DIY Hand Towel With Handle

There’s a lot of hand washing around these parts. I’m no germophobe but raising a toddler means you’re dealing with a variety of  known and unknown sticky substances on a regular basis. Not to mention that said toddler is obsessed with the sink and wants to wash her hands a million times a day. It’s gotten to the point where we’ve added “wash” to the list of words we spell so she won’t hear it!
When we do wash our hands, we’re inevitably searching for a towel with which to dry them, particularly in the kitchen. They get taken from their usual spot, hanging on the stove handle, and are used for any number of purposes. These days it’s a blanket for her buddy.
A while ago, A asked if we could get something that we could attach to the stove and my mind instantly popped to a link I’d pinned on Pinterest! It’s a pattern to adapt a normal hand towel into one that has a handle that loops over the oven handle and fastens.
I had fabric leftover from cushions I’d made for the living room.  I picked up a hand towel for only a few dollars at Walmart in a vibrant yellow that coordinated with my fabric. It took me a few days to make it, as I had to work around the kids napping schedules, but I’m really pleased with the results! My 30 year old Singer had some trouble with the final stitching that attached the towel to the handle, since it ended up being quite thick with all the layers (flannelette is used to add a bit of stiffness to the outside layers) and yo can see it’s a bit wonky where it was trying to get a grip, but I went slow and didn’t push the machine. I’m not the best seamstress in the world but I can hold my own I think. DSC_8007 copy (848x1280)
The button I chose was one from the box of buttons I have that holds the extra buttons, threads etc from clothes I buy that come with extras. It’s from a coat I bought years ago and don’t wear much anymore….I probably need a good closet overhaul but that’s a can of worms I don’t want to open right now.  DSC_8006 copy (1280x848) (2)

Molly's First Birthday Party

And without further ado, I present to you Molly’s first birthday party!

There were just about 30 people that came (including 8 kids) and thankfully the weather was stunning. We were able to party in the backyard, which was my original intention (and the reason we shelled out the $$$ to get the patio finished in time).

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Since Molly is only just one (and yet holy cow she’s one!), she isn’t really into any particular show or toy. That left it up to me to choose a theme. I did some pinteresting and was inspired by some strawberry themed parties I saw. It seemed like a fresh and colourful idea, so that’s what I went with! I contacted my friend Leila (whom I’ve known since high school!) who runs her own shop, A Little Pixel, that sells themed party packages for children. She very quickly caught onto my idea and came up with something pretty and fresh! She sent me the PDF for various types of paper accents, that I was able to print out myself. I love themed packages like this, as they really pull everything together in an easy way. Some of the cute accents included:

Cupcake wrappers  (I bought strawberries and cream cupcakes from a local baker):

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Thank You Tags (I bought a variety of strawberry flavoured candies for our guests to take home):  DSC_5962 copy (1280x848)

Napkin Rings:

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Water Bottle Wrappers ($2.85 for 35 bottles of water at Costco!!):

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I loved it all! And because of these easy accents, decorating was minimal. And minimal was the name of the game for this party! I let the backyard and our gardens do the decorating; I bought party platters from Sobey’s and salads from Costco. The only real effort as far as food was that I made a super yummy strawberry punch (with ginger ale, frozen pink lemonade concentrate, frozen orange juice concentrate, frozen Bacardi strawberry daquiri mix and frozen strawberries) and a strawberry-baby spinach-red onion-goat cheese salad. A little more effort went into little gift buckets for the kids that came, so that they would have activities to occupy their time. One of my favourite moments was watching my niece CJ and BFF B’s little dude J run around with magnifying glasses spying on things in the garden! I included things like skipping ropes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles for the older kids and shovels, balls and bubbles for the little ones.

Molly enjoyed her first real taste of cake, though my girl was a bit dainty. She picked at the icing and cake with her fingers at first. Eventually she braved the whole thing at once, but the cake didn’t really make it past her lips.

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My parents and sister and CJ stayed behind after the party was over to help open Molly’s gifts. I didn’t bother opening them when the guests were there; Molly really has no clue about anything right now. Maybe when she’s older it’ll be more fun to have everyone see her reactions.

CJ though, couldn’t WAIT for Molly to open her gifts; she is an old pro at it now. She is 3.5 after all!

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Once the gifts were open, the tidying up began and my little miss went down for a much needed sleep.

It was a really awesome day. I probably spent too much, but hey, your baby girl will only turn one once! It was worth all the time and money that went into it.

Happy First Birthday darling girl!

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Friday Ramblings

On the Baby…

Separation anxiety is still in full swing. Molly had some sad days at day care this week, poor thing. But as soon as I get home in the evening, she’s right as rain! Once I’ve nursed her she’s happy to go off and play. Sleep has been a bit better since one episode of pick up/put down we had earlier this week. I haven’t had to do it again (thank God…it took an hour and she screamed the entire time), choosing the peaceful nursing to sleep option when I can. She’s still waking up but settling back quickly most nights.

On Awww…

Last week when I went back to work, I walked into the photocopy room and was instantly drawn to the bulletin board where I found these pictures of Molly pinned up:

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Our little ladybug on Halloween

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After her bath, only a few days old

Awww! It really made my day 🙂

On the Patio…

I cannot believe I haven’t posted a pic of the patio yet!! Going back to work has thrown me for a loop I guess. Well here it is, dining set and all!

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This was the space before:

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We quite like it. We decided to get a new BBQ. The one we had was ancient and falling apart. It was also quite big, with extra burners we just didn’t need. A found this adorable Coleman BBQ at Canadian Tire. It’s meant for smaller spaces and since we’re not elaborate grillers, it fit our needs perfectly!

On the Garden…

Last week my sunflowers started to bloom:

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Today I discovered a very helpful friend taking advantage of these bright sunny gems:

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Here’s hoping he’s doing his job and helping my vegetables produce!

Speaking of helpers, I have a budding gardener on my hands…

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Happily I’m a fan of kids playing in the dirt! In fact, I think it’s essential to developing a healthy immune system.

And that’s about it for this Friday afternoon! A is home early, which is a great start to this holiday long weekend!

Enjoy!

Friday Ramblings

On The Baby…

Last night was an off night for Miss Molly. She woke up several times in the evening, the last at midnight and she didn’t go back to sleep until 2am!! At one point, I was so desperate I let her cry for 10 minutes, but went in the second she went from fussy cry to hysterical cry. She hasn’t had an ‘awake’ period like that in awhile, so I’m guessing some sort of developmental factor is at work. Fingers crossed it doesn’t continue!

On Back To Work…

After a glorious year off with my little girl, I’m back to work on Tuesday. I have mixed feelings. I know Molly will be fine with my mom and at day care, but I’m going to miss her terribly. She’s such an awesome little girl to be with. Still, it’s the right move for us right now. It’s only three days a week! And hey, on the bright side, there will be less dishes for me to do!

On The Patio…

Work is scheduled to begin this weekend on our patio! Last weekend we met with the landscaper and picked out our stone. This is the main stone we picked (Unilock Brussels Block in Mahogany Ash):

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And this will be the accent between the edge and main patio (Unilock Copthorne in Burnt Clay, on the bottom):

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It’s going to be awesome!!

On Lights…

You may recall that months ago we did some furniture shifting, moving the dining room table into the kitchen and moving the loveseat from the living room into the dining room (making it a small sitting area). Well it’s taken this long to take down the chandelier! I decided it would look super cute if we put it in our bedroom:

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I think it adds an air of “elegant retreat” to our room.

And that’s all I have to say this Friday morning! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Layin' Down Some Beets and Other Gardening News

“Fact. Bears eat Beets. Bears. Beets….Battlestar Galactica”

Ah Jim Halpert. I find myself quoting this gem from The Office whenever I’m tending the garden and gaze upon my rows of beets. Or rather gazed. The beets are no longer there! One of my chores last weekend was to harvest these red beauties and preserve them.

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Fresh from the garden!

In hindsight, I should have weighed them to find out how many pounds I was able to grow, but I thought of it too late. Ah well.

I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to preserve them. Last year I pickled the small crop I grew, just one jar easily preserved in the fridge. But this was a much larger number of beets to deal with. There’s no way I can eat this many before they go off in the fridge and I didn’t feel like putting the energy into canning them properly.

After a quick bit of research, I decided to freeze them! I cut off the greens (which no, I did not keep to use. Again, hindsight), washed the dirt off and put the whole lot to boil for 15 minutes.

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Boiled beets

Once cooled, I put on some rubber gloves (essential when working with red beets!) then peeled and chopped the beets into chunks. The peels of boiled (or roasted) beets slide off effortlessly!

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Peeled and chopped

Once chopped, I hunted out my trusty Food Saver and packaged them up. I left some out to use in a salad for dinner (and am kicking myself for not taking any pictures of that! It was very tasty. Here’s the recipe), but ended up with five bags! Apparently once thawed they should taste as if they are fresh from the garden.

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Molly seems to like eating them, though we’re careful to feed them to her on a fork 🙂

In other garden news, things are doing quite well in the veggie department, some better than others! Here’s a pic of the side bed, where I’m growing (left to right) kale, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach (not doing well), cucumber, zucchini and rhubarb. DSC_5729 copy (1280x848)

Along the back are sunflowers. Funny enough there are four that are growing a lot faster than the others, though they were planted at the same time and get the same amount of sun. My theory is that because the cucumbers in front of them were slow to get going, they didn’t have competition for nutrients and were able to grow faster than the others.

We’re not eating the leaf lettuce fast enough. It’s out of control:

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The cucumber are using the sunflowers as a trellis. I love the curly tendrils:

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I’m excited that the zucchini are flowering this year! Last year’s crop was dismal.

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In the larger bed (no pic right now) we’re growing tomatoes, peppers, peas and formerly, the beets. The tomatoes are starting to fruit, as are the peas, but nowhere near ready to harvest yet.

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DSC_5736 copy (848x1280)In non-vegetable gardening news, I’m really happy that the Miss Molly Butterfly Bush I planted is blooming! DSC_5728 copy (848x1280)It’s been looking a bit ragged (something has been nibbling away), so I was worried it wouldn’t make it. Whew!

And that’s it for my garden update!

Weekend Wind-Up

Father’s Day weekend was quite the success! Here are the highlights:

  • Molly slept all night Thursday!! The entire night, no waking! Other than my boobs feeling like they were going to explode, it was bliss!
  • Friday night we picked up a stand alone, cantilever umbrella at Target for half price! Such a steal. Though why summer patio furniture is on clearance and pretty much non-existent now in a lot of stores before summer has even officially started is beyond me. We will now have some shade in our west-facing backyard.
  • I was a cleaning machine on Saturday! My floors were particularly messy after a week with the kiddies.
  • I put together our new umbrella almost entirely on my own. I love it! But in the process of doing so, managed to get my first (and hopefully last) sunburn of the year. Ironic since I was putting up something to keep that from happening.
  • My kick-ass hubby fixed the dip in the front patio and put the wall back together in the front. We just have to get the plants in now. Rain on Sunday prevented that from happening.

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    Still a bit more to do, but the hard stuff is done! Yippee!
  • Father’s Day was great! Molly and I gave A the pictures I posted in a desktop three-way frame to put on his desk at work (I want to try and make it a yearly thing). After we woke on Sunday, I made belgian waffles using my new waffle iron! They were amazing! I whipped up some fresh whipped cream and chopped some strawberries to put on them along with maple syrup (or Aunt Jemima in my case…horrible for me I know, but I prefer it to pure maple syrup)DSC_5215 (1280x1024)
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  • We had the birthday party for my friend M2’s little girl on Sunday. She’s two! The party was at a kids play centre and Molly had a blast! She jumped right in with the other kids (all older than her) and held her own. I have no worries about her in a day care setting. She particularly loved the little red cars. I shot this video of her pushing one around and around
  • On our way home from the party she fell asleep and we drove about fifteen minutes north, roaming around for 45 minutes. It was a lovely day for a lazy drive
  • We had an impromptu BBQ at my parents Sunday night, just the four of us and Molly.
  • A and I watched Warm Bodies and Jack the Giant Slayer over the weekend. We really enjoyed both movies!

And that’s about it. Five weeks left until I’m back to work 🙁 I guess the count down is on…

Friday Ramblings

On The Baby…

Well the good news is that Molly was not awake in the night for two hours last night, as she had been in the previous nights.
The bad news is that she was awake every 2-2.5 hours.
Good. Times.
She went back to sleep quickly each time but seemed uncomfortable. The last time she was awake so much a tooth was about to pop through, so I think that’s probably the culprit.
She’s also really close to taking her first true steps, another factor in the frequent and long wakings. Her little brain is going a mile a minute I bet, thinking about walking.

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On the Garden…

The marigolds don’t seem to be doing their job at deterring furry pests. The tops of some of my peas have been nibbled off! I need to sprinkle some cayenne pepper again. The rain keeps washing it away.

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On TV…

We just started watching the new season of Arrested Development and find ourselves disappointed. It seems off somehow, probably the result of the long hiatus between S3 and 4. But we did only watch the first 15 minutes or so of the first episode (interrupted by one of Molly’s numerous wakings last night), so we’ll finish it to give it a chance.

On Pillows…

I FINALLY made the pillows for the living room! I’ve had the fabric for months. I love the yellows! I ordered it online from Tonic Living (a Toronto company!). The fabric is the Emilio Lemon Drop pattern, designed by Braemore.

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On Work…

I’m back to work in six weeks! I can’t believe it’s coming up so fast. I’m starting to have emotional moments thinking about leaving Molly. I know I’ll be fine and she’ll be fine but I won’t feel that until it actually happens. I am feeling a bit better about it, as this week I met with her new day care provider! She’s really great and since it’s a home environment, I feel good about sending my baby there two days a week. My sister is sending CK there as well, so Molly will have her buddy 🙂

On Why This Is Late…

Who wants to blog when there are bubbles to blow?

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I hope you all have a great weekend! TGIF!!

Weekend Wind-Up

Our weekend began with a trip to the walk-in clinic.

Late Friday afternoon as I was changing Molly, I noticed a rash peeking through her top and her diaper. I took off her shirt and was shocked to see her entire torso, front and back, covered in a hive-like rash and it was spreading up her neck and to her arms. _DSC4827copy (1024x1280)

I had my suspicions as to the cause, but when A got home we took her to the doctor. He confirmed what I was thinking: it was a reaction to the antibiotics. Molly most likely has an allergy to penicillin! We’re lucky she didn’t have a more severe reaction. I’ll follow up with our family doctor as soon as I can but in the meantime on the doctors advice we’ve stopped the course of amoxicillin. He didn’t prescribe a replacement, but did check her ears and said they looked OK.
By Saturday night the rash was pretty much gone!

Saturday itself was decent. We met with the leasing agent at my car dealer (Nissan) to go over the options for when my lease is up in august. I think we’re leaning towards buying out my Sentra. We also test drove a Dodge Grand Caravan they had in their used car lot. It was an amazing deal and we considered buying it, since we will need a larger vehicle when #2 arrives (not quite yet) but decided to wait until next year.

We got home and A started work on landscaping the front while Molly and I planted the last of the veggies to go in, the tomatoes and peppers. I’m trying something new this year and planting marigolds around the perimeter of the gardens.

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They’re supposed to help deter pests. Our little bunny is still making his presence known, so hopefully they work! Another bonus is that flowers attract bees and butterflies, whose presence encourages plants to fruit! I didn’t plant as many tomato and pepper plants as we have in years past. We’re learning as we go what kind of yield we can manage.

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Another tip I came across was to plant basil next to tomatoes. It’s supposed to enhance the flavour of the tomatoes. We’ll see!

After that I rested. I wasn’t feeling well. It appears I’m next on the universe’s master sick plan and have come down with a massive head cold. We just can’t win these days!

Once Molly went to bed, A and I finished watching the History channel documentary “The History of the World in Two Hours” that was on TV Friday night. It was really fun! It was basically a look at all of the steps necessary for humans to evolve into who we are today as a species and as a civilization. They started with the creation of the universe 13.6 billion years ago and ended in modern times. I learned all of that in school (I have a BA in Archaeology), but it was a great refresher. How cool were we watching something educational on a Saturday night?

Sunday for me was spent resting and taking care of Molly while A worked out front. He got all of the stones down and it looks amazing! There’s a bit of tweaking to do (he discovered a dip near the back right, near the porch, which you can sort of see in the picture) and we need to put the garden back together, but I’m so happy with how it turned out! I’m so lucky to have a handy husband. The steps were originally centred to the porch, but A moved them to be centred with the door, which works much better I think, since the door isn’t centred on the porch either. My master plan is to put something potted to the right of the new steps which will hide the unattractive portion of the porch, and to put a bench or a cute little patio set (a couple of chairs and small table) along the soon-to-be garden wall.

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And now it’s Monday. Because I’m sick, CJ has gone to her grandmother’s for the day and CK is home with my sister, who is off this week recovering from pneumonia (seriously, our family just can’t catch a break!). There’s no way I can look after more than one kid right now!

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Cuddles with mama

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Friday Ramblings

On the Baby…

It turns out that Molly’s grump wasn’t entirely teething related. After her fever rose to 102.5 on Wednesday, I figured something else might be up. Teething fevers don’t usually get that high. I was lucky to get an appointment with our family doctor for later that afternoon (I think hearing Molly crying on the phone motivated the receptionist to fit us in). The verdict? An ear infection, Molly’s first. So she’s on antibiotics for a week, also her first. Not bad making it this far without them!
I’m not happy she needs medication but feel better knowing there’s an end. We had some rough nights where she was waking every one-two hours. She’s still teething but at least ear pain won’t muddle the issue. Already she’s sleeping better!

On the Garden…

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Peas are growing like gangbusters! I hadn’t planned on planting them, but wanted a fun project to do with CJ one day when she was here. She’ll be so excited to see how big they’ve gotten!
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Lily Of The Valley, one of the best smelling flowers! I planted them last year not sure what to expect, but they’re spreading and blooming nicely…check out the little dude hanging onto the leaf! I’ll have to investigate if he’s friend or foe to the garden
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Zucchini on the rise! This is what I like to see 🙂

On Landscaping…

Here’s the shot I’ve been wanting to take all week but it’s been raining pretty much constantly:

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This is where we stand now with landscaping the front. The rain has prevented any work from being done. Fingers crossed the weather is nice this weekend!

Enjoy!

Weekend Wind-Up -Victoria Day Edition

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I had to toss this in. You should have seen the floor!

Our long weekend was….ok. What could have been a great weekend was downgraded when I ended up with a headache all day Sunday that lasted into Monday, followed by a teething and therefore grumpydonotputmedown baby. One of her top lateral incisors has popped through, which is unusual as I understand the central incisors usually come through first. Apparently Molly needs to be different!

We did get started on landscaping the front, or rather I should say A got started. This is the front area before (taken in 2011):

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Everything from the edge of the closest patio stone down to the sidewalk and over to the driveway has been removed and leveled (I meant to get pics today but didn’t get a chance and then it rained).  We dug up the lillies and will divide and relocate them(the tufts of green) but the bushes are gone. They’re too hard to control. I helped as much as I could, popping Molly in the stroller to watch while we worked.

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Watching Mommy and Daddy work…happy baby, before the teething hit!

We (he) got as far as clearing out the section of the garden and lawn we wanted removed, digging down a bit and levelling off where the new walkway will go. Next up is to tamper down the gravel and cut into the driveway so that the stones can be placed flush against it. Currently the driveway slopes down a bit at the sides, since there was previously grass there.

I did a little bit of gardening myself, planting a Butterfly Bush in the back yard. This is a very special bush to me, as the name of the variety is ‘Miss Molly’. Isn’t that an amazing find?

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And really that’s it! We took Molly for a walk down by the lake but her grumpiness shine through after a short time so we cut our outing short. Not to mention it was crazy busy down there, something I hadn’t anticipated!

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Down by the lake…a little bit grumpy 🙁

It’s Tuesday now. Molly’s still in the throws of teething, with a mild fever and the grumpydonotputmedown attitude. Poor monkey 🙁 I’m back to nursing her to sleep for the time being. . I just can’t let her get upset when she’s not feeling well.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!