five faves: halloween!

Halloween 2009, we’re on the cob

Some of my fave things about Halloween…

Seeing the costumes Kelly-Anne from Tiny Tangerines makes for her family! She is seriously my costume hero. This year they were all characters from Gwen’s fave show, Steven Universe.

Rockets candy, we bought a bag to give out to trick-or-treaters but… I ate them. FUN FACT: they are vegan and gluten free.

Spooky music! I posted about making a Halloween playlist last year, and I’m ready to crank up the spookiness again this weekend.

Super-vital infographics about what alcohol pairs with what Halloween candy like this one.


This video gets extra points for using Ghost Riders in the Sky as the music.


01 leaf drops

02 gwen gate a

03 bricks

04 gwen alley

06 cedar

05 gwen gate b

07 maple leaves in stream

08 fungus log

09 gwen ivy

10 dome & skyline

11 electra tiles

13 gwen

I think once Gwen turns three (in just a couple of weeks!) I’m not allowed to call her a toddler anymore, she will be a preschooler. Of course I still call her a baby sometimes but like… she is my babyyyyyyyy. In some ways she still seems so young (I’ve talked abt this before; her delayed speech is the cause) but she is growing up way too fast and she is into everything, all the time.

Yesterday in particular she was in rare form, like if I took my eyes off her for one second she was off making mischief. She took of all her clothes, climbed up on top of her dresser and then peed all over it. She got into the bathroom and gave herself a neon manicure. She climbed up on the kitchen counter, found a box of smarties in a cabinet I forgot to lock and gorged on chocolate. She got into the bathroom AGAIN and found the bottle of nail polish remover I forgot to put away after cleaning up her manicure, managed to open it and I just barely caught her before she started pouring it out.

Aside from all her sneaky shenanigans, she really is the sweetest, most affectionate little girl. “More hug, more kiss, more pat,” is what I hear from her all day everyday. Mostly “more pat more cat” (the girl loves cats!) but sometimes “more hug ma” (the girl loves calling me “ma”). When it’s hug time she wraps her little but freakishly strong arms around you tight and won’t let go, mashing her whole face and body into you, squeezing hard as if to express her affection through sheer force. Of course, all of this only applies to the very few people she likes; everyone else gets the brush off.

12 gwen

sleepy time

Literally yesterday I was lamenting to Taylor that there are all these cute fall kid’s pajamas rn but since Gwen TECHNICALLY hasn’t grown out of all her current pajamas I can’t justify buying any. Then after her nap this afternoon she snuck into the bathroom (someone- NOT ME -left the door open) and decided to update her manicure, her pajamas and indeed her entire body and the toilet seat lid with half a bottle of American Apparel Neon Purple nail polish. I was able to clean up the kid and the room but the pajamas were a wash in that they could not be washed so OBVIOUSLY she needs some new ones now, right? Right.

sleepy time
all from Old Navy, clockwise from top left: grey wolf, blue deer, black & white bear, black “boo!”, grey moon pattern one-piece, grey & white bear pattern, blue star one-piece

family dinner


Sunday beef stew with chorizo & pearl onions
Monday spaghetti with roasted red peppers
Tuesday quiche lorraine
Wednesday brown sugar bourbon glazed salmon & baked potatoes
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftovers for Gwen
Friday tacos maybe?
Saturday TBD ofc

I never made beef stew last week because I forgot to go tot he grocery store, but I feel it’s more of a Sunday soup meal anyway. I did not make it with dumplings because I forgot to buy flour, but it turned out pretty frigging good, and I have a lot leftover to freeze. The picture above is of the pearl onions; they were red and tinted the water when I boiled them. The trick to pearl onions (so you don’t have to spend fifty years peeling a billion tiny onions) is to boil them whole for ten minutes, drain & rinse them with cold water, the slice the top (the stem end, not the root end) off and squeeze from the root so they pop out of their little skins. It’s very gross but also very satisfying.

I’m trying to get back into meal planning & cooking still. I’ve been feeling dang cruddy lately and I think it’s because I just haven’t been taking very good care of myself. I’m tired and sickly feeling all the time, and it’s gross. I definitely need to eat more fruit & vegetables, and it’s funny that even though I buy them I don’t eat them because in my head I think “these are for Sym & Gwen!” I guess my sagging old carcass is ready to leave this world to its offspring, lol.

five faves: nail polishes for fall


Remember when I used to paint my nails every week? Remember Manicure Monday? That was a good time. I don’t paint them as often anymore, mostly because I just don’t have the time and also because I like how my acrylics look when they are all fresh and nice. I still have a big wall full of polishes though, and these are my five faves for fall. It should come as no surprise to anyone that they are all dark colours, BUT maybe it will surprise some that they are (almost) all cremes. That’s right, no glitter (I get enough of that in my work).


l-r: Hard Candy in Mushroom, long-time readers might remember the time I won a nail art contest on facebook, this mauve-grey-brown polish was part of my prize; Essie in Wicked, the perfect deep berry; Orly in Midnight Show, I actually have the Quo by Orly dupe of this but it’s exactly the same; Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in On Pines and Needles, I would like this one a tiny bit better if it was a true creme (it has a slight shimmer) but it’s super close to being perf; Essie in Licorice, pictured on my nails above, it’s literally the best black ever.

take me to the mountains

01 trees & sky

02 foliage

03 mossy brick

04 fave tree

05 gwen path

06 crows

07 oak leaves

08 leafy boots

09 stump

10 creek

11 passionflower vine

The other day I posted a picture I took of a skyscraper- blue glass against a blue sky- in a blog post and I joked (“joked”) to Taylor how off-brand it was for me. Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about the image I present here on this blog, and on instagram. I definitely carefully frame and compose all my pics to avoid including a lot of tall buildings, cars, and other urban things. Most of my pictures come from the park, the beach or the Seawall. Pictures of trees and moss and the ocean and sky. Usually I’ll only include pictures of the city from afar, like I don’t live in it, but really my house is right in the middle of downtown.

I love Vancouver and I think it’s beautiful, but I love nature more. I think trees are just about my favourite thing to look at. I don’t think I could to give up the convenience of living in the city, but sometimes I just like REALLY want to get away and go live in a cabin in the wilderness, in the forest, on the side of a mountain. Probably because I don’t want to deal with all my problems, haha. I’m feeling pretty sad this week, about a lot of things but also about nothing. I think I get sad every October. I start working (part time) next week and this morning when I was out with Gwen I was thinking about how much I DON’T ever want my life to be about work again (not that it ever really was, except for those 6 months in 2010 when I was at max capacity for daycare kids and hated my life and cried every day). I just want to create things and have that be enough.

family dinner


I’ve been feeling a little low (like sick, not depressed) so I slacked like mad on this week’s meal planning… in fact I’m doing it RIGHT NOW and I type up this post.

Sunday cinnamon raison toast with honey & apples
Monday BFD: scrambled eggs, bacon & toast
Tuesday chili & blue corn muffins
Wednesday beef stew with dumplings
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftovers for Gwen
Friday mini pizzas prob
Saturday TBD ofc

Dinner on Sunday was SUPPOSED to be pasta. Taylor and I were out shopping that afternoon and I found these BLACK penne noodles I wanted to try. I served them with a white sauce & some little red tomatoes for ~visual impact~ but it was SO GROSS. The noodles were made from black beans and like… maybe you can make pasta out of black beans, but SHOULD you? The answer is no, because the result is nasty and gluey. Gwen refused to try it, I had two bites before noping away from the table and Taylor had one mouthful that he spat into the toilet. LESSON LEARNED igss // The same day I got the black penne I also got some blue cornmeal, which I’m going to use tonight to make cornbread muffins. Blue corn is still corn though, so I’m not worried about it // I was at the grocery store this morning with Gwen buying fruit, cereal and eggs and I suddenly had a craving for beef stew. I didn’t know which ingredients I had at home already though, so I decided to hold off on getting anything for it. I really want to make it tomorrow though // I forgot that Taylor’s mom was in town last week and was taking us all out for dinner on Friday night, so I postponed the little pizzas. We’ve been making them on this lil naan breads, mini naans for Taylor, Sym and myself and micro-mini naans for Gwen.

caramel apple spike

CAS cream

My fave autumn drink (or anytime drink, but ESPECIALLY autumn) from Starbucks is the caramel apple spice. I know, not the pumpkin spice latte, so weird. I actually really dislike super milky hot coffee drinks (I’m an americano drinker) and the pumpkin spice flavour grosses me out. Fun fact: Vancouver was one of the test markets for the PSL way back in 2003 so I’ve actually been disliking it longer than anyone else/way before the backlash. Anyway, back to my one true love, the CAS: when I worked at Starbucks it was called the caramel apple cider and I think that name makes more sense because whenever I order it now they seem confused and it is often made wrong. For the record it’s:

-cinnamon syrup
-steamed apple juice
-whipped cream
-caramel sauce

NO caramel syrup, NO cinnamon sprinkles.

Anyway, recently I’ve been making my own version at home and of course I had to up the ante by making it alcoholic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I don’t have a job rn, I need a hobby! And it’s drinking! (jk)

CAS cup

caramel apple spike

-12 oz apple juice
-1 cinnamon stick
-1 whole clove
-1 small orange, washed & cut in half
-1.5 oz apple whisky
-whipped cream
-caramel sauce

CAS pan

In a small saucepan combine the apple juice, cinnamon stick and clove. Squeeze the juice of the orange into the pan and also just put the whole peel in because why not. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Remove from heat, and strain out the solids. Pour the juice into a mug, add the whisky and stir. Top with whipped cream and caramel sauce, then enjoy!

CAS whisky

If you don’t have apple whisky regular is fine, but seriously do yourself a favour and pick up some Crown Royal Apple, it is way more delicious than you think it’ll be and you will not regret it. You can also make this a family friendly daytime drink by leaving out the alcohol, although I’m pretty sure having whisky in a hot drink is medicinal so it’s fine, it’s fine. I mean, not for kids, for daytime. OH AND pro-tip: instead of discarding the used cinnamon stick, clove and orange halves, put them back in the saucepan with some water and simmer over low heat to make your house smell seasonal and amazing. yr welcome 😉

life right now

07 autumn leaves

06 st paul's

01autumn leaves

02 autumn leaves in grass

05 wall center

08 shoes & boots

03 autumn leaves

11 gwen

09 trains

04 moss on tree trunk

10 tanie & gwen

12 shamrocks

making I have been making a lot of stuff lately, and have plans to make so much more. I want to make a lot of gifts for the holidays this year (bc I am broke) and I just have so many IDEAS. This week I’m working on customizing the shoes for Gwen’s Halloween costume, as well as finishing up a new pair of boots for her. She actually just grew out of her entire collection of handmade boots, and she’s getting a little big for just suede-soled footwear so I tried something new and put a rubber sole on this pair. It didn’t turn out perfectly, and there are a couple of spots around the edges that could use a little more glue BUT I think they are alright. Some other things I want to make include more suede/leather patches, a painted leaf-patterned paperweight for my desk, and a felt woodland garland for Gwen’s bedroom.

reading After recently finishing the umpteenth re-read of my fave fantasy series of all time Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, I decided it was time for a reread of another series by the same author: Otherland. I originally read this series when it was first published (between 1996 and 2001) and own all the books in hardcover. UNFORTUNATELY we are between bookcases and all our ~physical media~ books are in boxes in the back of Gwen’s bedroom closet. I was thinking of digging them all out but ughhhhhhh there are literally a dozen boxes to search through. In the end I bought the first book for my kindle and like… it was $9 and it’s taking me FOR.EV.ER. to read it. So either I will have the time to find the motivation to get out the actually books for the rest of the series, or I will be spending $9 a month for the next few months on the other three books.

watching Almost all of my tv shows are back! In fact I think we are watching TOO MANY shows and I might need to quit some that I feel are not a worthwhile anymore cough*Supernatural*cough. It’s just so bleak; it’s fallen into the speculative fiction tv series trap where each season needs to outdo the last in terms of how terrible the struggles faced by the protagonists are. Every season and they face stronger and stronger foes and have more awful turmoil and everyone’s miserable and it just gets bleaker and bleaker until it’s JUST FUCKING DEPRESSING. Honestly when Taylor told me it was back on last week my reaction was “ughhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

loving This autumn weather. There have been a few rainy days but there have also been so many beautiful sunny, crisp, wonderful ones. It’s been hard to get much done around the house because all I wanna do is take Gwen out on adventures. Even the rainy days have been alright, Gwen has her Newt Suit from MEC (I cannot recommend this suit enough, it is so much better than any other kid’s rainsuit I’ve had experience with) and I just got a new raincoat myself. My old raincoat was still in perfect shape, but I loaned it to Sym. She is SO PICKY about coats and she liked mine so it was just easier to let her keep it and get myself a new one. I’d been borrowing Taylor’s Trail Model raincoat from LL Bean and I liked it so much I decided to get myself the same one. There is a women’s version but I got the men’s because a) I wanted a green coat, and b) I think the men’s is longer. Taylor’s is in the “tall” style and I would have liked to have gotten that length for myself but they don’t make a medium in tall.

planning So much holiday/birthday stuff! idk why I thought it was a good idea to have two kids 11 years and three days apart right after Halloween, but I did and now I have to plan their birthday party while simultaneously planning Halloween, and also for good measure why not plan some Christmas stuff too? I have this little house-shaped wooden shelf that I’m thinking of using for an advent calendar, and I finally bit the bullet and ordered a rug to paint for the play mat I’m making Gwen for Christmas. Actually, I ordered one rug and then cancelled the order because literally the next day one of the other rugs went on sale 40% off! The rug I ended up getting will be more work to customize but I think it will turn out really cool.

wishing I had money to spend on furniture. I really want to get a bench for the foot of my & Taylor’s bed, to use as storage for linens and also to replace the dog stairs. I also want to get this sideboard for the dining room and I absolutely need to figure out some sort of storage situation for the hallway, something with cupboards below to keep craft supplies and extra shoes and stuff in, and bookcases up top so I can finally unpack all the aforementioned boxes of books.