Tuesday, May 29, 2012

pinned it and did it

The more I pin and the less I do, I more I start to feel stressed. I'm finally entering that second-trimester phase of must-get-everything-done-immediately energy, which means I'm irrational and certainly not accomplishing enough to suit my inner, overly-ambitious freak.

That said, I'm not completely sedentary and I have pinned it and done it a few times of late. 

First up, our new family fave: pumpkin pancakes. This is a Martha Stewart recipe (how can you go wrong?) and I've doubled it both times I've made it. Such a delicious twist on a weekend staple, plus some added veggies in our breakfast. I'm thinking of trying sweet potato pancakes next week.

I pinned a list, 17 ways to make your life easier, and I've already put a couple into practice, like #14 (shave legs with conditioner -- works so well and I always end up with a surplus of conditioner when the shampoo is gone, so this makes perfect sense), #16 (using cornmeal to get rid of ants, results TBA), and #17 (washing out dryer filters regularly). 

I loved this image (right) so much that I printed it, framed it and put it on our mantel.

We've had organizational issues in our bathroom drawers since we moved. I loved this idea, to house all our dental hygiene items in one, labeled place. So I picked up a silverware tray at the dollar store and turned the before into the after. Will show you the  results later this week! 

I made these parmesan hash brown cups as an appetizer for a couple friends a few weeks ago. When I make them again, and I will, I'll add less oil, or maybe none at all, and I'll add some chopped veggies, like peppers, to make them more interesting. I would definitely use them as a side dish for brunch.

What have you pinned and done lately?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

t minus five minutes until snack time

108 days. That's how long I was able to hold out before sending my husband on a somewhat emergency French fry run at 9:45 p.m. 108 days.

Does a gal get any credit for that?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

reading by the day

I've decided that the only way I can read everything that I need and want to read in the time that I have is by sticking to a schedule. It sounds crazy, I know. Something I do for pleasure is really starting to take over my life a little. But I'm OK with that. I just need a plan.

It starts with the book club books. And I'm not complaining. I genuinely want to read them. The trick is that we've been slacking a little of late and we want to pickup the pace to an every-three-weeks meeting routine. And these are good books (mostly), I might add, so it shouldn't take nearly three weeks to read one, which should provide downtime for reading other books.

Admittedly, I was practically narcoleptic for the first three months of this pregnancy, so any and all reading time was unceremoniously dumped in favour of sleep. This set me a little behind. So, I was relieved when the last book club meeting was postponed and I had a little more time to finish A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Confession: I still haven't finished. Next on the LitWits roster is A Dive From Clausen's Pier. Haven't cracked it. In fact, I lent my library copy to another club member because I knew she would read it faster and then she'd give it back to me to read myself. *In fact, since I started drafting this post, she already finished it and returned it to me and I have yet to crack the cover. I am the biggest book club failure. I have six days to complete it before our next meeting.

On my own, I have a few books on the go. I was about half-way through the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, when I had to put it down in favour of a time-sensitive book-club read and failed to pick it up again. I want to get back to that soon.

I've also been bitten by the 50 Shades of Grey bug. I'm about half-way through that one, too.

And then, a co-worker lent me a copy of Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by The Bloggess Jenny Lawson. If you read The Bloggess, you have to know why her book made it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List ... this gal is hysterical. I can't wait to dive into her book. But, where to find the time?

So here's the plan: Book club books at night before bed. Every night. Even if it's only two or three pages before I'm nodding off. I've got to be in the habit. My personal book picks on weekends or in spare time. This is often hard to come by, but for the right book, I'll make the time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And now I'm now thinking about the sewing projects that need to be completed, scrapbooks that need to be updated ... the list goes on. How do you find time for "me" stuff, like reading or hobbies? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a letter to the little one

Dear sweet baby,

Being pregnant with you is nothing like it was when I was carrying your older brother. Last time, I was reading the prenatal books week by week, keeping track of all the tiny milestones that are happening in there by the minute.

This time, I'm not. And it's not because I don't care or don't wonder how your doing. I just trust that you're OK. I'm keeping care of you on the outside so you can do your thing on the inside. And you are already doing so well. Last week, at my first prenatal appointment, I got to hear the familiar chugga chugga chugga of your strong baby heartbeat. It warmed my heart and made you feel much more present in my life. This week, you've really started to move around, reminding me now and then that you're there. I almost forgot how much absolutely love that feeling.

The first few months were rougher than I expected they'd be; you must be a little fire cracker! Now that I'm getting my energy back, I'm daydreaming more and more about who you are and what you'll be like.

Since we're starting to get more acquainted, let me fill you in on a few things. Your dad is, in my humble opinion, the best one around. He's going to take you outside to play and make sure you get lots of yummy healthy snacks and he'll pretty much always read you an extra book at bedtime if you ask super nicely. Your brother is smart and caring and hilarious, and you are going to love him as much as we do. He will teach you how to get into all kinds of trouble, but I'm OK with that. And me? Well, I'm already your biggest fan. I'll bake you cookies and snuggle you at any hour and tickle you for days. I can't wait.

I'm very much looking forward to the next 25(ish) weeks, and even more to meeting you.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a first for us

Write about a time your child embarrassed you in public.

It was mother's day of all days, and in the library of all places.

Part of my mama-chosen fun for the day was a family trip to the library. Jacob loves it there - checking out the toys and books and talking to new kids. I love browsing, especially when I have extra hands to keep an eye on our roving toddler.

About 10 minutes before we were set to leave, Husband gave J a five-minute warning, to which J stomped and squealed a bit, but he became tight lipped after we both gave him the stink eye and told him to behave nicely.

So, I wandered off for my last few moments of browsing in the parenting and pregnancy section, and I swear no sooner had I picked up a book about toddler discipline, when I heard the ruckus coming from the children's section. Someone was very unhappy about having to clean up and get ready to leave.

But this went beyond the normal realm of J expressing his unhappy feelings. He freaked. Full-tilt screaming. Huge tears. Meltdown. No, he was not going to clean up the toys. No, he was not going to leave the library. No, No, No.

Colour me crimson. The silent library was not so quiet as he continued to lose it while Husband insisted that he return his toys to the shelf before we left. He did so, and at the end of the 30-second tidy that felt like 30 hours, I sent them out to the car while I checked out our selections at the front desk.

I felt rotten. Not because he was loud in the library. Not because he'd thrown an utter tantrum in public. Not because I was embarrassed, though I was. It was more so because I couldn't reach him. I was talking to him, holding him, looking him in the eye, but he wasn't seeing me or hearing me. All he knew was that he was not happy about what was taking place and he was going to let us know, damnit.

It was a first for us, and certainly not the last, I know. I hopped in the backseat and chatted with J during the ride home. Once he was calm, we talked about what happened and why it wasn't nice. I'm sure he'd long-since forgotten about it by the time we reached our house, but I felt a little better, having done my due-diligence in explaining right and wrong. But it still bothered me for the rest of the day, knowing that he really does have that toddler side to him, and even though I knew it would one day make its appearance, it was still surprising and kind of sad. Sigh.

Come on, mamas, share your moments, too. We've all been there!


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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

pregnancy #2: 9 weeks

9 weeks (week 10): April 11 to 18

I am tired. Tireddd. Like, lay down on the kitchen floor while I wait for the cookies to bake for 9 minutes tired. Yeah, I'm not kidding. I did that. This is basically pregnancy, as I knew it, on steroids. The nausea is full-on cookie woofing, the fatigue is falling asleep while M is putting J down for the night (yes, I'm sleeping as long as the toddler), and the belly ... just don't even get me started. Where did that thing come from? I walked up the driveway to the backyard at J's daycare yesterday and his wonderful daycare provider (my lovely friend) says, "Umm, how long do you think you're going to keep that a secret?"

Come onnn, second trimester!

It's not all bad, of course. Just look at this list of very-true pregnancy perks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

pregnancy #2: 6 weeks

6 weeks (Week 7) - March 21 to March 28

So far, this pregnancy is nothing like the last one. Not at all. So, instead of going into it with all the confidence of a seasoned veteran, I'm a little bewildered and trying to keep up with the bevy of symptoms that are assaulting me from every direction. Here's a list:

Whoa morning-noon-night sickness. What the? At this point last time, I was three weeks away from running a half marathon, which meant training runs five days a week. And not just little runs; 14, 16, 18k, and I had no problems. This time, the only place I'm running is to the toilet. Woof.

Aversions. I remember being somewhat grossed out by a few things here and there throughout my last pregnancy. This time, there's already a substantial list of must-not-eats: veggie burgers (made by me at home; I can handle some restaurant ones), perogies, butter, ginger (perhaps from ODing on ginger everything in an attempt to quell symptom #1), and many others.

Fatigue. Was I this tired last time? Maybe. I can't really remember, but I'm managing a solid nine hours a night and it doesn't feel like nearly enough. I'm absolutely wiped.

Bloat. Aww, what a cute little bloat baby. Not. Where did that belly come from? It can't be the real deal yet, can it?

On the sunny side of the street, it has been really fun to think about what we will all be like as a family of four. We have already been explaining to Jacob that we're going to be bringing home a new baby. He loves to lift up my shirt and kiss my belly. He says "Hi, baby" and "Bye bye, baby" when he does it. It's pretty adorable. He's not quite understanding fully, since he lifts his own shirt and says baby, and does the same to daddy. But he only kisses and talks to my belly, so maybe he senses a difference.

So, if you're keeping track, my official guess for this little peanut is girl, because my boy didn't cause me any of the aforementioned issues. Any guesses?

(Photo credit)

Monday, May 14, 2012


I hate eggs, always have.
I'm a vegetarian, so I don't eat bacon.
But I wanttt them! I craveee them!
For the love of God, whyyy?!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

on being a mama

It's just been one of those weeks. The wonderful kind.

On Monday, I got a massage. Ahhh.

On Tuesday, lovely friend A surprised me with a shellac pedicure, early for Mother's Day, which was such a relaxing treat.

On Thursday, I got my hair cut. It's not something I do too often, so it feels like a special occasion.

On Saturday morning, Jacob slept for an extra hour, giving us an extra restful night. We got up and I made bacon and eggs for my boys. Then, we threw on our sweats and went out to the yard, scooping leaves, pulling weeds and acting silly. It was already warm for a May morning, and we stayed out for nearly four hours. We visited with family, did some home repairs, and last night, Mike and I got out for a date. It wasn't extravagant -- we went to Swiss Chalet and to see The Avengers -- but it was perfect.

I took my boy to swimming lessons today, as I do each Sunday morning. I looked at the other mums at the pool and smiled, hoping they were having the same kind of day, and week, that I've been having.

I'm sure you'd agree that it's not about the things or the gestures, it's just about being a mum. With my sweet boy and another little one on the way, I am busting, today and every day, that I have this life.

Happy Mother's Day to my beautiful Mum, my lovely mother-in-law, and all of my dear friends who are celebrating today with their families xo

(photo credit)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

i'm not giving you my money for free

I'm about to release my inner geek. Actually, it's not really inner, since I just had a 10 minute conversation with a co-worker all about this, and others listened in. It's pretty much public knowledge that I'm a geek, but I'm a money-saving geek. So there.

Yesterday, I made a list of a bunch of groceries we needed at home, and noticed that several items would be more cost effective if purchased at Costco. So, I reviewed the Superstore flyer, wrote down prices, and headed to Costco, determined to get the best deals. Here's what went down (items marked with the * are the ones that I purchased):

*Costco: 4 kg box of frozen chicken breasts - $29.99 ($7.50 per kg)
Superstore: 3 kg box of frozen chicken breasts - $31.99 ($10.66 per kg)
Savings: $12.65

*Costco: 1 litre of coffee cream - $2.59
Superstore: 1 litre of coffee cream - $3.69
Savings: $1.10

*Costco: Folgers coffee (1.39 kg) - $9.99 (on sale for $3 off) ($7.18/kg)
Superstore: Folgers coffee (584 g) - $7.99 ($13.68/kg)
Savings: $9.04 ($6.50/kg)

*Costco: Kirkland marinara sauce (the best ever), 3 one-litre jars - $6.79 ($2.26/litre)
Superstore: Ragu (640 ml) - $2.59 each ($7.77 for 3) ($4.04/litre)
Savings: $5.34 ($1.78/litre)

*Costco: 3 loaves of Ben's Smart bread - $7.39
Superstore: Wonderbread (on sale) - $2.22 ($6.66 for 3)
Deduction: $0.73

*Costco: Kraft parmesan cheese, 500 g - $10.99
Superstore: Kraft parmesan cheese, 250 g - $7.19 ($14.38 for an equal quantity)
Savings: $3.39

*Costco: 4 litre Baxters milk - $5.19
Superstore: 2 litre Baxters milk (SS doesn't carry gallons in Baxters) - $3.99 ($7.98 for equal quantity)
Savings: $2.79

Costco: Eggs (18) - $3.79
*Superstore: Eggs (12) - $2.50 ($3.75 for 18)
Deduction: $0.04

Costco: Cracker Barrell cheese, 1 kg - $10.99
*Superstore: Cracker Barrell cheese, 500 g - $4.44 (I bought two for $8.88)
Savings: $2.11


It pays to pay attention to prices. In this case, I didn't even use coupons. I just made a quick note of the prices of the items on my list, and compared as I shopped. Going to two stores, organized with a list, is just as quick as going to one store without a plan.

Have you scored any great deals lately? Do tell!

Friday, May 4, 2012

a few favourites for friday

For lack of a better topic of conversation, here are some of my favourite pins from the week:

How cute is this (?!) idea to honour your favourite dates, which I stole from Amy just this morning.


This veggie pot pie recipe popped in from my latest Today's Parent email ... doesn't it look drool-worthy?


I love the feel of this room. I'm thinking green might be a perfect colour to cover our pull-out couch.


I bought a body pillow last week with the least-offensive cover for it, and it turns out that its inspired us to re-do our bedroom in this sort of scheme ... do you like?


And a little Cinco de Mayo eve deliciousness:


Share some links -- what are your favourite pins of the week?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

mama's day

The perfect Mother's Day consists of ...

Quality time with my boys, of course. Early morning snuggles, hot breakfast (not in bed), hours of silliness in pajamas.

Yard work. The tulips are starting to make their appearance in the backyard, so it's time to weed and rake and get our little yard ready for spring.

A trip to the farmers' market. Buying fresh fruits, veggies and bread, and maybe a bouquet of flowers for the house.

Dinner that I don't have to plan or make.

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

things I love

With our new house, came a whole lot of new space. Now that we're several months into home ownershop, and mostly settled, here are a few things that I can't believe I previously did without.

A designated place for gift-a-palooza. 
At any given time, I usually have a least a half dozen miscellaneous gifts stashed for upcoming events and occasions. Plus, there are cards, wrapping materials and the like. In my apartment life, this stuff was spread everywhere, stuck in baskets, cabinets and drawers all over the place. Now, I've taken our former laundry cabinet and turned it into present central. Awesome.

A laundry room, complete with storage.
I was able to give my lovely white laundry cabinet a new life because I have a built-in laundry nook with cabinets. Honestly though, I was over the moon about this area until we moved and I realized that ... wait a minute, what else am I going to put in here besides detergent? But since then, I've included our iron, some stain remover, a basket for rags, and some downstairs cleaning supplies. The middle cabinet below also hides the garbage can, which I love.

The workshop ...
... in which there's a place for everything and everything's in its place. Sort of. OK, I lie. This space is still a disaster of unpack boxes, unorganized tools and miscellaneous stuff that doesn't belong anywhere else. Dealing with this space is on my to-do list every weekend, and once it's eventually taken care of, we'll never have to hunt for a tape measure or the perfect-sized screw again.

Our cozy rec room.
It wasn't always an easy process, but now that the rec room is complete, I can't imagine life without it. It's a warm, snugly place (thanks to the wood stove) to read, watch TV, think and play. It's also great, and I mean this in the nicest way of course, to have more than one living area, so when you need some time to yourself, you don't have to retreat to the bedroom or the shower.

Our growing yard. 
Every day, more flowers, plants and lush blades of grass are popping up all over our yard. Jacob loves being outside and we're so happy to have the space to let him run and play. It's going to be such a great summer outside in the sun.

What are your home's best characteristics?