Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I promised a to show you all the rice key chains I made for our nephews as well as the wine charms I made for my mother in law. I think both went over quite well. I kept the key chains super simple in comparison to the one I did for my Secret Santa 2 weeks ago.

So first the key chains. I took the longer chain off and didn't add any extra detail charms to it. Kept them all the same color so they would be "equal". They thought they were pretty cool. It was a fun project for me and it helps me start to build a gallery of photos for my little online shop I hope to open in April. These are just one of the things I will be selling.

Here are the wine charms. In the picture I see that on my laptop 3 of the colors look the same. There is actually a clear, silver and light green that look similar in the photo but not in real life. I will definitely be adding some new colors to my seed bead collection in the future. I just used what I had on hand. The hematite dangling bead are ones that I picked out a few weeks ago with my MIL. They didn't work out for another project I was working on but worked well for this. I was fortunate to have everything I needed to make these in my stock pile. I needed to make 8 as that is how many adults we have in the family on this side.
 For my first time making them I thought they turned out pretty good. She liked them and needed a set for sure. At every family gathering we are forever asking "who's glass is this?". Everyone at the party seemed to think they were pretty cute. I can't wait to see them at the next family dinner.

They were pretty easy to make. I see myself making a lot more in the future. I have a lot of ideas in my head and beads that I need to use up. I will just be making them in sets of 4 or 6 though.

So what do you guys think? Honest opinions please. I'll be making some more over the next few weeks that I will be sure to share with you guys.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

24 hours to go...

We are celebrating Christmas with BF's family tomorrow evening. We have list of things to finish off tonight and tomorrow. We have everything we need to get it done. It's just a case of needing motivation now. We are amazing at procrastination. Here's what's left to do:

  • Make Rice Krispies squares for the kids tomorrow
  • Prepare potato salad for tomorrows meal (special request)
  • Chop up all the fruit for our fruit plate for the midnight meal 
  • Pump out 4 rice key chains for our nephews
  • Finish the coupon booklets for our nephews
  • Create 8 wine charms for my MIL
  • Tidy up and pray I find our camera battery charger
  • Snuggle up together with our two furbabies and watch a movie :)
Wish me luck. I excel in high pressure situations.

Anything left on your list of things to do?

*update* We finished everything except the coupon books which BF decided he didn't want to do. He ended up just giving cash to his Godnephew and we gave them all the rice charms. We also didn't get to snuggle up with a movie but we have plenty of time for that now that BF is on vacation ;)

Friday, December 21, 2012


Today is the last day of work for BF before his Christmas holidays start. I am so excited to have him home during the day with me and our two furbabies!! I just love spending time with him. I can't wait until he gets home tonight :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesday - Parmesan Baked Potato

Last night I gave a new recipe a try. I spotted it on Pinterest and thought it looked quick, easy and yummy which are 3 things I always look for in a recipe!

Here is a link to the original recipe. In the comments section other reviews added a variety of spices. I always like to try the recipe as the poster has written first and then tweak it later if I think it's a keeper. All I changed this time was I added a little salt and pepper. I also read you can use this technique with sweet potatoes and brown sugar. Since I personally don't like sweet potatoes I won't be trying it that way :)


Potatoes scrubbed and cut in half
Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Powder

Coat the bottom of your glass baking dish with melted butter.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese generously over butter.
Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Place cut potatoes cut side down onto pan.
Bake in oven preheated to 400 for 45 minutes or until potatoes are done.
Let cool for 5 minutes (helps set the mixture to the potato)

How is easy is that? I didn't include any measurements because you can really do however many potatoes you like as long as they fit in the pan you are using. Play around with different spices too. Mine turned out great. BF really liked them and had seconds. I thought they were pretty good. I might try some other spices next time. This recipe is a keeper for me because of how simple it is.

Here are some photos I took while I was preparing the meal:

Yum! Oh, and yes it was an easy clean up as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Secret Santa Swap Success

First off, thank you everyone for your well wishes. BF and I felt better in time for our weekend away. Sadly though BF is now hit with a very sore throat. :(

Anyhoo, I want to share with you a little something I've been up to. On Facebook I am a member in a group of amazing women who all share a love for a particular thing. It's weird how much a lot of us seem to have in common. There is absolutely no drama ever and it's just the loveliest group of ladies. When I heard there would be a Secret Santa Swap I signed up right away. Usually I am super picky and like to pick out my own stuff. I think this is part of being a perfectionist and minimalist all in one. Turns out this person who I have never met before picked me out the most amazing gifts. It's like I shopped for myself.

So first here is what she sent me:
So here I have a hilarious card, some purple and lime nail polish, a lime green sugar skull, a Jack from Nightmare before Xmas decoration, Kettle Popcorn and an original piece of her artwork! Wow.

I gave very little info about myself.. I guess she could have stalked me a bit in the group but seriously she got me bang on. Popcorn is my favorite food ever!! This one happens to be sweet which I don't like but still.. favorite food. Purple toes are the cutest thing ever. Lime is my favorite color. Sugar skulls I adore! I have a skull collection. I FREAK over Nightmare before Xmas. 

For my birthday BF gave me the 3D Blueray Nightmare Before Xmas and I cried like a baby for about 20 minutes in front of guests. So stinking happy! There is a cute story for the skulls too. When we moved to Quebec I was busy unpacking and decorating. Bf's nephews came over and asked BF "why is Ashley decorating for Halloween in July?' BF replied "In Ashley's world its always Halloween". At first I was confused but the I realized it was because of my skulls. Love em!

 Here is what I gave my Secret Santa girl (not the same person). She hasn't received it yet that I know of so this is the only place I can share my giddiness. Our price limit was $20.

 A pair of rocking zebra socks, 3 bath beads in her favorite scent, chocolate, wine glass markers (moustaches), a compact mirror with an image on it that is an icon in our group (total fluke I found this), a bottle cap magnet with her favorite game image on it, a rice key chain I made in her favorite color with a skull that she likes.
 A close up of the key chain with her name on it. One of my favorite crafts to do.
Bottle Cap Magnet. This picture is kind of crap, as is the above of the key chain because I took them at night). This is the first one I've ever made. I used the wrong paper type for this but I can't wait to make more.
 The inside of the card I made. I used a quote from her that she had left in the group.

So fun! What do you think? I can't wait until my person receives hers. I've already posted and thanked my person a million times over. It's my first swap with people I have never met. I think I did pretty good for $20 as I was able to make some of the gifts. I can't wait to do another swap!

Tuned In Tuesday

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Teensy Bloggy Break

I know I promised WCW's were making a comeback but illness has struck our house. Poor BF was experiencing headaches, tiredness and GI upset. He even took yesterday off which is a rarity for him. I've had headaches, a runny nose and sore throat. We both have been super dizzy. It's now been confirmed we caught something at last Saturdays family dinner. This is the 2nd time I've gotten sick from family time together in about a month. Not good!!
This weekend we are going out of town overnight. It's BF's work party and we are staying at a hotel afterwards. I have a lot of preparation to do for that. I'm also trying to rest up and get better. So with this I say.. See you on Monday.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Haha It's a Chia Pet. Get it? Ok, I'm lame. Hopefully somebody got a chuckle out of it.

It's time for Sunday Night Chit Chat with Carla!!

Watching : Cash Cab is playing on the TV right now.

Reading : "Something from Tiffany's" by Melissa Hill. I seem to only read it in bed and only get a few pages before falling asleep. The sad part is I swear I renewed it a few weeks ago on the library online site but when I checked yesterday it said I owed about $1.35 on it. Dang!

Cooking/Baking : BF is making guacamole to go with the pitas he made the other day. He's quite the cook. I'm not a fan of avocado so I won't be feasting on that but I'm happy to see him preparing his own snacks. We have been slowly moving towards less processed foods.

Listening to : The sound of BF's knife chopping away in the kitchen.

Happy you accomplished this week : I finished up a Secret Santa gift. Sadly though I forgot the post office close to us is closed on Sunday so I'll have to make a special trip out some time this week.

Looking forward to next week : I'm looking forward to picking out and sending Christmas cards. I'm also considering purchasing a plane ticket to visit my family as a surprise after the holidays. I'd also like to get the coupons and little gifts finished for my nephews.

*Bonus Question*
What type of cell phone do you have? Do you have all the bells and whistles or just the basics?

Well I don't have a cell phone. In fact I don't have a phone at all :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Coupons

So I talked it over with my SIL and I am definitely doing coupons as Christmas gifts for all of our nephews. It's a great way for us to spend time with our nephews and it's exciting for them at the same time. They have something to look forward to.

My SIL told me that the "Movie Night out with a Friend" coupon we gave our nephew for his birthday has been all that he talks about since he got it last month. He is cashing it in tomorrow. He chose to bring his cousin along which is so cute and shows how close this family it.

I'm still struggling on what we should do for coupons. BF hasn't been much help but that's usually the way it goes with crafty type things unless they require power tools. I know I'm just going to have to make a list and then let him say yes or no to things and go from there. Christmas is getting close though so I'm hoping to sort out at least the options part of it this weekend.

Here is what I am thinking so far:

  • 3D Cinema Night at our house (we purchased a smart 3D TV awhile back and I forgot to post it)
  • Bowling Night (we did this once already with 3/4 of them all at once.. challenging but worth it
  • Backyard Camp Out Night
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Strawberry Picking (not sure about this.. a lot of little boys covered in strawberry juice in our car)
  • .................
Still deciding. Waiting for BF to give some input. I was originally thinking 10 coupons but now I realize it's hard to make plans to actually do some of these things and it's really just for fun. We will be doing a lot more fun stuff with them all through out the year. I'm thinking 5-6 coupons and everyone's will of course be the same. 

The other awesome part of this is that it's really a gift for them AND their parents. When the kids are out with us the parents will have free time without the kidlets. I think that's why my SIL likes it so much. Heehee. Well actually she likes to keep their personal possessions to a minimum. Instead she prefers they play using their imaginations and creativity. You should see what they come up with. They always make their own fun which I think is great and something I plan to do with my own children.

The adults are not exchanging gifts at all. I might make some cookies or something and give them out. I wanted to make magnets with the kids faces but I'm still figuring that out so I'm not sure if they'll be ready by then. I was also thinking of dryer balls but that depends on if I can get my hands on some wool before then. Many ideas but not a lot of time. 

I might pair the boys coupons with personalized rice key chains. I'll post a pic soon of what I'm referring too.

Are you hand making any gifts this year?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Waving The White Flag

So in my last Sunday Night Chit Chat post I mentioned I had done something nice for BF. Some times in life you have to do things you don't want to in order to make your spouse happy.

BF has a friend I do not like at all!!! It was something that built up over time and the end result being that we do not occupy the same space ever. We have run into said friend a few times a couple years ago and it was clear that we were not about to exchange hugs and smiles.

At one point his friend expressed that he was worried about his friendship with BF. He told BF that it was important to have him in his life and he was afraid that  the two of us not getting along would cause problems. He was worried BF would walk away from the friendship.

I told BF that we didn't always have to like the same people. I would never stand in the way of him being friends with somebody unless I thought that person was critical of our relationship or genuinely a "bad influence". The fact that I didn't like his friend and didn't want to be around him should not stop BF from spending time with him away from me.

While we were living in BC this friend came to visit a few times but stayed other places than our home. He also became good friends with BF's brother in this time. When we moved to QC it was uncomfortable for me to learn that he was spending a lot of time with my BIL. Now the boys get together about once weekly for "boys night". A few times they needed an extra for a card game or something and I declined. BF seemed ok with the arrangement but I knew in my heart that it wasn't the best situation for him. It was sort of understood that we were not interested in hanging out together.

Last weekend the family was all planning to hang out in BIL's garage (the family get together spot) in about an hours time. Then the friend called BF and said he was heading to the garage too. It put a damper on things for me. I almost decided not to go. Then as BF was leaving to go next door I looked at him and my heart softened a little. Out the window I saw his friend arrive and go into the garage.

I decided to put my big girl panties on. I packed up some snacks for everyone, made myself a drink and headed on over. When I got in the garage I started setting up the snacks. I greeted my FIL and BF. I started walking towards his friend when he turned away. I looked back at BF who seemed to sense what was happening. He motioned to me to press on and so I did. I walked up and said "hello" and we exchanged the classes Quebec hug and kisses on the cheek. Then I added a "it's nice to see you".

I can't say the evening was comfortable for me. While we didn't talk we did smile and laugh at each others jokes. At some point my SIL and MIL pulled me in the house to show me the bathroom renovations and then plan out the Christmas menu and assign meal tasks. So that kept me away for awhile which was a relief. In house I confessed to them what I had just done and then my SIL told me that she too had issues with the friend. They both thought it was great though that I had decided to take the first step.

Later I returned to the garage and sat with my FIL and my nephews. About 30 minutes later the friend decided to leave. Before he left he came over and said good-bye and exchanged a hug and kisses again. He looked happy and so I took that to be a good sign.

At home that night BF had a big grin on his face. He said it was probably just as awkward for his friend as it was for me since it's been so long that we've communicated. He was surprised and happy that I had gone over and done that. I told him I just felt that it was important to be civil.

In the end I do feel better. It's way nicer to just smile and be nice than it is to avoid each other like the plague. I love BF and I know that friendships are important for any person. BF is an amazing guy with a big heart but seems to have problems making new friends. I suspect it's because the majority of his friends he has had his whole life. I know his friend struggles with some deeper issues and has had a hard go. I also feel he is in a different stage of his life than we are. Still, it would bother me greatly if BF disliked one of my friends and it was hard for them to be in the same room together. So Rome wasn't built in a day. Maybe we won't ever be buddies. Out of love and respect for BF though I am prepared to give it a go.

Have you ever struggled with one of your companions friends?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's Cooking Wednesdays

Thanks to my new found love of Pinterest (yes I'm late to the party) I've been trying out a ton of new recipes. Starting next Wednesday my weekly feature is coming back. There is a tab at the top of the page to make it easy to access all the yumminess. Yay!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

  • Reading: 
A lot of tutorials. I'm trying to get some inspiration for different crafts right now. I have a book on my night stand I pick up every once and while but I'm not actually sure of the title and I'm too lazy to go look, lol. 
  • Watching:
Tonight it was Amazing Race. I'm rooting for the farmers :) I've also been watching all the old 90210 seasons on Netflix lately. Pure awesome
  • Listening to:
Hubby is watching some weird trebuchet show and really enjoying it.
  • Cooking/Baking:
Tonight Hubby made pizza from scratch. I realized when I was eating it that it was my first meal of the day. It's a weird phase I go through some times where I don't have a very big appetite. I'm feeling hungry now though so I'll probably much on some fruit. I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately thanks to my new found interest in Pinterest. What's Cooking Wednesdays are coming back!
  • Happy you accomplished this week
Tonight my MIL, SIL and I sat down to discuss who's making what for Christmas dinner. We also discussed gift giving and everything so I feel better knowing what's happening and what I'm responsible for. I also did a little something nice for BF which I will discuss later.
  • Looking forward to next week:
I received a kit to make a new craft in the mail last week and I'm excited to break into it. I also will be finishing up a secret santa gift for a friend so I can mail it out in time. 
  • Thankful for today:
I am thankful for my MIL. She got back from a small vacation yesterday and when I saw her today she gave me a great big hug and invited me out to lunch on Friday. I love her so much. She has to be the sweetest person I've ever met. She does so much for me and is so supportive.

  • *Bonus Question* You receive a clothing gift from someone who is very close to you, but you absolutely HATE it. Yet you KNOW that they're going to expect you to wear the item & "can't wait to see you in it!!!" What do you do?
I would wear it once while they are over at my house and then donate it. 

For more Sunday Night Chit Chat head on over to Carla's blog :)