Saturday, 29 June 2013


Good news.  Someone came with me for my family med rotation.  I'm away from home for three weeks but it's okay because I brought a friend.  And he's really cute.

Hubby came to visit this weekend and while he and my brother were watching a movie upstairs, Leroy decided to stick with mom in the basement.  He snuck in behind my chair for some quality time.  He makes my life a little brighter...especially when I'm doing home call. :)

Sunday, 23 June 2013


A few days ago I blogged about curb appeal.  We have a cute little house but we're not a stand out in the curb appeal department.  I showed you how hubby had been scraping our concrete steps.  Yesterday after my exam I painted them and I can't stop staring at them.  It looks so much nicer!  If we ever build a house, concrete steps won't be on our list of "must haves".  They don't seem to last that well (ours are very chipped), and I honestly don't think they're very attractive.  Now that ours are painted, though, they seem less obnoxious - atrocious - something.

Today when I went out to examine my handy-work I decided to prune the bushes in front of the house.  I don't even know what they're called (no green thumb over here).  Anyway, they also look much better now that they're trimmed up a little.  The one on the right is a cuter shape than the one on the left which is kind of irritating for the perfectionist is some of us, but not all things in life can be symmetrical I guess.

I also thought I'd share a photo of our rhododendron compared to our neighbour's.  It's quite hilarious, really.  Ours was in pretty rough shape when we moved in and it's covered in lichen.  I tried to trim it last summer as per my mother in law's advice (she has the green thumb in the family).  It hasn't really perked up much, though.  These days Leroy bites branches off of it because they're his favourite sticks.  I don't really mind, honestly, because the rhododendron looks pitiful anyway, chewed or not.

I know what you're thinking.  That's a beautiful plant!  That doesn't look chewed at all!  Lichen is nowhere to be seen!  Right.  It's the neighbour's.  And yes, it is beautiful.  I feel lucky it's next door and I can look at it whenever I want.

This is ours.  Laughable, isn't it?  It wouldn't seem so bad if you didn't have the one next door to compare it to.  It almost makes me laugh when I look at it.  It looks like it's trying so hard to grow beautiful flowers, and the ones that bloom really are gorgeous.  They are just sparse, shall we say? :)

Saturday, 22 June 2013


I wrote my Internal Medicine exam this morning and now I'm free!  (Kinda. Until Monday.)  Either way, it's the second day of summer and my stress level decreased significantly today.  Oh happy day.  I put together a cute outfit for the day with green shorts from J Crew, a patterned tank from Banana Republic, and a Calvin Klein sweater.  Hubby took some photos and the ones I liked best?  They're full of puppy.  And you can't see the green shorts or the pattern in the tank.  But my goodness, look at this mommy/baby photo.  I could not possibly love him more.

The agenda for the rest of the day: paint the front steps, clean off my desk (it is frightening...I've been studying at the dining room table for the last few months because the desk is covered in papers), scrub the floor, and make pavlova for tonight's class potluck.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


For study breaks here and there I've been baking.  No surprise, really.  This week I made banana chocolate chip muffins and I've been kind of living off them.  They're an easy breakfast when you're late for work and heading out the door!  It was also kind of exciting because we just bought cooling racks and I've been wanting them for - like - ever. :)

I can't remember if I've posted about these muffins before, but in case I haven't, here's the recipe.  (Compliments of my friend Higgsy.)

Mix together in a large bowl: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt (which I skip).  In a second bowl beat 2 eggs until frothy and add: 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup milk, 3 mashed bananas.  This time I also added a few spoonfuls of applesauce to make them more moist.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Bake on 400 for 15-20 minutes.

In other news, the neighbourhood cats are driving me crazy!!!  I planted a little garden in our backyard like I did last summer and they keep using it as a litter box!  Every time I water the garden it is full of more poop and the bean sprouts have been dug up!  It is driving me crazy.  It is quite literally disgusting.  And because I'm stressed out everything is more annoying, right?  Right.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013


I have been studying my buns off the last few weeks (and always, let's be serious).  My internal medicine exam - otherwise known as "study everything that could ever go wrong in the human body yes that's right every single thing" - is Saturday.  Last weekend a few of us got together for a study sesh potluck.  A meeting of the minds, as they say.

I brought salad.

Making the salad?  My study break.  I steamed some brussel sprouts and then browned them in a pan with some butter for colour.  I toasted some pine nuts that have been up in the cupboard since last summer.  I sprinkled on some feta... I went all out, folks.  It was one heck of a salad in the midst of a boring study session.  I kid.

There was also the ususal - lettuce, mushrooms, other veggies I can't remember at this moment because "everything that could ever go wrong with the human body ever" is about to fall out of my brain.  My attention span is currently about 1.5 seconds and I have no room to even remember my own phone number until Saturday afternoon.  Ugh.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


The summer after we moved into our house, hubby built a fence out back to block our view of the neighbour's ahem - "English Garden".  He bought pre-made fencing from Home Depot, rented some kind of contraption to dig holes for the posts, and it was finished in a day.

Besides that, we haven't made any changes to the exterior of our home.  We've been running on one salary since always and though we have lots of ideas most of them are out of our price range.  This summer I've been thinking of little things we could do outside that wouldn't cost much and painting the concrete steps was first on the list.  The steps looked awful.  The paint was all chipping and flaking...the steps themselves are chipping away... It was a mess.  Hubby borrowed tools from friends and used a pressure washer, heat gun (a fancy hairdryer if you ask me), and an angle grinder (basically a sander with a wire brush on the end) to scrape off as much of the old paint as he could.  It was slow going but now all of the chipped paint is off and we just have to paint!  That might not get done for a little while because we'll need warm, dry days for the paint to dry.  Here is the "finished" product after all the scraping etc.

Here's a before photo.  We'll see if we make any other changes this summer.  It's always fun to have something to compare to.  If you look closely you can see Leroy looking out on the left hand side of the door.

Friday, 14 June 2013


We've been using a lot of shredded chicken lately and I've been thinking about making this recipe.  Have you ever shredded chicken?  You boil chicken breasts in water and then use two forks to shred it.  Very easy and it's kind of nice because you feel like you end up with more meat in the end.

I made this with this easy pizza dough recipe from Simply Recipes.  I've made it a few times and it's basically fool proof.  While the dough was rising I fried up some spanish onions in a frying pan with butter.  I used to hate onions and I'm just starting to like them but I find I have to fry them before I use them in anything.  I still hate that crunchy onion taste/feel.  I added red peppers and sliced mushrooms when the onions were soft and golden.  I drizzled BBQ sauce over the pizza dough before spreading out my ingredients and I also mixed BBQ sauce into the chicken.  We used a mixture of our dwindling cheese supply - swiss, tex mex, and cheddar.  A delicious, easy supper.  Hubby was a fan.  Me too, actually.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Hubby and I have never shared a closet.  In our apartment my clothes were in the spare bedroom, and in our house his clothes are in the spare bedroom.  We have a teeny tiny closet in our room and it only has one closet door so half the closet is hidden behind the wall.  You have to practically climb inside the closet to see what's hidden in the back.  This is very annoying to me - someone with a lot of clothing!  In an attempt to cut down on closet space, I switched out all my ugly plastic hangers for lovely, thin, suede ones last year.  There is no doubt these hangers take up less room, but the problem was not solved.  The plot thickens.

In a moment of frustration we went to Canadian Tire and found an incredibly inexpensive solution.  They have quite a selection of closet organizers.  A lot of them don't work for our closet because of the one door.  For instance, your typical fold-able/slide-able doors give you more access.  So we bought a simple organizer that consists of two vertical bars and one horizontal. 

This allows me to have an extra row of skirts/shirts in the bottom of my closet.  It kind of doubles up on the space at the front of the closet.  You clip the vertical bars onto the existing rod and the horizontal bar connects between them.  Super easy and made a big difference in my closet!  It cost around twenty-five dollars.

You can see here how the vertical bars "connect" with the floor.  You adjust them to the desired height and they just sort of push against the floor.  They really don't have to be that secure because they are hanging from the metal rod in your closet so it's quite stable regardless.  I highly recommend this as an inexpensive closet re-do!  It's much cheaper (and faster - and easier!) than ripping out part of the wall and installing proper doors.  In a perfect world full of money trees, that's what I'd be doing.  Hubby's things would still be in the spare room, though. :)

Friday, 7 June 2013


I've posted recently about our simple bedroom updates.  First, we had our drapes made and then we tore up our carpet and repainted the walls and trim.  Here's a look at the finished product so far.  We're missing a few things like toss pillows and artwork, but I'm happy with our cozy little bedroom as it is now.  I'm sure we'll add things here and there as time goes on!

This photo shows how our 'new' hardwood floors work with our bedding and curtains.  When we repainted I stuck with the original wall colour so I only had to paint one coat.  Miraculously the hardwood was in good enough condition we didn't do any refinishing.  The carpet had been stapled to the wood so we just had to pull up the staples!  I think it's a lovely shade.

Here's a little peak of our ceiling colour.  This was new to the room.  Previously it was your typical white and I painted it Behr Palatial.  It's a creamy tone with a bit of a pink hue.  Without the blinds on the windows the room gets enough sun that the tinted ceiling doesn't darken things down.  We do notice at nighttime with the curtains closed it is slightly darker with the painted ceiling.  We don't mind that at all!

Hubby's side of the bed.  Those are my two guys over there.  And that's our DIY lamp project.  The headboard?  We bought it off kijiji.  I think we payed fifty dollars or so.

That's my side of the bed!  Cute, eh?!  I found our nightstands at a consignment store (kind of pawn shop-ish) a couple of summers ago.  They were one hundred and fifty dollars for the pair and they really are more of a dresser than a nightstand.  I had to buy that little rug for Leroy once we tore up the carpets.  We didn't realize he really relies on the carpet to get a good grip when he's jumping onto the bed!!  We were shocked (and sad) once the carpet was gone he couldn't get onto the bed anymore!  Mama (aka me) bought this little "landing strip" at Winner's Homesense shortly after.  It's kind of strange because literally it is a landing strip... I don't have the money to pay for a large area rug at the moment.  I like the pattern of the rug and it serves a purpose so I don't really mind that it's a strange size along one side of the bed.

I found this little lucite (maybe?) tray at Winners Homesense, too.  It's kind of cute for a candle, some perfume, and a favourite necklace.  Most of my junk ends up on this too at the end of the day, but I cleaned it off for photos. :)

Last one.  I think our bedroom looks cute!  Add a couple of toss pillows and a couple more photos and we'll be all set.  I'm also on the lookout for a new dresser.  We have a Wal Mart special hubby's mom lent us when we got married, bless her heart.  Otherwise we would have had boxes of clothing on the floor, I think.  It's probably somewhat obvious I mainly like older furniture that is well built and always in style.  I tend to surf kijiji every couple of weeks looking for something to catch my eye!  I'll keep you updated!

Monday, 3 June 2013


There's something you should know about me... I never stray from a recipe.

Even though I would consider myself at least somewhat creative, the other part of me is such a rule follower that I have a hard time adding a pinch of this or that if the recipe doesn't call for it.  So the other day when I had a brain wave for a new shortbread cookie recipe, it was a rare moment, let me tell you.

I had crushed a bunch of hazelnuts in our mini food processor earlier that morning and knew it was going to take me forever to use them up if I only put them in my smoothies.  I thought, "Why not mix some into shortbread dough?"  And then I thought, "Why not chop up some chocolate chips in the food processor too?  Make a day of it?"

Here's what you do:

Use a food processor to grind up some hazelnuts.  You won't need very many.  (You can always chop them up, too.  I used to do that before a kind soul gave us their old food processor.  You'll want to chop them up very finely if you are using a knife.)
Again, use said food processor to grind up some chocolate chips.  I used milk and dark chocolate.  Just a little handful of each.

I made my mom's shortbread cookies (and I actually halved this recipe because I don't like to have 50 cookies in the house all at once):

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of icing sugar
2 cups of flour

Mix up the cookie dough, add the hazelnuts and most of the chocolate.  Leave some chocolate for the end.  Then, rather than roll out dough and use cookie cutters (like I would normally do for shortbread), I rolled them into small balls and made a thumbprint in the middle.  Bake at 325 for around 14 minutes.  When they are just out of the oven, sprinkle the remaining chocolate on the cookie so it will melt/stick there.

Voila.  A (simple) new creation.  I thought of that.  They were pretty good, too.  A nice little change from regular shortbread cookies.