Thursday, January 31, 2013

feeling crafty

{step 1}
I was home sick with Violet today (she was ill, not I). By mid-afternoon, after being bolstered by a  diet of Advil and ginger ale she had revived enough to make a craft. The trouble is, I am so not crafty. I love the idea of a good craft, it is the execution that gets me. In the process of making very standard Valentines hearts I completely ruined one iron (unless you want pink and red wax on your clothes), one towel, and I almost ruined our dining room table. I saved the table, thank goodness (after a few minutes of extreme anxiety, a very hot iron and a lot of elbow grease). 

Was it worth it? Meh, the hearts were fun to make, but there were a lot of steps that I wouldn't exactly call kid friendly. I'm going to string them up as a sort of Valentine bunting I think -- do you dare me to attempt sewing? (Does stringing bunting with floss count as sewing?)

In other news, I used my camera on its manual setting for all but the picture of Violet. I started my photography class at NSCAD last night and though it seems a little intense for a night class, I am totally excited to learn how to use my camera. Can you tell? (If the answer is yes because they are out of focus, keep it to yourself!) At the beginning of the class the teacher said we had to use SLR cameras and I worried the rest of the night that I didn't have the right gear! That shows you what I know about photography!

Finally, the most important news of the day is that it is my sweet mum's birthday. Happy Birthday Mum! We are celebrating on Saturday (because they are always, without fail, better than Thursdays). I have a gluten free cake ready to rock and roll, we'll see how that goes!

Onward to February then!



{step 2}
{step 3 -- this is pretty, no?}
{sicky mcsickerson}
{Step 5 -- fun, not worth your dining room table though!}

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

carrot & ginger soup

{healthy and delicious}
I am a soup liker, not a soup lover and before this weekend the thought of carrot ginger soup struck me as too healthy to possibly taste good. I thought carrot ginger soup was the kale of soups. Everyone says it is delicious, you know it is good for you, but you just can't bring yourself to eat it. We eat roasted vegetable soup on a regular basis, so I blame the ginger for my bias against this soup. Gingersnap, gingerbread, ginger ale: all good. Ginger the root that looks like an arthritic toe: only in small doses in specific recipes.

Anyway, enough talking smack about ginger, because I was eating crow after Jeff made this soup on the weekend. We used Jamie Oliver's parsnip and ginger soup recipe, and just subbed carrots for parsnips (they are one of the only veggies we can get this time of year, we are getting desperate!).

I was so pleasantly surprised by this soup. The ginger adds a subtle warmth to the sweet carrot soup, without making it taste medicinal. Jeff toasted some Kamut bread to make croutons -- also delicious. The soup is on the lighter side of things, and the croutons made me feel like we were actually eating a meal, not a snack. Kamut bread from Julians tastes like white bread, but supposedly it is healthy. I have my doubts, it is way too yummy to be good for you!

The chill was gone from the air in Halifax today, but when -9 feels tropical a hot bowl of soup is still in order. Like most soups it was even better the second time around.



Sunday, January 27, 2013

weekend update -- and links!

{good morning chapped lips}
I had the best intention of writing more this week. I even wrote a post for Friday, but didn't get a chance to share it. I've included my links at the bottom of this page, since week old links aren't as cool as fresh ones. I can't pinpoint why this week seemed like such a blur, but it did! 

One cute Violet story and then a bunch of pictures, sound good? So Violet has been doing a lot of singing lately. This morning while Jeff and I tidied up after breakfast I could hear her sing The Cat Came Back. "The cat came back the very next day, the cat came back the very next day, he thought it was an honour so the cat came back..." Such a positive spin on a dark little tune. 

Enjoy these snapshots of our weekend. I have good intentions about writing more this week. We'll see how that goes!



links for fun:

Eat well for less, yes please
I want my cheese to taste like "Icelandic ponies. Japanese cats on the Internet. Yawning puppies. Toddlers who give each other hugs. Goats climbing all over everything. Pink and green macaroons. Red pandas. Sparkly nail polish."
This is me at the Superstore
Its like she knew I wanted to try these again
Obama should resign, for real
A wooden bath mat? Genius!

{pretending to play hockey}

{the world is a stage}

{Violet and one of her market beaus}

{choosing her wares}

{having a good think before lunch} 
{having a good think before dessert}
{what is to think about?}
{Jeff got me a cookie scooper thing for Christmas -- OCD heaven}

{all the cookies look the same -- I don't know why that brings me pleasure!}

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jeff passed!

{we are as happy as she looks}

JEFF PASSED! (I had to say it again.)

All of that studying paid off and I am the proudest wife in the world in Canada! (I forgot the inauguration was yesterday, Michelle Obama may have me beat by a millimetre.)

We went to Dee Dees after work tonight to celebrate. Nothing says congratulations like a burrito. Seriously, the burritos are amazing...Go there, try them, thank me.

The only downside to all this is that there are two more levels, so here we go again, Jeff is signing up for level 2 tomorrow. If anyone wants to make plans from now until June I will have lots of time on my hands.  (Must enjoy the company of a mini-me and drinking hot tea.)

This has been quite the couple of weeks -- first Jeff's job and now this. He has worked really hard and we are really blessed! Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes -- it worked!!



Monday, January 21, 2013

Make coffee in a caffettiera

11. Perfect making coffee in our caffettiera (stove top coffee maker). I love the idea - very 
continental, but I am a little afraid of it in practice.

As I mentioned, I watched Woody Allen's latest movie To Rome with Love on Saturday night. Despite my love for both Woody and Ellen Page, the movie was pretty bad. The writing was bad, the plot was kind of lame and the acting was only okay. I actually watched Annie Hall yesterday to remind myself why I love Woody Allen. It worked.

During the movie one of the characters makes espresso in a caffettiera, which reminded me about my to do list, and its looming deadline. So on Sunday morning while Jeff slept and Violet watched cartoons, I dug out our stove top coffee maker (thank you Sangster family) and gave it a whirl.

After having made coffee in our caffettiera I feel a little sheepish for having it on my list. It is ridiculously easy. You fill up the bottom with water, fill up the filter with coffee (being careful not to pack it tightly), and then pop it on the stove. The coffee was strong, but good. I used regular coffee, but I think you are supposed to use espresso.

The reason I had this item on my list is because I had a little run in with a caffettiera about five years ago. I don't know if I didn't screw it together tightly enough, or if I filled the water up past the steam valve or if I packed the coffee too tightly, but the whole thing exploded in my kitchen. Thankfully I wasn't close to it, but there were literally espresso grounds on the ceiling. It was kind of scary; that is a lot of hot coffee to be spraying around a bachelor apartment!

I also decided to make a baked pancake for Jeff and Vi. It was so easy and a nice break from standing at the stove flipping pancakes for half an hour. (Just preheat oven to 425.  1/2 C milk, 1/2 C flour, 2 eggs beaten, dash salt, dash cinnamon. Beat. Melt 1 TBSP butter in a pie plate, add batter to hot butter bake for 10-12 minutes.) The pancake was a little heavier than I thought it would be. I think maybe a TBSP of butter is too much? It tasted quite like French toast.

Have you ever made a baked pancake? Do you know a fluffier recipe?

Violet was very disappointed when she saw what I had done. There were tears. Once she smothered her breakfast in both syrup and "unhealthy" peanut butter (a rare treat) she found it palatable, but asked me never to make it again. Jeff either liked it more, or is wiser than an almost four year old ;)

I honestly liked it!

So, one more thing off my list, the remaining items (e.g., read Dickens) are a unfortunately a little more involved!

Happy Monday!



{baked pancakes -- quick french toast?}
{someone really wanted "regular" pancakes!}

Saturday, January 19, 2013

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

Better late than never?

Here are a few things warming my heart on these cold January days:

I'm really excited to be working with a local business on a new blog. It is still in the works, but the amazing graphic designer Jill (she designed our Christmas cards) came up with this logo -- isn't it pretty? She is amazing. Emile does not refer to me by the way, although that would be pretty hilarious. As soon as the blog is up and running I'll obviously share it with you -- probably more than you want!

{chocolate from England}
Imagine my delight when I arrived home from work yesterday to find a care package from Jeff's sister that contained chocolate (and other treats) from her recent trip to England. Thanks Auntie Ang! Why is chocolate from England better than the stuff we get here? We have Cadbury, why isn't it the same? I wish I was the type of person who could slowly nibble away at treats kept tucked in the cupboard, but that is just not my style. Jeff is even worse than me! Needless to say we've put a dent in the haul.

{old fashioned grilled cheese}
We spent a good chunk of the day today outside. That happens less frequently than I'd like, but when it does is there anything that tastes better than regular old grilled cheese? Vi had hers with ketchup and pickles. Jeff said that his grandmother always made him grilled cheese; my mum always made mine. So many memories in such a simple little lunch.

We tried kamut bread from Julians for the first time today -- yum. Does anyone eat kamut? Um, it tastes like white bread, but is supposedly really healthy...too good to be true? I almost don't want you to tell me ;)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend friend. I'm off to watch Woody Allen's newest movie (and eat chocolate probably). Oh, and enjoy these links:

this makes me sad, should it?

also unacceptable, am I getting old?

"Good and great causes don't advance without resistance" -- you tell 'em Gopnik

I shemomedjamdo all the time!

so so gross (sorry for putting this in your head)

these are so cute in navy (I wish they came in my size)

I made this tonight -- cafeteria food? maybe, but my family devoured it

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

let it snow!

{rosy cheeks and anticipation}

Those are words I never thought I would say in January.

I'm winter's harshest critic and though warm weather this time of  year does make me feel a little uneasy about what the future holds for our little planet, a naughty part of me thinks bring on the heat! Well, winter is certainly doing what it ought to tonight: snow, snow, snow!

Unlike her mother, Violet absolutely loves winter. More specifically, Violet loves snow. After the first snowfall back in December (I think it was December), she grabbed a mitt full of the white stuff, brought it to her mouth, tasted it and then said to me, "Oh mum, the snow is so good this year." She is basically a sommelier of snow!

Jeff, being the dear husband that he is, walked home with me today so that we could both brave the hills to pick up Violet at Susie's. Jeff wouldn't call it brave, he would call it rational (and perhaps call me a little irrational when it comes to winter driving). I just don't like driving in the snow. Anyhow, we were all home together earlier than usual so Jeff took Vi out for a romp in the snow before dinner. Since being cold is not my bag, I set the table and made hot chocolate.

Is there anything cuter than bright red cheeks on a little kid? I love it. Vi looked so healthy and full of life when she came in from the cold. She ate a great supper and I just know she'll have a better sleep. Although she did warn us that after drinking hot chocolate and a glass of water with supper she might wet the bed.

Fair enough Vi. Thanks for the heads up!

Stay safe out there Halifax. It is a messy one.



{one marshmallow or two?}

Monday, January 14, 2013

the infirm

We're a little under the weather over here on Newton Ave. Chills and aches were the name of the game today, but both Violet and I are feeling better this evening. It would appear we've been spared some of the nastiness that is going around. 

We managed to time our illness quite well in that we didn't miss a beat this weekend. Jeff and I went out for our hot date. It was hot, but we both found The Bicycle Thief to be a little underwhelming. I'd take Amano over the BT any day. Are we alone in thinking this? Maybe they had an off night, or we ordered the wrong thing? 

Anyway, it always astonishes me how quickly kids bounce back from being sick. Violet was couch bound this morning, but by this afternoon she was raring to go. I wish it worked that way for grown-ups.

So until my head clears, yours in an flu induced fog,


snippets from the weekend:

{still half asleep at the market}

{something about that juice box is obviously not up to snuff}

{fourth generation Wings fan}
{I made brownies for a friend and obviously had to taste test them}

{Violet makes this face in 80% of the pictures I take}

Friday, January 11, 2013


{she is smiling on the inside}
{100% excited}
This was a big week in the Pond household. I’m so happy to finally be able to share with you that Jeff’s job has been made permanent! We both have permanent jobs – a short sentence, a long peaceful night sleep. Especially for Jeff (I’m a great sleeper, one of the best). I’m so proud of my husband. He has worked his tail off to find a job he loves. It took some time, but looking back (to last week), it wasn’t all bad. In fact, there were tonnes of great times. Now we just know for sure that the great times can keep rolling here in Halifax. I am so happy! 

We have a fun weekend lined up. I have book club tonight (Jeff will be watching an action movie and lifting heavy things – so manly). Tomorrow night we are going to the Bicycle Thief to celebrate Jeff’s exciting news. We’ve wanted to go for a while and we keep putting it off. I’m really excited for a hot date. What to wear, what to wear…Violet is equally excited about heading to Nana and Papa’s house for a sleepover. She can’t wait to use her suitcase. 

The other night she was on the phone with my mum and I overheard her say, “Mummy hates monsters. Let’s draw lots of pictures of monsters for her at our sleepover”. Then, as if suddenly aware I could hear, she said in a sing-song voice, “Mummy, would you mind covering your ears,” and then extra sweetly, “please.”

I’m not sure what to make of that, but I don’t think it is good!

Have a lovely weekend!

Here are some links for your viewing pleasure. They are extra awesome this week. You’re welcome.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

lady who lunches

{Lunch lady - Brooke Astor}
What do you do during your lunch break? I posed that question to my husband this morning over breakfast (I was eating, he was shaving, Violet was running around willy nilly -- just in case you envisioned a relaxing chat over waffles). He said, "work". Like, duh Emily, what else would someone with an MBA do at lunch...

Work during lunch? If there is something pressing then of course work through lunch, but I am not convinced I would be more productive if I skipped my mid-day break. Maybe I am just rationalizing, but I think that taking a lunch is good for the soul, and maybe even better for your employer.

But what can you do with an hour in the middle of the day? I normally snack on my meal throughout the morning, so eating whatever I've got left in my lunch bag normally takes...45 seconds. I work downtown so shopping is a potential noontime activity that springs to mind. That was all well and good pre-Christmas, but surely I don't need to pick-up a little something every day of the week. And don't get me started on the sales. I have spent more in an attempt to save money than is good for a person. So shopping is out.

Being outside in general is out these last few days. I walk to work and back so I get lots of fresh air. I've only just warmed up by noon, there is no way I am facing minus double digits by choice. In the warmer weather I will go outside, but what can I do until then? It is only really two weeks into Winter, I've got to find an alternative noontime activity.

The last two weeks I've started to bring my book with me to work. I thought I might as well read for an hour. Sounds good in theory, no? I felt weird about reading in my office lest someone think I was brazenly slacking off so off to the cafeteria I went, book in hand. Picture this: I buy a tea (total waste of money, they have no good kinds) and settle into a table in the corner; bad radio blares this girl is on fire; the smell of burnt toast engulfs my nook (I can't get that Canadian Heritage Moment out of my head and I actually wonder if I am having a stroke); the flouresent light bounces off the yellow and red plastic interior of the D List fast food hell I have subjected myself to making it hard to focus; the sound of a weird hybrid of English and French -- a dead giveaway for Federal public servants -- is being spoken so loudly not even Alicia Keys can drown it out; and all of this is trumped by the fact that I have an overwhelming feeling that I am the loser in the cafeteria with no friends.

Needless to say I only did that for one day. Yuck.

My latest routine has been to read my book in my office in the chair opposite my desk. This seems silly, but my thinking is that by moving chairs it will signal to my colleagues that I am on my lunch break. So yes, I literally stand up, move around my desk and sit back down with a book.

Yes, it feels as awkward as it sounds, but what is a girl supposed to do for 60 minutes in the middle of the day?

In sum, I am currently accepting advice about what to do at lunch time (and lunch dates, my calendar is fairly wide-open).



Sunday, January 6, 2013

family photos

Remember when I gave you a sneak peak of the family photos we had taken in the fall? I did that because we gave pictures to the grandparents for Christmas. Now that gifts have been exchanged, I can finally show you some of my favourite pictures that the amazing photographer Charlotte Griffiths took. We had so much fun with her, despite the fact I was literally freezing to death. (Will you ever believe me again after that use of the word literal...)

I can't recommend Charlotte highly enough. We'll definitely be using her services again. When I look at these pictures I'm reminded just how much there is to learn about photography. I love the way she captured the light. So pretty. 

Thanks again Charlotte, we love these pictures and most importantly so did all the grandparents (or at least that is the story they are sticking with)!



quick aside: Jeff, Vi and I are watching The Wizard of Oz. Quick poll, is it an appropriate movie for an almost four year old? It seems a titch scary in my opinion, but she is loving it...

Friday, January 4, 2013

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

{skating in sub-zero temperatures}
It has been so freezing in Halifax this past week. I'm talking Prairie cold. Brrrrrr. We have tried to face the elements bravely -- we have a long Winter ahead of us after all. This has included several trips to the oval. There is something about an outdoor skate that takes the nip out of the air. (The oval provides short-term relief from the cold only. We get in and out in well under an hour!) Let me know if you want to meet us there.

{facebook friends unite}
These two little munchkins live on opposite ends of the continent but thanks to facebook they were excited to see each other over the holiday. How weird is that! How awesome is that more like it!

As an aside Violet wears the "queen puppy" shirt you see in this picture whenever she can. It has tulle, gems and a dog with a crown, what's not to love? Thanks mum. I'll get you back someday ;)

{cute, no?}
My husband is a stone cold fox. That is all.

{three and three quarters going on thirty}
There are disadvantages to being an only child, no doubt about it, but the position does come with a few perks. For example, because there is just one of you your parents drag you everywhere, including restaurants. Violet ordered sparkling water and ate rabbit the night I took this photo. Doesn't she look serious? She is three years old.  She may not learn to share, but I'll be damned if she is a picky eater!

Well, the first week of January is almost under our belts -- any resolutions? No, me either.  Well, I'm trying to drink more water (I drink zero water, I'm surprised I am still alive). Have a fun weekend stripping your home of holiday cheer!



linky-loos for your amusement:

something to consider this time of year

I have worn some cringe worthy outfits that I thought we super hot at the time. Oh my sweet former self!

I like this take on the time we live in

Sage advice (I like the part where he suggests one skim magazines and newspapers so as not to pick up bad habits)

I was excited to see this movie until I read this

I  love Liberty of London and I would so wear these if I was tall (I would probably wear them if I was a teeny bit taller than I am)