30 October 2009

[redhandedphotography: New Blog Post]

Helllllooo there.

Well - not much goin' on 'round here. I'm off to do a bit of Christmas shopping, but wanted to share what I've posted on my redhanded photography blog today.

They're a few photos from the the "two month" collection I'm working on for Katia.

Check it out here.


29 October 2009

[redhandedphotography: PHEWF!!!]

Ok ... so I've been trying to "clean house" and make things a little more efficient around here. I'm trying to figure out the best way to showcase my photoshoots, and decided that the best thing to do was to update my redhanded photography blog.

See, I have my personal Facebook account, my redhandedphotography Facebook account, this "homemakin'girl" site, my redhanded photography site and my redhandedphotography BLOG site. I'm winded just typing it all ...

SO - it gets a bit overwhelming to have to update ALL of them with the SAME stuff. But, I want to make sure that friends and family have a chance to see what I'm up to, as well as clients. What I've decided to do, is that when I have a photoshoot to share, I'll simply post a link about it here that will lead you to my redhanded BLOG site.

Or you can always go to my redhandedphotography.com site (there's a link on the right hand side of this page...) and once you're there, you can click "BLOG" at the top.

This is a bit of a work in progress ... I'm trying to figure out if I'm supposed to be updating the photos on my actual website, as WELL as the blog ...

*GRIN*. Ah well, I'll figure it out ...

So - for today, I'm sending you to my "updated" redhanded photography BLOG. It's a small post - but still ... at least I'm trying, right??

And hey - if you like what you see, don't be afraid to let me know (*hi RB ... I know you're reading - and blushing as I type this *WINK*). There's a comments link for my redhanded blog as well ...

Have a GREAT one!!

28 October 2009

[tias: Field Trip to the Market]

Gotta say that I'm a little over-the-top when it comes to photos. I had a few moms smile at me, while I tried to document Tias' field trip ... I could hear them, without them saying it ... "rookie". *GRIN*
I'm actually going through a bit of a withdrawal from photography. The weather is getting YUCKY - which makes me hyperventilate a bit because the leaves are STILL so lovely (the ones still on the trees) ... but now, they're turning to mush.

That means, I'll be taking more "event" photos than "portrait-style". With Hallowe'en, Christmas, birthdays ... there'll be a LOT of opportunities to get my fix on pushing that camera button.
Here are some pics from the fieldtrip ... and I LOVE the market in the Autumn. Pumpkins, apples, corn ... so many colours - so many reminders of how blessed we are where we live. The children had to find different fruits and vegetables, and then got to have some hot chocolate to warm their tummies up.

I am so blessed to be able to share this special time with my kids. I do not take it for granted, and try to be at all the activities that I'm invited to ... and I wish YOU a blessed day too - full of all the things and people that you love ... have a good one!

27 October 2009

[cool products: Oh No. A New Addiction.]


SL, you need to be HUNG for telling me about this new fantastic site, etsy. Seriously - ever since you told me - I've been SHOPPING. Well. Window shopping - plus a liiiiiiittle bit of real shopping *wink*.

Imagine my GLEE when I saw this:
A POD for photography. A highschool friend of mine, who is a photographer in the States, has been using one of these for her GORGEOUS newborn pics. You can see her site here (all of you in Seattle should REALLY check her out!!). I am sooooo sad that Katia is too big for this - how did I miss it???? BUT - I'm doing a newborn shoot in December, so I figured it'b be worth the investment. Plus - I might just shoehorn Katia in it *grin*.

So - I splurged and got the pod ... oh - and this little hat ...

Isn't it the CUTEST??? Interchangeable flowers ... and it's size 0-6months. Honestly - if you have a chance, pour yourself a hot drink and have a looksie on the site. There are SO many things there ...

I also picked up a set of tutus with matching headbands, ...

And finally - an "angel" set ... Whaaaat? *sly grin* ... I'm INVESTING in my company ... it's tax-deductible. *GRIN*.

For me, I found this, and maybe will be putting it on my "Christmas" wish list ... It's a super cool camera bag ...

And - I'm considering putting my own talents on there ... designing Christmas and Thank You cards ... we'll see. I think I have enough on my plate for today...

Or not.

Have a good one!

26 October 2009

[biggest loser: My Hubby's Plan ...]

So - before my own weigh in, I thought I'd tell you what my hubby has been up to. A few of you have asked what he's been doing and wondered how did he's been able to lose weight so quickly.

My hubby had gained a bunch of weight after his leg injury, and was frustrated because he couldn't exercise to get it off. We have seen a number of different friends try a program, with amazing results. He decided to try it himself. He joined Sure Slim.

Basically, they analyse your blood and let you know how your system works and how it digests and uses food. Then, they give you a list of what you can eat - how much, when you can eat it, and what you can eat it with. It's fairly complicated, and not for the undisciplined.

Truth is, is that he's worked super hard and is being fully diligent on the program. He's sacrificed a lot for it - and although it's been quick, he is re-booting his metabolism and having to relearn his relationship with food. He spends a lot of time buying and preparing his food ... he's packing lunches and storing fresh cut veggies in the fridge. Um ... where IS the husband that I knew???

I'm super proud of him ... and wish that I could have the same results - 20lbs in 4 weeks so far for him ... Although, last night he told me that he simply loves food. And that he can't do this plan forever ... to which I replied, "So - you're going to gain it all back???" Of course not - but he's not going to live the "plan" for the rest of his life. At least now he knows how to get it off quickly, if too much comes back on.

BUT today is MY weigh in ... and here are my results this week: weight: 153.2lbs waist:34.5inches hips:39 inches. I'm down almost THREE pounds from last week!!! WHOO HOO! And half and inch off of my waist. SO pumped ... I'm on a roll now - and nothin's gonna stop me now (... can you hear Starship in the background? "Noooothin's gonna stop us nooooow ...")

In my mind, I had a goal to be a "certain" weight by the time I lead worship again at my church. You know, to wear NORMAL pants - not maternity ones. BUT, they put me on to lead THIS Sunday - which isn't enough time ... BUT, if I could be in the 140's by then??? I'd be sooo happy. Is it possible to lose 3.3pounds in one week? Hmmmm ... don't think so.

I am so excited to get back into the Music Department at the church. It's my "small" church in a "big" church. Leading worship is the most wonderful thing for me. I have truly missed it over these past few months. I'm a little nervous, though ... it's been a while.

PLUS, I'm going to be singing in the Christmas Production this year!! I haven't been involved in our church's productions since we lost Shalom in Dec.06 - so I am really excited about being a part of it again. I LOVE Christmas Productions!

On another note, a BIG THANKS to all who participated in my CONTEST. If you were one of the winners and haven't yet supplied me with the required info and photo(s) - don't forget!! There IS a deadline!

Have a good one - and remember, that if this WASN'T a good week for you - this upcoming one WILL be. Baby steps ... that's what I'm trying to do!

23 October 2009

[contest: The RESULTS!!!]

Hello hello ... (this is my last year's Christmas card ... just an example of what I can do ...)

WELLL - the first official "Homemakin' Girl" contest is over ... and I wonder where all of you went to *grin*?? I only had a few responses in my email box - maybe because some of you felt you were late getting your answers in?

Whatever the case ... here are the answers:
1. The name of the cruise ship? The Liberty Of the Seas
2. The NZ treats? ANZAC cookies
3. The treats that Winnie the Pooh's friend would like? Tiger Butter (Tigger is a tiger, no?)
4. The countries my dad was visiting? Russia & Poland
5. The famous person I saw in Aldo? Tori Spelling

And did you notice I put up a "search" link on my site to help you?? I was trying to make the last question super hard ... then thought, it would be too hard to find. But if you had searched "famous" - the answer was right there. I wonder how many of you used that *grin*?

So - you wanna know the winner?? *drumroll*

I put the post up at 9:48AM ... all five correct answers came into my mailbox at 9:54am. SOMEONE was with it this morning *grin* ... Mr. Jason P. You are the winner. Your wife will be happy ... she submitted her answers at 10:12am - and they were all correct too!

But here's the REAL surprise. I'm going to extend my "gift" to all those who took the time to send me their answers *GRIN* ... ("YOU get a card, YOU get a card ... YOOOOU GET A CARD!!" - I'm having an Oprah moment *laughing*)
Here's the list:
Jason & Kristin P.
Mary K.
Steve P.
Rosalia C.
Oxana K.
Vanessa L.
Rosalee B.
Shelley M.

Here's what to do to "claim" your prize. Send me up to 3 photos (via tawnsblog@hotmail.com), your colour preference, greeting (merry christmas, joy to the world .. whatever you'd like ...), the closing "with love, the whoevers..." and whether you'd like it contemporary or more "scrapbook" like (traditional). Also - I am able to black-n-white photos if desired. Be sure to let me know ....

That's it!!
The sooner you have them in, the sooner I can do it :-). If you do NOT submit your information by November 5, you will NOT receive your free card.

Once it's complete - I'll email it to you and you can upload it. PLEASE NOTE: There will be NO CHANGES made once I have completed and delivered the created card as I'm already going to have my hands full by doing so many *grin* - so be specific in your instructions.

Hope this put a smile on some of your faces!!

Have a good one!

[digiscrap: ON a ROOLLLL & Final Contest Clue]

I have been on a ROLLLLL with my digiscrapping!! Maybe that's because Katia doesn't go to sleep until midnight ... so I have a good few hours in the evening to get some stuff done.

I'm desperately trying to catch up with the "small" pages ... putting the photos on disk, doing the pages, printing them, removing them from my harddrive. I have a couple of BIG projects that I really want to get on to ... one being my NZ / Auz trip. I haven't even STARTED editing those pics. I guess it seems too daunting ... takes too long to feel like I've "done' something. That's why I'm doing so many little pages ...

But once I get going on it, it shouldn't take me too terribly long. I know my Mom is anxious to have it done - as I'm giving a copy to her and my dad as a "thank you". *hi mom!!* ... she reads these posts *grin*.

I've had some inquiries about the food plan my hubby's been doing ... he's lost over 20lbs in 4 weeks. I'll post that on Monday ...

So here are my new pages ... scroll down for the FINAL CLUE ...

double click images to enlarge

"Name the famous person I saw in the downtown Aldo store."
NOW ... quick - send your FIVE answers to tawnsblog@hotmail.com . First one with ALL FIVE correct answers, wins!! GOOD LUCK!!

22 October 2009

[lunchbox: Ideas #2 - Trail Mix Bars & Contest Clue #4]

I'm still pretty new at this - and having my son in kindergarten two days a week, REALLY isn't that difficult for lunches. But still ... it is.

Our school is a "nut free" school, which makes things a little more tricky. Actually - what it REALLY means, is that most things are homemade that go in his lunchbox - just to make sure. It's surprising how many pre-packaged food items say, "may contain traces of nuts".

Well - because there's recess and lunch, I try and give Tias good choices for both. Although, his recess snack has to be quick and simple. Here's something that I've just tried ... maybe you'll like to as well.

Trail Mix Bars

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 tbsp honey
1 1/3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup cheerios
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease.
Put butter and honey in a small saucepan. Heat gently until butter is melted. Set aside to cool.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. And the cooled butter mixture and mix well. Transfer to the prepared pan and press down firmly with a potato masher. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is just firm to the touch.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then mark into eight bars using a sharp knife. Allow to cool completely before lifting from the pan. Store in an airtight container.
Now ... for today's question ... "My dad was on a missions trip when Katia was born. Name the two countries he visited." If you've missed the previous questions, or contest information, click "contest" on the sidebar and read up on what's going on 'round here.

Have a good one!

21 October 2009

[be challenged: This Is Gonna Hurt & Contest Clue #3]

About 3 years ago, new neighbours moved in across the street. I brought them a loaf of "welcome-to-the-neighbourhood-banana-bread" and we've been friends ever since. And they're good friends to have ... both husband and wife are RCMP officers.

We have a few "couple" RCMP officers in the neighbourhood ... a good thing for certain.

ANYway - I'll call her "Jill" - she's my Ninja neighbour. She's worked on helicopters, catching bad-guys. She and her hubby came to one of my HH12 Groups and taught "self defence". Super cool ... and she had her baby 3 weeks after Katia was born.

She showed up at my door, with her adorable wee one in a snuggly, and asked if I was interested in a "Mom & Tot Bootcamp".

UM. YESSSSS?? (Is that the right answer??)

So, it starts the first week of November, and runs for 8 classes. I'm a weeeeee bit nervous. Carrying 30lbs, not enough sleep ... I'm expecting to vomit the first class *grin*. But - I'm thankful that she asked, and it'll be great to have someone to do it with. It'll make my Wii workout seem a little lame ... which in itself is a scary thing. I'm still sore from Sunday's 20min workout *blush*.

I SHALL BE FIT. I SHALL. (Can you see my victorious hand in the air????) You with me?? One pound at a time, one inch at a time ... I shall fit into those pants by ... um, 2010??

Ok. ENOUGH already. Want the question for today? Here it is: "Winnie the Pooh's friend might like these treats."

Good luck ... only a couple more to go!!

20 October 2009

[contest: Random Babbling & Contest Clue #2]

Grey grey grey.

And I realized yesterday, that we usually make our way to Phoenix during the fall months - just to break up the monotony of BLAH. With my folks having a condo down there, it makes going there inexpensive and like we're going "home away from home". But not this year ... I was too afraid to book anything until Katia had gotten through some of her vaccinations and the flu season. I'm such a wimp.

So, Katia has been giving me up to 4hrs of sleep in a row. It's funny how that's all I dreamed of, and now - it doesn't quite cut it. I'm now hoping for 5. Or 6. Or what the heck - 8!!! I find my patience level decreases with every minute of sleep lost ...

I'm semi-comatose even while I write this ... and I forgot to "pre post" on Sunday night - SOOOOO - instead of having some "theme" to write about, I'm going to just say that I could use a night's sleep.

Today? Well, Tias is off to school, Siah just finished breakfast, and Katia JUST starting fussing in her monitor (it's 8am as I write this ...). I'm finishing up yesterday's laundry, and starting up today's. I intend on doing SOMETHING fun with Siah - not sure what. And plan supper - which is tricky since my hubby is on this wicked food plan and he doesn't eat with us (he's lost 19.5lbs in 3 weeks. I'm so jealous).

Then, after lunch, I'll make sure that Katia's "topped up" and then leave to pick up Tias - around 2pm. We'll come home, do Tias' piano practice, finish up making dinner ... by then my hubby should be home. Then dinner, playtime - maybe a family date to SBucks - bath and bed. Then, I'll do the Wii Fit for 30 min while my hubby watches Katia ... we'll watch "The Biggest Loser" together and then my hubby's usually off to bed at around 10:30pm. I don't get to bed until around midnight ... Katia loves the evenings to be WIDE awake. We're working on that ...

Ok. Totally boring post. I apologise. I just don't seem to have a creative bone in my body today ... Hmmm. I'd better get Katia ...

Today's question: "These cookies are an NZ specialty."

Good luck - and thanks for letting me know that you're a part of this :-). Remember, EVERYONE is welcome to participate. Have a good one!

19 October 2009

[biggest loser: Weigh In and Contest Clue #1

Weighing in is such a nightmare.

And - if you know me - you know that rainy weather just makes me ... blue. So - the beginning of the week was icky, which means ... comfort food. Laziness. Sleep ... who am I kidding. I haven't slept since May ... ALTHOOOOOUGH, Katia took a soother this weekend - for the first time!! It meant that I could persuade a longer time between feedings, and she went from 11:30pm - 4:45am. WHOO HOO ... that was a big deal for me!!

Sorry for the commercial *grin* - back to TBL ... After a few days of "blue", I got on a bit of roll. I've started doing the Wii Fit "Boxing" and am now super SORE. That's a good thing, I guess ... working those muscles that are hiding.

Here's today's weigh in: 155.8lbs waist: 35 inches hips: 39 inches

That means I'm down ALMOST another pound (again, a bit of a disappointment), but I'm down 1/2 an inch off my waist and a whole inch off of my hips.

My goal for next week? 154lbs, 34.5 inch waist and 38.5 inch hips. As long as the numbers keep getting smaller, I'm feeling alright about it. I know that this is a good way to go - losing weight slowly means that I'm not going to jeopardize my nursing.

Ok. Let's forget about that for now ...

Who's interested in the CONTEST??? Remember - DO NOT post your answer in the comments ...rather, write it down - or save it in an email draft. I'll be sending you the email address to send your answers to on Thursday. All answers are SOMEWHERE in my blog ... you'll just have to hunt a little bit, if you can't remember the answer. The first person with all FIVE answers (one for each day), and delivered first into my contest's email box will win a PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS CARD, designed by me ...

Ready? Here's the first question. "What was the name of the cruise ship my husband and I went on for our 10th Anniversary?"

Good luck!!

And hey - if you don't mind posting a comment - just so I know that there's someone out there doing this :-) ... thanks!!

15 October 2009

[lunchbox: Ideas #1]

WOW!!! I got a ton of responses yesterday, between comments, emails and FB. So - I'll be going ahead with the CONTEST. Here's a couple of hints ... it's going to START on MONDAY. And you'll be HUNTING around for five days. Each day will have an "answer". On the final day, you'll give me all five answers. The first one, with all five correct answers, will send me an email (I'll be posting that info on day four) ... and voila - we'll have a WINNER!

Sound like fun? Hope so!!

Ok - enough of that for now. Here's today's question: do you struggle with lunchbox ideas?? I sure do. And that was one thing I was worried about with Mattias heading off to kindergarten 2-3 full days a week.

For me, nothing says "I love you" more than a well prepared meal. So - I'm starting to come up with a repertoire for lunches, and I thought I'd post some ideas each week to inspire you beyond the sandwich. *grin*.

First off - I bought a great little book called "Lunch Boxes and Snacks". It has over 120 healthy recipes - from delicious sandwiches and salads, to hot soups and sweet treats. At least, that's what it says on the cover *grin*.

Here's today's idea: thermos noodles

"Mummy's Ramen Noodles" (makes 2 portions)

6oz fine Chinese-style egg noodles
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup canned/frozen corn
2/3 cup shredded chicken
1 scallion, thinly slices (optional)
1 tsp cornstarch

Directions: Cook the noodles according to the package (or use precooked noodles). Drain and set aside. Put the broth, soy sauce, peas, corn and chicken in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in scallion (if using). Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tsp cold water and add to the contents in the pan. Cook, stirring for 1 minute - or until liquid thickens slightly. Add the noodles and reheat briefly - stirring. Transfer to bowl to serve, or prepare into thermoses.

Truth is, you could put any variety of veggies or meat in this ...
Enjoy!! And have a great one!

14 October 2009

[digiscrap: Love Doin' Pages]

There's something about the fall that makes me feel like digiscrapping. Maybe it's because it's too cold and dark to be out after 5pm *grin*. So, when the kiddies are in bed, I try to do some pages at least one night a week ... If I'm organized, I can get about 4 two-page layouts done in an evening ...

I'm still tweaking my thoughts on the "CONTEST" I'm going to be having. Stay tuned for updates on that, and be sure to come by and visit to make sure you don't miss out. Remember - the prize will be your own personalized Christmas Cards, digitally designed my moi. Kinda like how I digiscrap - only in a 5x7 with YOUR photos and greeting. Ok - so it's not a weekend away, but still ... Are you interested??? I'm curious as to how many would actually participate ... trust me, it's not anything that makes you look stupid, or is massively time consuming ... So - let me know if hosting a CONTEST is even worth it???

Here are some of my recent pages ... Enjoy - and hey ... have a good one *wink*.

double click images to view

13 October 2009

[be challenged: Boxes of Love]

ALMOST forgot that I was scheduled to work at Tias' school this morning ... so I'm up up and away .... but I didn't forget to put up a post *smile*. Now that the weather seems to have turned, reading blogs with a warm drink seems like the right thing to do *grin* ...

This weekend we finished our family's "Boxes of Love" and it was such a great family time!

Every year, our church asks the congregation to get involved, and take home a shoebox. Inside is a list of ideas to fill it with - so great- and then once it's filled, we're to bring it back so it can get shipped to the Village of Hope, in Africa. We always do one for each child that we have - so this year we did three.

I had taken the boys, and Katia *smile*, to Walmart and we shopped off the list. Toothpaste, tooth brushes, soap, pencil crayons, notebooks, toys ... we had so much fun! And the boys were all over, "Mom - I think this would make our friends in Africa happy ...".

I think that teaching our children to care for others is such an important thing. And after seeing how much our children grasped this idea, I am looking for other things to do WITH them to TEACH them. And that lead to a FANTASTIC lesson on the true meaning of being "thankful", this Thanksgiving.

One thing that we'll be doing for sure, is the World Vision Gift Catalogue again this year. I posted on this last year, and it is SUCH a great idea. Check last year's post for all the info ... We intend on having our boys look through and see what THEIR money can do for others.
SO - be challenged. Be generous - we all have something that we can give, big or small.

Have a great one!

12 October 2009

[biggest loser: Here We Go Again]

First off - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Like my new blog title?? I did it about a million times before I realized it wasn't a big deal - and stuck with this one *grin* ...

I LOVE this holiday - and I love the food. But, it's a good thing I'm a white-meat-no-gravy kinda gal. BUT, I love mashed potatoes. So that's gonna have to be watched.

On Friday night, we had friends over for dinner. I tried out a new recipe (from that new cookbook) and it was crazy good. I made baked chicken, stuffed with herbed cheese, walnuts and shredded carrots. It's then rolled in breadcrumb and grated Parmesan cheese. Yum. Then, I diced up yams and potatoes and tossed them in Mrs. Dash and a little bit of flour. Cooked them on the stove with a little oil in the pan, until nice and crispy. And the veggies were mushrooms, zucchini and peppers sauteed in sherry.

Oh, how I LOVE to cook ... especially as it gets colder outside. I had the new Michael Buble CD playing, the food-smells creating, the kids playing ... and the laughter of fun with good friends. SERIOUSLY. Is there anything better???

Well - I was thinking about this weigh-in, and I knew that I would have to be EXTRA good on Saturday and Sunday if I didn't want to be completely horrified with myself. And - WHOO HOO - the numbers are DOWN. Phewf!

Today's weight: 156.6lbs Waist: 35.5inches Hips: 40inches

So - I'm down 1lb since last week, 1/2 inch around my waist (around my belly button, NOT the smallest part - which is just below my rib cage), and 1inchs of my hips!! My GOAL for next week is 155lbs, 35 inch waist and 39 inch hips.

Another week to keep on keepin' on. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can ...

Have a great one!

09 October 2009

[talk: Getting Pregnant When Already Pregnant??]

Sunday nights are my "blogging" nights. After the kids are in bed, my hubby and I watch a couple of shows and I have my laptop ready for posting. During the previous week, I usually have a few ideas about the different posts I'd like to do - then, on the Sunday night, I prepare them all. When the drafts are finished - I schedule them to post on different days. I find it a great way to blog, and if I really want to change something, or add/take away, I can easily do it.

Well - today's post will be next week's because I just read this on MSN.

A women, who was already pregnant, got pregnant AGAIN. She's due in December AND in January!!!! Can you even IMAGINE???? Delivering one baby (oooh, the pain), only to have to do it AGAIN a few weeks later?

So - that is my post. Because I am now ruined for the day - being haunted by the sheer craziness that this is even possible ... Be careful, my pregnant friends *wink*!!

Next week, I'll be posting the details of the CONTEST I'll be having. Be sure to stop by and check that out. And for all my Canadian readers, here's to a fantastic Thanksgiving Weekend!

And remember - there will still be the BIGGEST LOSER WEIGH-IN on Monday morning. Aren't you glad that's BEFORE Thanksgiving dinner???

Mmmmmmm ... turkey. *grin*

08 October 2009

[renovation 09: The Family Room & CONTEST INFO]

OOPS!! Sorry everyone ... had this posted under the wrong date - so you weren't able to find it. But here it is ...

Well - you've seen the fireplace, and seen the railings ... but I thought I'd show you the whole room. This is what it looked like "before" ...

And this is the room that started the whole project. See, with my hubby laying on the couch for those 3weeks after his leg injury - he realized that our carpets were embarrassingly stained. 12 year old, cream, builders carpet. YUCK.

So - we started planning on changing the carpet ... which lead to changing all of the flooring on the mainfloor. Which lead to changing the baseboards, then adding the crown ... the paint colour needed to match, so it was changed too. Then the railings, some changes in lighting, and blinds were added instead of the brown curtains ... oh. And the fireplace.
See?? Renovations can realllllly get the better of you. But last night, I had photography clients come over while the kids were in bed, and my hubby at the hockey game, and the house felt - lovely. I am so pleased with it ... it feels calm and clean.
Here's the reveal ... (drumroll please ...)
Stay tuned for a CONTEST I having for my blog readers. The prize? I will design your CHRISTMAS CARDS! Confused? WELL - I will digitally design a card with up to 3 family photos, you'll pick the colour scheme and the "greeting", and I'll do the rest. You'll be able to upload and print them out, say, at Costco - for about 12 CENTS each. Seriously - it's the ONLY way to do Christmas cards ...
Stay tuned!! And hey - have a good one!

07 October 2009

[product review: "BRAVO! Best of Bridge Cookbook" and SPICED PECANS Recipe]

I got a little giddy when I saw this at my local Costco:

I am a MASSIVE fan of the Best of Bridge cookbooks ... I remember my mom using the "red one" when I was growing up - and it continues to be my favourite series with trendy, yummy, eye-pleasing recipes.

This book is NO exception.

First off, it's a hardcover PLUS coil rings (reminds me of the Betty Crocker book ...). It's super sturdy, and easy to flip through. Want to hear some of the yummy recipes? Ok ... in the "Brunch & Lunch" section, how 'bout "Overnight Raspberry French Toast", "Lemony Zucchini Flaxseed Muffins", "Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles" or "Frittata Muffins"??

Or in the other sections ... "Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Flatbread", "Green Salad with Orange-Walnut Dressing", "Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce", "Apple & Pecan-stuffed Pork Tenderloin", "Cranberry Baked Beans", "Coconut Mango Rice", "Pasta with Broccoli & Bacon", "Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti", "Brandied Caramel Bananas", "Strawberry Tiramisu" or "Hazelnut Blueberry Cake".

Obviously, I could go on ... and now I'm hungry *grin*. Good thing this isn't a Monday "Biggest Loser" post ... The book is on sale at Costco for $17.89.

Well - I won't let you drool without a recipe to leave you with ... I created this recipe many years ago after falling in love with them in a salad at Milestones. I GRINNED when I saw something similar in this book ...


1/3 cup pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4tsp powdered ginger
1/4tsp cayenne pepper
3 tbsp water

In a frying pan, toast pecans (you'll start to smell the nuttiness ...). Cover with brown sugar & spices. Add water (3tbsp is a guess ... the brown sugar should be submersed in the water (damp)). Continue cooking over medium heat until the water evaporates and the sugars crystallize. The pecans should separate and be crunchy.

And just to wet your appetite for tomorrow - I'll be posting another set of "renovation 09" pictures ... Have a great one!

06 October 2009

[redhandedphotography: Katia's Photoshoot]

Ok - SO MANY responses from yesterday's post!! WOW. And so REAL too!! Thank you for taking the time to share your own thoughts and experiences ... such an encouragement to me. But today's post is about the wee one who added those pounds *grin*. So worth it ... isn't she lovely??
I have seen so many fantastic photos of newborns, and I really wanted to try and capture some of my own little images of Katia.

These kinds of photos are "portrait" style and not my typical photoshoot. There's lighting to consider ... and the fact that my 2 year old wanted to jump in, annoy Katia and completely disrupt the whole thing ... *grin*. That doesn't usually happen with clients *laughing*.

The other day, it dawned on me that the reason why I could never capture how LITTLE she is, is because I never had a point of reference in the photo. When I came upon a friend's photo of her son, placed in a hand-held luggage, I realized he looked small because he was IN something SMALL.
This is what I came up with. A salad bowl. And the lighting was perfect by using the natural light from a skylight upstairs. All in all - I was pleased with the results. It's hard to judge your own work - you can nit-pick and fuss ... but I think that I'll look back at them and remember how little she really was.

I love you so much, sweet Katia!! xo

05 October 2009

[biggest loser: SIGH.]

Ok. Who's dumb idea was this anyway??

This week has been a whirlwind of victories and defeats. One day, I'm literally eating ONLY Hallowe'en candy - then sobbing in the van at how disappointed I am with myself ... the next, I'm jumping on the trampoline for 20minutes, cooking up grilled chicken with salad and having a Coke Zero to satisfy that need for "sweets". Up. Down. Up. Down. Gotta love post-partum hormones.

Plus ... you know how if you weigh yourself at night (before bed), then in the morning - and you're usually DOWN a pound or two?? Well - I do that, and I'm UP TWO. Seriously!! This nursing thing is going to play a doozie on my mind ... That, and that I'm starving because Katia eats every 2-3hrs allllll dayyyyy looooong.

SO - because of this - I am going to take the advice of one of my readers ... She suggested that I measure INCHES instead of concentrating on the number on the scale. Brilliant advice for me - and will make my head not hurt as much.

I say that, because although I don't know WHAT I measured last week, today I am able to wear "small" maternity pants, rather than "medium". Now - this really does not make me happy to admit to - rather embarrassing - BUT, it's at least changing, right??

So ... I am going to still post my weight (as discouraging as it is) to hopefully encourage some of YOU. You are not alone. As am I.

Today's weight: 157.6lbs. Yup. That's right. I GAINED weight. Lovely.

Today's waist (**shudder** ... again, who's STUPID idea is this??): 36inches. That's measuring around my bellybutton, like Dr. Oz suggests. I have a true "muffin top" from Katia. And I tried Pilates last week and realized that I'm still not completely recovered from her delivery ... it was that painful.

Today's hips: 41inches. Which translates into a large rearend. Again, LOVELY.

So - it's a new day, a new week ... I have another chance to do better this week. I'm hoping to see some actual results ... I'm a tad behind my schedule now (I had hoped to be 154lbs by now).

Ok. I'm done. I'll go crawl back in my hole ... let me know when it's Thanksgiving ... love turkey *grin*.

02 October 2009

[renovations 09: The Fireplace]

All I wanted was a mantle. You know, one made out of wood - that I could hang Christmas stockings from, without worrying about chipping the drywall. Well ... that was the starting point.

My father-in-law was the "project manager" and he said that the whole thing needed to go. If we were going to do this, we were going to do it RIGHT. Um ... yessir!!

So, down it came. The tile was ripped out, the drywall - destroyed.

Then, it was rebuilt from scratch, and the fire-insert was centered and shelves were built.

The insert above was made smaller by bringing in lower from the ceiling (so moulding could go around the perimeter of the ceiling), and the depth was cut in half.

The fireplace was tiled with little black tiles, and finished with mouldings.

It really anchors the room now - and I can't wait to dress it up for Christmas! I'll show you the FULL change with the "Family Room" reveal ...

Have a great one!

01 October 2009

[renovations 09: Stairs]

With all that's been going on - I totally forgot about showing you some of our renovation pics. What can I say? I'm used to living in it now ...

For today's reveal - our staircase. It was chipped, peeling and really outdated. We considered doing an updated version of the white posts, as they are definitely making a comeback.

My hubby had a pain-in-the-neck time tearing it down before the guy came. Do you remember the drama with the railing guy??? Yeah. I had forgotten about it until now ... a picture is worth a thousand words sometimes ...

We opted for the warmer wood and iron ... and the painting? Something I whipped up with a spatula and 3 tones of paint. Trust me - I am NOT an artist ... can't draw a stickman with a ruler. But I was getting worried about the black and brown theme I was having and needed something to bring it all together. I couldn't find ANYthing that was substantial enough ... so, this was the most inexpensive solution. It cost about $150.00 to make ... and we really like how it anchors that wall now when you're sitting in the family room.

What do you think?? I think it's one of the biggest changes we ended up doing. Well - wait a sec - maybe that's not quite true ... we did a lot of things ...

Now that I'm remembering to do this - more pics soon!

OH ... and just to let you know how I'm getting all this blogging done?? The wee hours of the morning with my dear screaming baby ... putting her in the swing and listening to the clock tick by at 2am. UGH. I sometimes get one or two posts done, save them and schedule them for different dates ... and don't think about it until I see them on my site. Just in case you thought I sat around at the computer all day blogging ... HA!! Wouldn't THAT be nice!! Well. Not really. Being a mom is much better ... and so would 8hrs of sleep *wink*!!

Have a great one!