I am so excited that Marshall’s has finally come to Canada, and especially excited that it’s only about 30 minutes away from where I live. Needless to say, I’ve been there multiple times since it opened a few weeks ago, and already have a heap of favourite Marshall’s purchases hanging out in my house. One of my favourite finds so far is the totally amazing Go 360 Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub from L’Oreal – and I love it so much that I just had to share it with you!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix.
Netflix has been very well loved in our home for the past year or so. It began when I was bedridden during pregnancy and completely bored with what I could find on cable TV. My husband and I both enjoy the selection of movies, full TV series, new releases and great documentaries. It costs us $7.99/month, we can easily login to watch Netflix from a variety of our devices and there are NO commercials to suffer through/fast forward!
Now that we have a one year old in the house, we have been using Netflix even more often. He doesn’t watch a lot of it, but when older friends are over to play we often watch a quick show of Dora or Sesame Street. I like how Netflix categories the kid’s section by character. A neat idea!
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Read the rest of this entry »
First of all – have you ever taken a close up photo of your toes or fingers? Oh boy, Mama needs a professional mani AND a pedi!
Moving on… I have been wearing a new polish for a couple of days that I wanted to share with you. I received it from Maybelline at London Drug’s Fall Cosmetics Preview event.
I am proud to be one of those patriotic types that dresses up in white & red on Canada Day. I’m extending my patriotism to my son this year, who is going to be sporting a baby Canada Day t-shirt and hat!
In time for the 1st of July is this fun maple leaf nail art, sent to us by the creative folks at Red Carpet Manicure. I love it this idea and hope you do, too!
Here’s an easy description (following the image above) to make your nails shine with Canadian pride this weekend!
Red Carpet Manicure LED gel manicure systems are available at London Drugs.
**Disclosure: Shannon and I were both recently sent a Red Carpet Manicure set to try. This is not a sponsored post.**
You know when you find something new and you’re like ‘Whaaaaat? How did I live without this gizmo?’ This is how I feel about my new Tassi.
I don’t know about you, but I must spend at least an hour each week scouring my cookbooks and a selection of websites for inspiring recipes. I get bored of the usual dinners on rotation and like to keep things interesting. But even so, I find myself just creating different versions of similar dishes all the time. My reasoning? I’m too used to using the same ingredients, same spices, same methods.
This. This is exactly the kind of thing I need – what a fantastic idea! The Missing Ingredient is the brainchild of Angie Quaale of Well Seasoned, a gourmet food store in Langley.
The Missing Ingredient is a monthly subscription service for Canadian foodies. While you certainly don’t need to be a foodie or culinary dynamite to use the surprise ingredients you’ll find in one of their boxes, you do need to be willing to try something new. Available in 1, 3, 6 or 12 month subscription services, this is the perfect gift for that impossible-to-buy-for person in your life! The Missing Ingredient ships all across Canada. They even have a gluten sensitive box!
Each ingredient is selected from Canadian producers and international artisans. The Missing Ingredient boxes feature more difficult to find ingredients from spices to kitchen gadgets to sweets. “We want to encourage people to think outside of the box – literally,” says Quaale. “We have kept the fancy packaging to a minimum, and have poured all of our attention to what is INSIDE the box. It is about breaking out of your cooking rut, and the experience you can have with family and friends when you gather to enjoy what you create with your missing ingredients.”
As you know, we LOVE profiling entrepreneurs, so I was super pleased to find their Meet the Maker series. Click here to check it out.
Fabulous idea. Great name. I need to try out one of these boxes and bring a little inspiration into my kitchen!
30 Days of Pinterest – Day 27
There’s always something about my cakes, cookies or cupcakes that never turn out quite right. I can whip up a mean dinner without any recipe to follow, but if you ask me to bake a cake, you should probably expect the worst. Although, if there’s one thing that I actually can bake, it’s banana bread. For some reason, I’ve been blessed with the ability to make this treat without goofing it up, and that makes my fiance a happy man.
Because of my previous success with banana bread, I thought I would try my luck at making this banana cake. Probably not as good for you, but everything in moderation, right?
The Project Process:
You will need the following ingredients:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of softened butter
- 2 mashed super ripe bananas (the more brown spots, the better. Really!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup of flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Let me just say that having everything for a recipe already at home makes me the happiest lady ever.
Preheat your oven to 375F, and make sure you oven rack is positioned in middle of your oven. To make sure that the cake bakes properly, you’ll want to have it baking in the right spot. Add the sugar, sour cream, egg and 2 tbsp of softened butter into your bowl and cream together. I used my kitchen-aid mixer, but this could easily have been mixed/creamed by hand.
Once your mixture is combined and creamy, it’s time to add the mashed bananas and the vanilla. If you haven’t mashed the bananas yet, now is the time to do it. I just throw them in a bowl, and mash by hand with a fork. You don’t want to try to mash the bananas while mixed with the other ingredients, it’ll cause your cake to be too dense.
Doesn’t that look delicious? Once your bananas are mashed and mixed into your mixing bowl, add the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well, and pour into an 8×8 pan. I only had a 9×9 pan, and it turned out just fine. However, if all you have is a 9×13 pan, you will want to double the recipe. Also as an added note, you’ll want to make sure you grease your pan prior to pouring the batter in. I am constantly using Pam baking spray, which has a slight butter taste for baked treats. It’s amazing!
Bake at 375F for 20 – 25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the cake and it comes out clean. My 9×9 cake took about 23 minutes. The original poster did mention that if you are baking your cake in a glass pan, lower your temperature to 350F to avoid over-baking.
I let the cake cool a bit in the pan, and it separated nicely from the sides after a few minutes. I used a cooling rack to help flip it out of the pan, and then an additional cooling rack to flip it right side up again.
I used the recipe provided for the vanilla bean icing, but I have to admit I was less than thrilled. If you are interested in giving it a try, you can follow the directions here. I found it to have too strong of a ‘icing sugar taste’ and ended up adding more liquid to turn it into more of a glaze than a frosting.
The cake itself turned out much better than I could have imagined, and it has been a huge hit in our household! In fact, much of it has already been devoured and I have a feeling I’ll be making it again sometime in the very near future.
Do you have a favorite banana bread, cake or cupcake recipe?
30 Days of Pinterest – Day 26
Since we don’t have an actual linen closet, we have to make the best use any closet space we do have. Unfortunately (or I suppose fortunately for me), my clothes take up most of the space in our bedroom closet, leaving little room for anything else. We can’t afford to have our sheets balled up in a corner of the closet – it takes up too much space!
I’ve heard of the ‘how to fold a fitted sheet’ pins for a while now, and thought it was about time that I give it a try. The most popular one was the picture featured below. Since this one was originally from Martha Stewart, it (of course) appears to have been ironed prior to folding it. I had a feeling this particular folding method wouldn’t work for me for two reasons; one being that I have king sized sheets and it would be difficult to do it by hand in the air, and the other being I knew it wouldn’t look nearly as good because my sheets were wrinkly from the dryer.
I went back to the Pinterest board, and found another post that looked more like what I needed (and with written instructions as well). Here’s the picture for this one: (you can click here for the original post
The Project Process:
The photo above is pretty self explanatory, but I thought I would provide my additional notes and pictures for you as well!
Step 1: Throw on floor (that was easy)
Step 2: Take your pointer finger and find the corner of one side, and lay back on the floor
Step 3: Do the same to the other corner on the same side.
Step 4: Straighten the ‘line’ from the one corner to the other.
Step 5: Using the same pointer finger trick, find the remaining two corners, but inside out (it will make sense on the next step)
Step 6: Take the inside-out corners and then tuck them up into the regular corners. This should create a square with four square corners!
Step 7: Fold in half long-ways so the top two corners meet.
Step 8: Fold in half again, bringing the bottom up to the top.
Step 9: Fold in half again from the left side to the right (or mix it up and fold from the right side to the left!)
Step 10: You’re done! If you need too, you can fold in half an extra time to make the sheet more compact. You should be able to stack the fitted sheet on top of your flat sheet in a nicely fashion!
Although all of our extra pillow cases are currently being used, I love the idea of keeping everything together in a neat little package like this! I will most definitely be doing this when we move into a home that has an actual linen closet
30 Days of Pinterest – Day 25
A few years ago, my sister in law made me one of those neat spa towel wraps for your wet hair. I was looking for a Pin to make one of those, when I came across a bunch of beach/spa towel wraps. I forgot about my favourite old towel wrap – its fate was sealed by my dog back when he was a crazy puppy. So I decided to make one of these first.
Out came the new-to-me sewing machine that I’ve now had for 10 years, unused. I dusted off the cobwebs, had my neighbour remind me how to thread the machine, and away I went!
What you need:
- One towel (thinner is better than thicker, so it’s easy to sew)
- Safety pins
- Velcro (by recommendation I bought the sticky back velcro – wonderful stuff!)
- Sewing machine (or by hand)
- Strong thread
Begin by pinning the length of the towel, so you end up sewing a straight line. Hint: stripes are very helpful for this! Make the fold just a little bit bigger than the elastic you choose to use – not too large of a pocket or the elastic can twist. Next, stitch all the way across the towel.
Attach a safety pin to each end of the elastic; secure one end to the towel. With the other end, feed it through the tube all the way to the other side – then attach the safety pin to the other end. Sew each end so the elastic stays in place…remove pins.
Hold it up to yourself at this point and determine where the velcro will go. Attach the velcro – the sticky stuff is magic, as you can remove and play around with the fit if it’s not quite right at first. Once you have found the right spot for the velcro, stitch it on.
Here’s the finished product. No modelling for you this time, sorry, ha ha. Fairly simple, but I am happy with it!
Next, I am going to make a matching towel head wrap for my hair. I’m definitely going to be the most matchy-matchy Mummy after baby W’s swimming lessons this summer!
If you are a more skilled seamstress than I, you could try towel wraps with straps or cute embellishments, too. I think this would make a cute gift. You could even add some soaps/lotions, a good book and/or a bottle of something bubbly and summery!
30 Days of Pinterest – Day 24
Since we were having a wedding related gathering tonight at our home, I knew I needed to whip up a snack that would be a definite hit. I’ve made this particular Pinterest discovery a number of times before, and the plate has always ended up been scraped clean. It’s a great ‘in a pinch’ dessert dish, that is sure to be a hit at any pot-luck style gathering – we promise!
The Project Process:
Here are the ingredients that you will need:
- 1 block of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- 4 tbsp of icing or confectioners sugar
- chopped nuts
- chocolate chips (mini are best)
- sundae syrup (I always use caramel)
- granny smith apples
As you can tell, I visited Wal-mart for the ingredients of this particular recipe. Although I normally stick to Philidelphia cream cheese when making actual cheesecake, I find that the Great Value brand is very acceptable for a dip such as this. You can also pull out any other items in the cupboard that you might like to add, such a broken up Skor bar, chopped up fresh strawberries, etc.
To start, break up your cream cheese into chunks and put into a large bowl. I would like to take a moment to stress how important it is to make sure your cream cheese is room temperature. If you attempt to make this dip with cold cream cheese, it won’t whip up as nicely as it should. Add 4-5 tablespoons of confection sugar, and beat until nice and fluffy. You want to give it time to thoroughly mix, and also whip into a nice, smooth consistency.
Spoon the mixture onto a shallow dish or plate, and smooth out evenly using the back of a spoon. A small pie plate works perfect, but mine was currently being use for another dish in the fridge – so I made due with a few square plates. This works especially well if any of your guests can’t eat nuts; consider making one with nuts, and one without.
Squeeze on your desired sundae topping. Even though this layer will be topped with other delicious treats, I always like to have a little fun with the design (it makes me feel a little like a dessert sous chef). There’s no exact measurement given for how much to use, but I usually just eyeball it based on how quickly it comes out of the squeeze bottle.
Add on your other desired toppings (I used pecans, walnuts and butterscotch chocolate chips) and decorate with sliced apples! If you opt for chocolate chips, you’ll want to try to find mini chocolate chips for ease of eating. If you only have regular sized chips, try putting a handful in a bag and breaking them up with a rolling pin. It’s effective, and usually a bit of fun as well. If you don’t plan on serving the dip right away, hold off on cutting the apples so they don’t turn brown on you. I usually just cover the dip up with saran wrap and store in the fridge until it is time to serve it. I then cut up the apples at the very last minute and arrange them around the dish.
This is one of those Pinterest discoveries that I am so happy to have found. In fact, I love making it so much that it’s even become a permanent fixture in my ‘cut and paste’ cookbook. You may laugh at me for still having one of these, but I can’t be the only one secretly thinking about what would happen to all my favourite recipes if Pinterest disappeared one day.
Have you found any recipes from Pinterest that you love so much, you’ve printed out for future reference?