a to zed

This afternoon I went to go put some art up in the playroom (the walls have been pretty bare after repainting) but I can’t find my alphabet poster. I still have the frame but the posted is who knows where. Luckily I still have all my old designs from my 2013 diy (I can’t believe it’s been FIVE years since I made this) so I quickly adjusted the colours to this pretty blue and ordered a new one from Staples. You can download this new version here, or check out the original post for other colours/styles.

five faves

Hey everyone, longtime (sort of?) no write. Something something blogger cliche about being busy, too busy to blog. I mean I guess I actually have; we are in the first week back at school after a very long spring break and it’s been hard to get back into our regular routine and I’ve undertaken a bunch of projects around the house that are really taking up a lot of my time. But I’ll get into that in another post; for now here’s a few faves for your Friday morning.

A friend posted this article on her instagram stories this morning; it’s an oldie but very fascinating to me because I love buying weird food at HomeSense (Canadian branch of TJ Maxx).

I haven’t bought a new bathing suit in a long time but I just got this two piece (top, bottom) and I’ve never had a high waisted bikini before but I kind of love it?

image via Zara

I don’t generally go for shirts with graphics of messages but this one really spoke to me.

I really want to get some of these INTENSELY CREEPY mother-of-pearl hands to use in a crystal tiara but they are a little pricey. I did buy some tiny golden skulls last weekend so we’ll see what I come up with.

Taylor and I have been watching Wild Wild Country on Netflix this week and if you haven’t yet, you should because it is BONKERS.

shine & sparkle

Sorry about the lack of posts, we (mostly me) have been SEVERELY ATTACKED by a series of viruses and blogging has fallen by the wayside. Like in one week I had norovirus (the dreaded daycare disease), a cold sore (IN MY NOSE) + terribly swollen glands, and then a cold with runny nose and sore throat. In ONE WEEK. Very uncool, immune system. Very. Uncool.

However we’re now mostly over everything (except my poor nose, wahh) and even better, it’s finally becoming spring outside. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and best of all, it’s finally warm. I’m really looking forward to spending more time outside with the kids, and going on longer excursions with them now that I have a HUGE stroller that seats them all. I know I say this ALL the time but I REALLY want to start going for walks around the Seawall again, like I used to do every day when Symphony was a baby, as well as quite often when Gwen was little. I don’t think Nicky has ever been around it, which is just like… unacceptable.

Anyway. The REAL purpose of this post is actually my etsy shop, which is back. I actually reopened it a few months back but have been half-assing it quite spectacularly. I was re-inspired this weekend and finally got around to photographing and listing all the crystal tiaras I had left from last summer, as well as making a few new ones that I really love! Click on the images to visit the shop.

I have a fairly limited amount of these pretty ombre crystals, so don’t miss out on tiaras made with them!

I am OBSESSED with this tiara! The construction was a real challenge and it took me many tries to figure out the best way to get the pearls on the front but I’m so happy with how it turned out.

Everything currently listed in the shop is ready-to-ship and you will receive the item pictured. It also says I’m not accepting custom requests at this time but if you REALLY REALLY want something different just email me!

this week

This week. THIS WEEK MAN.

You know the saying that like… comedy is tragedy plus time? So many things have gone awry this week that it’s ALREADY funny, and the week isn’t even over. No need to wait for the tragedy to become comedy when your life’s disasters are on a 24-hour news cycle! Fair warning: a lot of the things that went awry involve a great variety of bodily fluids. The amount of time I spent this week cleaning up pee and poo and puke…!

But we’ll start with me. Last week I bought myself some new baking sheets. I wanted to make cookies for the Thursday Treat (it’s A Thing now) this week, but all my old, crudded up baking sheets were different sizes and thicknesses, so it was almost impossible to figure out cooking times. I just wanted baking sheets that were the same size and the same thickness that would conduct heat in the same way. I’ve finally figured out my oven’s quirks (after only 11 years in this apartment): it runs a little hot, especially on the right side. So I have to rotate whatever I’m cooking laterally halfway through in order to achieve a consistent bake, or roast, or whatever. ANYWAY. I got these new baking sheets so I threw the old ones away. However when I was carrying them to the door, I dropped one. On my foot. No big deal, right? Except the way I was carrying it, it hit my foot on one corner. If it had landed flat, or one the edge I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so painful or dramatic, but all the weight of the thing concentrated on that one corner was just beyond! I’m sure there are mathematical calculations you could do with the weight of the sheet and the height from which it fell to figure out the psi or whatever, but all I need to know was that it HURT. I hobble-ran around the house yelling the kind of nonsense non-swears you yell when you are around little kids: “FRIBBIN FRABBIN JACKALOPIN FLUFFERNUTTER!!!!” The top of my foot swelled up like a gross ballon and started to bruise almost right away. It’s been a few days and the swelling still hasn’t gone down completely and the bruise is spectacular and encompasses the entire dorsal area (yes I googled that so I wouldn’t have to say “top of my foot” again). It goes from arch to arch, toe to ankle, purple and green and yellow. It’s quite a treat.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the same foot that developed plantar faciitis last summer, but I don’t have pain from that anymore because acupuncture cured it? I’m a believer now.

Ok. So. The other thing? I swear to god it’s been one kid or another, one animal or another with the bodily fluids ALL WEEK. It’s mostly blurred together into a haze of scrubbing and wiping and rinsing and sanitizing and washing. Nicky’s hair still smells pukey (after MULTIPLE washes!) and I have never been so goddamn happy to have in-suite laundry in my entire life. It’s also really brought to the forefront my & Taylor’s different parenting styles: when a toddler is barfing and screaming and barfing my go-to plan is to just hold them in place where they are (be that in a high chair, in front of the fridge or next to the front door) until they finish barfing so you only have to do crime scene cleanup in one spot, while Taylor’s natural instinct is to grab them and run? where? the bathroom? I’m not really sure, and I don’t know that he does either.

It’s also worth mentioning that I have an old baby wipes box of latex gloves to wear when I’m changing the daycare kids’ diapers (as per health authority regulations) and WOW have they come in handy this week.

Thankfully out of our family only Nicky has gotten sick (so far…). I think it’s actually been a few years since we’ve had a vomitty disease that’s stricken multiple members of the family, which is kind of incredible considering. Just in case anyone else gets hit we’ve all cancelled all of our weekend plans to have sleepovers, go snowboarding, and do Korean foot-peeling masks with our sisters. Ballet class is still on for now; we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, if no one gets sick I guess I can spend this weekend working on my endless closet-rearranging scheme. So far I’ve emptied my craft closet, sorted out a bunch of old paint cans from the kitchen closet, and put some crackers where the paint cans used to be. Soooo it needs a bit more work.

The acorn is actually a candle jar; the netting over the bottle was from a package of garlic? I think? Or maybe shallots. Either way it’s repurposed. Also I just realized now that the diamond pattern of the net matches the diamond pattern of the acorn top matches the diamond pattern on the wooden coaster, and yet I had them grouped together? The subconscious mind is WILD.

When we went snow tubing I sunburned my lips and for WEEKS nothing helped to heal the dry, peelly, chapped and PAINFUL mess. Last weekend in desperation I went to Sephora and spent TWENTY-TWO DOLLARS on this Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm. I said that if it didn’t completely heal my fried lips in ONE DAY I was returning it, and guess what? IT TOTALLY WORKED. I started using it on Saturday afternoon and woke up Sunday morning completely restored, goddammit. So if your lips are dried, fried or generally a wreck I recommend this. You’ll love it, and I’m sorry.

This week’s Thursday Treat: brown butter & toffee chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to try a new recipe so I googled “best chocolate chip cookie bon appetit” (I’ve had really good luck with recipes from them) and this was the result. Ironically (?) this recipe ACTUALLY comes from a baking blogger from Nanaimo, BC, which is 12 minutes from my hometown of Nanoose Bay. WHAT R THE ODDS. My grocery store didn’t have any Skor bars but it did have bags of Skor toffee bits so I used 80 grams of those, and 50% cacao chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate wafers (i… dk what those are). These came out delicious, and I got to use my new baking sheets! I also used an ice cream scoop to measure the batter for the first time and why? have I not always been doing this? You should do it too; my scoop is from Crate & Barrel and it works great.

Nicky is no longer drinking formula at all, so this week I washed and cleaned our beloved baby bottle machine so we can sell it, and with the counter space freed up by its absence I spent a glorious afternoon rearranging the kitchen. The toaster and bread box are with the coffee maker in a breakfast-slash-sandwich zone. The coffee maker is next to the sink so you can refilled its water reservoir easily. The stand mixer is closer to the stove which makes sense because most things you mix, you also need to cook. The space makes so much more sense now and is so much more ~visually open~ (sorry). I need to get a second or bigger utensil holder and I want a different breadbox; there’s nothing wrong with our current one but the steel doesn’t go with my current ~aesthetic (again, sorry) and it has a big dent on the top where someone (me…) dropped a jar of salsa on it the first week we had it. I would love one that was wood or white, but I also want a drop-front and a flat top so I can store stuff on top of it. The same one we have now comes in white, which would be perfect EXCEPT it’s not really available here? You can get it on UK sites for £31, but here in Canada I can only find it from sketchy resellers for $160, or $100 + $60 shipping. So the search continues.

OH! As part of the kitchen & pantry project I made labels for all my salts this week! Except this isn’t all of them, I need to get more of these jars (from the dollar store) for the rest of them. I have the labels all ready when I do though

You would never guess this guy has barfed over one hundred thousand times this week.

family dinner

Sunday: farfalle primavera Another of Gwen’s picks, I swear that kid would eat noodles for every meal if she could. She actually requested NO SAUCE but I was like… nope. I threw together a quick primavera with all the assorted leftover tomato sauces in my fridge & freezer, adding garlic, yellow & orange peppers, snow peas, broccoli and some Italian seasoning.

Monday: chicken with scalloped potato casserole I got this recipe from a cookbook I bought for my sister, here it is with my ~adaptations

2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts
1 cup chopped bacon
2 lbs potatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 large onions, sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, hot
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
green onions for garnish

1. Heat oven to 300°F. Heat half the butter and the oil in a large skillet and fry the chicken and bacon for 5 minutes, or until lightly brown.
2 Layer half the potato slices, the half the onion slices in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Season with salt, pepper and half the thyme, and dot with 1/3 tbsp of butter.
3. Add the chicken and bacon, season with salt and pepper to taste, and dot with 1/3 tbsp of butter. Cover with the remaining onions and finally a layer of potatoes, season with salt, pepper and the remaining thyme and dot with the remaining butter. Pour the hot chicken stock on top.
4. Cover and cook in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked, adding more hot stock if necessary.
5. Just before serving, sprinkle with freshly snipped green onions.

Tuesday: leftover chicken and scalloped potatoes Tonight’s meal was SUPPOSED to be chili with cornbread, but when I started cooking the meat it seemed… off. I’m very paranoid after maybe food poisoning us the other week so I scrapped it in favour of leftovers. There was actually a TON of Monday’s dinner left; the recipe made a huge amount of food and as it turned out, Taylor wasn’t home that night so it was just me & the little kids.

Wednesday: chili After getting new meat, I finally made the chili. We typically use this recipe, and it’s DELICIOUS. I was too lazy to make the cornbread though.

Thursday: scrambled eggs & toast This was just for the little kids as Taylor and I took Symphony to see Black Panther that night. Our dinner was movie theatre popcorn.

Friday: pizza I did NOT make this, Taylor ordered it while I went out for a Fun Mom Dinner with my friend Jill and some of the moms I see at the school everyday. So really I only cooked three meals last week? This week I am going to try to make all the dinners using just what I already have in the house (except for one main dish), so wish me luck!

snowy day

I had a surprise day off today, probably the last in a while, so I decided to make the most of it and take Nicky out for an early morning snowy day walk. For some reason late February snow always surprises me but I think it happens here pretty frequently so idk why that is! It’s actually snowed like three times in the past week but today is the first “real” one.

Nicky staying cozy in his stroller with the weather shield on!

This week’s Thursday treat was cupcakes, at Gwen’s request. I used this recipe for white cake, but halved to make 12 cupcakes. I topped them with this cute Fairy Tale sprinkle mix from Sweetapolita and they were a big hit with all the kids.

This boy loves his apples.

family dinner

I thought I took a pic of at least one of these meals but… I did not.

Sunday: garlic parmesan chicken with potatoes and salad This was Gwen’s request. When Taylor and I were meal planning she asked for “the chicken we always have,” which is true because I make this OFTEN. I make a couple changes to this recipe, as follows:
-I leave out the spinach, as no one likes it but Taylor and myself and it’s easier just to skip it as I don’t find that it really adds much to the dish.
-I pre-boil the potatoes because otherwise I find that they don’t cook enough in the time it takes the chicken to cook. Nothing more disappointing than hard, uncooked potatoes.
-I leave out SO much butter. The recipe calls for 7 tablespoons and this week I used… one. I cooked the chicken in just one and found that when it was time to make the sauce in the same pan, between the leftover butter and the chicken fat there was enough fat in the pan to sauté the garlic and make the roux. I could have MAYBE added like… 1/2 a tablespoon, but that’s it.

Monday: NOTHING We had a very late drive-thru lunch on our way home from snow tubing so no one was really hungry at dinner time. We gave the little kids some veggies just so they wouldn’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night but no one else wanted to eat.

Tuesday: spaghetti with garlic toast I made the garlic toast using bread I baked myself! I tried making some bread the other week but it came out… weird. There were a couple of problems with it, not all entirely my own fault, but this second attempt (using a different recipe) came out so much better!

Wednesday: slow cooker sweet & sour pork over rice This was a new recipe for me; I tried another one last year when Gwen was doing gymnastics but I didn’t like it. This one was a little better but I feel like it had too much apple cider vinegar in it, which made it a little TOO sour. I added 2 extra tbsp of brown sugar to combat that but I think it would have been better solved by halving the amount of ACV in the first place.

Thursday: macaroni and cheese for the girls, leftover chicken & potatoes for me. Usually Taylor and I have takeout later after the kids ar ein bed but I was TOO HUNGRY to wait, haha.

Friday: pizza night This week’s pizzas: yellow pepper and basil, and pepperoni. I wanted to put the leftover mac & cheese on the pepperoni one but my unadventurous family was like NO, ugh how rude!

four layer black forest cake

This week I got a real bee in my bonnet about making a Black Forest cake, so even though Gwen’s Lego Club was cancelled, so Sym wasn’t here AND I had to go to the school I whipped one up anyway. I wasn’t able to finish it before I left for the school (the layers hadn’t cooled enough), but Gwen loved helping me decorate it, although in the end she chose some Mini Eggs for her treat rather than cake.

I used my usual chocolate cake for this, and I didn’t have any whipping cream so I put buttercream on this instead (SORRY, GERMANS). Whipped cream on a cake really only works if you are eating it all in one sitting anyway, which we were not, so it was for the best. I used this recipe for the cherry filling, just halved because my cake was smaller; I baked four 5-inch layers for this. I actually meant to make five layers but I overfilled my pans and didn’t have enough batter for the fifth. The four layers proved to be a problem when I realized the cake wouldn’t fit under my cake dome, but after Taylor and I cut a couple slices the whole thing fell over on its side (OOPS) so like… problem solved.

family dinner

Sunday: rainbow tortellini with 3 1/2 pepper sauce and oakleaf lettuce salad This dinner was a bit of a goof. When we were at the grocery store I was like “WOW I CAN’T BELIEVE I DON’T NEED TO BUY ANY ONIONS THIS WEEK” but I did need one, for the pasta sauce I was planning on making that night. Oops! Luckily I had some of the previous week’s seven pepper sauce in the freezer so I added it for a little extra flavour. It was just ok though, so next time I really need to do better!

Monday: brown butter, garlic & sage porkchops with roasted broccoli and mashed potatoes Nicky really likes broccoli but it’s so messy for a baby to eat (all those little flower buds!) so my trick is this: I peel the stems and cut them into sticks to make broccoli “fries” for him! It works like a charm and reduces food waste as well. I use this recipe for pork chops that my whole family LOVES.

Tuesday: almond chicken with roasted purple cauliflower and honey glazed carrots I realized partway through that I’d used this chicken recipe before, with LIMITED success. I just don’t understand how… to stop all the breadcrumbs from sloughing off when you do the second dip into the egg mixture? Anyway this was redemption night for roasted cauliflower, I reduced the cooking temp AND time and it turned out perfectly. I also made cauliflower fries for Nicky that were another hit.

Wednesday: Slow cooker Mongolian beef over rice I’ve made this a few times and the first time it was perfect but each subsequent time the sauce hasn’t thickened up enough! I need to figure out what I am doing wrong because when this turns out well, it turns out REALLY well. This time I also left out the shredded carrots because I was worried they were giving Nicky tummy distress*

Thursday: leftovers extravaganza! We had a lot of leftovers from dinners I made earlier in the week so I let the little kids each pick what they wanted. Ok, I picked for Nicky but I know what he’s into, so he had some porkchops, Mongolian beef, cauliflower and rice, and Gwen had chicken, mashed potatoes and carrots.

Friday: pizza night This week I made two pizzas, both with cocoa tomatoes, bell pepper and basil, but the second one I also added some cream cheese (leftover from making cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls). I know that sounds weird, and Sym was appalled, but it worked! I cut it into little slices but I feel like I should have rolled the slices into balls and smushed them for a better ~look~. Anyway both pizzas were good but I didn’t make enough dough to make two larges so the thin crusts were a little TOO thin. We also had a microgreen salad.

*Nicky had some gnarly diapers last week after we had a meal with carrots, and again after the glazed carrots on Tuesday. However Taylor and I also felt a little sick this week so I’m not sure if carrots don’t agree with Nicky or if we were a little food poisoned and it just hit Nicky harder because he’s little and also he could have eaten whatever made us sick twice due to the leftovers extravaganza. I’m not sure though, because neither Sym or Gwen was sick at all. In any case we composted all the leftover leftovers and I’m going to hold off on giving Nicky carrots for a while.