Thursday, May 26, 2011

your new addiction

Not sure if you've heard of this little thing called Pinterest?

I'll admit, I was skeptical at first. Another site to subscribe to and keep up with just didn't seem worth it, regardless of how many bloggers/tweeters/FBers swore it was the best. thing. ever. But then I gave in, thinking I'd just unsubscribe if I didn't like it. Ha. I dare you not to love it.

It's essentially an online inspiration board builder. Instead of bookmarking or saving photos to your computer when you want to stash an idea for later, you simply pin it to one of your boards. Then the beauty is that it's kind of like Twitter in that you can follow other people and see what they're pinning, too. I follow like-minded gals, so for me Pinterest is full of diy ideas and inspiring quotes and drool-worthy decor and must-try recipes.

I used to have photos saved and ideas bookmarked all over the place, with no real system. Now, I've got my inspirations in neat and tidy categories. Love.

If you're way ahead of me and are already Pinterest obsessed, feel free to follow me here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

timing is everything

I've been asked a few times recently, "So, will you have more kids?" and my answer is an unwavering yes. Jacob has only solidified my desire for a big family. Then comes the inevitable follow up, "When will you have the next one?" ... and the answer to that isn't so certain.

My brother and I are 18 months apart. Pro: We were each other's playmate, having lots in common over the years as we grew up together. Con: We were always in the same schools and sometimes shared social circles, which caused rivalries over the years, naturally.

Husband has four siblings, his oldest brother is 17 years his senior. The next brother nine years older, his sister is four years ahead and he also has a twin. Pro of older siblings: He had role models to look up to. Con: The oldest brothers were moved out before he was out of elementary school, so there was a lot less time spent bonding under one roof together.

We've always imagined having our kids close together — so when we decide that we're finished having kids, we'll also be finished with diapers and strollers and bottles all at the same time, rather than spreading it over many years.

That still doesn't really help us decide how far apart our kids should be. When I respond to these questions, I usually say "it depends" ... on where Husband will be teaching next year, on where I will be working after maternity leave, on if we're going to stay put in our current home for a while.

When we decided to try to get pregnant the first time, it just felt right. We'd been married more than a year and we had talked about starting our family off and on. Then, one day, the subject came up and we just knew. It was time.

I've been thinking about the next little one a lot lately. It's not that I'm in a rush to conceive again — frankly, I'm just getting used to having my body back. It's just that motherhood is exactly what I hoped it would be and more, which makes me all the more excited to experience the process again.

So, how does it work the second time around? Do you get that feeling that the time is right, or when there's already one child involved does decision for the second becomes more about practicality?

Monday, May 23, 2011

not me monday

This is a doozey.

I did not get Husband's hopes up when I talked about the "treat" I was making him on Saturday.

I always re-set the timer, instead of leaving the contents to cook "a few more minutes" only to remember about them 10 or 15 minutes later.

Oh wait, that's not the best part. My slightly charred cupcakes didn't look like sunken potholes. Upon tasting them, I didn't think they seemed a little gritty. And after talking it through with my Mum on the phone, I didn't have a major "duh" moment when I realized that when the recipe called for 1 cup of coffee, it meant BREWED coffee, not a whole cup of coffee grinds.

I didn't take my mother-in-law's super tasty chocolate cake recipe and turn it into the biggest baking fail of all time.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ew, gross

Describe a food you abhor.

Many people would call me a picky eater on account of my vegetarianism. People who eat meat tend to be pretty perplexed ... "what do you eat?!" Well, I eat a lot of things. Most things, really. With the exception of meat and poultry, I'm not too hard to please.

That is, until we get mixed up with a couple certain things. Eggs and mayonnaise.

These are my kryptonite.

Firstly, let me explain that eggs in things doesn't matter — like in cookies or cake. But eggs in all their eggy glory, as in scrambled, poached, boiled, fried, quiched and French toasted, are an absolute no no. It's not because they come from an animal, they're just ... ick.

Then, there's mayo. It's not that it contains eggs. There's just something about it. The smell, the texture, the taste. Woof.

We all have something we absolutely can't stand to eat. What's yours?


Thanks to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

growing by the minute: 8 months

Vital stats: When we visited the doctor a little over a month ago, Jacob was 20.5 lbs. and 28.5 inches. Now, he's presumably a little big bigger and a little bit longer. We'll be visiting the doctor for a nine-month check up, so we'll have a more scientific answer to this question next month.

Milestones & firsts: While he's not completely crawling yet, Jacob is doing so well at moving around. I set him down on his play mats in the middle of the living room, turn my back for a minute, and all of a sudden he's half-way across the room. His newest trick is going from laying down to sitting up all on his own. A couple nights ago, I heard him stirring through the video monitor, and when I looked at the screen, he was sitting up in his crib. Just chillin'.

Jacob and I spent an entire day apart this month, and he spent nearly 14 consecutive hours just with his Dada. They had a ball together. I missed my little booger like crazy, but it was so great to see how well my boys got along without me.

We celebrated my first mother's day with a trip to a nearby playground where Jacob got to swing and slide for the first time!

Teeth: Two! The first little tooth officially emerged on the day he turned seven months, and the second one followed a couple weeks later.

Speech: He finally learned to say Mama! Hooray! While the Ma Ma Mas that he babbles are exciting for me, I don't think he's really saying it to me yet. Da da on the other hand ... he definitely knows who that guy is.

Zzzzzzz: Aside from a few long nights here and there while cutting those adorable little teeth, our sleep schedule is right on track. Jacob usually goes to bed for the night between 7:00 and 7:30, and wakes for the day about 12 hours later. This usually includes one night feeding, but occasionally he skips it. It was tough for Husband and I, but sticking to a routine with our own customized sleep training method was well worth it. In the end, we were able to gently teach him to go to bed awake and fall asleep on his own for naps and at night.

Om nom nom: Meal times are pretty entertaining around here. We love giving Jacob new things to try. Among his newest faves are yogurt, cooked carrots (not pureed), Cheerios, whole grain pancakes, hard boiled egg yolks, watermelon and ham. Among his dislikes are cauliflower pureed with garlic and pureed cantaloupe.

Likes & dislikes: Jacob loves our new jogger stroller, which allows him to sit up and be a "nosy Ned" (as his Grammie likes to call him).

He doesn't like to lay down in the bath anymore; he wants to sit up so he can splash and play. We got some blue tropical fish grippies for the bottom of the tub to help his little nekked butt from sliding all over the place.

Challenges: Screaming. Screeching. Shrieking. Whatever you want to call it, it shakes you to your very core. I'm not kidding. Jacob has learned to assert his voice in the worst-sounding-way possible. We're trying to say "No" and "Shh" every time he belts it out, and give him encouragement when he uses his indoor voice, but he hasn't quite mastered the volume situation yet.

Special moments: Each morning, Jacob and I start the day with quiet time in his room. He babbles and talks, we snuggle in his chair and we play little games that feel like little inside jokes between us.

I love the way Jacob's face lights up with Dada comes in the door after work. The look on Husband's face is priceless, too. They are so happy to see each other; it melts my heart.

Friday, May 13, 2011

week in review

Oh hey, remember me?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

* Holy work week, Batman. Wasn't I supposed to be on mat leave? Who am I kidding — you know that I'm uber frugal and will jump at the chance to make extra spending moolah. I had some casual-job work to accomplish, mixed in with some great new freelance writing, which equaled zero free time for blogging, crafting and the like. I know, poor me.

* Sleep has eluded me somewhat this week, too (c'est la vie when you're a mama), but hopefully we're going to get back into our nighttime rhythm now that Baby J has cut tooth No. 2! Woo!

* Oh, and do you know what the afore mentioned extra cash means? I can do things like book a trip to CHICAGO to meet OPRAH. OK, I made up that last part. But the fantastic trip stuff is totally legit. Lovely friend A and I are going to the windy city to play tourist for a few days this summer.

* I just bought The Hunger Games for my Kobo. Have you read it and is it as awesome as they say? I'm very much a read-it-before-watching-the-movie person. I'm loving Water for Elephants right now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

a carby experiment

Husband and I got lucky with the home we rent — it's actually part of a house, we live on the ground level and the owners live in the top two stories. We enjoyed their company right away and knew it would be a comfortable living situation for all of us. But wait, it gets better. This time last year, when we applied to live here, we told our potential new landlords that we were expecting a baby ... and they were, too! Their daughter Laughlin and our boy Jacob were born just four days apart.

(Read: built-in play dates ... for babies and moms, too!)

And the newest addition under our collective roof?

Colour me jealous. K recently acquired this drool-worthy mixer. She's been baking up a storm ever since, and last week she suggested we try our hands at bread making. I've only done it once and it worked out pretty well. That time I used my Mum's go-to brown bread recipe, so this time I went with Grammie's variation, which uses shredded wheat instead of oatmeal. This one's from the Barbour Cook Book, so it comes from the hands of experienced New Brunswick bakers, and this is the recipe verbatim:

Shredded Wheat Bread

1 yeast cake; 2 Shredded Wheats broken up; 1 cup scalded milk; 1 cup water; 1/2 cup molasses; 3 tsp. butter; 1 tsp. salt.
Put Shredded Wheat in water and scalded milk, add molasses and salt.
Add yeast, which has been dissolved in lukewarm water. Add flour, knead, and proceed as with white bread.

Really? Proceed as with white bread? How do you scald milk? What the heck is a yeast cake? Ummm, what about the flour? Well, that calls for an email to Grammie. After a few shared emails filled with my clueless hahas and her sympathetic lols, I was back on track.

K chose a whole wheat recipe from the cookbook that came with her mixer.

Whole Grain Wheat Bread

1/3 cup, plus 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 cups warm water (105-115 deg F)
2 pkg (4.5 tsp.) active dry yeast
5-6 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup powdered milk
2 tsp. kosher sea salt
1/3 cup oil

Dissolve 1 Tbsp. brown sugar in warm water in small bowl. Add yeast and let mixture stand.

Place 4 cups flour, powdered milk, 1/3 cup brown sugar and salt in mixer and mix on speed 2 for 15 seconds. Continuing on speed 2, gradually add yeast mixture and oil to flour mixture and mix about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Scrape bowl if necessary. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turn to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm, draft free place about 1 hr or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough and divide in half. Shape into loaf and place in greased 81/2X41/2X21/2-inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in warm place 1 hr or until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350F and bake 30 minutes longer. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Well now, that's a bit more comprehensive, isn't it?

So, what we decided was to make both kinds — using the mixer and bread hook for the latter, and the old-fashioned way for the former recipe.

Here are the cellphone-quality photos of the event:

The verdict? Both delicious! The hand kneading wasn't hard, and the recipe had fewer steps, so ultimately it was ready for the oven sooner. It was also great to be able to add the ingredients of the wheat bread directly into the mixer bowl and let it do its thing. That said, even with the mixing taken care of, K still had to roll out the dough and roll it up before putting it into the pan.

Do you know what this means? One house of people ate FOUR loaves of bread in less than a week. Maybe this isn't an experiment we'll be trying often ...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful Mum, Mom-in-law, Grammie B, Grammie K
and all of the lovely mothers in my life.
You deserve to be honoured today and every day.

And special thanks to these two, for being the reason I also get to celebrate today.

Friday, May 6, 2011

vegan for a week: post mortem

Due to being MIA (on vacation) for more than a week, I still owe you a Vegan Week wrap up. If you missed it, you can catch up here, here, here, and here. Here's how it went ...

* Seven days — No milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese or anything containing animal bi-products, which includes a surprising number of items in my pantry.

* Challenges — It was tough to think about the ingredients of everything I put in my mouth, and I occasionally slipped up. It wasn't easy to eat the same meals as my omnivore Husband. I had issues eating out in a restaurant, too.

* Successes — I became pro at reading nutrition information labels and have continued to do so since finishing vegan week. I was still able to use coupons for some of my vegan staples, like soy milk.

* Total weight loss — 4 lbs.! This was totally unexpected. Admittedly though, I did feel less full/bloaty when I was eating vegan foods.

* Verdict — I'm very glad I tried this. It has really changed the way I think about food ... not in the know-where-your-food-comes-from kind of way, but rather about what is in my food. For me, eating vegan meant eating more fresh foods and forced me to up my fruit and veggie intake, which I've been wanting to do anyway. I'm not a complete convert, but it did make me feel really good, so I'm going to attempt to eat vegan a few days each week.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

weekend round-up

* We returned home on Sunday from a 10-night vacation to New Brunswick. Husband came home during the week to work, and Jake and I stayed to visit with family and friends. It was a whirlwind and so much fun.

* Yes, I got up to watch the Royal Wedding with my Mum ... at 5 a.m. Come on, you did too, admit it.

* I had the stupid stupid stupid brilliant idea to work the longest day of my life election as a DRO on Monday. Maybe a 14.5 hour work day following a week-and-a-half away from home wasn't the best idea I ever made, but I was once again pleased to be part of the electoral process.

* We went to a fun wedding this past weekend that featured a photo booth! Jake's bow tie is my favourite part — doesn't he look sophisticated?