Sunday, 5 January 2014

intentions for twenty fourteen

I could make lists for days about all the 'resolutions' I have for the new year. But what would make this year different from last year and the year before that? It seems that with every new year the resolutions, although different, they are essentially the same. Almost as if I am not satisfied with all the resolutions I have completed. 
This year I will be focusing on my intentions for 2014. While focusing on my intentions I will keep one word in mind:

Simplify. By living simply I think I will be able to get more from life. It seems that the more we want, the more we get, the more we do, the more 'things' in our life, the more clutter (physical and emotional) some things get so out of hand and it becomes harder and harder to focus on the bigger picture. Therefore, my intentions for 2014 will be to simplify all aspects of my life. Some days I feel so overwhelmed and believe that by simplifying the mind, simplifying the home, simplifying the wardrobe, simplifying life, it will be a lot easier to find piece. 

Do you have intentions for the new year? Maybe you have a word that you will be focusing on instead of a whole list of 'to-dos'? Wherever this new year takes you I hope you find what you're looking for, good luck to all in this new year. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

diy | desk to nightstand

We are in the middle of re-decorating our master bedroom. After painting and wallpapering (post to come), now it's time to put all the furniture together. I didn't want to spend a small fortune on something from a big box store - it's not something I 'pictured' for this room. I needed to find the perfect nightstand. 

We got rid of our old night stands, which are less than a year old but they just weren't working for me. I wanted to find that perfect piece, the one that just completes the look, makes everything whole. So began my search for the perfect night tables. My search went on, and on, and on. 

Weeks later, and not to mention an annoyed husband that didn't have a nightstand, after I had searched every store, looked online, looked at garage sales - nothing. Couldn't find a nightstand. And then it hit me. I have to think outside of the box. While I was fully prepared to refinish something if I needed to I thought If I'm refinishing it anyway why does it have to be a nightstand already? Why can't I make something into a nightstand? Why can't it be a small dresser, or desk, or shelf?

Game changer, right there. I immediately went online and searched for a second hand item on a local buy/sell/trade website. Bang, I found a desk. Solid wood = sturdy and well made. Some dents and scrapes = putty&sand. Knotty pine = paint it. I was pumped. I immediatly thought, there is only a piece of wood on the top marrying the two sides together. Why not cut it to separate the sides. There - matching night stands. While my husband wasn't as excited as I was I knew he had faith in me as he offered to help. Well, more like I voluntold him. :D

We picked it up for cheap. Brought it home (in the rain! good thing it's made of real wood) measured and cut the sides equal. We took some orbital sanders to it to scuff the polish off. Used some putty to fill in the holes, and one more sanding session. 
Dusted them off and painted them with two coats of antique white malemine paint (Same as our kitchen). Once the paint was dry we installed new hardware. Voila! Now commence nightstand love.
So there you have it folks, sometimes the thing you are searching for may not be as obvious as it seems. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and think outside the box.

When our 3 year old son saw me painting he got so excited and asked if he could help too. I didn't really want him using the melamine paint as it doesn't easily come out off clothes and skin. And I wanted to make sure the finish was as good as it could be... so I had him paint the back. No one sees the back anyway and he had a BLAST helping me paint. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

the best green seasoning [pesto marinade]

Looking to add that extra kick to your meals?  Want to give your meat a fresh juicy flavour? Or just wanting to try something new?  You have got to try this green seasoning.  You can use it to flavour virtually anything: chicken, ribs, roast, sauces, salsas, etc. 

I love using it as a marinade to meat. It's great on chicken (preferably under the skin, if applicable)  and great on ribs as well.  I used to only use dry rubs or straight BBQ sauce, which are great too, but I love the fresh taste of all the herbs and the added moisture.  I'll still add the sauce but I make sure that the green seasoning has some time on the meat first. 

This recipe calls for pimento peppers, which you can find at a Caribbean  store.  If you can't find pimento peppers you can substitute with banana peppers, or your favourite pepper.  You can adjust to your spice tolerance but I find that the 'hotness' is mellowed out during cooking. 


what you need
1 bundle of Cilantro (about 1-2 cups)
1 stalk of celery (include leaves if you have it)
1 head of garlic (about 11 cloves)
4 green onions (scallions)
1 bunch of fresh thyme (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt (optional)
1 onion, or 2-3 shallots (optional)
2 pimento peppers (or 1 banana pepper)

*note: all measurements are rough estimates I may add more/less depending on how I like the taste

make it
Put everything in a food processor/blender and blend well.  You may need to mix in batches depending on the size of your appliance.  I found that a 3-cup food processor does fine, so does a nutribullet cup. 

You'll want to form a nice bright green, slightly runny (but still thick) paste.  The colour may darken over time but that's normal. 

You can keep the mixture in an air-tight container in the fridge for a couple months. 

If you'd like to keep it longer I recommend freezing.  Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight.  Once fully frozen you can pop them out and store them in a freezer bag.  I prefer freezing in an ice cube tray because its easier to control your portion sizes.  

This recipe was adapted from:'s green seasoning

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

that's what family is for

Why is it that someone has to be in a serious condition to get the whole family together in the same room? 

As we sat in the ICU waiting room of the hospital, I looked around the room and saw Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, other relatives, close family friends, and Grandma. Everyone was chatting. Everyone was nice. No fighting. No arguments. Everyone in the same room with one thing on their minds - Grandpa. 

Two by two, we all took turns stepping in to see Grandpa, who at this point is sedated, hooked up to machines, and not breathing on his own. It was hard to see him like that. Such a strong man looking so frail. 

Earlier that day (Saturday, Aug 17 at 4:00am) Grandpa had had a stroke and fallen out of bed, hitting his head on the end table. He was rushed by ambulance to the nearest hospital and attention was given right away.

Back in the waiting room (now about 1:00pm) the mood isn't happy but it is warm. Warm with the love of the whole family. Together. 

I look at my son, who is almost 3 years old, and he knows where we are and why we are here, but I don't think he fully understands. He must be so confused. Seeing Grandpa in the bed hooked up to all these machines. Seeing Grandma crying. Seeing all his elders very sad, some crying, some holding it in. 

I tried my best to be open and honest with him as this is the first family member he has witnessed in this condition.

Fearing the worst and hoping for the best. Although we are not all together at this moment physically, we are all still waiting, still hoping. I know that each one of us is in each others hearts as we wait for more updates on his condition. 

Having everyone together and cooperating with each other was humbling but at the same time very depressing. I'm just glad that when it all boils down, we all have each other to lean on. It's how Grandpa would have wanted it. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

homemade waffles anyone?

Who doesn't love a nice warm waffle? What mom doesn't love a quick healthy (homemade) breakfast?!  My son loves his waffles and I love that this recipe is so quick and easy. We can avoid buying those nasty-who-knows-what's-in-them frozen waffles and pre-mixed packages and go for something completely homemade. 

Having the dry ingredients all ready to go is a huge bonus with this recipe. Anything to make things quicker, and healthier home-cooked meals that much more accessible. This recipe makes about 6 small sized waffles (palm sized) and is easily doubled. Any extras do really well in the freezer. I like to cut parchment paper about 1/2 inch bigger than the waffle (on all sides) and I slip that between the waffles, put them in a large freezer bag and you're good to go. When you'd like a waffle simply pop them in the toaster. 

To make the waffle mix (dry ingredients):
1 cup flour
1.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
(Store in an air-tight container)

To make the waffles, you will need:
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp oil

Make it healthier, I use:
 - whole wheat flour
 - organic coconut sugar 
 - organic farm fresh eggs 
 - coconut oil (or another healthy oil)

To make the waffles:
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy; the fluffier the better. You can use a hand whisk if you'd like but I like to use an electric hand mixer to whip more air into it. Add in 3/4 cup milk and 2 Tbsp oil (in the picture I had mixed both coconut oil and olive oil as my husband isn't a fan of the full 'coconut-ty' taste).

Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Let the mixture rest while you heat up the waffle iron. When the iron is hot, pour the waffle mixture onto the surface making sure to get into all the grooves. Cook according to the manufacture's instructions. 

Serve with syrup, fruit or even whipped topping as a treat. These are also great as dessert with some frozen yogurt and chocolate sauce. As I mentioned above, these can be frozen and popped in the toaster at a later date.

Note: I find that with my waffle iron I like to cook them and then flip them over and cook them again. But every one is different. The waffle iron that I have is made by Sunbeam. I've had it for years and it still works great. I have considered buying a big 'professional' one but I just don't have a need for it right now. This one works great and is small enough to be neatly tucked away in the cupboard when not in use.

I thought I'd also mention that having this quick recipe readily available makes it that much easier. Check out how I did it:
Gotta love a label maker :)

Monday, 5 August 2013

key to our first house

I am all for preserving memories and I believe that the closer you are to the actual memory the better. Feeling a bit of nostalgia I thought this was a great way to preserve the memory of walking in to our very first house. 

My husband and I got the keys to our now home on May 2nd, 2012. We were so excited to have our very own place to call home. Knowing that we both had the freedom and responsibility of our home (and family) was a bittersweet milestone. 

Want to preserve that memory of your first house? Follow the easy steps below - just make sure you change your locks before you use the key.

Step 1: locate key    (preferably not in use)
Step 2: find a frame - 4X6 works nicely    (I had an old one lying around with no picture in it)
Step 3: write a note    (I used, simply: 'our first house' and the year)
Step 4: use some craft paper as backing - something to match your decor
Step 5: line everything up and place inside the frame    (glue or tape work great to hold things in place)
Step 6: hang it up on the wall/mount on shelf, and admire!

PS - I took these pictures with my dinosaur iPhone 3GS, sorry for the quality.

Friday, 2 August 2013

everyone has it, no matter what the size

Do you ever feel like you have so much information and ideas stored in your brain, so much that it takes over your day? Maybe you've even gotten around to writing everything down, maybe not. Sometimes its the rush of new ideas or projects in your mind that get you so excited you can't concentrate unless its on that. I'm not talking a couple ideas. I'm talking about every where you look, every thing you see, everyday, sparks a new idea. In some cases those original ideas spread out into many more ideas. 

Well that's kind of what goes on in my head. Everywhere I look I see something that sparks interest in me. Anything from a new DIY project, fashion statement, home-reno project, cooking, photography, the list goes on. 

And for those who have no idea what I'm talking about there is hope for you yet. I hope to take even the most outrageous projects and show you that you can do it too. That with just a bit of hard work and determination, you too, can make it happen. Just reach a little higher. Move out of your comfort zone a little and build your confidence. That little creative spark. That ah-ha moment. There is nothing greater than taking pride in your work, especially if done well. 

I hope to inspire that creative spark in someone, anyone. I like to believe we all have at least a little, even if it is teeny-tiny -- it's in there!

Enjoy your weekend :) 
(a long weekend for my fellow Canadians)