Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Loves: May 31

Happy Friday, everyone! How was your week? Did you do anything exciting? We had a good Memorial Day weekend and then loved having a short very quiet week! In a couple of hours we're headed to visit my family for the weekend. I can't wait!

This week we:

Packed a picnic and spent Saturday afternoon downtown watching the bike races. The highest level racers race for an hour and average around 27mph. This is an absolutely insane idea to me!  

Made crepes with cream cheese and strawberry filling and ate them in bed. Or, more accurately, Justin made crepes and brought them to me in bed. He is seriously the best ever. 

Sunday I met up for drinks with some girlfriends. I only had water but it was a blast. Lots of giggling and shivering (it was cold). We're planning on doing this much more often :-)

Spent a cold rainy Memorial Day afternoon with Justin's family playing games and just visiting. 

Took a break from reading real books for most of the week and just read lame free novels from amazon. It was nice to have a mental break even if I did spend most of it mentally yelling at the characters ;-) 
Rode my bike to the grocery at 7:30am on a cool sunny morning. Bliss.

Have a happy weekend, all! Eat something yummy for me!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One car love

We are now officially a one car family and it feels good. A couple of weeks ago we posted an ad on Craigslist for one of our cars and it sold in less than 24 hours! Craigslist is awesome!

We've been discussing the idea for a few months as we hardly drove the second car but it wasn't costing much for upkeep so we just held onto it. But this spring we finally felt like it wasn't worth the time and money required to keep it titled, insured, and in good repair. So we sold it off and now we get to settle into a new normal!

It's been going well so far but it's only been about two weeks. For those of you who share a car, what have you all found to be the best and worst things of only having one car? Any suggestions or tips for us?

Monday, May 27, 2013

DIY: simple summer beaded bracelet and anklet

Every year around Memorial Day, for as long as I can remember, I've made a trip to the craft store to pick out bunches of those little skeins of embroidery thread. I would spend ages pouring over the thread, picking out my favourite colours and comparing them to each other until I had just the right colour combinations. Once I got my beauties back home, I carefully sorted them and would begin to braid them into all different lengths and styles of bracelets and anklets. Tied onto ankles and wrists, there they stayed until the threads eventually wore and they fell off; frequently in the shower.

Each of these bracelets are linked in my mind to their particular summers and bring back many fond memories. My favourite anklet ever was a thin, simple four strand braid. It had dark turquoise, dark pink, dark purple, and dark gray threads. Thin and delicate, it wrapped around my ankle twice and lasted for almost a year before eventually wearing out.

This year I decided to change things up a little and I made some simple beaded and knotted bracelets/anklets. I'm loving these a lot so far! (Although I have plenty of leftover thread that's calling my name too!) I bought thin leather cord and coloured wooden beads at my craft store and whipped these up in less than an hour. They were super simple and came out even better than I hoped they would! The hardest part of this project is picking out what beads and cord you want!

I used a combination of beads and a knot called the triple overhand knot. It looks much more complicated than it is. The trick is just to pull the knot very slowly and work on easing it down close to the bead. This required a bit of practice for me but was totally worth it! These designs could definitely be fun switched from how I wear them. You could make the bracelet as an anklet and the anklet as a bracelet! Just make sure you cut your cord to the appropriate length for whatever you're trying to go around.

Simple DIY beaded bracelet and anklet

Cord/Thread (I used 1mm leather cord)
Beads (any color/size. Just make sure they have a big enough hole for your cord!)

Triple Overhand Knot (the large pretty one)
Square Knot (for tying to your wrist/ankle)


1. Cut a length of cord long enough to go around your wrist (or ankle) twice.
2. A little off the center of the piece of string, tie a triple overhand knot.
3. String a few beads onto the longer side and let them drop down to the knot. I used three beads.
3. Tie another triple overhand knot and try to slide it as close to the beads as you can.
4. Get a friend to tie it onto your wrist with a square knot. Otherwise tie each end to a clasp.


1. Cut a long length of cord, approximately 3 feet or so at least.
2. Leaving about 4 inches, tie a triple overhand knot.
3. String a bead onto the cord and tie another triple overhand knot close to bead.
4. Repeat step three until you reach your desired length.
5. Tie ends together with a square knot or tie each end to a clasp.

And there you have it! A simple, inexpensive, fun summer bracelet and anklet. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments and I'll try to answer as best as I can.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly loves: May 24

Oh, happy Friday to you all and happy Memorial Day weekend too! Are you as excited for the unofficial start of summer as I am?! I can't believe it's already the end of May but I feel like I've been waiting for this summer for ages. We have so many fun things planned for our summer and I'm looking forward to kicking it all off this weekend! Our plans involve lots of time relaxing, lots of time outside, and maybe a bike ride or two somewhere along the way!

Here's a few glimpses of our week.
  1. A new beaded anklet for summer for me! Tutorial to come on Monday.
  2. Eating the first (and second and third) popsicle of the season on Monday. Only two left! (P.S. Justin personalized mine for me :-)
  3. Making a batch of our paleo-ish granola. It's mostly nuts and seeds. 
  4. Realizing that this May marks five years of living in this house and on this alley. Living in a house with an alley was always one of my childhood dreams. Yay, for crossing something off your bucket list!
  5. Using my new pot to boil eggs. I'm so excited to be able to do more than a half dozen at once!
  6. Being amazed by how much our plants have grown in the last two weeks! I think it may be time to put the tomato cages up this weekend.

Other events from this week included:

  1. Finishing this book, this book, and this book. And reading this and this. (I like to have several books going at once and sometimes they all finish up at once!)
  2. Flipping through Ladled by Kimberly Harris. This book is beautiful, extremely well designed and full of delicious looking recipes! I picked it up from the library and made her German Lentil soup about an hour later. It was exactly what we needed after a cold run in the rain. I'm already excited for all the delicious things we'll get to eat this coming fall!
  3. Watching the season finale of Call the Midwife and I think we'll be watching Les Miserables this weekend. I know, I know. I'm the last person on the planet to see it. It's okay though. I don't mind ;-)

What fun things did you do this week? Do you have any big plans for Memorial Day or are you just going have a relax and enjoy your three day weekend?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What we've been eating around here

We like to keep meals pretty simple around our house.  As much as we both love cooking, we've found that our favourite foods tend to be really easy to prepare and have very basic ingredients. Who wants to spend tons of time in the kitchen when you could be outside? During the summer delicious, easy food looks mostly like large salads, wraps, and grilled meats in all kinds of animals and flavours. Here's some of the tings we've been eating lately:

We keep breakfasts pretty basic. Typically we just eat some form of eggs and have a bowl of yogurt, berries and granola on the side. Now that we're eating fruit we're back to eating our eggs in the form of banana pancakes and loving it. I had missed them soooo much. Occasionally on the weekend we'll get fancy and make a quiche or a paleo version of eggs benedict. We're going to experiment with gluten free dutch babies this weekend though. We'll see how they turn out.

Main meals:
We always eat dinner leftovers for lunch and we always have a side salad with lunch and dinner. We've been adding some fruit back into our diet but are not yet back up to fruit at every meal.
  • Fish. Twice a week. One meal is almost always salmon and the other is a mild white fish.
  • Wraps. These can be almost anything. Tacos (beef/chicken/fish), hamburgers, tuna pattie melts, gyro burgers, chicken/tuna/egg salad, burritos
  • Pizza. We found a packaged crust mix that is gluten, yeast, and sugar free. Not fantastic but it'll do. Obviously there are a million varities of pizza but our favourites include hawaiian and  sumpreme.
  • Grilled chicken thighs. These can be marinated anyway you like. My favourite is just a simple Italian dressing. Mmmmm.
  • Meal sized salads. Many of the things mentioned above are great on a bed of lettuce! Even egg, tuna, or chicken salad is delicious on a salad.
    • Taco salad: greens, taco meat, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and sour cream
    • Gyro salad: greens, gyro meat, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, tzatziki sauce
    • Hamburger salad: greens, burger, tomato, onion, cheese, ketchup, sour cream 

These have been the hardest part of (mostly) sticking with this yeast diet. There aren't a lot of affordable options for snacks other than veggies. And those don't hold me well enough. Here's what we've settled on so far. You'll notice that all of these have some protein and some fat. That's what seems to work best for me.
  • green apple with peanut butter
  • rice cakes with peanut butter or cream cheese
  • popcorn with butter
  • nachos
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cheese

How about you all? What meals does your family love to eat over and over? Share some of your go to summer meals with me! I'm always looking for more delicious, easy recipes!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy Monday!

 Some scenes from our weekend

Hope you all had as wonderful of a weekend as we did! It was a three day weekend for us and it was heavenly, the perfect mixture of productive and lazy, and the weather was great! We got some running and weight lifting in as well as plenty of book reading and a little movie watching.

And one of the most exciting things? We bought a dutch oven! I've been researching (and drooling over) them for a while and we finally bit the bullet! But I've never cooked in a dutch oven and don't know much about it. Any tips for me? And what are your favourite recipes? I need suggestions!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Five years ago today

Five years ago today:

was the day that I knew that Justin was going to be mine. It was another seven and a half weeks before he asked me out and thirty and a half weeks until we got engaged (and one year and nine weeks until we got married) but on that sunny Thursday afternoon while we walked around the pond at Chapter Focus Week I knew that he and I were going to be together. It was all just a matter of time.

And, what do you know?! I guess I was right :-)

P.S. So many wonderful memories from that week; photo walks, rock climbing, kayaking, ziplining, and getting, oh so very, sick. I still find it hard to believe that it's actually been five years but look how different we all look!

P.P.S. Also, aren't the high quality photos great? Gotta love old digital photos ;-)


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Recipe: Mexican Chef Salad

This meal is one of our favourites. We agreed while eating this that we could both happily eat it every week. I don't think we'll probably go that far but I'm guessing we'll eat it quite a bit over the summer. The recipe originally came from Justin's mom and we've barely needed to mess with it unlike so many of the other recipes we try. While we haven't changed much, it's a super simple recipe and very adaptable to what you have on hand. This is our basic recipe but be sure to play with it and find out what your family likes best!

Mexican Chef Salad

1 pound of ground pork
2 cups cooked beans or 1 can, drained (we like light red kidney best)
1 medium onion, diced
garlic, cumin, chili powder to taste

Brown pork in a large skillet with onion and spices. Add beans and cook until warmed thoroughly.

Serve over a large green salad and top with shredded cheese, crushed corn chips, and thousand island dressing.