Tuesday, December 28, 2010

oh so organized

Inspired by Chef Michael Smith, I decided to organize my kitchen with clear glass jars. I picked up some quart jars for larger quantity items like chocolate chips, icing sugar and brown sugar, and Mum gave me some smaller ones for spices and seasonings. I also bought a set of clear plastic containers in larger sizes for flours, white sugar, salt and beans.

Aren't they puurrrtttyyy?

Ahh, so satisfying! I wrote on the lids with a Sharpie ... wouldn't want to mix up key ingredients, like baking powder and soda.

Next up, my craft supplies! One jar for ribbons, one for glue, one for stickers, one for embellishments ...

ten on tuesday

Here is the last edition of Ten on Tuesday for 2010!

1. What was the number one item on your Christmas wishlist?I honestly didn't want for anything this Christmas. With Baby J laughing and interacting more every day, I was happy to just pop a bow on his head and call it good enough. Husband and I decided not to buy gifts for each other this year, but we've picked up a few around-the-house items lately which we'll count as pressies. We were certainly still spoiled from our family, receiving a Wii with some addicting games and a set of winter tires!

2. Did you get the number one item on your Christmas wishlist?Spending a full week in New Brunswick with Husband, Baby J and all of my fam was the perfect present.

3. How long has it been since you’ve had a pedicure?I had a pedicure in late August with lovely cousin C. She surprised me with it as a baby shower gift before Baby J arrived and it felt amazing on my nine-months-preggo feet.

4. How cold is it in your city today?With the wind chill, we're enjoying a balmy -14 degrees Celsius in Halifax today.

5. How many pillows do you sleep with?
At least two.

6. Can you roll your tongue?Yep, I can. And so can Husband. So does that mean Baby J will be able to, too?

7. Do you always buy the same mascara or do you try new ones each tube?
It takes me a long time to go through a tube of mascara ... and yes, I know, I should probably replace it more often than I do. Generally I buy Cover Girl, though sometimes I try out different varieties of that brand.

8. What’s your favourite cookbook?
As I've mentioned before, I'm somewhat of a cookbook connoisseur. For Christmas, I received The Family Circle Cookbook: The Ultimate Recipe Collection for Busy Families, Best of the Best: One Dish, and Company's Coming Most Loved Salads and Dressings. My No. 1 go-to book is my Better Homes and Gardens Collection.

9. What was your first pet?
Jessie the cat.

10. Do you wear jewelry on a daily basis?
Yes, my wedding rings and a Satya lotus necklace from Husband. Sometimes I wear other things, too.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas

Wishing you all a joyful holiday and lots of love!
Merry Christmas! xoxo

Thursday, December 16, 2010

gingery goodness

It's hard to believe that, as crafty as I am, I don't think I ever made a gingerbread house before yesterday. Lovely cousin C came over to visit with Baby J and me, and brought along a tasty kit to give our boy one of his first Christmas traditions.

In true baby fashion, this is how J responded to all of the excitement:

So C and I mustered our inner children, turned up the Christmas tunes and got creative.

We started out using patterns with the colourful candies, but soon we ditched conformity in favour of sugary chaos.

What do you think? Share some of your favourite holiday traditions!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ten on tuesday

Like Amy, I love a good theme post. She recently introduced me to Ten on Tuesday. Thought I'd join in!

1. What do you order at Starbucks?
Decafe grande non-fat latte. Sometimes I treat myself to the caffeine and hope baby boy doesn't take too much in through the breast milk!

2. Where is your favourite place to eat breakfast?
Besides my own kitchen — I find breakfast one of the most relaxing meals to make and eat — I love the cheap eats at The Ardmore Tea Room on Quinpool Road or the family favourites at Sunnyside Restaurant in Bedford.

3. Are you on Twitter? Why or why not?
Yes (@lbunin), but I've really dropped off with posting updates. I log on every now and then to read what others have to say though.

4. What is your favourite Christmas movie?
Oo, this is a toughie. I love the Grinch, of course. I watch Home Alone every year, too. And I love lots of newer chick flicks, like The Holiday and Love Actually.

5. Are you a good gift giver?
I try to be! When possible, I prefer to pick out personal gifts for friends and family instead of opting for gift cards ... but then again, who doesn't love to receive and spend a good gift card?

6. Do you like your handwriting? Bonus points for posting a picture.
Not really. I have a weird mix of writing and printing most of the time. I should practice and catch up on some snail-mail correspondence.

7. Is your signature legible? Bonus points for posting a picture.
Yep, for the most part. It really depends on how much of a hurry I'm in when I'm signing that Visa slip.

8. Have you ever been to New York during Christmas season?
Not yet, but lovely friends A and J went this past weekend and seeing the amazing photos makes me want to go even more!

9. Are there any items that you are completely brand loyal?
Definitely. Heinz ketchup and Kraft peanut butter for sure.

10. Who is your favourite public speaker?
I haven't seen a public speaker in a long time. Have you seen anyone good lately?

Join in!

time flies

It seems like just yesterday we welcomed sweet baby Jacob into our family, and now he's nearly three months old! In just over 11 weeks, we've been to the Saturday farmers' market several times, trekked to Fredericton, Moncton twice, Lunenburg and Syndey, been to a bunch of Reel Babies movies, and taken many walks around town with our stroller. He loves tummy time, playing on the changing table in his nursery and flying around the house like Superman with Daddy.

Jacob is a sweet boy and has made parenting a joy so far. He sleeps very well, and as you can tell in the photo above, he definitely eats well! He's in the 90th percentile for both length and weight.

We love our life as a family of three. Husband and I have made an effort to maintain the lifestyle we enjoyed before Jacob arrived — we do errands together on weekends, spend time with friends, watch our favourite TV shows and eat meals at the table as a family. We love when our boy wakes up early on weekend mornings and the three of us play together in bed while the rest of the world is still asleep.

As you have probably noticed, my little blog has fell by the wayside lately, in favour of breastfeeding, changing diapers and playing Patty Cake. In the new year, I plan to return to crafting, projects and writing. Thanks for waiting! See you soon!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like ...


I have a rule that I don't decorate for Christmas until after my birthday. Well, yesterday was my birthday and I decorated yesterday. Close enough.

I was flipping through the Michaels flyer and discovered a coupon dated for my birthday only! Fate? Yes. 30% off everything, including sale items!

That means, for just over $5, I picked up some of these shiny berries ($0.47 each) ...

And added them to a pre-made fir wreath ($3.25) ... TA DAAA ...

I also broke out lots of my favourite decorations. As lovely friend A pointed it, it now looks like Christmas threw up in my house ...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

biggest fail ever

Sorry to spoil the outcome of this post in the title, but really, there's no avoiding the inevitable. I'm not even going to post this on a Tuesday and suggest that you try it. In fact, I highly recommend that you learn from my misfortune on this one.

My lovely friend HH passed along a link to this blog, which suggests an alternative to cake making — simply add one can of pop to a cake mix and the results will be fluffy and delicious. Sounds easy enough.

If you used diet pop, it would even cut down significantly on the calories, but I can't have artificial sweeteners, so I went with regular Pepsi.

This was so easy that I did it with Baby J snuggled in my Mobi Wrap. I popped it in the oven and carried on with my other chores.

The cake smelled yummy as it was cooking. I took it out of the oven at the appropriate time and let it cool, flipped it over onto the cooling rack, et voila:

I have never had this happen to me before. Hunks of the cake were left in my well-greased pan because the cake was so moist and fluffy that it wouldn't even stay together.

Then, to add insult to injury, this terrible cake wouldn't even stand up to the icing process. A whole batch of my Grammie's peanut butter frosting didn't get to fulfill its cakey destiny.

The results weren't pretty, but they were edible. The cake turned out quite moist and fudgey, which isn't so bad. But you don't have to be a Martha to know that the presentation of this cake is just unacceptable. Don't try it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

november to dos

It's already the 9th so it's about time I establish some goals for the month.

- Take Baby Jake for his two-month immunizations.
- Complete Christmas gift list for family members; buy gifts.
- Tackle closets. All of them. Every closet in our house ranges from having a few things out of place, to complete and utter chaos. No more.
- Go Christmas shopping with the ladies in my Dad's side of the fam.
- Address Christmas cards to be sent out during the first week of December.
- Make at least two new recipes.
- Complete a top-secret, diy Christmas gift project.

What are your must-dos this month?

Monday, November 8, 2010

categorized kitchen

Husband recently asked me if there's anything I'd like to have for my birthday. I happened to be browsing my stacks of cookbooks at the time, so my immediate response was: The Food Network. I love to cook and watch other people cook, so I told him he could pay for the TV package required for us to get that channel.

Then, just last night, I was browsing through the guide and for some weird reason, I clicked on a Food Network show and guess what?! We already HAVE the Food Network. I checked with Husband and he hadn't subscribed already for my birthday, so it turns out we've had this channel since moving here in May! Do you know how many wonderful shows I've missed? My DVR is now scheduled to record approximately 8 million shows in the upcoming weeks.

This brings me to one of my favourite chefs — Michael Smith of Chef at Home. His MO is cooking without a recipe and he helps teach viewers how to combine flavours in the best ways, so of course he has a fantastically stocked pantry of every herb, spice, grain, pasta, fruit and veggie you can think of.

I love that everything is organized in a jar with a label. It helps keep everything fresh, not to mention perfectly categorized and easy to find.

So I want to do this in my own kitchen, but I don't want to go out and spend the money on tons of jars, so I'm starting to wash out pasta sauce jars of different sizes and shapes for this project.

While I work on this, tell me, what's your favourite way to organize?

Friday, November 5, 2010

one day at a time

It's been seven weeks since Baby B came into our lives. It feels like a long time and a short time all at once. No amount of baby books could have prepared me for motherhood. Here are a few more things I've learned ...

There's never going to be a perfect time to have a baby. That is, until you have one, and he's perfect and you can't imagine your life without him. There were times during my pregnancy, as things changed with jobs, our car and home, that I wondered if the timing was right. The answer is yes. Guess what? You're never going to have enough money or the dream home or all of the answers. Trust your instincts; I'm glad we did.

It's really not the end of the world if there are dishes in the sink/dust on the shelves/unfolded laundry everywhere/unmade beds. No one's going to judge your mess. And if they do, show them the door.

There is something special about reading books to a little baby, even though he's too young to understand or really pay attention. Bonding with Jacob is probably my favourite thing about being a mother, especially now that he smiles and coos happily when I snuggle him.

Even if your son has filled his diaper with pee, he will some how muster a bit more to spray you with if you've just put on clean clothes. It must be some sort of baby rule or something.

White noise is like a miracle. Turning the radio to a static station and turning it up in the back seat works surprisingly well to soothe a cranky baby when you're just minutes from home.

Sleeping when your baby sleeps is a myth. I think what people mean to say do-everything-you-need-to-get-done when the baby sleeps. If I slept when the baby slept, my house would be indistinguishable under a pile of rubble and dirty diapers.

For more inspiration for new moms, read Katie Bower's post here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

festive fail

For the first time this year, Husband and I live in a street-level home so we were excited to host trick or treaters. To celebrate the occasion, we invited friends over to make caramel apples and watch a scary movie.

Caramel apples ... simple right?

First, unwrap 100 caramels. Combine with 6 Tbsp. of cream. Microwave until melted.

Stick popsicle sticks into clean, dry apples. Dip in caramel mixture.

Roll in assorted toppings. We used peanuts, crushed Oreos and smarties.

It was all fine and dandy, until we turned on When a Stranger Calls and left the apples on the table.

By the time we came back to eat them, we were dipping the caramel off the tinfoil. Fail.

I was mentioning the flub to my neighbour and she suggested a few tips for next time. Quickly dip the apple in boiling water to get the wax off. Make sure the apples are cold when you put the caramel on.

Have you tried this before? Do you have any other tips?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

spooky science

In the spirit of Halloween, lovely friend A and I were happy to help Husband try out a science experiment at home before trying it at school with his students. He wanted to do something fun with the kids in honour of the spooky upcoming weekend. This is a great project for kids and adults of all ages!


You will need:
* Elmer's glue (most kinds of white craft glue will work)
* 2 cups or bowls (your own dishes will clean up well, or disposables work too)
* Food coloring
* Water
* Borax Powder (available at most large grocery stores near the laundry detergent)
* A tablespoon (for stirring and measuring)

In one cup/bowl, combine one cup (250ml) of water and one Tbsp. of Borax powder. Stir and set aside.

In the other cup/bowl, combine three Tbsp. of glue and three Tbsp. water. Stir. Add food colouring (four or five drops, or until you achieve the desired shade).

Now the fun part! Add two tablespoons of the Borax/water solution to the glue mixture and stir quickly. Watch the slime form!

After the slime forms let it sit for about 30 seconds or so until the slime is not wet anymore. (If still very slippery, take slime out and squeeze it with your hands.)
pull it off the spoon and play with it!

If you're a Grade 8/9 science teacher like Husband, you'll also add this to your instructions: DO NOT EAT, THROW or TOUCH anyone else with it.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

diy fall wreath

Oh fall, how I missed you. The changing colour of the leaves and the crisp feel in the air makes me so happy.

I really intended to do this project a long time ago. But I kept forgetting that the camera was packed in the hospital bag in the trunk and Husband would drive away to work and I would be left with no way to capture the photographic evidence of my latest seasonal project. Then Baby Jacob arrived and monopolized my time for a few weeks, but we're slowly working on a routine that allows me some mommy time for my cooking and crafting pursuits.

I picked up a plain wreath at Michaels for $2 on clearance. I wasn't sure what to do with it until I spotted these paper flowers on sale at Wicker Emporium.

I started by cutting the blooms from the stems and experimented on how I could arrange them around the wreath.

With a little hot glue, my plain wreath wasn't so plain anymore.

But I'm trying to decide if it seems a little too dull. I dug through my craft supplies but didn't find anything that coordinated. What do you think? Add a bow? A ribbon?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

try it tuesday

It's been a while since I experimented with a new recipe. I copied down my mom-in-law's recipe for zucchini walnut bread a long time ago, but never got around to making it ... until this mammoth veggie found its way into my kitchen.

Sister-in-law L sent us some garden fresh veggies, including a few zucchinis big enough to feed a small army. So I tried out this straight-forward loaf recipe.

Zucchini Walnut Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt

Fold in:
3 1/4 cups flour
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

Bake in greased loaf pan at 350F for 45 to 60 minutes.

This recipe makes a really big loaf. If you're using small loaf pans, you might want to split this into two or halve the recipe. I didn't get around to taking a photo of the final result because it was just too yummy! Try it!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I didn't think motherhood would change me as much as it has. My former control-freak self has relaxed considerably, to my surprise, and here's the proof:
  • My Google Reader has 1,000+ unread items. And that number is growing by the day.
  • It's October, and our summer clothes are still in our closet. It's too cold for shorts and tank tops, but I can't be bothered to do the change over. For now, our closet is exploding with clothes for all seasons.
  • I've checked out library books and returned them without even cracking the covers.
  • New episodes of my favourite shows are collecting dust on my DVR.
  • The cookie jar has been filled with store-bought cookies for weeks and I'm starting to notice that they taste just as good as the homemade ones.
  • I'm slowly learning how to sleep during the day when it's needed.
  • Instead of butting in when friends and family are helping out around the house, I simply say thank you.
A Facebook friend posted this and I'm starting to see how true it really is ...

I hope my child looks back on today,
and remembers a Mum who had time to play.
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
cause babies grow fast, we learn to our sorrow.
Cobwebs be quiet, dust go to sleep,
I'm cuddling my baby and babies don't keep.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

and then there were three

Can’t believe you’re here now
Tiny dream come true
The answer to a prayer now
I’m so in love with you
Couldn’t wait to meet you
Hope you like your name
I get the funny feeling
Life will never be the same

Safe and sound
You’re here with me now
Like I hoped you’d be
Safe and sound
You’re here with me now
And that’s all I’ll ever need

The world’s a scary place here
But baby it’s alright
I’ll make sure the coast is clear
So you can just sleep tight
But if you’re afraid of monsters
Like everybody is
I’ll be right beside you
Closer than a kiss

Safe and sound
I’m here with you now
And you will always be
Safe and sound
I’m here with you now
And that’s all you’ll ever need

Someday I’m gonna teach you
The reason why we pray
So that heaven’s love may reach you
Every single day
So, baby close your eyes now
And say a prayer with me
Lord, I lay me down to sleep now
But I know I will be

Safe and sound
You’re here with us now
And we will always be
Safe and sound You’re here with us now
And that’s all we’ll ever, all we’ll ever need
You’re all we’ll ever need

Thursday, September 16, 2010

wheeling & dealing

Meet the newest member of our family ... the Kia Forte!

Husband and I car shopped for months before we finally took the plunge. We've been driving our 1998 Toyota Corolla for four years and it was time to add a new car to the household, namely for a little more reliability to tote the new babe around.

Big credit has to go to brother-in-law A who helped us a great deal with our car decision and negotiating the best possible price. Definitely visit his website if you're in the market for a new car.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

try it tuesday

I have to say that I'd really like to be giving birth as my Try It Tuesday this week ... but I hold out absolutely no hope that it will actually happen today, so how about muffins instead? Sounds more pleasant, doesn't it?

I made a new recipe recently that I really think is worth sharing. While we're at it, let's make it a Try It Tuesday, because trust me, you're going to want to try this one for yourself!

Whole Grain Banana-Pecan Muffins (Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey (you can substitute 1/4 c. sugar here if you prefer)
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. mashed very ripe banana (about 2 large bananas or 3 smaller ones)
1/3 c. low-fat sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. pecans, chopped
1/4 c. packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, honey (if using), and butter. Add each egg in one at a time, combining completely after each addition but not over-mixing. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined (don't over-mix).

Admittedly, I didn't read the recipe fully and tossed all the pecans right into the batter. Oopsie! I chopped some extra to be added to the tops. Turned out well though. A happy mistake.

Divide the batter evenly (so the cups are about 2/3 full) among 15-16 muffin tins. I actually filled just 12 cups up to the brim, providing lots of batter for the muffins to grow little tops in the oven. Combine the chopped pecans and brown sugar and sprinkle them on top of the batter. Bake for 23-28 minutes.

These are so tasty! Not too sweet; perfect for breakfast on the go. Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

not me monday

I am not starting to get annoyed at the fact that I am nearly a week overdue.

I am not considering jumping on trampolines, horseback riding or commandeering a bumper car to help coax Baby B out of hiding.

I would never lecture my unborn son about the importance of being on time for his engagements.

And I am most definitely taking suggestions of things I can do to pass the time to keep myself from going crazy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

finally finished

Here's the last piece of the nursery puzzle.

We started with a hand-me-down, dusty rose, swivel armchair. But once we found out that our bambino is a boy, I knew I wanted to cover it to something more boy-ish.

Oddly enough, after searching high and low in stores and online, I couldn't find a slipcover to fit. So I got the closest thing I could find –

It needed to be nipped and tucked from all angles — sides, seat, arms and length. The bottom portion went smoothly, but removing the wings from the wing back was a lot easier said than done.

Halfway through, I actually considered leaving the chair pink, but my Mum convinced me that having a cover to protect the upholstery from baby barf would be a blessing. True. So, here's the finished product.

And now his room is complete. Did you hear that Baby B? Your room is ready for you! You can come out any time ... seriously. Any time!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


If you're keeping track, today is my due date!

Eeeekkkkk! I know that less than 5% of babies are born on their due dates, but I was, so maybe it runs in the family and our little boy will arrive today? Wishful thinking? Maybe.

I've been doing as many things as I can to naturally nudge this little guy to get this party started — walking, rocking and bouncing on my balance ball, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, taking herbs given to me by my lovely naturopathic doctor sister-in-law, eating spicy food and fresh pineapple. The list goes on.

I'm not really this impatient. I know he will arrive when he's good and ready, and not a moment early. It's just that I'm ready. Totally, completely, absolutely ready. That means, I have nothing left to do. The nursery is ready, the deep freezer is stocked with homemade meals, the house is clean from top to bottom. I've read books, watched movies, got my haircut, gone out for coffee.

Husband has started to take our car the whole way to school (one hour commute each way) instead of traveling with a carpool buddy, so he's fully on call when the moment arrives.

The waiting game is now in full swing. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

i heart fall

I love fall, and even though the humidex was still reading 35C+ until Hurrican Earl swept through this weekend, I'm ready to start celebrating September.

Our red front door is bare and a wreath would be the perfect element to add a little fall flair. Since I'm on a mat leave budget, I want to make one myself using mostly supplies I already have on hand.

I Googled a bit of inspiration ...




I'd also like to try something with a unique shape, like square or rectangle.


So after digging through my craft stash, I decided that the bulk of my best fall-ish materials are in my fabric supply. So maybe some layered fabric flowers like these, but with Earth-tone fabrics?


I've got my crafty thinking cap on. How do you decorate for fall?