Thursday, November 28, 2013

weekday reading

Hi! You haven't blown away? Your laptop still has power? Perfect. Here is some reading for this blustery Thursday evening:

Black Friday creep. My inbox is blowing up with deals. You?

My beautiful friend blogging in HRM parent.

Who drives in the car in your family, him or her?

Gorgeous pictures of Haiti.

Do you walk around your house naked? (over share: I sometimes do!)

Rules for naming your baby.

Halifax development in a national paper. Some love for our Lebanese community.

I don't like Margaret Wente, but I am so happy my girl gets to play so much at Susie Q's!

What does your favourite pie say about you?



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

stocking stuffers for men

I heard a lot of feedback from my lady friends and apparently I am not alone in my struggle to fill my husband's stocking. Girls are so easy! I often think, I wish I could fill my own sock. I've actually gone so far as to pick up a few things for Jeff to slip in there now and then.

Here is my best attempt at a stocking collage for my main man. I tried to find a few things to keep him warm on his walk home from work, a favourite beer, some golf balls to replace those lost this summer, a few kitchen tools he has mentioned, a favourite sweet treat, a cute mug, a movie I wouldn't watch with him and a maple candle which he told me  flat out he wouldn't want. I love it, and I know he would too if only he gave it a chance so I included it here.  Yes, he has seen this collage. I won't get these exact items, but this is at least a start, it will guide me when I actually brave the shops in the coming weeks.

Any other ideas?



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

stocking stuffers


Warning: do not proceed if you are a believer (of the Santa Claus variety, of course).

Stockings are one of my favourite things about Christmas. They make me feel like a kid again. I'm lucky because my mum was the best sock stuffer. She had a knack for striking the perfect balance between things to eat, things to read, things to make various parts of your body soft and fun little Christmas trinkets. I only hope I can make Violet's sock as magical as ours were growing up.

Jeff and I actually still do stocking for each other. Do you do that? My parents never did, which makes sense because they are supposedly from Santa who never brings gifts for grownups. Anyhow, I find it harder stuffing a sock for a grown man. In case Jeff finds it equally hard stuffing my stocking I compiled a little list of ideas. It is pretty tailored to my taste, but you could use these as secret santa gifts too. Nothing is much more than $10.

How fun is it to think about the holidays? It makes me feel a little gitty!



Friday, November 15, 2013

snap happy

{someone loves jewels!}
When your family is scattered about the country (and the world, ahem, Lou) you sometimes get requests for photos of your offspring.

This is me obliging.

Happy friday, friends!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

weekday reading

Hi! How are you doing on this cool November day? Keeping warm I trust. Any November eggnog drinkers out there? I've indulged in a bit of the yellow stuff myself. So festive. So warming. It really is beginning to feel a lot like you know what! We still have a moratorium on full on cheer in our house, but Violet has been working on her dad and we've infused our home with a few seasonal trinkets. That Violet, she knows the way to her daddy's heart. Such a great pawn for my Christmas plans...muahahaha.

Moving right along...

I have book club tonight, which I always look forward to. I am also looking forward to dinner since I really don't have to make it. We bought a frozen meal from the Little Red Kitch'n at the Seaport Market. Jeff wanted brisket with blue cheese gnocchi, I wanted something vegetarian, so we settled on Moroccan meatballs with quinoa -- meaty, but healthy! I've been waiting for this all week. I love cooking for my family, but I love not cooking for them almost as much. Is that bad?

And now for the good stuff. Here is some reading to tie you over until Parks and Rec starts:

The book our group read this month. So sad.

Adam from Girls, dreamy? Other words have come to mind...

Pasta for women of the night. Racy.

A how-to guide for Thanksgiving (the American variety), which I plan on using for Christmas

A beautiful video about adoption (get your tissues ready)

I want this tee pee for Violet, but it is pretty pricey. A few friends and I are going to attempt to make these instead.

Cute holiday craft ideas for kids (which I will probably never do, but I want to, I do!)

I wish I could knit

Since I can't knit, I want to buy this! (Although my awesome mother in law bought me the coziest blanket in the history of blankets. I refuse to share it with my family!).

Oh, big sale on J. Crew sale items. A deal on a deal? Sold.(Why are the best sales at the time of year when we are supposed to buy things for other people. No fair!)



Monday, November 11, 2013

chewy molasses spice cookies

I've made these cookies before, but this time was different. My sous-chef has really been stepping it up lately. I, on the other hand, have been wrestling with my OCD tendencies because I really want to be the type of mum who lets her daughter roll out the cookies without secretly re-rolling them when she isn't looking. I admit it, I am a re-roller. A re-roller, a re-mixer, a re-scraper, a re-washer -- you name it, I do it again, the way I like it, when Violet isn't looking. 

I know this isn't healthy. I don't want Violet to think she can't do anything right. I also don't want misshaped cookies, but I suppose the former should take precedence. 

You would have been proud of me today. I let Violet shape the cookie balls and I didn't touch a thing. I let her roll them in sugar and I didn't mention that not every inch of the surface was covered. I did still choose to photograph the most uniform of the bunch wrapped in red twine, but come on, give me a few more weeks and Violet will be charge of presentation too.

Here is the recipe. It is quick and easy and via the one and only Ms. Stewart who definitely would have reshaped the balls.



Martha's Chewy Molasses-Spice Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  1. STEP 1
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.
  2. STEP 2
    With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.
  3. STEP 3
    Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.
  4. STEP 4
    Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely.

Friday, November 8, 2013

weekday reading

Weekday reading...on a Friday...after I went on about the benefit of midweek posts. I am apparently not as good with schedules as I thought I was. Lots going on this week though. I'll fill you in on all that in good time, but for now week*end* reading for all!

If you don't have exciting plans tonight, read these:

What is your favourite holiday film? Too soon? Mine is White Christmas (although I love watching The Holiday every year with the women in my family.)

Speaking of the holidays, here is a pretty guide on how to build a cheese plate. I personally love medjool dates and would welcome them on any of your holiday spreads ;)

Enough with the thigh gap pressure. #nothappening #notenoughrunningtrailsintheworld

In defence of millennials (or in offence of stupid commentators!)

Why is everyone obsessed with French food? I've wondered this myself.

Never say goodbye (at a party, that is)

The Star reports on more than Rob Ford! A shout out to Nova Scotia native Lynn Coady. We grow writers good in these parts!

(Oh, and something about Rob Ford, because, well a mayor smoking crack is reason enough for this list!)

And because I can't possibly end with Rob Ford, what do you think of Decembrow? I like it!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

making the most of winter

Okay, so I know it isn't officially winter for another six weeks or so, but can we all admit it might as well be? It is dark early in the morning and early in the evening, the crisp apples are softening and I'm sick of pumpkin spice lattes -- fall is over. I am so not a winter person. In fact I spend an inordinate amount of time dreading its arrival. I hate being cold and other than Christmas there just isn't much I get excited about. Violet, on the other hand, loves winter with passion. On the most classic beach day in mid-July she'll insist she'd rather be in the snow. So weird. If she wasn't my clone I'd question we share genes.

This year I've decided to try to make the most of winter. I had fun with my summer to do list so I thought I would do the same for winter. I tried not to include too many Christmasy items, because I already have enough enthusiasm for that particular season, it is the other weeks and months that make me worried.

What do you think, is this a good list? Did I miss anything? How do you get through the long cold winter?



Thursday, October 31, 2013

a minion pumpkin

On Sunday afternoon Violet, Jeff and I were flaked out on the couch after a crazy weekend of quiche and scone baking (me) and daddy day care (jeff). When we heard a knock at the door, I'll admit, my heart sank. I just want to relax, I thought to myself. But guess what? The visitor came bearing gifts -- the coolest pumpkin you've ever seen made especially for the biggest minion fan in Canada. What an awesome surprise. Totally worth getting out of my couch fort for! 

Thanks Uncle Dylan and Alex. We'll never have a cooler pumpkin, I can almost guarantee it! 

xo Em


weekday reading
Is it Thursday already? I don't know about you, but I thought October flew by. Not that I am complaining. I start getting warm and tingly Christmas feelings on the first of November. My husband insists we hold off any celebrations until after Remembrance Day. In theory I totally agree, but that hasn't stopped me from sneaking a few Micheal Buble Christmas Album dance parties with Violet while he isn't looking.

Now look at me talking about Christmas on Halloween Day. How rude! Violet would be quite miffed I'm not giving one of her favourite holidays due credit. So, Happy Halloween, everyone! We have the most amazing carved pumpkin (courtesy of my brother and his lovely girlfriend) and Violet is the cutest queen around. (She is wearing a princess costume, but she has to be the boss so she's calling herself the queen.) I bought treats and play dough for little visitors tonight, but Jeffrey insists our house will get egged (or worse) if I hand out the later. He firmly believes kids do not want play dough. Maybe not, but as a mum I appreciate the less sugary treats and so I am doing my part!

And now for some weekday reading:

Our pumpkin is amazing, but these jack-o-laterns up the ante.

Have you seen the website, "reasons my son is crying"? I could have contributed to this so many times. Very funny.

Lena Dunham on takeout. Anyone else getting excited for January...

Hilarious parody of the popular Lorde song, Royals. Sorry Torrie friends. Wait, do I have any of those ;)

Jeff and I watched The Way, Way Back last weekend and I loved it. Check it out if you like coming-of-age stories.

Have you ever baked donuts? Jeff told me no more pumpkin, so I'm thinking apple baking will tie me over until gingerbread is socially acceptable (November 12th?)

The only thing cuter than a dog in a costume is a whole gallery of dogs in costume.

xo Em

Monday, October 28, 2013

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

Do you enjoy a cakey cookie? Cakey cookies are a thing, you know. I didn't make them up.

Hard hitting journalism here on the blog today.

Is there really anything more serious that the consistency of a cookie? Not in my world. Not on the day after serving brunch for 300 (more on that when I recover).

Anyway, back to cookies. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that is. So, one of my best friends just had a baby, the sweetest baby boy, and so I made her some cookies. What else can you do when one of your best friends has a baby? What else can you exchange for an hour of unadulterated newborn snuggles? Newborn snuggles are a rare commodity and they demand the best cookies in exchange.

If pressed I am a doughy cookie lover, however, cakey cookies hold a special place in my heart because my mum and her mum both made delicious, spicy gingerbread cookies that were as cakey as you can get.

The cookies I made today were warming in the same way my mum's gingerbread cookies are. They have a healthy dose of both molasses and pumpkin pie spice, so it isn't that surprising they remind me of gingerbread. Oh, and there is pumpkin. Can you really go wrong with pumpkin in October?

So there you have it, cakey-pumpkin-molassses-chocolate-chip-cookies. If you are among those who to whom this sounds enjoyable, you can find the recipe I used here.



{this was unplanned}

{and then there was one}

Thursday, October 24, 2013

new series: weekday reading

I love sharing links I've found with you each week, and I was thinking to myself, I wonder if they'd be more useful if I didn't share them on a Friday evening? I know you're busy and Friday nights are made for fabulous dinners followed by romantic strolls on the harbour front movies and snuggles, not internet trolling (although I've been known to combine all three). Anyway, if I can get my act together I'm going to try to share links on Thursdays, because really, what do you have to do on a Thursday night? Dinner-bath-books-bed-gym-wine? Me too. I think we can fit in some internet reading? Let's give it a try, anyway.

To sit or to stand, that is the question

Every country is the best at something

Wasted bagged salad, I can totally relate

You are a good mama, yes you! (via Cup of Jo)

An interesting article about how we value art

I want to make pumpkin pecan scones and maple rice pudding this weekend

The first gift guide of the season (that I've seen)

This is the cutest thing in the whole wide world. Hands down. 



Wednesday, October 23, 2013


My tiny dancer has branched out from her classic ballet training.

Tap is the name of the game these days. Of course, Vi's new moves are all her own. She doesn't actually know how to tap dance. But this is not limiting for her, oh no, she shuffles and riffs with the best of them. The Scottish blood in me likes to view these moves as a form of interpretive jigging, but the fringe on the boots doesn't lie. Despite Violet's assurance that she is in fact a tap dancer, this Alberta born girl is ready for a hoe down. No matter what you call it, this girl can move and the best thing by far is seeing her confidence in action. Oh, to dance like that (sans alcohol no less). She knows she's got it.



Friday, October 18, 2013

short weeks are best

The week before last we met up with my friend Amelia and her family at the market. How cute are those little girls? There is something about a pumpkin that makes mums everywhere think, "I have to take a photo right now"! I am no exception, so in addition to pumpkin based baking (1/2) please excuse the proliferation of the cutest vegetable around. 'Tis the season.

My week seemed at once short and long, yours? We had guests, which makes the time fly, but I always find short-work weeks feel strangely long. I think it is because I build them up as the best thing since sliced bread and then I still have to work four whole days. (Poor me, huh. Complaining about a four day work week even though I have a job I love!)

We have a low-key weekend in store. We're heading to Lunenburg tomorrow, which will be awesome. I love the little shops and the sweet restaurants there and we'll get to see a friend, but other than that we don't have much planned - just play dates and family snuggles. (Full disclosure: Jeff has not approved the family snuggle plan, but I'll work on it.) I just heard the sun is supposed to shine tomorrow, which will be welcome relief after the deluge of the past 48 hours.

What are you up to this weekend? Anything exciting going on that you forgot to invite me to? ;)

Have a lovely weekend, friends!



Weekend Reading List

Jamie Oliver has a new book and I want it!

October 15th was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Even though I've experienced two miscarriages I didn't know about this until it was mentioned last night during book club. This affects so many women. Let's keep talking about it, people!

I knew not to microwave plastic, but I didn't know not to freeze it -- yikes! Hepful tips from Canada's favourite scientist. 
Food and math? An article written for my Jeffrey! (It also endorses bacon.)

Oreos > crack. #notnewstome

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cape Breton in the fall

I am an island girl at heart, just not the island you're probably thinking of given the picture above. I've told you all about my love for PE island, and it is a deep and steadfast love, but I have to admit, I have a new crush: CB island. Cape Breton in the fall? Absolutely delicious. I was in Cape Breton last week for work and I called Jeffrey and told him we had to move to Inverness. As soon as possible.

The conference I attended was in Baddeck which is totally sweet, but it was Inverness that took my breath away. Have you been? I went on a little road-trip-for-one through the Margaree Valley, which is breathtaking in and of itself, but then I arrived at what can literally only be described as heaven on earth. I think Inverness Beach might be the most breathtaking place I've been. No joke.

A friend of mine told me that her favourite beach is MacLeod's beach  in Broad Cove and when I saw a sign on my way out of town I just had to stop. If I hadn't been so scared that I might (a) drive off a cliff (b) hit a moose or (c) find myself in a scene reminiscent of Deliverance it might have trumped Inverness. I was too scared to stop and get out of my car and really look around. I am a major wimp and rural roads make me nervous. If anyone is up for a road trip I totally want to go back. I have a feeling there are lots of hidden gems in this part of the world!

I've always heard Cape Breton is spectacular in the fall and now I know first hand just how gorgeous it is. I can't wait to bring my family back there next year. I can almost hear Buddy MacMaster now.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Hi! It's been a while. How are you? Things are good over here on Roome. My in-laws are visiting from Ontario so we've been spending lots of time showcasing our fine province (think lobster and trips to the valley) and trying to squeeze six months of quality time into a week. Phew!

What a lovely weekend, huh? The sun shone from the minute we woke up until it set (at supper time, but that is another depressing story). We had an inter-generational, inter-family feast on Sunday and I've never enjoyed a yummier spread. Everyone brought their best to the table (Nanny's gravy and cheese sauce, Mum's cranberry, Dad's pies, Julien's rolls ;) ). Yum! 

Well, back at it this morning. The only thing putting spring in my step is the fact we have a four day week. Those are definitely my favourite type of work week! 

Have a lovely Tuesday, friends! I'm thankful that you take time from your busy days to check on us over here. 



{Violet and Poppy read cookbooks for fun} 
{little hand, big hand}
{its open season for pumpkins}
{I'm thankful for these two weirdos!}
{daytime sequins} 
{Vi and I snuck a grape}

{she wasn't a fan}
{Me, wrapped in a blanket, eating stolen grapes, as captured by Violet}