Friday, August 31, 2012

sweet dreams

{white with a little bit of color -- from pinterest, source unknown}

{funny right? order one here}

Remember that little list I promised to complete before I turned thirty?


Me either, let's move on.

Just kidding. I have been working away on a few of my goals (thank you notes have all been sent -- Jeffrey you better get yours in the mail, 18 days and counting), and I am very slowly reading Great Expectations.

September always brings with it a feeling of optimism, does it not? Fresh starts. Maybe that is why I have been itching to make some changes to our rather drab bedroom. Which brings me to goal number seven:

7. Spruce up our bedroom. I think we deserve more than a bed and a few tables. No idea what vibe I (oh sorry, we) want but the prison cell look isn't working for me.

I am thinking mostly white with a few pops of color. We'll have to paint the walls (and by "we" I clearly me not me, but Jeff), maybe get some new bedding (even though I love love love our current grey duvet) and then think about color.

I already bought some fun marrimeko fabric and the hilarious (to me at least)  pj print you see above. I am thinking that coupled with some bring pillows that should be enough color. My goal is for the room to be relaxing, but lighthearted. Is it weird to say I am going for a Scandinavian vibe? What do you think? Advise is welcome!



ps - I love these pillows. So cheeky ;)

You can buy the pillows on etsy. Check out this cute shop!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

the bargaining table

{she is up to something}
Yesterday morning Jeff made Violet pancakes before work, which took an inordinate amount of time and effort for a Wednesday. Violet must have been so thankful, what a lucky little girl. Is that what you were thinking because it sure was on my mind as I watched my handsome husband make breakfast for our girl. But oh no, Violet was not thankful, she was disappointed. She recalled the one and only time I ever made chocolate chip pancakes and next to those special pancakes this offering seemed pretty lame. She had the chocolate chip pancakes months ago and yet the one-time treat seems to have ruined all future regular pancake eating experiences for her. Instead of enjoying her hot breakfast she lamented the fact these pancakes weren't as good as their less healthy cousin.

I relayed this story to my dad last night and he gave me some sage advise. I am paraphrasing here but he basically said dealing with children is like dealing with a union, once you give them something it is almost impossible to get it back. I drew my own conclusions.

I thought about what he said and decided it is time to play hardball. If one-time treats cause so much future anguish I guess we'll just have to have less of them, maybe even none of them. No treats ever...

Take that Violet.

But Violet's good. She knows just how to smile and just what to say to melt my heart and before I know it I have given her another treat and relinquished more of my power to the dark side. She is crafty that one. Maybe she'll be a union leader some day. There are worse things I suppose.



{she has me in the palm of her hand}

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

je ne sais quoi

{beet and goat cheese panini}

I mentioned in my last post that I have recently started using Pinterest. My first foray into pinterest-recipe-dom was less than successful (see severed bundt cake), but I figured that was mostly my fault. No, that was completely my fault. Patience has never been my strong suit. After my initial experience my faith in myself may have faltered, but my faith in Pinterest remained steadfast. 

Let me stop right there. How good does that sandwich sound? Right? I love beets and I love goat cheese -- slap on a little arugula and fire that baby in a panini press -- delish. Or not. Last night Jeff and I tried this recipe and although it wasn't offensive, I can't really say anything good about it. It was definitely ne sais quoi. Not even a generous amount of sea salt could rescue my taste buds from the monotony of this sandwich. The word "blah" is coming to mind. 

What went wrong? I bought fresh beets at the market, they were sweet, soft and the most beautiful shade of pink. The goat cheese I used was good too -- we got it at Fox Hill Cheese (also at the market) and they never disappoint. What else can I blame? Myself -- an obvious choice, but surely even an imbecile can put together a sandwich. Then it dawned on me -- pinterest is the culprit. 

If other "pinners" are like me, they pin things that look good, not things that are good necessarily. I doubt many "pinners" do their due diligence and vet every recipe they pin. That would be exhausting. So how do you know if a recipe on pinterest is good? 

More importantly what could I add to this sandwich to give it a kick? Jeff said meat, but I disagree. Maybe caramelized onions? What do you think, is this sandwich worth saving?



Sunday, August 26, 2012

those who wait

{peach vanilla bundt cake}
It has been so hot this summer that baking has been the furthest thing from my mind. While, not the furthest, I often think of baked things I'd like to eat, but then I think about the heat my little oven produces and I quickly move on. I have just recently started trolling Pinterest for recipes (I know, late to the table) and I came across a recipe for peach bundt cake. I love bundt cakes because of their pretty shape and unabashed simplicity. I saw local peaches for sale at the market yesterday and it was as though the stars had aligned. I felt destined to make this cake.

My destiny turned out to be a bit of a bummer. I started baking the cake only to realize that I was missing a few ingredients -- so typical. Jeff was already out so he was able to come to my rescue. By that time the cake was half made and I was over it. It was hot and getting late and I was so ready for bed. When Jeff got home I finished the cake, popped it in the oven and gave him instructions about when to take it out. I fell asleep about 30 seconds after that.

When Jeff got up to go golfing this morning (at 5:00 am -- crazy) I popped out of bed and ran (read: stumbled) to the kitchen. The bundt was still on its bottom (uncovered...Jeffrey....). I tipped it over. No movement. I gave it a little shake. Still nothing. I gave the cake a big shake and the bottom fell out. Just the bottom. Oh dear. I used a spatula to remove the top of the cake (from the layer of peaches upward), but I am afraid the bundt-y beauty was gone. I should have stayed in bed. I should have let the cake come out on its own.

I pieced it back together and it tastes fine, but what is the point of an ugly bundt? In this case, beauty is at least half the point.



{yikes! you should see what this was supposed to look like!}

Thursday, August 23, 2012

sweetie pie wedding shower

{peach, blueberry and cherry-raspberry pie}

On Monday night my mum, my sister and I hosted a "sweetie pie" wedding shower for our dear friend Lily. We hemmed and hawed about a shower "theme", but after learning that our all time favourite pie maker (and friend) recently started selling her wares the decision was easy. All pies, all night. So darn delicious.

Pie is such a treat because if you are anything like me, and I suspect you are, you never make pie -- it is way too hard! Pastry seems so simple, there are so few ingredients and even the method isn't that daunting, and yet I have never made a pie I was truly proud of. The rolling out part gets me every time. Also -- the removal of the pie from the pan never seems to go well which is acceptable for the first slice I suppose, but not every single subsequent morsel that is removed from the pan.

Ellen Stirling is the Jamie Oliver of pie making -- she makes it look easy and she looks cute doing it ;)  Seriously, the pies were amazing. If you are ever in need of pie email me and I will put you in touch with Ellen (unlike most middlemen I will not take a cut I promise!)

It was a pleasure to host a bridal shower for Lily; we've known her since she called cows "moo moos" -- at least four or five years ;) She gets married tomorrow and she is going to be the most beautiful bride.

Here are a few pictures from her shower. None are of people -- I seem to get distracted around people. I'll work on that!

Congratulations Lily and Tom!



{pretty pies on pretty cake stands}

{bunting a la Adrienne Harris}

{fresh lemonade and a really old pitcher}

{the favour: wild blueberry jam made with love by my mum and my Nanny}

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

all growed up

{I'm with the band}

Violet had a sleepover last night. A real sleepover with a friend from Susie -Q's. I half thought I would get a call before bed, I half hoped I would. She is a brave one that Lady Vi.

Just because she is old enough to sleep at someone's house doesn't mean I let her wear makeup (see above). On Sunday afternoon Violet was invited to a rockstar birthday party -- the kids were instructed to dress up. It is possible we (meaning I) went a little overboard with the eye makeup -- it looked particularly cute when the kids got in the mini pool. Yikes! Ever use makeup remover on a little kid? It is a lovely bonding experience...Also, using the flat iron on Violet is a total waste of time, she is a hot little thing and the moment she starts perspiring those curls can't help themselves, hairspray be damned! I guess there is a reason I normally don't give Violet full hair and makeup treatment.  Though we do love a good costume party around here. Violet is already thinking about Halloween.

I'm loving all the fun things that we get to do with Violet as she gets older, but part of me really wants her to stay little. Sleepovers at three? I'm not sure I am ready for this.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

groundhog day

{we cross our legs toward each other, that means we like each other -- ever seen Clueless?}

Last Saturday we got up early, headed to the market and then hit the road for the valley. It was so fun we thought we would do it all over again this week. Seriously, that is what we thought. My sweet friend Anna is heading back out West (temporarily we are all assured) and I had to squeeze in one last visit.

Last weekend her sister, who just had a baby, was sweet enough to have us over for lunch -- we thought we would put her hospitality to the test and visit her again this week. Luckily she and her husband are two of the nicest people you'll meet. They even acted like they were happy to see us again -- just what a family with a new baby wants, visitors!

I personally think it stinks that we lose so many good Maritimers to the West. I totally get it, but that doesn't stop it from stinking. Luckily this friend's roots are deep (like an apple tree...) and I just know she'll be back.

The fact her sister has one of the cutest babies around is an even bigger incentive to get back on the right side of Canada.

I'll miss you Anna!




{come back home Auntie Anna}

{I brought cheese and bread from the market}

{Anna out did me with homemade blueberry pie}

{silly girls}

Thursday, August 16, 2012

one more Vi story {yeah right}

It is a darn good thing she is cute.

Tonight as I was brushing Violet's teeth she kept running out of the bathroom excited to tell her dad the latest thought that entered her mind -- very cute, very annoying. After a few trips in and out I told her that she needed to stay put until her teeth were brushed or she would lose a privilege (everything but water is a privilege at our house ;) I guess she thought she might as well try her hand at discipline because she looked at me and said, "and you mummy, will not be allowed to wear my shoes". She is currently having a love affair with flip flops -- very glamorous and very grown up. I told her that disciplining was for mummies and daddies, not little girls. It was at this point she looked at me like I was a complete idiot (I think she gets that particular expression from me), and said, "I was just saying my shoes are too small for you"...

Give me strength!

I know I seem like I have been ribbing Violet lately (well, in the last post anyhow). In fairness to her she has been sick (cold and a nagging tummy bug), and this humidity coupled with the change in seasons is making me restless. I don't want to wish away the end of our glorious summer, but it was nice to feel the rain today. Everything will be clean and new tomorrow and for that I am grateful.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

oh the humanity

{wild blueberry buttermilk muffins}
When I was a kid my mum used to make me homemade muffins for lunch all the time. I thought it was no big deal. In fact, I was envious of the kids with bologna sandwiches and Oreos. I felt a little sorry for myself as I mowed into my lunch that was made with so much love (handwritten message on the napkin included -- I really do have the best mum). Well, today I got my just desserts. Violet prefers Teddy Grahams to my homemade blueberry muffins. Why do I even bother! It was a sad day at our house.

Neither Violet nor I were feeling great today and we were both a little over sensitive (condolences can be sent to Jeffrey -- he has to deal with both of us). In the same way she hurt my feelings by telling me she preferred store bought (or if you are a Maritimer "boughten") cookies to my labour of love, I inadvertently offended her too. After denying her a snack right before suppertime she had the most dramatic temper tantrum I have yet to behold, which culminated with her in sweaty pile on the floor screaming (this is a direct quote), "my whole life has been so hard."

How many minutes until bedtime?

She fell asleep during her only story (she lost the other two "privileges" as a result of various missteps sometime during this sordid day).

I am nodding off as I type.

Humidity and cranky girls -- godspeed Jeffrey!



The recipe for the muffins can be found here: - or just buy some Teddy Grahams.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

in pictures

{Valley Girl of the Annapolis variety}

This weekend was full of fresh blueberries and fresh babies. I took pictures of the blueberries, but I was too busy ogling to take even one snapshot of either the two beautiful baby girls I snuggled on Friday and Saturday. Speaking of babies, with the amount of corn and blueberries Violet consumed in the last two days I am truly grateful we are out of the diaper phase!

Because it is literally too humid to type (my old computer is heating up my lap and making me sweat in an unladylike fashion), I will share some of my favourite pictures from this weekend with you.



Thursday, August 9, 2012

make your neighbours hate you {in six simple steps}

{the feast pre-lobster, I was too busy with step three to take pictures once it arrived}

(1) Invite your in-laws to visit for the August long weekend. Being from away, they'll want lobster for sure. Because lobster is a treat even for us locals, invite your parents over for good measure. The more the merrier.

(2) Buy 19 lbs of cooked lobster -- don't cook it yourself, your house will smell. You don't like smells.

(3) Gorge yourself on lobster and all the fixings (make sure you ask your mum to bring the potato salad, hers is the best).

(4) Take a nap. Just kidding, that is what you will want to do at this stage, but push through, you've got a kitchen to clean up. Remember to throw the remains of your feast in your (shared, outdoor) compost bin; it is the environmentally friendly thing to do.

(5) Cross your fingers for warm weather. Maggots love it.

(6) Presto -- before you know it your whole street (literally) will smell like decomposing lobster. This is especially awesome when you have construction going on next door. What could be worse than doing manual labour in the blazing heat? Smelling rotting lobster while doing so. Oh my word...

True story. The lobster is still there. Our compost won't be picked up until Monday. It is absolutely disgusting. I feel so bad. We can't transport our festering bin. Heck, we can't even open our windows. All we can do is wait. Maybe if I make lemonade for the guys working next door we could call it even....

Any suggestions on what we can do to get rid of the smell? Lime? Baking soda? A bonfire?



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Luckett Vineyards

{we weren't on a date, but it would be a good place to go on one!}

Growing up in the Annapolis Valley I think I always had an inkling that it was a special place. Summers tasted like hot, buttery corn on the cob and fresh blueberries (or better yet, fresh blueberry grunt). The hot, dry summer weather meant lots of bridge jumping and tubing down the Gaspereau River. Even the winters seemed more fun. Lots of snow kept my siblings and I pinned to the radio every morning from October until April, our fingers crossed for a snow day -- which happened all the time. Best news every time! 

Small towns are a great place for kids – everyone knew everyone and backyards seemed to meld together and make one giant play area. I don’t think I could convince Jeff to live in Wolfville, but we sure do love to visit.

Yesterday we took his mum and sister to Luckett Vineyards. It was so lovely. There was a cool breeze, a great view and, of course, we had the best company. I couldn’t believe how nice the vineyard was. How have we not been here before, kept running through my head. The winery has a beautiful patio with a great view of the whole Gaspereau Valley. We grabbed a drink and laid low in the shade.

I would drive an hour just to have lunch there. Anyone up for a road trip? I seem to have a few options! 



{we miss you Pond ladies already}

{just up from a nap -- I forgot her sunnies -- she was not amused}

{Juliet for Julia}

{so pretty}

{have you ever tried to cook fresh artichokes? I haven't}

{these are in my fridge, and my belly!}

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday Drives

{cute old car in Lunenburg}
Jeff's family are in town so we happily played tour guides yesterday. We all squeezed into the Jeep (don't do the math) and headed to the South Shore. None of Jeff's family had been to Lunenburg before and they just loved it. Who wouldn't?

We went to Trattoria della Nona for supper -- so good. We had delicious pizza and pasta that you would never expect to get in a small town. In fact, Lunenburg is a becoming (has become?) a foodie mecca for the province. There are so many great restaurants (here and here for example) and an awesome kitchen shop. Just another reason to love my favourite south shore town.

On our drive home we stopped in Blue Rocks which is possibly the prettiest village in Nova Scotia. Jeff thought it looked like Ireland, but Jeff's dad, a newfie himself, thought it looked like the rock. Follow signs from Lunenburg and check it out for yourself!

Happy Holiday Monday Canadians! We are off to the valley -- hoping for some pie from Stirlings!



{handsome daddy}


{why don't my flowers look like this?}

{Precious Jules and Lady Vi}

{so humid}

{people really live here}

Friday, August 3, 2012

rule breaker

{selfie + maxi = questionable behaviour}

I did two things today that I generally would not approve of:

(1)  I wore a maxi skirt
(2)  I took (and published) a selfie

I’ll elaborate.

I have been really wanting to wear a floor length dress or skirt for a few years, but given the fact I am 5 foot 3 it never seemed like a very flattering option. (5’ 3” is my legitimate height by the way for all you doubters out there, husband will attest to it – he made me prove it, apparently I have an air of shortness about me.) Anyway, when I saw a pretty coral colored maxi skirt on sale I couldn’t resist. Why should I let my height impede my style...

Now I have explained the maxi skirt, but I still have to come clean about the selfie. A selfie, for those of you who don’t know, is a photo you take of yourself – worst explanation ever. The word isn’t in the OED so I’ll have to try to explain it myself. Selfies are normally really flattering (to the point of being misleading); they are often taken with cell phones; the subject tends to be pouting, or looking otherwise sultry; they are extremely popular with the tween crowd.

I admit that when I first bought my MacBook (eons ago) I too took my fair share of selfies using the program photobooth. You can get a pretty flattering shot when you have a couple of hours and some good lighting. It’s true. It happened. I have, however, not taken a selfie in a least five years and I have made the odd joke about the phenomenon.

Despite my aversion to maxi length anything and to selfies I really wanted to document my bravery. So I bit the bullet and took a selfie on my front porch at 7:00 am before work. All I could think about was my neighbour who walks his dog around the block every morning. I prepared a response in case he spotted me, “Oh hi there. You may be a crown attorney, but this is what important people do before work – move along, nothing to see here.” Happily I was spared this embarrassment.

I like the color of the skirt, and I like that I still have a slight tan, but I think I was correct in my assertion that maxi length skirts are not the most flattering thing in the world for a petite gal like me. Also, I need to work on my selfie skills, wow, a girl can get seriously out of practice. You know what is worse than a selfie? A person who can’t even take decent one. Oh geez. Reason # 1, 500, 000 I could never be a style blogger.

Have a great long weekend!

The Ponds are in town so I expect good times will be had by all on Newton Ave!