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Friday, July 30, 2010

a perfect summer lunch for one...

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Both the kids were away, so I made this lunch for me and had a nice glass of iced tea and read a magazine.
Aaaah.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

the last of the peonies...

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I managed to snag a few more blooms for around the house before they faded away for another season.
{After I took this picture, I noticed that Tyler had 2 suction cup things on the counter. Not sure what he was up to with those, but I haven't heard any loud smashes so far.}

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Organizing: Tackling a Messy Kitchen Cupboard

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This is our newly organized tea & coffee cupboard.
I wish I had taken a 'before' shot of this disorderly cupboard.
But trust me, it really was in an 'avalanche' state.
And I think some bats flew away when I opened some old boxes of tea
 that were on the top shelf. {I threw those boxes away.}
This is the 'AFTER' picture.
On the very top shelf are pretty plates and serving bowls, which are used only occasionally.
On the second shelf are the electric kettle and tea pots, along with a hand-held milk frother and some medicinal teas.
On the first shelf are the teas, coffee, honey, creamers & sugar bowls.
Here is a closeup of how everything got a new little home.
I found these handy 3 compartment containers at IKEA for $6.99.
They hold tea bags perfectly.
 I love STASH teas for entertaining....guests can choose their own tea so easily.
The teas that did not come in individual packaging were placed in their own Ziploc bag with the box cover to identify each tea.
Then the bags were laid flat inside another IKEA container.
Coffee K-Cups for our Keurig Coffee Machine also fit perfectly in the same size IKEA container.
A dollar store basket holds all the coffee toppings like chocolate shavings, cinnamon shakers, mocha flavourings, etc.
And it's all labelled neatly with my personal touch labeller.
I love this little machine.
My husband is the one who makes tea on a daily basis. I mainly drink tea when I have girlfriends over, or when I have a cold.
My favourite tea is STASH's "Calm" tea.

I don't know what it is about summer and organizing that makes me want to tackle those things that have been staring at me all winter.
But it sure feels nice to not have things fall on your head when you open a cupboard door.





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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What you can do in a day: Paint a bathroom.

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I woke up this morning determined to get this project crossed off my list.
This is what the bathroom looked like this morning. Although I liked this colour, it was showing lots of wear and water stains. Also, some of the facial cleansers my daughter uses not only bleached out some of our facecloths, but some spots on the dark blue wall as well.
Time for a change.
BEFORE:

AFTER:
I chose a lighter colour to make the bathroom feel more bright & airy.
I wanted an overall scheme of blue with hits of of white & turquoise for accents.
I have loved the colour BM Smoky Green for 2 years and was waiting for an opportunity to use it.
Smoky Green, despite it's name, shows as a beautiful bird's egg blue on the walls.
It's so pale that when you open the can, the paint looks white and you think the paint store has made a mistake!
After I finished painting the walls, I made a few other changes.
The knobs on the vanity were looking kinda yucky.
So I made a quick trip to Home Depot and picked up these pretty looking knobs.
I decided to change up the accessories a little. I found a 'memories'  tag in my scrapbook supplies and decided to tie it to this starfish for a touch of whimsy.
The starfish  seemed at home above the pictures of the kids, so I hung it there.
This is the other side of the mirror. I found the framed shadowboxes with shells at the Jysk store for $2.99 each. That was a deal I couldn't pass up.
I am keeping the same shower curtain for now. It works with the new colour, and it brings some turquoise blue to the room, and I like the ocean theme for summer. The little potted succulent came from Safeway and was $4.99...I love the  hit of turquoise to the room. The larger potted flower came from Homesense and I have had it for a few years....again, I love it because of it's turquoise shade. I just move it to a new home every once in a while.
I just have 2 more projects for this bathroom before I will consider it finished.
1. Switch out the ugly 'hollywood' lighting strip above the mirror. It came with the house.
2. Add a frame to the mirror. The mirror came with the house too, and it is glued to the wall. Adding a frame with trim around the perimeter will be much easier than trying to get the mirror off the wall.
These 2 items will require some help from Mr. Echoes of Laughter.
I am happy with what I accomplished today.
Shades of blue & turquoise together make me so happy!

Did I mention that I am expecting guests from Nova Scotia on Saturday?
Nothing like a little extra motivation to get some projects done!

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Decorating Your Home @ It's a Blog Party
Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design
Spotlight Yourself @ It's so very Cheri. 
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage
Home & Family Friday @ Home Is Where My Story Begins
Show & Share @ Just A Girl
Remodelaholic's Anonymous @ Remodelaholic
DIY Day~Beach Edition @ A Soft Place to Land

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Camping Cuisine Part 2: Food Prep & Chicks on Sticks

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Before I get to the recipe portion of this post,
I want to mention how food prep for camping is a girl's best friend.
I start with a menu plan for each meal that will be required for our stay.
And I create a grocery list based on my meal plan.
Pretty basic planning...but it helps the trip go smoothly.
 I make sure to wash and prep all the vegetables and store in ziploc bags.
On the left are vegetables for dipping for snacks. On the right are vegetables for chicken kebabs.
Here are onions and mushrooms prepped for our steak night.
I also take containers of other meal ingredients that we will need.
Fruit washed and cut up for quick camping snacks.
I don't waste money buying small sizes of condiments from the grocery store.
I just scoop out different things from the big sizes already in our fridge and store in small containers to put in the cooler.
And I am sure to label, label, label!!
And now for 'Chicks on Sticks'.
Seriously. That is the name of the recipe.
I didn't come up with that name on my own...it's comes from those crazy Canadian sisters Janet & Greta Podleski who co-wrote a series of cookbooks that I love.
It's basically a marinade for chicken for kebabs.
One reason I love their cookbooks is that many of their recipes require ingredients that I usually have on hand. No special trips to the grocery store needed.
The marinade is a really tasty asian mix.
Chick on Sticks
 
Ingredients:
2 tbsp. each sodium reduced soya sauce and brown sugar
1 tbsp. each olive oil and grated lemon zest
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced ( I used red onion)
1-1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. each cumin and ground coriander
4 chicken breast halves.

Directions:
Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
Cut chicken into kebab size pieces.
Place chicken pieces in a ziploc bag.
Pour marinade over chicken pieces.
Have your 9 yr. old son smush the marinade all over the chicken.
Place in freezer.
Now your meal is ready to go into the cooler for your camping trip.
When preparing this meal, simply thaw the chicken by placing it on the top of the cooler.
Thread the chicken pieces with the washed and ready-to-go-veggies on skewers.
Grill each side about 5-6 minutes or until chicken looks cooked and juices run clear.

If you liked this recipe, here are some other amazing camping recipes:
 
And check out these boards on Pinterest:
 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday & Camping Cuisine Part 1: Perfect Picnic Sandwich

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Our family has been enjoying some camping trips this month, so I thought I would devote my posts this week to  sharing some of our favourite camping food recipes.

Let's start off with one of our all-time yummy-always-a-hit picnic sandwich.
This recipes comes from a little fundraising cookbook project done by my daughter's Grade 1 class in 2003.
I love it because not only is it a fabulous sandwich, but it is the ultimate in 'make ahead'  food.
It tastes better the day after it's made....after the flavours have had time to mingle.
This sandwich is the perfect lunch for the first day of camping. After arriving at the campsite and spending a few hours putting up tents, inflating mattresses and getting things in order, everyone is usuallly tired and hungry. That's when I am so happy to pull out the picnic sandwich for an instant lunch. It makes 8 sandwich wedges and each piece is very filling and satisfying.



This sandwich requires a filling, some meat & cheeses and a round loaf.
First step.

The filling.

5 seeded & chopped plum tomatoes
1 cup chopped red, orange or yellow peppers
1/4 cup chopped pitted black olives (I use kalamata olives)
1/4 cup chopped red onion ( I increase this to 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil. Do not skip this ingredient!
2 tsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
drizzle of olive oil

Mix all of these things together.
The tomato mixture is similar to a brushchetta topping. You can adapt the filling to your own tastes by adding grilled vegetables with hummus or pesto.
The filling will look like this:

Next step is to scoop out the round loaf to get ready for stuffing.
Scoop out the loaf so that you have about 1 inch of bread all around. Keep the 'hat' of the loaf for the finished sandwich.
Brush the inside of the loaf with olive oil.
This step prevents the bread from going soggy.
Now spoon half of the filling into the bottom of the bread and press down with spoon.
Then layer in half of the sliced meats.
You can use different salami, ham, turkey or even eggplant if you want to keep it vegetarian.
In this sandwich, I used sliced turkey & ham.
Then layer in cheese slices. I used havarti slices. Again, any favourite cheese can be used.

After the cheese layer, layer the remaining meat and spoon in the other half of the filling.
Place the 'hat' back on the loaf. Press firmly. You are done!
Wrap sandwich tightly in saran wrap.
Then I also wrap in tin foil.
Place sandwich in large bowl with some soup cans on top for weight to help "press" the sandwich.
(This step can be skipped, especially if you don't have room in your fridge for the big bowl).
Place sandwich in fridge overnight.
I usually slice my sandwich in the morning with an electric knife into 8 wedges.
Then I re-wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and tin foil and place in the cooler until lunch time.


This sandwich doesn't take long to make. Once you chop up the ingredients for the filling, the rest only takes a few minutes. My 13 yr. old daughter actually made this sandwich while I was working on the prep for other meals for our camping trip.
There you have it.....a super scrumptious sandwich for camping!
Menu Plan for our Camping Week:
Monday: Picnic Sandwich
Tuesday: Chicks on Sticks
Wednesday: For Goodness Steak: Steak & caesar salad.
Thursday: The Loin King: Pork Loin with potatoes
Friday: When you teach a man to fish: A campsite Fish Fry. 

To read Part 2 of Camping Cuisine: Chicks on Sticks, click here.
To read Part 3 of Camping Cuisine: For Goodness Steak, click here.
To read Part 4 of Camping Cuisine: Blueberry & Cream Cheese Dessert, click here.
To read Part 5 of Camping Cuisine: Eat Your Veggies, click here.



This post is linked to:
inspired room

Menu Plan Monday @ I'm an Organzing Junkie
Tasty Tuesday @ Beauty and Bedlam
Delicious Dishes@ It's a Blog Party
Spotlight Yourself@ It's so Very Cheri
Recipe Swap Sundays @ Remodelaholic
Show & Share @ Just A Girl
Weekend Wrap Up Party @ Tatertots & Jello
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Friday, July 16, 2010

the book of awesome...

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Has anyone read this book?
It has such a  marvelously fun title.
It's a whimsical read that reminds one of all the little things in life that we take for granted.
It's made up of little dittys that are no more than a page or two.
A perfect  book that you can pick and put down easily without feeling 'plot lost'.
An added bonus~
I love to listen to my daughter laugh as she reads it.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creating with my Mom....

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Whenever my Mom comes to visit, we try to do some type of craft project together.
Just for fun.
For this visit, one of things we made together were these gift tags.
I've had this Stampin' Up "Yummy" stamp set for at least a year or more.
But I have never done anything with it.
When I showed it to my Mom, we decided to make a bunch of tags together.
We both like to give baking gifts to our family & friends and we thought these tags would make a nice touch for packages of  homemade goodies.

And although we love to go shopping together, this project did not require any shopping.
Everything we needed, I already had in my scrapbooking and stamping stash.
Along with the stamp set, we used scraps of cardstock, scraps of Amy Bulter scrapbooking paper, my favourite flower punch and dollar store buttons.
And a paper trimmer.
We only used one stamp, "A little Something for you."
We meant to make more with the "Yummy for your tummy" stamp, however, now we have a future project to do.
We made 3 different colour combinations of tags.
We took the colour schemes from the Amy Butler scraps I had.
The Amy Butler colours are so delish!
Then we decided to make 24 tags in a Christmas colour scheme.
We used Christmas scraps in red and green.
And when we finished, we each had 24 tags.
We were quite pleased with ourselves for getting this project done.
And we didn't even spill wine on anything.

This post has been linked to:
Strut Your Stuff Thursday@ Somewhat Simple
Show Me How@ It's a Blog Party
Show & Tell @ Blue Cricket Design
It's So Very Crafty @ It's So Very Cheri
Just Something I Whipped Up@ The Girl Creative
Sunday Showcase Party@ Under the Table & Dreaming

UndertheTableandDreaming


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