Friday, September 27, 2013

Have a lovely weekend

This week flew by, huh? What are your plans now that we have the first week of fall under our belts (almost, anyway)? We have a play date, a church picnic and an airport visit with Precious Jules on the docket. It is supposed to be really warm out so maybe we'll get around to finishing some yard work we've been meaning to do all summer. I'm not completely sold on this whole having a yard business. I think I could survive, nay thrive, in a concrete jungle. Does that mean my heart is two sizes too small? Don't answer that. I'd rather hit the beach than hang out in our yard any day. Which reminds me, I love a good autumnal beach walk. I guess I need the ocean next to my concrete.

Have a great weekend, friends! Enjoy the warmth of the sun on your sweet faces.

Weekend Reading:

Bono does Bill Clinton (remarkably well) 

The sweetest dog obituary I've ever read. Leave it to E.B. White.
I've never had the urge to visit Winnipeg, but this neighbourhood sounds amazing. (Also, aren't Winnipeggers the coolest?)

As someone on the cusp of Gen X & Gen Y, I can appreciate quite a few of these references.


No cell phone is the new cell phone 

A city designed for women? My bags are already packed. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Look at those young ducks. They didn't even know what they were in for.

Jeff and I celebrated our second anniversary on the 17th. We ate sushi and watched Blue Jasmine -- basically my dream date.

In some ways we've had a really hard year. Lots of goodbyes, fewer hellos than we anticipated. I can, however, say that I love this man more today than I did when we got married (and I thought he was pretty neat then).

There were lots of great things that happened this year too. We bought a house and both secured permanent jobs in our respective fields. Violet is thriving and keeping us on our toes 24/7. We have lots to be thankful for, no doubt.

Thanks for putting up with my neurosis and for making me laugh so hard my cheeks cramp. I love you to where ever the Voyager 1 is and back.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

paleo chocolate chip cookies

I'm of two minds when it comes to healthy cookies. In the past I've always thought, if you are going to have a treat, have a treat. Healthy cookies? What's the point? Eat more veggies, fewer cookies, for sure, but when you indulge, really indulge. Lately, however, I've been inspired by some of my friends and the healthy treats they make for their families. Violet and Jeff both love a small, sweet treat after supper and while we've tried to steer clear of nightly dessert, we probably indulge at least a few times a week. We don't have lots of processed sweets in the house, but maybe once every couple of weeks I'll make an apple crisp or a batch of cookies. In the summer we gravitate towards ice-cream, but now that it is officially fall I love both the smell and warmth of somethin' in the oven.

Which brings me to paleo chocolate chip cookies. I don't know much about the paleo diet. The name reminds me of Ross from Friends, that's all I got. What I do know is that these cookies have no flour, no refined sugar and no dairy. I love them because I feel like I am feeding my family a handful of trail-mix as a treat, as opposed to a cookie.

The recipe I used is easy to follow, but it does require a special trip to the grocery store (unless you routinely stock your larder with almond meal and coconut oil). The cookies are really yummy, much better if stored in the fridge and they even got the Jeffrey Pond seal of approval (much harder to attain than the Violet Pond seal of approval). Jeff loves chocolate chip cookies and I had my doubts about how these would go over. I needn't have worried, because he loved them and ate them at the pace he would have eaten their butter and white flour laden equivalents (which is to say they were eaten in under 48 hours).

Now I just have to remind myself that though these cookies are healthy, the are not suitable for breakfast (opps) and more than three in a sitting is probably a little over indulgent (opps again).

Try these if you are in the mood for something sweet, but you want something a little healthier. Yum!

Find the recipe I used here:



Monday, September 23, 2013

cereal milk

I hate to brag, but my grandfather totally invented cereal milk. Milkbar ain't gotten nothing on Ron Harris. Pop has been infusing dairy with the sweet taste of toasted corn since 1984. True story. Remember when I told you about bed lunch? Well, bed lunch was typically vanilla ice-cream that had been *infused* with cornflakes. Okay, infused is one word for it. We aren't flashy people, us Harrises. We tended to say "ice cream with mashed up cereal in it", but that is only because we don't like to brag. Really we don't.

I have the Milkbar cookbook, I love me a piece of crack pie as much as the next girl, but I have to say, it is way easier to mash up cornflakes on ice cream than it is to locate glucose and freeze dried corn. Right?

I also think my Pop may have invented the Orange Julius, but I can't substantiate that, so I won't even get into it.



image source:

Friday, September 20, 2013

life lately

I haven't done a good old fashioned photo dump in a while so I guess it was just a matter of time. The photos of Violet were piling up, you understand. Isn't Violet looking grown up? I'm so proud, but at the same time I want to put her in the microwave so she stops growing. (Don't worry, we don't even have a microwave.)

We don't have too many plans this weekend, a birthday party here, a date for tea there. It might be just what the doctor ordered. I seem to have come down with a nasty cold. Violet and I are also on a major Fancy Nancy binge. We might not leave the sunroom all weekend!



ps -- links after the pictures!

{Cinderella sleepover. This was obviously taken during a tense part of the movie!}
{pretty and yummy treats from our garden}
{I'm so glad those curls have stuck around}
{no words}
{Violet and mummy date -- post swim}
{from Nana's garden}
{pumpkins already!}

A glowing review for my dad's latest book. #prouddaughter

I spend too much time thinking about all things fertility related. This is a healthy reminder to keep some perspective.

Jonathan Franzen will never be one of us, come on! 

The importance of the Mindy Project, see Jeff, I told you it wasn't a waste of time!

I LOVE this bag.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

baby steps: healthier pumpkin muffins

My friend asked me a good question yesterday. Do you call something healthy if it has sugar in it? She was referring to some cookies she makes with ground almonds and coconut. They sounded pretty healthy to me. We decided that they were healthier than the average cookie and even better than most granola bars or trail mixes, but they are probably not as good for you as kale or an apple. But then again are you really going to reach for a piece of mid-afternoon kale? I'm not!

These muffins aren't as good for you as my friend's cookies and they definitely aren't as good for you as a banana, but they are healthier than the pumpkin muffins I normally make, and thus the moniker "healthier pumpkin muffins."

I still need to address the sugar content. Another friend suggested Turbinado sugar (and she is a yoga teacher -- can't get much healthier than that!), but alas all I had was regular ol' sugar. I'll work on it. She also mentioned adding greek yogurt. I'm going to attempt that too. Okay, are you beginning to wonder if I did anything healthy with these bad boys?  I did! I switched up the white flour for its whole wheat counterpart, reduced the sugar, cut out the salt and replaced the oil with unsweetened apple sauce.

Jeff and Violet still gobbled them up.

Here is the recipe for "healthier pumpkin muffins". Don't stop eating your greens, but maybe sub in a few of these instead of you afternoon pumpkin spice latte (that last directive is written with me in mind!).

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Pumpkin Muffins


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup of apple sauce
2 large eggs (the ones from the Mennonites at the market are delicious, and the cheapest free range we've found to date)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 cup sugar (yikes, I know)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

A little extra sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling


Preheat your oven to 350 and line muffin tin (that is Violet's job)

Mix pumpkin, apple sauce, eggs, spices, sugar and baking soda together. I like one bowl muffins so I just add the flour and the baking powder right into the mix, but I try to stir in the powder a little, so you don't get those gross white powdery bits in your muffin. Mix and then scoop evenly into lined tin. I use my ice-cream scoop for perfectly shaped muffins, but then again, things like that float my boat. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar, because what these muffins need is more sugar...Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool, or like most muffins, half of the base will get stuck to the wrapper. It happens every time.




Friday, September 13, 2013

have a terrific weekend!

What a wet morning! We are supposed to get tonnes of rain between today and tomorrow so we've already begun to batten down the hatches on Roome St. Violet is hosting her first sleepover tonight and she has requested a Cinderella theme. We're keeping it relatively low key -- I'd hate to set a precedent of elaborate sleepovers, but we're going to paint pumpkins, watch the movie and eat pizza. What's not to love about that?

Tomorrow Jeff and I are going to the valley for a wine tour to celebrate our friends' birthdays (hopefully the grapes haven't all drowned). It will be nice to have an adults only outing. I'm sure we'll have fun, whatever the weather might bring. What are you up to this weekend?

I didn't do "back to school" pictures for Violet this year. She isn't in school and she has been going to Suzie's all summer so it seemed a little funny to mark one day as the beginning of something new. I did, however, start this blog to document our family life, so future Emily, the picture above is your darling girl the year before she started big school. Doesn't she look grown up? She still fits into "footie" pajamas and you better believe I make her wear them. They are the only thing keeping me together some nights ;)

Have a lovely weekend friends! See you back here next week.



ps -- our oven works again! I've already made pumpkin muffins and I can't wait to try to make the recipe a little healthier. As it stands they are more like pumpkin cupcakes I'm afraid.

Some fun links for your amusement:

This ad made me tear up (and crave a Guinness)

How to read a recipe. I never knew how important commas were.

More on reading recipes (via Joy the Baker)

It is Open Farm Day on Sunday. Have you been?

I want to paint Violet's ceiling pink. Good idea?

You've probably seen this Jimmy Kimmel video, but it killed me!

Or wait, should we be mad at Jimmy?

Monday, September 9, 2013

healthy pumpkin pancakes

Our oven still doesn't work. I have no further comment on the subject.

Onward and upward, or in other words pumpkin pancakes. I adapted this recipe from one I found online. I tried to make them as healthy as possible since they are the way my sweet girl starts her day. I obviously had to try one before I sent her to school with them tomorrow and they are awesome! They are not as good as my favourite pumpkin muffins (tear), but they're giving me my pumpkin fix and they cost a lot less than a pumpkin spice latte!




Violet's healthy pumpkin pancakes:

1 cup ww flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp apple sauce
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1/3 cup of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Mix dry ingredients. In another bowl mix wet ingredients. Add wet mix to dry. Stir it up, baby. Cook just like every other pancake -- I used a little butter and a frying pan on medium heat. They are really puffy, so they take a little longer than a standard pancake.

Serve with maple syrup or whatever else floats your boat -- maybe some baked apples would be yummy...

**UPDATE: I just realized I have blogged about pumpkin pancakes before! Next time I look for a recipe online, I'll start here! I forgot about the pancake craze of 2012. Wow. That is quite something!

{hello warm spices, where have you been all summer?}

{is there anything cuter than an egg?}

{pumpkin season is officially open!}

Friday, September 6, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes

Do you ever bicker in front of your offspring? Jeff and I do our best not to, but sometimes I just cannot help myself. I've never been one to go with the flow and if things are not proceeding the way I envisioned I can get a little testy. I'll admit I was feeling a little cranky when I got picked up from work today. I gave my girl a big kiss and then sweet Jeff and I began to argue about something or other related to the fact we can't eat warm food (pro: BBQ pizzas, con: no pumpkin muffins, and this is pumpkin muffin season).

Okay, argue is probably overstating the drama involved in our conversation. We were really just talking, but not overly nicely, to one another. Somewhere mid-bicker Violet spoke up. What you are about to read doesn't necessarily make me proud, but it does make me laugh. From the back seat Violet yelled, "Shut-up you two, you're grown-ups!" She wasn't angry, she was just stating a fact. Jeff looked appalled and I tried my best not to laugh, but I couldn't help it. We all started laughing, and although I tried to impress upon Violet that "shut-up" is a very rude thing to say, Jeff and I did, in fact, need to shut-up.

Out of the mouths of babes.



ps -- I blame Toy Story for teaching Violet to say "shut-up". It could be worse, right?


According to the Internet:

Kids want you to talk to them about money

Could these speakers be any cuter?

Blurred lines catchy song, but questionable message

If it rains on Sunday here are 20 online talks to fill your time

Private school, for bad people? (Thanks sister-cousin Gill)

This seafood bake looks unreal

I would wear this dress everyday

Thursday, September 5, 2013

summer to do list update {and the croup}

Well, it is officially freezing out. Today I actually don't mind the cold (hell just froze over, kind of like my house has in the last two hours). I'm home today because my sweet girl is sick with the croup. Apparently cold weather is good for nasty coughs. Have you ever experienced this horrible bug? She really gave us quite a scare last night. After some steroids and some sort of magic mask, she finally started breathing normally and we were able to head home. (Full disclosure, we got out of the ER at around 3:30am. Violet was absolutely starving. I was completely knackered and I had "no food" at home, just ingredients to make food. You understand. Anyway, we stopped at McDonalds and Violet got a happy meal. Just us and the frosh at McDonalds at that hour. So bad!)

We are home now of course and Violet is doing really well. In fact, she just sounds like she has a nasty cold, much better than sounding like she was drowning from the inside out. Poor peach.

Anyway, back to the original purpose of this post. (Wow, I am not longer used to operating on no sleep.) I've made pretty decent progress on my summer to do list. I seem to do better at to do lists full of fun things!

Here are a few highlights:

Jeff and I went to Melmerby Beach, just outside New Glasgow, sometime in early July. We had just dropped Violet off at the ferry, and despite the fact that we had rushed there after work we had a lovely, romantic stroll before making our way back to the city that night. What a pretty beach. It really reminded me of the beaches we frequent on the east end of the island (PE island, that is).

S'mores were made and enjoyed by all. However, at my sweet friend's wedding last weekend my eyes were opened to a whole new world of s'mores -- peanut butter cups? caramilk? get out of town! So trying those next summer.

So we didn't eat mussels on the beach as originally intended. We decided it was so messy and opted for dogs instead. We did, however, eat mussels on PEI, they were just deliciously sand-free. It was win, win so I shamelessly crossed it off my list.

{must have been a fun BBQ ;)} 

We haven't had a house warming party per se, but we did host several BBQs this summer. They almost all looked like the one you see above. Nothing fancy, but it is hard to beat turkey burgers, potato salad and chips -- gotta have chips.

I couldn't document all of our Ancaster related to-do list items (wedding dresses and such), but the cousins did have an amazing time together and the big girls got to have their sleepover. Violet and I are so blessed to have such a welcoming extended family. I love this picture because it shows two silly girls and the poor little guy who has to put up with them!

I'm not sure I'll finish everything on my list (it is getting a little cold for tubing), but it was fun to think about what we wanted to do this summer and then do it! The little things sometimes take some effort, but it is almost always worth it. Almost always, I will never sleep with Violet in the sunroom again. Worst sleep ever!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

but I want new boots!

{long weekends are made for baking in the morning}
So remember a few days ago when I told you about all the fun projects we want to do on Roome St.? Well, those have been put on the back burner -- our oven stopped working! Drat! Silly homeownership. I want new fall boots not a new oven. (Although there are a few dream ovens {1/2} I would love to shop for, the regular old variety are less than inspiring.)

Violet and I were enjoying a lazy long weekend morning when we decided to make muffins. There really isn't enough you can say about a long weekend. That extra day? One of the best things in life. Anyway, I preheated the oven, mixed the batter with Vi and popped them in to bake. When the timer went off about twenty minutes later I looked into the oven at my sad little muffins and I thought, 'I must have forgotten an ingredient, they didn't rise'. Apparently my senses were a little off that morning and I didn't noticed I had placed my muffins in an ice cold box for twenty minutes. Silly me. Anyway, no baking since then (and since we don't have a microwave, there has been very little heating up in general).

We're hopeful we just need to replace a part, but until then we are eating stovetop and BBQ fare -- could be worse, lots of options, but it is hard to make sweets on the Q (and you know how I love me my sweets!).



Monday, September 2, 2013

September Itch

We've been in our house for a few months now, and though there is lots to love, our home is 90 years old and has a quirk to match every charming feature. Now that summer feels like it is over (even though it isn't), I've been getting the itch to tackle a few projects around our house. This is our first kick at the home ownership can, so we don't really know what we are getting into, but I get the impression you have to strike a balance when it comes to home renovations. Not all renovations add to the value of your house, and you have to keep your neighbourhood in mind, and the price of houses similar to yours, before you jump right in. That hasn't stopped me from dreaming!

{images via 1/2/3/4}
There are a number of little projects we'll probably tackle in the near future -- painting mostly and dealing with our closets, but our three to five year goals for our house include: updating our pantry to match the rest of the kitchen, refinishing the floors in the kitchen, adding tile and a window to the bathroom and building a more useful deck. I'd also like to refinish the hardwood and take up the carpet on the main floor (hallway and stairs), but I can live with the floors the way they are.

We have no idea how much these projects will cost, or what box we will be opening once we start tearing out exterior walls and taking up floor boards. It is possible that we are being naïvely optimistic with our goals, but hey, they are just daydreams at this point.

Do these projects sound like good ideas? Would you want to buy our house if we completed them?!