Friday, October 28, 2011

lovely weekend

I'm heading out of town this weekend for shopping with some of my lady relatives, and my list is longgg. I'm imagining that I could potentially complete my Christmas shopping this weekend. In October. Whoa. That would be impressive, no? I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm not actually taking the dude shopping with me,
and just thought it was too over the top not to share.

Thennn, on my way home, I'm stopping to visit HH and her lovely family in their dream house, and I can barely wait!

And then, I suppose, I should work on some blogs ... both here and there. As per usual, I'm sure the weekend is going to fly by. Do you have any fun plans?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

try it tuesday

This is sort of a cheating Try it Tuesday, but it's something that I tried, that was fun, so I had to share. I just found such a fun online tool that is completely free -- thanks to You Are My Fave. It's called, and basically you can upload photos and it transforms it into a photo strip for you, just like this:

Give it a try!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

house hunters

Lovely friend H bought the house of her dreams last week. So, the fact that I've been surfing MLS non-stop for the past week or so can be squarely blamed on her.

We love where we live now, but ultimately there are restrictions to a renter's life ... no planning big renos, no building equity, no ... well, ownership. We've done little projects here and there, but I have the decorating/organizing/diy itch often, and there's only so much you can do in someone else's casa.

We're surveying our options and counting our pennies, just in preparation for the inevitability. This isn't the first time we've started on this road, but who knows, maybe it'll end differently this time.

So, I put these questions to you, dear readers, and am happily accepting any and all advice in these matters:

1) Detached vs. semi-detached? I admit that I am already very set on this matter, but I will open it to the floor anyway.

2) Fix-er-upper vs. new construction?

3) Oil heat vs. electric heat?

4) Subdivision (0.2 acre) vs. more rural (1+ acres)?

5) What are your top "red flags" when it comes to viewing houses?

Thanks, in advance.

Friday, October 21, 2011

hello weekend

Happy Friday, friends!

The sun has come out from behind a record 104 mm of rain yesterday. A few fun plans this weekend -- TV night with friends, celebrating a lovely friend's birthday, and a brunch meeting with the LitWits. What are you up to?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

22 things i've never done

I am 26 years old.
And I've never:

1) Made a prank call.

2) Travelled further west than Ottawa.

3) Owned a dog.

4) Kept a hanging basket alive for an entire summer.

5) Been able to dance comfortably in a crowd.

6) Completely understood the rules of football.

7) Done pilates.

8) Been carried over the threshold.

9) Watched any Star Wars movies.

10) Been a contestant on a game show.

11) Gone scuba diving or snorkling.

12) Bought an entire outfit full price.

13) Bought a house.

14) Waxed my car.

15) Eaten an egg, scrambled, boiled or fried. Eww.

16) Read a book in one day.

17) Mastered driving a standard.

18) Successfully water skied.

19) Been to NYC.

20) Liked Tim Horton's coffee.

21) Baked a pie from scratch.

22) Met a carb I didn't like.

What are some things that you have yet to do?

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

stuff breaker

I'm having a problem with Husband. He keeps breaking my stuff. I'm not joking.

The list now includes:
- my favourite extra large ceramic bowl
- my Just Us travel mug
- my cookie jar
- the lovely white clock in our guest bathroom
- plus he dumped out my new house plant because "it was just a flower and was going to die anyway" ... ah, no! It was a plant that would last forever as long as I kept it alive.

What's a gal to do?*

*Yes, I am writing this to tease Husband. But yes, he has really broken all of these things. Good thing he's cute.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 things

A list of ten things you should never ask your spouse.

1) Wife to husband: Do I look fat? Really, it is completely pointless, because any man who values his sanity is always going to say, "No, of course not!" Even if you beg for the truth, he's still going to say no.

4) Husband to wife: Are you PMSing?

5) Husband to wife, while eating a lovingly prepared dinner: Did you follow a recipe?

6) Wife to Husband: What are you thinking? I ask Husband this question all the time. He hates it. He usually says, "nothing" when I'm really looking for something.

7) Any question that criticizes your wife's spouse's driving.

8) Are you going to wear that?

9) Wife to Husband: Is your hair getting thinner?

10) Do you really know what you're doing? The true answer is usually no, but if when asked this question, the askee suddenly feels the insatiable need to prove the asker wrong. In my experience, this usually doesn't turn out well.

Thanks, as always, to Mama Kat for the writer's prompt.

Monday, October 3, 2011

meatless monday

The recipe swapping with lovely friends A and K continues. We traded last Monday — K offered up butternut squash and pear soup, and A made veggie chili. Here's what I made, one of my personal faves and something new ...

I love falafels, and this recipe is the best I've tried. I think it's the fresh cilantro. So tasty.

Baked Falafel
Makes about 21 balls

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I press my garlic; I find the flavour is distributed better this way)
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (I don't use fresh in this case because I never have it; I use dried instead)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped (Fresh is a must here)
1 teaspoon lemon juice (Fresh squeezed is preferable here, too)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander (I skip this because I'm not a fan)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

Then, to accompany the falafels, I made homemade tortillas for the first time. I found this recipe via Suzie the Foodie.

2 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening or 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used the shortening option)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup warm water or 1/2 cup milk (may possibly need to add more, up to 3/4 cup) (I used warm water)

Sift the flour, salt & baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Into the dry ingredients, cut in the shortening, or add oil if you are using this option, & mix with your fingertips to combine.

Add the milk or water, working the liquid into the dough until a sticky ball forms. Wrap in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 8-10 balls (for small tortillas) or 6-8 balls for larger ones, cover them again with the damp cloth.

Lightly dust a counter with flour and roll out each ball of dough into a circle or oval approximately 1/4" thick. If you want nicely rounded tortillas, trim off any ragged edges and discard.

Heat a dry griddle or heavy skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Cook the tortillas 30 seconds on each side or until the dough looks dry & slightly wrinkled & a few brown spots form on both surfaces. Do not over cook or they will be hard. Roll up and wrap in damp tea towel to keep warm as you cook the other tortillas.

These were easy to assemble, but cooking them was definitely a two-man job — Husband rolled them out while I tossed them in and out of the pan. Keeping them in the damp towel is definitely important, and they seem to continue to cook within the steamy wrap. Not something I'll make on a regular basis, mostly because it'd be tough to not eat them all.

Have you cooked any new meatless meals lately? Share with the class.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

nerd alert

Oh man, you guys, something has changed my life and I'm so excited to share.

I got a new household appliance on Friday. I hesitate to call it that though, because I'm pretty much ready to make it an honourary member of the family. It's a Black and Decker Steam Mop.

I have been in the market for a steam mop for a while, but there are so many to choose from. Just about every cleaning brand has their own version, and they're all quite similar. I knew for sure though that I wanted one that boasts the ability to kill 99% of germs on your floors. With a baby and a cat who like to lick get up close and personal with the hardwood, the idea of cleaning without chemicals was pretty appealing.

I decided on the Black and Decker mop after reading a great review by Mag Ruffman in my newspaper's Homes section. I then read several blog posts recommending it, too. I was convinced, and I'm happy to say it's everything I hoped it would be.

- It heats up in seconds. The light on the front changes from red to blue when it's ready to go.
- It comes with three washable pads — no need to buy any expensive refills.
- It runs on water alone. No chemicals.
- The swivel head rotates so easily around edges and in corners.
- I could instantly see how much cleaner it makes the floor.

- I really can't think of anything. If I had to say something, I guess it's that I now have another appliance to store, but it's still more convenient and cleaner than a traditional mop and bucket.

Plus, listen to this:

Me: Oooo it's awesome! Husband, do you want to try it?
Husband: [thinks about having to do another chore] No ... knock yourself out.
Me: [happily steaming the floor] Ahh this is so satisfying, and easy! Look how clean the floor is!
[Five minutes later]
Husband: OK, can I try now?

Any appliance that can make Husband ask to do an extra chore is worth its weight in gold, wouldn't you agree?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

new do

I don't know what is more foolish, blogging about getting my hair cut and then not showing you how it turned out ... or posting photos of my haircut on my blog. Either way, let the ridiculousness begin:

Sort of a combo between styles No. 2 & 3. If you're local, pay a visit to Melissa Fox at Allure in Dartmouth; she's awesome.