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?