"...In the dance of sun and water and sky. In the faces of the people who need us most and of the people we most need. In the smell of breakfast cooking on a charcoal fire. Who knows where we will find Him or whether we will recognize Him if we do? Who knows anything even approaching the truth of who He really was? But my prayer is that we will all of us find Him somewhere, somehow, and that He will give us something of his life to fill our emptiness, something of his light to drive back our dark"
-The Great Dance -Frederick Buechner

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Use what ya got (Part 2)

Books.... I just love 'em.

Yes, they are nice to read and all but I also love decorating with my most favourite books.  I think decorating with books is a great way to use what you've got when decorating your house.

I'll always remember walking into my friend Heidi's house a few  years back and noticing that she had colour coated her books into piles in her living room shelf.  I was impressed!

Yes, I did colour coat my  books when I got home.  In our new place I went away from the colour coating and I just had my fave's on a bookshelf in the living room 

When I took the picture below to show our newly painted coffee table I noticed i really did not like the way my bookshelf was looking anymore.  It had to go

I chose a few of my favourite reads and stacked them up on this little table which now sits where the white bin in the pic above is (right side of armoire) and the white bin got moved to where the bookshelf is... looks much better.

Although a few lucky ones got to stay in the living room as decorations, the rest of the books ended up sitting on my old coffee table in the corner of the office (my office currently acts as a graveyard for many unused pieces of furniture).

I was ready to put them in a rubbermaid and store them in the basement but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  

Then I remembered our big open closet in the master bedroom and the fact that I had seen a really big, awesome bookshelf in one of the bathrooms in a house I was in recently and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.  I mean, who doesn't want to read a book in the bathroom right!?

So now here is where my books sit.  They all fit in there perfectly and I am happy that I don't have to store them and I love the way they look.

Another bonus... I'm trying to encourage Nelson to not use a different towel everyday so now that there is only one shelf of towels in our bathroom he's not as tempted... Less laundry and less towels laying all over the floor:)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Use what ya got (part 1)

I'm cleaning out the office and finding many items that need homes so here's the first instalment of "use what ya got" as I try to make the office more user friendly while at the same time trying to fill some empty spaces around the house

This idea started with I pinned this onto pinterest awhile ago I've been wanting to make a few heart-map frames with our favourite places.

This is my first one and it is not perfect but it was good for an afternoon throw together project and I plan on adding a few more because I do have 2 more of these white frames hanging in Molly's room right now serving no great purpose at all.

I originally had some scrapbooking paper in the frame and then I added a quote.  After I printed that same quote out and hung in the stairwell it seemed like overkill to have two of them

slightly hard to see in this pic but I drew half of a heart on a folded piece of paper because I don't have a heart stencil

I used the cutout heart and traced it onto a white piece of scrapbook paper and then i put this map of Oahu under it

ta daa... there's the finished project sitting on the floating shelf in the kitchen.  You can see Honolulu, Pearl harbour etc... on the map and since Nels and I were in Oahu for our Honeymoon and then went back there with Molly this past January it has a special place in our hearts...hence the heart frame.  A special place in our hearts in a heart frame... how perfect right!?

of course because I'm a bit obsessive the frame changed spots many times throughout the day.  It ended up in the stairwell right near the front entrance.  Here's a few angles of it

opposite to it here is the framed printable of the quote "What I love most about my Home is who I share it with."  I'm looking forward to maybe adding another heart-map of Harrison (where we got married) and maybe Linden or Salmon Arm for the third.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


If you've been to my house recently you've seen that I'm no stranger to developing free printables I find on the web.  I've also been working on making a few of my own which is fun.  These are such great ways to decorate for super cheap.  Here are my two favourites right now.  I developed them both at Costco and they turned out super well.  

"What I love most about my Home" print is from here.  I developed this one as an 11x17 and the resolution is super good

 The "Life is a Beautiful Ride" print is from here.  This one I just did as an 8x10 and it looks sweet even though it isn't framed yet

happy printing!!

Go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe

 My fave chocolate chip recipe.  The key is to make 'em with real butter (as opposed to margarine) and use the good vanilla from Mexico.  So easy to make and sooo good!

These ones I rolled out for Valentines day cookies but usually I just make them as a drop cookie.

Cream together:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Add the following the creamed mixture and mix:
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Combine the following 3 ingredients in a separate bowl:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until incorporated

Fold in 2 cups chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Peanut Yam Soup

One of my favourite soups... and pretty much the only thing I could keep down during the first trimester  of my pregnancy:)

1 garlic bulb
4 small unpeeled yams (2 1/2 lbs)

175 ml unsalted roasted peanuts

15 ml cooking oil
375 ml chopped onion

5 ml ground cumin
5 ml coriander
2 ml salt
1 ml pepper
1 ml cayenne pepper

1.5 L chicken stock
398 ml diced tomatoes (with juice)
398 ml can of chickpeas

Trim 1/4 inch from garlic bulb to expose tops of cloves, leaving bulb intact.  Wrap loosely in greased foil. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Place yams on same baking sheet.  Bake in 375'F oven for 45 minutes until garlic and yams are tender.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.  Squeeze garlic bomb to remove cloves from peel.  Discard peel.  Place cloves in medium bowl.  Cut yams in half.  Scoop yam from peel to same medium bowl.  Discard peel

Process peanuts in blender or food processor until very finely chopped.  Add to yam mixture.  Mash with fork.  Set aside

Heat cooking oil in large pot on medium heat.  Add onion.  Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring often until softened.

Add next 5 ingredients.  Stir.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion is golden.

Add yam mixture and remaining 3 ingredients.  stir.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasional, to blend flavours.  Carefully process with hand blender or in blender until smooth (make sure you check blender manufacturers instructions for processing HOT liquids)

Enjoy... it is soooo good and freezes really well.

I found this pic on the web.. looks almost identical to the soup.
If you puree it more it would be smoother

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How are those resolutions coming along?

Today seems like a good day to revist my resolutions.  I'm hanging out at my Moms while Nelson works a day shift and Molly is watching her bake buns:)

So here was my first list of resolutions:

1. paint door in kitchen
2. paint outside door (perhaps both sides)
3. spray paint mirror for guest bedroom
4. spray paint magazine rack for office
5. refinish old coffee table
6. hang photo collage
7. sew valances
8. sew curtains for playroom
9. finish painting chairs for kitchen

The great part is that i wasn't even trying to cross anything off the list yet and without knowing I'm almost 30% done.  Yah!!!

Today I've been thinking lots about the tile for our backsplash in the kitchen. I'm super stoked about it. I think it will be our March project and considering I thought it was going to be WAY in the future i couldn't be more happy. I was scoping some tile out at Home Depot the other day and they have exactly what we need for a pretty reasonable price. Here's a few pics to add to fuel the subway tile flame

Friday, February 10, 2012

The small things

Our kitchen is coming together but we've got a bunch of small things to finish.  I'm happy to say that yesterday while I had Molly at Grandma and Grandpa's Nels was able to start (and finish) the moulding in the kitchen.  Here's a few before and after pics

Before: it actually doesn't look that bad here but there is a space between the wall and the ceiling

After: a little moulding and things are looking a bit more finished:)

this is probably where the space between ceiling and wall was the worst, unfortunately I didn't take a before pic but I love how it looks now

this is looking into the living room where I think the moulding looks the greatest:)

lately I have been obsessing over throw pillows for the couch.  I've been pinning some inspiration on pinterest.  i love the look of this couch:

 Nels and I had a bit of a puky beginning to the week (stupid flu!) so I was happy to get into the city a few days ago to hunt for some pillows

I found these gems at Bed Bath and Beyond.  I LOVE the fabric detail and I think that would be pretty easy to do to a plain white pillow

I could not believe this $49.99 price tag.  Are you kidding me!?!?  This is the kind of thing I ran into all day.  The most I am EVER willing to spend on one pillow is 20.00 so I was getting just a little VERY frustrated.  

And then on a quick stop for groceries at Superstore I decided to take a quick look at their spring stuff (which is AWESOME by the way).  Low and behold, they had some really plain, awesome pillows in every colour I am looking for in my house.  I'm not sure who the designer is for the Everyday Essentials line but we should get together sometime because the stuff is so similar to the look I am going for in my house.  I've gotten quite a few things from superstore actually (maybe I'll post all of my superstore finds later).  I would say Superstore is the equivalent to Target  as far as the variety/quality of stuff and the prices are usually even better.

These pillows were $8.00!!!  Even as I say it now I feel like I should pick up a few more.  They had GREAT colours and even though they are plain, I love the look and you could spice them up with some cut out fabric pieces like on the rip off pillows from Bed Bath and Beyond. 

So here is the couch now... I am so happy.  For $32.00 I have a much friendlier looking couch that will be making its way to the living room (from the bonus room) very shortly.  

side note: the two pillows in the middle came with the couch originally.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Taste of Home Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I often get asked if I miss working since Molly came along... People are often shocked to hear that I do (I'm a little shocked myself actually). Truth is, I had a pretty sweet job. Getting to cook with high school kids all day had its ups and downs but overall it was awesome and I really miss those little rascals. One of the great parts of the job was trying out countless recipes to see which ones fit best with the curriculum but also would taste really good.

I haven't made this in awhile but we would make it in foods 30 for the yeast bread module. It was a bit difficult to do in one class but we used a proofer to spead up the rising process and more often than not it turned out really well. I don't know what made me think about it today but I think I might hafta whip some up soon!

The recipe can be found here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Painting Mania

Alrighty, here are my newest painting adventures.  I am really poor on the before and after pics which sucks because I want to remember how everything looked before but I'm trying to get better.

First off our coffee table project.  I found a wood table stored away in Dads shed.  It had been there for about 2 or 3 years and had some bird poop and cob webs on it but after cleaning, sanding, priming and painting, here's what it looks like:

Colour: Benjamin Moore Blue Nose

I've never really been a fan of blue so I thought it was a pretty bold move for me.  After a tiny freak out after the first coat I've gotten used to it and I think it adds a lot of character to our fairly neutral living room.  

Next, we headed to the bathroom upstairs where I had picked out a reddish orange colour.  Again, really excited but i am a huge fan of neutrals so I was scared... especially because the wet paint looked a bit more bright orange than I hoped for.

Here's a few before shots of the bathroom colour (not the greatest pics, i know):

and here are some after shots... i LOVE this colour.  I'm trying to think of everything I could possibly paint this colour:)
Benjamin Moore "Rust"

I thought the colour matched the orangey red colour in the curtain so good which is what I wanted to happen.  The second pic you get a bit of an idea of how the colour looks with the countertop

and here's what these two were doing while I was taking pics of the finished projects... aren't they cute:)