Friday, December 30, 2011

On 2011

Goodbye, 2011. I must say that I'm excited for the possibilities of a new, fresh start in 2012. Don't know about you, but I'm ready for some nice big changes.

I took the time to think of what happened in the past year. This year, I:

started a new job
saw my first ballet
got a new nephew
welcomed sam into our lives
hosted several youth game nights
celebrated my dad's 50th
planted a vegetable garden
planted a potted herb garden
had countless date nights
saw U2 for the second time
played with goats
watched ice cream and cheese being made
went camping
had a go-carting day with my family
had a farmers' market booth
attended two exhibitions
saw a taping of TSN's Sports Centre
celebrated our 4th anniversary
went on a road trip to boston
watched a Red Sox game
first trip to IKEA
watched a university soccer game
watched countless high-school basketball games
got an apple computer
went to a friend's wedding
turned 25
dealt with Movember
cut down our own Christmas tree

What will 2012 hold? Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour
who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 by 2012: Update

I am ever so slowly making progress on my 12 by 2012 goals. Latest goal reached? Goal #10.

Paint my 2' x 4' canvas that I've been avoiding

I've had this image pinned since I first signed up for Pinterest - so like, five or six months ago? I was itching to create something similar, but using a Bible verse. After seeing Elise's painting a couple of weeks ago, I knew that it was time to stop procrastinating. I already had found the verse that I wanted to use, so the only thing that was stopping me was... nothing! It was time to take out the paint!

Here's what I came up with:

As much as I loved how my inspiration photo took the words from edge to edge and really filled the canvas, I wanted to make sure that the whole verse was legible. I used Matthew 5:14 - it's such a special verse and it's really encouraging. It's so nice to see when I go into the living room. Here's a closer peek:

I started by priming my canvas with a mixture of white acrylic paint and water. Once that was dried, I just winged it. Didn't plan where the words would go, didn't make sure my lines were straight, nothing - just grabbed the paintbrush and started. I wanted a loose, flowing, organic looking verse, so I just dabbed my brush in paint and wrote a word or two. After I was done, I went over the whole verse in black paint again. 

The painting is exactly what was missing in our living room. The space one the sofa was so bare before, since I was waiting for the perfect piece. Now it's a whole lot more complete!

The look of our living room is really starting to come together. Each element seems a lot more cohesive now, which is a big sigh of relief. I was tired of the student hodgepodge special. Now it's a little more grown up!

Hope you enjoyed a peek at the latest happens in our home! Yay for checking off another 12 by 2012!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sneak Peek

Here's a peek at two projects that I finished this week:

Curious? Stay tuned Thursday and Friday for a closer look!


I haven't shared any suppertime photos in a while. Do you miss them? We only took a picture of two meals that were actually photo-worthy. The rest consisted of takeout, leftovers, and random meals. Definitely not photo worthy. The holidays put a little havoc into mealtime, with all of the travelling and festivities.

Last week I was feeling bad about my lack of cooking, so I stopped at the grocery store on the way home form an outing a splurged a little bit. Fresh pasta and scallops sounded like perfection.

Here's what I did:

  • Made a roux out of flour and butter
  • Added chicken broth and cream
  • Added two cubes of my frozen pesto, chili flakes and salt/pepper
  • Sauteed button mushrooms and added them to the sauce
  • Chopped up green onions and added half of them to the sauce
  • Cooked the fresh pasta
  • Pan-seared the scallops
  • Plated the pasta, topped with the sauce, then scallops and fresh green onions

Remember how I was feeling uninspired last night when I went to make supper? Well, I got in the kitchen and the creative juices started flowing. Here's what we had last night:

Mmm - I have been hoarding a couple of packs of udon noodles, and I put them to use last night. Sauteed two chicken breasts, zucchinis, a bell pepper, celery, matchstick carrots, and mushrooms. Made up a batch of my peanut sauce, thinned it with broth, and voila! Easy breezy supper! 

Here's what our little table looks like for the holidays:

Have any supper recipes to share?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I've injected a little bit of holiday spirit into our living room. I'm not the type to limit myself to only a certain colour palette... but our decor is basically metallics (gold, silver, bronze) and a little bit of red tossed in with a whole lot of natural elements. I spent $20 at the dollar store and used decorations from previous years and non-Christmas items to pull our decor together. Here's a peek at our organ:

I hung silver balls that I purchased last year using twine from the hardware store. You should pick some up if you don't already have some - I use it all the time! I bought the three candle holders last year for crazy cheap since one of the red glass pieces was broken. I use the holders without the glass all year round! The little wreaths were under $2 - they're cute, and add a little bit of nature to our living room. The organ is so beautiful, I don't want to muddle it up with a lot of decor. This is just enough for me.

I decorated a little side table, too:

I used three little dollar store trees - they're cheap and do the trick. I bought the metallic mat from Wicker Emporium with some birthday money - it has silver and gold, so it can really work with anything. The candle holders were each under $2: bargain central! I also picked up some gingerbread-scented candles to burn in the evenings. They smell heavenly!

I'm off to wrap a gift or two before I start supper - I found a pretty frame for my sister-in-law today that works perfectly with the verse print that we're giving her. As far as supper goes, I'm feeling pretty uninspired. I just want to get it over with before I do some Christmas baking tonight. Wish me luck!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Multitude Monday

It's time for this week's edition of Multitude Monday! Each week, I try to document ten things that I am thankful for. I find it really helps me to live in the moment and see all of the positive things that are happening in my life.

 Today, I'm thankful for:

310 - the fact that it is no longer Movember and the 'stache is gone!
311 - the sprinkling of snow on the ground - it's so pretty!
312 - warm new fox gloves and hat from Mom and Dad to keep the winter chill at bay
313 - a great sale on chicken and beef at the grocery store on the weekend
314 - new crafting supplies... and pins on what to make with them
315 - all of my Christmas packages already sent... now on to the cards!
316 - a fun-filled weekend with my family
317 - Dad coming home in the next week or so - I miss him like the dickens
318 - new recipes for Christmas baking gifts - they're easy, too!
319 - yummy holiday hand soap from Bath & Body Works

What are you thankful for today?

Little Glimpse of Christmas

Well, I went a little MIA on the blog-front last week. I'm back and ready to Countdown to Christmas!

As far as exterior Christmas decorating goes, we put "candles" in our kitchen window and twinkle lights along the ledge of our living room window. I also made a big evergreen container with branches, boughs, and multi-coloured balls. I have a pack of outdoor lights to string around it, if I ever manage to dig around in the basement for an extension cord! :) I also put together a festive little wreath.

We sell local undecorated wreaths at work, so I purchased one and put together some design elements to match our door. Chocolate brown, silver and turquoise is a bit non-traditional, but it's fun and can stay up for as long as the wreath lasts. It's a good "winter" decoration! Have a look at what I came up with:

I made a bow out of brown and turquoise sinemay mesh and layered it with loops of silver ribbon. I wired a turquoise poinsettia to the centre and attached to whole concoction to the wreath. I love how it turned out!  It matches our entrance quite nicely:

Have you decorated the exterior of your home? Do share!

Happy Monday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easy Appetizer

The Countdown to Christmas continues!

I don't know about you, but when I need to bring an appetizer to a Christmas get-together, I usually panic. I brought a dip to Dan's work party on the weekend, and it wasn't the most popular choice, that's for sure. With pineapple and pomegranate salsa and stuffed shrimp on the buffet table, who can compete? :) It's hard to tell what people will go for - spicy, sweet, hot, cold, salty, or savoury. Sky's the limit when it comes to appetizer choices. This recipe isn't really a recipe at all - it's more of a guide to an app. 

Here's how to get started:

Summer Rolls with Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

Rice paper
Rice vermicelli noodles
Matchstick carrots
Bean sprouts
Green onions
Bell peppers
Cilantro, basil, or mint (or a combo of all three!)

To start, cut up all ingredients into long, thin pieces - similar to the size of the matchstick carrots. Heat oil in a pan, add chicken. Season with black pepper and Chinese 5-spice powder. Cook until browned on both sides. Remove from heat.

Boil a pot of water. Add noodles and boil for one minute. Remove noodles from pot and remove the pot from the heat. Use the hot water to submerge the rice paper for five seconds. Place on a plate or cutting board and add your ingredients (layer by layer, in a 3" x 1.5" section near one end). Make one roll, then fold in both ends and continue rolling. Place seam side down on a serving platter.

Peanut Hoisin Dipping Sauce

3 tbsp peanut butter
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp hot water
1 clove garlic, minced
dried ginger
red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and heat until smooth. Serve with spring rolls.

The spring rolls can be made with virtually any veggies that you have in your fridge. We were brainstorming other ways to use the rice paper, too - fill the rolls with Nutella and strawberries, or sliced bananas and honey. 

Let me know if you try this recipe - we ate these rolls as an afternoon snack. They make a great appetizer, but you could make a meal out of them, too!

Happy Monday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Etsy Treasury

Are you wondering what to bring as a gift to your favourite house maker? Got a baker or chef in the family? Is there anyone that's a foodie? I've created an Etsy treasury of gifts that would be perfect to bring as a hostess gift, or to give to your favourite kitchen-ista. Every item, as with all items on Etsy, is either handmade or vintage. I've chosen items that have a nice natural feel to them as well. 

Take a look:

To view my Etsy treasury, just click here. From there you can check out the items more closely, as well as purchase. Have fun looking!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

How about a little holiday spirit around here?!

Countdown to Christmas is exactly what it sounds like: a countdown to Christmas! 

Between now and December 24th, I'll be featuring: 
holiday recipes
sneak peeks
decor ideas
pins and more!

Stick around, Polka Dot Soup is where it's at for the month of December. 
Ready or not, here comes the Countdown to Christmas!

Happy Thursday...

Happy December 1st!
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