Friday, September 30, 2011

happy weekend

It's almost the weekend! Can't you feel it? When I wake up on Friday mornings, I pop out of bed with a smile on my face. OK, that's not true. I still have to drag my groggy ass out of bed, but it's not as painful as the previous four mornings! That's got to count for something!

We're staring down the barrel at three days of rain, so our festival frolicking has been put on the back burner in favour of indoor activities. And baking. I love to bake when it's rainy or snowy outside.


all in the family

You may recall the last time I asked Husband a silly question.

Me: Husband, how much do you love me?
Husband: Umm ... [puts hand up, creates tiny space between tip of index finger and thumb] ... about this much less than I love Jacob.
Me: Gasp!
Husband: Oh come on ... if I asked you, the space would be even bigger.
Me: No comment.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

if i didn't have to work

10 things you would do if you didn’t have to work.

Just 10?

1) Stay home with my little dude. We'd have adventures, go swimming and take long walks. We'd visit the playground and go shopping and have lunch dates. We'd join mom-and-baby groups and classes and make lots of new friends.

2) I'd be oh so crafty. I'd try all of these, and then some.

3) Tackle lots of home-improvement projects. I'd have time to find thrift furniture to re-do and re-arrange each room often.

4) Send lots of emails and regular mail notes and cards. Given more time in my day, I'd stay in better touch with everyone I love.

5) I'd occasionally spend all day in my pjs.

6) I'd freelance. I'd get to pick and choose my projects and write for me.

7) I'd read so many books. I'd fly through my book-club books and read several more in between.

8) I'd cook and bake until my freezer was overflowing. I'd try new recipes and experiment with different techniques. I'd probably take a cooking class, too.

9) I'd exercise more. I admit that I wouldn't go to the gym, but I'd swim and do yoga daily.

10) Sometimes, I'd put my feet up and watch guilty-pleasure tv and movies on the couch. All day.

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Monday, September 26, 2011

it's officially fall in my world

The perk of having a thoughtful husband who reads your blog ...

Pumpkin Spice Latte. Delivered.

link love: happy monday

It was a busy weekend full of birthdays, baptisms, and a whole lot of cupcakes. I dug out my fall decorations this weekend, and despite anyone's objections, I might pick up some gourds today. No, it isn't too early for gourds. And since I'm feeling so festive, I think I'll get my first pumpkin spice latte of the season, too.

This week I'm getting a massage AND a haircut! It's like I've won the over-scheduled lotto because there are two "me" things on the books. Hoorah!

Happy Monday, friends!


I hate mornings as much as Amalah does. is now offering printable coupons!

Speaking of fall decor, this post really makes me want to make some adorable little buntings.

I think I'll give these a try this week.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

i am from

I am from a box of note cards and stationary with love and wishes yet to be sent. I am from Moleskin books and lists on every page.

I am from the warm and snuggly. I am from wood-burning heat and candle light and crisp fall air.

I am from daisies and tulips, the yellower the better.

I am from pizza Fridays and lazy Saturday mornings in bed and hours of silliness and laughter. I am from my boy and my husband.

I am from the foolish and fun. I am from the wonderful moments and the lessons learned from tough times.

From being polite, sharing with others, always caring. From respect and honesty and empathy.

I am from a belief in God and faith in something bigger than myself. I am from purposeful prayer and meaningful hope.

I’m from the Maritimes, farm fresh veggies and strong cups of tea.

From my mother's apron and my father's workshop, the pride of my grandparents, and the smiles of my dearest friends.

I am from a bookshelf full of memories. Photographs keeping special moments caught in time. Reminders of everything important, providing some often-needed perspective.

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the Writers' Prompt. See the template for this exercise here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Dear Jacob,

You are the most amazing person I have ever known. The last year has been a privlidge, a challenge, an overwhelming experience, a joy, and the best of my life so far. You are clever and warm and curious and delicious. I hope that I have taught you and cared for you in the best way possible.

Happy Birthday, mister boy.
I love you with all my heart,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

barely a baby anymore

If you scroll way down to the bottom of this page, you'll see that there's a little ticker keeping track of Jacob's age. Today it says 11 months, three weeks and five days. Gulp. On Sunday, he'll be one year old. Why do I get choked up when I type that? I might be losing my mind.

Anyway, as we head into the final countdown to this very exciting day, I thought I'd share some of our baby faves of the past year. Things we love, things Jacob loves and the practical things that none of us could do without.

The Miracle Blanket. Truly a miracle. Jacob was always too strong to stay in even the tightest swaddle blanket, but the miracle blanket kept him contained, preventing him from flailing his arms and waking himself up.

Playtex VentAire Bottles. These are our lifesavers because they're the only bottles Jacob would tolerate. We tried many brands before settling on these ones and it's been smooth sailing since.

The Best Nursing Pillow Ever. I'm sad to say that I don't know the brand, since it has no tags, but it was purchased at the Cape Breton Baby Company and it is awesome.

Safety First Kirby Inflatable Tub. We originally had one of those big, moulded white tubs that are sold at any baby outlet, which worked great, but once Jacob was too long for it, we had to spend the time and waste the water to fill our tub up three inches for him to bathe. Plus, his little nekked butt slipped around everywhere. This inflatable alternative is great. It keeps him from standing up, he's more comfortable and safe, plus it doubles as a kiddie pool outside in the summer. Next time, we agree that we'll use this tub from day one. Also, between babies, we can deflate it and fold it up and out of sight.

Fisher Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n' Swing. This swing was awesome. Jacob loved to sway side to side or back and forth. He could be in it freely or swaddled. It was great for naps in the early days, or to be able to put him down comfortable for relaxed awake time. It's one of the big things we don't mind storing because we'll know we'll use it plenty next time.

And because this really got me thinking, here are a few things we never used:

Baby towels. You can get the boy dried off much more efficiently by wrapping him up in a big, adult-sized bath towel.

Baby bathrobe. A big sorry to the wonderful person who bought it for us, but it was just something we didn't have much use for. And I think that person will agree that we'd rather see a nekked baby bum crawling around the house anyway.

Pee-Pee Teepee. While these things are super cute and pretty hilarious, they're really not useful for keeping that powerful stream under wraps. If you're going to get sprayed, you might as well grab that big bath towel for cover.

And since I'm still going, how about some things that are just so-so. We use it, but it's not awesome, and we might ditch it before the next baby comes:

Diaper Genie. Yes, it keeps the stink contained, but really, you could put them in a regular garbage can and take it out once a day. It's not a huge chore. Emptying and changing the bag system in the Diaper Genie is more of a pain, plus the inserts cost extra moolah.

An actual diaper bag. These bags are kind of a right of passage for new Mums. I get that. I had one and I loved it. Now though, I prefer to carry one of my own bags, most of which are plenty big enough for a few spare items like a couple diapers, small wipes case, a sippy cup and a baggie of snacks.

The Bumbo. We did like it, but Jacob was too big for it really early in life. Once he was semi-mobile, he had no interest in being confined in it, either. It's also awkward to transport or store. We'll hang on to it, for sure, but it's not something I'm really in love with.

OK, folks. Spill it. Baby stuff loves? Baby stuff hates? And ... go.

Monday, September 12, 2011

meatless monday

I can't believe I've never done this before. My neighbour-friend K and Miss A (J's to-be babysitter in one week!) and I did a freezer-friendly veggie meal swap today. It's as simple as it sounds -- we all made three portions of a vegetarian dish that would freeze well, and this morning we all swapped, giving us each three ready-made meals. So today, I have spicy chic peas with rice for lunch (which I portioned into seven lunch-sized portions in the freezer - thanks, Miss A!) and we're having zucchini-eggplant lasagne for supper (thanks, K!). And the best part? I don't have to cook! Simply brilliant.

So here I share with you the recipe I made. These are my Gram's stuffed shells. Totally and utterly delicious. In the spirit of our low-fat-ish, vegetarian theme, I changed this up a bit from the original, and they were definitely just as tasty.

Stuffed Shells

One box of large shells (It doesn't take a whole box though; I used two boxes and made four pans of shells to freeze with approximately 22 shells in each portion)

Cook shells until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

Combine in a bowl:

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used low fat)
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (I used low fat)
1 container of ricotta (Again, I used low fat)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I use the Italian kind because they're extra yummy)
1 egg
2 Tbsp. parsley
A few pressed cloves of garlic, depending on your taste
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Stuff mixture into each shell.

1 jar of pasta sauce (I used a low calorie version -- blue label Our Compliments mushroom and garlic from Sobeys. For extra veg, I added a cup of grated zucchini and carrot to the sauce.)

Pour enough sauce into 9X13 baking pan to cover the bottom. Arrange stuffed shells in pan. Cover with remaining sauce. Bake at 375F for nearly an hour or until hot and bubbly all over.

So, so good.

(Photo here.)

Our swap worked so well that we're going to do it again in another two weeks! I'm thinking a Mexican dish next time. Have any freezer-friendly veggie recipes to share?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

a productive summer come and gone

I set a few goals for the summer months and, as far as I'm concerned, once school has started, we can pretty much consider summer officially ended. Here's a round-up of my efforts. What'd you get up to this summer?

1) Grocery shop less. I feel like I did well with this. I wasn't on a strict budget, but I tried to think about what we already had in our cupboards before going out to buy the things that I just wanted instead of needed. We got out to farmers' markets several times for fresh, local produce, which was part of this goal. Now, we're in the midst of revamping our family budget plan, so I'm trying to see how inexpensively the three of us can manage. There will be more to this as the month goes on. So far, a success!

2) Find more time to read. Enter The Litwits! Thanks to our new book club, I'm working on my second book in the past month and I also have a beach read going on the side.

3) Take Jacob to the beach and dip his toes in the ocean for the first time. Take millions of photos.

Here you go ...Bold

4) Journey to visit family. This includes NB, CB and anywhere in between. Done and done! We had some wonderful time with family this summer and hope to visit even more this fall.

5) Go camping. This was a lofty goal with a less-than-one-year-old, and it didn't happen this summer. We're super excited to take him out as soon as it's warm enough next year, though!

6) Keep my hanging basket alive. All. Summer. I'll spare you the photographic evidence on this one. I'd lie, but I know my neighbour friend reads my blog and would rat me out. The basket is dead. Dry, crunchy, dead. Never to be revived. Maybe next year I'll fill it with artificial flowers.

7) Sleep in. Please. Just once. Jacob was a peach this summer and many times Husband and I woke up before he did, which qualifies as a sleep-in for us. Waking up on your own, naturally, and refreshed feels so good.

8) BBQ. A lot. We did. Again and again. We filled the propane tank for a second time this year and we will BBQ well into the fall.

9) Wash both cars inside and out. We did clean both cars already, and just recently gave the Kia a second vacuum and wipe down. Being down to one-car family, for a while made it simpler, but we're a two-car household once again and I'm making it my mission to keep "my" car spotless.

12) Purge. Success as shown here.

13) Fix the DIY curtains I made for the front door. I haven't done this yet, mainly because I still don't know what I want to do. Must hit Pinterest for ideas.

14) Do a few little home-improvement projects, like touch up some paint, etc. This was so easy. In less than an hour, we patched holes in the Gyp-rock and re-painted some spots. Plus, we exchanged our kitchen hardware, which made a huge difference.

15) Scrapbook (or come up with a reasonable alternative). Even though I still have lots of scrapbooking supplies, I've put them aside in favour of organized photo albums for now. Rather than doing a rushed job on our scrapbooks, our albums will serve to keep our memories until I have enough downtime to do it properly. I also cashed in Pampers Gift to Grow points for a free Shutterfly photo book of J's first year, which may be my forever alternative to scrapbooking — it's so easy!

What are your most important to-dos for fall?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

what are you hoarding?

If you were a hoarder, based on your personality … what would you hoard? (better yet, ask someone who knows you well, what they think you would hoard).

I am probably the furthest thing from a hoarder. Yes, we have our storage struggles, and yes, we have tons o' stuff, but I'm not afraid to purge anything that isn't useful. If I had to choose though, based on my personality, my stockpile would probably include books, stationary and greeting cards, craft supplies, fun stuff for entertaining guests and home decor items. Hmm, why is this starting to sound like a good idea?

I also asked a few of the regulars for their opinions.

Mum's thoughts: cookbooks (I now have 29), coupons (I do have a designated coupon wallet), and lists (or rather books for lists since there's one in every. single. drawer. in our house).

Sister-in-law C suggested canned goods due to my slightly-weird love for grocery shopping. This might be true about kitchen staples in general. I'm certain we could go a month without buying groceries and still have plenty to eat. Her self-confessed hoards? Purses, shoes and magazines.

Grammie says books. Both my vice and hers. She makes great effort to pass along books once she's read them, to her credit. Often that means those books end up at my house though! For some reason, I'm holding on to many that I'm sure I'll never open again. Hmm ... maybe a donation to the library is in order.

What kinds of things are you holding on to at home?

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

pancake supper?

Settle a disagreement?

I am very pro breakfast-for-dinner. Husband is not. To him, there are certain things a person eats in the morning, like bagels and eggs, and certain things you eat at night ... namely, not bagels and eggs.

But sometimes a girl just craves pancakes. Like the ones pictured here. Can you blame me?

What do you think? Breakfast-for-dinner: a do or a don't?

And if you side with me, do you have any tasty recipes to share?

Friday, September 2, 2011

long weekend

Happy long weekend, friends!

I hope you have some fun plans. We're heading out of town to visit family and take part in a charity golf tournament. The event is in honour of a friend's dad who passed away a few summers ago, and lots of friends gather each year to golf and raise money in his memory. Among the honours at the end of the day will be a prize for best team costume. Husband, his twin bro and their two buds took home this prize two years ago with their "nerdy" attire, including taped glasses and pocket protectors. This year, they're pulling a 180 and dressing up as these guys:

Oh dear. And Husband will be none other than The Situation. OMG. GTL.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

travel friendly

The 10 Dos and Donts of Airplane Etiquette.
  • Be kind. Help others in need to stow their bags overhead. We could all enjoy a little more courtesy while travelling.
  • Don't keep using your cellphone long after the flight attendant has kindly asked you to turn it off and put it away. I don't know what kind of interference your phone will have on the plane equipment, but I don't really want to find out.
  • That centre armrest serves as a no-man's-land divider. Don't hog it. Actually, just don't use it.
  • Don't laugh/hmmm/comment to yourself, outloud, while reading. The person sitting beside you doesn't care that you find your book funny/interesting/perplexing. It's just distracting and annoying.
  • Don't ask to switch seats. If you wanted a window or an aisle, you should have booked that in advance. 
  • If you're sitting in the back of the plane, don't make a beeline for the door as soon as the fasten-seatbelt light goes off, knocking down elderly ladies and small children as you barrell forward. Relax, you will get your turn.
  • Get your shit together. Nothing's worse than standing in line to board behind someone who's digging for their boarding pass or waiting for someone to pack up their belongings while other people are waiting to get off.
  • Don't pack stinky snacks. I don't want to wake from my mid-flight nap to the wafting smell of your egg salad or tuna. Gross.
  • Don't glare at parents who are doing their very best to calm a crying baby. They're probably more stressed than you are about it and they can't help it, so please cut them some slack.
  • That said, if you are that parent and you're not doing your best, or anything at all, to deal with your screaming/misbehaving child -- especially when the child is of the age that they should know better -- get control of the situation. Just because they're a kid, they don't have the right to kick the back of my chair or anyone else's.
Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.