Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm alive!!

I'm so sorry I've seemingly fallen off the face of the earth! I've been feeling really under the weather and haven't felt much like getting on a computer. I promise that as soon as I feel better I'm going to have some great posts for you, including my makeover of the box my Papa built :)

I hope you don't miss me too much while I take a little time out. Have a great week!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mom's Banana Bread!

I am here today with a pretty amazing recipe: my mom's banana bread! I've been eating this awesome loaf my whole life, it's an old, old recipe. I recently started making it myself, but I make it into muffins instead of loaf, since I just think it's more practical and it's easier to grab one and take it to work.
I promised to share this with you when I mentioned them in my camping recap post, so here it is:

1/2 cup butter/margarine
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (well-beaten)
3 large bananas (mashed) *Bananas should be over-ripe, almost entirely brown works really well, but just a little brown is ok too. Just don't use ripe bananas :)
1 tsp of vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
3. Stir in bananas.
4. Add flour, soda, salt.
5. Pour into greased and floured pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out dry. I would say it's about 15-20 minutes, but I didn't time it so make sure you keep an eye on them!

Don't they just look delicious? A banana muffin is the perfect morning snack :). I have been taking one to work for my daily 10am snack every day this week! I need to get some more brown/black bananas soon because I am running out! Hope you enjoy this recipe if you try it!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This is the box that my Papa built...

My Papa (my mom's dad) was an amazing, kind, caring, soft spoken, and supremely talented man. I have so many memories of him, and a lot of them involved some kind of project. See, he was an expert woodworker. He could build absolutely anything, and he was such a perfectionist that you knew it would be, well, perfect. We built a lot of bird houses together. By together, I of course mean that he cut out all of the wood and put the whole thing together while I watched wide-eyed. Then he would have me paint and decorate our creation. Trust me when I say, these were some very interesting "pieces". I was not very good with the paint... Anyway, I think my mom still has our "Eat at Sarah's" diner-inspired birdfeeder in her yard! Oh how I wish I had some pictures!
When I got a bit older, my Papa would build things for my sister and me, and we'd usually receive them as gifts. One year for Christmas, I got this box:
It's gorgeous. He didn't paint it any particular color, leaving it blank for me to one day create something hopefully nicer than any of the bird houses/feeders I created. I think he gave this to me about 10 years ago, and here it still sits, untouched in my entranceway. It houses many odds and ends, but mostly winter accessories, hats, mittens, scarves. Every single time I look at it I think of my Papa. It's been about 6.5 years since he passed away, and this is one tangible object I have to remember him by.

Finally, my husband and I spruced up the box a bit. We went back and forth on what color to paint it. Did I want a neutral that would go with anything? Did I want a bright bold color to brighten up our otherwise dull entranceway? I think the choice was pretty obvious. My Papa was a very bright spot in the lives of everyone he ever met, I had to go bright.
Our main floor has a lot of aqua blues, and lime greens. In the basement we have ton of reds and yellows, and other bright colors. Since this box resides on the main floor, I grabbed a few paint chips in various blues, greens, and yellows. I set them all out on top of the box, and stood back and imagined. It was a highly technical process which ended in me picking this one: Behr 490B-4 (Sea Life).
I'm actually planning on completing this project this weekend so I can post about it on Monday! Stay tuned to see how it turned out!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My big finger and iPhone keyboard do not get along...

Guys, twice now I have deleted comments by accident. I went to push "publish" and my big fingers hit "delete" instead. The first time I just emailed the commenter and they resubmitted, but today I couldn't do that, there was no email associated with the comment :(. I feel like such a loser... please don't hate me :)

Here's a great post over on Living in Yellow that tells you how to add an email address to your google account, so if I do this to you, I can let you know what a total moron I am!

Happy Monday!

Weekend Recap, Vol. 5...

Well, yet another summer weekend has passed... we are that much closer to cooler weather, sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and turning on our fireplace. But not quite yet! I am still not really ready to be done with the warm summer days. Unfortunately, our weather didn't really cooperate this weekend, it was gloomy and our plans of going to a country fair were cancelled and we spent the days mostly inside. We played some scrabble, and some cards, and Leroy laid around like the lazy dog that he is...
We did venture out for a little window shopping, and we finally tried Five Guys!! It only recently opened up in Ottawa, and I have been hearing such glowing reviews from all of my internet friends in the USA. Finally, we made it there for lunch. The menu was a bit strange, we're not used to having to order fries and drinks seperately, usually fast food comes in a meal deal! Anyhow, we both got a bacon cheeseburger and split a large fry and large drink. Friends, it was insanely delicious!! And they give you soooo much. Next time we'll only split a regular fry.
Anyhow, it was a pretty lazy weekend, but I think I needed it. It's been a pretty busy summer so far, and the next few weeks will be pretty packed too. Having a couple of days to just laze around and run some errands was just what the doctor ordered!

Tell me about your weekend!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tails & Toes made its first big sale!!

My mom and I were SO excited to get our first big sale this week! We sold one of my mom's beautiful baby quilts, and a few bibs, all in one order. I was so excited to send it off, so I spent a few hours brainstorming how to package it up all nicely. I strongly feel that in a creative industry, first impressions are so extremely important. Whenever I order something on Etsy, I love when it comes packaged all nice and pretty :)

Here's what I came up with! I put the items in clear plastic bags, which I sealed with our shop sticker (forgot to take a photo of this detail - damn!). Then I wrapped the package in raffia, tied in a bow with our business card attached. Lastly, I put the Etsy invoice in a pretty pink envelope.

And off it went! Can't wait for more orders. If you haven't yet, please check us out here

Friday Favorites!

I'm a lucky girl, yesterday was faux Friday for me! I am off again this Friday, but this time I took a vacation day. Just felt like I needed it! Anyhow, like most of my Fridays off, I am busy cleaning up the house and doing laundry. It's especially necessary this week since we were away last weekend and things have definitely been neglected.
This week went pretty quick, since it was only a 3 day work week for me! It was pretty busy too, on Tuesday night we went and upgraded our iPhones. We both had the 3GS and now we both have the 4. We're behind the times, but we're economically conscience (read: cheap) so we always go for the earlier model for the cheaper price :) In this case it saved us $125! Siri sounds cool and all, but I can live without it. Oh, and you betcha I got the pretty white one this time!

Anyhow, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Here are my favorite blog posts of the week, in no particular order:

There are two ways to look at life... over on Kate Henley. Beautiful post about positivity and life. I really loved reading this yesterday, I am always finding it hard to stop viewing everything that happens with complete negativity. This helped.

our last days of summer bucket list... over on Sunny with a Chance of Sprinkles. Short and sweet! Loved the idea of creating this list. Our summer days are numbered!!

these are my [confessions]... over on In this Beautiful Life.

Facebook Rehab: Day 1... over on Diary of a Blonde Newlywed. I have tried to give up Facebook several times and have never been successful!

A Stenciled Accent Wall... over on Love & Renovations. Loved the end result and it's a cool idea!

Lastly, even though I am new to the blogging world, I really wanted to share this post and button (I'll be putting it on my sidebar for sure!) from five30three. Please please please turn off the word verification on comments! It's very frustrating, especially if you don't get the words right in one try :) Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Black Bean Tacos!

I already blogged about the black bean burgers we made as an attempt to try some more economical, meatless options. They were a huge hit, so I started thinking about other things we could make, replacing ground beef with black beans. And then it hit me, it was so obvious - TACOS!! We love tacos in our house, I usually make them at least once a month, but sometimes even more, sometimes once a week! This might be the first recipe I have ever created myself, so I am pretty proud to share it with you all.
Here's what you'll need:

1 can of black beans
1 red pepper
1 small red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup of chili powder
2 tsp of cumin
2 avocado (mashed)
2 tomatoes
salsa (maybe 1 cup? however much you would normally use)
grated cheddar cheese
First you need to dice up the red pepper and the onion, add them to a frying pan with the olive oil and garlic. In the meantime you can drain and rinse the can of beans. Once the onions turn translucent, add the beans. Cook until the beans start to come apart and are a little... mushy, for lack of a better word!

That's all it takes! This will make enough for 8 tacos, it usually gives us 2 meals worth. We have made this probably 4 times in the last month. It is SO unbelievably delicious, even my husband didn't miss the meat in this meal at all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our very first camping trip..

I apologize for not getting this up yesterday, like I promised. I have an ok excuse. We were out all evening getting new iPhones last night!!! No? Bad excuse? Oh well :)

Our very first camping trip as a little family of 3 was a giant success! We all had a ton of fun, and it was incredibly relaxing. If you follow me on instagram, you've probably seen a lot of these photos already. We didn't have a signal out in the woods, but I still took pictures using my iPhone. I wouldn't say we were exactly "roughing" it... Haha.
Our campsite! Up a big hill.
We arrived on Saturday around lunch time and immediately got to work setting up our tent. We may have gone just a touch overboard by purchasing a 7 man tent... we wanted to make sure it would be big enough to set up Leroy's crate if needed, and it came in such a small bag we didn't think it would be, well, HUGE. Oh well, it should last us a while and we can eventually fit a couple of kids in there! There were some tensions and some moodiness while setting up the tent, but no arguments. The ground was extremely hard and that made it very frustrating, but in the end, we did get up and then we said a little prayer that it wouldn't collapse on us as we slept... and it didn't! Wohoo!
After setting up the tent, and some lunch, we wandered down to the lake. Leroy wasn't allowed on the main beach, so we had to walk a little further down to the boat launch to take him in the water. He's never been swimming before, but he loves his kiddy pool and sprinkler in our backyward, so we were hoping he'd be a natural, and he was! He went right on and was super excited. He could have chased the water frisbee we bought all. day. long. I actually had to drag him out of the water when we were ready to leave!! It was adorable. I tried to get a couple of pictures, but I didn't want to get my camera too close to the water, so they're not the best. We came back to swim 3 times! It made us really sad that we don't have anywhere we can take him swimming here at home. We might have to make a few day trips back to the campground for some doggy swimming before the summer is over...
Other than the lake, we really just ate, relaxed, ate, drank, relaxed, and sat in front of the campfire! Did I mention we also ate and relaxed? :) The day before we left they finally lifted the full fire ban that was in effect. Thank god! What is camping without a fire? That was our evening activity both nights we were there. It was a lot of fun, and kept the bugs away.
What did we eat, you ask? For dinner, a gross sounding but totally amazing concoction, suggested by my sister: Kraft Dinner with taco beef and tomatoes. It was insanely delicious and now I want to make it for supper every day of the week... if only it had some actual nutrition in it... damn. For lunches we ate egg salad sandwiches and party mix, and for breakfast we had scrambled eggs and homemade banana muffins (recipe to come sometime this week)!! Camp food is awesome.
When it came time to leave, we were looking forward to getting home and showering. Neither of us slept very well while we were there either, so we were definitely looking forward to sleeping in our bed, and last night we went to bed super early, before 9pm. The bed felt like sleeping on a marshmallow compared to the concrete feeling of the forest floor. It was heavenly.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekend Recap, Vol. 4

This weekend was awesome. Absolutely awesome. We just got back from our very first camping trip together! It was a complete success, we had a few moody moments, but our relationship came out unscathed. Leroy even made it back in one piece (he was an excellent camper by the way). I'll be back on Wednesday with a full recap post, but first I will leave you with this little instagram sneak peak:
Hope you all had a lovely weekend! What did you get up to?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Blog Favorites...

Happy Friday to everyone!!! It's a long weekend here and we are headed camping. Wish us luck. Leroy has never been camping, and my husband and I have never been camping together... hopefully putting up the tent doesn't result in a giant argument!
Last Friday I wrote a post with my favorite blogs of the week. This week I was thinking of changing it up a bit, and instead of listing my favorite blogs of the week, I will be listing my favorite blog posts of the week. This way I can spread the love to the same blogs more than once! I just recently participated in the GFC Blog Hop, and I made a ton of new friends. My blog reader is getting insanely full! It's hard to keep up, but everyone is just so awesome, I have been spending my evenings with Breaking Bad and blogs :)
There was so much to chose from this week. It was really tricky for me to come up with the top 5 but here they are, in no particular order:

1. The Anatomy of a Campire... over at Life on LeRoy (The whole LeRoy part is, by the way, the initial reason I started following this blog! Our dog's name is right there in the blog name! haha). I think since we're camping this weekend this post really drew me in. Love Alli's writing style and the cute dog pictures help too! We'll definitely be smore-ing it up this weekend, even if we have to do it over a stove and not a fire (stupid drought, stupid fire ban).

2. Classic peanut butter cookies... over on Kitchen Trial and Error. There are so many yummy sounding/looking recipes on this blog, but this one made it into my favorites this week because I am a SUCKER for peanut butter cookies! This recipe looks and sounds awesome and I can't wait to try it.

3. My dog picks up trash... over at The Coffeehouse. Just loved the humor in this post! Also, I can relate because Leroy is a garbage dog too. I should start taking pictures of the gross things he picks up.

4.  Adrian's Summer Entertaining Series: Easy Decor... over at oh, hello love! All of the posts in this series have been awesome so far, and I am excited to try the guacamole recipe shared last week for sure! Loved this post by Emily on easy decor ideas for summer though, I love when I go to someone's house and they've put effort into table and party decor!

5. A deep post... over on Daisy Girl. I really loved this post, it was very insightful, and eye-opening. I might have to write about something similar. I often feel like my entire life is a competition. Here's the comment I left on this post: "Love this post! It's so hard to stop going through life that way. It seems like there's always a sense of contest, competition, who can wear the best outfit? Who has the best relationship? Who makes more money? Who's winning at life? It's never ending , and I am really hoping to just STOP, and live my life as I want it." Head on over there and check it out!

So there you have it, my favorite blog posts of the week!!

Is anyone finding this useful? Should I keep this as a Friday regular? Would love your feedback!!!!

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Liebster Award!

I am honoured that Ashley at we loved here has nominated me for the Liebster award!
The Liebster award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. What is a Liebster? The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!


1. What is your favorite cereal? Life! We never had super sugary cereal growing up, so I like the plainer varieties :)
2. How old were you before you stopped believing in Santa Claus? I honestly don't remember... and I would ask my parents, but they're on vacation without cell service!! I am thinking maybe 7?
3. Who is your favorite author? Sadly, I don't think I have one! There isn't one author who stands out, I don't own multiple books by the same author, I always try different things! I do have quite a few Sophie Kinsella books, but I wouldn't consider her my "favorite", just some fun reads :)

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world and money was no object, where would you go? Why? Definitely Bora Bora. Always wanted to go there, it just looks so beautiful and relaxing.
5. If there was a zombie apocalypse and you had to choose between staying in your home with ample food, but little protection (meaning you don't have the supplies to board yourself in completely) or hitting the road with a full tank of gas, but very limited supplies, what would your coarse of action be? I laughed at this question because I always hate conversations about what you would do in a zombie attack! Don't hate me but: Zombies aren't real. Haha. Anyway, I suppose I would go with hitting the road. At least then I would feel like I was doing something, rather than sitting at home hoping for the best.
6. Favorite designer brand? I'm loving Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs right now!

My new favorite shoes - Michael Kors
7. If you had to live in a decade other than the current one, which would you choose? The 1950s. Mostly for the fashion!!
8. Any current events capturing your attention as of late? The Olympics, of course! Unfortunately my husband doesn't really like watching them, so I haven't seen much.
9. Sailboat or cruise ship? Cruise ship. I get sea sick, so I am thinking the bigger the boat, the better.
10. If you were Joey Potter, would you have picked Dawson or Pacey? (If you didn't watch Dawson's Creek, you can skip this one!) I didn't watch Dawson's Creek!
11. Share your favorite summer color palette with us: Aqua and red. Just awesome. Bright a cheerful!!!

That was fun! Now it's my turn to come up with 11 questions and tag 11 bloggers. I am so bad at this kind of thing, so if my questions are awful, that's why, and sue me, but I don't care ;)

Here it goes:
1. What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
2. Where was the last place you went on vacation?
3. What's your favorite mixed drink?
4. Favorite childhood memory?
5. Favorite Summer Olympics sport?
6. How long does it take you to fall asleep at night?
7. What time do you get up most mornings?
8. How long is your commute to work/school?
9. What did you eat for supper last night?
10. When was the last time you exercised? What did you do?
11. Why do you blog?

And I'm tagging these 11 bloggers!!
Strawberry Blonde Life, Adventures with Rogue Baby, Bungalow960, Disco & Bows, The Lewis Life, The Osbott Spot, Becoming the Barrs, High Heels City Streets, My {not so} Glamorous Life, I Am Pisces, a moment of wonderful.

All such wonderful blogs, go check them out!!

Adventures at the dog park...

Is anyone else super glad it's almost the weekend? That's a ridiculous question, who wouldn't be glad for the weekend? Especially this one! Up here in Canada it's a 3-day-er. One of the many things to love about summer is the abundance of long weekends, there's pretty much one every month! Anyways, today I am not here to talk weekends, I am here to talk dog park!
Sometimes when we're feeling brave we like to take Leroy to the off-leash dog park in our area. It's so much better than any dog parks I typically hear about, because it's essentially a big nature trail through the woods, that's completely fenced in and dog friendly. It's so nice to walk through. The only problem? I usually spend the whole time a completely anxious nutball because Leroy is so god-awful off leash. He has no recall to speak of. What's the problem, you might ask, since it's fenced in... well, it's also HUGE, so he could definitely get lost. And it's very wooded.
My husband doesn't freak out like me, so he's responsible for chasing Leroy down every time he strays away from us. This makes me feel a bit better. What is it about laying blame on someone else that makes me feel better about a bad situation? Like, if he gets lost I can feel like it's my husbands fault, and somehow that will make me feel ok about losing our dog? Haha. The mind works in mysterious ways, friends!
After the walk through the woods, there is a wide open area for silly doggy play. Leroy is energetic and loves other dogs, but he's pretty shy and submissive at first. It always leaves me wondering if something happened to him we don't know about? He wasn't like this a year ago. Anyway, it works out ok, he just wants to sniff the other dog before committing to play!!

The best thing about the dog park is the exhausted dog at the end. It makes all of the anxiety worth it. The only downfall to this park is the whole no water for swimming thing. Ottawa SUCKS for this. Any land that's city owned has a very strict NO DOGS in the water policy! We are still looking for somewhere nearby to take him... Even without the swimming though, he's one tired puppy. Success!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On Canada's Men's 8+...

I used to be a competitive rower. I started rowing when I was 12 or 13, I can't quite remember now. Anyway, I like to think I was decent, I went to the 2001 Canada Summer Games, and also won a bronze medal at nationals. Then I went on to row in my first year of university. Ultimately, I quit because of the time constraints. I couldn't pursue my engineering education AND row at the same time. Anyway, that's a little background to let you know why I am so unbelievably excited for Canada today!

The Canadian mens 8+ winning a silver medal is not in and of itself a huge surprise, we (by we, I of course mean Canada) are no strangers to this event, having won the gold medal in 2008. However, this particular crew is completely different from 4 years ago, with only 3 members from Beijing returning to compete in London.

After coming last in their heat (I was completely shocked by the way...), they had a noticeably better race in the semi-final to push on through to the final, but still, they didn't come 1st, so I was pretty concerned, and I didn't actually think they would win a medal. I was so incredibly ELATED to watch the race today! What a race! Close right to the very end.

Guys, I actually cried seeing them win silver. I got so emotional!!! I just started thinking about what it would feel like to be them. To have done something so few of us get to experience! It must just be awesome. So proud of them :) Has this ever happened to anyone else?

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