Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pictures of Pictures

We moved into our house six months ago and are still working on hanging up our pictures. I've made it one of my goals this year to frame all of our prints and get them hung and I figured, why not start now?

I've been dreading hanging our picture collage because it's a pain finding a nice design and getting it hung up straight. I wasn't particularly happy with how M hung them in our old apartment so he passed the job off to me this year so I would have no one to blame but myself if I didn't like it! I saw an easy method for hanging pictures over at Young House Love and thought I'd give it a whirl.

 I basically traced the outline of each frame onto a blank piece of paper then made a dot where the nail should be. I taped the papers up on the wall and played around with different designs until one was found that both M and I liked. I then used the pencil markings and hammered the nails into the proper places, tore down the papers, then put the frames up in their spaces. Sounds complicated but was actually pretty simple.

I know not all of the spacings are the same, but that's what makes it imperfectly perfect. We tried to choose pictures that represented different places we have traveled to. Starting with the large frame in the top right we have Kilimanjaro. Going clockwise is San Juan, the Brooklyn Bridge, M on our Caribbean cruise, Khao Lak in Thailand, me with Wanalee, an engagement photo taken in High Park in Toronto, Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, and another from sea kayaking during our Thailand honeymoon. The middle cluster of four frames were all pictures taken in the homeland, Belgium.

I'm happy with how it turned out! 

Now come, on, let's be a bit more realistic here. If I take a couple of steps back you can see what our place really looks like. Toys everywhere!

I love walking down the stairs now because there's something fun to look at and I'm reminded of some pretty crazy adventures we've been on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Pinterest Challenge

Sisters Share It All: Pinterest Challenge
I'm back with another Pinterest inspired post! I'm on a roll with two in a row! This time I'm joining a six week Pinterest challenge that I saw over at Everyday Reading. The point of this challenge is to do six things you've pinned over a six week period. Sounds doable! Here are my six choices:

                                                                                                      Source: via Jill on Pinterest
1. Creamy cashew dip. I've read rave reviews about it. I have all of the ingredients, now just need to find the time to make it!


                                                                                                      Source: via Jill on Pinterest
2. Baked banana chocolate chip donuts. Healthier than regular donuts. I wonder if they'll taste as good? I see these in my future one weekend morning. 

                                                                                        Source: via Jill on Pinterest
3. Broiled grapefruit. It's been described as a "sweet, tangy, bruleed masterpiece for your taste buds". We shall see! 

                                                                                               Source: via Jill on Pinterest
4. This pin shows how to put your iPhone into kid mode. I desperately need this, especially during those long car rides where I throw my phone back to Little m to get her to stop crying and then find out she's written an email, phoned someone, and liked someone's post on Facebook. 

                                                                                         Source: via Jill on Pinterest
5. An alphabet book for Little m. I actually started one many months ago and then stopped halfway. This will probably be the pin most difficult to complete as it takes planning in order to take appropriate photos plus time to design the book. I think she'd really love the finished product. 

                                                                                                           Source: via Jill on Pinterest
6. My mattress needs some serious cleaning thanks to my schwetty husband. I'm hoping this baking soda trick will be helpful in defunkifying it a little.

See you back in six weeks with an update on how things went! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's Cookin? (v.2)

I've recently been putting a huge effort into meal planning and making better choices for my family. I say huge effort because it's true - finding recipes that are somewhat healthy, picking up the necessary groceries, and then actually executing and preparing - it's a lot of work! I often start making dinner during Little m's nap time because cooking with a little ankle biter is not exactly fun.

Here are a few meals that I've made recently that turned out quite well - all from Pinterest of course. If you're not following me on there yet, what's your excuse?!

                                                                        Source: via Jill on Pinterest

This is truly one of my favourite recipes to make for dinner. Even the husband gives it two thumbs up. It's basically a healthier version of lasagna that's made with zucchini instead of pasta noodles. I've made this multiple times now and it never disappoints. The cheese on top gets all crusty - so good!

                                                                               Source: via Jill on Pinterest

My sister from another mister put this recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry on her Facebook page and raved about it, so I had to give it a try. I liked it but it wasn't spicy enough for me so I'd definitely add more red curry paste in next time. The hubs said he would have preferred chunks of chicken rather than shredded so I may try that as well. Overall, it was pretty good!

                                                                 Source: via Jill on Pinterest

I made quite a few changes in this recipe for Chicken Tortilla Rollups. First off I cut the amount of cheese back by half and then used a lot less Greek yogurt because I ran out. I also just made regular guacamole to go with it rather than the avocado crema that's in the original recipe. I found these rollups to be a bit bland for some reason. Maybe it's just my palette but it could have used something to spice it up. Now that I think about it, the recipe called for serrano peppers and I didn't have any, but they would have given it the extra kick I'm sure. I would make this again!

                                                                         Source: via Jill on Pinterest

Copycat Whole Foods Detox Salad - my favourite recipe all week. It's as healthy as healthy gets and so simple, yet so tasty! It's basically a bunch of veggies chopped up in the food processor, some seeds, raisins, and then a light oil (only 1T) and lemon dressing. This takes a bit of time to prepare but I halved the recipe and still came out with four lunch servings. I really can't wait to make this again.

                                                                    Source: via Jill on Pinterest

This is a recipe for oatmeal in the crock pot. I made this on Friday night and it was great waking up the next morning and having breakfast already prepared. I don't ever add sugar to my oatmeal so I cut out almost all of the sugar that was called for and added raisins instead. I wouldn't make this particular recipe again but I would look for something similar to try. Same same but different.

Bon Appetit!  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

36 in 365: 2013 Edition

It's back! 36 goals in 365 days. Only a month or two late. That seems right around my normal level of procrastination!

First things first - how did I do with last year's goals? I'm giving myself one and a half thumbs up. I fully completed 22/36 goals, which is a success rate of 60%. Not too bad! Definitely some room for improvement though. Here's my list from last year if you'd like to check it out.

Now, onto my goals for 2013. I've had quite a lot of time to think about what I want to accomplish this year and have decided to keep things simple and (hopefully) achievable.

36 in 365 Goals (Round Five):

Get Busy:
1. Write a day in the life of Little M post each month, starting in February (0/11).
2. Try out five new toddler friendly recipes (3/5): Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffin (success!), Very Berry Muffins (yummy), Toddler Approved Banana Mini Muffins (only tried a few because Bama ate them - but a bit bland)
3. Make fifteen new recipes that I've pinned on Pinterest (15/15): Detox Salad (delicioso), Crock Pot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (pretty good), Raw Apple Snack (probably wouldn't make again), Coconut Curry Chicken Soup (not bad), Chicken Tortilla Rollups (quite good), Crock Pot Pork Chops (tasted like mom's home cookin'), Creamy Cashew Dip (tasty treat), Shrimp Scampi (quite good), Black Bean Burger (probably wouldn't make again), Sausage Bean Kale Stew (surprisingly delicious), Chicken Taco Bowls (easy and good), Banana Chocolate Chip Donut (tasty treat), Cauliflower Leek Soup (yum), Broiled Grapefruit (nice), Homemade Cadbury Creme Egg (so ridiculously sweet)
4. Taste or cook or bake with three ingredients I've never used before (3/3): fish sauce and red curry paste for this recipe, kumquats, the Peruvian delicacy of guinea pig
5. Read 25 books from my Goodreads list (25/25).
6. Read the parenting books that I've been meaning to get to.
7. Watch the third season of Downton Abbey with my mammy.
8. Hit publish on my New Zealand recaps.
9. Blog a total of 60 (or more!) posts this year.
10. Start writing in my One Line a Day journal.
11. Organize the garage.

Get Crafty:
12. Go on the Productive Parenting website and find five activities to do with Little m (0/5). 
13. Add 25 more items to my list of 101 things (37/101) that make me happy (5/25).
14. Make a really cool Christmas gift for my Goddaughter.
15. Finish framing and hanging up all of our artwork.
16. Figure out three activities that Little m can do while standing in her learning tower (0/3). 

Get Places:
17. Climb another mountain.
18. Explore three Chicago neighbourhoods (0/3).
19. Bring Little m to eight new parks (8/8): Haas, Erhler, Chi Che Wang, Fellger, Humboldt, South Lakeview, Holstein, Maplewood
20. Make a real effort to attend or host play dates for Little m.
21. Travel to two American states (2/2): Wisconsin, Washington D.C. plus Maryland
22. Take a picture of myself in front of the White House. 
23. Get to the dog park with Bama once per month (1?/12).
24. Bring Little m to a parade: Blackhawk's Parade
25. Go to Milwaukee.
26. Eat at Little Goat. 

Get Healthy:
27. Consistently attend Bar Method classes five days a week until my membership runs out.
28. Come into my L shape for the entire set during round back in Bar Method.
29. Hold crow for at least five seconds.
30. Use up all of the yoga classes that I bought Groupons for.
31. Lace up my skates and take Little m to the ice rink.
32. Make teeth brushing for Little m a daily habit. 
33. Kiss and hug the hubs more.
34. Reach my goal on DietBet, join a second game, and reach that goal as well (and go on to win a third and fourth!)

Get Giving:
35. Volunteer once a month (lost track/12).
36. Get involved somehow in my neighbourhood association.

Ready. Set. Go.