Tuesday, March 27, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 32: Puppies

You gotta love the little critters eh? Actually, they aren't that little. I think Khuno weighed in at 65 pounds last time and Audi checked in at a whopping 58 pounds! I have no idea how much Chalkie weighs, but I'm guessing at least 25. He is a solid ball of pure muscle. They may all look like they're chillaxing, but they were all barking up a storm trying to "speak" to earn their treat. It took my brother, Jamie and my mom to get them quarantined into a group for me to snap some pictures. It's so fun watching them all play together every Saturday at my parents' house. It's more Khuno and Audi that play and Chalkie just sorta sneaks in a sniff or paw here and there. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 31: Meatballs?

That's right folks, those are meatballs the size of flippin' tennis balls. I'm really enjoying how I managed to capture Jamie's hand in there dropping down that hefty ball. We should have weighed them to see. It actually reminds me of the meatballs that my BFF made because they were also very ginormous, but the funny thing is I never told Jamie about them. Great minds think alike? Or perhaps meat lovers think alike. I think it's the latter. 
Jamie combined ground pork and beef, threw in a bunch of oregano, onions, garlic, panko and I'm not really sure what else. He did salt them but as we all critiqued, he didn't salt them enough. I think the sheer size of the meatball prevented any of the salty sauce to even put a dent into the thing. He was trying to recreate the meatball in tomato sauce appetizer at Famosa's. It was so delicious that we literally wanted to pick up the bowl and lap it up. Instead we did the civilized thing and scrapped the bowl clean with the bread that came with it. This meatball-fest was last Sunday for our The Walking Dead season finale party so we invited my brother and SIL. Even my brother said the meatballs were too big. Jamie's response, "It's awesome." 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 30: Family Portrait

This lovely family portrait was taken by our camera that was set on top of a metal pole by a garbage can that we walk by everyday. Needed a bit of cropping because there was just no way to sit it on the metal pole properly. Click and run! I bet we're going to be doing a lot of that in Europe. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Card Biz?!

Those that know me know that paper and I share a long time love. It started way back when I was in elementary school writing letters to my pen pals. It started with a family friend's daughter in Calgary. Then somehow I found pen pals all over the world including other parts of Canada, the States, Taiwan and even France. I still love writing letters to the few pen pals that I have, although I've been awful this past year. I owe all 3 of my pen pals letters! Fast forward to 2008. I was introduced to Stampin' Up! and my paper love reached a new level. Who knew one could love paper and stamps so much? In the past year with the wedding crafting, I ventured more into sewing and realized that I love fabric just as much as I love paper! Throw other hobbies into there such as photography and Project Life, that leaves me with 2 things. A lot of hobbies and not enough time to get really good at any of them. 

I guess that's how Jamie and I work though because when we decide we want to try something, we both jump in with both feet. Go big or go home right? So besides planning our honeymoon and kitchen renovations, I still want to find time to do the things that I love. That includes finding time to make cards! My lovely friend, Amanda, has kindly put in an order for some thank you cards. 20 of them to be exact. Now folks, hand stamped greeting cards is not the business to be in if you're wanting to quit your day time job. It might be if you're wanting to be a demonstrator and sell the products used to make greeting cards, but not if you just want to sell the cards you make. I used to keep a basket of the cards I made at work and my coworkers would oh so kindly support my paper addiction. Any money made would have already been spent months earlier on the new must have stamp set. 

With the wedding and many other things competing for my time (including the evil television), I've made very few cards in the last year. Amanda's card order really is the kick in the butt I need to get back into it. I best be putting my thousands of dollars worth of crafting goods to use! Although I've always loved hosting card workshops where I get to entertain friends for an evening of card making fun, I never did it consistently enough to make a business out of it. I think the biggest deterrent is the prep time. It really ate away a lot of my time and that's likely due to me not learning the best and smartest ways to host workshops. But I still love making cards and I've always wanted to sell my creations to people that love one of a kind (OOAK) handcrafted goodies. Today I stopped by a store called Henry's on High Street and what did I find in this funky uber chic store? Hand stamped greeting cards! I thought, "This is awesome! I could do this!" On the drive home, the lights just happened to turn red right in front of a local flower shop. I've talked to Jamie about approaching the store to possibly set up a little card business so what'd I decide to do? The light turned green and I turned right in. After 30 minutes of jovial chit chat, I decided to spill the beans! "Not gonna lie, I came in here with a motive." The owner's reaction was more than awesome. She was so receptive and so encouraging of the idea that I am now so excited and had to blog about it. The sucky part? I didn't have any samples of my cards with me! Jamie's response, "You went in with no samples? That's brave..." I honestly didn't plan any of this at all and I even told the owner that. She was asking about how I wanted to work the sales, split the percentage, sell directly to her to resell? I was dumbfounded and told her truthfully that I didn't do any prep at all. Not a great way to sell myself, I know. That's okay though because everything is a learning opportunity. In the next week or so, I hope to crank out some OOAK beauties to show off. 

Am I excited? Very. Am I nervous? Definitely. Will it be awesome? Absolutely. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 29: Topbox

I signed up for something called Topbox a while ago. They have exploded and were sold out until February. It's a simple concept really. You pay $10.50 a month and you get a lovely little sample of beauty products shipped to you. You can cancel at any time and they try to match the colors/items to your style. Last month, I got some Yves St. Laurent stuff like under eye concealer and mascara, some body cream, Pari eye shadow and Shu Uemera shampoo. 
It comes in a cute little tube every month. I have yet to find a use for these tubes. I'm thinking it possibly storing markers because it can keep them horizontal. 
Here's what came this month! MUFE mascara, Mark lip gloss/stain, Mark nail polish, Redken shampoo/conditioner and Simple facial wipes. 
I haven't tried the nail polish yet but I'm loving the lip gloss. It's an orangy color that I would have never picked out for myself but once it goes on, it just gives my lips a nice bit of extra pinky oomph. 
I just noticed this picture is upside down... You can still see the colors though so I'm going to opt not to re-upload. There a several other companies out there that do something very similar. One is Loose Button aka Luxe Box. Another one is Beauty Box 5. I'd love to try the Luxe Box but all subscriptions are sold out =(  

366 Photo Project - Photo 28: Lasagna

We had some eggplant that's been sitting around for a while. Typically we only have two ways of eating eggplant. 
1. Diced and stir-fried with tofu, oyster sauce, garlic and other Asian yummies. 
2. Sliced into thin sheets and grilled either on the BBQ or in the oven, typically with zucchini. 
I didn't feel like either of those things so we decided to make a lasagna instead. One may think we'd go for a vegetarian lasagna since we were using eggplant but we didn't. We fried up some ground turkey with a ton of garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Added a can of diced tomatoes with the juices all drained off, 1/2 a can of tomato paste, 1 jar of ready to use pasta sauce, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. What we really wanted to do was to eliminate the pasta sheets and replace them with eggplant instead. I knew there'd be a lot of liquid from the eggplant so I tried to cook out as much of the other liquids as possible. We layered the sauce with eggplant, cottage cheese, grated cheddar and parmesan. Even baking without a cover, the liquid that formed was still a lot. We baked it at 400 degrees and dropped it down to 350 when the top was starting to brown a bit too much. You can see from the second picture that we had a good 1/2" of liquid. It would've been so delicious if there were pasta sheets to soak up all that goodness. Instead, we just let it sit in the pan and Jamie suggested we heat it up and pour it on pasta the next day. By the time I got to it the next day though, a lot of the sauce had solidified and virtually disappeared so it all worked out. Perhaps the next time we make this, I'll throw in something starchy to soak up bit of the juice. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 27: Chicken Oreganato

If you are blaming the iPhone photos for the food looking crappy, you are only half correct. The food doesn't look appetizing in the picture because it really didn't look appetizing in person. If you haven't discovered the Meal Planning 101 blog yet, hop on over because Kindra has got some amazing recipes, weekly menus and awesome pictures to go with it all. Her food always looks amazing and makes you want to try her recipes ASAP. She recently posted a recipe called Chicken Oreganato, super simple to make with ingredients that we always have on hand. Well, except the chicken thigh part actually, but we picked some boneless/skinless thighs at Costco. Her recipe didn't have the squash in it, but we had some in the fridge that needed eating so I threw it on top. Not the smartest thing to do because the amount of water in the squash was insane. Needless to say, the thighs just boiled in all the water. Even with a ton of broil time, it just roasted the parchment and not the chicken. I also didn't salt the chicken enough so it was really bland. I did use the juice of a whole lemon rather than 1/2 like her recipe calls for and it was a very mild lemon flavor. I blame the massive amounts of squash liquid floating around the pan. I may attempt this chicken again in the future, but this recipe will get tucked away for now. We paired the chicken with some tomato pesto whole wheat rotini and a very delicious glass bottle of red wine. The wine was so delicious that Jamie and I finished the entire bottle and fell asleep on the couch at 8. Oh married life, how sweet it is.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

366 Photo Project - Photo 26: Khuno

What does one do when they do not have children to take photos of? They take loads of photos of their dog. This picture is supposed to show off his extremely gross crinkly fur under his chin. Whenever his fur gets wet, it goes all wiry and crinkly like that. Whenever he plays with my brother's child dog, Audi, all of Audi's spit makes Khuno's fur all gross. This picture was captured a whopping 24 hours later. Yup, still wrinkly and gross. 

366 Photo Project - Photo 25: Navy Bean, Potato & Ham Soup

It's been a while since I've posted. Some of you may be wondering whatever happened to my 366 Photo Project photos... Well I am still taking a photo almost everyday, but I've given up trying to take one with my DSLR camera because I just don't have the time to process everything. On top of all that, I don't always have it with me and sometimes the photo just isn't important enough for me to haul out the camera. So I'll be posting photos still and just labeling them accordingly. Hope that makes sense? 
I first stumbled onto the How Sweet It Is blog about a year ago. Jessica reminds me of my BFF Liz. She hates veggies and loves bacon. She started off with a lot more sweet baking recipes but now she's posting a lot more savory ones as well. Her photos are gorgeous and she's a hilarious and witty writer as well. She posted a recipe for Mother Lovett's Bean Soup a few weeks ago and I've been itching to try it ever since. The problem was I couldn't find a dang ham with the bone still in it. Actually, it was hard to find any decent ham at all! I finally gave up last week and bought a regular hunk of smoked ham from the grocery store. 
I didn't exactly follow the recipe to the T... When do Jamie and I ever do that anyways? The biggest pot we have is the enameled cast iron dutch oven pot from Costco so I knew I wouldn't be able to make a pot of soup the size that she posted. I started off with cutting up a couple onions and while I was trying to cut up the garlic and ham, the onions sweated down a bit too much and started browning, hence why my soup is a different color than Jessica's. I didn't want to measure the navy beans so I just threw in 1/2 the bag. I also just used one container of veggie stock and topped off the rest of the pot with tap water. It sat simmering on the stove top without the lid on for about an hour because I realized that there was too much liquid and the potatoes wouldn't fit if I tried to add them later. You can see from the picture that quite a bit of the water boiled off. It made the house smell delicious! 
After about 1.5 hrs of simmering, I added the potatoes and let it mingle for another hour or so. I think in total it had about 3 hours of cooking time. Jessica's recipe calls for like 6-7 hours of boiling but I found with this smaller batch, it didn't need that. The beans were dry so if we were to use canned beans, it would easily be done in an hour. We also didn't have any yukon potatoes so we just used red skinned ones. The soup was very filling and made great leftovers. If I were to make this soup again, I'd trade out the navy beans. It gave the soup a bit slimy of a texture that I had to overlook. Overall, a simple soup to make that warms the home and body. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Honeymoon Booking

On top of the many other things that we need to get done, the most exciting is the booking of our honeymoon. Jamie and I have only ever been on one trip together as a couple. It was our second Valentine's day together and we drove down to Banff for a weekend of ski/boarding. There was so much snow fall that cars couldn't make it up the mountain to get to Sunshine. The only cars that were making it up were the SUVs with 4 wheel drive. We had Jamie's Cavalier at the time so after sitting in the car and waiting over an hour with the rest of the poor sedans, we decided to go into town and book a walk instead. All of the other vacations we have taken have been with family or friends so I am beyond excited to get to explore the vast continent of Europe with my hubby. He's been there before but we are hitting up some cities that he's never been to, like London and Amsterdam. Our big flights are booked so we are flying from YEG to LHR (direct) and our return flight is from BCN to YEG (not direct). We just booked our flights from Paris to Rome tonight. Now we need to look for Amsterdam to Paris and all the little mini train rides in Italy. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stella & Dot

My good friend, Amanda, recently embarked on a new adventure. As if having 3 girls wasn't enough, she decided to become a Stella & Dot stylist! I love independent businesses and that's exactly what she wanted! A business. Not just something to start to get cheaper jewelry, but to actually  make a business out of it. I'm so proud of her and am so inspired. I find myself having less and less excuses for things when I think about Amanda. I have no kids. Plain and simple. A dog doesn't count. Not even remotely close. So I've got a lot of things going on in my little head lately which I hope to share one day. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple photos. I just wanted to show you all the orders sorted out and how super cute the packaging is. The second photo is of the all the amazing jewelry. I didn't mean to capture her face in the mirror... It's creepy but I love the shot of all the jewelry so we will all just ignore creepy Amanda in the mirror. Have a great night everyone. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Chaos That Is My Refuge

Some of you may not be aware, but I also have a crafting blog called StampnNStuff. Crafting is a huge part of my life but I try to keep all my card making posts separate from this blog. Today I shared a bit of my crafting space over on my other blog so pop by if you have a moment. Here's one of the the pics I posted over there.