Thursday, March 28, 2013

PUNCH of color

We are very excited for spring! Besides fall I think spring is the best decorating season of the year. Bright playful colors like yellow, pink,  and blue. Tulips and greenery can be spotted everywhere with a light airy feel to remind you that cold snowy weather is almost behind us. Unfortunately when you live in Edmonton, Alberta Canada spring and summer can take a really really long time to arrive. We thought we would get a head start and add a giant punch of spring color to our otherwise plain jane bookshelf
 Using some pretty wrapping paper at only $3.99 a roll we added a definite punch to the bookshelf. Ive always wanted to incorporate pink into the living room so this was a great way to see if it would work. The wrapping paper roll is the exact width of our ikea billy bookshelves making this project super easy. Tucking in the wrapping paper by slightly pushing the back board of the shelf seemed secure enough but I added a tiny bit of adhesive tape just in case.

The final result is a bit crazy! Luckily its temporary and just for fun.
The kids really like it but that baby will be changed very soon. I came across some yellowish paper at winners which I think will be a bit more subtle. If you have a smaller bookcase or even a few glass cabinets in your kitchen I think using wrapping paper is a perfect and inexpensive way to add a touch of color and whimsy.
Have a wonderful weekend and never be afraid to play and have fun with your decor!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The BIG Cook

A few months ago I was asked to join a group of four girls who were doing something called a "Big Cook". Although I was fascinated by the idea of having an afternoon set aside to prepare a $hit load of meals to freeze for the family I was hesitant.  I have some food allergies, I'm also a it of a germ phob and honestly I didn't know if it would be worth the cost because depending on what recipes everyone chose there was a good chance our picky family wouldn't haven eaten all of them.
I passed on the invite but wanted to know all the details of how it turned out. The group made a huge amount of meals for very little (16 meals each for about $120). I had to know more!
I ordered the book online The BIG Cook and it was awesome.
The recipes were reasonable regarding preparation and direction. I asked a friend to do a mini cook with me just to see if it would be worthwhile. 8 cups of chopped onions, 16 pounds of chicken breasts and a whole bunch of other ingredients later we were excited and a bit terrified

We spent a total of 4 hours doing the actual prep and cooking. We ended up making a total of 20 meals so we each took home 10 meals to freeze.
We made all meat based recipes (2 hamburger, 1 ham, 1 ribs, 1 whole chicken, 1 beef stew, 4 chicken breast ).  We could have saved money by choosing pasta and veggie dishes or substituting some of the chicken breast recipes with brown meat but we decided to go all out instead.
 Most of the recipes we chose were on the pricier side using real swiss cheese, white wine, nice cuts of meat, etc. In total we spent about $150 each but we also walked away with quite a bit of left over ingredients (1 pound of mozza cheese each, veggies, tons of freezer bags, etc) mainly because we overestimated on some of our measurements and decided to splurge on a GIANT bag of grated cheese which was pricey but we knew we could split it and freeze it for other meals at home. That splurge saved alot of time as we needed over 8 cups of grated cheese.
Overall we were really happy with the cost and the quality of the meals. It was a much needed treat having a chance to spend a child free afternoon together visiting and drinking the remaining wine.  We had fun and it was strangely a super relaxing afternoon considering how busy we were.
 Would I do it again? Absolutely!
I'm already picking out recipes for the next cook.
Two thumbs up from this girl.
p.s we have already eaten one of the chicken recipes and everyone in our family loved it. Alex actually said it was the best chicken he ever had. I think he was just being nice but I will take it

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Livin large

A few years ago our friends Dwayne and Stacey bought a newer home and their excitement was contageous. When they invited us over we got the full tour and I could see immediately one of the features that must have drew them to this house, the MEGA spa bathroom!
The previous owners had converted the main floor bedroom and washroom into one giant bathroom. The new washroom has the largest tub I have ever seen. If I had this in my house Im pretty sure the kids would tell all their friends they had an indoor pool.
Have a look
The bathroom is very neutral and quite dark - it definitely gives off a spa vibe.
The circular tub has a beautiful modern faucet
One wall has a makeup table with granite countertops and a built in espresso shelving unit next to it. The drawers under the banquet are huge and would be a great place to store items like toilet paper, towels and soaps
Across the bath is an equally large shower
A rain head shower fixture in a floor to ceiling tiled shower looks incredibly luxurious.
Dwayne and Stacey have done a great job keeping the enormous bathroom very sleek and simple with minimal decor for that modern feel. Size doesnt always matter but if youve got it flaunt it! This is one of the largest bathrooms and tubs Ive ever seen in a home. I think the previous owners were very courageous to convert the only main floor bedroom in this home but it has clearly been worth it. Every shower and bath must feel like true spa experience
Thanks for letting us crash your bathroom, next time I will bring the kids and their swimsuits :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

2nd Birthday

Baby girl just turned 2
We had elaborate plans for a big Elmo themed 2nd birthday

And then we paused
and chose not to stress ourselves out this year with all the usual
decoration prep, food, invitations, goodie bags, etc
We still had party elements of course but didn't go overboard. Alex helped
(I think he is an aspiring chef)

We chose to invite just a small amount of family
Sometimes for very little ones,(especially baby girl)  lots of people can be overwhelming
so a small gathering was just right for her
She adored her Elmo cake and cupcakes (inspired by wannafoodie)


Baby girl had a blast and danced around in her party dress with a smile on her face
I could barely get a shot of her still.

We had some guilt about not going all out for her birthday as we seem to do for her brother..
but the look on her face confirmed that we made the right decision and I must admit although I LOVE big parties, I'm sure glad we could actually be part of this one rather than running around tending to things. Im pretty sure the above snapshot is engraved in my heart forever.

Happy Birthday to our sweet angel
Mommy and Daddy love you

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to remove crayon from surfaces

Oh how I adore my little one, especially when she gave me a nice break the other day by pulling her wee play chair up to the coffee table and proceeded to take out her favorite Dora and Hello Kitty coloring books. We normally don't color in the living room, its an activity reserved for the kitchen table or play table but this mama was not going to stop her. I will take a moment of quiet relax time anyway I can get it, besides she looked adorable.
Too late I realized she had decided the table would be a better canvas...

I stood there wondering how I let this happen, and how the hell would I get it off my old round table which I adore? I reached for the magic eraser but wondered if there was a natural way to remove it instead. I consulted pinterest and the majority ruled.. I only needed one ingredient - Baking Soda

It worked!
First I wiped the table down with soapy water and then sprinkled baking soda on all the crayon spots. Using a wet cloth I rubbed the crayon marks out quite easily.

Gotta love baking soda!
I think we will stick to coloring at the kitchen table
xo Amanda


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY cabinet moulding

It finally happened
We have cabinet trim!
I am so impressed with Mr. Bliss, it took a long long time but he finally did it. Have I mentioned he has no prior experience with home renovation projects and has done all of these jobs completely self taught!? (insert slow clap here)
We chose an Ikea kitchen, the Akurum Adel cabinets to be specific and we really didn't like the options available for trim. We decided to put in the cabinets and add our own trim later. This proved to be quite a challenge as the ceilings are not exactly straight and attaching the trim and color matching it was a bit interesting too
I think it looks AWESOME

The cabinets were great but the trim issue had stuck out like a sore thumb

We purchased crown moulding from the hardware store and decided that nailing a narrow board to the top of the cabinets would be a creative way to attach the moulding. We could not attach the moulding directly to the cabinets because the doors would be in the way so it needed to be recessed slightly (its meant to attach to the ceiling and the wall)

Once the boards were up we needed to fill the cracks with putty and when it dried we sanded it so it would be smooth.  Finding a match was challenging but after some trial and error we found that Benjamin Moores Paper Mache was a really close match

Cabinet trim
Another check on the list..
Enjoy your week, I will be here enjoying my fancy new trim

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Bathroom Humor

Ever since the kids pulled too hard on our towel rack
and Mr. Bliss patched and primed
Ive been staring at this
So a little diversion was needed
I picked up this cute frame from homesense and made the sign with my printer
Add a cute new soap

And presto, not only a diversion from the big white spots but a motivation to paint them. So I did.
Sometimes its the little things that will help get your but in gear..
Enjoy your weekend