Today's fashion faux pas....

August 26, 2009

Socks that don't match, are a "no-no" in my books... but socks in sandals! Don't even get me started! And this is what I was greeted with this morning when my daughter got herself dressed:

I might have to teach her some lessons on how to dress well... when she's older. For now, she's young enough that she can get away with it, because it's so cute.

I did something completely out of character!

Last night, I did something completely out of character... and I'm so proud of myself! Did I peak your curiosity?
I caught the kids at the table with their coloured pencils and wood blocks. *gasp* Oh no! Don't do... wait? Why does it matter? It's their wood blocks. They are not hurting anything. Oh what the heck, go for it! Who am I to stop their creativity flow!

My daughter did a double take, thinking: "Really? We can?"

"Maby I should just play with this string." My son on the other hand, did not have to be told twice! He just went with it. It made him happy, and kept him busy the rest of the night until almost bed time.

And he was so proud to show it off when he was done!

I have to explain something... I used to be a more laid back sort of earth mama. I never fussed about my kids messes. (unless they would spit carrot or berry puree when I wore a white shirt). I would just let them be, let them learn, and clean up after. But somewhere between my daughter's birth (which was followed by a move across country, having gall bladder stones and being in excruciating pain + surgery, and having post-partum depression) and today, I became a control freak kinda mom. And I don't like it one bit. It's way too stressful. So I decided a little while back, that I would try really hard to relax and be more laid back again...

Oh, don't worry, I made sure to explain to him that he was not allowed to draw on walls (we live in a rental and are not even allowed to paint walls) and that he was also not allowed to draw on other toys without asking first.

What? No he can't. One thing at a time. It's a process, people! It's a process! I'm still a control freak, I can't change that over night. But I can change a bit at a time. And that's exactly what I'm going to keep doing, because I'd rather go back to being the laid back, earth mama I started out to be. She can have way more fun! My kids would agree :)

More apple pancakes please!

August 25, 2009

I posted a picture of my "famous" apple pancakes on my Facebook album a little while back, and alot (OK, just a few) of my friends asked for the recipe. Oh, and I put famous in quotation marks because they are only famous to my kids and I. But I like to think they are that good! There is one problem with the pancakes though... there is never enough. If I make a single batch for the kids and I, I'm lucky if I get 1 pancake. Did I mention they are only 2 and 3 years old? How much can little kids eat? Alot it seems, especially when it comes to pancakes!

Everyone asking me for the recipe lately put me in the mood for some. So I made a batch this morning... a couple hours after my kids woke up...sometime after they "snacked" on dry breakfast cereal. What? I wanted more than just 1 pancake, is that a crime?
My son only had 1. He must have been too full for more, I wonder why? *looks up innocently*, lol. My daughter (the 2 yo) still managed to eat 2 though. I swear, I don't know where she puts it!
So here is the recipe...

Apple Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp applesauce (or butter)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated (use a soft flesh apple such as McIntosh or Spartan. Trust me, if you use something more crunchy like Royal Gala it won't be the same. I know, I tried)

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the milk, the egg and the applesauce and mix, as you would for regular pancake batter, making sure to not remove all the little lumps. Grate a peeled apple with a cheese grater (should make about 1 cup, but if there's more than a cup, I would not put it all in.) Mix just enough to incorporate.

Grease and heat a frying pan. Once you put the batter in the pan, lower the heat to about medium, med-high. Take not that they take a bit longer to cook in the middle than regular pancakes. Top with some maple syrup and voila!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

I *heart* redhotpottery!

August 23, 2009

Photo via Etsy's redhotpottery shop.
It had been a while since I've been browsing on Etsy (though I don't know why, because everything there is SO amazing!), but I stumbled upon this little pottery shop called red hot pottery. You can visit them HERE. These are actually nesting bowls and also come in glossy white. What they make is absolutely beautiful! I don't usually shop online, but for these bowls, I would make an exception. Maby that can be a present from me to me sometime in the near future.
I hope everyone had a great weekend!
Stephanie xx

Kitchen disasters

August 21, 2009

Lately, I've been trying to step out of my cooking comfort zone. Ever notice how you usually always cook the same things? It might not be such a bad thing if the same things include more than the same 6-8 meals.

I came across a recipe for beet pancakes a little while ago, and thought I'd give it a try. I'm a huge fan of hiding veggies (or fruit) in my kids food. I actually put pureed cauliflower in my kids mac and cheese, and they love it. So I thought, these pancakes would be pretty cool, considering they were going to turn out pink!

I told you it was pink! So far, so good...

Until I tried to cook them. Seems they don't cook the same as regular pancakes. They almost burned on the outside, and I couldn't get the inside to cook. I was able to try a little piece that manage to cook through, and I had to trow them in the garbage and make french toast as a quick backup for the kids. Since I had promised them pancakes, they were expecting their breakfast to have a drizzle of maple syrup, so it was a lot faster to make french toast than to whip up my usual pancake batter.
And this is just the beginning of my failed kitchen tests...

There was this raw salad. Ingredients were a good mix, but the dressing ruined the whole thing. It was not as inedible as the pancakes though, but I would not make it again.

Then there was the time I tried to make my own hemp "milk". I love hemp seeds (or hemp hearts, depending on what you call them) so I thought I would love this.
So I whip up the ingredients in the blender.
It comes out white.
Woo hoo! It looks like milk!
And then I taste it.
Um.... no thanks, I think I'll pass.
Could be because I don't have cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to strain it and it did not have a smooth texture.
Could be because it was not sweet enough (or at all). I knew I could not add dates to sweeten it up because my blender is not powerful enough to deal with dates. I know, I've tried before.

Ewww, I am not even going to tell you what this was supposed to be. And no, it's not real meat. Which is one of the main reasons why this tasted so horrible. I don't eat meat all the time, but if a recipe calls for meat, I will put meat in it, and not fake soy protein shaped like meat.

Here, I tried a spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette. Maby it was the dressing, maby I just don't like fresh raspberries in a salad, I don't know.

This had to be one of the worst of all. Either equally as bad as the beet pancakes (I'm telling you, they were horrible), or even worst. It's raw avocado soup. I love avocado's, and I know how creamy they are, so I thought this would be "different" but thought it could have the potential to be good. My taste buds didn't agree! lol.
Some of these recipes have potential to taste good (to me) with a few minor changes. And then there were the "lets never make this again" recipes.
But I'm not getting discouraged, because I did try some new recipes that were fantastic (like the raw mango ice cream, or the curried lentil soup I posted about).
I will keep on cooking!
Have you ever tried a new recipe thinking it was going to be great until it was all done?
I'd love to hear some of your kitchen disasters!

Refreshing summer drink

August 19, 2009

I was copying this recipe for my friend Kara yesterday, and then it dawned on me, that I had not posted a recipe in a while. This recipe happens to be perfect for hot summer days. (if it's summer where you are)

Rhubarb Iced Tea

Photo via (their recipe is a rhubarb lemonade punch, but the picture was so pretty, I wanted to use it anyways)

In a large heatproof bowl, steep 7 green tea bags in 8 cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring to a boil 4 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb, 1 cup sugar ( I would use some honey), 1 cup water and a strip of lemon rind.

Reduce heat to medium-low heat, simmer, stirring until rhubarb breaks up, about 5 minutes. Discard lemon rind, and stir rhubarb mixture into tea. Refrigerate until cold.

Strain through cheesecloth-lined sieve into pitcher, pressing solids only gently so beverage remains clear. Serve over ice. Makes 8 cups (or 12-16 servings)

It's warming up here again (we are having a strange summer this year) and I happen to be having a play date this Friday with a friend and her daughters. I think I should make this tomorrow, it would be a great play date beverage! (or for a brunch, or picnic, or, well, you get the idea!)

What's your favourite summer drink?

Stephanie xx

Once upon a time, in an enchanted forest, there were tree branch shelves...

August 18, 2009

Photo via Pottery Barn

I found these beautiful and original tree branch shelves on be different act normal. (she has a very cool blog, if you love recipes, cool DIY's, craft and decor ideas) The shelves are from Pottery Barn Kids, but when I clicked on the link, it said they are no longer available. But I happen to have a very talented brother-in-law who does amazing wood furniture... I just might have to ask him if he could build me a set of these.

I could totally see this in a nursery or kids room (with little fairies or butterflies). But I would replace the bird house with one from little bubble and tree. She makes the most beautiful whimsical birdhouses I've ever seen! Way-too-pretty-to-put-outside kind of birdhouses.

I would also see these shelves in the corner of a little library or computer room. This picture makes me want to set up a reading area, with a little round table, a cup of tea and a good book. Oh, and lets not forget the iPod cranked up in my ears so I can ignore the kids screaming for attention while I'm trying to indulge in a good book, lol.

Where would you see these shelves?
Stephanie xx

A much needed nap

August 17, 2009

Yesterday was my friends daughter's 2nd birthday party. Our daughters are great friends, and if I may say so, she would be my girl's very best friend (if you can say that of 2 year old's?). The party was outside in her yard, the weather was great, the kids had so much fun. And then we came home, had a healthy snack of fruits because we were all hungry for some reason (not for the lack of food at the party, there was enough food to fill a small army :).

And then my son sat on the couch to "rest" because he was tired. No more than 5 minutes later he fell asleep. It was only 5:30 pm. So I carried him to his bed, as I knew there was no way I would be able to wake him up for a long while. At that point, I had been feeling very exhausted myself. I thought a little rest would be nice, so I put a DVD in for my daughter and.... I woke up an hour later! I was planning on resting, not sleeping.

I was quite panicked since I did not know where my daughter was in the apartment. Everything was too quiet and that scared me. I went to step off the couch and there she was. Sleeping on the floor beside me!

Seems everyone needed a good nap. A bit late in the day for one, but definitely much needed!

In case your wondering, my son woke up at 8:30pm... 3 hours later. Needless to say, i didn't get him in bed until 11:30 last night because of this. At least everyone is rested this morning, no cranky kids, but we are all a bit sluggish this morning. (Proof: it's 10:30 am and we are all still in our Jammie's, lol) I think today is going to be a "stay at home and do crafts" kinda day.

Here are a few pics taken last week of the kids while visiting my in-laws.

I love this pic, like father like son. They could not be more alike if they tried!

I hope you all had a good weekend!? Stephanie xx

Soapnuts rock!

August 16, 2009

"The soapnuts grow on the soapberry tree, indigenous to India and Nepal. For hundreds of years, local people have used soapnuts to wash their laundry and their finest textiles (wool, silk, cashmere...). The soapberry fruit produces saponin, a natural substance that protects trees from insects. The saponin is responsible for the soapnut's ability to produce soap suds, and becomes extractable in water effectively wash our laundry as any other laundry detergent."
And once you used the nuts twice (for cold water wash), don't throw them out. You can use the already used nut shells and make an all-purpose cleaner with it (by simply adding water) and use it for dish soap, hair shampoo, hand soap, floor cleaner even.
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Eco friendly: no chemical pollution
  • Good for the skin: no allergic reactions, ideal for children's clothing
  • Renewable
  • All organic
  • Economical
  • Source or revenue for the local population
  • Effective: replaces conventional detergents and washes as effectively
This is what the pamphlet says, and it delivers!

This is what the soapnuts look like (it's actually just shells, as they have been pitted).

I still use my "regular" stain remover for big jobs, like blueberry stains and such. But other than that, I don't put anything else on my clothes and they have been coming out so clean and don't smell like anything. Actually, I should say they have a true clean smell.

Also, their claim that it does not cause allergic reactions must be true because I would get instant rashes from scented laundry detergent, or even most unscented ones as well as most cleaning products, and I don't have any with soapnuts.

Bottom line is, Soapnuts rock!!! And I just had to share it with you :)

Stephanie xx

DIY kids play kitchen

August 15, 2009

You know when you're reading a blog, and then get a link to another blog, and then another, next thing you know, sometimes you stumble upon something really great! This is what happened to me today. I found this cool DIY project on the blog Sutton Grace.

She made a play kitchen for her daughter's birthday present, out of an old TV stand! You can see the complete steps here.

(Pic via Sutton Grace)

This is the actual before pic.

She is so creative, I had to share this amazing project with all you parents out there! Now... I wonder if I can find an old TV stand at a yard sale to make one as well...???

I think I am going to explore her blog now. She seems to have some really interesting things on it.

Stephanie xx

My thoughts about Food Inc.

Like I had mentioned in my last post, I went to see Food Inc. on Thursday. I'm not going to enumerate all the things they talk about it it, because there is alot of content in this documentary. And I can't say I learned tons from it either, being that I have been doing nothing but reading and researching nutrition for the past 8 months or more. But I did learn some things, and to have it all crammed into 90 minutes, definitely puts things into perspective!

It was a great documentary, and I think everyone should see it. Everyone should know exactly where they're food comes from, and what happens to it in the process before it gets to your table, weather it's meat, a container of yogurt, a box of cereal or fruits and veggies. You ought to know. Period.

I went with a friend of mine, and we had a great conversation on the way back home after watching it. We already share the same views about food, the government, and just about everything else. And I can say without a doubt, that this documentary had an immediate impact on me.

The very next morning, I went to the farmers market. It was the first time in 2 years that I had been. Though I could not purchase alot, since I had just stocked up the day before at the grocery store (I'm ashamed of it now), I did find these:

They are a green onion, with the flavour of a red onion. I had them in my salad, and tried them in couscous yesterday. Yum, so good and pretty!

They come from a U-pick farm not too far from where I live. I'm thinking this would be a great activity to do with the kids, to go pick our own produce. It's never too early to learn about where your food comes from! They told me I can also call them, place an order that they will pick for me and bring to my local farmers market for me to pick up if I wanted to. How cool is that?!

Then, this morning I was at the supermarket to get a couple things I needed (that I could not find at the farmers market) and wanted to get some chicken breasts...

I picked up the package, looked at it, thought of all the things I saw in the documentary, and put the package back.

I could not bring myself to buy it. At all. All I could think of was all the growth hormones and antibiotics it'd be ingesting and giving my children by eating this chicken. So it stayed on the shelf.

I know my family and I are no where near ready to stop eating chicken, but if I'm going to buy and eat some, I'm going to change my ways. So I found out through a friend of mine that there are a few local organic chicken farmers where I can purchase some. How come I didn't know about that before? Probably because I didn't feel the need to know.

Funny when your perspectives in life change, you start learning more, and discover new things that maby you didn't know about before because you were not ready for them, or had no use for. Everything falls into place when it's the right time.

I'm going to see Food Inc. !

August 13, 2009

I am happy to report that I figured out why I was feeling so sick a few days ago. Though the reason was quite simple, I feel extremely stupid about it.

Turns out I had put my contact lenses in on the wrong eyes. I somehow had put the left eye one on the right side and vice versa, in the container, so the next day, I put them on backwards and wore them like that for a couple days. Apparently, it can result in headaches, nausea and just feeling really sick!

Nevertheless, embarrassing to admit on a blog.

Anyways, quick change of subject... I am going to see the documentary Food Inc tonight. I am so excited. You can see the preview here. (sorry, I don't know how to add the YouTube video's right on my blog page).

I will write a posting about it for sure to let you all know what my thoughts are about it all. I have the feeling it's going to be very enlightening!

Hope you are all having a great week! I know I am :)
Stephanie xx

My commitment to myself

August 8, 2009

Today, I feel like crap.

Why sugar code it, it's the truth.

I tried to write a post about why I am feeling so, um, unhealthy right now, but it was a mile long. Yeah, it really was that long. So I guess to make a long story a bit shorter, I fell off my eating habit wagon in the past month. BIG TIME!

During the past school year, I have been working part time in the mornings and it's been giving us a great routine. But my job is seasonal and I get the summers off. This was my first year working since becoming a mom. A stay at home mom. This new routine was not just about waking up and getting dressed before noon, lol. But also meant I was drinking a green smoothie for breakfast and a green tea to go at work. I was only drinking my 1 coffee a day right after lunch. I was having a lot of raw foods through the day, barely ate meat and it was mostly chicken or salmon, and rarely any junk food (I love licorice, chocolate, any candy really) On weekends, I'd have oatmeal for breakfast, but the rest of the day was the same really.

Now, I have oatmeal for breakfast everyday, but used to feel so much better when I'd start with a green smoothie. I have a coffee in the morning AND in the afternoon, and sometimes a third one. I'm out at stores more often, so I buy junk more often. And I stopped drinking green tea for almost a month. These few and small changes really add up! And now it's like the effects hit me all at once. I really don't feel good today: headaches, fatigue, indigestion, nausea, cramps, etc. My body is speaking to me loud And clear.

So I am making these commitments to myself:

I am quitting coffee by the end of next week. I will miss the ritual more than the coffee itself. But I'll just have to replace it with green tea again. My body will thank me later!

I am going back to green smoothies for breakfast. No matter what. If I want oatmeal that bad, I'll just eat it for lunch or supper, lol.

No more red meat, my body is yelling at me it can't digest it when I have it. And possibly no meat at all anymore.

I am going back to stocking up on fresh produce so I wont even want to binge on junk artificial foods anymore. I used to barely ever miss it, and now I know why they say sugar is addictive. It's because it is! If I have TONS of produce on hand, I can reach for juicy strawberries, or some watermelon if I crave something sweet.

I am leaving tomorrow for 3 days to visit some family, but I am not going to use it as an excuse to start later. I am using this opportunity as a challenge to stick to my goals and start them on the day that I will be going away. Show myself how strong I can be to stick to my goals, even if it means I'm eating differently than everyone else around me.

I loved the dietary lifestyle I had, because I felt the best I had ever felt. So doing everything I can to return to that, is a no brainer. I just can't believe that I let myself fall off the wagon AND did not notice until the wagon was miles in front of me. Haha, at this point, running to the wagon would not be a bad idea either, I could use the exercise! lol.

(By the way, this post ended up at least half as long as the original, told you it was that long! lol)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Peace, love and veggies. (as Kriss Carr would say :)
Stephanie xx

Kids playhouses

It's a nice warm and sunny day here right now, and being cooped inside my 3rd floor apartment, has me longing for a yard. Not just for me, but mostly for the kids. They are bored but I have allergies to the sun, so it's not tempting for me to take them to the park every single day or go for long walks with them.

I feel bad for not being able to just let them play outside ALL the time, like normal kids.

So today, I am especially wishing I could give them something like this:

They are called kids crooked houses. You can visit them here. The one on the left is called Pirate Cove.

Aren't they cute? But any kids playhouse at this point would do for them I'm sure.

Just a couple more years and then we'll have a house, a yard. And then my husband will be asked with a big pretty please (and batting eye lashes) to make them one kinda like this :)

Writing about this reminds me that when I was a teen, my friends and I built a small "house" by the river, just beside the path. All we did there was play cards, talk and listen to music. But we had fun there, it was a place we could call our own.

Do your kids have any special place outside? A hideaway spot in the yard? A tree house? What's your fun childhood memory about playing outside? I'd love to know!

Have a great weekend.
Stephanie xx

Afternoon delight

August 6, 2009

It's been cool and overcast all day, and though I woke up very rested and in a good mood this morning, we have been feeling very mellow ALL day. Proof, it's 3pm and neither of my kids are wearing pants yet, lol.

I was in the mood for a comforting, warm feeling snack this afternoon and this is what I went for.

I had "Raspberry Chocolate Bliss" tea (great name, right?) and Sheri's Very Vegan Chocolate Chippie Hippie Spelt Cookies (from Green and Crunchy). It was just what I needed!

And my kids were drawing while I was enjoying my snack from heaven.

See, I told you, no pants! lol.

That short quiet moment spent enjoying a tasty snack, a tea that tastes like a fine and expensive piece of chocolate, and watching my kids draw together peacefully, made me realise that the little moments in life are just as important than the bigger things in life. You just have to stop and smell the raspberry chocolate tea to notice them sometimes.

Stephanie xx

Beware of the silence

If you have kids, you know that when you don't hear them is when you should go see what they are up to. Sometimes, it's nothing bad, they are actually just being good and playing. But other times, well, not so much.

Last night, after supper, my kids went and played together in their rooms, as they usually do. For some reason, this is the time of the day that they get along the best on average.

Anyways, my son kept running back and forth from the kitchen (where I was) to his room, talking about his special work project (he's into pretending he has "a work" as he calls it). So I thought, OK, he's just playing pretend, no big deal.

And then things got quiet. And I got worried. What was I going to find out.

Here is the answer to that:

He had neatly lined up almost every toy he owned. Vertical line, and a couple horizontal lines of toys as well. OK, so I did not get mad this time, because I thought it was kinda cute. And it was a lot easier to clean that the usual messes he makes.

He's into "piling". You know, taking every toy in the house, and piling it all under a bed, or into a closet. That kind of piling. The kind of mess hard to reach and to clean up. So this was not even half as bad. I just let him keep playing pretend until bath time and cleaned it up while he was in the tub.

Surprise! I missed half of it! I went to put him in bed shortly after and found that 3/4 of all his AND his sister's books were "piled" and hiding under his blankets in his bed.

OK, still not that bad, but you should sill beware of the silence because you never know.

What kind of things have you caught your kids doing when things got quiet?
I would love to know!
Stephanie xx

My kind of fast food

August 5, 2009

Who says fast food has to mean junk food?

I woke up feeling better this morning and had to run to the store for a few things. But since we had a slow and lazy start, by the time we got ready to go and ran our errands, it's was just about lunch time and the kids were starved.

I certainly did not have time to cook an elaborate meal, and I could have easily opted for one of the few fast food/junk food restaurants in my small town. But instead, I just went home with the kids and a couple grocery bags full of fruits, veggies ,nuts and cheese bread, a favourite to my kids and I lately. (ok, I know, not exactly healthy, but it tastes SO good)

So this is what I put together for our lunch, and it only took me about 3 minutes to make 3 plates.
(sorry for the sideways pic, I'm not sure what's up with that)

Cheese bread, cucumber, hummus, carrots, raw almonds and raw cashews, strawberries and blueberries. A meal ready so quickly cuts down on time listening to the kids say "I'm hungry" or "is it ready yet", lol.

We still eat meat sometimes here, but my kids are still too small to eat a sandwich. They would just take it apart anyways, so here is what I did. Cuke, nuts, rolled turkey, strawberries, dried cranberries and rolled tortilla with cream cheese.

This one I made last week and it was so darn good. Could be because of the avocado in there. They are one of my favourite! And the blueberries are in season, so I am taking full advantage of that! Here, if your wondering what's on the top right corner of these plates, it's half a "granola bars". (I am never buying these again by the way. They are way to processed and I'm not sure what's in them that my son reacts to, but I don't feel the need to find out. He was very hyper active after that. So yeah, they are not coming back in my house) And the bottom is yogurt.

All these meals or any meals similar to these can be made so quickly. Homemade definitely beats the restaurant AND it's cheaper.

Weather you have section plates like these or not, it does not matter. I am planning on doing it buffet style next time. Put all the food "options" in bowls on the table and let the kids choose what and how much they want on their plates, and let them plate it themselves.
If all they have to choose from is healthy food, then they cant make a bad choice. And that's for us parents to know, and them never to find out :)
Stephanie xx

Cold and flu season... in summer?

August 4, 2009

I have not posted in days because I have been a bit busy. More play dates with friends and their kids. My husband got to come home for the long weekend. And my daughter caught a head cold. A really bad one and she was whiny, sassy and demanding.

Now I know why.

I got it too.

And I would be whiny too if I was 2 years old, because this is one nasty head cold.

picture via

I actually wish I looked this good while I was sick, but it's not the case.

I'm not sure why we are all getting sick at this time of the year, considering it's summer here. And I know we are not the only ones, because a friend of mine (who I have not seen in a week or 2 is sick, along with my sister-in-law who lives 4 1/2 hours away.

So I am going to get back to my couch, rest as much as my kids will allow, have a green smoothie for supper (it always makes me feel better quickly) take a bath tonight and go to bed early. I'm sure I'll be back on my feet in no time. And I'll have lots of posts for when I feel better, because I got lots of great food ideas to share and a few links I recently discovered :)

Stephanie xx

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