A lifestyle blog, with lots of photography, creating and pretty things.

March 31, 2014

My Go-To Smoothie

I am off and on with my green smoothies. Mostly on, the off times are when I sleep in and it seems easier to pop a piece of toast in the toaster or have a bowl of cereal. But when I'm on, this is my go-to recipe for smoothies.
I start with a banana and a huge handful of spinach or kale. Next goes in the frozen fruit (sorry no measurements here, I pour until it looks good). I also add in protein powder; being diabetic I need to balance the natural sugars in the banana and frozen fruit with some protein. Then I usually add 1 1/2  - 2 cups of water.

Because I use frozen fruit I don't add ice and it is still thick and cold.
My blender isn't a fancy one but I never have chunks of green stuff I need to slurp back and because of that I decided to add an orange to my smoothie this morning. 
It was a great success!

If you follow my "sort-of" recipe, you should have enough for 2 generous smoothies. I put my second one in the fridge for the next day. It isn't pretty but still tastes the same.

I signed-up for the 30-day green smoothie challenge that starts tomorrow, mostly for the recipes!

Looking for more recipes? Check out Mini Muffins Many Ways and One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies.


March 30, 2014

Sunday Links No. 11 - Stunning Photos, New Mugs and Wire Words

This past week I have been serenaded to sleep by the frogs and have woken up to the sounds of happy birds. Yes, spring is here! This also means a lot of rain for us West Coasters, but it doesn't keep us in doors (it can't or we would be hermits). Today we are going on a family hike and doing a bit of gardening.

But before that, here are links I found inspiring this week.

These photographs taken from a bird's-eye-view are stunning. This one of the rice fields in China is my favourite.
Photo from the San Francisco Globe
I want to try my hand making these.

Tom Hussey's series Reflections is very touching.

Love this suit.

I want to make a version of this with my last name.

One of my go-to coffee mugs broke this week, I may have to replace it with these 2.

Make it a great Sunday!

March 27, 2014

Emerging in Spring Time


If I were to change the time of year for new goals and resolutions it would be to Spring Time. Everything is fresh, new life is beginning and it is a time of renewal. There is nothing fresh or new about January 1 other than a new calendar - there is still dormancy afoot.

I have gone through many renewals myself, pushed myself to reach new goals and try new things but I seem to fall short of getting to my ultimate goal. I relapse into old habits, stop pursuing that result I am craving.

I know this isn't because my goals aren't attainable, they totally are, it is more from my inability to see myself past the process of reaching a goal and living that goal. This isn't a concious decision like:

  • "I am getting articles published on some big-named websites, I'm going to stop writing now and delete my blog"
  • "I went from hating running to running a 1/2 marathon, I'm going to stop training and not run at all"
  • "I've been focusing on my health and have lost weight and gained so much energy in the process. I'm going to go back to my old habits and gain the weight back so my new clothes won't fit me"
They weren't conscious decisions but all of those are decisions I have made.

Spring is here again, I am going to move forward and push through. I am going to work on my goals and include a maintenance plan to keep living the goals I worked hard to reach.

This video from Danielle LaPorte is a good pep talk to start me on my way (and yours too).






March 24, 2014

12 Years Old


 I am now officially the mom to a 12 year old boy. A 12 year old boy who:

  • Has a dry, sarcastic sense of humour, very similar to me.
  • Is a natural in front of the camera, I love his YouTube videos.
  • Goes for runs with me and impresses me with his endurance.
  • Still gets excited, even though he tries to hide it because it isn't "cool"
  • Can (sometimes) be very patient and kind to his little brothers
 Happy Birthday Connor!


March 23, 2014

Sunday Links No. 10 - #100HappyDays, Rule Breakers & Gift Balls

I joined the 100 Happy Days project yesterday. Everyday, for 100 days, you take a picture of something that makes you happy and then share it on your Social Media site of choice (or keep it to yourself if you prefer). You can jump in and start your 100 days whenever you want!

Here's my Day 1 picture.

Day 1: Playing outside with my boys and camera

This journal in purple with my name on the front is being added to my birthday list.

I am usually a rule follower, but these are some rule breakers I would join.

A new use for some of my yarn stash, a gift ball.

Thank you to Poppytalk for the ebook link. I DO want to learn how to papercut.

April Fool's Day is around the corner. I am going to use this idea as inspiration and make a mini breakfast of pancakes.

Want to explore more links? You can check out more Sunday Inspiration here.

March 20, 2014

What I'm Growing in my Garden

That little sprout up there makes me giddy. I love taking a little seed and turning it into food. I've had really good gardening years and then some that really were a lot of work for nothing. This year I'm gunning for a great harvest.
 My end goal is to make pickles from cucumbers and dill that I grow myself. Most of the seedlings above are cucumbers and there are some tomatoes coming up there on the right. I am simplifying, trying food I know works for my gardening skills and the soil/sunlight combination we have.

Giant Russian Sunflowers are going to be planted too, mostly for looks and because if they work out, we can eat the seeds. If the birds don't get them first.

I've started a Pinterest page, To Garden, come check it out.

March 17, 2014

Make Your Own Photo Booth

I volunteered to make a photo booth for the Spring Carnival at my boys' school. It is a new fundraiser for the school and I wanted to help out (we're raising money for a new playground).
photo booth


I was going to make one using a refrigerator box but visions of the box falling over as multiple kids crowded into the booth had me searching for more ideas. Can you tell I'm the mom of 3 boys?

Here are the supplies I used:

  1. a king-sized white sheet (I cheated with this, and used the sheet for our back-yard movies)
  2. a pack of 60 photo props on a stick from Michaels
  3. a thought-bubble chalkboard
  4. a fairy wand
  5. a wood frame that I painted
  6. craft paper that I cut into triangles and sewed onto ribbon to create the banners
photo booth supplies

Now I need to decide if I am going to man the booth on my own with my camera for 4 hours or if I can get enough grade 7 volunteers with their iPads to take the pictures. I am definitely leaning towards option 2 so I can enjoy the carnival with my family and I won't have to worry about keeping track of pictures to e-mail to people. Plus, it's a great experience for the kids, right?

make your own photobooth

March 16, 2014

Sunday Links No. 9 - Vanilla Honey, Easter Eggs & Mushrooms!

Yesterday started the weekend with a bang. I went for a 5k run with my oldest, came home and decided to save the $50 and trimmed my own hair and then made a hair mask with coconut oil and olive oil. I felt productive! Then....it poured and all I wanted to do was waste time on the Internet and lounge with the boys. In retrospect, it was a perfect Saturday.

And on to the links:

I have been working on mushroom crochet/knitting patterns, these fabric mushrooms are an amazing inspiration.

I received vanilla beans in beautiful glass vials in my stocking. Now I know what I am going to do with them.

13 Mom Truths

I took the time last Easter to carefully poke holes in both ends of an egg and then blow the contents into a bowl for scrambled eggs. We didn't decorate all of the intact shells and they have been sitting in a flower pot in my kitchen for a year. This is what they are destined for.

The next gift from me is going to look like this.

I love these pictures Iwona took of her home over on Fabric and Color.


I have mentioned it before, but I love Jimmy Fallon. My favourite skit he does with his guests is the water war game. I spend entirely too much time on his YouTube channel.

March 13, 2014

About Me

Not sure why, but I have been procrastinating putting up my About Me page. No longer though! It is done. Please come visit and tell me what you think.


March 12, 2014

6 o'clock

A new post is up on Focus on Everyday. This week's theme is 6 o'clock. Originally I was going to do a picture about my morning routine as I always wake-up at 6 AM. I changed my mind after the sunny afternoons we've been having along with the time change. I fell in love with this time of day again.

An exciting announcement for the blog too, we have a new contributor, Krystal! Please head over to the blog and give her a warm welcome.

And because I couldn't stop at just 1 sunshiney picture, here are a few more.


 This picture reminds me of the nursery rhyme "Jack be Nimble".


March 11, 2014

Kettle Corn Trail Mix - Recipe

kettle corn trail mix

 My family and I discovered the best kettle corn at our local farmer's market last summer, it was so yummy and fresh; nothing like packaged grocery store versions. I don't know why I never tried to make it myself until a couple of weekends ago. This is my second go around and I want to share this simple snack that is perfect for a family movie night.


ingredients for kettle corn trail mix
I took the traditional recipe and added in cashews, raisins and semi-sweet chocolate chips to make it a trail mix. And really, in my books, when you add in protein all is well in the snacking world.

I use a Whirlypop to make my popcorn, but I have heard you can also use a heavy-bottomed pot with a good lid. You will have to use those arm muscles to keep everything moving though.

Recipe:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 - 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (I use the 1 second per tbsp method to measure)
1/4 cup of white suguar
salt to taste
Yummies of your choice

Pour the kernels and oil into the Whirlypop and put on the stove top over high heat. Start turning that handle and don't stop! After a few moments, you will hear the oil start to pop and sizzle and you may want to add in the sugar - not yet! Once the first kernel pops, CAREFULLY and quickly open the lid pour in the sugar, close the lid and keep turning the handle.

It will take a moment for everything to get back up to the right temperature, but like regular popcorn, keep it on the heat until the popping slows down to 1-2 pops.

Pour the popcorn into your bowl (I have 3 sons, so 3 bowls are necessary). The popcorn will be sticky, don't worry, it doesn't last. Sprinkle with salt and use your hands to "toss" the popcorn a few times.

kettle corn - let it cool
Now comes the part where you get to learn from my mistake. Do not add anything that melts (like chocolate chips) to the bowl until the popcorn has cooled down (it makes so much sense NOW). Once the popcorn is cooled, it will no longer stick together and won't create an ooey-gooey mess.

I put hot water in the Whirlypop after I'm done and it washes up nicely.

Do you have a favourite snack for movie nights?

March 10, 2014

Crafts with Curtains: New Napkins

I bought IKEA curtains back in 2010 and I can't tell you how useful they've been - well actually... I can and I will.

We purchased 2 sets of curtains with the intention of using 2 sets of curtains. One for a computer room and the other for a set of patio doors by our dining room table. The plan was half-executed, I can't remember if we were too lazy to hang the second set or genuinely decided we didn't want to block the light by the table. Either way, I'm glad we didn't.

First up for the other set of curtains was a Curtain Skirt! I still have this skirt and can't wait to wear it again this summer.

Second re-purpose was to make a tote for a friend to say thank you for a BBQ.

We used part of one of the panels as a cover for the top of the lemonade stand Jeremy made for the boys. You can see the lemonade stand in this post, none of the cover though - it's purpose is to keep the sun off the top of their heads.

Today marks the end of those curtains. I used them up to make some more cloth napkins for the family table. I was so tired of running out of the cloth ones and my boys resorting to their sleeves. Jeremy said I should forget about the napkins and just make sleeve protectors!

sewing
 I made good use of my new craft space. I need better lighting though, must get a nice lamp. You will also notice I didn't use pins. If I'm not going to wear it and can get away with eyeballing it, I will.
cloth napkins

cloth napkins
Darien (my middle son, pictured below), wanted a custom napkin with black thread. I made him one and really liked the contrast. Then dinner time came and he refused to use his special napkin. But progress is progress!



March 09, 2014

Sunday Links No. 8

Well this was the week of getting to work from home A LOT and the week that when I did venture out for the 1 meeting I had, I got into a car accident (boo!). As I was in my company van and I wasn't hurt, the worst part about the situation was having to call my boss.

But even so, there was inspiration this week and here I am to share it with you. (And i just realized I changed the name of this series from Sunday Inspiration to Sunday Links a couple of Sunday's ago, it wasn't intentional at all, but I think I will leave it.)

Gabi's birthday was last weekend and we got together today for a long overdue coffee date. I made her this bracelet as a little gift. The pictures and step-by-step instructions are super-easy to follow and I can't wait to make another one.

With my oldest turning 12 this month, this list of 12 books to read before you're 12 is pretty much complete. We only watched Bridge to Terabithia and we won't be reading Ramona but the rest are done.

I think these carrots are a must have in my garden this year.

heirloom carrots
Photo from SmartSeeds Etsy Shop



And because gardening season is upon us, I want to make this penny ball too.

I want someone to capture me jumping and they have to be sure I look this cute.

And, Yes and Yes did a round-up of homemade junk food. Yes please.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!



March 07, 2014

Seeing Beauty No. 2 - My Basement


Almost a month ago I went around my yard with my camera with the intention of seeing beauty that I hadn't noticed before. I enjoyed the journey so much that I repeated the process, this time in my basement.



Honing in on the details, I found lots to love about my basement. A place I usually just pass through on my way to get upstairs.

  

I think I need to visit more often, as I also found areas that could use a good dusting.


I pass these birds each time I take my coat off in the laundry room. Today they got a bit more attention.


There are lots of reminders that we have little boys living with us, the basement is home to their playroom.


 Memories of toys that are outgrown and more than gently used. Ones that we can't part with.

In my next photo exploration I am going to visit my kitchen.

March 06, 2014

From This to That - Fixing Frayed Jeans

This is a little story about a pair of jeans that were starting to wear out. Not TOO badly, but enough that I felt they shouldn't be worn to work anymore (mostly to job sites in steel-toed boots, but still). That is until I turned them

From This:


To That:

I used my stash of embroidery floss and wrapped the bottoms of each pant leg. I doubled-up the floss while sewing to give a sturdy, full coverage.

It took 2 evenings (a pant leg per The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon). I left the nubby part where the seam is blank as I was sewing by hand and didn't want to break my needle, there was no fraying on that part anyway. You can see the "blank" part in the above photos.
 Next time, I will use less colours but nonetheless, I am happy with how they turned out.
Hurray for breathing new life into old jeans (that fit)!

Do you have any creative uses for embroidery floss?

March 05, 2014

yes


A new post is up on the Focus on Everyday blog, this week's prompt is "yes".

Click through to see Gabi's picture and to read our thoughts on the theme. I so love doing this project each week. It gets me taking pictures, it gets my creative juices flowing and it is a way I can connect with a good friend when we can't get together as often as we would like.

We are also looking for guest posters, if you are interested in contributing to one of our weekly posts send me an e-mail! harmonycornwell at gmail.com

March 04, 2014

This to That - A New Craft Desk

An unused and unloved part of our basement went from This:



To That:



My art and craft supplies finally have a home. We got rid of our old fish tank that hasn't had fish in it in forever and with a wee bit of money ($1 at Target) I used wrapping paper to cover up the not so lovely faux wood paneling. 


I crocheted the "Creating Harmony" banner using this pattern for my Facebook page. You can see it here.

Now I won't feel pressured to make something in one fell swoop as I don't have to remove it from the dining room table so we can eat!

March 03, 2014

Mini Muffins Many Ways

As I mentioned when I shared my One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies, I do a lot of baking for the boys' lunches. This is another recipe I make a lot, it is a versatile mini muffin that I change-up the main ingredient frequently to keep things interesting.

Most times I use frozen blueberries in this recipe. Fresh works too but I always have blueberries in the freezer for my smoothies. Really, any frozen fruit would work.
 A popular ingredient is chocolate chips. You could use any variety or a combination of them for extra yumminess (yes to chocolate chips and peanut butter chips!).
When I use raisins and cinnamon I substitute 1/2 cup of the flour for a 1/2 cup of rolled oats.

Recipe

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of your ingredient of choice (blueberries, chocolate chips, raisins)

Combine the sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla together.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Stir the liquids into the flour to form a smooth batter. Fold in the blueberries (or other ingredient of choice).

This makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular-sized muffins. If you aren't using liners, use some butter to grease the muffin tin. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 14-17 minutes (for mini muffins) or 20-25 minutes (for regular muffins).


March 02, 2014

Sunday Links No. 7

We woke up to another snowfall here in British Columbia. This at a time when we are all gearing up to mow our lawns, leave the house without a coat on and eat our lunch outside; please let this be the last snowfall!

So in honor of the pending season change, this week's links are all themed to get ready for Spring and put a spring in your step.

I would wear this pretty dress to work or on date night.

I don't have city water so in the summer we have to be aware of our water consumption. This idea to wash my veggies is perfect and then I can use the water to water the garden.


I read this story about the Scatter Love Project and it brought a tear to my eye. Reaching out to someone can be scary but it can also change someone's day.

Can't wait to wear my boots with knee socks and no tights. I need these ones.

And here is Forbes list of 16 Songs Feel Like Spring . It is pretty good but I think they missed one:

 

You can find more Sunday Inspiration here. Enjoy your day!




March 01, 2014

Thank You Party Favors

Today marks the 1st birthday party of 2014 (the friend version as we have had a family birthday for Grayden already). I find planning little kid parties stressful, I know I do it to myself but that doesn't make the stress go away. I breathe a huge sigh of relief in May when the 3rd party has been wrapped up and I know I don't have to do it again for MONTHS.

But for today, the preparations are done, the cake is made and the party favors are assembled.


I love my Project Life cards. I have found they come in handy for so many more things than just my album. These Thank You cards are a perfect example, I used the 3X4 grid cards, a rubber stamp, a sun hole punch and baker's twine to attach the cards to the bags.



I find that with a bit of hunting that I can fill these bags for $5-6 each with goodies that gives 1 treat, something fun and a crafty keepsake.

These bags are for 5-6 year-olds. I made slightly different bags for the boys and the girls as I have 10 of each coming.


The only difference between the 2 bags is I substituted the tattoos for hair accessories and put in an owl or cupcake Melty Bead craft.


One other thing to note, I wish grocery stores would get in on the Minecraft bandwagon and sell Minecraft themed cakes. But a Minecraft cake is what he wanted and a Minecraft cake is what he is getting!

 
Wish me luck in transporting it!