Friday, February 26, 2010

I guess a typical Mommy day....

So what did you do all day?
Don't those words just creep you out? I remember how the hair on my neck would just stand up after hearing these I was now under the verbal gun to defend why I only accomplished putting up curtains or why I was still in pajamas at 3pm in the afternoon. Those are kind of fighting words....

But I am learning to take control when asked this question or to even not care about it. Whatever momma gets done, she gets done. If that means you have to fix your own jam sandwich, well, you grown, aint ya? hehe, just kidding. somewhat.

Seriously, I am learning to a)pace myself, b) be okay if I don't save all the neighborhood strays or find the answer to world peace, c)accomplish nothing in the day or d)remain in my pajamas all day (out of choice).

Especially now, with being a new mom, I am learning to develop and maintain a schedule that works for all three of us.

So what did I do all day?

Well sister, I finally cleaned all the dishes that still sported 3inches of drywall dust on them, did about 3 loads of laundry (built up from Eliel's vomit-fest and we cloth diaper here and I changed the sheets and towels this week), crockpotted dinner, went to home depot with Husband to pick out shelves for my kitchen, vacuumed the family room rug, wiped down some of Eliel's toys, made some hanging centerpieces, arranged some plants, did some grocery shopping and signed up for some online coupon sites. Yeah, pretty full day huh? But what was the coolest is that it wasn't stressful...actually paced out. And of course, I also made breakfast and lunch too, played with Eliel (actually more like allowed him to hang from my hip all day... :P), and other random daily things...

I also snagged some amazing deals at they have some free products for both family and business as well as some severely discounted items. Get this, my cost for...

1 Large Window Business Decal
100 Postcards
140 Return Address Labels
100 Family Business Cards
1 Business Rubber Stamp
1 50pg note pad
2 sets of Sticky Notes...

woulds have cost 70.92 and I got all that for 24.93. Almost $50 in savings. Unreal!
So I guess I am gonna have to find some new use my swanky notepad and address labels!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cooking up for the Challenge...

As you can see from my sidebar, I am taking part in the "Eat from Your Pantry" Challenge.

Added to the desire to take part in this, it was also been out of neccessity, with this reno. You must be soo tired of hearing me talk about this kitchen. I hope you will still be awed, amazed and overly "woooowed" when you see this...but anyhow...

So part of the challenge is to use what you yesterday, I held my own.
For I made pancakes, y'all.

Yes, the mix was from a box BUT what I came up with and put INTO them came from my pantry. Even Eliel gummed on one (a plain one that is, I thought all the extras might be too much for his first intro to pancakes...)

Introducing: Honey-Almond, Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes. (guess it's like a big coconut macaroon for breakfast!)

And um, yeah, no recipe, just mix the batter and pour in some honey, almond extract and some coconut flakes. Pour a little of the batter on to the well buttered pan (estimating about how big you want your pancakes. Personally, I am a smaller pancake person with them stacked all cute. My husband, on the other hand, is the mega sized pancake type, that you have to flip in the air bc it doesn't actually fit on the spatula....) When just a little cooked, THEN you put the choc chips on, pushing them in a little. And you can be all Martha Stewart if you like, with making sure of proper placement and ample distance from each other, to ensure maximum chocolate-ness in every bite. When the pancake is slightly browned on the edges and there are bubbles on the top (looking like a moon cake), then flip over for just a very short time. Carefully, slide your spatuala under to pick up without destroying.

And a couple of tricks and tips:
1. To ensure perfect pancakes each time, a trick is to wipe the pan with a dry paper towel after removing the cooked pancake. Then add a little more butter, to sizzle and then start all over again.(I learned this from the magazine Cooking Light, when I was in the States and all on my own....)
2. I put the cooked pancakes on a plate with a colander over them to keep warm and from drying out or getting too moist from being on top of each other. That way, I can continue in peace making other 15 or so. (My husband eats a lot.....and Eliel is following behind in suit).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Homemaker's Journal (2.23.10)

I've been a fan of the Christan HomeKeeper Network and recently saw they have an online HomeKeepers Journal. I do look at my blog as somewhat of a journal, so here goes my entry...It's neat for she gives some journal entry "segues" so you know what to write/blog about...

In My Kitchen
a freshly stocked refrigerator, thanks to my husband's midnight trip to the grocery store. Some sweet potatoes on the counter waiting to be diced up and used for this fabulous crockpot recipe for dinner...

With the baby
he's getting over his cold and his appetite has definitely coming back. We have been struggling with getting him back onto solids without him gagging and also sleeping amply. He also has been fighting waking up in his crib and not in mommy's arms. Or he will cry the moment we put him down in his crib. We've co slept since day one and this is what he not only bc of that, but we see the benefits of co sleeping and believe we all get better sleep that way. Other than that, he's showing he know how to put our hands together to "clap", wants to feed himself more and more and definitely loves to play "imitate", esp with moving his head from side to side.

What I’m Reading
For my Jane Austen Book Club, I finished Pride & Prejudice and am now enjoying Sense & Sensibility. Along the way, I have learned many new words! I am also trying to get back into the good habit of reading my Bible and am currently in Job...which in all honesty, I am just not feeling. Though I've felt like a Job this week with the flu and then the ear infections...

What I Have Been Learning
That I tend to be an inpatient person and take on way too much, often to the detriment of others around me. This was true for any room in the house that I've wanted to paint, no, overhaul, and any project underway. I'm learning to stay in the moment, appreciate the little blessings and the accomplishments thus far.

What I’ve Been Noticing
blog posts on co-sleeping and Mommy Mission Statements (which have been on my mind), how the weather is changing and all the dust in my house and on my windows.

On The Back Burner of My Mind
cleaning out, decorating and organizing my craft room, planting a garden come spring and breaking down the "hosta and fern" forest we have out back.

In The Deepest Darkest Recesses
how disappointed I sometimes am with myself for the times that I don't follow through or get overly involved in something. For all the times I sign up for something with a burning excitement only for it to fizzle later.

k, it's your turn....let's be real with each other...

Monday, February 22, 2010

what I've got....

... a 90% finished kitchen reno
... a very tired and overworked husband
... a 10 month old who (still) has a ridiculous cough from broncholitis and the subsequent clinginess and the "earth-shattering-I'm completely-in-despair-because you left the room to go release your pee from it's 6 hour restraining order" cry. Yes. I said the pee word. Twice.
... an ear infection to accessorize my cough and flu outfit.
... a feeling of "not wanting any obligations on my time". Like a 16 year old boy's hesitation to commitment. And I will say it: its not you, it's me.
... a desire to just simple out (my verbal way of saying, get real. and very very basic). Maybe it's due to the Proverbs31 Spring Cleaning Challenge that will be taking place...spiritually, physically and emotionally or just the effects of living amongst dust, disorder and in one corner of my son's nursery (bc of the reno)...But yes, I am choosing my family, my time, my life, me. I already know some won't be happy, but oh well.
... a blog that hasn't really felt my love for almost 1.5 weeks
... a business that needs some revitalizing

But the most beautiful thing I have right now is my son, gently napping in my arms. I fall in love with his long eyelashes, his rhythmic breathing, his curled little toes, his curly hair, his bottom lip slightly protruding, his hands that seem so big. Even with the lunch "stain" still on his cheek.

And that is why I have all those other things...yes, even the flu and ear infection :)

Motiated Mondays to return next week, with hopefully, my reno'd kitchen...

*note, I realize this picture of Eliel is not only from a couple of months ago, but he's in his carseat. (it was from us returning from something..) But as you read from the post, he was in my arms and I didn't have the camera next to me....note to self, carry it more often...

Monday, February 15, 2010

My OWOH WInner is.....

after about 3 weeks blghopping on the One World One Heart carpet...

I just want to say how awesome this bloghop was! Not only did I get to meet some fabulously creative people, but I had 1000+ hits to my blog and there were 230 comments for my little brooch!

And the winner is:

Comment #45 --- Cara from Cara Makes.

A little about Cara from what I gather from her blog. She has a definite wit to her writing. There's also what sounds like an awesome homemade face scrub that I would like to try soon and many yummy recipes. She's also a fellow Etsyian. Her store is here and with its tagline of "armour against a gray day", its sure to please! So go visit her there too!

She's also a big fan of green ---- so she will be the recipient of a one-of-a-kind brooch handcrafted by me.....I can't wait to work on this brooch!

To all others who visited, but didn't win, please visit my blog and etsy shop. I have a whole bunch of other brooches, fabric rings, hair pins, scarves and bridal veils to post ----- mention you were on the OWOH bloghop for a 10% discount.....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

....and on this day

4 years ago, in 2006, this was the day that Damion (my husband) proposed, for the second time.

Yes, I am a blessed woman to have had two proposals. Let me tell you a little story....

We met at a dance studio in Boston, Massachusetts in August of 2005. I was doing competitive ballroom and he was starting hip hop classes. Upon seeing him enter into the dance studio (there's a limited number of men btw so besides the fact he was tall, dark and handsome, I noticed him) and thought to approach him the next time I saw him. Btw, at that time, I was dancing with my instructor so it was unlikely that I could just interrupt the lesson to start chatting it up. So the next week, Damion came in the studio for his lesson and since it was in the rush of signing people in for the next class, I was kind taken by surprise when he came in and I only had so much time to talk. So I approach him and ever-so-eloquently I say, "Hi, I'm Ellen. I'm looking for a male dancer". *Insert mouth drop and instant red face. Oh yah, and that awkward moment of silence and a smirk from Damion*. Ahem, what I meant to say was "Hi, I'm Ellen and I am looking for a dance partner". He laughed it off, I kind of laughed it off and then he said sure, he was game. And because I was trying to get out of the awkward-ness, I said okay, well, I will just get your phone number next week or something". He then suggested the brillant idea of just swapping them right now. K, here ya go. See ya! hehehe

So we were strictly dance partners for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, but there was definitely flirting and we both enjoyed our time. Fast forward (to keep this story relatively do-able), we started dating October of that year and I didn't know it yet, but we were going to be engaged by December of that year.

Actually, he didn't know it either, hehe. It was my first time up to Niagara Falls, Ontario to visit his family (for the Christmas and New Year's celebration) and upon being introduced, I was his girlfriend. New Year's early evening, we were having dinner with his family and his brother's girlfriend asked us what we were doing for the evening and we said we were going down to the Falls for the fireworks. "Oh, that's where everyone gets engaged", she said. Oh really???? Damion looked shocked, so I knew it defintely wasn't his plan. But it was starting point ONE.

That evening before heading out to the fireworks, we go to his mother's church service and the pastor taught from Ecclesiastis (for us Christians, it was about "a time for everything"....a time to be born, a time to get married etc etc...). We just chuckled. Well, some of us semi-chuckled and gulped a little. That was the second point.

Right after the service, during the "chatting time", we were approached by an old-time friend of the family who asked Damion "so, how long have you two been married". I think I heard Damion's heart skip a beat at this point. This woman totally knows the family and if there was a wedding, she would have been invited, so it was an odd thing to ask! She then proceeded to tell us how she dated her then husband for only 3 dates before they were engaged and then married a couple of months later.

And at this point, can I just say that it was a little awkward driving to the Falls?! We had talked about where we were going with this relationship and we knew that we would eventually get married but Damion had instilled some rule and like taken a vow or something about "dating 2 years before even approaching engagement". *I smile softly at this point*....

So things at the Falls seemed normal, we were enjoying the evening and honestly, I forgot about the whole "propose at the Falls" concept. But at one point, as the countdown was going on and then the fireworks go on, Damion turns my shoulders towards him and says......

"Ellen, things have changed".


Do you know my first thought was: is he breaking up with me? And I am stuck in Canada with this guy and he's breaking up with me. What nerve?

And then he asks: "Will you marry me?"


Such an emotional rollercoaster.

I obviously said yes and then it was a momenmental kiss that lasted about 20 mins. No joke. Previously, upon arrival, we had learned that this was the most attended New Year's celebration. Ever. Something like 20,000 of our closest friends.

Well, after 20 minutes, we stop (probably for a breather lol) and then the Falls was completely empty. I think I saw some snow covered tumbleweed cross my path, that's how empty it was!

So that was my first proposal. And because he did it unexpected, even to him, there was no ring. So when I get back to the States and do the "happy I'm engaged dance", the record scratches because you tell people this and they ask to look at your ring and then I have no goods to show and they are all like *sucks teeth*, "girrrrl, you ain't better get yo'self a rock from that boy to be official". Yeah, I don't know how Shenaynay became my friend, or my marriage counselor, but I know I stopped telling people because they made it so awkward.

So for the next couple of months, I casually and not so casually show Damion rings I like. And it didn't even dawn on me that he would propose again on Valentine's Day. Here's how he did it.

I am still working and dancing at the studio. In fact, I was co-teaching a lesson and so while I was upstairs preparing, he was letting my students in on the evening's agenda. He even employed one of them as his "camera man". And it was funny, this guy just kept following Damion around, like he was Damion's shadow. At one point, Damion came up to see me and there was Steve (thus said employed camera guy) right next to him. I ask, "Steve, did you need me for something"? And he says no. Um, okay. So why are you up here, I thought. Anyhow, the lesson is about to start and we were doing tango. My instructor asks people to line up and Damion re-assorted us so we were across from each other. The instructor kind of breezes through the basics of tango (we were somewhat of an advanced class) and then Damion interrupts. "Um, so with the initial beginning of tango, how do you approach the lady". And I think, "what, Damion, are you kidding me? I taught you tango. You should know this!". hehe So there I am getting all jizzed up and then Damion approaches me, takes my hand and says something along the lines of "is this how I get down on one knee?"

Him opening the ring box certainly enforced the thought. And my, was the ring GORGEOUS. He actually custom designed it.

And the last funny thought I will leave you with is the image of my instructor (who at first, thought Damion was just being a joker and interrupting the class) with his hands on his head and giving that stressed out look.....but the he approached us, the hugging couple, checked out my ring and said "yup, it's real".

It was just so nice to have my class in on it and to hear them cheer "Go Damion", "Yeah Ellen". No wonder they were so giddy at the beginning of it.

And then something remarkable happened. I couldn't dance. We went and sat in the corner and just talked about the day's events, admired the ring and each other.

We were married July of that year. Yes, on our wedding day, while the pastor was preaching, we were giggling about how we didn't even know each other for a year and we were getting married.

And no Jet Lag....

I just went on a major trip.....
blogland, blogosphere or whatever you want to call it but I just viewed 1,105 blogs over the span of about 3 weeks.

Thanks to Lisa over at A Whimsical Bohemian, the One World One Heart Adventure began. Crafters, artists amd bloggers all over the world had an open house (blog), introduced themselves and had door prizes and treats. From Malaysia, to Germany, to Australia to Brazil, there were 38 countries represented and it was really awesome to see how talented people are and generous with their time and handiwork.

And I am proud to say that I visited ALL of the links! Somehow, between kitchen renos and fighting the flu that took visited all three of us, I traveled. It also helped that I was bed bound for two days nursing and comforting a little one who slept 75% of the time during those two days. So, while it was great to meet new people, I do hope to win some things (if the truth be told!)

I definitely have some favorites (and somehow my "follow list" has like tripled!) and here they are. Check them out and delight in all the creative goodness!

The Felt Elf
ok, shut UP. Look at these scarves! I'd wear these everyday, even in 90+ weather. Might replace my shoe collection.

Salihan Crafts
I can't even describe what this fruit does to me!!! It's absolutely insane how a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. these are and how I just want fruit everywhere.

This could be a problem...I'd have letters everywhere that my house might look like a stage from Sesame Street.

Coral Seas Jewelry
How awesome are these pendants? If we end up having the six kids we'd like, might make Mr. T run for his money with all the bling I'd have on.....

Whimsy Loft
def my spot to learn how to properly play with my socks, a new hobby perhaps?

Whimsy Girl
this girl had me from the nerd scrabble tile ring she was sporting....she makes mommyhood look like a ton of fun!

Zig Zag's This & That
another scarf obsession about to happen...

My Faerie Window
ok, how she made a cream puff even BETTER is beyond that's talent!

Most of these, if not all, have etsy shops so go visit them there!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


do you know where your coffee maker is?

Can I borrow it?

For right now, the scene is this: I am caved in our son's bedroom, watching over him, listening to his breathing because of course during a major reno (and really no kitchen-y resources to speak of, that is, not covered with 3 inches of sawdust and sanding dust...), my son possibly has a flu bug. His poor little nose is all stuffed up and he really can't keep any food down and oh yeah, where did I put the baby thermometer? Between the two of us, we've had 5 wardrobe changes (didn't you know, puke covered clothes is sooo yesterday!). I am sitting here like the first time mom that I am, making sure he can breathe, is comfortable and isn't about to choke on his own vomit. My husband has been working overtime at work (he just happened to be on call this weekend and got that 11pm phone call which meant he was screen staring until about 5am the next morning....) and non stop on this kitchen. With an about 100 year old house, there have been many surprises and decisions to be made and then re-made.

so anyhow, I am in my son's room, blogging and surfing and my husband is hacking away at that floor. Again. Soon, it will be done and we can get back into our little routine in all its mommyhood fantastic-ness. Can't wait to be cooking up a storm in that kitchen! I've been previewing recipes and bookmarking for some good homecooking. Yes, my American Southern roots are totally coming out. I will be trying my hand at making my own apple pie and as soon as peaches are in season (yeah I know like all the way in June), I want to make Peach cobbler. All this by hand (y'all). I even "inherited" a hand peeler...

But the main point of this post is to get back to blogging (I know all of you miss me)..and to also see if any of you have taken part in the Eat from Your Pantry Challenge. I'm gonna make us some good recipes but I also need to be smart about it...especially since we just did this kitchen.

So, yeah, I saw this and thought hmm, that sounds a bit like woman from Proverb 31ish.... using the resources you already have. Just thinking of my pantry, I know, I have plenty of stuff to choose from instead of going out and rebuying pretty much the same stuff... Also, from reading some of the guests posts, it talks about how you also inadvertently, can then save money that you may want to donate to a charity, rediscover family time (or gain more's pretty difficult to do grocery shopping with a 10 month old!) and rediscover creativity. Yup, k, 'nuff said, I am on board!

To start, here are my goals:
1. Spend $250 a month (including Eliel's formula and food) and making sure to use coupons (when appropriate) or go no-name. Note to self: do more of homemade baby food. Another note to self: don't be too hard or too determined to be accurate with this for the first few months, because Eliel's diet is changing.....
2. Do grocery shopping two times a month as a family
3. Make dinner an "event", focused and full of family (and fun). This means setting the table and making it special (candles, flowers, something fun, whatever). I definitely want to incorporate the "high-low" idea (discussing as a family what each of our high and lows of the day were). And when talking over with my husband, doing the dishes together and adding a walk (if my Caribbean blooded body can handle the Canadian weather).
4. Each week, whatever money is remaining from my budget, add it to the "Christmas Jar". I hope this will instill in my son and family the value of helping others.
5. And come spring and nicer weather, to choose 1-2 veggies/herbs that I can grow to further reduce costs.

And obviously an underlying goal is for me to make meals that are yummy and healthy (fresh as much as possible and processed as little as possible).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Clank Clank, Drill Drill

yes these are the sounds in my house, currently. why?, you ask?

For we are making over our kitchen.

Yes, my husband and I have been making over kitchen from the 1980's to a beachy-cottage-farmhouse style that more suits me and makes things look more "open" and fresh. My son has been camping out at grandma's for the last week and I have been bouncing back and forth, playing both mommy and construction worker.

I tell you --- ripping out floors, tearing down a ceiling, taking down, what a transformation it has been....

can't wait to show you pics!!

In the meantime, notice my new little button about being featured at It's So Very Cheri...yeah! My hutch helped me to the big time crafters! hehe

And speaking of Cheri, check out her fabulous giveaway. Did you notice the prizes -- fantastic. And many of them perfectly suited to move into my new kitchen! :)