About me

I am a Stay at Home Mom. I love Chai Lattes, anything chocolate, and all of the Real Housewives. I hate cleaning bathrooms.

I've been with my husband since 2000, married since 2005, and together we have two little girls. Little Bear was born in 2009 and Crazy Plates in 2010.

This is my blog. A place where I share all the fun and frustrating things about being a Stay at Home Mom.

I hope you can enjoy, relate, and have a little laugh.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Best Halloween Tip Ever!

Happy Halloween, everybody!  Don't you just love Halloween?  I sure do.  I had to wear a uniform in high school, so Halloween was a really big deal for us.  It was an excuse not to wear our uniforms, and we definitely didn't waste it.  Well, some people did.  Every year there was always a student or two who would dress up as a student from the other Catholic high school.  So, instead of wearing our maroon and grey uniform, they wore the other school's blue and green uniform.  Weirdos.  One year I made a half man half woman costume.  It was awesome.  One year I went as a housewife.  That's funny, seeing as it is my current line of work. 

Last Friday my husband and I went to a Halloween party.  He was Waldo and I was a detective - looking for Waldo.  Not bad, eh?  The girls are both princesses for Halloween.  Obviously.

Anyway.  This is a Halloween tip I came up with last year, but it's a good one, so I thought I'd share it again.

When the girls go to bed on Halloween night, I sort through their Halloween candy. I take out all of the Coffee Crisps and put them in a bowl, just for me. You know, because coffee isn't good for little ones. Then I take out all the Skittles and put it in my bowl.  Because they're a choking hazard. I take the chips out and put them in my bowl as well, because chips are addictive and I'm trying to nip that type of behaviour in the bud. I take out all the Kit Kats and put them in my bowl because they're my husband's favourite. Finally, I take out all the suckers and put them in my bowl because the girls always manage to get them stuck in their hair. That leaves them with the Rockets. I think that's some darn good parenting, don't you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

8 Things You Should Never Say to a Stay at Home Mom

The stay at home mom used to be viewed as a woman who is a loving, nurturing home-maker.  She makes her own mayonnaise, volunteers for the PTA, and always has a hot meal on the table when her husband and kids come home.  Now, there seems to be some confusion surrounding the mysterious world of the stay at home mom.  This confusion causes people to ask questions of us.  Some questions genuine, some cloaked in judgement.  For those of you who fall into the latter category, here is a list of the 8 things you should never say to a stay at home mom. 

1) What do you do all day?  This question is never asked with genuine interest.  The asker is never waiting with bated breath for tales of laundry and grocery shopping and tips for getting crushed Cheerios out of the carpet.  No, this question is always based in a preconceived idea of our days being filled with daytime talk shows and manicures. 

2) It must be nice to stay at home all day.  First of all, I don't stay at home all day.  I do have a playroom in my basement, but I don't have a grocery store or a dry cleaners, and my kids skating and ballet lessons are not held in my kitchen.  Secondly, asking such a condescending question isn't going to make you any new friends. 

3) If I stayed home all day, I'd be so bored.  Then you're a boring person.  Get a hobby.  Clean out a closet.  Spend some time with your kids. 

4) I have to work all day, so I don't have time to get my nails done.  Yes you do.  We all make time for the things that are important to us.  I get my nails done every once in a while because I'm a girl and that's what I like to do.  You don't stop being a girl when you become a stay at home mom.  You do become a girl who wears scrunchies and track pants to the grocery store, but you're a girl who wears scrunchies and track pants to the grocery store with a killer shellac manicure.

5) It's late, I better go.  I have to work in the morning.  That's too bad.  I get to sleep in while my kids get their own breakfast, pack their own lunches, and walk themselves to school.  Then my imaginary friends get to work cleaning my house. 

6) It's so nice that your husband provides such a good life for you.  I know, and I really don't deserve it, what with all the TV I watch while doing absolutely nothing else. 

7) I need to work, to feel like I'm contributing and being productive.  Yes, you're right.  I wander around, unproductively, all day, just wishing I could contribute somehow.

8) Do you feel guilty shopping for yourself since you didn't earn the money?  Maybe I should.  Maybe I should also return the $40 purse I bought from Target, since I can't afford it with the zero dollars I make each week.  Guess that also means when we go out for dinner, I should just stick with the free bread and water, since it fits nicely into my budget.  I should also thank my husband for letting me live in the house he bought.  Maybe I should start doing some chores around here, you know, earn my keep.  Maybe I'll even be able to save up enough to buy back that Target purse.  If it goes on sale... 

I got a lot of Facebook comments regarding this post, suggesting that I was contributing to the working mom vs stay at home mom debate.  This was never my intention.  But, since they brought it up, I decided to write a blog post on the topic, called Working Moms vs Stay At Home Moms.  I'd love for you to give it a read and tell me what you think.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What's For Dinner? Purple Sweet Potatoes!

Have you ever had purple sweet potatoes?  For me it goes, chai lattes, purple sweet potatoes, chocolate, all other food.  Yup.  They're that good.  I first discovered them in a recipe for purple sweet potato hash, which is awesome.  Just shred a purple sweet potato in a food processor, cook it up in a frying pan in some melted coconut oil until brown and crispy.  Breakfast side dish perfection.  Since this discovery I have been on a mission to see what other wonderful creations I could make with this odd, but delicious, new vegetable.   

I've had the Crazy Plates cookbook for years.  I love it, and yes, it was the inspiration for Crazy Plates' name.  She is crazy for sure, and so yummy I could eat her cheeks.  Anyway...there is a recipe in the cookbook called My Yammy Spice, or, sweet potato fries.  The recipe calls for sweet potatoes, olive oil, cumin, dried oregano, paprika and black pepper.  I thought this would be a good test recipe for my beloved purple sweet potatoes.  And boy was I right.  I used 5 purple sweet potatoes and cubed them instead of cutting them into wedges, (because it's way easier) and drizzled them with olive oil.  Then I mixed up one tablespoon each of cumin, paprika, and Italian seasoning (because I never have oregano on hand), sprinkled that on the purple sweet potatoes, gave it a stir, then baked them on a baking sheet at 450 for half an hour.  I mean, look how good they look?  And they taste even better. 

I had some left over, and a left over sausage, so the next morning I warmed up the purple sweet potatoes and sausage and topped it with a sunny side up egg.  And you know what?  My purple sweet potatoes wowed me again.  Perfect at dinner, perfect at breakfast.  What more can you ask for?

But, not to be forgotten, that spice mixture of equal parts cumin, paprika, and Italian seasoning.  As the old lady in the Frank's Red Hot commercial says, I put that sh#t on everything.  Here it is on roasted carrots, parsnips, and onions.  Super good. 

Make sure you check out Janet and Greta's website for more info on their books and even more recipes.  And, if you try the purple sweet potato in any new and exciting ways, be sure to share in the comments.  Ok, here's one more way.  I know, I'm a giver.  Cook up some bacon.  Once done, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.  Then, dice up a purple sweet potato and cook it in the bacon fat until it's all brown and crispy.  Fry up a couple eggs.  Put the eggs, bacon, and purple sweet potato hash browns on your plate and enjoy. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Starbucks: I Have A Bagel-Sized Bone To Pick With You

Dear Starbucks.  As you know from the last letter I wrote you, I love you.  However, I do have a bagel-sized bone to pick.

This past Sunday, my husband ran his first half marathon.  I, being of sound mind, decided to forgo the months of training and drive to the finish line, to cheer him on.  So bright and early Sunday morning, I loaded the girls in the car and, since this mom requires a chai latte for any drive longer than 11 minutes, we headed to your drive-thru.  Once there, I ordered, amongst other things, an everything bagel with butter.  I asked that the bagel be buttered, instead of a few butter packets being thrown into the bagel bag.  That's when my friendly Starbucks barista informed me that she wasn't allowed to butter my bagel.  What the what?

I drove up to the window, and as she handed me the bagel, my friendly Starbucks barista apologized and said it was company policy that they don't butter bagels.  What was this non-bagel-buttering nonsense?  I pulled into a parking spot, crawled into the back of the van, and as I knelt down to butter the bagel, I began to think.  Does Mr. Starbucks know how dangerous it is to butter a bagel while driving?  I'm pretty sure buttering a bagel while driving is right up there with texting while driving, on the list of things not to do while driving.  And, does Mr. Starbucks understand the concept of the drive-thru window?  By it's very design, you need to be in a car to use the drive-thru window, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise that I was driving at the time of ordering the buttered bagel.  Also, drive-thru windows are supposed to save time.  They are supposed to be efficient.  But, kneeling down in the back of a van in a Starbucks parking lot is neither a time saver nor efficient.  And, to add insult to injury (and I do mean injury...I knelt down on a piece of Lego), the butter in the packet was so cold and so hard that, despite our best efforts, Pink Baby and I couldn't get the butter to spread across the bagel.

And so, dear Starbucks, I suggest you call an emergency meeting and change this non-bagel-buttering policy immediately.  It's ridiculous, and not indicative of the Starbucks I have come to know and love.  Thank you.

Oh, and because I know you're wondering, and because I know he'd love for me to tell you, my husband completed his first half marathon in 1 hour and 50 minutes.  Show off. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Grandma's dishes: Part 2

My Grandma was a perfect host.  In addition to the big family functions she'd host, every Sunday she and my Grandpa would leave the front door open to anyone who was able to stop by.  They never knew for sure who was going to be there and at what time, but without fail, every time I went (which was just about every Sunday) there was a pot of tea on the stove (she used to mix two different tea bags together.  So good), veggies and dip, a big fruit platter, hard boiled eggs, tons of home-made pastries and cakes, and whatever else she had up her sleeve; a yummy soup, curry, or fried spinach.  It was a feast, to say the least. 

So, without a doubt, my Grandma's dishes will always remind me of sitting around her kitchen table with my family on Sundays, eating her food and debating the topic of the day with my Grandma.  I wrote a blog on how to make Grandma's tea cup candles, and to continue on the theme of using her dishes instead of storing them, here are some more ideas.  

Do you ever watch Come Dine With Me Canada?  I do, and I love it.  On that show, the contestants always serve a plated appetizer to each guest, instead of putting it out on a coffee table.  If you have occasion to serve plated appetizers, why not use a tea cup and saucer?  I mean, look how cute it is!

If plated apps aren't your style, you can put out a few cups and a few saucers.  In each cup you can have a different cracker, and each saucer a different cheese.  Or fill one cup with carrots, one with cucumber slices, and one with dip. The possibilities are really endless.

What's better than cheese and veggies?  Chocolate and candy, of course!  Not everyone likes a big piece of cake after dinner (although, I don't know who these weirdos are), so in addition to the dessert you're serving you can set up a candy bar with Grandma's tea cups.  

If you're having your mommy's group over for lunch, or maybe you're having your mom over for lunch, or maybe it's just you, and it's lunchtime, and you're hungry...either way, serve the soup in a tea cup and the sandwich on the coordinating side plate.  It will make lunch feel a little more special, even if it's just a canned soup and a peanut butter sandwich.  

Ok, so you're a bit of a traditionalist.  You serve food on serving platters.  I get it.  So for you, I have this idea.  Put a bit of water in the tea cup, snip a few daisies from a large stem, and you have these adorable little flower arrangements. 

Chances are you have 8 or 10 of Grandma's tea cups.  If that is the case, you can put a little flower arrangement at each place setting.  Or you could group a few on a pretty tray in the middle of your table as a centerpiece.  Or you can put a couple on the counter or table where you'll be serving the food from.  Adorbs!  That's a word I just learned.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  I'm just trying it out.

For a non food or flower way to use Grandma's tea cups, why not take one into the bathroom?  You can keep Q-tips or cotton balls in the cup, and the saucer is a great place to keep your watch and rings when you take them off at the end of the night.  You can keep one by your kitchen sink too, if you take your watch and rings off before you do the dishes.  Growing up, my friend's mom had a plastic hand by her sink that would hold her rings and things while she washed dishes.  It would sit on the counter on it's wrist and the fingers would point straight up.  It always creeped me out.  This tea cup option won't do that.  

And finally, yes I went there, you can work these little tea cups into your holiday decor.  You can use them as a centerpiece, dress up a buffet table, where ever you need a little Christmas cheer, put a tea cup.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Grandma's Tea Cup Candles: A How To Guide

Feeling a bit nostalgic, I brought out Grandma's old dishes and decided to use them. They're a bit fancy for Goldfish and apple slices, so I put on my thinking cap to try and come up with some alternative ways of using them. I came up with a bunch of ideas, the first of which are these adorable tea cup candles.   

The supplies you'll need are, Grandma's tea cups (obviously), soy wax flakes, fragrance oil, wax adhesive, and candle wicks.  Except for the tea cups, everything else you'll need to can find at a craft store, like Michaels. 

To make the candles, pour some soy wax flakes into a sauce pan over medium heat, and stir occasionally with a fork.  I used a couple of handfuls of wax per tea cup, but really it depends on the size of your cups.  I didn't melt enough the first time, melted some more, then added the extra to the tea cups and it was fine.  The wax will melt in the pot faster than it will harden in the tea cup, so you do have some working time.  While the wax is melting, put a bit of  wax adhesive on the bottom of the wick and place in the bottom of the tea cups.  Once the wax is almost done melting, add a few drops of fragrance oil, then once completely melted pour into the tea cups.  I first poured it into a 2 cup measuring cup that had a spout so I could more easily pour it into the tea cups (unlike spilled milk, spilled wax is something to cry about).  I then held the wicks in place using a few pens, waited for the wax to harden, trimmed the wicks, and ta da!  Grandma's tea cup candles are complete!

This is what they look like when they're done.  Super cute, right?  And you don't have to limit yourself to tea cups.  You can turn almost anything into a candle.  Just think outside the box a little.  Rummage around in your basement and see what you find. 

I picked up these cellophane bags and some wraphia at Michaels as well, to wrap up the candles.  I gave these three as a gift to my mom, but I think they'd make a great wedding favour, or shower favour, maybe even a housewarming gift.  If you're a sap like me, then don't give away Grandma's tea cups to just anyone.  You can pick up tea cups at Good Will for a couple dollars. 

The other option is to make them and keep them for yourself.  Next time you have people over for dinner, put a tea cup candle at each place setting, or line a few down the middle of the table.  When the candle burns all the way down, wash out the tea cup, and start again! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Housewife Hacks: Part 3

Hello, everyone!  Welcome to Housewife Hacks: Part 3.

This first hack is probably my most favourite hack so far.  The girls brush their teeth after breakfast in the morning, so I like to keep a second set of toothbrushes in the kitchen.  I wasn't able to find a toothbrush holder that matched my kitchen decor, so I made one!  I took a small glass vase that I had and wrapped some twine around it, hot gluing as I went along.  Be sure to glue the entire first row, to make a stable base, and then glue periodically from that row onwards.  I topped it off with some brown ribbon and wraphia, hot glued it in place, and voila!  I got a little twine happy after I made this, which you'll see in a later post.

I'm  on Pinterest now, and I have noticed a lot of pins about how to organize family papers, homework, calendars, etc.  So, I thought I'd share my solution as well.  I have a magnet board in our kitchen.  On it I keep a calendar and an accordion folder with coupons, important papers, and other miscellaneous items.  It's simple, but it keeps me organized. 

Do you have a cottage or basement kitchen that needs a pick-me-up?  Then this is the solution for you!  I picked up some peel-and-stick tiles from Canadian Tire, and I'm now in love with peel-and-stick tiles.  They come in a 1 foot by 1 foot square, and are so simple to apply.  Stick them on the wall (you're supposed to clean the walls first, but, who has time for that?) and then caulk around the edges with clear caulking.  It has the look and feel of real tile, without all the hassle, expense, and time.  Brilliant!

Another quick kitchen or bathroom fix is to paint your cupboard doors.  Use melamine paint, I opted for white, and paint away.  Two tips I learned the hard way.  First, take the doors off.  As much as you may think you can paint the doors in place, you can't.  Second tip, shake the can.   Then shake it again.  And shake it one more time.  Then stir and stir and stir.  I didn't, and the first coat was awful and runny and clear and drippy and I had to sand the whole thing off and start again.  Way more work than it needed to be.

Ok, do you see a bit of a theme here?  Did you know that you can paint tile?  Well, you can.  You can pick up a tile painting kit from any big box store, like Home Depot or Lowes.  I painted our powder room floor in three quick coats.  Will it last forever?  I doubt it.  But, it will hold you over until your husband agrees to call in a contractor. 

For this next tip, I challenge you to look around your basement, or your parents' basement, for furniture that can be repurposed.  This is my Grandparents dining room hutch.  I love this piece.  It reminds me of them, and the many family meals we had around their dining room table.  Our dining room isn't quite so fancy, but the hutch adds an eclectic look to our front entryway / hallway and is a great way to store shoes. 

Next time you host a birthday party, print off some old photos (preferably embarrassing ones) of the birthday boy or girl and display them in potted plants.  You can pick up a few of those card holders from a flower shop to prop the photos up and line the potted plants along the dining table or mixed in amongst the appetizers.

This next DIY project is one of those DIY projects that kind of happens by accident.  I set out looking for a white framed mirror, but could only find a black one.  So, I painted the frame white.  The unpainted backside of the frame was reflected in the mirror, and looked awful.  So, I got some white cording and hot glued it around the edges to cover it up.  The edges now looked great, but where the two ends of the cording met looked messy.  So, I hot glued some shells onto the frame of the mirror to hid some of the cording.  And now I like it.  (For info on how to make that snazzy head band holder you see in the picture, click here

We used to have mirrored closet doors in our front hallway.   We replaced them, (actually, we took out the closet all together) but we held on to the mirrors.  My husband used construction adhesive to attach the mirrors to the closet doors in the girls' bedrooms, then framed the mirror with trim.  And now, the girls' have mirrored doors in their bedrooms.

When I was pregnant with Little Bear, I came across the song "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts on a mixed CD my friend had made for a super long road trip we took together.  I played that song over and over again, and, months away from becoming a mom for the first time, the words resonated with me.  I used to sing it and rub my belly, wishing the wishes in the song for Little Bear.  So, when it came time to decorate her room, I printed the lyrics to the song, framed it, and hung it on her wall.  In case you're wondering, Crazy Plates' song is "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw.  I still have to type out the lyrics, but I did by the frame, so, that counts, right?

Don't forget to check out Housewife Hacks part 1 and 2 for more great ideas.  Well, I think they're great...

Monday, October 6, 2014

Something New On Your Thanksgiving Plate

At my grocery store, there is a big display of little pumpkins and funny looking squash.  Intrigued, I wandered over and noticed that each little pumpkin, and each little squash had a sticker with a recipe on it.  Being a sucker for a new recipe, I picked up one little pumpkin, and two funny looking squash.  Which I now know are actually called, sweet dumplings.  I cooked them up, as per the recipe sticker, and holy turkey, thanksgiving at our house will never be the same.

This is what I started with.  It may look like a festive centerpiece, but these guys are definitely better used as a yummy side dish.

I started with the sweet dumplings.  I cut the sweet dumplings in half, removed the seeds, and put them cut side down on a baking sheet.  I roasted them at 350F, and 40 minutes later they were done.  I scooped out the flesh (ew, that's such a gross word) into a bowl and mixed it with a little drizzle of honey.  I mashed it all up, put it back into the sweet dumpling shell, and that's it!  Side dish perfection, and ridiculously easy.  Make sure you pick up one sweet dumpling per person, as it will only fill half a shell once mashed.  

Next I moved onto the pumpkin.  I've never been a big pumpkin fan.  When I was a kid, my mom would scoop out the gross insides when it was time to carve them, because it's gross.  I don't like pumpkin spiced lattes, and I don't like pumpkin pie.  I do, however, love the pumpkin scones from Starbucks, so I thought I'd give this a try.  Plus, the little pumpkins are so cute, the insides can't be that gross, right?  The answer is right!  There aren't nearly the amount of seeds and gross stringy bits of pumpkin as there are in the big ones, so I was able to quarter the pumpkin, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  I put the pumpkin quarters in a pot with water, brought it to a boil, and then lowered the heat and simmered until the pumpkin was tender, about 25 minutes.  I removed the pumpkin quarters, emptied the water out of the pot, scooped the flesh (ew!) out of the pumpkin and back into the pot.  Keeping the pot on the stove over a low temperature will help evaporate any excess liquid.  Then I added butter, enough to make it mash nicely, a tablespoon or so of pumpkin pie spice (or you can use ground allspice) and a bit of maple syrup.  Mash, mash, mash, and enjoy.  

My husband said he doesn't eat pumpkin unless it's in a pie, so I brought three little tart shells out of the freezer, baked them, and filled them with the mashed pumpkin. 

Happy thanksgiving!  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

10 Things My Kids Would Rather Do Than Play With Their Toys

Tired of the constant clutter, I decided to once again clean out the play room.  If you read my letter to Santa then you know how I feel about toys and clutter.  I emptied out all the bins and drawers, and separated the toys into two piles.  Toys the girls play with, and toys they don't.  By the end of my toy sorting, the toys the girls don't play with pile was huge, and the toys they do play with pile was definitely not.  So I started thinking, if they don't play with their toys, then what are they doing?  I thought about it some more, and now I present to you, the top 10 things my kids would rather do than play with their toys.

1) Wash Crazy Plates' bed.  Sounds harmless, but let me elaborate.  The girls took lotion, covered Crazy Plate's bed and dresser with it, then spread it around with baby wipes.  They have also cleaned the bathroom with liquid soap and toilet paper.  Not helpful. 

2) Make a tower.  While most kids would use building blocks or Lego to build a tower, mine use all the toiletry items in my bathroom cupboards.  Awesome.

3) Play dress up.  With my clothes, and my shoes.  Sometimes they use the clothes in their laundry hamper.  Either way, I'm left with piles of clothes and shoes all over the second floor of our house. 

4) Decorate the furniture with stickers.  Yes, technically speaking they are playing with their toys by using their stickers, but furniture decorating is not an approved usage for said stickers. 

5) Re-arrange the DVDs.  This one drives me nuts.  I love organizing, but I don't love tidying up.  Tidying up DVDs that have been perfectly organized is not a fun activity for me.

6) Write on my kitchen calendar.  Yes, I still have a kitchen calendar.  A little background on me.  My phone is ancient.  It is a phone, it has primitive texting abilities, and a camera that doesn't deserve to be called a camera.  There are no apps or calendars on my phone so my kitchen calendar is my lifeline.  Colouring in the boxes and drawing flowers over doctor's appointments is the equivalent of dropping a smart phone into the toilet.   

7) Change their clothes 10 times a day.  Literally.  10 times a day.  I'm all for letting the girls expressing themselves through fashion, but again, this activity just leaves me with piles of clothes to sort through and put away. 

8) Empty the Kleenex box.  This is something cute that babies do.  It's fun to watch the excitement on their faces as they pull out one Kleenex, only to find another one pop up right behind it.  Now that my girls are 3 and 5, their Kleenex box fun involves using as many Kleenexes as they can to blow their noses, and, the best part?  They stuff the used Kleenexes back into the Kleenex box.  Gross.

9) Push the panic button on my car key fob.  For as many times as they've done this, you'd think I'd have figured out how to turn the horn off, once the panic button has been pushed.  Well, I haven't.

10) Wallpaper the kitchen.  With post it notes.   

And so, if you happen to be strolling the toy section of my local Good Will, you're welcome. 

Oh, one more to add to the list.  This is a picture of what Crazy Plates did for my birthday last year.  She pulled a chair over to the counter, climbed up onto the counter, spread out all of my wooden spoons and spatulas, opened up the coffee puck storage drawer and took out some pucks, took the lid off of the olive oil, stuck the lid in the spout of the kettle, then took the chili oil and covered herself and the counter top with it.  I found her leafing through some photos with her chili oil soaked hands.  Sigh...