Wednesday, 18 December 2013


You know I like to bake, right?  It's not super obvious, is it?

Did you also know I just bought some personal training sessions and I am very much on the wagon?  That's right...hopped on at the most difficult time to be "good".  Christmas time.  Oh, the horror.  And considering my love of baking, it seems so much worse.

My solution has been to bake a number of Christmas goodies and give them away!  Hubby is shocked and appalled but it's really the best fix, I think.  So I made a few things this year (my mom's version of Oh Henry Bars - really  nothing like the chocolate bar, Peppermint Macarons, my aunt T's Bailey's Fudge - crazy good, Coconut Chocolates, and Pecan Snowball Cookies) and most of them are packaged up to go!  My mom gave me really cute Christmas treat boxes last year so I used those and bought these adorable little dishes from Michaels (pictured below).  They were literally $2 each.  AMAZING!

I just kept a few things so hubby can snack on them over the holidays.  So I was able to bake, hubby gets a few treats, and treats for friends!  I'm pretty happy about this (although don't get me wrong, I would way rather be eating those sweets)!

I used the Christmas gift tags I bought on Etsy, tissue paper, and ribbon to package up some of the sweets.

They look good, right?  I tried one (really, only one) of the Coconut Chocolates because I had never made them before and they were so good!!  The graham cracker square you're seeing is our version of the Oh Henry Bar.  I'm really not sure why we call it that because there are no peanuts or caramel.  They simply consist of graham wafers, chocolate, butter, brown sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.  Really easy and hubby's favourite Christmas treat that my family makes.

Can I just say I'm really proud of this photo?  I never feel like my photos are very good and this one with the tree in the background out of focus looking so amazing is such a happy accident. *Ahem* I mean photography skill... ;)

And aren't those little dishes from Michaels so great?  Really - $2.  I only bought two but I probably should have bought fifteen.

Merry Christmas!  I just can't stop saying it.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


This year I decided to do something a little different.  The last two Christmases I bought wrapping paper at Costco and boy, was it inexpensive.  Not only that, it was pretty good quality, too.  Nice and thick so it didn't tear easily while you were wrapping.  I wanted to do something a bit more pretty and creative this time around so I bought a few items on Etsy including:

1. Aspen Frost patterned paint roller and applicator from NotWallpaper
2. Medium white scalloped gift tags from Catch Some Raes
3. Large red scalloped gift tags from Catch Some Raes
4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas stamp from Creatiate
5. White poinsettia on red Christmas washi tape from LaZoie
6. Light gold glitter washi tape from LaZoie
7. Black ribbon on sale from Michaels
8. Stamp pad and paint from Michaels
9. Craft paper from Wal Mart or the like
Also loving this washi tape and this washi tape

You could call it "variations of a theme", really.  I used those basic staples for all of the presents and no two are exactly alike.  Some are completely printed with the Aspen Frost roller, some just have a strip.  Some have black ribbon, some red, some none.  Multicolour washi tape and one of two tags, you get the idea.  I think they're pretty exciting because they're unique, fun, and a little bit creative.  Hubby was a bit horrified that I bought a paint roller for $50 with shipping and handling.  He can't quite seem to get past that to enjoy the spirit of Christmas wrapping... Frivolous, he says.  Men. ;)

And in case you're wondering, our tree skirt is actually two fur "rugs" from Wal Mart.  You can find them in the section with bathroom things and rugs.  They come in all different colours (lots of neon, actually) and I have two wrapped around the bottom of my tree.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Hello, Christmas lovers everywhere!

This has been a very cold and snowy weekend so after church this morning we've been snowed in at home.  I spent the day trying my hand at the French pastry known as macarons.  This was my most difficult baking project to date, as far as I can remember.  I wanted to share my tips from this baking adventure!

I used this recipe from

My attempt certainly wasn't perfect (I threw out 3 pans of macarons) but the cookie sheet that didn't overcook was pretty good for a first attempt, I think!

First of all, to translate the measurements from the studiodiy recipe.  They list the ingredients in grams so I'll pass on the wisdom of the internet to you all in case you're like me and don't own a kitchen scale.

200 grams of icing sugar = 1.6 cups
200 grams of almond meal = 1.8 cups
80 g egg whites = whites from 3 eggs
200 g granulated sugar = 1 cup

The next tip?  I tried to make almond flour myself from whole almonds.  Hubby did the grocery shopping and didn't put his full effort into finding almond meal at Bulk Barn (they have it and I went back for it later).  In theory, almond meal/flour is simply ground almonds.  You just grind the almonds in a food processor and then use a sifter so it's a fine consistency.  The issue I ran into was if you grind the almonds too much they become a paste.  However, if you don't grind them enough, they're really quite big pieces and that doesn't work either.  When I went back to Bulk Barn I found they had almond meal that was much finer than I could get it on my own, so I just bought it.  Definitely the way to go, in my opinion.

I would have made the macarons slightly thicker, as well, when applying the batter to the cookie sheet.  The cookies aren't too thin, but I would have liked them to be a little bit thicker, I think.

My oven and I are constantly waging war against each other, in case you didn't know.  It is a very difficult oven to work with!!!  The longer it's on, the hotter it gets.  I mean, only the first sheet of cookies comes out right.  After the first pan I have to turn the temperature down and bake for less time, and everything still seems to burn.  That was the issue with these.  It seemed like there was a very fine balance.  They are very delicate pastries so being slightly brown on the bottom makes them too hard and just not right.  As always, the first pan out turned out fine.  *Dreaming of a convection oven.*

If you're planning on using candy cane pieces (or anything else) for embellishment, you have to make sure the buttercream frosting is layered on quite thick so it can pick up the pieces of candy.  It's best to squeeze a big dollop into the centre of the macaron.  I squiggled the frosting around (technical term) at first and when you pushed the cookies together, you could tell it had been kind of messy and squiggly.

And that brings me to my last tip.  When you press the cookies together, hold them by the edges.  If you push from the centres, the macarons will crack and collapse.  They really are delicate little guys.  (Lesson learned.)

So it wasn't a complete home run, but successful enough that I will definitely make macarons again.  And this time I'll have a little experience under my belt so they should turn out even better!

Friday, 6 December 2013


That's her name this year.  Tilly.  Tilly the telescopic tree.  Why telescopic, you say?  That doesn't make any sense, you say?  Well, someone in this household who will remain nameless thought Tilly was but a tiny tree.  So tiny a telescope is required to see her, they said.  This slightly offended Tilly but as she concentrated on her beautiful array of handcrafted ornaments she was able to shrug off those hurtful remarks and fulfill her Christmas destiny.

I was confused by the use of "telescopic" in what one could only assume is a "microscopic" situation, but hubby assured me he truly meant "telescopic."  Men.  If it's not busting out the windows they just don't consider it a Christmas tree.

I don't think she's so bad.

And in other news, my mom surprised us with an amazing piece of Christmas artwork!  When we opened this gem on December 1st I did a double take.  At first I wondered if she had found someone to paint Leroy!  Then I quickly realized that our baby's right eye is blue. ;)  Apart from that, it is really a striking resemblance!  Hubby and I were very excited about it - as was Leroy.  He took a good sniff.  I put it up in the living room where I had hung our new wedding photo.  It is truly special and I can't wait to look at it year after year!

Happy December and Merry Christmas!


Here are some pretty things that would look lovely on your holiday table this year... Or my holiday table, for that matter.  You can find these items: on etsy,

Saturday, 30 November 2013


Are you ready for it?  It's our dirty secret.  I'm talking about our spare bedroom/home office/hubby's dressing room/junk room.  To say it's a disaster might be an understatement.  It's an eye sore.  And currently it is completely non-functional.  Is this not the most disorganized "desk" you've ever seen?

Trust me, the rest of the room is no better.  My Christmas plan is to organize (which will mean buying filing cabinets etc), tear up the carpet, possibly paint, and put up artwork.  I'm thinking new bedding, a new bookshelf (those things are expensive!), and an area rug will have to wait for now.  That might be my carrot for the rest of the year - a little gift to myself on starting residency in July, maybe.

I'll leave you with a few more photos and you can thank your lucky stars this isn't what your spare room looks like!  Or maybe it is... Hey, we're all human, right? ;)

Normally my house pictures are of rooms I have just styled and tidied up before taking photos.  If I used hashtags this might be known as: #thetruthbehindtheblog #junkroom #dirtylittlesecret.  Just a thought.  Wow, I just enjoyed making those hashtags way too much.

The room's bright spot - the dresser we bought off kijiji last year and a cute lamp from Winner's.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Hello all!  It's been a little while since I blogged about my travels... I made it to and from Ottawa without managing to take a single photo, which is quite sad considering I stayed with one of my besties there and I didn't document our visit at all.  Bad friend.  Long story short, I had a wonderful visit with my friend J and didn't want to come home! (She cooked me supper every night, had tons of baking in the freezer before I arrived, and had all kinds of lunch items ready.  And she was pretty good company too, I guess.)  :)

So between staying with J in Ottawa and A in Halifax, I was quite inspired to renew a commitment in my life.  To cooking.  Supper, specifically.  On a regular basis. is such a chore, is it not?  I'm happy (more like hubby's happy) to say so far so good!  I've had lovely dinners cooked every night which has included chicken soup and biscuits (J's recipe), baked beans, chicken and stuffing, fresh rolls, and I even made some waffles to freeze for special breakfasts.  Waffles freeze super well and then we just pop them in the toaster.

There you have it, folks.  You've seen behind the proverbial curtain, dirty tupperware and all.  But who really cares when the outcome was all of those waffles, chicken and stuffing - one to eat and one to freeze?  Hubby certainly doesn't complain about dishes if he ends up with a home cooked meal (and he's the dishwasher in this household)!  Just wait till my next post - I'm going to show you our spare bedroom as is where is.  No styling or cleaning up...just full out disaster that desperately needs to be addressed!  Some honest blog photos for once. :)

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I was lucky enough to be able to come home this weekend before I leave for my next elective, and hubby surprised me with tickets to Skate Canada!  What girl doesn't love figure skating, and especially what girl doesn't love figure skating a few short months before the Olympics?  We are a huge Olympics family - big fans.  The biggest.  So having the chance to see some of our Canadian athletes skate was super exciting and the fact that we saw our 2010 Vancouver ice dancing gold medalists?  Icing on the cake.  Icing.  Get it?  Kind of more of a hockey pun, I guess, but let's make it work, people.

Definitely the skaters I was most excited to see were Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the above mentioned ice dancers who won Gold in Vancouver 2010.  They're awesome.  She's pretty much the Canadian Kate Middleton - stick thin, beautiful brown hair, etc.  And her name is Tessa Virtue which to me is so pretty and unique it sounds like a stage name.  Whose last name is Virtue?!  That's awesome.  My favourite moment of the 2010 Olympics was when they won Gold and Scott's brothers lifted him up into the stands to hug him.  They skated beautifully last night (or so I think with my totally limited knowledge of ice dancing/figure skating).  If you don't remember their Olympic performance, here's a clip to remind you.

We were sitting three rows up from the ice and I was able to get a few photos of them.  This one is definitely the best.

After the show Tessa and Scott found me and invited me for a little skate with them.  They had heard what a fab skater I am (totally kidding - I haven't been on the ice since I was literally 13 and I completely sucked then).  I can only assume this poster of them is to scale.  I am approximately 4 times larger than her in real life as well.

Long story short, this totally pumped me up for the Olympics!  Can't wait to watch them competing in Russia!

Sunday, 20 October 2013


We had a different sort of weekend this weekend.  Leroy and hubby came down to visit me in Halifax (I was totally thrilled to see Leroy)!  Three best friends together again!  We spent the weekend in a hotel that allows doggies so our Manny could come visit.  It wouldn't be our first choice for future trips but it worked out just fine.  It's slightly stressful worrying about Leroy barking at every little noise in the hotel (although he got much better as the weekend went on) and we weren't allowed to leave him alone in the hotel room, which meant we lived off take out and weren't able to sit in at a restaurant.  But I couldn't have been any happier and it's the last time I'm going to get to see Leroy before I return home in December.  And I have to say, he was pretty excited to see me, too.  When I met them at the hotel he kept running up to me for pats and then looking at hubby as if to say, "Look, Dad!!  Mom's here!!"

Growing up I never had a dog, so I kind of thought it was hilarious to see Manny in a hotel room.  It just seemed out of place.  He was so adorable, though.  The "dog rooms" all had two queen size beds so Leroy basically had his choice of bed for nighttime sleeping and at the end of the weekend he realized he was able to jump back and forth between the two which was just about the funniest thing.  Or it was to us.

Here are a few photos from our weekend.  We spent some time throwing Leroy his frisbee at the Commons, where we also found football practice gear.  Naturally, I had a go at pushing the tackle thing, whatever it's called.  We realized after taking a few photos of me not budging it that you really have to get low to make it move or else it just rocks like a rocking chair.  Quite funny.  And the rest of the pics are from lounging in the hotel room with our baby!

Bottoms from J Brand, old. Similar here and here.  Sweater from Banana Republic, old. Similar here.  Top from ASTR, exact unavailable. Similar here.  Sneakers from Converse, available here.

Bottoms from Wayf available here. Top from Banana Republic, exact unavailable.  Similar here and here.

Thursday, 17 October 2013


In my last post I referred to some big news around these parts.  It's in the category of life plans.  Last Monday I started my first Plastic Surgery rotation of fourth year.  For the past 12 months I have wanted to be a Plastic Surgeon... I set up all of my electives, found a research project, and was working towards this goal.  Last Monday when I started my rotation I should have been over the moon but I just... wasn't.  There was just this overwhelming sense of "I'm not supposed to be here", and for me, anytime I have such a strong feeling about something, I believe that's God telling me something.  I had a sudden realization this wasn't what I want to do with my life and I would be so so so much happier being a family doctor and getting to see these faces every day.  These two make me the happiest.

I feel happier than I have felt all year.  I just have this huge sense of relief and a weight off my shoulders.  When I'm working I'll still be able to be an assist in the OR and remove lumps and bumps which I realized is the part of Plastic Surgery I like best - and it translates to family medicine.  And I can live life with hubby, travel, decorate, make art, have doggies... I can have it all!  Phew!  Thankfully I figured it out now.  Who wouldn't want more time with those faces, anyway?  So that's the big news.  It's pretty huge in our world - it's going to create a very different life for us and we're very excited about it!

Sunday, 13 October 2013


What did you do?  Jump ship?

Here are a few photos from our Thanksgiving weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  If you have never been, it's a lovely port city on the east coast.  The largest of the cities in the Maritimes, it's still a pretty small city surrounded by water and not far from more rural areas.

Hubby and I spent the weekend going out for dinner and a movie, and today going for a walk on the waterfront before having our Thanksgiving dinner prepared by my wonderful friend, A!  We're pretty spoiled (and lucky)!

There have been a lot of changes around here this week... big surprises to both of us but happy changes all in all.  I'll post more about that later but all I'll say for now is I am surprised to find myself very happy and relieved!

We found a little local cafe/chocolate shop and we each got a maple latte. favourite all year round!


Hubby climbed the wave down on the waterfront like a champ.  Put all the little kids to shame.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving weekend!  We were all a little extra thankful this year!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013


Sunday I saddled up the horses and moved on out.  Out to Nova Scotia, that is.  I began my CaRMS tour (or Canadian Residence Matching System) for medical school electives.  And I won't be home till Christmas!  It's a weird (and bad) feeling leaving hubby for that long.  At one time we were somewhat used to living apart, but even then we were only a few hours away by car.

I'm not sure what form the ol' blog is going to take this fall because if you've noticed I mostly post things about decorating my house and the food I cook.  Living out of a suitcase and cooking for one...not so blog-worthy.  But maybe at some point I will crawl out of the dark cave they call a hospital and take some photos of Canadian cities I've never been to before to share with you.  Maybe.  If we're both lucky.

So here is where my tour began (pre-tour, really).  Good old New Brunswick.  NB.  God's country, as they say.  My last weekend home hubby, manny (Leroy), and I went partridge hunting.  We got two!

As you can see, I wiped out in the mud.  (I didn't have any other clothes with me, either!)  Come join me on my Cross Canada Road Trip 2013!

Saturday, 5 October 2013


Right now I'm packing and listening to Fleetwood Mac "I don't Want to Know".  Total sucker for songs with clapping in them.  Something about it I just can't explain... Hope you're enjoying your weekend!  Feel free to clap along. :)

Saturday, 28 September 2013


One of my favourite desserts my mom makes is her Raspberry Cream Cheese Cake.  Now, this isn't your typical cheescake.  It's really more cake than cheese.  One of my best friends doesn't like cheesecake, so if you're reading this, A, you still won't like this cake.  Sorry.  It still has cream cheese in it but the base is more cakey than you might expect.  This week I halved the recipe and made a mini cake for hubby for a treat (because I have been avoiding cooking lately and he doesn't like that).  Here's the recipe!

2 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup of hard margarine
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp almond flavouring

1 package softened cream cheese
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1. Combine the flour and sugar and cut in the margarine until the mixture is crumbly.
2. Set aside 1 cup of this for the top of the cake.
3.  To the rest, add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, egg, and almond flavouring and blend well.
4. Use a spring-form cake pan and spread the cake over the bottom and part way up the sides.  Make sure the sides are nice and thin.
5. Beat the cream cheese, add sugar and egg and pour in the cake pan over the batter.
6. Spoon jam over the filling.
7. I ground a good sized handful of almonds in the food processor and added this to the cake topping you set aside earlier.  Sprinkle on top of the cake.
8. Bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until middle is set and not sloppy.

Enjoy!  It's delish!

Monday, 23 September 2013


Our master bedroom is as good as it's going to get, folks.  I actually think it's looking pretty cute.  The most recent additions we made were: a "new" dresser and artwork.  Last winter I was surfing Kijiji (the East Coast version of Craig's List) regularly for a dresser and found this one.

Welcome to our spare room.  Stylish, no?  This room is a complete disaster but the dresser's cute, anyway.  So when we picked this guy up last winter, the previous owner was moving into a nursing home and hoped to take the high boy version of this dresser with her.  Her son told us if they decided to sell it too, we would be first on the call list.  Luckily, this summer we heard from him and decided to buy this dresser's brother.

He's cute, right?  My favourite things are the brass pulls.  I just think they're the greatest.  And around here, the only way I know how to buy mid century modern stuff is on Kijiji.  I have yet to find a store in these parts that sells anything of the kind.

This is the side of the room I have never shared on the blog before.  It used to be a blank wall with a white particle board dresser (Wal Mart special lent to us by hubby's mom when we first got married).  Now we've updated to honest-to-goodness wood from the 1950s (1960s?) with awesome brass pulls!  To complete the look I had wedding photos framed for hubby for our five year anniversary.  Five years?  It's time to make it official - put up the photos.  My parents didn't have wedding photos until their 25 year anniversary and I could really see us heading in that direction...

And there they are with a little less glare.  I went to a custom framer with the idea in mind that I would get white boxy frames.  She had these pre-made gold ones in typical sizes and they were quite a lot cheaper than a custom frame.  With this option I still was able to have mattes (three!) so I was sold.  I think the gold is actually quite nice with the hay in the photos; it's better than white would have been, I think.  I had three photos done but this wall is too small for all three so one ended up in our living room for now, which is fine by me!

As far as I know that's the end of the "Master bedroom" posts.  I don't foresee any other changes in the near future!  Hope you enjoyed.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 20 September 2013


I thought I'd share with you a super simple art project I made hubby a few months ago.  He was away for something (can't remember what) and I decided to surprise him with a little something for when he got home.  When we were first dating and we would talk on the phone or write letters, he would always start by saying, "Hey You".  Wouldn't it be nice for him to have a cute little daily reminder of that?

I always have some Mayfair Paper on hand for art projects.  It's a nice, thick paper best for drawings that you can buy at any art supplies store.  It comes in big pieces, basically the size of a piece of bristol board.  I used a fine tipped sharpie to write my message in messy writing, coloured in the heart with your run of the mill Crayola marker, and voila.  (I always make my quick little art projects a typical size like 4x6 or 5x7 so you can easily and inexpensively frame them.)  This frame came from Winners Homesense.

Hopefully this inspired you to be a little creative with one of your favourite sayings.  Right now this little doodle is sitting on our dresser so we see it every day.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


This summer has been extremely low key.  I get zero days of vacation and so hubby has kind of been forced to have a boring summer because of me.  I anxiously await the day when I have vacation to use at will... Wouldn't that be nice?  In the meantime we've made a couple of quick weekend trips - one for a wedding, one to PEI with friends, and our anniversary trip to Grand Manan.

Currently I'm studying for my next exams which are two or three weeks away.  I'm not sure which...I'm trying not to think about how much time I have left to study!  So the last couple of weeks have been particularly uneventful.  The best part of my week was Leroy cuddling in bed with me this morning.  He laid on my chest for a long time before I got out of bed.  Makes a mummy happy!

Here are a few more photos from our anniversary weekend trip to Grand Manan.

Looks like a little father/son pep talk.  We saw a beach from the car so we pulled over to the side of the road and took the little path down to the beach.  It was a pretty spot, covered in hundreds of seagulls.  We thought this path was pretty cool.

This is at a different beach.  There is a provincial park on Grand Manan with a campground and a beach, and we went to that beach twice.  It was a pretty beach and nice for Leroy to be able to run around and catch the frisbee.

We think he's the cutest.  Like, really.  The cutest.  You have a baby?  Oh wait - mine's cuter. :)

He has a pretty silly dad who is willing to run around the beach with him.  Leroy is way faster.  And a little bit cuter.  Hubby is a close second.

Beautiful Grand Manan!  This is very close to a lighthouse at the western side of the island.  There is a little trail (not very well groomed) that follows the top of the cliffs and it really is gorgeous.  We followed the four wheeler trail and found a little lake with one cottage.  When I told my friend C about our little trek, she said she had found that cottage before too!  I thought that was pretty cool.

There's my sample of summer photos!  Hope you enjoyed them.

Friday, 16 August 2013


Happy anniversary, hubby.  Can't wait to see what's in store for the next five years.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12.