quick gift tag diy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I was organizing my tea this morning and emptied out a Yogi tea box. Instead of throwing it out I decided to do something fun with it. Make a gift tag!

Have you ever noticed the inside of the box? It's so pretty! I was actually thinking of cutting out one of the squares to frame. But since Christmas is around the corner I opted to go the gift tag route.

Here's what you need:

  • Empty Yogi tea box
  • Exacto knife
  • Ruler
  • Cutting board
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon

Directions: Cut into any shape you like, punch a hole and voila!

Pretty cute!

the party

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our party for Leo kind of turned into an adult party... I didn't really do much for the kids: I put out some Annie's Bunny crackers and printed some colouring pages that I forgot to put out. But the kids always seem to have fun anyway. 

We went for a cars & trucks kind of theme. I ordered a banner and cupcake toppers from Little Birdie Prints from Etsy. I was going to make my own but it was taking too long and I'm impatient...

I made these cupcakes (so good!!) that I found on Pinterest. I've never made icing before and I cannot believe that's basically tons of butter and sugar. Yikes! Oh well, good thing I don't make these very often!
Doesn't our cat look enthused?

It was a fun day to share with everyone!

and the boy is two!

Monday, November 26, 2012

 Wow... I'm tired. This weekend was Leo's birthday weekend and we had friends and family over since Thursday. It was a busy few days but fun as well.

Thursday was Leo's actual birthday so Mark took the day off and we headed to the zoo. I highly recommend going on a week day - no one is there!

I didn't think any of the animals would be out because the weather is getting cooler but we were in luck! Leo got to see all of the animals he's seen for the past two years in his room in real life. He was pretty excited.

Later that day I was able to snap a few pics of the little man as a two-year-old.

I can't believe he's two already! A little then and now...

I'll share a few pics later this week from his party. Happy Monday! I'm off to get some more coffee...

and the fabric winner is...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Waverly Cross Section!

I'll be honest, I prefer the Geo Maze, but I don't think the colour is right (might look more brown next to my grey chair), it was significantly more expensive than the Cross Section, and the Cross Section description says it has a soil and stain resistant finish, very important for a family with kids and a furry cat.

So that's the winner for my sunroom/office bench! I should get it this week and then I'll get to work!

Happy week!

customer service award - Birds & Beans

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ok so I'm not really giving Birds & Beans a physical award, but I have to tell you this place just upped its customer service a notch.

Last week I got a message on Facebook from Madeleine, the owner of Birds & Beans, asking me if I had purchased decaf coffee beans that day. The first thing I thought was: "How on earth did she know that? She wasn't in the store when I was there!" I replied yes, that I had in fact bought decaf. Well it turns out the decaf I bought was mislabelled: it was actually caffeinated. I had a latte when I went in to get the beans and after awhile my veins were telling me that it wasn't decaf, so must have been the same batch.

Anyhow, Madeleine offered to switch it for me. I offered to come in the next day to make the switch, but instead, she drove it to my house. On a Friday night.

I say whaaa?

That, my friends, is customer service.

I asked her how she knew I had bought decaf beans that day and she told me she went through the receipts, found the times that the decaf buyers were in the cafe and then went to the security camera to see who was there at that time. I had been conversing with her on Facebook earlier in the year about making an almond milk latte, so she recognized me and had my information already (plus I'm in there all the time). Nothing like a little investigative research to get the job done!

So thanks to Birds & Beans I wasn't up all hours of the night with a baby as a result of drinking full-caf coffee. My veins thank you.

miss mila - three months

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Man is it just me or is time seriously flying by? I can't get over it to be honest. I have to check a million times that, yes it is in fact the 14th of the month and yes, Mila is another month older.

So far Mila is one happy baby. She still has a bit of her shrill crying going on (I have a bit of a ear drum impairment to prove it), but over all she's full of smiles. She's really starting to coo and 'talk' to us which is cute and I even think she's starting to teethe! She can't get enough hand-to-mouth action.

Mila is an excellent sleeper... once she goes down. Some nights it takes an hour and a half to get her down but others she'll go down right away. Once she's asleep, she doesn't wake up until 4-4:30 which has been amazing for my beauty rest. Leo was never like that so I just hope she keeps it up.

So Happy Three Months Miss Mila - here's to another fun month!

Get more Mila here: one month | two months

new project: sunroom office

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's time to work on my next project - the sunroom! It's been a bit of a sore spot because it always seems to be the gathering place for everything that doesn't fit anywhere else. I'm always trying to keep stuff to a minimum, but it never seems to work. It's where I work so I'm looking to make it a place that's fun and inviting.

I'm pretty sure I know the culprit - the bench! 

It always looks messy because I've been using it as a shelf for some of my papers and things, but I'm ready to make a change. I'm going to put a cushion on it (a la this bench from I Heart Organizing) with pillows and find somewhere else for all the stuff (it's questionable I even need this stuff!).

I also want to get this room cleaned up because you can see it from the dining room so something a bit more inviting would be nice.

A couple more shots of the really neat space :).

I want to keep the bench fabric pretty neutral and I'll dress it up with some pillows. Here are some options from Tonic Living I'm looking at:

Courtyard, Oyster
Cross Section, Charcoal
Geo Maze, Ash
Graphic Fret, Flax
Small Ikat Dot, Buff
What do you think? What would you choose? Any others from the site? The Geo Maze, Ash and Courtyard, Oyster are speaking to me, but I'd love to know your thoughts!

ps-Thanks to Shannon for giving me some tips on taking pictures of windows! Getting there!

my pick: 2013 calendar

Friday, November 09, 2012

I honestly can't believe we're almost into 2013! Where did the year go? Man time flies when you're chasing after kids...

With the New Year comes a new calendar which I love. I don't know why I love them so much - maybe it's just fun to start a new year?? Sometimes I'll get a calendar on my own or sometimes my Mom will give me a fun one.

A couple years ago I got a Labokoff calendar and I loved it. I'm planning on getting one again for 2013.
All images above from Labokoff
I'm a big fan of the artwork and the colours which fit with our style. I typically put the calendars in our kitchen which is grey and white; these calendars just adds that extra hit of colour.

I also love that I can use the art after the year is over. When we added the bathroom to the basement, I needed a piece of art so I took one of my favourite months from the 2010 calendar and framed it in a simple silver Ikea frame. The colour was a perfect fit.

Whatever calendar you choose, have fun with them. There are so many cool artists to choose from - it's a great way to add something fun and different to your home.

Happy Friday!

etsy faves

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I was just looking at my etsy favourites for something I saved for Leo's birthday and I thought I'd share some of them. I just love what people are making these days and with their own hands. So much talent.
Simple Necklace Gold Charm Necklace - Mica Jewels NYC

Deer Pillow Cover - The Watson Shop

Owl Mug - Asleep From Day
Acorn Ornaments - Smile Mercantile

                      Christmas Garland - Arts Delight

Boot cuffs - Shanionie
X Brass Cuff - Young Frankk
Gold Letter Charm - Olive Yew Jewels

a word on snacks

Friday, November 02, 2012

Way back in elementary school and high school, it wouldn't be strange to see me polish up an large (yes large) bag of Doritos. Doritos, and chips in general were, and still are, my kryptonite. I love the salt and the crispy aspects of chips. Nothing better than a good crunch! Anyway, the only time I will buy chips now is if we're having a little get together, and usually they're some sort of nerdy organic variety.

A few weeks ago, a rep from Ozery's Pita Break contacted me to see if I wanted to try the company's new all natural pita snack, Crispy Pitas. They claim to be a healthier alternative to chips, containing 50 per cent less fat for a 17 chip serving.

Normally I wouldn't agree to try something like this because I'm pretty picky when it comes to processed food. I don't often buy snacks in a bag or box because 90% of the time the ingredients listed on the package are crap (this goes for things you think are healthy!*).

But I agreed to try these out because I do buy the company's organic wheat pitas, the breakfast muesli pitas and mini pitas ("mimi toasts" as Leo calls them). The ingredients aren't the best, but they're not horrible either.

Anyway they sent me four varieties to try: Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Rosemary Garlic, Organic Spelt and Organic Wheat.

I'm a huge spelt fan, so I tried the Organic Spelt first.

Ingredients: Filtered water, organic stone ground whole spelt flour, organic light spelt flour, organic sunflower oil with rosemary extract, organic flax seeds, sea salt, organic evaporated cane sugar, yeast, oat fibre, guar gum.

Pros: Organic, yay! These were pretty yummy and with all things spelt, they had a bit of a heartier bite to them than the others.

Cons: One downside is that these contain full flax seeds. From what I understand, flax should only be consumed once it has been ground, otherwise you'll likely find that it goes right through you in full formation, leaving you to miss out on all the omega goodness. Also, I think the salt content is a bit high in these at 430mg per serving.

One more thing I noticed is that the nutrition facts box says there is no sugar, but the ingredients list contains organic evaporated cane sugar. Must be a misprint.

Next up was Rosemary Garlic

Ingredients: Whole grain wheat flour including the germ, filtered water, unbleached wheat flour, sunflower oil with rosemary extract, organic evaporated cane sugar, sea salt, dehydrated tomato flakes, dehydrated garlic, yeast, rosemary.

Pros: I liked the rosemary flavour. Nice crunch.

Cons: It's nice that this product contains the whole grain of whole wheat, but it needs to be organic. Also, I think there's too much salt - 450mg per serving.

I tried the Cranberry Pumpkin Seed next

Ingredients: Whole grain wheat flour including the germ, filtered water, anti-oxidant containing cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), pumpkin seeds, sunflower oil with rosemary extract, organic evaporated cane sugar, sea salt, yeast, guar gum, anti-oxidant containing ground cinnamon.

Pros: I love food with cranberries, so I liked these. They would be delish with goat cheese. These have the least amount of salt per serving at 260mg.

Cons: Again, made with regular wheat instead of organic. I would also prefer these if the cranberries were organic. This variety contains more sugar than the others partly because of the addition of the cranberries.

Finally, I tried the Organic Wheat

Ingredients: Organic unbleached wheat flour, filtered water, organic sunflower oil with rosemary extract, sea salt, organic evaporated cane sugar, yeast, oat fibre, guar gum.

Pros: Organic, yay! Very light and crispy. These are most comparable to a regular chip

Cons: Not sure why, but this variety doesn't seem to contain the whole grain with the germ. Salt content also seems high at 450mg per serving.

Final verdict: Yes, these seem more healthy than chips (definitely more healthy than Doritos!!), but there are still some things that I questioned.

The ingredient list among the four varieties is a little inconsistent in my opinion. For example, why can't they all be made with organic ingredients (this is a question I'm constantly asking)? Why do the Rosemary Garlic and Cranberry varieties contain the whole grain, but not the Organic Wheat variety? Also, my question about the sugar misprint and the whole flax seed ingredient in the Organic Spelt with Flax variety that I mentioned before.

For the most part, these are great to have in the house if you need a little something crunchy with dip or cheese, but I would likely only consider buying the Organic Spelt as a regular snack in the house, with the others to be added to the special occasion grocery list.

If I could make my own variety, it would likely be Organic Spelt Rosemary Garlic. I really liked the rosemary kick, but like the organic spelt option the best.

So that's my take on these - what's your favourite go-to snack?

*Disclaimer: I am by no means a registered dietician. This review is purely based on my own thoughts and knowledge of food in general. Also, Ozery sent me these products to try, however they did not ask me to write about them. This review is purely my own.
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