Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pruning the bush

I made a goal of completing my porch decor for Christmas - in time for December 1st.

I was the house on the street that still had the pumpkins out - GASP! - I know right?! Brutal!

Oh well - the pumpkins have moved ti the side of the house (and are till waiting to be placed at the curb for garbage)

Hey my job is done - planters, wreath, lights - check.

Now Mr. Mom needs to toodle those pumpkins to the curb on Tuesday.

I am fortunate to have a friend and colleague who lives on a farm. For the past few years she's let me 'prune her bush'.....(giggle)

We plan a date and I head over there in with my pruning shears.

She has such wonderful things like dogwood, spruce, milk weed, tall grass with fluffy stuff on top, and many other shrubs that could use a trim.

The best part about this year was the Missy Z was able to experience snow for the first time. She wasn't too sure what to think - but enjoyed being carried though the property.

Mr. O always has a ball because he can run up and down the path, and though the brush.

My friend always has cats on her farm as well - and being such an animal lover, Missy Z. was right in there checking them out.

SO without further ado - here is the final product!

Nice bush eh?

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Maybe there is such a thing as November Blahs

A few posts back I mentioned that November flies by - and how as a kid the month of November seemed to take forever to complete..

 Well I'm feeling a bit of the November Blahs...

The month is flying by - and yet there hasn't been anything that has inspired me to discuss on the blog. 

The kids are well - having fun with one another.

 Mr. O is doing well at school and telling us about some inside jokes him and his friends have developed. I don't quite grasp the concept, but he is buckled over in laughter - so maybe the jokes on me? (I'm guessing this is just the beginning of that)

 Mr. Mom and I have been able to spend more evenings together- which is SO nice. We have somewhat figured out a good evening routine for the kids (finally)... but guaranteed - someone comes down with a cold or flu and we'll be at square one again... sigh.

 I am debating on outdoor planter decor - but really have been unmotivated. (random squash and pumpkins are still on the porch) 

Not sure what my deal is - since December is just around the corner.... Oh well.

 Mr. O and I did a craft together at the beginning of the month - we gave it to one of his friends who really enjoyed it! Other than that - not too much new here.

 Once I find my motivation, I'll definitely report back... until then..... enjoy a lovely Pintrest inspired craft....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mini Muffins with Baby Food

I wanted to use up ripe bananas - and I am not a huge Banana bread fan.... until I found this recipe. 

I totally forgot to pick up applesauce when I was getting groceries... so I improvised. 

I had baby food in the pantry - apples and carrots - how convenient.

What a great way to add the pureed fruits and veggies..... and the prep was non existent. 

Double Awesome.

Mini Banana Muffins - A Kid Favourite


4 ripe bananas
1 1/4 all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 sunflower oil
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup un-sweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients.
In another bowl mash bananas until soft. Then add all other wet ingredients to bananas.
Add dry ingredients to wet - do not over mix.
Scoop batter into tins.
Bake for 50- 55 minutes.
Let cool.

The Original recipe is from "The Eat Clean Diet - For Family & Friends" cookbook. Find the Eat Clean site here.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Grocery Game

When Missy Z goes down for a nap or to bed - Mr. O and I play board games.

He loves them. And he catches on quick.

Some of his favourites:

Chutes and Ladders
Ninja Turtle Trouble
Elephants Never Forget (this is played at Gramma's house)
Ziggy (..also played at Gramma's)
Memory (it's amazing how good he is at this game)

Then one day I decided to introduce him to LIFE.

Well he just loved it!

Especially the Red Car and the spinning wheel.

What's hilarious is when he says "I'd like to buy Stock and I'll play the market" matter-o-factly.

He always buys Fire Insurance and Auto insurance - good boy.

Since the reception to LIFE was good - I brought out my beloved MALL MADNESS.

This was on the top of my Christmas list for years!

Finally - Sana brought it for me. Talk about excitement. **sigh**

I had some hesitations (being a boy and already having a distaste for retail therapy).....

..... but he totally enjoyed it.

He loves to arrange the clearance and sale signs when the computer prompts it.

He knows where the credit card goes when you need to buy or go to the bank.

But his favourite part is the small staircase that takes you to the upper level.

I absolutely LOVE the Baby Stage, and playing games like Peek-a-boo - but this stage he's entering is awesome too.

Playing games with him is fun.

I have to admit that my inner child giggles with excitement when my son asks to play Mall Madness....

or in his words "the Grocery Game".

Who would have thought I'd be playing this exact game (that I swooned over as a child) - with my son.


Then I get thinking .... maybe it's tolerable to him because he thinks it's grocery shopping rather than marathon retail shopping?

.... hmmm

No matter. 

Ignorance is bliss ;)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


This past weekend was productive -

Week night menu plan + groceries- check
Use up extremely ripe fruit - check
Use up fridge items that were taking up space - check
Laundry - check
Clean bathrooms - check
Finish up on Sons of Anarchy season 4 - check (yes I know we're behind!)
Spend time with the the kids and especially Mr. Mom - double check

This may not have been possible without gaining 1 hour sleep.....

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Quinoa

2 Large Sweet Potatoes - peeled and cubed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder


1) Steam your sweet potatoes - add 2 cups of water and prepped sweet potatoes to a pot with a lid. Steam potatoes by turing stove top to medium high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until softened (poke with a fork).  Set aside. *Or steam/soften any way you prefer

2) Add the 2 tbsp of water to a pot - add onion and soften (3 minutes)

3) Add qunioa and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low then simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Add drained sweet potatoes, and puree with a hand held blender.

5) Add coconut milk and spices, sir, and increase heat to medium. Warm it to your preferred temperature,

This would be tasty served with cilantro.

The Original recipe is from "Quinoa 365 - The Everyday Superfood". It recommends serving with yogurt as well.

Can you tell this is my favourite cook book?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Another October is Done

November blahs? Nah - Does November fly by for anyone else now?

As a kid - November seemed to drag on! - Christmas was such an anticipation! The first day to open your advent calendar seemed so far away on November 1st.

November for me is a great month - Remembrance day for one - and the cool crisp days - (hopefully not so wet as last month). And all the planning for the Christmas Season - yes I said Christmas Planning.

I totally saw a Pot of Gold Christmas (a.k.a 'Holiday') commercial on October 29th.

(We will never refer to it as the "Holiday Season" - It's Christmas - always has been and always will be. Period.)

Moving on....

We've survived Halloween - a better turnout of 'trick or treaters' than predicted that's for sure!

The Pumpkin carving was a success - however the attention span was minimal - and I was left to conquer it myself.... pretty sure I re-aggravated my 'tennis elbow symptoms'.

So Our little 'goblins' were Dressed as:

Raphael (TMNT)

Bumble Bee

Cute as a button! Mr. O was SO excited to have his face painted green. 

Missy Z was very warm and cosy in her bee costume - and LOVED standing at every door and meeting flirting (batting her eyes and giving the 'infectious' giggle/grin combo) with all the neighbours.

The bubble bath post 'trick or treating' was a welcomed event, let me tell you..... that's after we scraped them of the ceiling......

Is it bad that I loving taking the kids around - because I then reap the benefits of their 'Treats'?

I do try to buy candy that I wont necessarily enjoy (I try to pass along to others November 1st)-

But when the kids buckets are filled with crispy crunch, heresy, jersey milk, butter finger ....


SO GOOD.......

who says staring your day with a butter finger is bad?
They're SO tiny now!!.... (internal justification)

To pay homage to the Harvest Season that is wrapping up - I have a cookie recipe that was well received:

Pumpkin Ginger Quinoa Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup fancy molasses
1cup pumpkin puree
1 cup quinoa flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 c white sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Fold in pumpkin puree. Set aside.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, spices in a bowl - blend well, set aside.

Add wet and dry ingredients together - mix until dough is smooth.

Roll dough in to 1 1/2" balls.

Put the white sugar into a small bowl - roll each dough ball in the sugar.

Place the balls 2" apart on a baking sheet. Bake on the center oven rack for 8-10* minutes.

*Cookies will be soft - but harden as they cool. If you want then a bit more crispy, bake a few minutes longer.

Let them cool for 1 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

This Recipe was modified slightly and the original one can be found in "Quinoa 365 - the Every Day Superfood" cookbook.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Mr. Mom Update

Mr. Mom is doing well.

Besides the busy days and nights, things are working out well. One of my worries returning to work was meals. Making nutritious meals that:

1) Mr. Mom approves of (tonnes of criteria - too extensive to list for you)
2) tasty
3) easy enough for Mr. Mom to tackle before I get home

You guessed it - Slow Cooker. We aren't 'saucy' people. We enjoy a glaze, but nothing too sweet and it's ingredient list must be low in fat, sugar and sodium - but high in protein and fibre .. and not full of pasta or rice (as per Mr. Mom).

This criteria is hard to find. This one is a winner!

Thank-you Pinterest!

Slow Cooker Chops


6 boneless butterflied Pork Chops (1-inch Thick is nice
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 clove Garlic, Minced
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Red Wine
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
¼ teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cold Water
2 cups Hot Cooked Basmatti Rice, For Serving

In a skillet, brown pork chops on both sides in oil; transfer to a slow cooker. Add garlic to the drippings in your skillet; cook and stir until aromatic or golden. Stir in soy sauce, wine, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops in the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove chops – they will probably be falling apart by this time. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually stir into slow cooker. Return chops to slow cooker. Cover and cook for at least 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve over rice.

** I did change the original recipe a bit so here is the link to the original one. I did use the exact instructions though :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

4 Years Old

We celebrated a birthday last week.

It marked the beginning of Big-Boy Birthdays.

Mr. O got to select his birthday dinner and cake flavour.

Growing up these choices were awesome. Mom would make your favourite meal, and you got to have your favourite cake. Now at my Mom's (aka Gaga) house - this still applies. Bless her heart. So naturally this tradition will be passed down to my children.

Mr. O decided he wanted:

1) Chocolate cupcakes - oops sorry - Ninja turtle cupcakes.
2) Ice cream

Naturally he waned this as the main course, but was directed to another option.

He didn't like the 'roast chicken + quinoa + broccoli option' endorsed by his father.
So Mr. O and I came up with a solution:

Homemade Panko coated Chicken tenders and ketchup, french fries and broccoli.

Yes - our children like broccoli.

Especially Missy Z..... not to fond of the cake.... definitely Daddy's girl there.

This menu satisfied all, and was personalised enough to give Mr. O 'his favourites'.

It was a low key evening and just perfect for him.

Now, it wasn't just the personal selections that made this a big-boy birthday it was him - and his appreciation for his Grandparents (guests) and the gifts he received.
I have never seen a child be more thankful for little things than this boy. It brought tears to my eyes to hear him express his gratitude. He was never once prompted or reminded - it was all him.

What a Big-boy.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

It's not you - it's me.

It's not you - it's me.

Truthfully - it's me.

I am neglectful and can be quite selfish at times to my.... account and now blog. They have not seen me in a few seems.

And with my neglect - comes the ripple effect of not keeping in touch (as fast as I should) with family and friends.

But I know most of you feel the same way - where does time go?
I have plans to make our life more efficient.
I love efficiency.
I need efficiency - things seem to become neglected with out it. Do  you agree?
Efficiency in all aspects of life is important.

Efficiency with me returning emails would be appreciated by those who send them to me, I know.

My Mother and Father-in law gave me this document they picked up from a talk they attended at a local community centre. The document was entitled "The Keys To Maintaining Your Sanity". There are only 8 statements listed, but number 8 is my favourite.
It reads:

"Good intentions are not good enough."
How true?!

This is what I'm working on - turning good intentions into actions.
And at the moment it's implementing efficiency.
It's starting small but hey, at least it's starting. 

... now all of this I've discussed is able to happen because of number 3 on the list:

"The first hour of the morning is the most important time of your day."
This is what I did in the first hour of the morning .....(x3)....

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

It begins - hockey that is....

Yep - you guessed it - Mr. O. is signed up for Hockey.

A Canadian past time rite of passage when a child is capable to stand on skates and hold a stick (hopefully at the same time).

This was a proud moment for Mr. Mom. (tear) 

Just Kidding! He was proud though!

Thank-you to a friend who recommended KMHA for Hockey Beginnings. Mr. O had a ball.

It was the cutest thing too see such a small guy all dressed up (they have to wear full equipment). And thank -you to the "ABC's of the Detroit Red Wings Hockey" book - he knew exactly where and what each piece was and went.

**He made sure to show me the 'cup' post practice..... right before dinner actually..... "Daddy says this is very important" I had myself a little chuckle... that's not in the book.

So 1 day a week you'll find us at the rink - for now.

Our dear little Z be-lined it for the ice when the door along the boards opened. 

She knew where and what she wanted....'s just a matter of time - you can bet Daddy will have her on skates this winter.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

1st Birthday and the return to work

That's it - here and gone - SO quick.

Missy Lou  turned one and I have returned to full time work. Where does the time go?

Thank-you for all the Birthday wishes - and thank-you for a wonderful weekend filled with cake, laughter and love!

I was chatting with a girlfriend who's 1st born turned 1 this summer - she hit the nail on the head when explaining the size of the Birthday party- "it was pretty much a small wedding".

Yep - inevitable - 1st Born, 1st grandchild, 1st - 1st Birthday - it will be huge.

Mr. O's 1st Birthday took place over the course of 3 days - WAY too much! So we tried to scale back...

Missy Lou's Birthday was a two day event - 2 parties which co-incided with Thanksgiving.

Party #1 was a Dora theme - complete with A 'map' for a scavenger hunt, purple 'backpack' (or buckets) to hold all scavenger items, a Pinata (of Dora... slightly creepy - yet hilarious as the kids loved to smack the crap out of it), and of course the cake.

On the hunt....
Party #2 was what I'll call the PINTREST party - everything was inspired by Pintrest.

The Pintrest inspired decorations worked out really good!

embroidery hoop + fabric+ "1"+ ribbon

tissue paper + pipe-cleaner (click here for tutorial)

'clothes line' of pictures documenting each month

balloon weight - small glass jar +  4 boxes smarties + #1 candle
But I think my most TRIUMPHANT Pintrest inspired idea was the Zebra Cake....

she was Marvellous!
 SO Delicious too:
Piped with reverse shell technique - you tubed it that morning! (Icing took about 1/2 hour)

Now Missy Z - didn't want to get her hands dirty - and actually didn't eat/smear/wear her cake (which was too bad as that is probably the best part of the 1st Birthday) - However she did enjoy her cake the next day :)

Here is the Zebra Cake Tutorial. I did use the Betty crocker mixes - as they were on sale for 88 cents that week - The cake was moist and quite enjoyable!!

We all had a ball - and slept REALLY well that night.....

... and then bright and early the next morning - my alarm went off and that was it - Mat leave over - 1st Birthday came and went.... and I was off to the clinic.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Return of Mr. Mom

Thanks Giving Weekend is here -

That means my Mat leave/Parental leave is officially over....
Missy Z. is turning 1
.....and Mr. Mom returns!

I'm extremely fortunate to have had a year off, and am even more fortunate to have a husband with flexible work hours that child care isn't an issue.

Not only that, he is the best person to step into the "Mom" role.

He's the best Mr. Mom I know.

As Mr. Mom settles in - I too have to adjust my new 'hat'. Organizing meals and cleaning schedules around a full time work schedule has me be a bit worried. I feel I've just found my routine - and now have to completely change it - sigh.

The thought of  the "back to work routine" is a bit daunting - I have to remember that I have done it before - and all the encouragement from friends (who have little ones) who returned to work sooner than me makes me feel better. Thank-you to all of you!

The return to work date also co-incides with Mr. O taking the bus to and from school. We started him to school last week, but next week will be from school as well. The only reason he didn't do it right from the beginning was that we had the luxury of taking him - and I wanted to drive him.

Boy was he exited for the bus though!!

He was a bit shy - but the driver was so great. She had him sit right at the front the first ride - and the rest is history.

He got home from school and the first thing he said was - "Mom, when I ride the bus I DIDN'T have to wear a seat belt... or sit in a car seat!"

This was followed by - "...does the police man say I have to wear a seat belt and sit in a car seat on the bus?"

(my answers to many questions about safety is "... the policeman says you have to" or "...the policeman says you can't do that".)

So I said "no, just in the car".

Then I hear "..... I like the bus".

A boy who already knows when the rules can be bent - Oh dear.

I will definitely update about the Birthday Celebrations - but for now here is a recipe that I wanted to share that the whole family likes.

Roasted Kale (can you believe it!)

...actually - we like to call it  Kale Chips.

They're very yummy and if baked well - can be very crispy and salty - like chips.

KRU Kale Chips

1 bunch of Kale - cut out the main stem of each leaf as this is too firm to eat.

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt - to taste (I probably use 1 tsp...sometimes more)

Fresh ground pepper - to taste (I probably use 1 tsp... sometimes more)


Pre-heat oven to 425 

Wash/Rinse and dry the leaves once all the stems are removed

*feel free to rip the larger leaves smaller if you like

Arrange on a baking sheet (the leaves will be piled up)

Drizzle EVOO, sprinkle salt/pepper over top of the leaves.

Toss with your hands to coat all the leaves.

Bake for 13-15 minutes.

**While in the oven make sure to flip/toss with a flipper occasionally to reduce the chances of 'soggy' spots. The Kale will shrink so this makes it easier to move around.

The Kale should brown slightly - be careful not to "over crisp".


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Meet the Teacher and "rocks"

Our first "Meet the Teacher" night was a success.

It was completely nostalgic for me.
All the memories came back in a flash - going to school "after hours",
walking to the class room,
and seeing your teacher (and the slight awkwardness of 2 different authority figures in your the same room).
I totally remember those days.

The report on Mr. O was great.
He's a very contentious and meticulous - (he gets that from his mother..tee-he wink).
He has the attention span to school work like his father (...moves through it quickly - or 'tires' easily...tee-he ..wink).
It's hilarious to see these qualities reveal themselves at such a young age.

Missy Z. quite enjoyed the classroom as well. Making friends where ever she goes - definitely not an overly shy child when faced with other kids - especially those with stuffed animals. She was chasing a boy (who's a student in the class) around the room because she wanted to go "awe" (which includes a snuggle and kisses) to the stuffed puppie. He was a bit freaked out - but eventually allowed her to touch the toy. She had a ball - and made her self at home in the class.

I think the last hilarious moment today was when Mr. O told me that his teacher had a house.
Can you remember those days when the realization that your teacher actually left the school - was an actual event?!
They actually had a home - and didn't live at the school...
....I'm pretty sure I was way past JK when that concept actually materialized in my mind.

Lastly I wanted to share a small project that was created for Missy Z. She loves sparkly things. Right out of the womb the girl gravitated to credit cards and diamonds. I'm pretty sure it's apart of her genetic blueprint. I can truthfully say - nothing was directed to her to 'like' these things, she found them all on her own.

Missy Z's grandma found a sewing notion that was a strip of 'faux diamonds'. Z. went nuts for it - giggled and smiled every time she saw it. So, with further ado - here is Z's first tennis bracelet:

small piece of elastic hand stitched to diamond strip

no worries - it's not tight - those are just adorable wrist rolls

...But don't be fooled by the rocks that she's got - she's still Zoomer from the block.

Eat your heart out J-Lo.