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


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

kitty black cat

no-name cat

There are a lot of fluffy black cats in my neighborhood and they all like to hang around at my office window. I mean, there ARE other kids of cats as well, mostly stripey, and my upstairs neighbors have a fluffy silly goose of a ragdoll who keeps trapping himself outside and then meows at my window until I rescue & return him to his owners. But mostly it’s the fluffy black cats who come to my window to ask for pets.

There is Smokey, a big tom belonging to my neighbors two houses west.

There is Lola, a medium molly belonging to my neighbors two houses east.

There is a little no-name cat that I think is a female (due to her size) that I have no idea where she lives or who she belongs to.

Smokey likes to pretend he is unfriendly & too cool for pets but he is a really a hair baby. Lola is a little skittish but also loves pets, and the no-name cat is SO FRIENDLY OMG. She and Lola will both come right inside onto the windowsill or even climb down onto my desk. Gwen loves it when this happens because Gwen loves any opportunity to pet a kitty. She’ll come running over breathlessly squeaking “hi! hi! hi kitty black cat!” and will pet and pet and pet those cats as long as they will let her. The other day she actually tried to climb out the window after the no-name cat, she loves petting them so much.

All this talk of fluffy black cats may have you thinking “hey Tanie, don’t YOU have a fluffy black cat?” And you would be correct, I DO still have a cat, and if you follow me on instagram you would have seen me posting a lot more pictures of him recently.

Mark Fluffalo is still very shy and very skittish, but he freakin’ LOVES attention, and his love of attention is starting to become stronger than his love of hiding under the furniture all the time. Two times recently he didn’t run under the bed when I walked into the bedroom. When he is under the bed I can reach under there and pet him and he doesn’t hiss or scratch me anymore. The other night he cuddled next to me on the couch for a really long time and was so chill I was even able to trim five of his claws before he bit me (not hard). It’s a kind of miracle. It’s also miraculous how gentle and patient he almost always is with Gwen. He is less scared of her than anyone else so sometimes the only way to pet him is to send Gwen in first because he won’t run away from her. It’s a pretty good trick, and she definitely deserves a lot of the credit for taming this savage beast.

gwen & mark

kitty black cat

family dinner



Sunday roasted red pepper soup w/tomato & arugula salad
Monday tortellini with cheese sauce
Tuesday breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, hashbrowns
Wednesday veggie sliders with baked onion rings
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftovers for Gwen
Friday mini pizzas
Saturday TBD ofc

Sunday’s soup is one I made myself from scratch, using the peppers I roasted last week, plus some leftover chicken, carrots and onion from the previous week. One of my goals for this whole meal-planning experiment is to waste less food, so I am pretty pleased with myself for using up a bunch of leftovers in such a delicious way. Pre-roasting all those peppers was also a genius move, so I bought EVEN MORE on Friday and I’m going to roast them all too. Hopefully I can make the cheese sauce for Monday’s dinner without RUINING MY LIFE. Wednesday’s meal is obviously last Friday’s meal that was never made due to the whole salmon/macaroni & cheese incident. I had to bump last Wednesday’s salmon to Friday so as not to waste it (it turned out so good, I made a glaze with some leftover honey hoisin sauce, orange juice, ginger and white pepper), so Friday’s sliders are now Wednesday’s. This is sure to annoy Sym, as I made sliders on Fridays all summer so when I made salmon last Friday she was like THIS SEEMS WRONG, and she’s bound to feel the same way about sliders on a Wednesday. HOWEVER I don’t want to wait until the end of the week to use the onions I already bought so she’ll just have to deal with it.

family dinner


Sunday leftover pizza
Monday pierogis with roasted peppers and bacon
Tuesday veggie chili & cornbread
Wednesday honey ginger salmon with broccoli & rice
Thursday POUTINE NIGHT/leftover for Gwen
Friday veggie sliders with baked onion rings
Saturday TBD

Monday’s pierogis are actually last Friday’s pierogis because I didn’t make them, oops. Gwen wanted to go to the beach that afternoon and we got home too late for any kind of dinner. I was going to make them on Saturday instead but we were out all afternoon wandering the city and I was too tired to make anything so I just sat on the couch watching Steven Universe until Taylor ordered pizza, but at least that gives me dinner for tonight as well! I’ve never made cornbread before but I needed cornmeal for the onion rings so I figured WHAT THE HECK. Saturday is once again TBD, probably it’ll be nachos for Taylor & myself and leftovers for Gwen. I decided to roast the peppers today, and when we went to buy groceries there was a bunch of assorted weird field peppers in all kindsa reds, oranges and purples for super cheap so I got a huge bag and I’m roasting them all. I figure whatever I don’t use tomorrow can be frozen (if Gwen doesn’t just eat them, she LOVES roasted peppers and will probably devour them all). I also want to make a soup to freeze sometime this week to use up some of last week’s leftovers (I made A LOT of carrots).

family dinner


While I’m unemployed I’m trying to really get this running-the-household stuff in order, the idea being that if I form all these good habits now, then once I’m back to work I’ll keep them up. (or maybe I’ll just be so good at it that Taylor will be like “o don’t worry about working at your job, you’re so much better at just being a SAHM!” lol ya rite). ANYWAY. While Taylor was away I tried my durnedest to cook actual meals for the girls and myself, and I’m DETERMINED to stick to it. Cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping for the planned meals and not going wildly off-list… all things I hate doing but things that need to get done nonetheless. On the weekend I planned out this week’s dinners, and so far so good…

Sunday cheese tortellini with tomato sauce, spinach & arugula salad
Monday panko-crusted chicken with mashed potatoes and honey-glazed carrots
Tuesday red pepper & black bean soup
Wednesday quiche lorraine with fried potatoes and tomato salad
Friday pierogis with roasted peppers and bacon
Saturday TBD

Sunday and Tuesday only Gwen, Taylor and myself were here for dinner so I kept those meals pretty simple and fast. Thursday will be the same, but that is poutine night for me & Taylor so Gwen will be having leftovers. The chicken I made on Monday was the first non-bacon meat I’ve cooked myself and been able to eat in months. I think the trick is to handle it as little as possible or I get grossed out by the texture. The soup on Tuesday was not homemade but I want to get back into making soups this fall. I did it a few times last year and it was p. cool having a stash of various soups in the freezer for nights when I didn’t want to cook. The quiche is something I made for the first time while Taylor was away. It was super easy to make and turned out SO GOOD. I felt bad that he didn’t get any (because I ate the whole thing…) so I decided to make it this week as well. Saturday is still TBD, normally Gwen would have leftovers and Taylor and I would have nachos, but Sym will be here this weekend (normally she’s at her dad’s on Saturdays). She can’t eat tortilla chips with her braces so having nachos for dinner seems cruel. Maybe tacos? Or burgers? I have a baked onion ring recipe I’ve been wanting to try out, that could go with burgers.

the fair

fair ride

mini horse gwen

sno cone gwen

fair crowds

gwen & sym

taylor at the fair

deep fried oreo gwen

Before Taylor went to San Francisco he and I took the girls to the fair. Through some seriously poor planning we ended up going on free admission day so even though we got there before it opened it was SO BUSY! We went to see all the baby animals first before the barns got too crowded. Gwen loved it, especially all the bunnies and the baby horses. Getting food was total chaos and I ended up waiting for over half an hour for my chicken & waffles, which in hindsight seems idiotic but was actually worth it to see how much Sym and Gwen liked it (of course I shared). I’d planned on taking Gwen on some of the kiddy rides since she is tall enough now, but the lines for those were just absurd and she was starting to get pretty grumpy, so I guess we’ll try next year.


gwen & georgie x 5

Yesterday morning was ROUGH you guys. Gwen was tired and cranky, I was tired and cranky, and it was the morning with the whole day to get through yet. GROSS. In a weird miracle though, everything that happened later in the day was a total delight:

1. GWEN NAPPED. Yes, finally, blessedly, she napped for AT LEAST an hour and a half. I set up a little naptime cot for her in the living room with STRICT INSTRUCTIONS that she had to stay on it. Of course she didn’t, and ended up moving up onto the couch, which she promptly fell off of. Hopefully she learned a valuable lesson about staying on her cot and today will go even better, with a yes to napping and a no to falling off the couch. Because she napped she was in a much better mood in the evening, went to bed at the normal time and stayed in bed until 6am. Just an all-round win in the toddler sleeping department.

2. A shirt? dress? tunic? I ordered a billion years ago came in the mail and is totally perfect.

3. I had at least half a dozen people contact me about childcare! Maybe more! And I have three meetings set up! Hopefully a couple will work out! Fingers crossed!

4. Sara sent me some more elements for my redesign and I’m IN LUV, it’s so cute! The last time I redid my layout/branding I was MEGA depressed so it is all very bleak and it is definitely time for a change. I posted a lil sneak peak on my insta here.

5. My “I am a Wolf” print got a buncha reblogs on tumblr, I’m POSITIVE that eventually this will translate into money somehow.

6. I had wine and cake for dinner because I am an adult and I can do what I want.


This picture was 100% not staged, I actually asked her to smile at the camera and she did this instead.

I’ve been having a difficult time with Gwen & her naps recently. I thought I had found a groove where I’d take her for a walk in her stroller and she’d fall asleep, but she’s stopped falling asleep in her stroller unless we’ve been out for like… an hour, which just isn’t feasible. Also, when you are out walking around the city there are just so many things with the potential to be loud and wake her up. The other day there was a very loud cashier in a store, a barking dog tied up outside the store, a woman on a mobility scooter driving erratically all over the sidewalk and screaming into her cellphone, a person on a moped inexplicably blaring their horn, another dog barking in the park, and not one but TWO extremely noisy & smelly garbage trucks, all in the space of about 20 minutes while I was trying to get Gwen to sleep.

As a result she hasn’t had a proper afternoon nap in probably a week, and it is showing in her behaviour. She is cranky all the time, and in the late afternoons/early evening she descends into madness. She is so tired and grumpy by the time dinner rolls around, it’s almost impossible to get her to eat, and then make it through her bath without tears? SCOFF. Thankfully she’s been going to bed at night without any trouble, but the days are NOT EASY.

Yesterday she skipped her nap again, and since Taylor was at work so late I decided to let him sleep through the evening and give Gwen her dinner, bath and bedtime earlier than normal. I fed her as soon as I finished work and got her in bed and asleep by six, about an hour and a half earlier than normal. Everything seemed to be going well, until around 10pm, when she woke up. She’s recently learned how to work doorknobs, and won’t stay in her room. We let her get up, have some milk on the couch, then we brushed her teeth and put her back to bed.

Unfortunately she was way too awake to stay in bed and got up a couple more times, so I let her sleep in the bed with me, which was a literal nightmare and neither of us are rested today. I’m feeling very short-tempered and she has had half a dozen screaming meltdowns in as many hours. I’m really really hoping tonight is better, I’m going to go back to our regular schedule and just hope she doesn’t go too bananas this afternoon. We’ve ordered some doorknob covers that will hopefully thwart her from coming out of her room after bedtime, but they won’t get here until tomorrow and I don’t think either of us want another night like the last.