Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Mother Nature...

I would appreciate some nice weather now.
we have suffered through an insane amount of snow (which is still more than knee deep in my backyard) and been teased now with half a day of sunshine.
my suggestion is to skip spring all together and go straight to summer.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

honey vs vinegar

sometimes i think i can turn into an unreasonable angry beast.... then i realize that even at my worst and most angry i am nicer than half the people that i deal with on a regular basis.
have these horrible people (mainly accounts receivable people in my day to day encounters) never heard... you'll catch more bees with honey?? they're all vinegar.
what makes it worse is that 9 times out of 10 the mistake was on their end. if you forget to invoice your customer then its not really their fault now is it? it would be like me doing a custom order for someone and delivering it, but not telling the customer how much it was or asking for payment. that would be 100% my own fault.

well... i think this is enough rambling for me right now...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

tasty tuesday

ok... this one's kinda healthy.  but so tasty!

Almond Meringue Cookies


• 3 egg whites
• ¼ cup sugar
• ½ tsp almond extract
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 tbsp almonds, finely ground

1. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
3. In a medium mixing bowl combine egg whites, almond extract, and salt. Beat with a whisk or electric mixer until soft peaks form. When you lift the beater out of the whites the peak will curl.
4. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat the egg whites until the peaks stand up straight.
5. Gently fold in the ground almonds.
6. Using a tablespoon, drop well-rounded spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the baking sheets, 1” apart.
7. Bake at 250F for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cookies to dry in the closed oven for 40 minutes.
8. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and gently peel the cookies off the cookie sheets and store in air tight containers.

if i'm feeling fancy sometimes i will pipe them out onto the pan... or decorate them with almond slices or sprinkles... that's all up to you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

one moment please...

whenever i have to wait on hold i find there are some things that never change...

1. the music is really terrible

2. the music cuts out and makes you think that someone is picking up your call, but really its just a worn out skipping cd.

3.when the robot voice tells you that your wait time is under 10 minutes it really means you're going to be sitting there a while. in my experience 10 minutes robot voice time means at least half an hour real time.

4. the person who picks up the call half the time isn't who you actually need to talk to so they tell you that they'll tranfer you to the proper person. really this is code for "i'll put you back on hold."

5. i get a kink in my neck from doing something else while holding the phone between my ear and shoulder.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the amazing internet

this might make me seem really old, but i am amazed at what we can do on the internet. sharing pictures with friends and family all over the world, keeping in touch with with friends in other cities... finding inspiration and ideas... the list is really endless.
things that used to be so much harder. if you wanted to show someone a picture that you wouldn't be seeing or didn't live nearby you would have to pop it in an envelope and cross your fingers that it arrived safe and sound. i do still love getting real mail but the convenience of being able to instantly email something really can't be beat.

a BIG thank you to whoever created the internet. i am almost certain that it was never intended to be used how it is now, but i very much appreciate it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

tardy tasty tuesday

well this week has been busy and i've been visited by springtime allergies so i'm moving at a pretty slow pace. i do not think it is very nice of mother nature to subject me to allergies at the same time it is snowing. that is just plain mean.

but something tasty to distract me from my miserable week...

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese


1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing baking dish

5 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 cups grated sharp (old) cheddar (grated from a block of cheese, not pre-grated)

1/2 cup or so grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan

1 pound elbow macaroni

For topping:

1/2 cup grated cheddar

15 saltine crackers

2 Tbsp. butter


Heat oven to 375° F. Butter a 3 quart shallow, rectangular baking dish and set aside.
Crumble saltine crackers into a small bowl (they shouldn't be crumbled to a powder but a rough crumble like you would when crumbling into soup, for example). Melt 2 Tbsp. butter, pour over crackers and toss to combine. Set aside.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Measure out the milk and heat in microwave or additional saucepan until hot. (I like to microwave in a large glass measuring cup).
Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture is warmed and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 5 cups cheddar, and the pecorino Romano or Parmesan. Set cheese sauce aside.

Add macaroni to boiling water and cook only until the outside of the pasta is cooked but the inside is underdone. (Taste test often!). Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Pour macaroni into the greased baking dish. Pour reserved cheese sauce over macaroni.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and top with buttered, crumbled saltine crackers. Bake another 15 minutes until bubbly around the edges and the crackers are starting to turn golden. Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

has spring sprung?

i can't wait until the snow melts! i know it will take a while because there is SO MUCH of it!
but i'm hoping that spring really is on its way and this isn't just a mean trick of mother nature.

so excited to see the grass and leaves and flowers again!

fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

happy green day!

i have long outgrown the desire to find cheap green beer on St Patty's day... but here are some other "green" ideas i have come across!

Magazine Coffee Table

You wouldn’t think six copies of a magazine would be enough to create a stable, strong 3-D piece of furniture, but this design by Vered Zaykovsky proves that it’s possible. The pages of six copies of Domus magazine were intricately woven together, and when a metal base and glass top were added, they became an incredibly creative and eye-catching table. No cutting or glue was involved, so it can be disassembled at any time.

Washing Machine Drum Ottoman
When your washing machine gives up the ghost and trying to repair it just isn’t practical, don’t toss it – use the drum to make a modern, industrial-looking ottoman. Eyelets around the rim make it easy to add wheels and a lid for the top, and once topped with a cushion, it’s as comfy as any store-bought ottoman. It can also be used for storage, as a toy chest in a child’s room or for blankets in the living room.

Car Seat Love Seat
this is nothing that i would attempt on my own, but i would LOVE to have this in my house!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

tasty tuesday

one of my recent discoveries is that i love pecans if they are candied, in pie, or butter tarts.

i have bookmarked this recipe to try

it was suggested to me by someone online and it looks delicious!
lots of step by step pictures for anyone who needs too.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

what to do...

My aquarium has been sitting uninhabited now since the beginning of August.

i don't know what to do. should i set it up for something new? this is the first time i have ever been without some sort of aquarium set up in my house. i miss the sound of the filter running and the air pump... mostly i miss Buzz making his happy little (ok not so little) frog noises.

right now it is an eye sore. half full and sad.

i started to empty it completely... then  changed my mind.
i don't know if i can get another frog. i know that i can't replace Buzz. he was one of a kind.
maybe some fish... but i am really not excited to get fish. it may be time for me to just get rid of the whole tank. it would clear up a lot of space in my living room. i could put a nice big shelf in to hold some of my books and knick-knacks.

i'm scared i will regret getting rid of the aqarium - i do miss it already and its still sitting there just not being used right now.

maybe this weekend i will finish emptying it and make the decision to either fill it back up and get it running again in preparation for some new swimming friend or just dry it out and put it up on kijiji.
its a tough one for me.

but on a brighter note... here are some crazy aquariums i found when i was looking for some inspiration.
mine will look nothing like either of these, but it is neat to see what can be done!

Friday, March 11, 2011

foto friday- chico's life as a supermodel

hmmmm... whats this?
it is kinda bright in here....
not too bad though...
is this what it's like being a supermodel? it's boring.
i'll make it fun.

back to business...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

minty fresh

this one here is my very favorite wake up in the shower soap EVER! lathers up so nicely!!

this one here has my interest piqued...

i think i might have to try this one too!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

tasty tuesday

from now on i'm going to try and post a new recipe i've found and want to try every tuesday. i LOVE the internet for recipes.
there are soooooo many to choose from!

first one had to be really good!

here goes...


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups large marshmallows

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Handmade Mafia - my other family...

EDMONTON - Ally Ng has two busy jobs — kindergarten teacher and mafia don.

During the day, the 31-year-old teaches little ones at Belvedere Elementary School. At night and on weekends, she oversees a unique collective of artists and crafters known as the Handmade Mafia.

What began as a smallish group of friends who made things has, in two years, grown to include some 200 members, many of whom put on monthly sales of eclectic, interesting crafts in Old Strathcona.

“It started just as a way for crafters just to hang out and see each other because I had made some wonderful connections through my years of doing craft markets and I never got to see my crafty friends outside the shows,” explains Ng, who started making and selling jewelry when she was teaching in Taiwan a few years ago.

“Providing the crafts was just a really great bonus.”

At first, Ng and her crafty colleagues wanted the show to have an “art walk” feel, so they set up in two locations near Whyte Avenue and 104th Street — the Savoy Lounge and the Orange Hall.

Last year, in the interest of unity and simplicity, they focused on Orange Hall, but as Christmas approached and word of the mafia spread, the cool, quirky venue became too small, so they spilled over into the Strathcona Baptist Church across the street. Now, as the group hits its third anniversary this month, all the vendors will set up shop in the church, and the Orange Hall will be used as a site for public crafting workshops, to spread the love of handmade out into the community, says Ng.

As well, the group will be offering small business development workshops to help its own members grow and prosper.

“I think one of the things that’s really attracting local crafters is that this is a local event, and it’s really about community. We want to foster a real community, so we’re having different social events throughout the year. We’re doing the workshops to educate; we just want it to be like one big family,” says Ng.

“Everybody’s so warm and welcoming that if you’re a new person and you’ve never done this before, you will completely be embraced and made to feel comfortable at your first show.

In any given month, between 35 and 45 artists sell their wares at the show, from handmade accessories and toys to art prints. Mafia vendors tend to be a little younger than those at other shows, “and therefore the crafts are different, they’re maybe a bit more kitschy or a bit more unique than you would find at the Strathcona market,” she says.

The show also gives them a regular place to sell their crafts, where customers can easily find them.

For graphic artist Lon Wenger, who joined the mafia in December, the feedback he’s got from buyers and from colleagues has been invaluable.

“As an artist and a crafter, you spend so much time alone with your craft; it’s nice to have that time at least once a month where you can put it out there into the world and have people receive it and love it. It just gives you that fuel to keep doing it.”

Wenger, who sells his own pop-art style prints, greeting cards and magnets under the name Minus Industries, says the support of the group has been “incredible. It really is a family.

“You find these people who have similar interests, and they’re constantly trying to help you and further your career. They know what you do and you know what they do, so if they need design they’ll approach me or if I need something, I’ll approach them.”

He’s also working on collaborations with other members to put his designs on items like pillows and dolls. “It’s really great to see my art come alive in different ways than I ever would have really expected because of these people that I’ve met.”

Mafia member Karen Whitehead Kuntz is a busy mom of three small kids who makes wooden toys and puzzles, which she sells on the popular craft website, under Mama’s Wood Shop. But the group’s shows have been a great way to meet face-to-face with customers and fellow crafters, some of whom she had only met before online. “They’re very supportive and everyone has ideas for you on setting up your booth, on signage, on where to find resources like business cards and stuff like that.”

When Ng started the group in 2009 after returning from Taiwan, the “handmade revolution” that was so widespread there was just beginning here. In the last two years, that interest has grown tremendously, she says. “I think it has to do with the awareness in society that buying local and supporting local is really important,” she adds.

“People are touched that someone made this by hand and that you can give that gift to someone. It’s a really special connection that goes in a circular motion.”


The next Handmade Mafia show will take place Saturday, March 19, at the Strathcona Baptist Church, 8318 104th St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will also include the first public workshop at the nearby Orange Hall, at 10335 84th St., about designing and carving a lino block for printmaking. It will be hosted by Kim Fjjordbotten from the Paint Spot. For more information, e-mail or call 780-432-0240.

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

Sunday, March 6, 2011

good vibrations

nothing beats the winter blahs quite like the beach boys for me... i will be taking out my favorite beach boys records today for sure...
dreaming of sunshine and warm days...

i will dance around the kitchen making muffins or something else yummy while fernando sleeps... completely oblivious to the fact that i am dancing around like a crazy person.

happy sunday everyone!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

LOVE my slow cooker

well its bitterly freezing cold out and when i look out the window it makes me want a big steaming bowl of soup.
i posted a soup "recipe" earlier this week, but i thought i would provide a few real recipes that i think i will try out. generally when i try a new recipe i modify to suit what i have at home at the time.

here are some of the recipes i have found that i want to try.
click on the name to go to the recipe

Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

and the last one there is no picture for, but i would love to wake up to this!
I think this Breakfast Cobbler would make the house smell delicious !

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Guilty Pleasures

we all have them... what are yours?

here are my top 5

#1 Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson
i will be watching Wrestlemania this year for the first time in years. i used to watch every wrestling PPV but things changed when The Rock left and i lost interest.
he will be hosting Wrestlemania this year and just a word of warning... i'm busy that day (April 3rd). i won't answer my phone.

#2 McDonalds

i don't care how many times people tell me nasty things about McDonalds food. i like it.
i don't eat it every day, but if i'm going to have a junk food day, it is usually my first choice.

#3 Young & The Restless

if i happen to get home by 4:00 (not very often unfortunately) i will almost always set myself up in bed with a snack and watch Y&R. my grandma got me hooked at a very young age. every time i watch any soap opera i think of her.

#4 VengaBoys Greatest Hits Album

if i am in a bad mood this cd can cheer me up no matter what. i can't help myself. years of teaching aerobics to this (the seniors LOVED it) i thought i would hate it for life... it grew on me.

#5 Contemporary Romance Paperbacks

i have read almost every single contemporary romance paperback at my library branch. they are mindless and i love them. every now and then i will dust off my brain and read a real book but for the most part i read them before i go to sleep to de-stress and just zone out. for that i need something that doesn't make me think or be sad or stressed... mindless fluff is just what i need.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ninja Lesson #2

Every NINJA needs a name.

try finding yours here

as a ninja i would be known as Violent Giant.

leave your ninja name in a comment here or on my facebook fanpage to be entered into a draw for a toque of your choice from kabukikreations!

you can find my facebook fanpage here

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

we all have them

they seem to just multiply in my drawers... i find them everywhere. i rarely wear them... i am on a mission now to find some purpose for them. I know you must have at least a few just lurking in the back corner of a drawer or pushed to the back of the shelf.
here are a few things i think i will try out.

just click on the picture to find the directions.

T-shirt Grocery Tote

T-shirt halter top

turn your t-shirt into yoga pants! super comfy for around the house!

this is a pretty sweet t-shirt makeover... on the top of my "to try" list

ok... this one is more for a giggle... but click on it for the full instructions. it made me literally laugh out loud.
ninja lesson #1