You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.

Meals have been a bit of a rushed affair around here for the last thirteen months or so but a bit of time has been shaved off my meal prep now that Kate is eating most of the same meals as us.  It takes some careful planning up front but it assures that we’re not eating too many grilled cheese with a side of cookie meals and it’s fun to see her try new things.  Another result of her being ready for more complex meals is that we decided to introduce a little wild salmon and humanely raised chicken back into our diet after six years as vegetarians.  It was a really tough decision and we thought about it for months but in the end I think it was the right one for us.  Neither Chris or I is a fan of seafood but this Thai Salmon was a modest hit with the adults and went over really well with Kate.  My second attempt with some previously frozen fillets from a discount supermarket almost ended with both of us throwing up from the fishy smell but I’m going to keep on trying.  If anyone has any recommendations for non-fishy, mercury free and fish friendly fish recipes I’m all ears.

I’ve also been thinking more about including less refined flours in our diet so before Good to the Grain came in the mail yesterday I thought I would try tweaking a run of the mill blueberry pancake recipe to make it a little more hearty and they were really, really good. I thought I should write it down for easy recall on early Sunday mornings.

Healthier Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

1 large egg

1/2 cup all purpose flour*

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup low fat buttermilk

1 tbsp. white or brown sugar

2 tbsps. vegetable oil

3 tsps. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

finely grated zest of one lemon

a splash of pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh blueberries**

Butter, for the pan


Beat egg in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients except butter until smooth. Heat pan or griddle to medium. Grease with butter if desired.  Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter into hot pan.  Cook pancake until bubbly on top and dry around the edges. Turn and cook the other side until golden.

*You could try using a higher ratio of whole wheat flour if you’re so inclined.

**I usually use frozen and I hate to be a snob about it but these really were way better with the fresh berries.


I also made french toast for the first time after a bit of a hiatus because I’m never happy with my results but after reading another great post from Dinner: A Love Story  on the topic I realized what I had been missing all these years was just a teaspoon of sugar in the batter.  It makes a huge difference.  Huge.

Perhaps not the healthiest meal of all time but one of the tastiest is this Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter.  Another Kate favourite.

Any recipes floating your boat lately?


The muslin phase of my Lisette dress is done.  I think.  I did hack the neck a bit at the end and didn’t have the material or inclination to make another muslin but I am sending positive energy into my life force that will make me achieve my ah-ha gratitude sewing moment. I suddenly care about Oprah. Shut up.

Anyway, before Lisette and even Rose I started Saskia but it got put aside because I felt I needed an invisible zipper foot before I could proceed.

My first go around following the pattern exactly was pretty weird looking. Sort of hospital gown meets orphanage sleep shirt. So, I hacked a few inches off the bottom and shortened the sleeves and I think it’s more wearable now.

Look at my crooked yet non-blinding bangs!

The fabric is a really lightweight gingam from Mitchell’s which I thought would be super duper cute but I think it might look better with a more flowing style.

Kate stood still on the understanding that there would be bubbles but here’s an unobstructed view of the back and my almost neat zipper stylings:

Not so horrible.

In other news: We’ve decided to take a little motoring trip down to Minneapolis in August. I’m super excited! If anyone has any suggestions for restaurants or activities send them my way.

We hosted an informal baby shower for our friends Adam and Michelle on Saturday. Boys and girls were allowed to mix, there were no games involving chocolate resembling baby poop but there were snacks!  I wasn’t planning on decorating until I found a tutorial for the Martha Stewart paper pompoms that I had been eyeing in kit form for the nursery before Kate came around and put my Costco pack of tissue paper to good use.

I could make these all day. The runner is the old valance from Kate’s room. There was delicious berry lemonade and cake, which appeared briefly here before disappearing:

It’s the Hershey’s cake that Alicia posted about a while back but with whipped cream instead of her Cloud Burst frosting, which is great (although I prefer vanilla to almond extract) but I wanted something lighter and easier.

I also made a tinier, long-sleeved version of Rose.

Now baby girl Wood and Kate can be twinsies while Kate is launching soft toys at her head.

I’m working on one of the new Lisette patterns, Simplicity 2246, view A and I’m trying to be thoughtful about it.  I did a tissue fitting and I made a muslin.  Here’s a quick photo snapped in the mirror:

Aside from my tried and true old sheet plus mismatched scrap piece that makes it looks like a waitress’s uniform (I kind of wish waitress’s still wore uniforms) I think it has potential. I already did a full bust adjustment but I still need to move the bust dart down a good few inches.  I also forgot how unflattering this kind of shirt collar is on me.  I think I’m going to try going for more of a v-neck but then that would involve shortening the collar and maybe doing something to the back piece as well; because I would be hacking fabric from the front piece so then it wouldn’t meet the back piece at the shoulders but if i just removed the equivalent amount from the back piece that would lower the back neck and that would be weird. Make sense?  Research is required.

Every night when Chris or I would read Kate her bedtime story we would paw through the dozen or so board books strewn about on the floor beside her crib.  The mess drove me bonkers so I thought this idea was the greatest.  After begging my Ikea bound friends to pick up some Bekvam spice racks, Michelle came through and now we have a cute and easily viewable book storage solution.

Kate just loves to pull them all off and throw them on the floor.  She also loves “reading” them to herself in her very loud and serious reading voice so that makes me happy.

Erin has informed me that she also come through with a few more so hopefully we can get a handle on this situation in Kate’s closet:

Unrelated; I cut Kate’s bangs because she would no longer keep a barette in and this was driving me bananapants crazy:

I think it turned out a little better than my last home salon attempt in grade eight where I ended up with bangs that more closely resembled eyelashes. Photos to come.

I’ve stalled out a bit on summer sewing for myself since the Liberty muslin.  I think I am going to go with a different pattern. Maybe Butterick 5608 which has a similar neckline but set-in sleeves? Not sure.  I have cut out the pattern pieces for the Lisette Traveller Dress but I don’t feel up to doing a full bust adjustment and starting the muslin today. Grey, rainy weather does that to me.

I have been finishing a few summer things for Kate. Since she’ll only wear something for three months total I didn’t want to procrastinate. I started Citronille’s Saskia first but put it aside to wait for an invisible zipper foot to arrive in the mail. In the meantime I finished another Rose.

I shortened the sleeves on this one and I think they’re really cute. It’s funny seeing her little arms again.

It’s hard to see the print (aforementioned grey weather and busy baby don’t make for the sharpest photos) but it was my favourite of the bunch I bought for her summer sewing.  It has a Liberty look but it was quilting cotton.

I blind stitched all the hems and facings by hand again but couldn’t figure out whether the instructions called for a double or single fold. This time I did single but last time I did double. It will be a relief to make her something from an English pattern.  I’m thinking this one.

I hope everyone, mothers and sleeper-inners alike, is having a lovely Mother’s Day.  I’ve already lazed in bed reading blogs (including my new favourite) while Chris made blueberry blintzes and Kate made plastic eggs (her specialty) and I’ve gotten some chocolate, flowers, an abstract line drawing and new fancy sunglasses. Chris said he wanted to make up for last year when we were still in the hospital and this was my only gift, from the NICU nurses:

Baby's first mug shot

I appreciate everyone who suffered through my weepy birthday post.  I try to keep the personal personal but it did feel nice to share.

It meant I almost forgot to talk about party food though! For shame! I really reigned in my original, totally insane, list of birthday to-dos but I still put some effort in.  I want Kate’s birthdays to feel special as she’s growing up and not involve the McDonalds Play Place if that’s avoidable.  Most of my efforts were focused on the cake. I originally planned on a tinted six-layer rainbow cake like the ones that’ve been popping up all over but in the end I decided on copying this recipe exactly.  I liked the idea of using a recipe from Food that Really Schmecks a cookbook we had growing up that was written in the area where Chris was born and my grandparents live. Truth be told the cake was a little on the tough side but the icing was yummy.  I also made a Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the first time and while I appreciated being able to make it a few days ahead of time I wasn’t crazy about the taste. It reminded me too much of pure butter and it didn’t stick to the cake layers resulting in them slipping and sliding all over the plate.  It sure did look pretty though.

I made three eight inch layers and actually did all that fancy trimming stuff to make it nice and even looking though I could definitely use more practice, which is just tragic. I’m in love with the Celebration Candle Kid from The Small Object. I can’t wait to see it every year on her birthday cakes.

For lunch, I decided on making some do-ahead-friendly Southwest foods that included Southwest Pasta Salad from the Rebar cookbook, cornbread muffins with cheddar cheese chunks and green onion, and nacho chips with guacamole, bean dip and store bought Pico de Gallo.  All the hungry officers that Chris works with seemed to like the food and Kate was even able to eat most of it which made things easier all around.

And now, I must go do whatever I feel like because I have earned it.

My sweet, silly little baby girl is a year old today. I can’t hardly believe it.

Maybe this says something horrible about my personality but in the lead up to her birthday I’ve found it hard focusing on the celebration and not feeling a little sad when I think about where we were a year ago.

The night before I went into labour my mom sent me a message saying that my younger cousin Cyril, who was closest in age to me, was missing.  I woke up at six the next morning and we left shortly after for the gruelling two hour drive to Winnipeg.  All through my labour Chris tried to contact anyone in my family to tell them the baby was coming but he couldn’t get anyone on the phone.  My mom, dad and sister had all left for Cape Breton to be with my aunt and her family.

Then,  there was the difficult labour and Kate’s week in the NICU.  I have a tendency to downplay wildly stressful situations at the moment only to have horrible breakdowns after the fact and that’s definitely been the case with Kate’s birth.  We didn’t know what to expect and we didn’t know what it meant to have those first bonding moments with your newborn baby so we didn’t really miss what we didn’t understand. Now, though, I mourn the loss of those moments deeply.  I can barely think of her laying alone in an incubator, drugged and hooked up to tubes without crying.  If I’m watching tv and I see scenes of a mom nursing her tiny baby right after the delivery or even just loading her healthy baby into the car for the happy trip home a couple days after the birth I can count on a weepy meltdown.

But, Kate is strong and happy and busy now and as Chris and I marvel at how we made it through this year my aunt is trying to get through an awful anniversary. My cousin drowned after falling from his boat and I still don’t think I’ve even registered that he is gone.

We’re so lucky to have a bright, healthy baby and I’d like to say that I’m more appreciative of every moment we spend together because of what my family went through last year but it’s easy to get bogged down in the stress and boredom of day to day life. Today, though, I tried to let it all go and just enjoy her.

With the allure of summer sewing I took a knitting hiatus for a few weeks after finishing my Gwynedd Hat but really missed having my hands busy while watching tv.  I thought the Pickles Plain Vest would be a good mindless project and it might have been had I not misread the yarn requirements and ended up with entirely the wrong gauge.  Then I put my mind on auto pilot a little too readily and kept making stupid mistakes like forgetting to knit a border.  But, Kate’s torso is warm just in time for a massive, nasty snowstorm.

I really think some dark wood or fabric covered buttons would suit this better but that will have to wait until my next fabric shopping trip.

Photos taken over two sessions because this kid always has cartoon motion lines streaming behind her.

I made it a lot longer than the pattern recommended and I’m really hoping it still fits her in the fall.

You can read more about my tricky modification and see a few more photos on my Ravelry project page.  I’m off to get some rest before a big birthday prep shopping trip tomorrow.