Thursday, 22 March 2012

Scrapbook Shopping with a Friend

A good friend, a scrapbook store and a few hours – what could be better? J

My friend Connie was in town for a business meeting, and she always stops in at Scrapbooker’s Paradise in south Calgary when she’s here. Today, I had the time to meet her and do some shopping of my own.

Connie is a die-hard scrapbooker – a professional one. She’s been a member of Canadian Scrapbooker magazine since it started, and contributes articles and tons of layouts for each issue. I met her just when I was starting out, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Anyway, we had a great time, catching up on kids, work and life while we wandered through the store. I hadn’t been shopping in a long time, so it was fun to see all of the new products and ideas – and to me, even the sale stuff was new and exciting.

So exciting that I had to buy some J 
Inside that green bag is a bunch of fun colours – orange and aqua. Half a dozen matching papers and letter stickers – gorgeous. 
There were some pretty paper flowers on sale too. I thought they’d look good on our wedding pages – that I haven’t started yet. Mr. E and I have been married almost a year so it would be nice to have some scrapbook pages of our wonderful day. 
I can’t wait to use my new stuff – sometimes that’s all it takes to ignite creativity again.

This was a great distraction in the middle of the day – in the middle (almost) of the week. Thanks Connie!

Happy Thursday!

Cheers! Kim

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

52 Projects - #7 - A New Chandelier

Isn’t this a great chandelier? J

I love it – but it’s from Ballard Designs that doesn’t ship to Canada – and it’s $400! I’ve seen these lights in blog-land, but I thought I wouldn’t be able to find them up here.

Well, look what I found at HomeSense a few weeks ago!
It's almost the same light - there's no crystal at the bottom, but the size and shape are the same. And the best part? It was $180.  Woohoo! Obviously, it came home with me. J

Here's what our old light looked like - it was too small for the space.
Plus, it faded into the background and was very bland and boring:
Here’s what our eating area looks like now:
A bit closer:
 Compared to the Ballard Designs light, it's pretty close, don't you think?

It’s a bit higher than it should be – but the chain was only 5 feet long and this is an 11 foot high ceiling. It’s about the same height above the table as the old light, and I don’t notice that it should be 6 inches lower – and I doubt anyone else will either. J

Out with the old, and in with the new. 

Another project finished - what a great feeling.

Cheers! Kim

Monday, 19 March 2012

Meals - Week 11 - a Bump in the Planning Road


We'd been doing really well with meal planning - until this week. I was out of town for three days (yup, gotta love work travel) and that completely threw me off of my planning routine.

Mr. E did a great job getting the boys where they needed to be, on time, every day - and their meals were fairly healthy, and fast. So, as I think about it, it was me that was thrown off - healthy eating in a restaurant definitely isn't the same, and it seemed like too much effort to finish out the week on a good note. (I'm always exhausted after traveling for two or three days).

So, I've dusted myself off and am getting back into the routine. I don't have travel plans for a while, so I know I can get myself back on track. I'm beating myself up - but I shouldn't be.

No recipes this week - but hopefully we'll have a few good ones to share next week.

Cheers! Kim

Thursday, 15 March 2012

52 Projects – Number Six – China and an organized China Cabinet

I got a delivery a few weeks ago – check this out: 
These were BIG boxes, and they were heavy. I had no idea they were coming – my cousin David called me to tell me he had a special delivery from my Mom. J It took some arranging with my other cousin Terry (who I talked about here), but eventually the boxes made their way to me.
That may not seem like a big deal, except for the distance – my Mom lives in Ontario and I’m in Alberta, so these boxes came across three time zones, four provinces and about 2700 kilometers.
This was what I found inside: 
An almost full set of dishes from my Great Grandmother. It’s a very delicate flower pattern, which is beautiful.  A covered serving dish, bowls, plates, cups were all inside the boxes: 
The handles and edges are gold leafed, and it’s a beautiful set that has obviously seen a lot of love and use over the years. The gold is worn in spots on the massive serving platter.

This is a wonderful gift, but the big question for me was – ‘where do I put everything?’ There are a LOT of dishes.

I’d been wanting to organize our china cabinet in the family room, so this was my incentive to get started.

This was what I started with. What a mess – this was a place we’d stuffed books and odds and ends – then promptly ignored: 
It sure didn’t make a good impression when we had company over. It’s right beside our fireplace (you can see the brick on the far left), and our family room TV is on top – so you can’t miss our big, hot mess.

So, I cleaned it out and packed up the books. We plan to build a bookcase in the basement this summer, so they’ll be unpacked when that’s finished. 
It looks so much better already! The clutter is gone J

Then I started staging the bookcase – it took longer than I thought it would. 
Slowly, I got things put on the shelves. I have a doll collection from my late Aunt that I put in with the dishes. 
After about an hour of arranging and rearranging, I came up with this: 

I’m amazed at how much better the china cabinet looks. Great Gran’s dishes are out for everyone to see – and it’s a china cabinet again, instead of a junk collector J

One more project done – while I may not be doing one a week, I’m proud of myself.
Cheers! Kim

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Meals - Week Ten

I'm not as disciplined as I have been in planning my meals - but we have a few meals that we haven't had before each week. Some are hits, and some aren't but we're trying, learning and experimenting. That's what this is all about, so life is good. J

Here's what we ate last week - we're already in week ten of our meal planning.

Monday: Steak and Potatoes – yum! My favourite meal.

All of the recipes, other than Monday, were from the Clean Eating January-February 2012 issue. You can order that issue here:
Monday: I forgot to take meat out of the freezer in the morning, so we had frozen pizza. Oops - I guess it wasn't horrible because it wasn’t take out.

Tuesday: Beef and Broccoli Penne – the meat was marniated in orange juice, and that really made this meal. It was healthy chinese. The boys weren’t a big fan though.

Wednesday: I must be going senile because I don’t remember what we had for dinner tonight. Seriously, how can I forget what we ate four days ago?

Thursday:  Thai Chicken Tacos – this was a crock pot meal - messy but really good. To make true Thai food, you use a lot of peanut sauce and peanut butter, but Zach is allergic to peanuts – so almond butter was our replacement. It was fantastic.

Friday: Taco Bowls – this was a taco salad without the fried tortilla shell. It was delicious.

Saturday: Chicken Pasta – this was a made up meal by me. We chopped chicken into small chunks, cooked it with onion and red peppers and a can of diced tomatoes, mixed it with cooked pasta and cheese and baked it for 20 minutes in the oven.

We're doing really well with trying new meals every week. There are some favourites that we repeat, but not many. I'm happy that my family is open to me trying new recipes most days - cooking is much more fun that way.

Cheers! Kim

Friday, 9 March 2012

Inspiration Board - Kids Bathroom

It’s amazing what can happen with one innocent comment, isn’t it?

Yet again, I found a wet towel on the floor of the boys’ bathroom on Wednesday morning – it seems like that’s where at least one ends up after morning showers. So, this time, I asked why  child #2 had left his towel on the floor:

‘Mom, I don’t like the colour of these towels.’

‘Um, okay. What colour towel would you like?’

‘Well, I like green, so a green towel would be good.’

Huh? Okay. It’s odd reasoning, but I kind of understand. I updated the bathroom about five years ago, when the boys were fine with my style and preferences. I painted it so it was a different colour than the rest of the house, and attempted a beach theme – starfish, seashells, and a tropical blue paint. The towels were from our old house and were beige – boring but serviceable.

But not loved, apparently.

So, I’ve decided it’s time to update the room to reflect the kids a bit more – brighter and more fun.

So, just for you Zach, here are my ideas, all based around a green towel.

What do you think?

Cheers! Kim

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

52 Projects – Week Five – Pantry Organization

So, Mr. E and I spent the weekend a few weeks back, making these:

Aren’t they great! And I found some similar, unstained ones at Michaels a few days ago, for $22 each!

I think we only paid a bit more than that for all the supplies – and we made six small boxes and three large ones! And these ones still needed staining. Yippee J

But, I digress.

I love the look of a clean, organized pantry, and once the boxes were finished, I couldn’t wait to put them in the pantry! But, I didn’t have a clean, organized pantry – mine was a disaster. 

Seriously – there was so much stuff on the floor nobody could actually get in there. We’d slide our feet in, lean over to grab something off the shelves, and hope for the best.

Spices were taking up a prime location, cereal boxes were jammed wherever they fit (and stayed in the middle of the floor), there were reusable grocery bags stashed in a corner, and nothing made sense. The shelves were overflowing with stuff – there was no room for any of the boxes we made.

Not any more – it’s fantastic!

This was a quick fix – I didn’t switch out the wire shelves or paint the walls to make the pantry seem more like a room, but I’m good with that. Having the space organized makes it easier to use, more efficient and the kids can help out by grabbing something when I ask. And, my main house goal for 2012 is to update the kitchen, so I want to finish that before I make any changes in here.

To make it easier, I didn’t do this organizing all at once – I did a section or a shelf at a time. Once I had a bit of open space, it was easier to move things around and keep organizing. It took me a few nights, but it was much less stressful that way.

I went through every shelf and threw out stuff that we’d never use – I was amazed at how much stuff should have been thrown out years ago.

Then I started sorting and organizing – woohoo!

Glass mason jars are filled with grains, some baking supplies and things that should stay airtight.

Baking supplies are all together

The plastic and reusable bags are now in pantry boxes and don’t take up much space – and don’t fall all over the floor.

Using the boxes has made a huge difference – there is so much space in the pantry now. And – we can see the floor again J

Having a personal challenge of completing one project a week is definitely challenging, but it’s such a sense of accomplishment seeing the project list slowly get longer!

Cheers! Kim

I'm linking this project up to:

shabby creek cottage

Monday, 5 March 2012

Meals - Week Nine and two recipes - Beef Wraps and French Onion Soup

This wasn't the best week for eating healthy, or for being creative. I was out of town overnight on business, so that meant two nights needed to be super quick and easy so Mr. E could get the boys to their activities. It would be easy to give in and order take out, so not doing that deserves a high five!

Sunday: Home made nachos - these are always a big hit (maybe because we eat them while we watch TV!)

Monday: I was out of town, so Mr. E made the boys tortellini with spaghetti sauce. They used my home made sauce, so that counts as a healthy meal, right?

Tuesday: I was home in time for dinner, but not by much. Mr. E barbecued pork chops and we had mashed potatoes - what a great comfort meal to come home to.

Wednesday:  Sirloin Beef Wraps - These were quick and easy to prepare, and tasted really good. Fresh veggies made this light and refreshing, and who doesn't like to eat with their hands?

Thursday:  I had chicken planned for the crock pot, but I forgot to prep it the night before, so we had a frozen pizza. Not healthy, I know, but with swimming at 6:30, it had to be quick.

Friday:  Both Mr. E and I had lots for lunch (I met a girlfriend who lives out of town), so we only had a quick snack. There was a karate open house tonight, so Mr. E took #3 to that so he could check it out - that meant take out for the kids. And you know what? They didn't really enjoy it. Honest. So we'll try to limit that as much as possible.

Saturday:  Mr. E and I were on our own and thought about going to the local pub for a glass of wine and some appetizers. I made french onion soup instead - that was a much better idea! This recipe is amazing and we love it - I make it a lot.

I love this picture - it's from the Fine Cooking website but it looks just like my soup - because we have almost the same bowls! My Mom gave them to me a few years ago - she got them as a wedding gift more than 40 years ago.

So another week of meal planning came and went - this wasn't as successful as usual, but I think we managed to balance things fairly well. Schedules are a challenge  in our house, so as long as we eat healthy 80% of the time, we should be good.

Cheers! Kim

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A Milestone in our House

There are some major events that make me realize that life goes WAY too fast and I wish it would slow down. One of those events happened today.

The boys came home from school on their own today - no more daycare.

That is a big deal to me - they're officially old enough to stay home on their own. Wow.

This seems like yesterday:

But it was more than five years ago.

Different events affect people differently - this one is affecting me. My kids are old enough to stay home alone - how old does that make me?

I know it doesn't make me any older, but that's how it makes me feel.

Life goes WAY too fast.