Friday, October 29, 2010

My Favorite Thing About Halloween

Happy Friday everyone!! I have been gone for the last two days to Mississauga, Ontario and even though it is just two days (really only one night) I had already started to miss home. It was a very successful business trip so I am uber exhausted from all the work over the last two days.

Halloween is this weekend (WOO HOO) and I think it is my second favorite holiday! I have so many happy memories from Halloween growing up. Dressing up, loading up in the car getting candy, sorting it at the end of the night and my personal favorite; getting the loot bags ready for the other kids!

Since I was old enough to remember my parents would let me pick out the candy, and get the look bags already for the other kids. I'm sure they were glad to pass this job along, but I didn't care, I love doing it!!

Over the years, I have come to call myself a "loot bag expert". There is certain format that needs to be followed.

1. Collect all the candy! In my world, the more candy/gifts the better!!! Essentials; chocolate, gum, suckers, chips, juice and of course gummy candies. Plus, screw those little baggies go get big brown paper bags for the candy, it fits more!!

** I always get told that I put way too much stuff in the baggies for kids but I don't care. Growing up, I knew what houses had the best candy and would get excited to go there. I want other kids to have fond memories of going to my house knowing there was a bag FULL of goodies.

2. Arrange all the candy in different groups. This allows you to do one bag at a time and so every bag gets the same amount. Yes, my brother and I would fight over who got the better loot bag.

3. Take all the bags that are needed and open them up. We only get about 15-20 kids so we do a total of 20 bags plus extra candy if more kids then expected show up.

4. Start loading them up!! Heavier items on the bottom. Juice, playdoh, pringles, candy and a couple of extra toys. This year our toys include playdoh and skeletons.

5. When all the bags have an even amount of candy take the leftovers and stick them in a bowl. This will be the extra candy in case we have extra kids this year. HID THIS will get snacked on! ha ha!

6. Staple the tops of the bags and you are all ready for little trick 'o treaters!

Yes, I am pretty crazy, anal particular about my candy bags but I so look forward to seeing the little witches and goblins eyes open wide when they see the big bag of candy coming their way.

I hope that my house will be remembered as a sure stop along their treat-or-treating route because "my house has good loot".

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a "spook"tacular Halloween!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

House Tour: The Kitchen


I'm going to throw this out there but put your hand up if you also find this week to be especially sucky? *Raises Hand*

I can't believe it is only Wednesday. How I wish it were already the weekend!

So, lately it has been an on going stream of renovations at the homestead. Painting, floors, trim, electrical....the work is never ending and sometimes very overwhelming!
In order to remember why I am going through this I need this post to remind myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A beautiful room at the end of all these renovations.

The kitchen was the #1 priority on my renovation list. I love to cook and create. I don't have a mudroom/entry way. The front door opens straight into the kitchen which at times can be a mess. The fact that the kitchen was the first thing people see when they enter my home is why I decided to do this project first!

The kitchen had been done in 1970 by my parents and my grandfather. There was a big addition put on the house and the cupboards were assembled and put up by Dad and Grandpa. They were beautiful really, but the floor was not stable, the cupboards were sagging and breaking, and the counter top could not be removed/replaced without removing the cupboards first.

All of this made it an easy decision as to weather or not keep the cupboards or get new ones!

It was a long process and I have to admit I was a little bit of a tyrant. I wanted it to be perfect, we were talking about a lot of money people and I was keeping this kitchen like this for the rest of my life in this house! I needed to LOVE every detail!

Here are the before pictures:
And after three months of labor, fighting with contractors and many other headaches the results.......

SOOOOOO worth every bit of stress! There isn't another room that I love more then my kitchen!

If you are ever thinking of re-doing your kitchen remember the following:

1. The kitchen cabinet people (especially big companies) will try to sell you useless junk you don't need!! Don't buy the 100$ cutlery organizer, the $20 one is just as good!

2. Set a budget and then add 15% to that number! There are always hidden costs.

3. A lot of contractors suck!!! Keep track of the amount of hours that they spend at your place because they have no problem adding more to your bill. They can see a sucker from a mile away....Hi I'm Lindsay, and I'm a sucker!

4. If you aren't a decision maker get ready to get over that! There are over a million different things you need to decide on and nothing can continue until certain things are decided.

5. DON'T go with the wine rack like I have in one of the pictures above. Or if you do, make sure your hand can fit through it for dusting purposes!

I love...

All the storage I have

My island. 6 feet of the most perfect space to mix up anything! It even has seating on the other side!

My "new" kitchen table which is actually my parents old kitchen table (see in pictures above) cut down and painted white.

I love my custom built bench that is used for seating at the table but also has a lid that lifts up for storage.

I love my heated ceramic floors.

The granite counter tops that hides dirt but also wipes clean really easily.

The beams that I left that were put up when the addition was built in the 70's. They are structural but all of the beams came from 1 large tree from a bush behind my house. Grandpa found the tree, cut the lumber and installed the beams. Every time I look at them I think of him!

There you have it my brand new kitchen, every time I cook in it I feel like I'm on a cooking show..ha ha! It was so worth the headaches and the money because now I have a space I love to work and love to entertain in!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Dare #52

Monday is here and I am so glad! It was one of those weekends where it is non-stop, go, go go! Because there was so much going on, the weekend passed by in a blink of an eye.

Here is your dare this week:

Halloween is FAST approaching, so get out your knives and carve a pumpkin!

I was so looking forward to this weekend because there were so many fun things happening!

Friday night I rushed home from work, changed and headed to the city to meet friends for supper at Darcy McGee's and then for the Haunted Walk of Ottawa!!

Jilly wanted to cross off a couple of items on her 101 list. 1 being go on the Haunted Walk and another item being try a Guinness. I decided since we were at an Irish pub I would try one of the famous beers as well....

Not too bad at all...I like beer and this was just a very strong tasting beer, like there was lots of yeast!

We all got into our tuques and mitts in anticipation for the Haunted Walk.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a chicken! I seriously still sleep with my childhood blankie and with the lights on! So, I was a little nervous for the scary tales to come. I was sure I wouldn't sleep for a week.

I had never known there was an old jail right downtown Ottawa but that is where the majority of the tour took place. The stories were creepy and the old jail cells even spookier!

I really enjoyed the tour! It was scary, spooky but also touched on a little bit of Ottawa's history! Overall, a great way to spend a Friday night, I even had no trouble sleeping, luckily.

Saturday morning I got up early with Ryan and started preparing food for the Norwex party I was hosting that afternoon. I had a lot of work to do because I was unable to do any prep work prior to Saturday.

I have discovered something about myself though, I love hosting!!! I love making a list of the food I want to make, the grocery list, the last minute things to do list, getting everything set up and then watching as everyone enjoys the fruits of all your labor!

The food preparations went perfectly and everything was ready for when the guests arrived. I made veggie and fruit platter, spinach dip, cheese dip, tortilla wraps with nacho chips and salsa. There was also a pizza ring, babba ganoush, cupcakes, nanimo bars, white chocolate raspberry bars and of course punch. Let's just say, I didn't have supper that night because I was too full!

I even had time to make some little hair bows to show off to the ladies who were coming that had daughters! I gave one to each one and then if anyone wanted to buy anymore they were $2.50 each.

The party it self went great. It was great seeing everyone and anyone ever interested in hosting a Norwex party DO IT! The benefits they give there hostess' is amazing! They really make it worth your while.

Sunday morning I slept in a bit but when I did decide to get up I went straight to work. I made a double go of chocolate chip cookies for Ryan's lunches (8 dozen in total, phew!), started warming up my meatballs for the Harvest supper that night and made some homemade pizza for our lunch guests.

Josh was home for the weekend and so Ryan and I knew we wanted to see him and Amanda before they headed back out west! We had a relaxing lunch, played a couple of games of sequence, and had a great visit!

After Amanda and Josh left, Ryan and I headed to Quyon for the Harvest Supper being put on by my church. I made 5 lbs of meatballs for the supper and Ryan and I spend the first hour and half clearing tables and getting guests something to drink.

Finally, it was our turn to eat and those church ladies sure do know how to make an amazing meal!!! Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, carrots, salads, meatballs, buns, pie, and etc!!! What a feast! It is so refreshing to see the community coming out to a church supper!

I love to sit back and watch all the people enjoying their meal while visiting with friends and family. Community breakfasts/suppers has to be one of the things I love MOST about my small town.

I hit the hay pretty hard on Sunday night but I'm not sad to see the weekend gone. After such a fun, successful weekend I feel empowered for another great week ahead!

How was your weekend? What did you do?

Update: At the beginning of this post I mentioned how I was glad to see Monday come. I would like to now take this time to retract that statement and tell Monday to F**K OFF!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tex Mex Lasgna

It is finally Friday, my second favorite day of the week and I am tired! Bleh. It is so cold now and feeling like winter is approaching...ahhh.......

I am SOOOOOO craving some meat! Anything, chicken, bacon, steak....I'm drooling just thinking about it. I'm not really having a hard time finding meals to eat that are meatless, I just can't seem to feel satisfied without some meat! Maybe being the Irish, country girl I am so use to meat at every supper!

Sarah (Hi Sarah!) forwarded me this recipe way back when. I never had a chance to make it but thought this was the perfect week to make it since it is meatless and healthy. My only problem, I knew Ryan was going to hate it!

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
(I didn't use peppers because Ryan hates them)
1 can undrained tomatoes
(I just used a can of diced tomatoes instead)
1 cup of Salsa
1 teaspoons of cumin
1 can (19 oz) black beans. Drained and rinsed
1 can (19 oz) red kidney beans. Drained and rinsed
12 6 inch corn tortillas or 8 7inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 cup of shredded Monetary Jack Cheese
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
(I didn't have any on hand)
Low fat sour cream (optional)
Spray a large saucepan with non-stick spray. Add onions, garlic and peppers. Cook and stir over medium heat until veggies are softened (about 5 mins).
Add tomatoes, salsa and cumin. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

Stir in black and kidney beans. Remove from heat.
Grease a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread 1/3 of your bean mixture over the bottom. Cover with half of the tortillas, overlapping as needed. Add half of your cheese.
Spoon another 1/3 of bean mixture on top of cheese, following by remaining tortillas and last of bean mixture. Sprinkling remaining cheese on top.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long!) before serving. Garnish with tomatoes and sour cream if desired.


Let me just tell you, I love this recipe! I had leftovers on my lunch yesterday and it tasted just as good as the night before!! I devoured what was on my plate. Ryan on the other hand......well he looked like this while eating it.....
He did not like it at all although he did say if it has less beans and maybe some hamburger he might like it...score!! I was really happy that he actually tired it because when I first met him he wouldn't even of done that!! He is really learning to love new foods, but just not this recipe.
It was a super, inexpensive meal! I have 6 serving sitting in my freezer ready for lunches as well!
Here is the total cost breakdown:

1 can diced tomatoes - $1.43
1 brick of Monetary Jack cheese (half used) - $2.50
1 pack of tortilla's - $2.49
1 can Black beans - $1.17
1 can Red Kidney beans - $2.34
1 Salsa (1/2 jar used) - $1.43
1 onion - $0.80

Total: $12.16

That's a great price for supper for 2 people and then 6 lunches ready in the freezer! That's $1.52 per serving/meal!

I am so looking forward to Sunday where I can eat some meat again! It has been a lot harder then I thought but as of Sunday I can officially cross another one of the 101 list!

I hope everyone has a great, relaxing weekend!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Random Wednesday

It's the middle of a week that is passing way too slow! I am so looking forward to the weekend, especially because I am hosting a Norwex party for some friends and family (come hungry there will be lots of food!!). If you have never heard of Norwex check it out.

I have been using their products for about 2 years now and have reduced my chemical cleaning products significantly!!! I'm not too health conscious about chemical cleaning products but I am happy about the fact that not using as many cleaning products is nice on my wallet!

I took yesterday off and I feel very refreshed. Lately at work, I have been feeling really overwhelmed. There are so many things to do and I was having a feeling that I was being pulled in many different directions. I would lay awake at night thinking about all the tasks that still needed to get done at work! It has been a lot of pressure.

Yesterday, Mom and I took a trip to Ottawa to do some furniture shopping! We had a blast looking around and finally found the perfect chairs for the upstairs sitting/living room. I can't wait for them to arrive!

This is the chair (there is two of them) and ottomans.

We also had lunch at Pizza Hut for the buffet! They had some really get vegetarian choices. Salad, pasta with plain sauce, Veggie pizza and cheese pizza! Perfect!

I have been doing well with the not eating meat thing. It has gotten easier over the last 24 hours. I think less about steak and more about chocolate. haha I don't know what that connection is about!

Last night, I was way too full of pizza for supper so I made Ryan some eggs. But the night before we had spaghetti with plain sauce. It was perfect because it was a fast meal on a busy night and meatless! We are continuing the house renovating process and have ALMOST finished the livingroom, soooo close!

Did I mention my dad is the best? Here he is helping us finish vanish the floor.

I'm really looking forward to tonight's supper, Tex Mex Lasagna, recipe to follow.

On a random final note, I wanted to wish my blogging friend, Nicole, at That's Life a very happy 1st blog-a-versary! I have really enjoyed reading her blog over the last months, keep up that great writing Nicole!!

Happy Wednesday everyone, I hope all of your weeks are passing by uber fast!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dare # 51

Welcome back to the work week! I hope everyone passed a beautiful fall weekend! It has been busy here at the ol' homestead but it feels like things are getting accomplished!

Here is your dare this week:

Dare # 51:

Since I am going to be attempting to cross another thing off of my 101 list; go a whole week without eating meat! What is your favorite meatless meal?

I am a meat loving girl so this one is going to be hard for me! I started yesterday and already I'm craving steak! ha ha!

It was an absolute BEAUTIFUL weekend here in the Pontiac. Sometimes when I'm driving home from the city beside the mountains I become breathless with the beautiful trees.

Friday night I got together with some of my closest friends for a yummy potluck! I can't imagine a meal that I love more then snacking on a bunch of other peoples dishes!! It's like a buffet but with all homemade goodness! Yum!

I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends who would be willing to spend their Friday evening getting together to celebrate my birthday (and can cook so well!!!)...Thank you guys!!

Look at this AWESOME cake that Josee made! Isn't it the cutest? It tasted so good too, I've been snacking on the leftovers all weekend.

These are all my birthday gifts from that evening! Amazing, no? My friends are the best, I felt very spoiled and blessed!

Gourds from my good friends Sharon's garden!! They look beautiful on the middle of my island!!

Saturday morning I woke up early and drove to the grocery store for 7 because I wanted to be the first one in the door! I got all of this week's ingredients for non-meat meals! I also picked up all the Halloween candy for this year! I can't wait to put all of Halloween baggies together!

I worked Saturday night so I slept in a bit on Sunday. Once I was up and ready I cleaned up and found a new home for all of my birthday presents. I was just passing time really until some good girlfriends arrived for our lunch date we planned.

We all headed to the city for Shoeless Joe's. It is a really great restaurant but let me tell you, not many meatless dishes! I ended up opting for a grilled vegetable sandwich and lattice fries! Yum!

After we all arrived back at my house we talked and exchanged presents from birthdays passed. Again, so spoiled! It was a great time catching up with these ladies. I am so glad that we have been able to keep in contact since high school days and still regularly see each other, they're the best!

If my puppy ever goes missing I know who has it! ha ha Steph just LOVES Tucker!

Last night for supper Ryan and I had meatless Nachos.

Notice how my half has salsa and his is plain with cheese? ha ha He is such a picky eater! Oh, and don't worry I'm not making Ryan go meatless, because I think he would literally die without meat! ha ha!

Earlier last week they were calling for snow on the long term forecast! Thank god that has changed because I am SO not ready for snow yet! Actually, if there is no snow at all this year this girl will be very happy!

How was your weekend?