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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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