Friday, August 31, 2012

August Foodie PenPals

In the last few months, I have been participating in a round up called Foodie Pen Pals.  Basically each month I am pared with two people: one I send a package to, and the other sends a package to me. This month, both were in British Columbia.

I received my package Wednesday of last week from Lisa at Sixtyone45, she sent me a few delicious and healthy treats from beautiful British Columbia, a province on the other side of the country.

Totally unrelated, but the fabric is a work in progress that the Grandma to be is making for baby, i found the pattern online Check it Out!

This is a Quinoa grapefruit salad, from a place on Vancouver Island. I am told it will make a great lunch or breakfast, but I have yet to try it as it takes additional ingredients and I have not had time to get out! Looks yummy, though!

Orange Chocolate honey! This is the second time I have been given flavoured honey, and just a couple months ago I did not even know it existed!

Blueberry jam, one of my favourites!! The jar is half gone already :-(

And finally, some gourmet chocolates, from what I am told is the best candy shop ever and it is only open a few months a year. I have already eaten the square (there were actually 2 of them, one missed the photo op) and the round one on top. Can't wait to dig into the fudge!

So that's it for this month, check out the link at the top if you want to participate next month. It is so nice to be able to try different things from around the country!!

Happy Long Weekend, everyone!


The Lean Green Bean

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Run for the Cure Ribbon Cookies

We are having a Run for the Cure bake sale tomorrow at work. I will not be able to run when the time comes in late September, so I told the team (made up of my co-workers) that I would make anything they needed for fund-raising. The recipe for the cookies is HERE. 

I usually use Royal Icing for these cookies, but when i opened my cupboard I found hardened meringue powder! After breaking it up, there was not quite enough for a half batch of icing. Since i did not have time to run over town, I instead ran down the street to a small department store with my fingers crossed that they had canned icing! (see THIS story as to why i had my fingers crossed, they often seem to be out of stuff). I bought two cans, when I got home i threw them into my trusty mixer with a bit of food colour gel and whipped it up. I started just slapping the icing onto the cookies, but I found i was breaking to many and it looked like a mess; so I finally dug out an icing bottle, filled it up and went to work. I wish i had a line tip so i could have made a ribbon of icing on them, but that will be for next time, i guess. I have oodles of icing left so i think I might make some cupcakes to take to a family event this weekend.

They turned out delicious and I hope they sell at the bake sale tomorrow!

Hope everyone is having a good week!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beyond Saint John: Saint John River

Saint John River. Taken from ferry crossing from Brundage Point at Westfield to Hardings Point on the Kingston Peninsula. 

August 26th 2012, approximately 1:30 PM AST. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I had so much planned to do today, because I had to stay home and wait on the mailman. I only got about half of it done, but my cloth diapers came in, yay! I have been planning on cloth diapering for many reasons, but the big number one is the cost. Once I am on maternity leave, my paycheck is going to drop by 45% and I wanted to be sure we could afford everything that was needed. If we buy diapers now, we can save in the future. Another reason is because I have seen what is inside disposables, we had one explode on K when he was little, and I was not wild about those little chemical crystals that came pouring out onto his little legs!

I spent lots of time online checking out all my options, finally I decided I wanted to go with 'pocket diapers'. Basically, they are just like a disposable, but you stuff a thick liner into a pocket that runs from front to back. I kind of got sticker shock, they can run from 9 dollars to over 23 dollars, per diaper! Finally I found some on eBay for about 5 dollars each. I ordered five just for a trial.

These are the covers, what I like most about them is that they are adjustable. The zoo one on the left is full sized, while the camo and jean ones on the right are the smallest size. The blue and cow prints are about medium. All you have to do is adjust the size by moving the snaps around. We both agree the red camo is our favourite,but the jean one is a close second for me.

These are the bamboo liners that came with them, one for each. They are quite large and supposedly shrink once they are washed a few times, I have washed these once already. They have to be prewashed three times before use to bring them to maximum absorbency.

While I waited the month for these to be shipped from China, I did more research. I found another type called prefolds. Basically they are a large cloth that you fold, throw it into a cover and snap it onto baby. When it is time to change baby, you just throw the large cloth part into the wash and you can re-use the cover, this way you can get away with only having a few covers when in actuality you have many diapers.

I found a kit online called the Bummis organic diaper kit. It comes with oodles of stuff and was only about 200 dollars, after tax. Free shipping! Bummis is a Canadian brand, so I feel a little safer using it. 200 dollars sounds like a lot, but for the amount of stuff you get, I think it is worth it. I am also pleased with shipping. I ordered Monday, here it is Thursday and the mailman dropped it off!

These are the actual diapers, there are 24 of them. They apparently puff up and shrink after being washed, which makes them more absorbent and quilt like.

The kit comes with a 'wet bag', it is basically a bag to put your dirty diapers in. It is very big (folded in half here) and is lined inside with a rubbery-plastic so nothing leaks. I really like the pattern! Here are four of the covers that came with it as well.

A close up of the four covers, my favourite is the frog in the upper left. They are kind-of boyish, but I think they will work on a girl as well.

The other two covers are just plain white. The one on the right is open and you can see the shiny waterproof layer. This is what is inside the wet bag as well.

The kit comes with 3 packages of 100 disposable liners, these you just put inside the diaper so you can just lift it off and flush the mess. So easy! There is also a package of fleece reusable liners, they are so soft!

Finally, it comes with a small sample package of a laundry soap that is supposed to be really good for cloth diapers. I think I will use it for my prewashes, but I prefer to use liquid detergent and I have sourced a really good type in my city. The small jar is cloth diaper safe bum cream (a lot of creams will apparently make the diapers repel water, not good). This is something the website threw in for free.

I also ordered these funny looking things. They are something to 'pin' the diapers without using actual pins. They have little teeth on them that is kind of like the little things you use to hold the brown ace bandages, and they are super stretchy so they can be used on any sized baby.

I plan on ordering a few more covers from other companies, just because of patterns that Bummis does not carry. There is a winter camo one and a snake skin one, both patterns that Mr Picky will like.

I can't wait to try everything out, I have found mostly good reviews on the Bummis products, I am hoping to be able to add mine to them. Now I just have to wait for January!

Hope you are having a great week!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Building a Library

I have always been an avid reader, since I learned to read at 5 years old. My parents and sisters read a lot to, so I am hoping to turn my children into readers as well. I found something online about asking baby shower guests to bring a book in lieu of a card to the shower, and they can sign their well wishes in the cover. I thought this was a great idea and mentioned it to my sister, she agreed and so we are going to do it.

I already have a lot of the 'baby shower' staples, like Love You Forever.  After K was born, I went out and bought a bunch of books to have at my house, so he could have something when he was visiting. Because of this, I wanted to make a baby book registry. It took me a long time to find one, but finally I discovered Amazon has a baby registry! I have yet to find a link on their main webpage for it, in order to find it I have just been doing an internet search for 'Amazon Baby Registry' (or I was until I remembered to add it to my favourites). I added about 105 books to the registry, and we plan on giving out the link when we send out invites.

Last week when I went to Value Village in search of onesies, I also got a bunch of books. All total, about 20. They are buy four get one free at my local store. This week, the local Boys & Girls club is holding a book sale, the books were all donated by the community. So, away I went this morning and picked up a bunch more. Added to my collection, I am creating quite the library for baby!

Some of the books, I read as a kid (Farmer Joe baby-sits; The Monster at the end of this book; Frog & Toad are friends) 

Others are newer ones that I have found while perusing the book store isles when I was bored (Don't let the pigeon drive the bus, Guess how much I love You; ABC, 123 & Colours of Canada)

And some others are just favourites (the stack of Little Critter books; Mulan; Winnie the Pooh)

So far I've managed to build a small library quite cheaply, and I have been able to knock about 10 off the registry! Anyone that I have spoken to seems to like the idea of a book instead of a card, and I still have plenty of time to search for new ones and knock them off my list. The book sale continues all week, so I plan on going back tomorrow since they are constantly putting out more as books are sold. Hopefully by the time baby comes I will have a large library amassed for her!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!


Friday, August 17, 2012


Ah, the onesie. The staple of a infant's wardrobe. Easy for Mommy and Daddy to get baby into and out of in a hurry, and they come in so many cute colours and styles! I was wandering the isles of my local Value Village and managed to get a dozen for about 1.99 each! I know, I will most likely get a lot at the baby shower, but i figured it would not hurt to start stocking up!

We both thought this was very cute! 

Motorbikes, or scooters I guess, and Duckies

My favourites, i have a thing for skulls and monsters (my Mom thinks I'm morbid)

A classic, Winnie-the-Pooh

I figured since baby would be born in the winter, this would be cute. 

Prince Edward Island is a neighbouring Provence that I visited for the first time a few weeks ago. 

This one said 12-18 months, but looked a little small. And since we are cloth diapering, i am told we will have to wear bigger clothes on baby, so i figured maybe by July it will fit! 

More Duckies, and some cute turtles and giraffes! 

Another cute saying. 

Finally, these last two I found at Giant Tiger. I wanted to buy them but they are 8 dollars each, so I could not really justify that cost for something that would only fit for a few months; but I love them! The pictures were taken with my phone, and so I showed them off at work. Everyone agrees they are adorable! 



Well, I had a successful day shopping, I also got a bunch of books for baby's library. We are slowly building it up and asking guests to bring a book instead of a card to the baby shower! Baby should have enough books to last until she starts school!

Have a good day, everyone!! 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adventures in Stroller Building

A few months ago we found ourselves bored on a Saturday afternoon, so off we went to Toys R Us to check out the strollers. He wanted a three wheel one, I didn't really care since I have only ever pushed a square Graco one and I thought it had been pretty good. We poked at all the strollers, pushed them around a bit and finally decided on a grey one with purple accents. We both like purple and we figured it would be nice for either a boy or a girl. Because it was much to soon, and cost about 350 dollars, we didn't bother buying. As well, his Mom had offered to pay up to 300 dollars for the first stroller, and we knew she was still saving for that

About a week later, for some reason or another, I had asked my sister to keep an eye on the flyers for me for baby stuff. For some reason, my street does not receive a bundle of them weekly like most of the city. My sister had told me to sign up online for the Toys R Us flyer. I did just that, and the next day received the first email. Lo and behold, there was our stroller, on for 100 dollars off! But, it was not the purple one, it was a green one. I went back to the store, looked at both again and could not see any difference, but the green was on sale! It was still much to soon and I did not have the money, but the nice lady working gave me a rain check for the cheaper price. 

Finally, about a month later, only 2 weeks ago, we decided it was time. His Mom had given me a envelope the week before with money for the stroller. So one Thursday morning, I went into Toys R us and bought it. It came in a huge box!!

Oh, yeah, it's bigger than I thought. Thankfully, a nice man who was working loaded it into the backseat of my car. I got it home, parked in front of the apartment on the street (I usually park in a lot half a block away) and shuffled it inside. Glad I live on the first floor! 

I decided to wait until he got home from work to open the box, so off I went to work leaving it in the middle of the living room. The next evening when he got home we decided it was to soon to build it, and that if we did it would only collect dust. We were watching television when we both had a nagging feeling we should open the box. So glad we did!

After hauling everything out, I went for the instruction book while he tried to figure it out. He fought and fought with it, while i relayed instructions, showing the pictures. Finally, we discovered the problem, it was broken!!

The picture above is not the broken one, and it is a little hard to see, but below my thumb is a bar that goes through both the black plastic and the grey tube. Well, they put the bar in, but they forgot to thread the tube onto it! Unfortunately, it was not something we could just fix, so we tried our best to throw everything back in the box and decided to take it back the next morning. 

Saturday morning, he decided it was best if we called ahead. I agreed and while I got dressed, he called. No answer...and then I tried, still no now I was getting a bad feeling that we were going to have a hard time; especially since the first thing in the instruction book said to not take it back to the store, to contact the company with issues. Finally, he got through and explained the situation. They were so nice! She said bring it back, and we didn't even have to bring everything back, just the broken part! So away we went, traded and that night (after having a day adventure in St. Andrew's) we decided to put it together.  

Once again, he fought with trying to open the stroller part. It took along time, but finally he figured out why, there is a little clasp that holds it closed when it is folded. Oopsie! 

He put the tires on while I read the novel of an instruction manual that came with the car seat part. He was surprised at how it all went together and how large it was. I have seen and used strollers like this when K was little, but he has not watched any of his nephews and therefore has never really used one.

We had it all together and were playing around with the baby basket when I realized we almost forgot to put the cup holder on it, I found it laying on the couch; after asking me what it was he snapped it into place and finally it was all built!

We played with it a bit, and then tried to figure out how the infant carrier attaches. It was relativity easy once you get the hang of it! We put the stroller away and left the carrier out because we were going to take it for a test drive when he was looking at new vehicles, we needed to be sure it would fit!

And finally, the finished product! Now it just sits with a blanket over it until it is ready to be used in early January. We still have to get another base for the car seat, so we can have one for the car and one for the truck (or jeep, but that is another story). Hopefully time will fly, I can't wait to test drive it! I keep wanting to take it out for a spin on teh sidewalk, but I think I would look silly just pushing an empty stroller!

Have a great day everyone!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012



My name is Natasha, and I am a Canadian Domestic Goddess! No, not really. I am more of a Domestic Wannabe, my house is a mess and dishes piled in the sink each day, but you know what? It all eventually gets done and I have a lot of fun. When things seem to be piling up, I put on some music (usually Kenny Chesney) and dance the chores away!

So I am starting this blog because my other one seems to be at a standstill. I started Mmm Home Cooking about two and a half years ago to record all my recipes that I tried and to share my Mom's and Grandmother's old recipes. Lately, I have been doing more crafting than cooking, because it has just been so darn HOT! I have also been going through so many ideas preparing for an upcoming arrival! So basically, I have wanted to add all this to my blog, but I always feel that I can't, because it is a cooking blog.

I am hoping you are joining me from my cooking blog, I promise to post here a lot more often than I have been posting there lately! I have so many things I want to share. And starting tomorrow, I shall start sharing!!

Thanks for joining me!