Saturday, 24 December 2011


Merry Christmas Eve!  We are spending a couple of days with hubby's family and then tomorrow afternoon we leave for Florida.  This will be our first Christmas away so it's quite exciting (and unique).

Leroy is a January baby so this is his first Christmas.  His grandfather gave him a special treat and his grandmother bought him a Christmas collar.  We should call him Santa Paws.  First of all - once again this is our baby sitting on our pile of suitcases.  He always knows when we're going somewhere and doesn't want to be left behind.

This is what I wore to visit family.  Skinny jeans (Bootlegger), an oxford shirt (Old Navy - actually a men's shirt but there was nothing similar in women's so I bought it anyway), a belt (H&M - I love the braiding), boots (Spring), pearls (gift), watch (Fossil), tank top (Gap).

Leroy had a blast the last two days playing with his "Aunt Lizzie".  So many new toys to steal and chew, new treats to devour, and a new warm body to cuddle with.  He's pretty tuckered out today - but yesterday - he was still excited to get out into the snow.  (We are having a White Christmas!)

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  I'll see in you in 2012!

Thursday, 22 December 2011


I've been an absentee blogger the last few days because as soon as classes ended I went into Christmas mode.  My mother in law came down to visit Friday and spent the night and on Saturday I went home to visit my family.  It was a nice visit and prelude to Christmas and now I'm back!

Apparently a few of my classmates have made these "sweet and salty buttons" (I made up the name because I'm not sure what they're actually called).  These might just be the easiest treat in the world to make!!  Start by putting a kiss on your pretzel - I used caramel kisses.  Do this on a cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.  Put the cookie sheet in the oven for a few minutes, just until the kisses are soft.  You will be able to tell because they will become very glossy.

Next pop a smartie or pecan half on top of the kiss.  It might sound silly but it's best to do this one at a time.  (I tried to save time by doing this two at a time - one in each hand - and they weren't as pretty looking).  Pop the cookie sheet in the fridge to let the chocolate harden.  Voila!  That is your button.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


I've been having trouble finding things to blog about probably because it's the middle of the school year.  School ends tomorrow so hopefully I'll have exciting things to blog about soon.  In the meantime I thought I would post some photos from my first trip outside of North America.  In May 2009 just after I had finished exams in third year university, I went on a Service Learning trip to Belize.  This was organized through the university and I went with ten (or so) other students and two faculty advisors.  I was ecstatic to be traveling and it was such an awesome experience.

We first stayed at the Tropical Education Centre just outside the Belize Zoo.  The first few days were full of painting at the zoo and exploring the surrounding area.  It's a really cool little zoo because they only house rescued animals and the pens are built around the animal's natural habitat.  My favourite animal was the tapir, also known as a mountain cow and coincidentally the national animal of this little country.

When we moved on from the Tropical Education Centre we landed in Maya Centre.  This was a very small village where we boarded in a guest house.  We spent time playing with the children, teaching them at school, painting the women's centre, and hiking in the jaguar preserve.  One afternoon while painting the women's centre we were brought oranges as a snack.  It was quite amazing because the oranges had just been picked and were still warm from the sun.

That is my trip to Belize in a nutshell (although we did many other wonderful things during our time there).  Here are some photos to prove it. :)

Junior Buddy the jaguar.  When I took this photo I was actually inside this little cage inside Buddy's large pen.  He is able to climb over the cage while you're inside it.
April the tapir!
Playing with the kids in Maya Centre.  Maybe I should have mentioned I was bald at the time.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


These photos are from a month ago and I just haven't gotten around to posting them.  This is an outfit I put together shortly after my Med Ball shopping trip.  The boots, pants, jacket, and purse were all new.  It's nothing fancy but at the time it was fun to wear my new clothes (which are no longer new).

Jacket - GAP.  Shirt - Macy's.  Pants - GAP.

Blazer - H&M.  Boots - Spring.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Book club is Thursday and we will be discussing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  If you haven't heard of this book you've been living under a rock. :)  All the kids are talking about this trilogy.  It's one of those series both kids and their parents can read.

Over the summer I devoured this novel and over the last week and a half I borrowed the other two books from a friend (Catching Fire and Mocking Jay).  Both equally as wonderful.  I have to say these are the best books I have read in awhile.  My whole class at school has been reading them and we are all so excited to talk about them and pass them onto each other!

The setting is post-apocalyptic with thirteen districts within what used to be North America.  75 years ago there were uprisings against the Capitol and to rebuke the districts for this rebellion, each year the names of one female and one male between the ages of 12 and 18 (or something like that) are drawn from each district.  These "tributes" as they are called must compete in the Hunger Games and only one tribute can live.  It sounds like a crazy idea for a novel (and a bit morbid, at that) but trust me - they are amazing!!  So amazing that the only thing really on my Christmas list this year is the box set on sale now at Chapters/Indigo.

The trailer for the movie coming out in March looks just as amazing.  Have a peak.  Read the books.

Monday, 12 December 2011


Christmas seems to be the time to get new jammies.  Hubby and I aren't buying each other gifts this year (not even stockings) and my parents are taking us to Florida for the holidays so I'm pretty sure this year no one will be buying me pajamas.  However, it's still fun to look on Victoria's Secret and remember that lovely feeling of climbing into bed on a cold winter's night with new flannels on.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


"All the adults at work take leftovers in their lunches."

Someone told me this today when asking me to make a big Sunday night supper.  I'm not sure why "adults" were specified... Pretty sure there aren't any children at hubby's work.

This led me to make Rachael Ray's recipe for shepherd's pie.  It was your basic recipe with a couple of twists.  It called for gravy made from a couple of tablespoons of butter and flour for thickening, 1 cup of beef broth, and 2 tsps of Worcestershire sauce.  To top off the casserole I made mashed potatoes and then added a few key ingredients (as per Rachael's instructions).  You mix 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup of chicken stock (or cream - whichever you prefer), and a spoonful of sour cream.  Add this to the mashed potatoes, layer over the hamburger/carrot/peas, and sprinkle with paprika.  Did you know Hungary is known for paprika?  The massive indoor market in Budapest had peppers hanging everywhere.  Before that I didn't know paprika came from red peppers.

All in all the shepherd's pie turned out pretty well (and tomorrow one more "adult" at work will have leftovers in their lunch).

Friday, 9 December 2011


Looking for a hilarious new holiday favourite?  Would you rather laugh at festive songs than contemplate beautiful lyrics?

I thought so.

While traveling this summer, our host in Prague sang us this song.  Having not ever heard of it, his serenade was hilarious.  We had no idea what he was singing.  I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Living up to his namesake.

I slept in this morning which is unusual for a school day.  Class didn't start until 1:00 so I figured - why not?  I woke up at 9, ate breakfast, finished working on today's cases for school, read more of Mockingjay, called hubby at work...  That was when things got interesting.

Leroy had been keeping a secret from me all morning.  Hubby told me when he took our special friend outside this morning, Leroy got excited when hubby's ride arrived.  Of course our little man wanted to greet hubby's drive but then somehow ended up in the neighbour's yard.  And then somehow ended up in the neighbour's house.  Did you catch that?  Again - the neighbour's house.  

 Who me??  Would a face like this do something like that??

I would never do that, Mom!!  Promise!  I was in here on my bed the whole time.

I miss the puppy days when he was so cute and little and easy to catch.  Haha.  Now he's much faster than we are (hence ending up in the neighbour's house).  Doesn't seem to be a problem most of the time but once he's excited there's no turning back.  Oh, Leroy Brown.  You're the baddest man in the whole town.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Pinterest.  Provides.  Procrastination.

True story!  But very fun procrastination.  Since joining pinterest a couple of months ago I have spent a fair amount of time searching for recipes, room designs, and Harry Potter images and facts.  You can find some incredible spaces on pinterest.  Certainly there is no lack of inspiration!  I now have lots of ideas for future homes (I have no plans for further redecorating of our current house).  Here are some of my fabulous finds.  (This post has been full of alliteration!)

Saturday, 3 December 2011


My pseudo Christmas gift from hubby this year was a post-neuro massage.  I find sitting at a desk and studying 14 hours a day for three weeks can really reek havoc on your back.  Imagine.  Last night after a long day at school (8:30 till 5:00 not counting studying or homework) I went for my massage.  It was so nice.  I arrived twenty minutes early, book in tow and sat in front of an open fire reading.  The dog that lives at the Inn/Spa sat on my feet so I read Catching Fire (the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy) and scratched the dog's ears.

A bit of background - I can be exceptionally modest to the point of awkwardness... I seem to have toned it down since getting married three years ago (thankfully) but, for example, I still hoped for a female massage therapist.  This was my second massage ever and I find stripping down for an hour in front of a stranger is a bit strange even though it is incredibly relaxing.  When I was told "Darcy" was going to be my massage therapist for the evening, I assumed Darcy was a girl.  Wrongfully assumed.  Wrongfully.

Darcy was a young man.  Maybe my age, maybe a few years older.  I was awkward, no way around it.  I awkwardly started to ask what I was supposed to wear (although I already knew).  I'm not sure what type of answer I was looking for.  Maybe, "Oh, this is a new type of massage where you are fully dressed and I apply energy through a force field so there is no actual touching involved."

Once the massage started I was able to (somewhat) forget about Darcy - and neuroscience for that matter.  It was quite heavenly, I must say.  If hubby ever wants to go back to school to become an RMT (registered massage therapist as they say in the biz) I would fully support it.

When I arrived home resembling a puddle on the floor (a very relaxed, comfortable puddle) we attempted to go out for dinner.  The third restaurant was the charm - who knew the local gourmet burger place closes at 8 pm on Friday nights??  We had delicious sushi which was not at all what we planned on, having tried to first get a burger and then pizza.  Regardless, it was delicious.  We settled for our usual Angry Tuna Roll and then branched out with a combo plate.  Here they are!

Friday, 2 December 2011


The ongoing saga of sleeping outside the kennel continues.

Slowly but surely Leroy seems to be adapting.  We are being pounced on less and less in the middle of the night.  We are less often awoken to whining.  Instead we hear burrowing under the bed because someone has found their spot.  When hubby and I climb into bed at night, someone tunnels under the bed.  Whatever works, I guess.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


Maybe I'm posting too frequently about Christmas, especially considering it's still November.  Even though I'm having that thought, it isn't going to stop me!

A quick trip to Michael's on Saturday night found a few great items.  First of all, this "fishbowl" that cost $6.99.  I also bought the baubles inside it.  Both the large glass ornaments and the smaller ornaments were on sale - 40% off the large ones and something similar for the small ones.  After some strategic placement I added Mardis Gras beads that friends brought me back from New Orleans this summer.  I should also mention the candle holders and candles are also new.  The holders were $7.99 and $9.99 from Winners Homesense and the candles (sugar cookie scent) were even less expensive than that.



On Sunday night I decorated a little bit for Christmas and I realized I don't have much by way of place settings... I have been collecting my china pattern since we got married but I am quite lacking tablecloths and nice napkins.  (We received a tablecloth as a wedding gift but I don't have any linen napkins.)  I have also been thinking about Christmas centerpieces and I am personally loving bright and fun!  You can find all sorts of fuschias and teals for Christmas these days.  More about that later!

So I got to thinking it might be fun to use vintage figurines on your table.  A quick hunt on etsy found these brass deer:

$12.00 for the pair.  Find here.
$30.00 for the pair.  Find here.
$100.00 for the pair.  Found here.

Saturday, 26 November 2011



My exam finished 2.5 hours ago and I have already: bought a Christmas wreath, sat down to eat a meal with my hubby at the dining room table, done two loads of laundry, watched the Santa Claus parade, cleaned dog hair out of the car, and dusted the bedroom furniture.  Now - off for a nap!!  But in the meantime, here are two photos of Leroy from today.

I came home from my exam to find out Leroy had turned into a reindeer!

Leroy went to the parade with us and was very well behaved.  He even let some children pet him (and didn't bark)!  This was my view during the parade.

Friday, 25 November 2011


That's the crazy game we've been playing all semester.  You say a neurological symptom, I tell you where the lesion is.

E.g. Right sided weakness.
Left primary motor cortex (precentral gyrus).

Pretty gross, right??  In honour of the end of neurology tomorrow (already done exam one of two) here is a funny take on how the brain works.  Sad thing is when I first watched this video I thought I had completely missed the point of this semester.

See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Today we got about a foot of snow... Good old Canadian winters bringing us buckets of snow before December hits.  This was Leroy's first real snowfall.  The first week Leroy moved in we had a little bit of snow (it was late March) but maybe only six inches at most.  As an eight week old puppy he was so cute bounding through the snow so while I was at school studying today I couldn't wait to go home and watch Leroy play!

He spent some time staring at the window and thinking, "Mom, can't I please go outside to play?"

And boy did he have fun once he got out there!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


It is slowly approaching and I have made a list of things to do when I can once again smell freedom:

1. Eye appointment
2. Dentist appointment
3. Buy and decorate a Christmas tree!
4. Bake something - anything!
5. NAP
6. Massage
7. Go to the movies
8. Laugh again (that was a joke)
9. Use my gift card from Joe Fresh
10. Make a Christmas greeting video like this one

Sunday, 20 November 2011


Sometimes I'm reluctant to buy accessories and I include shoes in that statement.  I just find accessories expensive considering they're just supposed to compliment an outfit.  They don't keep you warm or cover up any key parts.  That being said, I do like belts, jewellery, shoes...I just don't often purchase them myself.

I can also partially contribute that to being a tad picky.  When hubby and I were dating I told him I only buy "the perfect shoe".  It's out there, folks.  You just have to look long and hard.  It is perfectly comfortable, perfectly stylish.  Anything less and I just won't pay for it which leads me back to my first statement of "I'm reluctant to buy accessories".  (That is called circular thinking - neuro exam FYI.)

This summer I bought a pair of red Toms and love them.  You've heard of TOMS right?  For every pair of shoes you buy, they send a pair to a child in a third world country.  And currently they have a few Movember styles.  Here are some finds from their website that I'm currently loving (and you can find them here, here, here, and here).  Also - people often say to buy them in a half size smaller than you would normally wear because the canvas stretches a bit.  I bought mine in a 7.5 when I normally wear an 8 and I have found them to be just right.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


I have known my best friend since grade five when she transferred to my school from a local private, Christian school.  Hers was the first (and thus far only) wedding I have attended as a bridesmaid.  When D and her husband moved into their first home two years ago I knew I wanted to give them a special housewarming gift.  When I want something like this to be extra special, I always default to handmade - in this case, a drawing.

I searched through all the photos I had taken the day of D's wedding (of which there were many) and found a head on photo of her bouquet.  After cropping the photo, I had it printed in I think a 5 x 7 size so the details of the flowers were easy to visualize.  Then I bought myself a set of pencil crayons from my local art supplies store and went to town.

My main piece of advice when you are creating a painting/drawing (or even if you are enlarging a photograph) is buy the frame first!!  It can get very pricey to have anything professionally framed.  One year when hubby and I were dating I made him a drawing for Christmas.  It was a fairly large drawing and the cost of framing was somewhere between $100 and $200.  My trick is to check out the prints section of Winners/Homesense and find the approximate size frame you would like.  These prints are fairly inexpensive and almost always come framed AND matted.  Therefore, if you custom design your artwork to fit in the frame you have a relatively inexpensive frame and matte!

Friday, 18 November 2011


Look what I found from this etsy shop!

It's a bookmark that looks like the Wicked Witch of the East!!  (West was the one who melted when Dorothy doused her with water.  East was the sister of West and was crushed by Dorothy's house.)  Want to see another view??  I thought so.

This combines a couple of things I enjoy - reading and the musical Wicked!  Here is a photo from Times Square summer 2010.  Hubby and I saw Wicked and loved it.

To incorporate a Christmas theme, this etsy shop has other bookmarks including Santa or an elf's legs.

I think this could be a great stocking stuffer.

Thursday, 17 November 2011


Today was an incredibly long, school-packed day.  It began with a psychiatry clinical skills session from 8:30 - 10:00 with a lunch break to follow (filled with studying) and then resumed with a second clinical skills session from 12:30 - 3:30.  I spent the rest of the afternoon studying neuroanatomy and then looked at microscope slides in the anatomy lab from 6:00 - 9:30.  Believe it or not I then came home and watched more recorded lectures.  My brain is full of...the brain.

To unwind I'm doing a quick little blogging session and thinking about Christmas!  Knowing I can prepare for Christmas once my exam is finished is one of the only things keeping me going!

I know everyone likes Christmas but I LOVE Christmas.  Really, really love it.  Don't believe me?  I feel so strongly about Christmas that I have been known to say wistfully, "I miss Christmas..." at fairly regular intervals throughout the rest of the year (probably at least once a month).  I have been listening to my new Amy Grant Christmas cd since October.  I keep Christmas music on my ipod all year and when the shuffle button reunites me with these songs on my mid-July jogs, I don't change the song.

Are you convinced yet?

One of the things I remember most about Christmas as a child is my mom reading my brother and I (and eventually our sister) Christmas stories before bed.  I emailed my mom this week and asked for the titles of some of our family's favourite Christmas books.  Here are a few truly wonderful additions to your holiday collection!

The Smallest Elf - a story about an elf who isn't as talented at toy-making as the others.  When Santa proposes a contest to create a special toy for a lonely little boy, Elvin discovers what the boy really wants most of all.  [This might be my absolute favourite.]

The Advent Calendar: Pop-up Book - my grandparents bought this story for my brother and I.  It's nice to have a version of the Christmas story to read as a family during the holidays and this one is especially fun because it's a pop-up book.  We read this on Christmas morning for a few years before we opened gifts.

The Sweet Smell of Christmas - have you ever owned a scratch and sniff?!  It may just be the most fun thing ever!!  Even now I love to scratch the pages of this book even though they have looooong ago stopped smelling.  This is my little sister's favourite.  It's about a little bear and his family's activities during Christmas.  There are scents for the fir tree his family chops down, candy canes they put on the tree, hot chocolate for the carolers, an orange in his know the deal.  I will always love smelling this book.  Is that weird?

Tosca's Christmas - for the cat lover in your life.  This little kitty, Tosca, doesn't understand why there is suddenly a tree in her living room or pretty paper on the floor.  She is scolded throughout the book and I can't quite remember the ending but I'm sure it's happy.