family dinner


I don’t think I posted last week’s meal plan but I did actually do one. I’m not 100% sure what all the meals I made were now (WEIRD) but I did make a chicken & rice soup using the previous week’s leftovers, and a meal with steelhead trout and baked potatoes that was pretty good. Can you believe I’d never made baked potatoes before? It’s because historically I’ve been such a disorganized scatterbrain that I would be running to the store for dinner ingredients at 5:30 and lord knows you can’t start baking a potato that late if you are trying to give your kids dinner at a reasonable time.

Sunday potato soup with green onions and emperor ham
Monday chicken tacos
Tuesday chili in sourdough bread bowls
Wednesday spaghetti & meatballs
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftovers for Gwen
Friday mini pizzas on naan bread
Saturday n/a

The potato soup I made yesterday was SO GOOD. I don’t like it when it’s too textureless so I cut a potato and a half into 1cm cubes that I cooked separately and added to the main soup after it had been blended. I used a total of six large potatoes so I have a FRICKING TON of this soup in my freezer now, which actually sucks because Gwen refuses to eat it. I’m like “THIS IS MADE OF ALL THINGS YOU LIKE” but she was like NOPE. She would only eat around the ham, onion and little potato pieces so I guess she prefers a textureless soup.

The chicken tacos were supposed to be dinner last Friday but I was too tired/lazy/suffering-from-flu-shot-dead-arm to cook that night so it was postponed until tonight // I’m attempting to make my own meatballs for Wednesday using ground turkey, please pray for me // Saturday night is Taylor’s office holiday party so I only have to make dinner for the girls, maybe they can have some leftover potato soup? KIDDING.

life right now

01 gwen reads

02 red ornament

03 green ornament

04 gwen

05 gwen sweater

06 legos

07 balloons

08 cat

09 ivy

making More iron on patches! I mean I’m still in the rough sketch stage and I can’t really afford to get any new ones made rn but I have SO MANY IDEAS, and I really love how my first one turned out.

reading Last time I made a post like this I was reading the first book in a looooooong four-book series, Otherland by Tad Williams. I thought it was gonna take me months to finish the whole series but here we are a month later and I am already well into book four. OOPSSSSSS. After that post I burned through book one (City of Golden Shadow) and book two (River of Blue Fire) super fast. Book three (Mountain of Black Glass) dragged a bit but it’s starting to pick up again in book four (Sea of Silver Light). I’m prob gonna finish the whole thing before December and I’ll need some new books to read after this so any recs would be appreciated!

watching Watching reality tv while u work is a given for us Real Housewives of Etsy. I hadn’t been Keeping Up with the Kardashians lately but there are two seasons I hadn’t watched yet on Hulu so I’m kommitted to getting kaught up. Also watched & enjoyed recently: Master of None in a weekend (loved it), Inside Out last Saturday (I cried before the opening credits so you can imagine how that went), and the best show on tv rn and if you aren’t watching it you are not living your best tv life, You’re the Worst. Seriously, watch it.

loving Cozy everything; thermal leggings, woolly socks, my husband’s sweaters. Snuggling on the couch in a heap of blankets with a hot drink (whiskey optional) and a fluffy dog. Even my cat is getting into it and will snuggle with me on the bed, purring and being super-heated (what is a cat’s average body temperature? I feel like it is higher than a regular humans).

planning TRYING to come up with a more efficient shoe storage system for the foyer, right now all of my, Taylor and Sym’s shoes are on a rickety rack and every time someone bumps against it they come pouring down in a shoenami. I’m looking at getting a pair of these cube cubbies.

wishing I had more hours in the day to get everything done without giving up my precious internet time wasting ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

holiday orders

Holiday Order Deadline Unicorn

The holiday season is upon us and that means the deadline for Christmas orders from the shop is fast approaching! The deadline this year is November 23rd, which is next Monday so if you are interested in any banners for gifts or decor this holiday season please place your order asap! All orders placed by the cutoff will be shipped no later than December 7th (and hopefully much earlier than that), but for any orders placed after November 23rd I cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas.

To ease some of your holiday shipping woes I’ve added a shipping upgrade for tracking for US customers only on certain items: full size banners, boots, blocks, and plushes. The cost is an additional $8 on top of the regular $8 shipping charge (so $16 total). Items purchased with upgraded shipping will not ship faster; the upgrade is to provide tracking only. Canadian orders for these items already have tracking at no additional cost but unfortunately I am not able to offer tracking on International orders as it is extremely cost prohibitive ($45 instead of $15 O___O). Tracking is not available on mini banners, medium banners, stickers or patches unless it is specifically requested.

Also please note that from November 23rd until December 23rd the Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade banners will not be available in Sara’s shop. They will still be available in mine BUT please remember that any orders placed after November 23rd will not ship in time for Christmas!

If you have any questions about the deadline or any of the changes to the shipping policy please do not hesitate to contact me! Thank you to everyone who has supported the shop this year and happy holidays!

five faves

I don’t actually have five faves this week because only one thing was my fave and that thing was #ALLMYMOVIES. In case you missed it, it was Shia LaBeouf watching all his movies in reverse chronological order. No sound, just a camera pointed at his face in a theatre. idek why I liked it so much but I had the livestream open in a tab on an off for most of the past three days (it’s over now). I’m not even a big fan of Shia LaBeouf or performance art but it was def my fave thing of the week.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 4.09.47 PM

it’s whaley not meant to be

lord kichoumort

So I mentioned I made a list of projects I need to finish around the house before I can put up any(more) Christmas decorations. This is the list:

• put up bedside lights in bedroom

• make pee pad pan for front bathroom

• sand & paint baseboard in front bathroom

• take all Halloween decorations to storage

• put insulating plastic on at least 6 windows

• install whale bath toy scoop

I feel like some of these need explaining: The pee pad pan & painting the baseboard are part of the same thing: back when Taylor was a single dog parent to Kichou, he worked long hours and Kichou would be at home alone so he learned to do his dog business on papers in the bathroom, a practice that continued when they moved in with me. Now he’s old and incapable of learning new tricks so he’ll still peeing on papers (or rather, pee pads) in the night. We actually got reusable, washable fabric pee pads for him to save money (and the environment) but the problem is he is a boy dog and he lifts his leg to pee every. time. So he was peeing on the baseboard and even if we sort of propped the pee pad against it, it would often fall over or slide down and as a result, the baseboard in that part of the front bathroom is STRAIGHT UP NASTY. We’ve tried cleaning it with vinegar and with bleach and it’s just beyond cleaning and as a result the room smells not great. We got some Kilz stain/odour sealing primer to use when we repaint it, but I was like “what is the point of repainting this when it’s just gonna get peed on again?” We needed some kinda litter tray to put the pee pad in to keep the pee area away from the baseboard but like… that is not a thing that is available commercially. Kichou won’t go in something that he has to jump into, so a regular, cat-style litterbox is out of the question, and while they do make 2-sided triangular corner litter trays for bunnies and ferrets, they aren’t big enough for a dog. SO HERE’S WHAT I DID: I bought a medium large Sterilite storage bin and I hacked it up with a saw. Those things are a lot harder to cut that you think they’ll be, but I had this little handsaw that did a pretty decent job. I cut off two sides so it’s still rectangular, and the sides are higher than the baseboard and higher than such a little dog can pee. It needs a little work still, I want to cut off the wide top edge so I can clip the pee pad in place, but so far it seems like it’s working and we can go ahead and sand/repaint now.

Wow, that was a lot of dog pee talk, and I apologize. That isn’t even the point of this post! The main story is the GODDAMN WHALE BATH TOY SCOOP. Gwen is a small child and has bath toys, and ever since she was little we’ve used one of those suction cup net bags to store them. The suction cups are pretty fried tho, and no longer stick to the tile. It’s also annoying fishing all her billions of toys out of the tub. I suggested to Taylor we get a scoop-style one, and a few weeks ago he ordered this Boon Whale Scoop. It’s a three-piece item: the scoop, a shelf the scoop hooks on to, and a bracket to hang the shelf on. There are two options for installing the bracket: you can either screw it into the tile OR it has adhesive tabs on the back to just stick it up. I’m not about to start drilling holes in tile so I decided to go the adhesive tab route, but I’d read some reviews that said the adhesive wasn’t great and people’s whales had noisily fallen down in the middle of the night and broken. To help it stay in place I decided to reinforce the adhesive tabs with some Sugru (an amazing product which I love); I had one pack of it left over from a different project.

It wasn’t just as simple as sticking the whale on the wall though; I had to clean the tiles thoroughly, then clean them again with rubbing alcohol, and after sticking the bracket up I wasn’t supposed to let it get wet for 24 hours so the adhesive could cure. Not so easy in a house full of people having showers all the time, but on Monday evening I was finally able to berate Symphony and Taylor to both have their showers early so I could get it done. So I was all ready to clean the wall when I realized… I’d put the box with the whale scoop in Gwen’s bedroom closet, and she was already asleep. There was no way I was going to risk waking her up so I resigned myself to having to wait another day when Mark Fluffalo, doing his Scary Cat Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital routine, jumped out and scared Sym in the hallway. She screamed right outside Gwen’s door, waking her up. I was able to soothe her back to sleep fairly quickly, and also get the whale out of the closet! I went ahead and cleaned the tile, applied all the extra adhesive, and stuck the bracket to the wall.

24 hours later the adhesive was finally cured and I went to hang the shelf on the bracket, but I couldn’t get it to fit. I was trying so hard to jam the dang thing over the bracket and suddenly I was like… wait a minute, and tried putting the shelf on the bottom of the bracket, where it fit perfectly, because I’d stuck the bracket to the wall upside down. ALL THAT FRICKIN HASSLE AND I PUT IT THE WRONG WAY UP LIKE R U KIDDING ME??? I had to pry it off the wall with a butter knife which took FOREVER because of all the extra adhesive, and now guess what? I don’t have anymore adhesive to put it back up with! I had to order more and now I’m waiting for it to arrive so I can try again, and in the meantime I still have to clean all the old adhesive bits off the tile. RIDICULOUS and FRUSTRATING as I’d crossed this item off my list and I had to UNcross it.

I do have one super success story though: yesterday I put that not-at-all-tacky shrink-fit insulating plastic on more than six windows. I actually had this up before but the property manager made me take it down because he said it could “damage the paint” on the window frames. In my opinion it’s a lot more damaging to have the painted window frames constantly wet from condensation and growing a gross biofilm all over them, and if they didn’t want the frames damaged MAYBE they should have sprung for double-paned windows instead of these cheap single panes BUT WHAT DO I KNOW. He actually sent me a registered letter with a list of suggestions on how to avoid window condensation (which he came in person to tell me he’d sent because the property management office is like 50 feet from my door?) and they were all total nonsense, like “turn on the heat lamp in your bathroom” when I don’t have a heat lamp in my bathroom, “open the window in your bathroom” when I don’t have a window in my bathroom, and “leave a window open in every room all the time day and night all winter long” when I’m not looking to freeze and also I live in a basement apartment and I’m not looking to get home invaded, raped and murdered either. Weird how a guy who lives in a big house in the suburbs and drives a Mercedes has NO IDEA what it’s like living in my rickety basement apartment, but ANYWAY, I had to take all the plastic down. So annoying and I had to spend a significant portion of last winter drying off all my windows multiple times a day. HOWEVER I recently learned that he quit or got fired or idek, but who cares HE’S GONE and I’ve insulated (most of) my windows again.

autumn chill

01 leaves

02 sass face gwen
this face

03 mossy tree

04 mossy tree

05 mossy tree

07 super sass face gwen
no, this face

06 evergreen

08 squirrel dance
squirrel dance

09 woodgrain

11 coffee date
coffee date

10 foliage

It is well and truly fall now. We got up on November 1st and it was suddenly freezing out. My friend Mark made a joke on facebook this morning about all the people wearing scarves and North faces already but you know what? IT’S FRICKIN COLD. I almost got my own North Face out of storage last week and I think the only reason I didn’t have more to do with how much time I spent NOT going outside than any sort of “oh it’s not THAT cold” thoughts. I mean… your body becomes acclimatized to the weather/temperature of whatever place you live and when you live here, anything under 10°C is FRICKIN COLD, and really, why would you want to live somewhere where it regularly dips way below freezing. NO THANKS.

On Saturday we had a small family gathering to celebrate Symphony and Gwen’s birthdays. It was pretty low-key and OF COURSE I didn’t get pictures. I remember thinking to myself that morning “I have to remember to get pictures this year!” and I then I didn’t even take out my camera. I did instagram a pic of the cake, wowe these precious memories. Actually I was pretty happy with how it turned out; I made a tired chocolate layer cake with green icing and decorated it with green sprinkles, rosemary sprig “trees,” and little plastic deers, birds and mushrooms. I also managed to fit 17 candles (14 for Sym, 3 for Gwen) onto the tiny top tier which I thought was very impressive.

Now that Halloween and the girls’ birthdays are over I can dive right in to Christmas… except I have a bunch of stuff I NEED to do around the house and I made a deal with myself I wouldn’t put up any Christmas decorations until I finish them all. Although… I didn’t say I couldn’t BUY new Christmas decorations. Look, that little tree was EIGHTY percent off! And I don’t usually go to the store where I got the two baubles so it’s not like I can buy them later. And it wouldn’t really make sense to buy new things and put them in storage for like two weeks so I might as well just keep them in the house and so I haven’t REALLY put up any decorations… Nice loophole, huh?

SPEAKING OF THE HOLIDAYS if you want to get any banners or whatnot from the shop, today (November 9th) is the last day to place orders for Hanukkah decor/gifts and November 23rd (rapidly approaching) is the last day to place orders for Christmas decor/gifts. One thing that I think would make a great gift would be one of my “Red Lipstick is Black Magic” iron on patches! They are available for pre-order now and will be shipping as soon as they reach me, which will be soon as the manufacturer shipped them yesterday.
RLIBM etsy 3

family dinner

onion garlic red pepper

What’s up blog, long time no post. Last week I was just really into working on banners and I had both girls’ birthday to plan so I said fuck it to blogging. I also said fuck it to meal planning and GUESS WHAT it was a disaster. On Sunday I defrosted some soup from my soup stash (that’s what it’s there for!) and on Monday I planned, shopped for and made white cheddar mac & cheese with bacon and campari tomatoes (so good), but after that… let’s just say we had a lot of take out. So this week I am BOUND AND DETERMINED to get my act together and be an adult about food.

Sunday tomato soup
Monday tortellini with cheese sauce
Tuesday club sandwiches
Wednesday pecan crusted chicken with broccoli & rice
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftovers for Gwen
Friday TBD
Saturday TBD

As you can see this plan kind of falls apart at the end of the week BUT a half-week plan is better than no plan, right? Right.


spooky skeleton

I was talking to my upstairs neighbor on Saturday afternoon about how both of use were WOEFULLY behind on putting up our Halloween decorations. Usually I’m scrambling to put them up during nap time/after work, but because Halloween was on a weekend I was super whateverrrrrrr about it. This lead to me rushing around trying to find more spooky caution tape and spooky cobwebs and tragically being unable to find my spooky signs and having to make new ones. It was nearly a spooky disaster! Thankfully I pulled it out in the end and got the house looking pretty alright.

spooky house

Last year tons of kids skipped my hard-to-find apartment so this year I decided to set up on the front stoop instead. It’s a good thing I did too, because my old neighbor from the front of the house who used to go all out on Halloween moved away and the new tenant is some secret weirdo that no one ever sees, and my other neighbor who was giving out candy at the front ran out in less than an hour. It was bonkers busy this year!

Sym was at her dad’s but came up to hand out candy while Taylor and I took Gwen trick-or-treating, then I stayed with Sym while Taylor got Gwen ready for bed. In a burst of cleansing synchronicity we also ran out of candy at Gwen’s bedtime so I came inside to tuck her in. After Sym’s dad picked her up I went out to get Taylor and I some food and there were still a lot of kids out, so I think next year I will get EVEN MORE candy; we had about 750 candies & were giving out 2 per kid until we started to run really low and switched to 1 per kid, and it only took 2 1/2 hours, from 5-7:30 for us to run out. Next year I will get a THOUSAND candies I think.

spooky gwen

Last year Gwen was a total pro at trick-or-treating, which really surprised me because she was so shy. I guess this year she is EVEN SHYER because we had to go all the way around the block before she finally got up the nerve to go to anyone’s door. We took a second trip around and she did pretty well, although I had to go to every door with her. Only a couple of people got her costume; it had rained all afternoon and even though it had stopped by trick-or-treat time it was still very wet and muddy out so she wore her rainboots instead of the little white shoes I painted for her. Most people guessed she was an equestrian rider, a CEO/Wall Street person, or Doctor Who. In the end it doesn’t matter as long as she had fun, which she did. Eventually.


november 2015 canadian small

November! I have three versions of this month’s calendar available: Canadian with Remembrance Day highlighted, American with Thanksgiving highlighted, and Simple with no days highlighted. You can download the full-size version of any of them here. If anyone would like a version with other holidays please feel free to ask!

I have some cool stuff going on in the shop rn. I’m trying to raise a bit of money to finance a new product so I have a coupon code available for orders paid with Paypal: 20% off an order of $10 or more with the code PAYPALONLY. The code ONLY applies to orders paid with paypal; if you use direct checkout with this code your order will be cancelled & refunded. Not valid on pre-orders or Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade products.

RLIBM etsy 1
I also have the new product available for pre-order! A three-inch round iron-on patch featuring my original “Red Lipstick is Black Magic” design, embroidered in black, white and red on a grey background. These will be shipping in mid to late November. The more pre-orders I get, the sooner they will ship, so if you like it, please pre-order! If you order any other items with this patch the other items will ship first and the patch will ship separately when it is available. Shop coupon codes are NOT valid on this item, any orders using a coupon code will be cancelled and refunded.

ADDITIONALLY the cutoff for holiday orders this year is November 9th for Hanukkah decor/gifts and November 23rd for Christmas decor/gifts. As always, please order as early as possible to avoid disappointment! Most of my items are handmade to order and take one to two weeks to make and then 4-10 business days for shipping, so it may take up to 4 weeks for your item to arrive.