Thursday, March 31, 2011

A heartfelt letter...

Dear March,

As you say farewell today, I have few things I need to share. I had so much hope for you, the warmth and sunshine that you could possibly bring. Perhaps just a few days where I could put the damn winter gear away. March, my month of hope, you have really let me down this time. Oh wait, there was that one day...thanks for that.

Ruby and Jalen's spring coats are hung up with care, tucked beneath are their shiny new rain boots not yet worn. Ruby reaches for her spring wear each day looking at me as though "Is it time yet mama?" I have to turn to her and say "no sweetheart...still too cold...winter coat." The other day I let her wear her spring stuff but layered underneath were her winter clothes. She looked like a bag lady.

As you can see Ruby is wearing a winter hat with her spring hat over it. So, so sad.

I enter April with an open heart however a part of me is honestly starting to wonder...will Spring ever really truly be here?

Still waiting,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DIY discoveries for spring

Martha Stewart: Cherry Blossoms made from vellum and embellish woody branches

Jelly Belly: Look at thes darling decorated cupcakes!

Source Unknown: I love thes hairbands, and if you buy a bunch of plain hairbands you can add the felt flower and button with no problem!

Yarnista- Yarn Wreath with felt embellishments

Spearmint baby- Fabric fridge magnets! Love these! Not really a spring craft but I still wanted to share.

Aunt Peaches- Coffee Filter Roses

Happy Crafting,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Life is Simple

"Life is not complex. We are complex. Life is simple,and the simple thing is the right thing." -Oscar Wilde

I'm not perfect and I definitely won't claim to be an expert in the simplicity movement but I try, and each year that goes by I acquire a few new tools under my belt. I struggle sometimes, and some days life seems like it's got me by the reigns instead of vice versa. When I stumbled upon the above quote I was inspired. Life is simple, we make it more complicated. It's the whole reason I started this blog in the first place.

Here are just a handful of things that I practice daily in an effort to live a more simple life, I hope it will inspire you to do the same.

*Practice gratitude for each big and little thing you are blessed with.

*Take time to arrange some flowers or flip through a favourite book, be in the moment.

*Some days are not as good as others, but hang on and remember all will be well, bad days will pass. Be gentle with yourself.

*Happiness can be a learned habit just like anything else, practice it or if you have to, fake it till you make it.

*Whatever you focus on you attract, thoughts become things, simple as that.

*Rituals of simple self care can be restoring, I take time to sip a cup of tea each afternoon while I watch a favourite show. Even a simple 15 min habit can restore your soul.

*Surround yourself in beauty, discover what you love. What calls to you?

*Continuously seek balance, revaluate what works in your life and what doesn't. Let things go.


*Love freely and Love deeply.

*Delight in all that your senses have to offer.

Have a simple day,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Exactly Perfect" Oatmeal Banana Muffins

I discovered that I have a loyal and faithful baking sidekick in my daughter Ruby. She delights in helping spoon in each and every teaspoon, and whisking each egg with pure concentration. I swear sometimes I wonder whose child she is. She is very focused and precise and neither Alex or I are very focused or precise. She loves to make things just right, and says things like "there mommy, it's exactly perfect."

If you saw our house here most days you would know that perfectionists do not run the show over here. Ruby is going to keep us all in line I think. Precise or not, she is just 3 years old so it got a bit messy and the ingredients weren't necessarily added in the exact measurement but I wanted her to feel like she was really a part of the whole process. Ruby and I both agreed that the final product was "exactly perfect..." and absolutely delish. I wanted to share the recipe. I personally like to make mini-muffins, they are good for little hands and great with my tea in the afternoon.

Oatmeal-Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium sized extra-ripe)

*Note* I also like to add about a 1/2 teaspoon of poudre douce or as Jalen calls it "pook-a-ma-goose." Poudre douce is a delicious spice blend of cinnamon/nutmeg type flavours, it smells like apple pie. I first came across it at a home party for Epicure. If you don't have poudre douce then a dash of cinnamon in your muffins will also be lovely :)

Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.(poudre douce or cinnamon)
In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and stir well.

Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Line a 12-cup muffin tin or 24 mini-cup muffin tin with paper bake cups or grease lightly with butter, and divide the batter among them.
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes.

Happy Baking,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Beauty of Batch Cooking

When I gave birth to Jalen, some of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts I received were foods for my freezer. My cousin Jenny brought over stacks of containers with stews, curries and chilli's and my Aunt Les stocked our freezer with lasagna (she makes the best ever!), pizza and muffins. I have never forgotten that. It seemed like months went by and between the sleepless nights and troubles with breastfeeding it was so wonderful to not even have to shop or cook because our freezer was packed.

On that note, with a new baby on its way in no time I have been inspired lately to save time, save money and live more frugally on a whole. As the chef in our family I also want to serve my family healthier meals each day. With the kids away for the afternoon with Uncle Chris and Aunt Lindsay, I decided today was my day to try out batch cooking. In order to try and save time and money, I found I was too frequently reaching for quick and processed foods to make for dinner at night. Once bbq season is upon us, we usually spend the summer grilling which is usually quick and healthy. I might have made this discovery a season too late but with some chilly, not grilling days still ahead I picked out some of our families favourite inexpensive and easy meals that would be easy to freeze and spent my Saturday afternoon cooking away. Now I don't want to fool you into believing that I was humming show tunes the whole afternoon. There was a point when I was mopping my brow, I had 3 pots bubbling and dishes piled and I exclaimed aloud "I hate batch cooking!" Truth be told, It was exhausting. I decided to start with a hearty chilli, sheppards pie and curry chicken today. So I started my prep with lots of onions for each dish plenty of fresh parsley, potatoes and onions. That's the hardest part, afterthat, assembling each dish was simple. I don't have the recipes to share because these are all my recipes that I make with a little bit of this and a dash of that. I cooked from about 12 noon till about 3:00 p.m. and I am amazed at how much I was able to accomplish in that short time.

And when I saw the fruits of my labour with all of these nice freezable bpa free containers stacked up on my counter I no longer "hate batch cooking." I'm happy that at least for a couple of weeks it's just as easy to reach for one of thes containers...

Instead of this....

(Note: There will always be a box of kd in my cupboard just in case ;)

Next I will tackle some sweet treats for the week, banana muffins, chocolate chip cookies, apple sauce and rice krispie squares. Blog to follow...

A new season is born

Jalen opened the door yesterday before we ventured outside to the park and shouted, "Mommy, Daddy! Look! Spring is here!" We weren't sure what it was exactly that signalled spring to his 4 year old mind but somehow he felt it. The breeze was a bit warmer, the snow on our lawn had pretty much melted away and poking out of our garden was this tiny little purple crocus. Since Jalen was very very young he was able to understand concepts that some grown adults can't understand. I'm not saying he's a genius, but he's intuitive and he sensed something had changed. Just like that, a new season is born.

So we headed to a recently built playground in our community, and it felt amazing to be in the sun. It was a beautiful day.

Welcoming Spring with open arms,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day

photo courtesy of: flickr -Jun Acullador

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.” (~ Irish Blessing)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blogs I LOVE this week

With baby number 3 on the way, I've begun to get alot more serious about simple living. I don't know if it's my nesting instinct but I'm suddenly becoming super budget conscious and ec0-conscious of all 5 of our footprints. I'm considering things I've not considered before perhaps it's pure fear of the fact that I will soon be responsible for the lives of 3 human beings, 4 fury beings as well as my own being and a husband like being.

For those reasons I am loving a Simple blog with Simple tips for Simple living, so that's why I am loving Simple Mom This blog has articles on anything from how to live more green or more frugal, to organizing and taking care of your home. Although the blog is clearly geared to mom's, I think anyone can enjoy this website with hints for living more simply. There are healthy recipes you can make on a budget and ideas for going greener at home. Sub-catagories of blog will lead you to Simple Kids, Simple Organic, Simple Bites and Simple Homeschool. Love this Blog!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to help victims in Japan

I am overwhelmed when I look at images capturing the pure devastation that has struck in Japan. I'm not sure how much weight my little prayer here in London, Ontario can have on how many people have lost their lives or their lives as they once knew it. If you feel helpless like me here are some ways you can do your part. World Vision are planning to distribute relief supplies to meet the daily needs of quake and tsunami survivors and responding to the emotional needs of children, who are the most impacted after such a traumatic event.

Text-message donations of $10 to the Red Cross. Text the letters REDCROSS to 90999 to make the $10 donation, or visit their website Save the Children has sent emergency response teams to assess the needs of children and their families in the worst affected tsunami areas between Miyagi Prefecature and Tokyo in Japan. Go to their website to see how you can help.
Sending love and prayers...Tammy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More than just a name

"Words have meaning and names have power." ~Author Unknown
(Photo: Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver just named his baby boy Buddy Bear)
Henry...nope, way....Rufus...are you kidding me?!? Thus begins the baby name debate. We are looking for the perfect name for our baby boy that is not too popular, not too strange, strong but not sounding outrageous. If we were having a little girl I would be just fine, we'd settle in happily with a pretty name like Lila Rose or Maliyah Grace and move on. Boys are more tricky in my personal opinion. Just like with clothing for boys. Shopping for my daughter Ruby is a breeze, you can't go wrong with girls clothes. Girls stuff is pretty with polka dots, stripes, flowers, bright colours and pastels.

Then I head over to the boys section for Jalen and they do stupid things with the clothes like stick a skull and cross bones graphic on it or a shark on a surfboard or something.

Gap Kids

Jalen's name was found easily when we looked through a baby name book standing in the aisle at Chapter's. We had a lightbulb go off as soon as we heard the name and we knew our baby boy would be Jalen. Finding Ruby was a breeze, my only debate was whether I wanted to name her Adeline which we settled on for her middle name. I decided not to name her Adeline because I was worried that she would be just another "Addy," funny because my nickname for her has somehow evolved to "Miss Addy" anyways!

So, No lightbulb's have gone off for this little baby boy due in July. I certainly wasn't inspired by Jamie Oliver's choice. However, here is our little collection we have acquired over the months. I think I've narrowed it down but then I stumble across a new name and start to wonder. So here's what I got:

Isaiah-a strong name, not too popular yet not too unique that it's wierd

Miles-we liked this name back when were pregnant with Jalen, it seems strong maybe even cool, like Miles Davis.

Nate-Not Nathan, Just Nate

Terrence-This might have something to do with my slight celebrity crush on Terrence Howard, however I very much dislike the shortened version of Terry.

Maverick- I love this name, I think it's a great name however I just can't get this out of my head...

However, Top Gun is one of my favourite movies of all time so is that so bad?

Carter-A new one to the list as of yesterday. I don't have anything clever to remark about except I think its a good solid name.

Middle names ideas thus far:


Alexander- after daddy of course


Leroy-after Papa (Chase) and great papa

Lanny-after Papa's brother that died as a child, also my brother's middle name

William-Grandpa's (Pollard) name

Anthony- Battaglia family name

Whew...glad I got that off my chest. Until next time....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Blogs I LOVE this week

I found this blog and immediately I found "home." When visiting Every photo made my heart thump, and my mind could only process "wow", "omg, I LOVE this." Then I started stressing because I immediately wanted to jump up from my chair and redecorate. This is how the house of my dreams looks, this blog inspires me. Here are some pics that made my heart beat just a little faster.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Awaiting Spring

"March arrives, the last hurrah of winter and the first whisper of spring. Slowly our spirits reawaken, along with the natural world, from the long winter's slumber."
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

It's raining today, and I looked outside the window to see a glimpse of grass! Who knew a tiny patch of grass in my backyard could be cause for such elation. I anxiously await springs arrival like a child waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. That first gale of warm breeze in March is eagerly anticipated and a late spring will surely send me into misery. I'm planning to greet the season with open arms and here are some ideas for this month to savour the seasonal spleandours.

Check out your front yard or back, or your friends, find some bare branches to start forcing. Good options are: forsythia, flowering quince, cherry, plum, pear, magnolia and pussy willow Read more at Forcing Branches - Martha Stewart Home and Garden

Make yourself a bright new spring wreath for your front door, I made this one last year however I have some ideas developing for a new one this year! Blog to come!

Get out your Martha Stewart Homekeeping book and your cleaning bucket, I have this book and there is a list of spring cleaning ideas among thousands of other ideas to caring for your home. Make room for spring, organize closets, scrub the salt stains of winter away. Or, simply check out this link for some ideas.

Host a spring dinner party for friends or just for your family serving something seasonal like this recipe for Individual Lasagnas with Asparagus & Prosciutto that I found on and then for dessert...this fruity Pig Cake I found on my favourite pioneer woman website

Create a beautiful spring centre piece like this one using some simple daffodils in a hurricane vase. Lovely! (source: entertain exchange)