Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Fun

Together, they created several masterpieces : )

She started it :)

Hudson's great love - peanut butter. And himself.

"I catch you"

Peek-a-boo

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Some Unsolicited Advice

Should you ever decide to host a Sunday Brunch for your girlfriends and then think to yourself... "humm... wouldn't it be nice if the kitchen was painted in time for that ..."


Give your head a shake and put down the paint roller!

Because what is likely to happen is that despite your best attempts to control the situation, your two year old will continue to want to act like a two year old (yup, several small tantrums and one MAJOR meltdown when you yank his little hand of the freshly painted, and totally not dry wall) and your husband who recently (and narrowly) escaped the clutches of an accounting firm and as such is not yet quite used to all of the charms of family life will cease to speak to you (just sigh periodically) and instead cast dubious glares in your direction whenever he thinks you are not looking at him.

And then next thing you know, it will be 10:15 PM on a week night, your husband will have gone out for drinks with his soon to be ex coworkers (just like he told you he would well in advance but you totally did not register that part because, you know, you were thinking about how nice your kitchen would look in "heavy cream") and your kitchen will look a little like this:





Just saying...

xo,
M

Monday, March 21, 2011

Get Excited

I have been a little light on the posts lately, only because lots of good stuff has been going on around the house.

I guess it all started when Karl got pneumonia, which I realize is normally not a good thing, but it our case it worked out well because that meant he was only working about 7 hours a day (we are used to 12-14, which actually probably explains the pneumonia). Aside from the sheer goodness of having daddy around, I am happy to report that the pneumonia is now gone and:

- the living room is finally painted
- the kitchen is well on its way
- the bathroom reno has been booked
- we have a somewhat official plan (yup, drawings, timelines, seeds etc.) for the veggie garden and lots of ideas for the rest of the back/front yard
- Karl quit his job (and got a more family friendly one)

Just wanted to share all that : )...

and this, because it speaks to me a little more then the other version. Especially these days.

via 20 X 200

xo,
M

Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan





Diem Chau, a Seattle based artist (you can see more work here) is taking up a collection for the Japanese Red Cross Society.

What's in it for you? 

A raffle. For each $10.00 you donate through her, she will enter your name into a draw for 3 of these adorable little statuettes carved to your specs!

Thanks!


xo,
M


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Awesome

via Joslyn

This is quite possibly the cutest. darn. little. book I have ever seen! And I soooo wish I lived in Dallas.

If you want to see the inside - click here!

So CUTE!

xo,
M

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Swoon


" Dear Angela,

I know in the past I’ve caused you pain, and I’m sorry. And I’ll always be sorry, ’til the day I die. And I hate this pen I’m holding, because I should be holding you. I hate this paper under my hand, because it isn’t you. I even hate this letter, because it’s not the whole truth. Because the whole truth is…so much more than a letter can even say. If you wanna hate me, go ahead. If you wanna burn this letter, do it. You could burn the whole world down. You could tell me to go to hell…I’d go, if you wanted me to. And I’d send you a letter from there.

Sincerely, Jordan Catalano  "


My So Called Life, the whole series, all of it, is online now (via saucy) <---- Guess what I am doing tonight?

xo,
M


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Girl Crush

Yesterday was International Women's Day. 100th Edition.

No, I did not forget.
I started working on one heck of a long post/essay about how far
we have, and have not come in the last 100 years.
While it was a fun little exercise, (or not so much, because as I was writing it I found myself becoming increasingly irritated and frustrated) this morning it went the way of that letter to the ass on an ex boyfriend you pour your heart and soul into ... and then set on fire. (That jerk never was worth all that mental effort) Don't even pretend you do not know what I am talking about.
We have all written at least one of those.


This morning I woke up a little less jaded, so instead I would like to direct you this awesome little blog



Some of my crushes?


Garance. I love her blog.  


Amelia. Mostly for the work
she did when she was not flying.
But for the flying, too.



Diane. In Annie Hall, especially. But really, I love
all of Diane.

And Sadie. Via the Got a Girl Crush blog. Her message makes me smile :)



Who do you have a crush on?

xo,
M

P.S.
For those of you still looking for some "F bombs" (F as in Feminist... what were you thinking?), I like this article here. (email me if you want to read the whole thing, I have the power password)
For all new moms, and moms to be, this one should be mandatory reading.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Good Eats

My latest obsession?

Wait, let me clarify that... in the FOOD CATEGORY...



KALE!
It's a simple, humble veggie but sooo healthy, tasty and versatile. I have mainly been preparing it as a side dish (I have a great and easy recipe I will post later), but it is also very good raw (in a salad) and yesterday I turned it into this delish soup!

Yup, that's my soup. And the bread... a potato and chives foccacia...sooo good!


It's a version of a White Bean and Kale Soup, (you can find TONS of recipes for different versions, like this one here, or this one if you like creamy soups, or you can try Martha's version ) but I am really awful at following directions, so I kind skimmed them all and then invented my own.

If you are interested in trying my version, this is how it went:

Ingredients:
1 pkg Pancetta, cubed (I know, I am so lazy I bought the cubed stuff. But really, it was the same price as the other stuff - so why not!) (I think the pkg was 150g)
1 onion, (diced)
4 cloves of garlic, (minced)
2 carrots (however you like them, the smaller you cut them, the faster they cook)
3 large stalks of celery (chopped)
4 tomatoes (diced)
2 parts chicken stock
1 part beef stock (This happened as sort of an accident because I ran out of chicken stock, but next time I make it, I will add it on purpose)
2 cans of white beans (drained) (They sit in an icky sticky juice, so I dumped them in a colander and ran some cold water over them for about 15 seconds) If you are against canned beans (check the back of the label. Holy SODIUM), and able to plan ahead, you can probably soak your own dry beans but I have no idea how long that would take.
7-8 cups of kale, stems removed and torn to bite sized pieces

Cooking directions:

1.In a large stock pot saute the pancetta, onion and garlic. When the onions start to look "glassy" add the carrots and celery. Cover and let it do its thing. (Stir occasionally)
Doesn't that look pretty....and yummy

2.Once the carrots soften up a bit (I use the side of my wooden spoon to check), add tomatoes.


3. Add your stock. I do not list the amount because I do not measure. (Kind of goes in hand with the whole following directions thing - eeek).

For those that need more specific directions, I basically just keep adding until all the veggies are covered in liquid, and then I guesstimate some more to account for the fact that I am yet to add ingredients, and that some liquid usually cooks off!

5. Continue cooking over medium heat until veggies soften up. About 10 minutes should do it.

4. Add beans and kale. Cook until kale wilts and beans are warmed through.

And that's it! Enjoy :)

Pros:
Delish!
If I pick out the kale, Hudson will eat it.
It took like 20 mins. to prepare so you can totally make it while the wee one is napping, and still have time to apply a fresh coat of nail polish : ) Or check on the blogosphere.
Makes enough for lunch the next day.

Cons:
None that I could think of.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Haul

OK, so if I were to categorize posts, this one would go into the "nonsense" category. But, seems to me you ladies like them, (and to be perfectly honest, I kind of like doing them) so here goes :)

Not going to lie, February was expensive.

(And yes, this month's budget has been blown, but I am sticking to my mantra of quality vs. quantity and hoping to hold on to my purchases for a long, long time)


if you like it, and have some place to wear it -
it's from the gap - and it's on sale right now!
 At the start of the month, I took back a skirt I bought in January, since it hung in my closet for 2 weeks and I could not bring myself to wear it anywhere.

<---- this one here.

Too young for the office, too short to chase Hudson around in.... I keep forgetting stuff like that when I go shopping.

Instead I bought this blue/grey top I really like. Like I said, it's blue with grey,so nothing new for me there, but get this - It has a pattern. Flowers!

That's something totally new for my wardrobe.

I am pretty sure the top was the same price, if not cheaper then the skirt - so net budget effect  until about the 15th of February was $0.00.



And then came the budget busters;


Exhibit "A"



If  only I had stopped there, all would have been fine. And I did, I had every intention to avoid spending for the rest of the month.
And... then my boots fell completely fell apart. (No, not the SOREL once, I think those will survive me) but the black leather riding boots that I wear to the office. And by completely,  I do not mean like that... meh... good enough 'til spring. I mean  COMPLETELY. I was sitting at the library with Hudson and  literally had to pick out bits and pieces of the shoe (the sole more specifically) off the ground as we were leaving. My darling husband sighed a little, but then agreed to go on a tour of pretty well every shoe store in the city  and entertained Hudson until I found these.

Exhibit "B"


Steve Madden, just in case you were wondering.

But mine are black.
And that, ladies and gentlemen (if there are any outhere reading this sillyness) is how my February personal expenditures allowance was blown. To smitherines. Yikes!
Having said that, I have worn both the sunglasses and the boots every.single.day. since I have acquired them, so I feel like at least I am getting my money's worth.
xo,
M
P.S. Just so you know, I am holding on to all my receipts in anticipation of the reconciliation in July... but, I still need your help picking out a charity. Any suggestions?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February Check In Part 2

16. Swimming
Well, if you count the one time in January when we took Hudson to kid splash..... 

17. Make a new friend
Remember when you were a kid, and you could strike up a friendship simply because you sat in a desk next to someone at school? Not that easy when you become an adult. : (

18. Potty training
Right. The only "action" the potty has seen recently was this.

So sad. I swore I would never have one of those children who is old enough to ask for a diaper change before he grows out of them. But come to think of it,  my child does not ask for a new diaper. He asks for a "pit stop". 

19. Find a "feel good" job
Right now, I do not even know what that would be : (

 

20. Hot air ballooning
2 Christmases ago, we got a gift certificate to do this. (thanks mom and dad). We were saving it for the fall, because we wanted to see all the pretty colours from up top. We made an appointment, it was canceled due to poor weather. Then we made another one. And it was canceled due to high winds. And then another one... canceled again. Then it snowed. Wish us better luck this year!



 

21. Reading
Now this one I am actually feeling pretty good about.  (psst.... you can check my progress here.)

22. Take the family to a concert
I am so excited! We are going to Hillside this year!
At first, Karl uhmed and ahmed.. and then I uttered the word "Weakerthans" and he was sold! Yay

23. Give Back
Did you know that in 2005 Warren Buffet donated nearly $31 billion to the Gates foundation? Holy Cow! (Ok... so I did some research into this, and turns out that a huge portion of that was actually stock in his company and not cash, but still... )

Karl and I are not rich. Not by a looooong shot. But we do have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and at the end of most months we somehow manage to stay in the black.  From what I see that means we are a whole lot more fortunate then many others. 

Here are a few small things we do to help us keep things in perspective. 


1. Both of us have KIVA accounts. We have had them since 2007, I think. From time to time, we top them up a little, but I would be surprised if there was more then $200 dollars there between the two of us. And yet that $200 has, by my count, helped no less then 12 people look after their families. At least I tell myself that. Who really knows. 


2. About 2 years ago, we started putting something extra into our shopping carts each week (or at least those weeks I remember to do so). A jar of PB, some rice, a can of beans.... little things. Never more then a couple dollars worth. On the way out the store we drop that off at the food bank bin. If you never noticed it, look a little closer as you are heading out. Each store has one. 

I drive past the food bank everyday on my way to and from work. What I see is mostly women. Many of them with children Hudson's age. Just saying...


3. This last one Karl came up with.
There is a man that comes around the neighborhood on garbage days. He may or may not be homeless, in either case, we are probably much better off then he is. He picks through peoples garbage and collects beer and liquor bottles. Until recently, we used to take what little "empties" we had back ourselves. (It always seemed to me to be more hassle then it was worth)

Now we leave the cases at the side of the curb. The cans in a plastic bag beside the bin. On purpose.

On several occasions I have seen this man at the beer store. Always returning empties. Never buying anything. (and even if he was). I am yet to be a couple of bucks short on a case.

 

24. Continue to grow my hair out
This one may seem silly to some, but for most of my adult life, my hair had been about an inch long. And now, its almost down to my shoulders. I don't love it, but I am learning to live with it. 

Oh... but mind if I do a little product plug here? Because really, I think I have tried every shampoo at both the salon and the super market, but this one here comes out on top. Hands down. And.... it's organic (or at least contains organic ingredients). And... it costs $7.00. I know! A win, win, win situation.



 I bought mine at Zehrs, but I have it sold pretty much everywhere.
 

25. Donate Blood
Check! 

In late March, I may or may not do it again. You see, what I left out of the post above was that it actually took a lot out of me. I spent pretty much the whole weekend either sleeping in my bed or on the couch. And I am not normally like that. So, while I realize that those receiving my blood likely have a tougher go than that - I think I might wait until we are a little less busy before I do it again.

26. Go Vegetarian for a week
We will do this, but I think I will wait until the summer. 
Hudson the Gardener
This will be the third year for our back yard veggie patch. 

Last year we had (way too many - again) tomatoes, zucchini, beans, peas, carrots, lots of herbs, cucumbers, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. We tried (and failed for the second year in a row) to grow some peppers. This summer we are hoping for maybe a plumb or two, and possibly cherries and some grapes (we bought little trees/a shrub last year) Karl really wants to try potatoes. I am thinking some lettuce, but we have bunnies (who are also partly responsible for our pepper failures) so I am not sure about that yet. I will for sure do a post or two about the veggie patch, once we get it going. Which will be soon enough ;)


27. Hand write a letter
I mean to write to my grandparents, because I do not keep in touch with any of them (kind of a complex family set up, so I kind of have 3 sets of grandparent. If you do not count the Canadian once we adopted. But they are pretty tech savvy so from time to time we skype with them. Or actually see them in person. I can not say the same for my European grandparents) Which is a shame. Anyways, I promise (mostly to myself) to make this one a priority. 

28. Learn something new
Oh boy, what did I get myself into. I will keep you posted.

30. Say "yes" when I really want to say "no"... and the other way around.
I left this one purposefully way, hoping the Universe would provide a way. Ahhhem... Universe.... hurry up! It's March already.....

But, all jokes aside, I think I am getting there, no?

xo, 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Check In

Hello, March!

Thanks for bringing some sunshine with you : )

Since so many of the task on my list are sort of on-going, I decided that going forward I would do an End of the Month Check In. I am hoping this will keep me motivated and on track. Hoping.

This is where I stand at the end of February:

1. Perennial border.
Nope. Backyard still covered in snow. Although there is an ever growing puddle of mud developing under the pine tree. Aaand.. maybe some dog poo. Let's not go there..

What I am dreaming about is something like this. On a smaller scale. And only on one side because we still want lots of grass for Hudson to be able to play on. And because I am not 65, and gardening is not my full time vocation. Although, wouldn't it be nice?

Via this lovely site



Via Fine Gardening Magazine

I have a thing for hostas. Karl does not, but he does have a thing for me and so he tolerates them. 
We also put in some bleeding hearts and some ferns last year, which I want to keep for sure. But lots of things we planted last year died on us, and the whole place looks kind of barren. The spot this border is going to be in is part shade and pretty moist. Any suggestions? 

2. The office
Still at 50%.
Actually, more like 48%. But....it was down to 40% for a while. (on account of Karl bringing home all sorts of audit junk, which could have been shredded on the commercial shredder in the office, but instead I spent an hour doing it on our dinky 8-sheets-at-a-time-only type) Unfortunately, as many of you know, I am not very good at sticking to instructions. And so, a small pile of junk remains, siting on the ground next to a broken shredder. Awesome!



3/4. Tobermory/Canoeing
I don't know where you are reading this from, but here in Waterloo, the HIGH for the day was -1. And while that's perfectly acceptable canoeing (or in their case kayaking) weather as far a my brothers are concerned.... I am what you might call a wimp. 

5. Bathroom Reno.
I am thiiiiiiiis close to calling someone. I even made a rudimentary mood board thingy!


You like?

6. Monthly Dates.
January - yes - skating and beers. February - yes - skiing and beers. (Heeeey.. I think there is a theme here)

7. The shopping thing.
You guys soooo want to know what the damage was like in February, don't ya? (Know how I know? I figured out how to check my stats, and guess what. The page where I talk about my January haul - most viewed. Followed by the one with those gorgeous 3.1 Phillip Lim shoes. See ....closet shoppers. All of you! Phew.... so glad it's not just me)  Ok..... coming soon : ).

8. Family picture
Two words. AUDIT. SEASON. (For those of you who are so lucky not to be familiar with the concept, an AUDIT SEASON is those 3-4 months in the winter when Karl leaves for work at 7 AM and comes home around midnight. And then goes into the office most weekends to catch up.) Maybe in the spring when daddy returns to us we will set up a little photo session.

9. Cooking and baking - trying new stuff.
I keep meaning to do a post about this. In my head I envisioned pretty photos and such. Riiiiight. It's kind of hard to cook something you have never tried before with a two year old buzzing around. And even harder to take pictures while looking something you have never tried before. Instead, I think I will just take a picture of the finished product to show of. It the boys do not eat it before I have the chance. Which totally happened this month. Twice. OK, I just lied a little - I ate most of the cookies ;) 

10. Painting
I am making some progress in the living room. Kitchen still looks awful. Not to mention the trim.

11. Playing hookie.
Can't bring myself to do it! What's wrong with me?!?!

12. Learn how to use SLR.
NOPE. The word "aperture" still intimidates me.




14. Sunglasses
Found them. Now I need to hang on to them! 

15. A weekend morning in a bookstore.
Still dreaming about this one.


Wow... this is turning into one. long. post. How about I spare your eye sight and call it a night? Maybe I'll see you here for part two tomorrow?

Good night for now.

xo,
M