Saturday, December 31, 2011

Product Review: Big Mountain Coffee

I know that I’ve been a little M.I.A around here lately, but I really wanted to share this review for Big Mountain Coffee. We all know how much I love coffee, so I just couldn’t keep this to myself much longer! I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule next week.

I recently started following Calgary Co-Op on Twitter; it’s the grocery store that we frequented most often when we lived in the last townhouse. I didn’t think much of it, since most businesses that I follow don’t know that I exist. However, I one day received a DM from the person who manages Co-Op’s Twitter account (Hi Cindy!); I was being asked if I wanted to review some coffee. It didn’t take me long to get into contact with Cindy because, hello! I love coffee! After a few emails, Cindy wanted to meet up with me to give me the coffee. I haven’t reviewed many products here, but as far as I know, no one has ever wanted to personally meet up with me. It was a bit hard trying to coordinate our schedules, but we finally found a time to meet. Cindy even drove all the way to my house for this! I hadn’t even tried the product yet and I was already loving it.


I decided to wait until Christmas day to try out Big Mountain Coffee, since my house would be filled with coffee lovers. We made our first pot just after opening our stockings. We were all pleasantly surprised, the coffee was mild and delicious! So delicious in fact, that by the time everyone went home Christmas night, my family had gone through 3/4 of the bag of coffee beans. I had lost count of how many pots of coffee were brewed from this bag. Even my Dad’s Tim Horton’s coffee was left untouched, which is pretty amazing considering how much he loves that stuff. Guess we have a new favorite around here!


You know what I love about this coffee? It’s organic and sustainable. Big Mountain is a local roaster, and the coffee that I tried (Premium Member’s Blend) is brewed specifically for Calgary Co-Op. Even more awesome, if you ask me. What my sister’s boyfriend thought was really awesome is that it shows right on the package that you can follow Big Mountain on Facebook and Twitter. 

I’ll definitely be stocking up on this blend, and even trying out new ones when the family comes to visit. It was a big hit for good reason!

Have you had any good coffee lately? What’s your favorite type of coffee?


Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I was provided with a free bag of Big Mountain Premium Member’s Blend coffee. All opinions, as always, are my own!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Survey

Once again, it’s Thursday, and I don’t have a recipe to share with you. I’ve been baking all week, but they’re all old favorites, and I’ve already shared those recipes here with you. I’ve seen this Christmas survey on a few different blogs, so I thought I would share it here. I like answering random questions!

1)Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
While I look forward to egg nog every year, and used to be crazy about it, it’s just not the same for me anymore. I still enjoy a small cup here and there, but would much rather drink a good cup of hot chocolate.

2)Does Santa Wrap Presents or Just Sit Them Under The Tree?
Santa doesn’t wrap our gifts. Same goes for stockings, nothing in them gets wrapped.

3)Colored Lights or White Lights.
White lights, and not LED white.

4)Do you hang Mistletoe? Nope.

5)When Do You Put Your Christmas Decorations Up?
Since we’ve moved the past few years at the beginning of December, it has taken me all month to get my decorations up. I do it as I’m unpacking. Next year though, we’ll for sure be in the same house, so I’m going to decorate at the end of November!

6) What is Your Favorite Holiday Dish?
I just love Christmas dinner in general, but if I had to choose just one dish, it would have to be the stuffing.

7) Favorite Holiday Memory as a Child.
I love how every year, my Mom made us girls all sit on the stairs and wait while she checked to see if Santa had come. Every single year, without fail, she would tell us that he didn’t come and we should all just go back to bed. She still does that to us! I wonder if she’ll attempt to do that this year, even though I’m hosting Christmas.

8)When and How Did You Learn The Truth About Santa?
I can’t really remember. My parents never told me that Santa doesn’t exist, I more or less told them that I knew he wasn’t real.

9) Do You Open a Gift on Christmas Eve?
Of course! Christmas pajamas.

10)How Do You Decorate Your Christmas Tree?
Last year, I was really anal about it. The lights go on first, then the bulbs (in order of size), then the rest of the decorations. This year though, we invited our Little Brother over to help us decorate, and everyone just did their own thing.

11)Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Dread it.

12)Can You Ice Skate?
Not well.

13)Do You Remember Your Favorite Gift?
I’ve received plenty of awesome gifts over the years, but I think my favorites were the first year that Stephen and I were together. He went all out and bought me all of my baking pans/utensils. Love that boy.

14)What’s The Most Important Thing About The Holidays For You?
Spending time with my family.

15)What is Your Favorite Holiday Dessert?
Pumpkin pie.

16)What is Your Favorite Holiday Tradition?
Baking during the week leading up to Christmas, Christmas movies and music, spending time with the family.

17) What Tops Your tree?
A star and a ribbon that lights up. They’re only temporary place holders until I find the perfect start that lights up.

18) Which Do You Prefer: Giving or Receiving?
Giving. I get so dang excited when I know I’ve picked out the perfect gift for someone.

19)What is Your Favorite Christmas Song?
This is tough, because I love so many songs! Probably Last Christmas.

20)Candy Canes…good or bad?

21)Favorite Christmas Show?

22) Saddest Christmas Song?
Christmas Shoes; I cry every time I hear it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Glittery Christmas Lights

Yesterday, I only worked for 3 hours before getting to go home early to start my Christmas holidays. Thank goodness for that, as I have a ton of baking to get done before Christmas! I decided to spend yesterday doing Christmas type crafts though. A while back, I pinned this idea from I showed it to Stephen, and it’s been on my mind ever since. I didn’t think I would be able to find vintage Christmas bulbs to make over. While out at Wal-Mart last week, Stephen spotted some, and for cheap! Less than $2 for a 4 pack. You know what happened next? Stephen encouraged me to make these glittery Christmas bulbs. I love when he encourages the crafty side of me!

December 21 004

You’ll need to gather your supplies: vintage looking Christmas bulbs, glitter, glue and something to seal the glitter afterward. (Stephen picked out some low odour clear matte from Krylon, while I was off looking for glitter.)

This is a pretty simple craft. You’ll want to paint your glue onto the bulbs, then cover them with glitter. I just set them onto some parchment paper to dry. I did have problem with my glue sticking to the bulbs though (there were big splotches where it wouldn’t stick), but I found that spraying the bulbs with the clear matter, then dousing them with glitter worked just fine. Be sure to seal the glitter afterward, so that you’re not stuck with a glittery kitchen.

December 21 005

We also picked up a cheap glass vase while we were at Walmart. Fill it up with your finished bulbs, and you’ve got a great Christmas decoration!

December 21 008

December 21 018

I’ve seen this craft in quite a few places in the blogosphere, but I couldn’t resist sharing, because I just love it! This is such an easy craft. Hopefully it impresses my family as much as it impressed me!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday
1. What is your favorite online-only store? I don’t really have one that is online only, other than Etsy. I love browsing there for inspiration!
2. Do you enjoy wrapping gifts? Yes, I love it!
3. What is the temperature in your city today? It’s still early, but the high for today is supposed to be 4C. Nice and warm for this time of year!
4. What time do you eat dinner? Between 5 and 6pm. Ever since I became a nanny and started eating early lunches, I’m starving by the time 5pm rolls around.
5. Will you be making New Years Resolutions? I usually make one or two.
6. How old is your oldest pair of shoes that you still wear? I have my grad shoes that I’ve worn a few times since then, so about 7 years old.
7. Do you have any restaurant phone numbers saved in your phone? No.
8. What is your favorite and least favorite letter to write in cursive? I love writing any of the particularly loopy letters. I don’t think that there are any I don’t like writing.
9. Do you know any good riddles? Nope.
10. How do you feel about snow? If it’s only snowing lightly and it’s relatively warm out, then I don’t mind it. Otherwise, I hate it. I suppose that’s because we can get quite a bit of snow here, and it gets really stinking cold during the winter.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Recap

Another busy weekend has come and gone. We’re down to less than a week before Christmas, and I have to admit that I’m still amazed at how quickly December has flown by!

Friday was a work day for me. Nothing out of the ordinary, other than this sweet little surprise waiting for me when I arrived:

Friday Gift

How sweet is that? I received a card and some money, which is always appreciated at this time of year. My Friday boys are quite sweet.

Saturday started off with no internet or cable. Not exactly how I like to start my day, but it did force me to start working on my to-do list earlier than expected. I spent the morning baking cookies and wrapping up some gifts for friends.


Saturday afternoon, I went to pick up our Little Brother so that we could go bowling! I started off doing really bad, but I ended up coming in second place in the end. Not to shabby if you ask me.


The bowling alley was in a mall, so we decided to grab some dinner and wander through some stores afterward. The mall was packed, so I was rather grumpy by the end of it. Don’t worry, that was all rectified by an ice cream cone before taking LB home for the night. Stephen and I went and finished up our Christmas shopping after that, so I’m quite glad that I don’t need to go to another mall before Christmas!

Sunday morning was spent at a friend’s house with our niece and nephew. Their birthday is tomorrow, so Stephen and I wanted to bring over their gifts. We had such a hard time tearing ourselves away after lunch though, because we have such fun with the twins. Their enthusiasm for life is contagious!

Sunday afternoon/evening was just spent getting our house organized. I also snuck in some chocolate macaroon making, before pulling out all of our pictures/art work to start hanging on the walls. It was a busy weekend with hardly any time to rest, but luckily, I only have to work today and tomorrow…then I’m off till the New Year!

What did you get up to over the weekend?

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 63)

1. I drew the winner for the Shabby Apple Jewelry giveaway:

Shabby Apple Winner

That makes Andi the winner! She picked the Oahu Turquoise earrings as her favorite item. Congrats, Andi! I’ll be sending off your address right away.

2. Big news first: Stephen found a job! He started yesterday in fact. He’s work on the opposite end of the city, but at this point, work is work. It’s with some friends of his that he worked with back when he first got into the cooking world, so I know he’s excited to be with them again.

3. Now that Stephen’s working again, I can stop accepting every extra babysitting job that comes my way. There’s been a few days where I’ve worked 10 hours with my regular family, then gone straight to another family’s house and worked 3-4 hours more. Needless to say, I’m way behind on life at the moment.

4. I normally send out Christmas cards to my blog readers, but this year, I decided not to do it. After the stress of the move last year and working really hard to get out cards, I was really disappointed to have half the people I was supposed to do an exchange with not even send me a card in return. Maybe that’s a tad selfish, but I just felt like if they said that they were going to send me a card, it would be nice to have gotten one! With the stress of the move this year, I decided to just go ahead and forget about it all together. Sure, my mailbox is feeling quite lonely at the moment, but I’m ok with that.

5. You’ll notice that once again, there was no post up yesterday. Thursdays are when I normally post recipes, and I still haven’t baked in the new townhouse yet. I’m itching to get in the kitchen, but I just haven’t had the time. My Christmas baking list is a mile long, so if I don’t get into the kitchen this weekend, there will be no baked goods over the holidays.

6. We’re taking our Little Brother bowling this weekend. BBBS provided us with cards that entitle us to one free game a month, so we’re planning on taking advantage of that. Apparently, the bowling alley only rents out lanes by the hour on the weekend, but they’re making an exception for us. So nice of them! I’m also hoping that I can convince LB to go see Santa while we’re at the mall. It might not work though, considering he’s 9 years old and clearly way to cool for that!

7. We’ll also be heading to our friend’s house to see our niece and nephew so that we can give them birthday gifts! Their birthday is so dang close to Christmas that we really had a hard time shopping for them. It doesn’t help that they’re twins, so that quadruples the amount of presents we need to buy! We figured that they’re still young enough that if their Christmas gift is a combined one, then they won’t mind. Their birthday gifts are separate, but more or less interchangeable. Once they get a bit older, we’ll be sure that they get separate gifts! Gah, I just adore those kids, and I’ve only seen them once!

What are your plans for the weekend? Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shabby Apple Jewelry Giveaway!

Good news for my lovely readers…Shabby Apple contacted me and asked me to host a giveaway for a piece of their jewelry. Of course I said heck yes because I love having the chance to spread the love to my blog readers. While browsing the jewelry to pick out a piece to give away, I came across this beauty (click photo to enlarge):


Key to Wonderland

Beautiful, no? I (along with pretty much every other blogger) have a love for skeleton keys, so picking this piece to give away was a no brainer. I’d want one of you to own something that I myself would wear. It’s kind of a good thing that  I didn’t have the option to pick something out for myself, because I would have snatched this baby up in a heartbeat!


Let’s get on to the giveaway details, shall we?

This giveaway is only open to those of you with a U.S. shipping address only. (Sorry Canadian and other international readers!) Leave a separate comment below for each entry completed.

Mandatory entry:
You must like Shabby Apple on Facebook. (1 entry)

Optional entries:
Visit the Shabby Apple website, then leave a comment here telling me what your favorite item is. (1 entry)
Follow Shabby Apple on Twitter. (1 entry)
Follow Shabby Apple’s blog. (1 entry)

You have a chance at 4 entries for this giveaway, just be sure to leave separate comments for each! Make sure that your email address is easily visible.
I’ll be drawing a winner on Friday morning, then emailing them shortly after to grab their address. If I don’t hear from the winner before Monday, then I’ll be drawing a new winner.

Good luck!


All images courtesy of Shabby Apple.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. How do you eat your eggs?
Normally, just scrambled.

2. Do you volunteer?
Yes. I used to volunteer quite a bit in junior high and high school, but then stopped for whatever reason until just recently. Stephen and I now both volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters as a Big Couple!

3. What’s your favorite brand of jeans?
I don't have one. I just buy whatever is cheapest.

4. What was your child’s first word? Or what was your first word?
I have no idea what my first word was, and it's too early in the morning to call my Mom to ask.

5. Can you french braid?
Not really, but especially not in my own hair.

6. Do you prefer wide rule, college rule, or blank paper?
There's something exciting about blank paper, but I typically use college rule.

7. Is there a specific treat you always make during the holidays?
Chocolate macaroons. My family loves them!

8. Do you have a KitchenAid mixer? Do you want one?
The only stand mixer I've ever owned is my black KitchenAid, and I seriously adore it! I just wish we had more money so I could buy more of the attachments. The ice cream maker is pretty amazing.

9. What kind of computer do you use?
An HP laptop that I got free from Telus. When we switched our cable from Shaw to Telus, there was a promotion for new customers to receive a free laptop.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?
I love so many of them! Elf, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Tree Decorating

Friday night, Stephen and I planned on having our Little Brother over to help decorate our Christmas tree. I had these grand plans of tree decorating, Christmas music listening and homemade hot chocolate. That went out the window when I got off work much later than I was supposed to, then I found out that LB had to be home earlier than we expected. I was starting to get into a sour mood, all before I even got home. I was just so frustrated that Stephen got to hang out with LB for a whole extra hour, while I just got to the tail end of it. While I was sitting on the bus, frustrated with everything, I realized that I was missing the whole point of this activity.

december 12 028

My original intention for Friday night was to get in the Christmas spirit, yet I was doing the exact opposite! Luckily, I had that bus ride home to turn my attitude around, so that I could be in a much better mood before I got home. I may have only got to spend an hour and a half with LB, but at least we got my tree decorated! It also may not have been done the way I wanted (so many clusters of ornaments, and patches where the lights weren’t evenly distributed), but I had to remind myself that LB had fun, and that’s al that mattered. He helped Stephen string the lights around the tree, and to see him look like he was feeling so important for being a special helper was all it took to make me not care about a perfectly decorated tree. At least we all had fun decorating it!

december 12 016

 december 12 017

december 12 020

december 12 023

december 12 024

Our goal is to have a food themed tree (as if that’s really a surprise!), but of course, I have to have the obligatory Paris themed ornament thrown in there for good measure!

december 12 009

Here’s our little Charlie Brown tree. Stephen bought it for me (a surprise!) our first Christmas that we lived together. It was back when we lived in the condo, and we just didn’t have the space for a full sized tree. We also didn’t have the money for a nicer tree, but I didn’t need it. All I cared about was that Stephen was thoughtful enough to know that a tree was important to me, and he went out and secretly bought me this. I’m such a sap that pulling it out each year is such a special moment to me.

december 12 011

He also went searching for the perfect sized ornaments and lights to fit this tree. We added to them this year, with the sweets themed ornaments that we found at Walmart.

december 12 014

Do you have any sentimental decorations? Have you decorated your Christmas tree yet?

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 62)

1. We’ve been in our new place for nearly a week now. We’re nowhere near unpacked, but I’m madly in love with this townhouse. The natural light in this place is amazing! Our last townhouse had 6 windows total, throughout the whole place, but our new living room has more than 6 in it alone! (There’s 10!)

2. I’ve been working like crazy this week, picking up extra babysitting after work, which has lead  to us being slow on the unpacking. Thankfully, I have tomorrow and Sunday to get a bunch of stuff put away. I’m tired of moving around boxes in the kitchen.

3. Speaking of work, Stephen is currently out of a job. There’s a bunch of stuff that I (nor Stephen, really) still don’t understand, that lead him to be out of a job. He was supposed to switch from one location to another, but somewhere along the line, rumours of some sort started and no one thought to confirm them with Stephen. It’s really tough because he has put so much in to this company, and they have given him nothing. It’s really hard on me to see him hurting over something so stupid. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that Stephen is able to find a job before Christmas.

4. We’ve got our Christmas tree up, but it’s not decorated yet. My Dad really wanted us to have a real tree this year, so he went out and bought one for us, then brought it over on moving day. We decided that we wanted to decorate it with our Little Brother, so he’ll be coming over tonight to help us out. I can’t wait for a little festive cheer in this house!

5. Christmas is creeping up on me really quick this year. We’ve barely even started our Christmas shopping (we’ve only bought 2 gifts!), and I haven’t started my Christmas baking. I have so many grand plans for baking that I really should have started last month. I’m going to have to turn into a baking machine to get it all done in time. I’m looking forward to being able to share recipes here on the blog again, I’ve really missed sharing them!

6. My Mom’s birthday is this weekend, so I think we’ll be having her over on Sunday to celebrate. I know that there will be cupcakes involved, from my favorite cupcake place in Calgary. My uncle in Ontario called me up and asked me to go by some for my Mom as his present to her. I can never say no to cupcakes!

7. While thinking through my weekend, I just realized that I’m going to be babysitting tomorrow night. Thankfully, it’s just for my nanny family who live across the field from me now! My commute to work is amazing, I can leave 10 minutes before I start. Guess I won’t have as much free time as I thought though.

What are your plans for the weekend? Does this holiday season have you ridiculously busy yet?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesdays



I’ve got a bit of a thing for maps. Luckily for me, Stephen also has a love of maps, so I’m slowly incorporating more of  them into our home decor. Here’s just a few of the map related things that I’ve been pinning lately.

Globe Cluster

Collection of globes. I would love to have a tabletop in my house filled with a collection of globes! How cool would that look? For now though, I’d settle for even one globe.

where we're from

Where we’re from. Yet another idea for my gallery wall. If I could find some good printable maps of where Stephen and I were born, I would be all over making this. I also think that it would make a cute wedding gift!

Go Somewhere 

Go somewhere. I have a love of typography, which naturally leads me to love scrabble tiles. This picture actually inspired me to create something for my gallery wall, pictured below.

September 27 269

Paris Wall Map

Paris wall map. It’s no secret that I have a love of Paris, so this wall map really speaks to me. One day, when I own my own home, I plan on recreating something similar in my bedroom. How fun would that be?

What have you pinned lately? What are some things that you love?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are 3 things that are on your Christmas wishlist?
I've really been struggling to make a wish list this year. I feel like I'm at an age where the things I want/need are rather expensive. Regardless, here are three things: a new camera bag, bed frame and new flour/sugar jars for my counter.

2. What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I think it may be Last Christmas.

3. Do you have a favorite band or singer that sings it especially awesome?
I don't have one version that I favor over the others.

4. Have you heard about the website goodreads?
Yes. I have an account, but I haven't used it in months.

5. What are 3 books you want to read?
Bossy pants by Tina Fey, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and that's all I can think of at the moment.

6. Do you hunt deer?
No. I do eat meat, but I can't even begin to think about hunting.

7. Have you started Christmas shopping? Are you completely finished?
I suppose that I technically have started Christmas shopping as I have bought one gift. We wanted to wait until after the move to do the shopping.

8. Did you shop on Black Friday? What was the best deal you got?
We don't have Black Friday in Canada.

9. What’s one holiday tradition your family has?
We always open up Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve!

10. How many blogs do you read? Do you subscribe/unsubscribe often or do you purge every once in a while?
I don't know how many I read. I do a purge every so often, after I realize thy I've been skipping over certain blogs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Move

The past week has been hectic, hence the silence on my blog lately. Not only were my nights filled with packing, but I also worked long hours (including a 16 hour day), right up until we moved. Thankfully, I had Friday off, so we intended  to get quite a bit of stuff crossed off our list. We woke up bright and early to go take possession of the new townhouse, then went for breakfast. Before we even made it back home, I felt a migraine coming on. I haven’t had a true migraine in years, so Stephen kind of brushed it off. I went from bad to worse quite quickly, and I lost my breakfast (in public), before making it to the safety of my house. I’ve had migraines before, but this must have been the worst of my life. It completely drained me (aura, pounding head, clammy/sweaty, shaky, nauseous), and I had to spend the afternoon sleeping it off. I figured that the combination of stress and the crazy Calgary weather brought it on. Thankfully, I’ve got an amazing boyfriend who not only took care of me, but packed up and moved a load of boxes.

By Saturday morning, I was feeling much better, so we got an early start yet again. Our crew of helpers showed up by 9am, and I took the first trip over to the new place. The Dad that I nanny for had offered to help, but had to bring Baby E, so I took on baby duty and oversaw the Telus setup. With the amount of help that we had, it only ended up taking one and a half trips (we didn’t rent a U-Haul), and everything was in the new place by early afternoon. We paid our movers in pizza, then spent the rest of the day relaxing and did a bit of unpacking.

Sunday was spent at the old place cleaning, which took us longer than expected. By the time we made it home, it was too late (and I was too tired) to do any unpacking. We took showers, ordered Chinese food and watched half of Elf. This next week will be filled with boxes, but hopefully we’ll make good progress with the unpacking. Shall we move on to a couple of pictures?

december 5 016

The view from our big kitchen window half a floor above the living room. Notice the empty donut box? Or how about my coffee mug? Clearly, I’ve got our priorities straight.

december 5 019

This is the chaos of my life at the moment; no point in hiding that! I love love love all of the light that our living room gets thanks to the many large windows!

december 5 020

My kitchen is just as chaotic. We’re so happy to have nice appliances and beautiful cupboards though! The color, on the other hand, is going to take some getting used to.

december 5 021

Oh, and this is what’s going on in the garage. My Dad insisted on getting me a real tree this year, so he brought it over on moving day. There’s no room for it in the house yet, so we had to set it up in the garage until we unpack. I have to admit that it is rather lovely.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. Do you wear glasses, contacts, or are you one of those perfect eyed people?
I've been wearing glasses since the eighth grade. I've never worn contacts, nor do I really have any desire to. I think I'll just wear glasses my entire life.

2. What is the next item you are going to purchase?
I'm assuming this is referring to a bigger purchase, and not something that's not very exciting like food. If that's the case, it'll probably be Christmas gifts. Now that we're finally moving this weekend, I'll be able to start my Christmas shopping. Now, if this question is referring to something for myself, then it will most definitely be something for the house. I've had my eye on this large bookshelf for ages and I'm hoping to pick it up before Christmas.

3. Have you ever watched Judge Judy or any other real court show?
I did when I lived with my parents because they liked to watch those shows every so often. I'm really not a fan of them, so I haven't watched one since.

4. How do you feel about fake nails?
They're nice when they're a moderate length. I'm only assuming that though because I've never had fake nails. I imagine I'll be getting some for my sister's wedding in the summer because she just got certified to do nails.

5. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Hockey, but only in person. I can't stand watching sports on TV.

6. If you could create your own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, what would it be and what would it be named?
Here's the thing, Ben & Jerry have already created the perfect flavor: brownie cheesecake. Can't mess with perfection!

7. Do you have any scars?
Yes, several. None of them have cool stories though; I have several burn marks from baking (that counts, right?), and some on my foot from falling.

8. Does your pet’s name fit them? Is there a more appropriate name?
Piglet and Oreo suit my guinea pigs perfectly.

9. What is your favorite television show theme song?
Pretty much any theme song from the nineties! Shows nowadays just don't even come close. Stephen and I regularly bust out the Fresh Prince theme song. Actually, it's more like I start singing it and Stephen looks at me like I'm crazy. Good times!

10. What was your favorite activity on the playground?
Always the swings. Still is! I should know, I go to the park regularly. The joys of being a nanny!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Recap

I’ve reached that time of year where I feel like I’ve piled my plate a little too full of things to do. Between the move, work, side babysitting jobs, volunteer commitments and normal Christmas time activities, I’m starting to feel the stress of it all. You’ll have to be patient with me in the next two weeks in terms of my blogging. If I miss a few days here in there, hopefully you’ll forgive me! My baking supplies have already been packed up for over a week, so there won’t be a new recipe post for a little while. Enough of that though, let’s move on to my packed weekend!

Friday night was low key, but ended up in an impromptu date night with Stephen. We’ve been avoiding grocery shopping as much as possible so that we don’t have heavy boxes of food to move, so that means we’ve really been lacking on snack foods in the house. Just before 10pm, we decided go grab some snacks from the store to make up for our rather small dinner. Stephen suggested last minute that we head to Boston Pizza for appetizers and dessert instead. It was nice taking that hour to ourselves and putting aside the stress of our lives for just a small window of time. It was very much needed.

Saturday started off bright and early because it was our first hangout with our Little Brother! (He’ll be referred to as LB from now on.) We decided to keep it rather simple to get LB to feel comfortable with us, so we started off with lunch at Dairy Queen. He’s such a polite kid that he didn’t even want us to spend our own money on him! We then headed back to our place to play some video games. We’re lucky that LB isn’t overly shy. He’s got a lot to say, but we can tell he gets nervous because a lot of his answers have been “I don’t know”. Hopefully he’ll begin to feel comfortable with us and open up more! Saturday night consisted of lots of packing.

Sunday morning started off even earlier because we had plans to head to a friend’s house. Some good friends of ours have recently adopted twins, so we finally got to have the chance to meet the kids and get to know them. We’ve been asked to be Auntie Angela and Uncle Stephen, so we were extra excited to meet the twins! We hit it off instantly with the kids; Stephen got plenty of cuddles from A, and I got plenty of cuddles from V. I cannot believe how much I’ve already fallen in love with these guys, and I can’t wait to spend more time with them.

When we got home on Sunday afternoon, we discovered some problems with our screen door. There were really strong winds in Calgary yesterday afternoon, which caught our screen door, opened it and started ripping it off the hinges. Thankfully, one of our neighbors noticed this and placed her planter in front of the door to prevent it from being completely destroyed. We do have a bent bar to deal with, so Stephen took the door completely off and hopes that he’ll be able to fix it so that we don’t have to spend over $300 to replace it completely. Apparently the winds were so bad yesterday that the downtown core was essentially shut down because of the windows being broken and flying debris! Amazing what Mother Nature can do.
Was your weekend as eventful as mine? Did you do anything fun? Please share, I want to live vicariously through you!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Comforts

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love. 

Red Cup{via}
Nothing screams Holiday comfort more to me than the Starbucks red cup. I realize just how predictable this is, but there is a reason for that. I look forward to this time every year, when I can sip on a peppermint mocha while sitting in a cozy coffee shop. I do realize that I can get a peppermint mocha all year long, but I save it specifically for this time of year so that I have something comforting to look forward to!
My family is big on comfort foods. One of the favorites that springs to mind is my Great Grandma’s banana bread. Before I started baking, it was a highly coveted recipe, and we all hoped and prayed that she would bring a loaf around with her whenever she came to visit. What’s more comforting than sharing a slice of warm banana bread with your loved ones? Luckily for us, she brings several loaves to distribute at Christmastime. I just recently received her recipe for banana bread, so I had the honor of baking it for Christmas this past year.
This is my Uncle D’arcy, holding a loaf of my banana bread. The whole family gathered around, wanting to sample a slice, hoping that it would be close to my Great Grandma’s. The reason he’s showing off this loaf to the camera is that my loaf looked exactly like my G.G’s bread! It also tasted the same, so there were sighs of relief from the family. Now, whenever we’re craving a little bite of family comfort, we don’t have to travel to Vulcan to satisfy that craving…they just have to travel to my place!
Speaking of family, there’s absolutely nothing more comforting to me than having all of my family around me during the holidays. Christmas has to be one of my favorite holidays because I look forward to getting my crazy loud family together, all in one place! Stephen and I are hosting Christmas this year, and while people tell us that we’re crazy for wanting to host so many people, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does holiday comfort mean to you?

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic's Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We’re a Big Couple!

I’ve mentioned this in passing before, but I thought that I would go into a bit more detail now that things are official.
Around the beginning of this year, I proposed to Stephen the idea of volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary. When I was younger, a friend of mine had a Big Sister, and the positive influence she had over my friend left a lasting impression with me. I’ve thought about it over the years, but for some reason, never took the leap and signed myself up to become a Big Sister. Within the last year, I realized that you could sign up to become a Big Couple with your partner, so that’s when I proposed the idea to Stephen. I gave him some time to mull it over, and not too long after that, we started the application process.

I’m not going to lie, this application process is just that: a process. After a quick phone conversation, we were scheduled for an in-person interview. Since we had to have two people interview us (separately, then together), we ended up having to wait a month for our interview. At the interview, we had to fill out paperwork to get a background check and a child intervention check. We just happened to start the paperwork while the Canada Post strike was going on, so our child intervention check was delayed in getting back to us by at least a month. From the time we initially applied, to the time we were approved to start being matched, it took over 4 months. We weren’t matched until this month, so that added on another 3 months. I have to admit that I was starting to get a little discouraged, just because I didn’t realize that it could take so long to be matched. I follow BBBS on twitter, and they would tweet constantly just how many Little Brothers were waiting to be matched, so I couldn’t understand why it was taking us so long to be paired up with one.

We finally got a call this month that we were matched with a Little Brother, and we got to meet him last night. Because of confidentiality reasons, I can’t share anything about him here. I will mention that he’s 9 years old, which is at the older end of the age range that we wanted. The interviews went well last night, so Stephen and I both agreed to move forward with the match. Our Little Brother and his Mom agreed to move forward as well, so we’ll be hanging out together for the first time this weekend.

Life is kind of funny sometime, so naturally, we were matched in the midst of moving. Life is hectic for both Stephen and I, but we’ve agreed to make the effort to see our Little Brother regardless. He seems fairly outgoing, so that will make the getting to know each other phase a lot easier on all of us. We’re taking it slow this weekend; we’ll have him over for lunch, Mario Kart races and talking about future activities that we’d all like to do.

While I’ll be vague about our Little Brother’s details, I will most likely still be blogging about our outings. Those posts just won’t included pictures of him, but I think it’ll still be fun to look back on the memories some day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday
Even though Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed (it was last month), I’ll be a good sport and play along anyway.
1. What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? This year, we had Thanksgiving at my parent’s place. My great grandma and her boyfriend made the drive from Vulcan to Calgary to join us.
2. What are you most thankful for this year? I realize that his happened after Thanksgiving, but at this moment, I am most thankful for the fact that we were able to find a place (that we love) to live in.
3. Do you have any traditions on Thanksgiving? The parade? Football? Long naps? We really don’t have any traditions that everyone can think of. Everyone just shows up, we eat good food and hang out. I couldn’t ask for anything better!
4. Is it called stuffing or dressing? Is it in the bird or a separate dish? It’s called stuffing, and we cook some in the turkey, as well as a separate dish of it. We’re big stuffing lovers, so we have to make sure we have plenty to go around (plus leftovers).
5. Do you cook? Nope. We all know by now that I can’t cook. My Dad is normally the cook, but if we were to host Thanksgiving, Stephen would do the cooking. I do, however, do the baking.
6. What is your favorite dish? Stuffing. It’s delish!
7. What is your dessert preference? Pumpkin pie. Hands down.
8. What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory? This is probably going to sound awful, but I don’t really have one that stands out. When I think of Thanksgiving, I just get warm feelings of love and good food. I do think that Canadian Thanksgiving isn’t celebrate in quite the same way as American Thanksgiving. At least, I feel like it’s not quite the big deal in our family as it would be for a family in the States.
9. Do you plan to shop on Black Friday? Nope, we don’t have Black Friday here.
10. What are you most dreading about Thanksgiving this year? I’ve never dreaded anything about Thanksgiving. I just love it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Recap

I originally had a different post planned for today, but I’ve been having technical difficulties with it. I’m waiting on an answer to an email I sent, hence the late blog post today. The other post will have to wait for another day.
Now on to my weekend!

I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t a relaxing weekend for me. Saturday morning started off nice and early because this little nugget was dropped off at my house:


Her Mom was going to be the nail model for my sister who was taking her certification test. It was a fairly easy morning, since she was in a good mood and was all smiles for me. She was picked up shortly after lunch, and I had a couple of hours free.


Not too long afterward though, I had to venture out into the cold to go babysit for the evening. See how cold it was? Did you notice the “Feels Like” temperature? Yeah, it was COLD outside! I was finished babysitting by 10pm, but then I had to venture back out into that crappy weather and take a train and walk home afterward. I was so glad to get into bed that night!


Guess who made a return appearance at my house on Sunday? Her Mom wanted to go see Twilight, so we both figured that since Saturday was so easy, we’d hang out again on Sunday. Yeah, it wasn’t a piece of cake. Little Emily screamed nearly the entire time her Mom was gone. She’s the loudest baby I have ever cared for, and she was inconsolable. I’ve never had so many problems with a baby in my life! As cute as she is, I was thankful when her Mom came and picked her up.

Stephen and I made a quick trip to Bed Bath and Beyond that night to pick up a new mop (the “Slim” version of this Shark mop.) We may have also picked up our first Christmas gift this year! We found an awesome one for our twin niece and nephew.

There’s my weekend in a nutshell! What did you get up to over the weekend? Was yours more relaxing than mine?

Friday, November 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 61)

1. I didn’t blog on Wednesday. I’m trying to be ok with the fact that sometimes, I just don’t have anything to say. I really like blogging, and I do like blogging 5 days a week, but if nothing is going on, then I just don’t have much to say.

2. We finally found a place to live! It’s a bigger townhouse than the one we currently live in. It has 2 master bedrooms (both with ensuites!), an unfinished basement, a garage, a balcony off the kitchen and a patio off the living room. Best thing about the townhouse? I’ll be able to walk to work! We sign the lease papers Monday, and then move the first weekend in December.

3. I suppose that means that I better get serious about this packing business. I have done some packing, but now that we’ve found a place to live, I feel like this is actually happening, and I better get my but in gear!

4. I think Baby E helped seal the deal with this new townhouse. We went to look at it while I was working, so E came along. The lady showing us the place loved him, and when she called our references, she even talked to E’s Mom about how cute he is. We’ll be signing the lease during my work hours, so I guess she’ll get to see Baby E again!

5. Stephen and I have become an aunt and uncle! No, none of our siblings had any babies. Some really close friends of ours has adopted twins, and they’ve asked us to be Auntie and Uncle. I cannot wait for the kids to get settled enough for us to meet them, because I want to spoil them!

6. It’s officially winter here. Our high today will be –16C (but will feel like –24C) and we’ve got a good dusting of snow on the ground. *sigh*

7. My Saturday will be spent babysitting for a friend’s baby in the morning, then some rambunctious boys in the evening. I suppose I’ll be spending Sunday packing up a storm. What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn

This is yet another Pinterest recipe. You know, someone posed this question on Twitter recently: “Will the internet replace cookbooks?” I realized lately that a lot of the recipes I bake from have come from the internet. I don’t often set out to look for recipes online, and with a large cookbook collection, you would think that I would never have to. I just happen to spend a lot of time online, and subscribe to quite a few food blogs. Between those and Pinterest, it’s inevitable that I’ll come across delicious looking recipes.

November 17 002

Anyway, back to this recipe. I’m a big fan of quick and easy recipes. What person isn’t, right? I love recipes involving popcorn for this very reason, most of them seem easy and quick. Popcorn is also the perfect snacking food! By now, you have to know that I bookmark practically every recipe that involves chocolate and peanut butter. If it involves Reese’s, you know that I’m going to be pinning it. This recipe is originally pinned on Pinterest as “Reese’s Popcorn”, but I’m not buying that. Just because it involves chocolate and peanut butter, doesn’t make it Reese’s. However, this is still good popcorn. I recommend using a bag of popcorn that has very little butter in it, otherwise you’ll get too much of a butter taste.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn
Found on Pinterest

1 bag of popcorn, popped
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
Icing sugar for sprinkling

1. In a medium microwavable bowl, melt together chocolate, peanut butter and butter. Stir in vanilla.
2. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate mixture with the popcorn. Stir to coat evenly.
3. Spread the popcorn onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. What are your pantry staples?
Off the top of my head: diced tomatoes, black beans, chick peas, cereal, tomato paste, pasta, and pasta sauce.

2. What are your refrigerator staples?
Condiments of all sorts, cheese (no fake stuff like Kraft slices), eggs, butter and/or margarine, and milk.

3. You already look like Heidi Klum (or your favorite supermodel). Now, what are the top three non-physical things you would change about yourself?
I wouldn't so lazy, I'd stress less and I'd be a better cook.

4. What’s holding you back from your dream job? (If you already have your dream job, how did you get there?)
I have a job (as a nanny) that is pretty dang close to my dream job. I never set out to be a nanny, but now that I work for two families that I adore, I can confidently say that I love my job. The pay isn't all that fantastic (the only downside to working for a "normal" family), but I'd take happiness over money. I'm also incredibly lucky to be with a guy who supports me and my job.

5. You have $500 to spend but it has to be on one item only. Go.
The responsible side of me says that I should spend it on something I need like a bed frame or dresser. (I'm assuming that paying bills is out of the question.) The impractical, selfish side of me would go out and upgrade to an iPhone 4S.

6. What is something that you are embarrassed to admit you buy on a regular basis?
I've been trying to think of an answer for this, but I can't come up with anything. I guess I'm just not ashamed of the things I buy!

7. What’s in/on your bed every night?
4 pillows, a fitted sheet (we both hate top sheets), a duvet and Stephen.

8. What is a non-necessity item that, no matter how expensive it gets or how tight your budget if, you will always find room for it?
Coffee. Although, at this point, it's totally a necessity! I order my K-cups online to get more bang for my buck.

9. What is the weirdest sandwich you've ever made?
I don't think I make weird sandwiches. Although, if I don't feel like having plain old Mayo, I'll replace it with a little bit of ranch dressing. Is that weird?

10. Would you rather: Be banned from Pinterest forever, but gain a million captive Twitter followers; or, never get on Facebook again but gain five thousand blog readers?
I adore Pinterest too much to never e able to go on it again, so I'd have to pick giving up Facebook. I just hope that those 5000 blog readers like comment/interact with me, otherwise it wouldn't be worth it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Weekend in Instagrams

Despite the fact that I had a three day weekend, it just seemed to fly by. We’re at the time of year where everyone’s to-do lists are a mile long, and when you add on the fact that we have to  move in a few short weeks, then my list seems almost unbearable.

Cupcake Liners

The last thing I need to be doing is buying more stuff for the house, but when I went to the dollar store and found a bunch of cute cupcake liners, I snatched them right up. At only $1/60, I’m tempted to go back and buy more. (There was purple, pink, green and blue gingham, roses and polka dots.)


Whenever I got a free moment this weekend, I worked on making some Christmas cards. I embossed one thing, and was covered in sparkles for the rest of the weekend. Always a sign of a good crafting session!


On Saturday, I got down to business and removed (and packed) all of the pictures and art work in our place. I was sad when it came time to take down my gallery wall, but I hope to be able to recreate it in our new place.

Board Games

I swear that we own more board games than anyone I know! Believe it or not, I’d say that about 95% of them were gifts. We don’t play all of them (The OC board game is the worst of the bunch), so I really should go through them and donate the unused ones.


We won’t be having anymore guests over in our current place, since this is what one area of our living room looks like. Random observation: ever since we found out we had to move, I’ve stopped referring to our house as a home. Knowing that we won’t be here much longer makes me feel like I’m no longer living in a home.

Saturday night, we went out and looked at two more places. I can’t believe that we’re halfway through the month and we have yet to find a place to live! Stephen and I are both starting to feel the stress. If one of the places that we really want falls through, then we’ll need to start looking in different areas of the city.

Hershey's Pie

Since we were looking at places to live right over the dinner hour on Saturday, Stephen and I decided to eat at Burger King. Ages ago, Rebel Mel and I had a conversation about these pies. She loves them, but I didn’t realize that Burger King sold them! Since I rarely eat at Burger King (it’s one of my least favorite fast food place), I finally got the chance to try it out. Verdict: not half bad for fast food pie!

Sunday was a quiet day that consisted of more packing and catching up on some PVR’ed shows. Nothing to write home about.
How was your weekend?

Friday, November 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 60)

1. Today is Remembrance Day, so I’ve got the day off from work. I’ve been working so hard lately, that I’m thankful to get an extra day to catch up on my sleep. I know the true meaning of this holiday though, so I’ll be keeping veterans everywhere in my thoughts today.

2. We found out this week that two of the places that we had applied for (to move) have turned us down. I think the worst part is not knowing why the first place turned us down. We’ve got more viewings scheduled for this weekend, so please keep your fingers crossed for us, we’re starting to stress about finding a place to live!

3. I got a very important phone call last night; it looks like we may finally have a match for Big Brothers Big Sisters! Our worker is talking with the boy’s Mom to try and schedule a time for us to meet to see if we’d be a good fit for each other. He’s on the older end of the age range that we said that we wanted, so I’m a bit nervous. I know that I’m a nanny,  but my strengths truly lie with younger kids. What the heck do I do with a 9 year old boy? Thankfully, Stephen and I are doing this together, so I know that he’ll be great at it, and will definitely know what to do.

4. The Calgary Herald is launching a section on their website devoted to local bloggers, and yours truly is going to be apart of it! You’ll be able to find me under the food blogs section, which is rather exciting! If you click on the link above, you’ll notice that there are still some things to be worked out, like the load time, which is super slow. If you’re a Calgary blogger not on the website, apply here.

5. There was a launch party this week for the new bloggers section of the Calgary Herald’s website, and I’m sad to say that I had to miss it due to work. In fact, I often miss things because of my work hours, which are a bit longer than most people’s. The party looks like it was a lot of fun though, and I wish I could have gone!

6. I didn’t get around to crafting last weekend like I had hoped I would, so I’m bound and determined to do it this weekend. I’ll put off packing for one day, and devote today to Christmas card making. If I don’t get it done this weekend, I don’t know if I’ll ever get it done/

7. That’s about all that has happened this week. The move has consumed my every thought, so I haven’t been very exciting lately. What are your plans for the weekend?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Apple Bars

Stephen and I love having people over for dinner. I think we’re both homebodies, so if we can invite over our favorite people to partake in one of our favorite activities, then we’re game for it. Here’s the thing though, I often forget to make dessert. I can hear you over there, all “What the heck Angela?”. I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I just forget to make it. I focus so much on cleaning the house and making sure that we have everything for dinner that I’ll often just skip over dessert entirely. I’m trying to get better about this though. A couple of weeks ago, we had our favorite couple over for lunch, and I actually remembered to make something sweet to eat before we went out for a movie.

October 19 002

I was nervous about this dessert at first, because when I sampled the naked peanut butter apple bar, I wasn’t impressed with it. Stephen assured me that it was still fine to serve, so I finished it off by making the peanut butter glaze. I originally cut the bars into small slices, not expecting anyone to really want more. Turns out I was totally wrong, because these bars were amazing once they were all dressed up. So amazing that I had to bring out the rest of them, and everyone filled up on these before the movie. Now that’s a successful dessert!

Peanut Butter Apple Bars
From Two Peas and Their Pod

1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup diced apples

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13 pan.
2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt together the butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat and mix in the peanut butter until fully combined. Let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, into the peanut butter mixture. Add in the vanilla extract. Combine with the dry ingredients. Fold in the diced apples.
5. Pour the batter into the greased pan, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool bars on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Glaze

1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Whisk together the ingredients until smooth.
2. Drizzle over cut and cooled bars.



October 19 003

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...