Sunday, November 28, 2010

best. product. ever.

ok, so we all know that i love to cook. love it. and i'm learning to {mumble, mumble, mumble}.

what's that? you didn't understand me there?


ok, fine. i'm learning to enjoy baking, too.

there, i said it. sigh.

and so, in that vein, i am learning to appreciate certain products that i never fully appreciated before. and one of those products is

Europe's Best frozen berries. honestly. i lurv these things.

now, usually, i prefer the raspberries. because raspberries rock. but, the kids prefer the mix, so that is what i end up buying, nine times out of ten.

why do i love these so much, you ask? well, gentle reader, let me tell you!!

1. not overly expensive. even on my "budget." and sometimes you'll find them on sale. and yes, they sell them at Shoppers Drug Mart, so i get a 30% discount, which in my books, makes them pretty darn reasonable.

2. frozen means "not packed in sugar and preservatives." that's right, folks, nothing added. just berries and cold. sure, they're not fresh. i understand that. but they're fresh when they get freezed (as opposed to "when they are frozen," which is the state in which i buy them... see the difference? and yes, i invented a word. but i'm a writer, so i'm allowed some creative license with the language, i think. {wink}) so that's good enough for me (except when they're in season, but it's almost december here, so pretty much nothing is in season at the moment).

3. yumminess. again, raspberries FTW ("for the win," for you non-cyber-types). the blackberries are also nice. and the kids love the strawberries and blueberries (pa-tooie!), so it's all good.

4. healthiness. is that a word? who knows. who cares. you know what i mean. and really, do i need to elaborate on this one??

ok, ok, i'll grant that some people will have complaints about frozen berries. specifically, that they get soggy. and yes, ok, i'll admit, that if you're just pulling some berries out of the bag, thawing them and eating them straight up like that, yes. they're going to be soggy and gross. but! to those people, i say...

dude, seriously! diversify!!!

here's a list, totally off the top of my head as i'm writing here, of things you can make with these berries:

  • smoothies
  • milkshakes (which in this house, are the same thing as smoothies. but bram doesn't like smoothies, but he loves milkshakes. just don't tell him they're the same thing. {wink})
  • parfait, a la Europe's Best website.
  • parfait, a la heather. which is, in this order from bottom to top: yogurt (vanilla or berry), frozen berries, granola. le yum!
  • pies. and really, who doesn't love pie?
  • jams
  • muffins
  • banana bread
need i go on? or are you getting the idea? i sure hope you are.

i also hope you're grabbing your purse and heading out to the grocery store and picking up a bag of these little drops of baking heaven.

and yes, in case you're wondering, they have a bunch of varieties of fruit, not just berries. they also have cranberries, mangoes, peaches, blueberries, etc. and they have veggies, too. asparagus (which is lovely), spinach (a post is forthcoming about that little gem, too), potatoes, and many others.

and also, in case you're wondering, if you click on the links in this post, you will be taken to the Europe's Best website. there you'll find the complete list of products, as well as a whole lot of recipes. and who doesn't love recipes, eh???

Friday, November 26, 2010


yup, i'm in a birthday frame of mind lately.

both the boys have birthdays in early december. and so... we're having a party.

yes. party. singular. as in, only one.

they both wanted to have their party at the bowling alley. bram's best friend has his b-day party there last month, and bram loved it. so, of course, we just have to do that, too.

but... it's kind of expensive. so......

i presented them the option of "plan B"... and thank God, they loved it and are very excited about. here's the new plan:

we're still bowling, but we're doing it at home. we're going to clear out the playroom (as much as possible) and set up two "bowling alleys" using those plastic bowling sets. you know... like this:

so that's part of what we'll be doing. we'll also play some more "classic" games:
and maybe a couple others... musical chairs (sorry, no cutesy picture, since it's just chairs and music), that sort of thing.

and the piece de resistance??

before everyone arrives, the boys are going to help me make cupcakes. i picked up a couple "cupcake mix in a tubes" yesterday.
so that's what we're going to use to make the cupcakes beforehand. they'll bake while the kids are arriving, and then, once they've cooled,


i've got chocolate and white cupcakes, chocolate and white icing, and some sprinkles etc. i'll be picking up some more decorating supplies this week, so they'll have quite the selection. i'm really excited about this part of the party. :)

and so are the boys. which is the best part, if you ask me.

i also managed to pick up a couple cases of pop (7Up and A&W root beer), because they were on sale. and i might pick up a couple cheap pizzas on party day, or i'll make some popcorn with fun flavouring, and some chips or something fun like that.

bram is especially excited about the goody bags. he's been nagging me to go to the dollar store to get stuff. "and make sure you get something for the grown-ups, because grown-ups need treats every now and then, too, right, mommy?"

and perhaps you're wondering about decorations. admit it, you were. {wink} well, my friend, i'm waaaay ahead of you. this week, we will be heading to the dollar store for some contruction paper. the boys (and blithe) will be making paper chains to hang up around the house. we'll also get some balloons and hang those around the house, as well. sure, it's nothing fancy, but it's fun, and the boys can help, so they'll love that.

so, there you have it. a double b-day partay for the boys.

can you believe, my little men are going to be 6 and 4???? i'm having a little trouble believing it, but i'm sooooo excited!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

my very long to-do list for tomorrow

which, technically, would be today, since it's 1:30 in the morning.

ah, sweet simplicity, why dost thou elude me so?

here we go:

  1. put away laundry
  2. wash bedding? (a mom can dream)
  3. go to bank
  4. go to another bank
  5. hand out resumes
  6. work out (for some sanity. and 'cause i want nice abs again. a girl can dream.)
  7. try to find the living room and playroom floors
  8. make phone calls for church
  9. fill out some forms
  10. find a letter that has gone missing
  11. work on a drama
  12. work on a novel (for NaNoWriMo)
somewhere in there, i suppose it would be nice to eat, but again, a girl can dream.

sad but true, this is my day tomorrow. good thing there's coffee. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

by popular request...

my recipe for hash brown casserole. (and be warned: this is one of my recipes. so expect my unique measurements.)

some hash browns. judge the amount based on the size of the dish-thingy
one onion, chopped
cheese. grated. i like a lot of cheese. because i like cheese a lot.
a can of cream of broccoli soup (or cream of broccoli and cheese soup. that's awesome.)
some milk. again, i don't measure, so just eyeball it.

sometimes i throw in some veggies. usually more broccoli, if i have it. because i also like broccoli. i have also been known to throw in some sausage. again, because i like sausage.

so i throw it into the oven, at say... 350-ish. and i let it cook... until it's done.

and then we devour it. because it's just. that. good.

ok, i just re-read this post, and wow. why do i even bother sharing recipes??? unless this is how you cook, this makes no sense!!! i'm really sorry, gentle readers. maybe in the future, i'll be more diligent when cooking and actually - gasp! - measure something.

but probably not.

mmm... mini chocolate bars...

hallowe'en. it's awesome. dressing up is fun. candy is awesome.

but chocolate...

sorry, had a mini stroke there, i'm sure.

in case you don't realize this, i love chocolate. dark, white, milk... love it, love it, love it.

this hallowe'en, the kids went trick-or-treating. and WOW!!! the loot!!!!!!!!!

sorry, had another stroke there.

the kids can keep the candy and kool-aid jammers and cheesies. they can even keep the tootsie rolls and smarties, even though i am aware that they are (technically) chocolate. but they're gross. i want the other ones. you know... the good ones.


reese peanut butter cups.

coffee crisp.

kit kat.


oh henry!

it's just. so. beautiful.

and there's just. so. much of it.

well, there was. by now, not so much. but um... don't tell the kids. they don't know how much i've mooched. it's just our little secret. {wink}

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"simple"? maybe not. but definitely healthier.

wow, i can hear you thinking, three posts in two days! what has happened that i am being graced and gifted with so many beauteous thoughts from heather???

awww, stop, i'm blushing.

well, what has happened is this: the house is a mess, and i'm procrastinating. no, seriously, that's what it is. i'm not actually joking. it's kind of a disaster right now. {hangs head in shame} but it's going to get cleaned up as soon as i finish this post. promise. anyhoo...

i have decided that November is officially Getting Healthy Month in my little neck of the woods. i've decided to stop eating so much junk food and fast food. no more $5 pizzas because i'm too lazy/tired/short on time to cook. hence the slow cooker this morning. i'm also going to be better at housework (she types, not looking around the house). but also...

i've decided to actively work on getting healthier in other ways, too. in the last post, i mentioned that i was going to the gym. well, i just got back. i've decided that i'm going to go every weekday to do some cardio stuff, and 2 to 3 times a week, do some strength stuff, as well. i'm also going to take a couple classes a week. for example, tomorrow morning, i'm going to yoga. i can't wait!

so far, it's going nicely. i've been twice now. (don't laugh too hard, please.) i'm really enjoying it. my mood is better, and my energy level is better. sure, i'm not in as great shape as i'd like to be, but again, that's why i'm going every day. i have three very active young kids, and i'd like to be able to keep up with them.

the other reason i'm working out is this: i don't want to gain weight. or rather, more weight.

in march 2008, when i turned 30, i wore a size 18 (but i fit a 20. can you say, "denial"??) and weighed in at a whopping 270 lbs. and i didn't look good. now, about 2.5 years later, i'm wearing a size 14. and in fact, i have some pants and skirts that are a 12! 12! can you believe it?!?! i've worked hard for this, and i'm enjoying it.

in the last couple months, however, i've put on about 5 lbs. that makes me sad. and who knows, maybe no one else can tell by looking at me. but i know. i see it. and it bothers me. especially since i'd like to lose another 20 to 25 lbs.

as it stands right now, i can walk into a store, grab a large or 14, and buy it, without even trying it on (i seem to always have the kidley-winks with me when i shop), and know that when i get it home, it will fit. i hadn't been able to do that for a loooooooooooooong time. so it's nice.

so, yeah, maybe this is just adding something to my life, when i really should be trying to simplify, but to me, simplicity also means health, wellness and wholeness. and sitting on my arse for x number of hours a day just isn't cutting it anymore. so this is now my plan. i'm making a lot of changes around here lately, and it's good. i'm working out, i'm looking for work, i'm drinking more water, i'm trying to drive less, i'm trying to eat healthier, i'm trying to do yoga or mediation every day...

and yes, i know that i wrote "i'm trying." that's because i'm aware that changes like this take time, and there will be days that i don't manage to reach one or more of these goals. some days just get away from me. and i'm ok with that. as long as i do my best every day to make healthier choices for myself and the kids, it's ok.

but i gotta say... this working out thing better be worth it, because wow! my abs are tired!! and my arms a little bit (an old canoeing injury... yes, i'm just. that. canadian. haha) i'll be ok. i'm going to drink some water, put on the radio or an andrea bocelli CD or something, and get to work cleaning the house.

sigh... i really hate housework. what they need is a house that cleans itself. that would be awesome. oh! and make it in my price range, too. hey, a mom can dream, right? k, off a-cleaning i go.

mmm... slow cooker...

i think a slow cooker is the greatest invention ever. ever.


this morning, while making the boys' lunches for school (blithe stayed with her dad one extra night), i had asher help me with supper tonight. bram was confused by this, and kept saying, "not supper. breakfast. don't you mean breakfast, mommy?" "why, no, my young son. i mean supper."

i had already washed off some beans and dumped them into the slow cooker. so asher hopped up onto a chair and poured in the water. and then i turned it on.

and walked away.

and all day so far, i've been enjoying the smell of the beans as they cook. oooooh, supper's gonna be gooooood!!!!

  • beans
  • brown rice
  • fried onion
  • bacon (if i have any... which i think i do... but i'm not sure... i'll check later)
  • fresh, homemade bread
hold on a sec. my laptop is shooting sparks at me. i think i was drooling a little too much.

ok, it's under control now.

just ignore the smell of smoke.

and focus on the smell of beans and bread.

oh, wait. you can't. because you're not here. awwww, shucks, that's too bad. don't worry, i'll eat your share. i'll sacrifice my waistline for you like that. i don't mind. 

speaking of my waistline... maybe i should go workout this afternoon, before the kidley-winks come home. yup, that's what i'm gonna do. and so, toodles! i'm off to the gym! {grabs bag and flies out the door}

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

jealous? you should be.

because i make

hands down

the best

grilled cheese



i won't divulge all my secrets (like the bread recipe - that's right. homemade bread. sucka.). but here are a few:

  1. homemade bread. awwwww yeah...
  2. shredded cheese. melts better. gets nice and oozy. mmm... oozy cheese.
  3. i sing and dance while making it. (but i won't tell you the song. that's the secret. {wink})
  4. ham. shaved black forest ham. beautiful.
now, i'd take a picture of it, but to be honest, well, i ate the sammy before i even thought about photographing it. besides, i wouldn't want you to be blinded by the awesomeness. because, trust me, you would be.

admit it. you're jealous now. and yes. you should be.

Why I Write Here

i like this blog. this is where i write about homelife. my kids, my pets, recipes, natural cleaning products, gardening, cool finds... that's what i write about here. this is the hands-on part of my personal journey. i'm reclaiming myself, a self i lost in a hospital somewhere, among all the meds, plastic, waste and complexity that comes with Special Needs parenting. i crave simplicity, and this is my journey to create it for my family and me.

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