Monday, February 28, 2011

not me monday

— I have not, yet again, half unpacked our extremely-packed walk-in, storage closet and spread the mess all over the spare room. My blood pressure does not rise when I think about the sheer volume of stuff that needs to be shoved back into that small space. I will definitely come up with a real solution. Today.

— I would never just throw a bag of garbage outside the front door instead of walking out and putting it in the can. I don't just pass it off as man's work and expect Husband to deposit the refuse when he gets home.

— I did not foolishly wear my new spring-time-appropriate boots out today even though it is very clearly still winter. I did not slip in the Zellers parking lot, landing less-than-gracefully on my knees. The couple walking near me didn't cringe at my fall and then raise their eyebrows at my inappropriate footwear. I did not make that last part up.

— I would never gently poke Husband several times, whispering "I can't get back to sleeeeep" after a longer-than-usual night feeding for Baby J. I felt really bad about disturbing him while he rubbed my shoulders as I nodded back to sleep.

— I did not completely scrap my yard sale plan in favour of donating all of the unwanted clothes, books and miscellaneous items out of our house. I have not had it up to here with the unwanted clutter. Peace out junk.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

what goes around

Do you believe in karma? Here's what I mean ...

The other day I was waiting in line at a store with my mum and a friend, and realized I forgot something so I stepped out of line, grabbed what I needed and then returned to the people I was with. A few minutes later, as we reached the cashier, the woman behind me decided to make a scene, raising her voice and calling me names for having left the line and returned to my place. In her opinion, leaving the line meant I did not have the right to return to my place with my party, but that I should've gone to the back of the line. It was thoroughly embarrassing; for a few moments of her rant in my face, I had no idea what I had done wrong. Meanwhile, my mum quickly paid for my items along with her own and we exited the store without humouring this woman or her outburst. Then, as we started to walk away, the scene-maker dropped her cellphone and it busted into two pieces on the tile floor. Guess you could say she got what was coming to her.

I was in line at the grocery store recently, having a friendly conversation with a chatty cashier as I often do. Husband chuckles at the way I always talk to the check-out clerks, but usually I find that they look forward to nice conversation as they work. This woman was telling me all about her long day and I was commenting and laughing at her anecdotes. As she was ringing in my items, she scanned a couple things that didn't pop up in her computer, and her response? "For you, it's free!" she smiled as she dropped the items into my bag without missing a beat. Good luck? I think it's karma.

Regardless of who or what you believe in, or even if you believe at all, I think there's something to be said about the what-goes-around-comes-around phenomenon. Think of the golden rule — treat others the way you'd want to be treated. A simple concept, right? If we all believed that doing good deeds would bring goodness to ourselves, wouldn't we all be offering and reaping a lot more happiness?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

happy ayyam-i-ha!

We're celebrating Ayyam-i-ha in our home this weekend, so I thought I'd share some of my DIY decorations.

To all of you marking this special weekend, Happy Ayyam-i-ha from us to you!

Friday, February 25, 2011

best. gadget. ever.

Last weekend, I discovered the most perfect little kitchen gadget ever — the cookie dropper from Lee Valley. It was only $7, so I figured it was worth a try. And oh boy, is it ever awesome!

See the perfectly uniform results?

I highly recommend this gadget, especially as a unique gift for the cookie enthusiast in your life.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

writer's workshop

It's been a long time since I participated in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. If you'd like to join in, click here.

Describe a time when someone was proud of you.

The transition from being pregnant to being a mother is a funny thing. For nine+ months, everything is all about you. Friends and loved ones are constantly checking in to see how you're feeling, strangers stop you in the aisle at the store to ask when you're due, everyone has an opinion about whether your baby bump contains a boy or a girl.

Then, you give birth. And all of a sudden, you go from neon-signs-pointing-at-your-belly and fireworks-shooting-from-your-head to pretty much invisible, in the shadow of the new, perfect baby, whom everyone wants to kiss and cuddle.

Believe it or not, this is the most amazing feeling ever. Every selfish thought I ever had melted away in favour of Baby Jacob being the star of the show. I love it.

Following up from an amazing weekend visit with some of my fam, my heart is bursting with pride for my little babe. Everyone loves him so much. He was a perfect boy all weekend, smiling and laughing with his visitors.

And now, I also realize that after watching me grow for nearly three decades, my family is just as proud of me when they look at Jacob's sweet face. I had to have a child of my own to truly understand that kind of pride.

Friday, February 18, 2011

growing by the minute: 5 months

Our little Jacob turns 5 months old today! I'll skip all of the cliches, even though they are all true — I feel like I blinked and now he's not an infant anymore. Before he was born, everyone told me how fast he'd grow and change, but I couldn't understand it until I lived it. Surprisingly, I'm finding that every day he looks more and more like a little boy and less like a baby.

Vital stats: Jacob is a whopping 19 pounds and 27 inches long. He's in the 95th percentile for length and 90th percentile for weight. The doctor said I must be "making some nutritional milk." Ha.

Milestones & firsts: Jacob is more active every day. He rolled over for the first time (back to front, to his left) just days after he turned four months, and about a week later he figured out how to roll over to his right. He uses his arms to hold himself up when he's on his belly — once he learns to make contact with his knees to the floor, he's going to be crawling like a mad man. When we sit him up on the couch, he doesn't rest at all — he quickly throws himself forward, rolling and laughing.

Teeth: We've been in teething mode here for the last month and then some. His gums sometimes bother him to the point that he doesn't want to nurse. We give him plenty of cold teethers and sometimes we let him gnaw on frozen banana to help soothe the aching.

Speech: Jacob has been treating us to more of those Ma and Da sounds over the past few days. We know he's not really saying the words, but the consonants are a step in the right direction! He rarely stops making sounds — babbling, cooing and laughing non-stop.

Zzzzzzz: Oh sleep. I feel like it's such a taboo subject. I'm a bit superstitious about Jacob's sleep. It seems like every time I talk at any length about our boy's so-far-so-good sleep schedule, I'm cursed with a long night with several wake-ups and feedings. I know it's all in my head, but still, why tempt fate? Long story short? We consider ourselves quite fortunate in this department. Knock on wood.

Om nom nom: Jacob is still exclusively breast fed and it continues to go so well — I love that time with him. We set up Jacob's high chair, which makes us even more excited for him to start eating cereal and solids next month. For now, he enjoys sitting up at the table with Mum and Dad like a big boy and playing with his tray full of toys and teethers. At his appointment yesterday, the doctor suggested letting Jacob gnaw on other cold, hard fruits and veggies to help with the teething pain and introduce him to other tastes. Last night he tried out carrot and loved it!

Likes & dislikes: Jacob loves to pull his toes into his mouth, hop and laugh in his jumperoo, play peek-a-boo with Daddy, and family dance parties and sing-alongs. He refuses to take breast milk from a bottle, is not a fan of soothers (unless he's using one as a teether), and he does not like being held in a reclined position like a baby.

Challenges: Jacob has eczema on his elbows, knees and back. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to itch or bother him at all, but it's added to our daily routines as we cover him with lotion in the morning and at night. The fact that Jacob won't take a bottle has been trying for us all, but he's doing much better at spending longer periods of time with his Daddy while I get out of the house.

Special moments: Husband loves when Jacob snuggles in and falls asleep on him. I love rubbing my nose on his belly and making him laugh hysterically. We both love when Jacob makes eye contact and a grin spreads over his face; it's pretty special to be loved that much.

Editor's note: In an effort to organize the blog and make more sense of my posting schedule, I'm going to share monthly updates about Baby J on the 18th of each month.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

purple velvet

The resolution I'm doing best at is trying new things in the kitchen. I tend to go through phases with my creativity ... sometimes I scrapbook like crazy, other times I barely give my sewing machine a rest. Lately, it's all about culinary pursuits.

Knowing that I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen, lovely cousin C (who is currently away at med school) lent me her Michael Smith cookbooks and our grandmothers' stand mixer (isn't she thoughtful?!).

In honour of lovely friend A's birthday, I decided to foray into the world of layer cakes. Red velvet to be exact.

Yes, my red velvet looks a little more purple that it should. Last term, Husband borrowed my food colouring for a project he was doing with his students at school. When the kids put the colours away in the box, they didn't pay much attention and I quickly uncapped a bottle and squeezed it in to the batter before realizing that the blue dye didn't match the red cap.

Oh well, still tastes the same!

I used an 8 X 8 square pan to bake my layers. I eyeballed a third of the mixture each time and let the cakes cool.

I used Betty Crocker whipped cream cheese frosting. I happen to think the whipped stuff is just as tasty as homemade, with a whole lot less effort.

Isn't she purty? I will definitely be investing in cake pans and making layer cakes more often!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

the next chapter

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Like a Hamster on a Wheel blogiversary poll!

Soon this:

Will have a spiffy new look:

meatless mondays

If you didn't catch Oprah recently, she and 378 staffers went vegan for a week. As you may have already gathered, in our household, I am vegetarian and Husband is not. Usually our difference in eating habits isn't really inconvenient, but sometimes I wish that I could just make one veggie meal all the time and not have to worry about factoring in Husband's meat component.

So here's what I have in mind, Monday shall now be known as Meatless Monday in our home (surprise, Husband!), for a few reasons:

1) Veggie meals can usually be made on the cheap.
2) Husband could use more veg and fibre in his diet.
3) One less day each week I have to prepare meat.
4) It's our small way to lessen the demand on the Earth's resources.

In addition to Husband going meat free with me for one day each week, I'm going to start eating vegan one day a week. I'm not going to say it'll be the same day every week, since leftovers and such really dictate our meal plan. But I was really inspired by the health benefits outlined on Oprah's show. I want to learn how to incorporate protein into my diet without the use of animal products, like cheese, eggs, yogurt and butter. Has anyone out there tried nutritional yeast?

My sister-in-law C has been eating a quasi-vegan diet for more than a year now, after discovering an allergy to lactose, dairy and all milk ingredients. She uses many substitutes in her diet, including vegan margarine and fake chocolate chips. In adapting her eating habits, she's discovered many products that taste like the real thing.

Preparing for this change, I hit up Google for some recommendations and stumbled upon this blog where a husband and wife team are cooking their way through the Betty Crocker Cookbook and veganizing all of the recipes. Lots of great ideas here!

Have you ever adapted your food choices for a certain diet? How did it work out for you? Any vegans out there have any tips to share?

Monday, February 14, 2011


Today was one of those days.

Firstly, when Baby J went to sleep at 8:15 p.m. last night and stayed down without stirring, I should've known it was too good to be true. He's usually a great sleeper, but he tends to stay up later than we'd like (most nights bedtime happens between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.).

Secondly, the Grammy's distracted me and Husband from our bed for way too long, so I didn't obey the golden rule: sleep when the baby sleeps (I can't nap during the day, so I really should try to align my night sleeps to his ... damn you Usher and Katy Perry).

Needless to say, I wasn't quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3 a.m. as Jacob was when he decided it was morning, even though I repeatedly pointed out to him that it was still completely dark outside. I managed to convince him to go back to sleep as the sun was coming up around 6 a.m., but it didn't last long and before I knew it I was up for the day, trying to remember if I really slept at all.

Oh well, I resolved, today I will nap when he naps. Yeah right, Mama. After forgoing his morning nap completely, we tried to make the most of our day by running a couple errands. We did so not a moment too soon, because when we arrived back home, Jacob achieved the trifecta of awfulness — no nap + teething + nearly a week without pooping = one unimpressed little dude.

After a few hours of non-stop soothing, I finally convinced Jake it was time for a nap, but within 45 minutes, he was ready to go again, which gave me just enough time to re-assemble our wreck of a house caused by the tornado of ticked-off baby.

Of course, when Auntie A came over for a quick visit, he turned off the crank and turned on the charm, and was a bundle of smiles and giggles when Daddy came through the door. Isn't that just the way?

I had my share of heavy sighs, head shaking and exasperated moans throughout the day, but when my sweet boy finally snuggled in, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep as he nursed tonight, I was reminded why little things like sleep depravation and temperamental moods are pretty insignificant.

And when I open my first valentine from my son that reads, "There's no Muma more special than you," I know I'm going to fall asleep smiling, too.

not me monday

- When Husband and I went out to dinner with the baby on Saturday night afternoon, we weren't the youngest people in the restaurant by ... oh, about 30 years. At the age of 26, we haven't embraced our place in the early bird crowd.

- I would never wave a butter knife in Husband's direction in a less-than-joking manner. He did not suggest that I include this alleged "incident" in my Not Me Monday post this week.

- I don't forget to record Jacob's milestones for days weeks at a time and then have to rack my brain to fill in the gaps in his baby journal.

- I'm not one of those people who shoves miscellaneous crap in the closet when company is coming over. Our walk-in closet is perfectly neat and organized at all times.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

my frugal new year: pinching pennies

Uh oh. Dropped the ball on this one. Here's the second instalment of that budget series I promised you ages ago.

This post was originally going to be about budgeting, but I realized that we all do that in our own individual way. Who am I to tell you how to manage your money? I don't know how much you earn or how much you spend. Instead, let me share some of my favourite ways to get things that I want or need for cheap or free. And no, this isn't another post about couponing.

Don't be afraid to haggle: You won't know unless you ask. I like to shop around for any significant purchase to ensure I'm getting the best deal. Like recently, when we decided to switch cable providers. I found out what the competition was offering, and called our then-provider to let them know that I could get a better deal elsewhere. They had the opportunity to counter with a slightly better offer, but it still didn't match the competition, so we swapped (and no, I didn't just randomly go searching for fun, we had to change one of our services, so I figured it was a good time to scope out the options).

It pays to belong: Collecting points is worth it if you're loyal to specific stores. I collect Air Miles, Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points, PetroCanada fuel points, RBC Visa Reward points and also belong to a bevy of punch-card clubs. Some of these programs take a while to accumulate points, but once you're there, you usually get something for free. How easy is that? In the last six months, I cashed in on $170 free from Shoppers (yes, I'm a points hoarder), $150 in Sobey's gift cards from Air Miles, and a $100 gift card to FutureShop using RBC rewards. Yes, my points balances are all quite low now, but they'll grow again. I'm always amazed when I hear people in check out lines tell cashiers that they don't collect store points.

It can't hurt to ask: I recently discovered a forum on Smart Canucks about contacting companies regarding their products. So during Baby J's nap one day, I Googled a bunch of websites for products we use regularly. I took about two minutes per website and sent a note to tell the maker how much we enjoy their products. Since then, I've received coupons and product vouchers for products including General Mills, Johnson & Johnson's, Jane's, Huggies and Chapman's. From what I've read, some companies will send product samples too, if you're interested in trying something new.

None of this is revolutionary, but hopefully some of these little reminders can help you get into the saving habit.

Friday, February 11, 2011

3 years

Three years ago today, my life changed completely.

With my degree in journalism tucked under my arm, I snagged an internship at The Daily News, one of two daily newspapers in Halifax. I slowly worked my way up the ladder from intern to part-time reporter, then from full-time copy editor to permanent special features editor. It was a dream job.

My career was still shiny and new ... my health plan hadn't even kicked yet ... when a last-minute staff meeting was called at 10 a.m. on February 11, 2008.

"Today's issue of The Daily News will be the last, ever."

Laid off.

As one of my journalism professors wrote, following The Daily News' closure ...

Don't it always seem to go,
that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?
They paved paradise,
and put up a parking lot.

The perfect world I'd worked so hard to achieve — the dream job, the amazing work friends, my future in journalism — was slipping from my grasp.

I was one of the first in line to walk into the editor's office, which had been taken over by an HR rep with a box full of severance packages. I was in survival mode — Could she get me a job elsewhere in the company? I need a job. Where do I go from here? And then it hit me. "I'm getting married!" I cried and burst into tears, realizing how hard it was going to be to pay for a wedding of 150 with no job.

More than 90 people lost their jobs, their careers, their livelihoods that day. A set of parents, both sent away jobless with a young baby at home; dozens of talented journalists who would have to leave town to find work; an editor who had his birthday thoroughly ruined that year. (Thankfully, the parents both got jobs at a new newspaper, the journalists all eventually found work in a variety of industries, and the birthday boy went on to write two books.)

I've always believed that everything happens for a reason. In this case, I'm not sure I've totally understood the greater purpose, but with each year, the sadness fades, making way for new optimism about my career. Since then, I worked freelance for nearly a year before getting a job at an advertising agency just a week before our wedding. I got married, started this blog, worked on some award-winning advertising campaigns and widely expanded my skill set, had a beautiful baby boy, and am considering the possibility of going back to school.

Losing a job I loved was an incredible learning experience. I know now to be prepared for every possibility, not to take anything for granted, and make the most of every opportunity, whether good or bad.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

full circle

To celebrate my blog's second birthday today, I thought I'd go back to where it all began two years ago ...

This chair:

I picked this simple chair up on Kijiji and made it my first blog DIY project. Here's how it turned out:

Now, two years later, the fabric is getting a little dingy and tired. Time for a re-do! That's where you come in. I need your help deciding which fabric to use. Here are your choices:

Fabric #1: A soft, flannel cross between a plaid and houndstooth.

Fabric #2: A smooth cotton with a bit of stretch.

Fabric #3: Unfortunately, the flash doesn't do this sample justice. A soft, light blue/grey colour with a subtle ribbed texture.

Fabric #4: A heavy beige cotton with white floral pattern.

Please take a minute to vote in the poll located in the right-hand navigation ——>

I can't believe it's been two years! Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

try it tuesday

In my efforts to try new things in the kitchen, I made my first batch of ginger molasses cookies recently. And my first thought? Why the heck haven't I made these before?! They're soo easy!

Giant Ginger Cookies
Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves (I didn't have cloves, so I used all spice)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup sugar (This is for rolling the cookies before baking. I didn't need this much. I'd say use a little at a time as needed.)

Combine together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften. Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and molasses. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture.

Shape dough into 2-inch balls (this is flexible; you can make smaller cookies and bake less time accordingly). Roll balls in the 3/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar (I used regular granulated sugar but next time I think I'll spring for the coarse stuff to make them prettier).

Bake at 350F for 12 to 14 minutes (10 minutes in my hell fire oven) or until cookies are light brown and puffed.

The key? Definitely don't over-bake. If you do, you'll have ginger snaps on your hands, though admittedly there are worse things to have than ginger snaps.

Now all you need is a scratch and sniff computer screen. Mmm ...

what a sin - day 7

To wrap our week of sins, we have lust. The task: list seven love secrets. Hmm ... I'm not sure how to interpret this one. How about secrets of love? With almost eight years together and nearly two and a half years of marriage behind us, Husband and I consider ourselves very lucky to be so in sync with each other. But really, we don't have any secrets to making it work. Lots of elements of our relationship come easy, but there are also lots of things that we work at to keep everything going smoothly. I'm not sure we have one thing that keeps us on track, but here are a few ideas we came up with ...

1) Be thoughtful. Sometimes this means romantic gestures, other times it's thinking of the other person before yourself. I love when Husband does or says something sweet and unexpected that reminds me how well he knows me, and I love returning the favour.

2) Appreciation where appreciation is due. Husband and I like to thank each other for the littlest things ... for taking out the garbage, for changing the baby's diaper, for making a simple meal, for turning the light out before hopping in bed. Usually, it's the little, everyday things that count the most.

3) Respect each other's time and space. Everyone needs a break now and then. If I want to spend a couple hours with girlfriends, or Husband wants to get out for a round of golf (or watch it on TV, since it's February), we give each other the freedom to do so as much as possible. If I'm busy with a project, Husband jumps in to take over with Baby J, and visa versa. We can't function as a couple if we don't take time for ourselves as individuals.

4) Be each other's No. 1 supporters. When it comes to jobs and goals and dreams, we're behind each other 100%. Even when it comes to the baby, we both have our own methods for everything from diaper changing and dressing, to soothing and cuddling. We do our best to respect and encourage each other's methods. Parenting is the ultimate teamwork, after all.

5) Admitting when he's we're wrong. I kid, I kid. We have differences of opinions all the time. It's healthy. I would hate to be with a partner who had the same thoughts as I do. When disagreements arise, we try our best to fight fair. Hear each other out, provide constructive criticism when needed, and be able to apologize and forgive.

6) Find our best time of day and enjoy it. Since Baby J arrived, Husband and I obviously have less alone time, which we're OK with; it's what we signed up for. But we take what we can get and the hour or so before we go to bed has turned into some really great quality time. Usually it consists of watching a show on the DVR or chatting about our days, followed by teeth brushing and reading or talking some more in bed. We value that time together so much these days.

7) Looking ahead. Our schedule is key to keeping our day-to-day lives running smoothly. We have a whiteboard calendar on our fridge where we write down everything that's coming up. It's the only way we can both stay organized and remember what each other is up to. By taking into account the other person's schedule, we can usually avoid squabbles about time conflicts and make the most of the time we have together when things get busy.

These are just a few things that make us tick. Have any love secrets of your own to share?


Here's what you've missed:

Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.
Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.
Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.
Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.
Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.
Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.
Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

Check out what Amy and Heather are posting, too!

Monday, February 7, 2011

snow days are for ...

... baking!

Last week when we got more than 30 cm of snow over a couple days, and Husband got two days off school, so I handed him the baby and dove into the kitchen. When it's chilly outside, I love warming up our home with delicious smells wafting from the oven.

Muffins are one of the easiest things to whip up on a moment's notice. We always have the basic ingredients — flour, milk, eggs, sugar — and just about anything works for a mix-in. This time I used frozen blueberries. Sometimes I use mashed bananas, chocolate chips or cinnamon topped with streusel crumble. A friend brought cranberry orange muffins over last week, which was a really tasty combo, too.

I caught an episode of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry the other day all about muffins. The ladies made Little Miss Muffin Tops using special pans. These are definitely on my list of must-try recipes.

Hungry yet? Here are a couple tips for your next batch of muffins:

— Fill the cups nice and full. The recipe I use is supposed to make a dozen muffins, but I only make six. I like nice, big, crispy tops.

— Not sure if the muffins are done? I have that problem with pretty much everything I bake because our oven has really weird heat. The trick: poke the muffin top with your finger. If your finger indent stays, they're not ready yet. If the muffin bounces back, they're om-nom-nom ready.

— Don't mix too much. Over stirred muffin batter makes tough, chewy results. Combine your wet and dry ingredients gently until just moistened; it's OK if it's still a little lumpy.

— A little tip from my Mum: If you're using a 12-cup muffin pan to make six muffins, fill the remaining cups half full with water. This will keep the empty cups from scorching in the oven and will help the muffins bake evenly.

what a sin - day 6

Don't forget to let me know if you're playing along in our little Seven Deadly Sins game so I can link to your blog, too.

We're on to the second-to-last in our countdown: Gluttony. List seven guilty pleasures. Since traditionally gluttony refers to the overindulgence of food and drink, I'm going to stick with that theme. Have you ever watched The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network Canada? That show would definitely give you lots of great ideas for this post. Speaking of TV, you'll also find some exemplary gluttony on Man vs. Food.

1) My favourite meal: homemade baked beans, Maritime brown bread and ooey, gooey mac and cheese.

2) Mounds of salty hand-cut, deep fried French fries and Heinz ketchup. Only Heinz.

3) A big turkey dinner with all the fixins, minus the turkey. Smooth, whipped potatoes, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, squash casserole, stuffing and Lady Ashburnham pickles.

4) The grilled cheese sandwich at The Knot in Lunenburg.

5) A Mexican fiesta fit for a queen. Veggie tacos, rice and bean burritos, loaded nachos and lots of guacamole.

6) While we're talking national cuisine, let's go to Italy. Fettuccine alfredo, veggie lasagna, garlic baguette and hand-tossed pizza loaded with fresh toppings.

7) I'll top it all off with my favourite desserts: pecan pie, strawberry rhubarb pie, warm chocolate chip cookies, turtle cheesecake and strawberry shortcake.

Pardon me while I go get a snack.


Here's what you've missed, and what's to come:

Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.
Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.
Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.
Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.
Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.
Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.
Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

Check out what Amy and Heather are posting, too!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

what a sin - day 5

It's day 5 of the seven deadly sins series: Greed. Today, we list seven worldly material desires. Hmm ... well I sort of listed some of my worldly material desires in my Envy post, so I'm going to use this post to dream really big ... like genie-wish big.

1) More time in the day. Who wouldn't like an extra hour or two each day to spend relaxing, laughing with friends and loving with family? Save the chores for the first 24 hours.

2) A big lotto win. OK, I know it'd be pretty impossible for me to win the lottery since I never buy tickets, but maybe I could miraculously find one on the sidewalk with all the right numbers?

3) A private jet for all of my luxurious, jet-setting adventures. You can come with me, though; I'm not that greedy.

4) Personal hair stylist and make-up artist who would come to my home each morning and make me look polished, fresh and ready for anything.

5) A walk-in closet full of designer clothes and shoes that all fit me perfectly.

6) Unlimited access to the freshest ingredients, gadgets, cookbooks, and all the time in the world to cook and bake for friends and family. I get the hostess gene from my Mum.

7) Lastly? I'd like more wishes, of course. This is all about being greedy, right?

Here's what you've missed, and what's to come:

Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.
Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.
Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.
Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.
Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.
Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.
Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

review: fisher price precious planet jumperoo

I think this picture says it all ...

When CSN Stores approached me to do a product review, I was thrilled that we could try out the Fisher Price Precious Planet Jumperoo. After several hours of fun, here are my thoughts:

- It was pretty simple to assemble.
- I was told it would arrive by February 4, and it was here on February 2.
- I love the colours, lights and sounds. It's very interactive.
- It's more compact than I expected. It only takes up as much space as the Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n' Swing. The Jumperoo was the perfect next-step for Jacob's development, now that he's uninterested in the swing.
- Jacob loves it! Even though his feet barely touch the floor on the lowest setting, he quickly learned how to hop around to make the fixtures light up and the music play.

- The base didn't come together evenly. One side of the triangle-shaped bottom is higher off the floor than the others. We put the Jumperoo on foam play mats to help keep it flat which corrected the issue, but now we're going to need to buy more play mats for when he's playing on the floor.

I'm very happy with our decision — the huge grin on our little dude's face as he bounces and plays tells me he approves, too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

what a sin - day 4

It's the fourth of seven days in the fun and trivial seven deadly sins series: sloth. The task: list seven things you neglect to do. Oh, this is easy. I have millions.

1) Keep Baby J's scrapbook up to date. Oh, I hate this one the most. I used to be such a diligent little scrapbooker. Lately, I just can't be bothered to take out all the supplies and make the big mess that will inevitably need to be cleaned up.

2) Fold clean laundry. Right now, as I type in bed, there are about three loads of clean laundry piled high in a basket staring at me from across the room. I know, it's shameful.

3) Fill up the car with gas. Oh yeah, I live on the edge. I see that gas light go on and it's almost like a challenge to see how far I can go. Believe it or not, I have yet to actually run out of gas (knock on wood).

4) Walk/run as much as I'd like to. I know some extra cardio could really help give the leftover pregnancy weight a run for its money (pun totally intended), but I'll let myself off easy and blame the fact that it's February in Canada, which equals minus zero temps and ever-rising snowbanks.

5) Complete to do lists. I usually get all of my tasks done eventually, but I almost never finish one list before starting another. I simply take the remaining items from list A and dump them over onto list B.

6) Water my plants. The two that have survived are succulents. That's the only reason they've survived.

7) Make our bed. Husband doesn't do this one either. It's easier to ignore the problem if you share the blame with some else.

Here's what you've missed, and what's to come:

Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.
Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.
Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.
Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.
Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.
Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.
Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

Check out what Amy and Heather are posting, too!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

what a sin - day 3

And the series continues with day 3 - Wrath: List seven things that piss you off make you mad (we are a G-rated household, after all).

I'm thinking pet peeves for this one. I've got plenty.

1) Lateness. I hate being late. I don't like waiting around for others who are late. I don't like it when events start late or run late.

2) When certain people, coughHusbandcough, put their dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink instead of in the empty dishwasher.

3) People who don't know how to operate a four-way stop. If you don't know, I suggest digging out your driver's ed handbook.

4) When people rub their socks on carpet. Or when people suck on popsicle sticks after the ice creamy goodness is gone. They're both like nails on a chalkboard. Only one million times worse.

5) Being on hold forever with cable providers/student loans services/cellphone dealers/call centres in general, on daytime minutes no less, only to be transferred to another representative and having to start your story all over again.

6) When people stop their cart abruptly in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store and decide to take their time mulling over brands/prices/nutrition information. Pull over, for the love of God.

7) When pedestrians dart out into the street with zero regard for their own safety or the sanity of the people behind the wheel.

Oh man, this posts sounds crankyyy. End rant.

To see day 1 (pride), click here. To see day 2 (envy), click here.

Join me, Amy and Heather!

problem & solution

The problem:

The solution:

Much better.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

what a sin - day 2

To view Day 1, click here.

Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.

I'm going to go ahead and be totally materialistic about this.

1) A house. I love our apartment, which is in a house, but I am very much looking forward to becoming a home owner.

2) A Lululemon bag. They're so pretty. And so big they could easy do purse-diaper-bag double duty.

3) Lots more snow days like this one, so Husband can stay home and play with me and Baby J more often.

OK, what else? Turns out, this is harder than it looks ...

4) A craft room. I'd like to think that the house I wished for in #1 would have a space for my hobbies — nice long tables, lots of bins and baskets for storage and oodles of supplies.

5) A Kitchen Aid mixer. Mmm ... brown bread in bulk.

6) Weekly spa treatments. Pedicures, massages, hair cuts ... you name it, sign me up.

OK, at this point I got a little stuck. So I ask Husband for some help, and he replies, "What about a brother or sister for Jacob?" ... After I picked myself up off the floor, I considered this. Yes, we lack brothers and sisters for Baby J at the moment. But am I coveting being pregnant again? Not just yet.

Instead, how about ...

7) A dream vacation. I'm thinking a European tour, an African adventure and an Oprah-esque trip through Australia. Who am I kidding, I'd settle for a week at an all-inclusive resort. Anywhere, really, where the snow doesn't look like this:

OK ... so the snow's not that bad. But a sunny beach would be preferable.

Now, join in the fun, and don't forget to follow Amy, too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

what a sin - day 1

I had a less-than-thrilling post in my back pocket for today, until Amy decided to post this little gem, which calls for seven whole days of bloggy fun. If nothing else, it'll be a fun way for you to get to know me better.

These posts follow the seven deadly sins (but in a not-so-meanacing way), and as such, the theme for Day 1 is Pride. For that, you're supposed to list seven things you like about yourself. Here goes nothing.

1) I'm creative, which isn't necessarily evident by the fact that I'm borrowing someone else's post theme here, but is true when it comes to writing, cooking, crafting and most fun projects.

2) I talk. A lot. And I'm often teased about it. And when Baby J is babbling on and on in gibberish, Husband blames it on me. That's OK. I've embraced it.

3) I'm quite domestic. In a good way. I love to cook, bake, sew, craft, and organize, and I do all of these things pretty well when I want to.

4) I like to think I'm a good gift giver. I really love to buy presents for people for people, which means I'm one of those annoying people that doesn't always follow the gift registry.

5) I'm a fairly fast reader. Put something in front of me that's worth reading, and I'll dive right in. Makes it easy to keep up with best sellers, while also chipping away at golden oldies. I usually have three or four books on the go at any given time.

6) I'm adaptable to change. Whether its re-organizing everything in our house (Husband loves when he can't find something because its "spot" has moved), or adjusting my skills to suit an ever-fluctuating job market, I can usually do what needs to be done or go with the flow.

7) I try hard to be a great wife, mother, daughter and friend. I have some pretty awesome people in my life who love me, so I always do my best to love them back.

To join in, here is the list of "sins" and what to post for each:

Day 1 - Pride. Seven great things about yourself.

Day 2 - Envy. Seven things you lack and covet.

Day 3 - Wrath. Seven things that piss you off.

Day 4 - Sloth. Seven things you neglect to do.

Day 5 - Greed. Seven worldly material desires.

Day 6 - Gluttony. Seven guilty pleasures.

Day 7 - Lust. Seven love secrets.

Be sure to follow Amy, too!