Five things

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled, soft-poached, fried over easy? How ’bout heart-shaped?

Eggspress-heart-shaped-egg

It took me half a dozen tries Friday afternoon before I finally made a good one. Can you guess how? Maybe I’ll do a little demo on the blog this week.

bee-1

bee-2

I had to get a little too close for comfort to take these shots as I’m terribly scared of bees, but they looked so pretty going from flower to flower at the church down the street. What scares you?

ring toss 5

I feel like I didn’t get a lot done this week, so it was satisfying to finish another DIY for So Fawned yesterday. You’ll see the full reveal on the blog in the next couple of weeks.

treadmill

It’s so great to be back at the gym and able to work out in AC. (I’m not one for the heat.) Four miles baby! Now to work on my time.

train-selfie

Selfie on the O-train with my iPod. (Because I am one of the few people on the planet who don’t have a cell phone. Truth!)

Tomorrow I’ll be announcing the winner of my fab accessories giveaway. Haven’t entered yet? Well get on it then! You’ve got until midnight EST.  (You must leave a comment on the giveaway post in order to be eligible.)

Good luck, everybody! I can’t wait to see who wins!

Five things

We had our share of adventures last week, starting with the kids’ first trip to a strawberry farm. We went with a friend and her seven-year-old daughter one warm, breezy evening.

strawberry picking james

The girls picked much faster than my guy, who’d show me each strawberry as he picked it and ask “Is this a good one, Mommy?” before putting it in his basket. It took us about an hour to pick three 4-litre baskets, as I wanted plenty of berries to make jam.

Three baskets

I’m not entirely impressed with the strawberries. They look and feel ripe, but a good lot of them are on the sour side.

jams

But as it turns out, they make a fine jam. I tried three recipes on Saturday: a quick strawberry jam from Sweet Potato Chronicles (they wrote one of my favourite cookbooks, How to Feed a Family), a strawberry, chia seed and honey jam (I swapped the rhubarb for more strawberries) from Thankful Expressions, and a traditional strawberry jam with pectin from Bernardin. All of them are delicious in their own way, with the chia seed jam the less sweet of the three. The first two come together in less than 30 minutes and keep in the fridge for about three weeks, while the third, more traditional jam is a little more tedious with the boiling of the filled jars, but those keep for about a year. And I’ve got plenty of berries left, so I may make a few more jars this week.

pom poms 3

The summer surprise garland has been a huge hit. Each day after the supper the kids argue about who gets to open a bag and then we do the activity on the note inside. We’ve painted pictures with some new paintbrush pens, made pom poms following an easy tutorial in the summer issue of EMMA Magazine, gone out for ice cream, stayed up late and done the limbo in the living room. And more surprises to come!

cherry pie

One afternoon I tried this easy cherry pie recipe. And I do mean easy — I used a ready-made crust and frozen, pitted cherries. You could say it was more “home assembled” than “homemade” ‘tho you do have to cook down the cherries. Next time I’d cut the sugar down to a half cup and add a couple of more tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up. What’s your favourite kind of pie?

finished pillow

And my second DIY for So Fawned is online today! Will you take a peek at my personalized pillows? Better yet, give them a try!

Five things

Okay so it’s weird to give you the week’s highlights on a Tuesday (even Monday feels strange; maybe I’ll change this feature to Sundays), but my tablet has been crashing so I put it off. Enough already! I have a couple of cute photos and some news I’m excited to share, so let’s get ‘er done!

doggie 1

How adorable is this little girl? I saw her when I was out and about this week and stopped to say hello. If we had space for a dog, a sheltie would be in my top three. Friendly, gentle and sharp as a tack. And that face! Those ears! That lovely long nose!

doggie 3

Oh, I just want to take you home!

cactus

I haven’t killed my cactus yet but it’s probably just a matter of time. Any tips to share? I can use all the help I can get.

lemon jellow

A cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day. What could be more refreshing?  Only that’s not lemonade, it’s jello! I tricked both of my kids into thinking this was a drink and smiled when they sucked on the straws and nothing came up. Will you try it at your house?

benny in the shot

I was trying to photograph one of my favourite books on the weekend but somebody kept getting in the shot. It’s our beloved (and very nosey!) cat, Benny.

sweet paul eat & make

I would be delighted to spend the next couple of months cooking and crafting from Sweet Paul Eat & Make, the first book from the creator of one of my favourite digital magazines. With dozens of delicious recipes, unique and simple crafts, and simply gorgeous photography, I’m inspired every time I pick it up. What books inspire you?

voila3

And exciting news! A project I mentioned I was working on for So Fawned a few weeks ago is up on the site! Hop on over to the blog and check out my DIY puzzle piece drawer pulls. My second DIY should be posted in the next couple of weeks.

Have a great week, everybody!

Five things

Don’t you love it when you get together with a friend you haven’t seen in ages and it feels like no time has passed? That’s how it was when I met my girlfriend Kirsten for tea last Monday.

kirsten monday

I love the smell of coffee but just can’t get on board with the taste so it’s English Breakfast for me and a vanilla latte for my friend. What do you drink?

toesies

Tuesday I used a gift certificate for a pedicure that a girlfriend had given me many moons ago. Like the colour? It’s Hey Baby by OPI.

sneak peek one minute miracle

Wednesday a fab prize from an Instagram contest arrived in the mail — a $430 box of carefully curated beauty products (aka “one-minute miracles”) from The Kit magazine. Do you want to know what’s in the box? Tell me and I’ll share the deets in the comments.

jamesy milkshake

My guy loves smoothies any time of year, but the heat wave we’ve been having makes them particularly refreshing. Do you have a favourite recipe? Our fav: two handfuls of fresh or frozen strawberries + two big spoons of vanilla yogurt + as much milk as you like for one delicious (and healthy!) strawberry drink.

2b

Saturday morning I finished another DIY for So Fawned, with a little help from a certain fella who loves to colour. I’ll put a link up when it appears on the site in a couple of weeks.

Oh, and that Canada Day 10K I mentioned a couple of weeks ago? Yeah that’s not on. Literally. The event doesn’t run anymore and Tanya and I haven’t been running much either so we’ll set our sights on a race in August or September. There’s plenty to choose from then.

On one other note, now you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Are you running this summer? What’s ahead for you this week?

Five things

Hello friends! How was your week? I saw the cutest craft project on Oh Happy Day last week and thought it would be perfect to try yesterday for the first day of Summer.

popsicle garland

Can you guess what they’re made of? If you answered pool noodles, you’re right! They make the cutest garlands, don’t they? You can see the complete how-to here.

jamesy shirt

And can you believe another school year has almost come to a close? Last week my guy’s JK class had an end-of-year concert, followed by a surprise informal graduation. The kids wore mortarboards made out of construction paper and their teacher read a great book about finding your own path called I Knew You Could: A Book For All The Stops In Your Life. Oh my gosh, what a tear-jerker! There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. (I mean, the kids were alright. But the parents: cue the waterworks!)

egg salad

I’m still all over the Lunchmatch contest and trying to come up with somewhat interesting entries every day. This picture was the best of the bunch last week.

Do you have any sandwich/chip combos to suggest? I’d love to hear your ideas!

horned owls

My daughter and I had a girls’ day today and spent some time browsing around an annual art festival. The horned owls were a favourite.

BeFunky_art in the park.jpg

As was the pottery.

one last cupcake

In sad news, our favourite cupcake shop closed today after four years of business. We dropped in this morning for one last treat.

We’ll miss The Flour Shoppe. Gone too soon.

Five things

The Farmer’s market had a bounty of delicious goodness this week, with seasonal greens making way for more colourful fruits and veggies.

radishes

Here’s my daughter feigning interest in the radishes. Such a gorgeous pink!

first strawberrie

And the early strawberries were in! We treated ourselves to one of the few remaining pints. I want to take the kids strawberry picking in a few weeks when the berries are more plentiful and bring home enough to make a few batches of jam.

cut with assistance800

The whole family pitched in this weekend to help me with a DIY for the fabulous blog So Fawned. You’ll see my post about it on the site in the next couple of weeks, but until then it’s hush hush. (This is very exciting!)

go your own way

I saw this print at Target and it really spoke to me so I brought it home for the gallery-wall-to-be. Just $20, framed and all!

BeFunky_orange olive oil cupcake.jpg

And to end things on a sweet note, two of my favourite digital magazines just released their summer issues. I can’t wait to curl up with my tablet and see what seasonal inspiration EMMA Magazine and Sweet Paul will bring. I’ve made many recipes from EMMA Magazine, including the one for this rather sophisticated orange olive oil and rosewater cupcake, and nearly all of them have been as delicious as they look. Will you be inspired too?

Five things

Happy Monday, friends! What does the week have in store for you? Today is the start of my second week participating in two photo challenges that are pushing me to see things in a new way.

lilacs for the blog

The first challenge is a creative exercise from Staples Canada that asks you to celebrate summer by taking photos throughout the month of June that correspond to a daily theme. Last Wednesday’s theme (“prompt” might be a better word) was “Look up”. I laid under a neighbour’s lilac bush to take this one and took a good long sniff while I was down there. Heavenly!

 

turkey sandwich for the blog 2

The second challenge is a daily contest running until the end August. Lay’s Canada is asking fans to share pictures of their sandwich/Lays chips combos for the chance to win one of three weekly prizes of $150 and a grand prize of — get this — $25,000 smackeroos! Winners are randomly selected so it’s not about the quality of the photo, but I’m always trying to improve my photography so I’m pushing myself to submit the best pictures that I can.

I don’t know what’s more challenging — the photography or coming up with three months’ worth of combos. Do you have any to suggest? So far I’ve submitted:

  • turkey, lettuce and tomato on a ciabatta bun with dill pickle chips (above)
  • grilled cheese on whole wheat with classic (Lay’s name for “regular”) chips
  • cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwiches with dill pickle chips
  • avocado and tomato on pumpernickel with classic chips
  • ham, cheese and tomato on a multigrain bun with classic chips
  • ham and cheese on a croissant with classic chips
  • tuna on a multigrain bagel with dill pickle chips

Please send me your ideas!

BeFunky_train3.jpg

One of my favourite ways to spend an afternoon is to hop the O-train out to our nearest big-box centre to pick up a few groceries, see what’s new at Joe Fresh and the GAP factory store and poke around Chapters with a tea. I often bring my tablet so I can sit at Starbucks and surf the Interwebs or work on a blog post. The smell of the coffee and the ambient noise puts me in my happy place.

Hello print

Last week I had a coupon for 30% off one item at Chapters, so I finally bought this print I’ve been eyeing for ages. Hello, gorgeous! It’ll be the first piece for the gallery wall I’d like to build above the couch, but I’ll have to hang it somewhere else until we have some more art to fill up the space. Apart from drawings by the kids, we’ve got just one other piece of art I won in a contest.

BeFunkytreelinedpath.jpg

Ottawa has so many beautiful green spaces. Will you join me for a walk along this pretty path?

Five things

How do you spend your Sundays? I can’t get moving before a couple of cups of tea, so I like to nurse those while browsing the Interwebs and entering online contests, then strike off to the farmers’ to pick up a few veggies and see what’s new.

hanging plants

I’ve got my eye on these beautiful hanging plants, which the vendor told me are begonia (begonias? Is begonia the plural, or begonias?) called illumination apricot. Which means nothing to me other than a pretty name as I know next-to-nothing about flowering plants.

And plants.

And flowers.

But they’re lovely, aren’t they? And apparently very easy to care for.

jams

It’s still too early for strawberries, but when they finally arrive I’d love to try to make some jam. This one looks fairly straightforward. Do you have a recipe to recommend?

running

Now that the weather’s warmer I’ve got to start getting out earlier for my runs. That, or go in the evening when it cools down a little. I try to do 5K every other day but this week I invited a friend to do a 10K on Canada Day so I’ve got to start upping my game.

Wish I didn’t sweat like a hog. Running in the heat? Not my favourite.

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Are you too hot to cook and looking for some new dinner ideas? This caprese panzanella salad from EMMA Magazine might be a refreshing change. Love the mozzarella balls tossed in.

Miriam-Toews-All-My-Puny-Sorrows

And good news! This week my review of Miriam Towes’ fanastic new novel, All My Puny Sorrows, was published on BrazenWoman. (While you’re there, check out my sister-in-law’s wicked recipe for protein balls.)

For the next one I’m thinking Emily Giffin’s The One and Only or Heather O’Neill’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, both hot new reads. Which one would you rather see?

Five things

My daughter had her first sleepover last night. We thought everyone would be tuckered out after running around at a super fun indoor playground in the afternoon and staying up past their bedtime to watch Peter Pan but they giggled and chatted until almost 11 (well past my bedtime!), then were up with the birds before 6 this a.m.

sleepover large

Before 6! On a Sunday! It’s not like they had a flight to catch or chickens to feed.

Where do they get their energy?

BeFunky_pickles lily.jpg

Yay, cucumbers are in season! These easy refrigerator pickles take all of 15 minutes to make and keep for about a month.

thyme and weeds

One of our neighbours has a cute sense of humour.

(If this was our yard the signs would say “WEEDS” and “DIRT”. What would your signs say?)

books for five things

I’m well stocked with books for the summer thanks to recent freebies and contest wins. Penguin Books sent me these two new releases when I became a blogger’s 5,000th Twitter follower.

I’ve also won Romance is My Day Job Listen to the Squawking Chicken, The One and Only, Jason Priestley’s memoir, and Unbridled.

What’s on your summer reading list?

zuke salad for five things

Last week I tried my first recipe from Sweet Paul Eat & Make, this zucchini salad with goat cheese.

If you think it looks a lot like my strawberry spinach salad, you’re right.  I used the rest of the spinach, goat cheese and walnuts I had from this one to make that one.

Both were delicious!