge cloud over my pregnancy when it probably shouldn't have been. I had some complications during my first trimester and into my second but after that it was fine. I did have a midwife in the beginning but it wasn't a good match so I switched to my family doctor then tried to switch to a midwife again later on but none were available. I'm just glad this documentary came out before I was done having children as it opened up a dialog between my husband and I about what we wanted out of the the whole pregnancy experience the second (third for me) time around.
Anyhoo... I just bought some new fabric and some lace so I'm going to do some sewing before we start dexter. I'm going to be making up some new birthday bibs for my esty shop: . But I am pretty tired from last night so I just might just sneak in a nap instead!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Chocolate cake and Barber Poles

I know, you're asking yourself what does chocolate cake and barber poles have in common?
Well, it's my husband's 30th birthday on Monday and we're having a get together on Saturday to celebrate. Nothing too big but we're going out for dinner with a group of our friends and our family and then our family and close friends are coming over to our place for cake and some Wii!
So... that means I have to bake a cake. I could go and buy him an ice cream cake like he's been getting since he was a little boy but after my explosive blow up at the Dairy Queen manager for his 29th birthday (which in the end, ended up with us eating day old grocery store cake btw) I thought I'd avoid that altogether. Plus there's something special about homemade birthday cakes.
I was scouring the internet for a chocolate cake with some sort of filling when I came across an easy and yummy sounding recipe for Chocolate Mousse Cake on I've boughten all my ingredients last night and will attempt to bake it either today or tomorrow.
Sounds simple and easy and maybe even a little boring doesn't it? Well, here's the added bit... since my husband is a barber, I want to make a shaped cake of perhaps a barber pole! It would be easy, I figure I just make a sheet cake and cut it into the shape of a barber pole then assemble it. Instead of the milk chocolate icing given in the recipe I bought some white chocolate and some food colouring so I can do the barber pole stripes in red and white! I'm excited to get started and hope it turns out the way I'm envisioning it in my head!
Here's the recipe for those interested (I'll give my review of it on Sunday!)


4 squares unsweetened chocolate2/3 c. boiling water2 2/3 c. sifted cake flour1 1/4 tsp. baking soda1 1/2 tsp. baking powder1/4 tsp. salt1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract2/3 c. butter2 2/3 c. brown sugar3 lg. egg yolks1 lg. egg2/3 c. thick buttermilk or sour milk
3/4 c. butter3/4 c. confectioners' sugar, divided4 eggs, separated12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted1 tsp. vanillaPinch of salt1/4 c. strong coffee2 c. heavy cream
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled1/2 c. water1/2 c. confectioners' sugar1 or 2 tbsp. strong coffee1/2 c. butter, softened
FUDGE CAKE: Melt the chocolate in the boiling water. Sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar and creaming until thick and light. Add the egg yolks and the whole egg to the creamed mixture, one at a time, and beat in. Now beat in the melted chocolate.
Combine the buttermilk or sour milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk or sour milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat until smooth but do not over beat. Turn batter into two 8-inch square pans that have been buttered and floured. Tap pans on counter to release excess air.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before turning out onto rack.
FILLING: Soften butter and beat until creamy. Add 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, egg yolks, chocolate, vanilla, salt and coffee. Beat egg whites with remaining 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Whip cream. Add beaten egg whites and whipped cream to chocolate mixture. Spread filling on top of one layer. Set other layer on top and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
ICING: Beat above ingredients together until smooth. Ice cake completely. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Serves 16

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dear Bloggie...

The first post of a new blog. I feel like I should be writing something insightful and deep but alas... it's 9pm, the kids are in bed, I have thoughts of self rising cake flour vs. cake flour running through my head and my dryer is now a mountain top of laundry begging to be folded and put away.
What can you expect me to write you ask? Well, I'll be honest... I'm a new and not so new mommy to two children who tug at my heartstrings and my patience all at the same time (my daughter is 12 and my son is 8 months). I'm a newish wife to an eccentric barber/comic book nerd who even though he drives me up the wall most days, loves me unconditionally and makes my world a better place. Right now I'm enjoying maternity leave but I accidently and quite surprisingly found out two days ago that my employment insurance runs out in less than a month when I was expecting it to last into March! So I'm returning to work on February 2nd. Be prepared for many posts about my panic of returning to the work force after a year and a half absence!!
So, nothing terribly exciting but everyone tells me life is like a sitcom so perhaps this will be slightly enjoyable!