Monday, May 30, 2011

The silver lining....

Never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams....

Mac 'n cheese monday....

I know my kids love this stuff, and I have to admit that I do too.

I grew up as the third child of four, to a single mother. We didn't have a ton of money to spend on food. My mom always made us meals that we could afford, meals that would stretch over a couple of days, and more importantly, meals that would fill our bellies.

Needless to say; Kraft Dinner was not a staple in our home.... if fact, I don't think I even tried it until I was in my teen years. And boy, let me tell you, my first taste was like a flavour explosion in my mouth. It wasn't until I was older that I realized the amazing taste came from the high salt content, the over-processed white noodles, and the powdered 'real' cheese flavour. Flavour - there's a word you can find on many boxed food labels that really doesn't explain what you're ingesting at all. It's somewhat of a mystery... someone asks, "Mmmm. what's that I'm tasting?". The reply, "Oh that? That's the FLAVOUR." See, mysterious.

Aaaanyway, I do buy KD for my kids as a treat, like once a month.... and honestly, I also eat a tiny little bowl of it too :P .... But, that's what it is for us, a treat.... something we indulge in once in a while. I would never consider it a staple when there are so many better, healthier alternatives.... say, Mac 'n cheese from scratch? So easy to make, and my kids even comment that they enjoy it more than the fakey-fake stuff.

So, without further adieu.... Here's my version of Mac 'n Cheese, enjoy :P

1 2/3 cups dry, whole wheat elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons flour (I use nutri-blend)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (or prepared if that's what you have)
1/2 to 1 teaspoons chili powder
Few grinds of fresh black pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup fat free milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups shredded cheese (I use cheddar and monterey jack)

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, as butter is melting add in flour and mustard and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in cream and milk so that no lumps form. Once combined you can add in salt, pepper and chili powder. Bring mixture to a near boil then reduce and simmer til thickened. Do not scrape the bottom of the pot with your whisk. The milk will form a coating on the bottom of the pot to protect the sauce from scalding and you don't want any of this burnt tasting guck in your sauce, bleck! Once you've achieved a thickened sauce, remove from heat and add your cheeses, stir to blend. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't seem thick enough, it will continue to thicken, and the gluten in the noodles will also thicken it further.

Butter a 2 quart oven-safe dish, add your cooked noodles and pour your cheese sauce over. I like to crush breton crackers over top then bake in a 350 degree oven till they brown; but that is totally optional. You can eat your mac 'n cheese after you mix in your sauce; or you can top it with more cheese then bake to melt the cheese; you can freeze it for another day.... possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Hope you like it! Have a great day all ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There are still some surprises in life....

Take one of your biggest wishes, for example.... you dream about it, you long for it, you plan it over and over and over in your head knowing that in reality, it may never actually happen....

Well, for the past couple of months, I've been honoured to be in on a little-eensy-weensy-teeny-tiny secret.... a covert operation of sorts, master-minded by the wonderfully giving spirit of my beautiful friend, K.

Imagine all of your family and friends coming together to grant you that one wish.

How would you react? Would you be mad? Would you be elated? Or would you just be so overwhelmed that you were sent forever into a catatonic state.... okay-okay, that may be a little far-fetched....

I think your reaction would be shock. excitement. and absolute bewilderment.

But take it for what it is. Trust me. We did it because we love you. We love you, that. much.


B, you inspire us everyday to be the best we can be.

See, dreams really do come true.
Never. Stop. Believing.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday night video....

Think Napoleon Dynamite, one of my favourite movies, sooooo funny.... When I'm walking or running with my mp3 player cranked, this song makes me MOVE! It's 4 minutes of instant energy.

Jamiroquai, Dance.... enjoy your loooooong weekend ;)

Whatd'ya think? part deux....

So, with a new dress comes new shoes.... that's a given, right?

I think I've found the perfect shoes (for me anyway).... and I think the blue floral H&M beauty from yesterday's post will look really-really cute with them....

I love Sears for shoes... you really can't beat the prices and selection.... especially for shoes that you won't be wearing often. I like that these babies are a neutral colour, and not black.... I have issues with putting black shoes on my feet in the summer, weird huh?!

Aaaanyway, I think I'll likely be building something around these shoes.... of course that's if they fit me properly.... gee, bummer if they don't :(

And in other news.... the weather here has been so glum, rainy and grey.... but just in time for our Victoria Day weekend, the sun has decided to warm us and give us some glorious blue skies.... which is making these lovelies look extra pretty. It's funny what you can hide when you take pictures creatively.... you'd never know that there's a big ugly wooden fence beside my favourite lilac bush.... and that the bush itself is hiding our pool pump and heater.

Enjoy the sun while it lasts my dears ;)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Whatd'ya think?

I have a wedding to go to this July.... It's always fun getting invited to celebrate someone's special day; and the added bonus for me and my husband is that we have a chance to get dressed up and have some fun adult time together; something that any couple with young children would agree is sometimes a rare occasion.

Of course my husband will be wearing a suit.... sometimes I envy men and how easy it is for them to dress for such events.... it's pretty simple isn't it? Open the closet, grab one of your suits and throw it on. Nobody balks at the fact that they may have worn it to five previous weddings, a funeral and a school play. But, if a woman wore the same dress to more than one or two events, people would notice (at least that's what we tell ourselves to justify buying something new).

Aaaanyway, I've been perusing some of my favourite shopping spots and these are some of the items I've come up with as possibilities. Let me know what you think....

So this one in all of it's ruffly glory is from the Gap. I actually tried it on and I love it.... it looks really cute on.... the only downfall is that it is incredibly static-y, it drove me nuts for the whole 25 seconds I had it on. However, this is something I think I could duplicate in a less annoyingly clingy fabric.

This is such a sweet dress.... I've never done strapless, but this one makes me want to give it a try. Also Gap.

I really like the flowy nature of this Gap dress... it's a soft steel grey-blue.... maybe I picked this one because this is what our weather of late has been like.... hmmm?

I'm not normally into florals or prints; but, this one looks very fitting for a July wedding.... and blue generally is a good colour for my skintone. A steal of a deal from H&M.

From J Crew.... I love J Crew for dresses, and this dress is no exception.... what a great pop of colour and the off-centre design makes for a very interesting piece. Easily a classic if you purchased the black version.

And last; but certainly not least.... the Blakely dress from J Crew. I have been drooling over this dress for over a year. Now, anyone who really knows me, knows that I am NOT a dress person. If I can, I'll wear pants at all costs. But, for some reason, this dress makes me want to wear dresses every. day.

So, that's that folks.... which dress would you pick? I've got just over a month to make, repurpose or purchase something suitable, fun, fitting, sexy, and cute....

Have a great night all ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fun in the kitchen....

So, I've been taking this week off as a little breather.... much needed, and well deserved. But, this is what I've been checking out lately.... I love kitchen gadgets! I don't quite know where the love came from.... but it leads me to finding some really interesting, fun and useful items. Check out these cool and hilarious items.... things my children would certainly appreciate as much as I do!

The Condiment Gun, found at Danna Bananas.... how much fun would that be at a BBQ?

Corny Corn Holders, found at the joie shop, yay, no more burned fingers!

Kitsch Gadgets Pizza Cutter, also available at the joie shop.

Fred M-Cups, who doesn't love Russian Dolls? Available at Danna Bananas.

And last, Fish Chopsticks, from Kitchen Stuff Plus. Certainly would make eating asian food less daunting for kids (and some adults).

Have a great day peeps ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday night video....

A song that I loved when it was first released in 1983 by Canadian New Wave band, Platinum Blond... remade and re-released by Toronto techno-duo Crystal Castles, featuring my fave, Robert Smith of the Cure....

Not the original video, but a great song put to the 2000 film Requiem for a Dream starring Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly....

Hope you like it.... have a great friday night everyone ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Clearly, I have taken on waaaay more than I am capable of....

the wheels on my wagon have officially fallen off - I believe I've lost them somewhere between last month and our team rummage sale last friday.... I'm positive once May has passed, I will be able to find them.... hopefully.

So my sincerest apologies for not being able to participate fully in Kids Clothes Week.... I have nothing planned for next week, and I'm very confident I can make up for my lack of presence around this blog space....

I have my teams largest fundraising event scheduled to take place this coming saturday - A THINK PINK TEA - I am super excited to be hosting this event alongside my wonderful teammates - and I am very grateful and thankful to those family, friends and community members who are joining us for this fun, empowering and inspirational afternoon.

Again, I'm so sorry for not being here.... My hubby will be here tomorrow to post my friday night video.... and I'll be back perhaps as early as sunday evening....

Thanks for being such great and understanding friends ;)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kids clothes week: project 1 complete....

May, May, May.... you are here with a vengeance.... I want so badly to do many, many projects for Kids Clothes Week, and I promise to try.... and that's all I can do. My plate is full this week with pulling together a fundraising tea for upwards of 100 people, baseball for myself and 2 of my monkeys, a baby shower and Kids Clothes Week.... And now, I'm feeling run-down and tired from the blur of a weekend that just passed....

But, I am NOT complaining. I did this to myself, as I always do.... but, I digress. The reason I am here today is to show you this lovely little number that I whipped up for my little Hammy-Cammy....

I purchased the pattern from a very lovely Etsy seller named Adrienne, and her shop is called The Fuzzy Noggin. The hat is crocheted, and super easy and super fast to whip up using cotton yarn. Perfect for sunny spring days and cool summer nights. The pattern I used for this is called the Sophie Bucket Hat; and the great thing about Adrienne's patterns is that she allows you to sell your finished products! Unfortunately, I couldn't snap a photo of my little model wearing the hat as she seems to be camera shy at the worst possible times, uggg.

Anyhow, have a great day everyone.... take advantage of these beautiful days we've been given ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Very late friday night video....

Sorry for my lateness... I've had one heck of a busy week and feel like I've been "Rolling in the Deep".... Here's Adele.... Love it, like I do....

Have a great weekend.... and a wonderful Mother's Day to all of my Mom readers... Love you all ;)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Toy soldier costume tutorial....

As usual, I did NOT take pictures through the process of putting together my handsome little M's soldier costume.... but I have detailed the steps to reach the end result....

Co-designed by M and me.... He was so proud when he put it on when it was finally-finally finished.... he automatically puffed up his bony little chest and stood straight as a board, wanting so badly to look as regal as Princes William and Harry.... He chose the "golden" for the trim, and specifically asked for the "shoulder golden" (lanyard) like Prince Harry; but sadly, wanted a red jacket like Prince William; unfortunately, all we could find was a navy pinstripe boys suit jacket (which SCORE! was only $3.99 at Vallue Village - yay Mommy!)

And! Thanks to the evolution of the glue stick and hot glue gun, this baby was a *SNAP*! The hat (with very clear and stern instruction that the chin strap "has to sit right here on my chin, Mommy") was crocheted with black chunky yarn, trimmed with more "golden", and lined with cardboard to keep it nice and tall, and neat and tidy like any good soldier.... I'm thinking these hats would be a great addition to any special little someone's tickle trunk, so don't be surprised if they end up in my etsy shop.... fun, fun, fun!

So quickly, some steps to create this jacket (with some very "professionally hand-drawn illustrations"... sorry).
You'll need:

1 boys suit jacket
a few yards of various trims in "golden", or your preference
8-13 buttons to match trim
glue sticks and hot glue gun
black or white velcro, enough to back 4 buttons

To begin, lay the jacket flat on your table, folding the lapels in toward the centre front, overlapping one over the other. This causes the collar to stand up like a soldiers collar.

Decide how far apart you want your buttons, visually, I used the width of the collar as my guide (see above photo). So once you've determined your button width, you can cut the trim that will run between the buttons. Hot glue the trim to the back of the buttons, so you'll end up with something that looks like this; ok, so not cartoony-like, but you get the point....

Once the button trims/closures are glued together, decide where you'd like them on your jacket. We've evenly spaced ours between M's collarbone and waist. So you'll be gluing just one side of the button trims/closures to the jacket. The other button will act as the closure for the jacket; it requires that half of the velcro to be glued to the button back and the other half to the jacket. You'll need to trim down your velcro so that it sits nicely behind the button. And here's a tip: If you can't find velcro that matches closely to your suit jacket, use white and colour it with a sharpie marker that matches the colour you want. Here's another totally awesome drawing....

Again, I apologize for my very crude drawings, but I know how smart you are my friend and I know this is all you require to get a great picture in your mind's eye.

So, now you just need to attach the remainder of your embellishments. We've added a loop at one of the shoulders for our lanyard to run through.... and this too, is just glue gunned into place. And trim was added to the collar and sleeves.... the extra buttons can be placed at the ends of the collar trim, used as cuff links, and one can be placed on the shoulder loop that holds the lanyard.

You can add any hat you like, or you could keep the fun going by making one like ours using black construction paper and trim, or just go hatless.... it's totally up to you!

This project is so simple and so much fun to do with your little soldier. You can embellish as much or as little as you'd like.... I say the more "golden" the better! I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial, and if you have any questions, please-please don't hesitate to leave me a comment!

Have a great day everyone ;)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Can we just skip this month????

Do you ever feel like you can do it all? Ever bite off more than you can chew? I think it must be a mom thing.... We all do it. I know it. You know it. Yet, we're able to put on this stoic face that lets everyone around us know that we are in control, when really, we're never totally in control of anything. Is that what it comes down to though? Control? We need to be the commanding officers of our own little army. The centres of our own little universe.

I CANNOT do. it. all. There, I've said it. Now you say it. Take a deep cleansing breath, and be fine with the fact that NOBODY expects you to do it all. No one except yourself, that is.

Aaaaanyway, just to give you an idea of what my May is shaping up to be, here's the short list:
Make toy soldier costume for school play (oh, and it needs to be to school for TOMORROW. I got a real head start on it though.... this. morning.).
Hosting Rummage Sale for a Cause Fundraiser with teammates and friends.
Helping a friend with a Plant Sale/Fundraiser at our school.
Baseball for my boys starts (2 nights a week).
Hosting THINK PINK TEA Fundraiser with teammates and friends.
Attend baby shower for a friend.... I LOVE BABY SHOWERS... AND I LO-OVE BABIES, YUMMM!
Signing-Up for baseball for myself. (What, you ask? Do I play baseball? No, but what the heck, I've got time.).
Mom-to-Mom Sale... I've got a table... anyone care to join me?
Kids Clothes Week Challenge being hosted by the wonderfully creative bloggity-blog Elsie Marley.... please do check out this space, it's so full of fun and inspiration.

So, this is everything I can think of off the top of my head... oh, there's more, there's ALWAYS more. I can get through all of this, I know I can. And I know it's really not as much as it seems.... and truly, truly, I love being busy. I must, otherwise I wouldn't commit to SO. MUCH.

As a side note, and totally-totally off topic; just yesterday I had an urge to check out the Habitat for Humanity site, really it was just my way of escaping all of the aforementioned happenings.... Anyway, I've always wanted to help on a build. So, here's what I found out.... a-ma-zing organization, a-ma-zing volunteers, doing a-ma-zing things for people. I'm serious when I say, I will do this one day... only catch is, I'd love to do it internationally. What a fantastic way to see the world and all of the wonderful people in it. Check them out, you will be compelled to help.

Anyway, it's sunday morning, which is pancake morning around here - and oddly enough, pancakes always put me in a good mood even though I don't eat them; but my kids always get so excited and that makes it so much more special.

This little menopausal moment has been very, very helpful folks.... I feel so much better now than I did when I sat down to type this. Sometimes all we need is to itemize our to-do lists.... it seems to give us better perspective, don't you think? Ahhh, *sigh of relief*.

Let me know how your May is looking.... Oh, I've had one taker on my offer to sew something for the Kids Clothes Week Challenge, anyone else interested in something for free? Please leave me a comment if you're interested.

Have a great sunday everyone ;)