Tuesday, July 26, 2011

something for your slow cooker...

if you're a regular reader, you know my aversion to recipes with ridiculous ingredients. you also know that i have big plans for preparing some freezer meals pre-baby. so in preparation for this freezer meal making and sticking with my "easy ingredients meals", i've been reading a cookbook called "The Big Cook" which gives you every recipe in "one meal", "4 meals", "6 meals", and "8 meals" measurements. The concept is that you make many meals at once, separate into bags and freeze. when you want a meal, you thaw a bag, and then put in a slow cooker (or there are oven instructions too) to be ready for dinner. i'm planning on making a bunch of meals by the end of august to stock my freezer with - it's just a lot of money up front for all that meat.

anyways, i love that they have the ingredients for making just ONE meal because then you can use the book like a normal cookbook as well. the other day, i made "Saucy Chicken" which is super easy, i HAD all the ingredients on hand, AND by making it at nap time and putting it in the slow cooker, it was ready at dinner! i'm making it again today - here's the recipe if you're interested and have simple tastes like mine:

2 lbs chicken (breast or thigh)pieces (last time, I used 1 lb of chicken but the full amount of sauce - this time i'm using 2 lbs so i can have leftovers but i doubled the sauce because it's great on rice)

3 Tbsp water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 ketchup
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 pkg or 3 Tbsp onion soup mix (i buy mine in bulk)

Cut chicken into pieces and put in slow cooker. Mix all other ingredients in bowl and pour over chicken. Cook for 4-5 hours on high OR 6-8 hours on low. Serve over rice. Can also be stir-fried with veggies.

treat receipt

have you been to starbucks lately? now that there's a starbucks in our mall, i have been there more often this summer than last. rainy days and very hot days are spent inside for this pregnant girl.

i discovered that if you buy a brewed coffee in the morning, your $1.75 tall is actually upsized to a grande. that's a lot of coffee for $1.75. THEN, if you keep your receipt and bring it back after 2pm, you can get a grande cold drink (frap, anyone?) for $2!

that's 3.75 for a grande coffee AND a grande frap! it's really a pretty great deal. unfortunately, i have not yet cashed in a treat receipt. but one of these days...

Monday, July 25, 2011


how totally cute is this set? click on it to make it bigger. i bought this set of 3 8x10s to hang in our baby girl's yellow and pink room from mateo&tobias on etsy. i can't wait for them to come. i have a couple others that i'm planning to buy soon too for ben's room. LOVE this shop.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

playing pretend

coming very soon is a stage that i'm looking forward to - playing pretend. i've played a little of it with ben when we go to the park and play on little train they have. i ask him to bring me soup or milk and then i pretend to eat or drink. he thinks it's so funny and i can see the wheels turning in his head while we play. we were recently at a friend's house and their 2 1/2 year old pretended that he was a dog for awhile and then a cow (complete with making himself a barn with hay). ben wasn't sure what to make of him. so we're not quite there yet. :)

the other day when ben woke up, he brought his curious george and his baby out from his crib and into the kitchen. while i made his cheerios and poured his milk, he set his two peeps on their own chairs then sat down himself. he happily looked at them for a bit and then moved to sit with baby with a concerted effort not to squish him (just hug him tightly). i know this is the just the beginning of hanging out with pretend friends. i'm a fan.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

one year

june 2010
our new tree, our one year old, and the resolution to take a photo of ben with the tree every year

july 2011
our poor tree is a little worse for wear after the 2010 attack and since the main trunk was broken off at the top, it doesn't really look like the tree has grown much. but look that boy! he's definitely grown.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


the stripes turned out great! turns out, pressing the tape down with a metal putty knife and then painting the base colour coat first totally stops paint from seeping under the tape - even in the corners. the thin brown stripe is not at all the colour i'd thought it was from teh paint chip which is a little disappointing but it's high enough above the bedspread that it's not a big enough deal to do anything about. :)
when we originally moved into the house, the room was light pink and yellow. too bad we didn't keep that, right? but when we painted, we just left the closet light pink. we must not had had enough paint because we couldn't find the leftovers when we wanted to paint the base this time. so with half a quart left, tim finished off the closet which looks so much nicer.

my mom found the ikea trofast for FREE somewhere (side of the road, mom?) which turns out is a kids room staple! we were pretty excited about it but now that we bought a train table that we want to keep in ben's room, we moved the trofast into the closet. it will now be clothing storage which will be super handy since we hadn't thought about a dresser yet. i'm sure it will hold some toys as well. we've already filled the biggest bin full of stuffed animals.

while i'd put some shelves in for a little reading area, it's currently being taken up by the train table because we're going to move ben's crib into the spot where the table will eventually go. yes, we're moving ben's crib into the room. we just want him to be in the blue room so that we can work on the yellow room to make it more girly but we didn't want to rush him into the big bed. this is our solution for a few months until it's time to get ben into his bed. right now, i'm relishing the extra 30 - 40minutes that he'll happily stay in his crib in the morning when he wakes up too early. why would i want to lose that, right?

so we're on our way to reorganizing the rooms of our house. we just need a roller blind for ben's new room and maybe do a little shopping for some fabric to make a little valence and we'll be done!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


after posting about ben's move to his new room, we used some painter's tape to make stripes along the ceiling and i used ben's new bedding to pick a few colours for these stripes. tim painstakingly measured, leveled, and taped each stripe which led me to think that maybe i didn't need 5 stripes...i could do with 3. after taping, we began to paint the first colour on the biggest stripe: dark blue. after doing some corners, tim discovered the the paint was seeping under the tape. abort! abort! he washed the paint off with little damage done and announced that we weren't going to paint stripes. i said, "no way - people paint stripes. it's doable." i read up some more on painting stripes and one tip many people had was to first paint the stripes with the base coat colour. this may seep below the tape but it's the correct colour so it won't matter and it will seal off the crevices for the other colours. i went to home depot, bought a quart of our base (since we didn't seem to have any leftover from when we painted it the first time) but being the procrastinator that i am, we didn't do anything with it until about a month later: this weekend.

yesterday, we painted the base coat. yesterday night, after ben was in bed, we did our dark blue stripe. this morning before church, we did the much needed second coat of the dark blue stripe. right now, while ben naps, i painted the bottom green stripe and tim painted the skinny tan stripe. each colour, i say, "this doesn't look like the bedspread" and tim reassures me that it will dry darker and we can and will do second coats on them. here's where we're at right now:
i'm just desperate to peel that tape off now so we can see if it worked! we didn't check ANY of our tape yet so this could be a total washout and we'll be painting over it all with the original blue. eep. hopefully not. the dark blue needs one more coat for good measure and we'll do one more coat on the other two as well just because we have SO much paint leftover.

we'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 15, 2011

signs of summer

huge raspberries!

corn on the cob - ben almost ate that whole ear

Thursday, July 14, 2011


i'm pretty happy about the weather we've had this summer. sorry to all you sad folk who are wishing for your sunshine to return. but i'm huge and very warm on the cool days. when you're shaking your fist at the clouds, maybe it will make you feel better to think of me appreciating the cool? or maybe you'll just be shaking your fist at me now...either way - i thought i should let you know that it's me behind this rain. ;)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

make bread?

i'm almost tempted to try this it sounds so easy...

berry season

i'm not the greatest produce shopper. sometimes i just buy that red pepper at $3.69/lb at the store because i'm THERE and don't want to go somewhere else. the fruit that really gets me and makes me wonder, "is this a good price?" is berries. i think it's because they're not around all year long for me to get used to seeing their prices. but come berry season, i'm looking at the prices and can never be sure whether i'm getting a good one or not. in the past, the fear of buying overpriced berries has made it so that i completely miss berry season altogether and barely get any! after a couple summers like that, it occurred to me that i better just indulge in fresh berries while i can - whatever the price.

i drive by this produce place everyday that had a sign out a couple weeks ago saying cherries were $2.99/lb. it didn't sound like a particularly good price so i drove by many times. after i'd had a look around the grocery stores and saw cherries at $3.49/lb, i thought, "i love cherries. i'm going to get some for $2.99/lb." and i did. pat on the back. while i was there, i bought a small container of raspberries too for who knows how much. the next day, the paper came with the flyers in it. all three of the main grocery stores had cherries on for less that $2.99! one even as low as $1.99! so i guess i didn't do that great.

but now it seems that the local strawberries may have passed me by. i looked at all the stands at the berry festival and they just didn't seem to be that great in price. so i left them. and now, i'm regretting it. and raspberries! are they gone too? augh!

i did make one batch of raspberry muffins this weekend and they were great. fairly low in sugar and butter, i thought. here's the recipe if you find yourself some berries:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 brown sugar (packed)
2 small to medium size apples (any type), peeled, cored, chopped or grated
1 cup fresh raspberries (or blackberries)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Line a muffin tray with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the brown sugar and mix by hand, to combine.

Lightly beat the milk and eggs (with a fork).

Add the melted butter, and then add the fresh raspberries and the apples, just to combine.

Mix the fruit mixture gently into the dried ingredients, just until combined. Do not over mix! The batter will look "lumpy".

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Bake at 400° F for 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden brown, and when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Makes about 12 muffins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

baby moves

i don't know if i just don't remember my pregnancy with ben very well (which is highly likely) but this baby is so unbelievably active. it feels like she's right up against my skin (even though i know she's not) and she just goes crazy all evening before i go to bed. so much moving that tim can see my stomach going crazy from across the room. no need to feel for the baby kicking here! just watch it! augh! it's pretty weird. and really, it shouldn't be that weird because it's my second. this should feel normal.

oh man. i gotta go lie down.

"summertime and the livin's easy"

after hitting up the abbotsford berry festival in the morning, i drove out to vancouver to meet alyssa, go for an early dinner, and then make our way to stanley park. all weekend, there were free concerts in the park in celebration of vancouver's 125th birthday. it was quite the trek for a couple of pregnant girls who needed frequent bathroom breaks and had to walk barefoot on the grass to cool down swollen, hot feet. but we were pretty proud of ourselves for getting out, enjoying the sun, and taking in some great music. a big thanks to sharelle who inspired me to get out there with her enthusiasm for free, outdoor concerts.

happy start to summer!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

sharing popcorn curbside at the Berry Festival in Abbotsford today...loving the sunshine.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

freezer meals

speaking of meal planning, here's some inspiration for you: this woman make 46 meals at a time and freezes them. it lasts them months. i don't think we could get the same meat deals in canada as she does in the US ($1 for a pack of bacon?) but even if you spent more, this is still a pretty awesome way to have low stress when it comes to meal prep. i could see myself putting in the time once a month in order to have so many meals made ahead of time. though that's a lot of plastic bags...i'll be putting mine in my tupperware freezermates...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

what's for dinner?

i know that lots and lots of people (many of you included) plan out their meals ahead of time and then only have to do one shop a week/two weeks. it's a stellar plan and i knew that in my mind but for some reason, i couldn't pull it together to make it work for me. or i wasn't motivated enough. i don't know. anyways, we're attempting a mega-budgeting month this month so i thought i'd attempt the meal planning in hopes of spending less on groceries.

WELL! how great is this meal planning thing, hey? like i said, i knew all along it would be stellar. and it is. why couldn't i do this before? the bonus to saving money by only doing one shop is that by knowing what i am making for dinner, there's no standing in front of the pantry, fridge, or freezer thinking, "augh - what am i going to make for dinner? how can i have nothing in here to make?" i have this list of meals and if i decide to switch one day for another, it's no biggie because i have all the ingredients already. so great. last night we barbequed cod, potatoes, and peppers and tonight we ate quiche. tomorrow is chicken & broccoli with rice. lovely.

this could be the beginning of a whole new "bec the homemaker"...umm...or at least "bec the dinner maker".

t-shirt quilt?

how cool is this idea? take all your old t-shirts and have them make into a quilt here at 3 Stitch Creations! i really want to do this for ben's t-shirts that i have loved over the last 2 years but it seems like such a waste to ruin all those clothes! i'm torn. but would it be fun to have them in a quilt form to remember them? i love this idea! what would you do?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

"camping" with intentional quotation marks

some scenery on our drive up

last year, we attempted camping with our 13 month old. this year, being pregnant, we decided to rent a cabin instead for our summer camping experience. as i figured it would be, camping in a cabin is much nicer. here's the place we stayed if you ever find yourself wanting to rent an affordable but great cabin on a lake.

we made the trip with our friends, alyssa and james. they stayed in a suite in the main house so that they were close, could have all their meals over in our kitchen, but didn't have to be woken up at 6am by our kiddo. it was a great set up.

we knew that going north to 100 Mile in the last week of june would probably not provide the best, beachy weather but for scheduling purposes, this was the week that worked for us 4. we brought our hoodies and fleece pants in preparation. i can't speak for a&j but i was pleasantly surprised at the weather. i guess that's what happens when you expect the worst. we had mostly cloudy days, a little sun here and there with only one full day of rain. the problem with the cooler, wet weather, however, was the mosquitoes and flies that it attracted. i asked tim if the bugs would have been better if it was later in the summer and sunny and he wasn't sure it would have been much better (though i bet in august there's no way it wouldn't be better). so i'm glad it was cooler and we could wear our long sleeves and pants (doused in bug repellent) to help ward off those little menaces. if you've ever been outdoors with me, you know that i'm a crazy anti-bug person. sure, no one is a pro-bug person but they probably don't complain as much as me. but with many afternoons of breeze and some sunny mornings, they really weren't that bad or else i wouldn't have been outside at all. and the last few days were the best.
our beach - with ben at the water's edge

at the beach, we spent a lot of time reading and ben spent quite a bit of time digging. he was deterred from constant beach-dwelling because the owners of the cabin had a dog that barked. it was a lovely dog and very obedient but the loud and sometimes unwarranted barking seemed to get ben pretty scared. some days he'd just be playing happily and the dog would be 20 feet away doing her own thing and ben would just decide he wanted to go back to the "bagin" aka. cabin. that was unfortunate. though, we were glad that ben liked the cabin, the handful of toys we brought, and of course, the curious george dvds that we could watch on tim's computer.

the craziest withdrawl that i had was from internet! i thought i'd at least be able to touch base with the world via tim's iphone but no such luck! there was no cell service this far away from 100 Mile. it was quite the detoxing experience for me. by the end of the week, we had made a couple trips into town for something to do and i logged in then but it seemed less important than at the beginning of the week. it was a good practice for me.

the greatest thing about doing this trip with friends was that after dinner, when we had put ben to bed, instead of feeling stuck in the cabin, we got to hang out, play games, eat snacks, and chat with a&j. it was lovely. i ate waaay too many Munchies. we finally mastered a difficult game that we could never get the hang of when we only played it once in a while which was fun. we had the option of satellite tv (a nice perk to cabinning instead of camping) but we never turned on the tv once.
tim and alyssa with our BBQ-ed salmon & grilled veggies

i'm sure tim's highlight was all the fishing he did with james. they went out for about 8 hours total - an hour or two at a time. they rented the canoe for $5/hr and caught fish everytime they were out. tim was excited to get ben in the boat for his first canoeing experience but after getting in the boat (while on land) and finding it to be tippy - ben was not going to set in foot in that canoe again. we got one token photo and about two minutes of our money's worth out of the that lifejacket that we purchased for the trip. haha. maybe when he's three...
it was great to have a couple fires on the beach as well. one evening that the weather couldn't decide what it was doing, we made pizza in the cabin and the boys made a fire under the protection of some trees on the beach. we ate our pizza by the lake and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery. then we made s'mores, of course. another afternoon, we had a fire for some hotdog roasting and smores again.

overall, it was a good trip - lots of great memories and the potential to be an annual event. a fantastic kick-off to the summer!