Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creative Encouragement

In honour of how magically special today is - February 29th, that lovely extra day that comes once every four years - I just wanted to share this video. Anyone that is creative in any form: paint, fabric, drawing, writing, food, spoken word, gardening, athletics, education, music, whatever - can benefit from this encouraging video. I had a bit of an a-ha! moment when I watched it. Hopefully you will, too. Share this inspiration with others, if you feel so inclined. 

Keep on creating.

Happy Leap Year!

Birthday Treats

I don't know about you, but I love when people get creative about gift giving. Daniel's brother, Colin, got him an awesome birthday present for his 25th earlier this month. Colin's a fan of cool toys and technology and he got a cool canvas printer before Christmas, and he's been experimenting with it lately. A big package arrived in the mail, and inside the box were two large canvasses. Colin printed two photos and stretched the canvas onto frames. Each one measures about 11" x 14" (that's my guess, I haven't measured them). One of the photos is one of the shots of Dan and Ian that were entered in Dan's work contest

The second canvas was a picture taken by Jeff Cooke at Colin's wedding of the three siblings. The colours are beautiful!

Dan's sister's hot pink flower pin really pops! I'm not entirely sure where I'll display these great pieces yet. I picked up a picture ledge when we were in Boston in the fall and I haven't found the perfect spot for it. I want to layer a few different things: one of the canvasses, a large photo or two, and maybe a piece of art. I have a handful of large white frames and mats that I'd love to see used. I'll have to start experimenting.

Speaking of fun birthday presents, I sent out a package for a very special little boy that turns one on Sunday. Here's a sneak peek of what I made for him:

Once I know that his present has arrived safely, I'll share a bigger pic.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recipe Link Love

I've been trying new recipes left and right lately. The long winter months are the perfect time to add a great recipe to your repertoire, so you can whip it out in the busier summer months without much fuss. I thought that I'd share a few online recipe finds, both the hits and the misses, with you today:

I made this delicious chowder for supper tonight. It was really rich, so I don't know how often I would repeat it, but Dan and his dad were both fans. I added extra veggies to the original recipe - it's the perfect one for cleaning out your veggie drawers.
Verdict? A keeper.

I prepared the batter for this recipe last week and have made three little batches of fresh muffins since then. It's the best idea ever! You have a large container of muffin batter in the fridge that you can dip into anytime that you want a hot muffin! I haven't added anything to the muffins yet, just sprinkled a bit of coarse sugar on top of them before they went into the oven. 
Verdict? A definite keeper.

This recipe was beyond delicious! I made it in the oven instead of the slow cooker, and I tossed the diced chicken in cornstarch before pouring the sauce on, so the sauce would thicken in the heat. I left it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, instead of the recommended 20, since I felt that it wasn't ready. We ate this yummy chicken dish with rice and steamed veggies.
Verdict? Amazing!

I made this punch for the accessories swap that I hosted a few weeks ago. It was a really pretty colour, and made a nice sized batch. It would have been great if I had crushed ice to mix in. I wasn't too impressed with the flavour: I could hardly taste the cherry. Maybe if you pureed some of the cherries and added them to the punch it would help.
Verdict? Not a repeat.

This recipe was amazing! I kept going back to the fridge for little spoonfuls of it. We can't wait to try it once it's barbecue season again: it would be perfect with a grilled steak and corn on the cob. I made it without the sausages (gross!) and added a lot more veggies. The barbecue flavour was just enough - not too overwhelming.
Verdict? Amazing!

This recipe was a disappointment. Dan didn't mind it, but it grossed me out. The dressing ingredients didn't mesh together at all, I could totally taste the dijon and rice vinegar. The slaw stayed much too crunchy, too. I used either cashews or walnuts instead of the almonds that the recipe called for, and plain yoghurt instead of the Greek. 
Verdict? Not a repeat. Ever.

Have you tried any new recipes that you've found online? Do share!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Multitude Monday

Ever have those days where you just don't want to blog? Well... I'm having one of those. 

Yep, I admitted it here on my blog. You're still reading though, aren't you? 

All I want to do this evening is have a cold glass of water and a couple cookies and snuggle up on the couch with my darling and watch a few show episodes that we need to catch up on. Can you blame me? That sounds pretty darn amazing! But... I am thankful today. That's what Multitude Mondays are all about: posting ten things that I'm currently thankful, every Monday... whether I want to relax or not. : )

So, it's Multitude Monday - and today I'm thankful for:

390 - having world's cutest dog.
391 - watching my brother's last high school basketball game... sniff, sniff.
392 - finding a new recipe for (healthier - lower fat + whole wheat flour) cookies.
393 - spending lots of time with my family over the past few weeks.
394 - watching some new-to-us shows to make the evenings fly by.
395 - having a relatively clean apartment. Woo too!
396 - buying some new pretty undies at La Senza today...
397 - ... and finding a bunch of cute thrifted pieces, too! 
(Not at La Senza. And the undies aren't thrifted. Just thought I should confirm that you knew that.)
398 - running into a friend in Michael's - and buying a new stamp!
399 - planning a sledding party through our church for local kids.

What are you thankful for today?

Happy Monday!

I'm off to have a little relaxation time for the rest of the evening. Yay!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Go Dalbrae!

I'm off in an hour to drive a carload of boys and cheer on my brothers' high school basketball team as they compete in their provincial qualifiers. If they win this weekend, they're in the provincials! It's David's last year, so it would be really special if they made it. Since we're driving, we get a free hotel room. Sweet!

Also... when did I become old enough to be a chaperone? Tell me, please! 

Happy Friday!

P.S. I may or may not have googled second hand stores in the area. Muhahahahaa...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Home Tour Link

image via life made lovely

I stumbled on this home tour on Life Made Lovely this evening and just had to share! It's a crazy beautiful wacky homey loveable family space that perfectly reflects on the people that live in it. I hope that's what people say about my home! I know that this home's style isn't for everyone, but you can definitely enjoy at least one element in this cozy house! I love the gorgeous colours, blend of vintage and new finds, and dreamy wallpaper throughout the home. When we have a house of our own, this home tour is definitely going to be a favourite source of inspiration! 

Consider it bookmarked!


Little Paint on the Prairie

Do you guys remember this painting that I made a few months ago? Well, I couldn't get comfortable with it. It was just a super quick project and the lines weren't straight. Every single time I try to tape and paint, the paint bleeds. No fun. The colours weren't really working for me either - they'd work in an outfit, or in a room that I was starting from scratch, but in our existing decor? Umm, nope. Soooo... I started from scratch.

I used the same canvas and got my some loose inspiration from a piece of fabric. I adored the colour combination - I mean, mint green, mustard, and brights? Sign me up! I got to use some fun new Martha Stewart paint that I got for Christmas, too. (As a side note, my colours and lighting are all over the place. I'm no photographer, alright? The colours are most accurate in this photo and the last photo in the post.) Here's what I ended up with:

I had so much fun! I took my time and painted over the course of a week, enjoying every moment. Sometimes I get crafting and lose interest really quickly, but I couldn't wait to spend time on this painting. The colours and imperfection suit me perfectly. Here's a closer look:

I had originally stuck the piece with my other green paintings in our hallway:

... but I'm not sure if I want it in the hallway or not. I do have another painting that I can put in its place. This morning, I moved the painting to a cozy little corner in the living room:

I like it in both places! Our living room really needs more bright items. We have several pieces of furniture that feel dark and heavy, so the colourful painting is a nice addition. I love each time item that we have in our home, but sometimes they just don't work together. I'll give the painting a few days in its new location and then go from there.

I'm off to pick up a few essentials in town (dog food and garbage bags, anyone?), hopefully drop in to say hi to a friend and then it's home on the range for the evening. Man, I love having the winter off! Spoiled! Have a great day!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caramelized Ginger Salmon

I found a new favourite seafood recipe!

Tasty Kitchen is my go-to website for new recipes. It's a great place to search for recipes when you have a specific ingredient in mind: just type the item in the search bar, and you can find recipes based on ratings, best matches, or dates. I always like reading the reviews before I try a recipe... and yes, I usually choose one that has a pretty picture, too.  I picked up some salmon on sale at the grocery store on my last shopping trip and wanted to try a new spin on it. The Caramelized Ginger Salmon was amazing - it's going to be a classic!

I followed the recipe for the most part, but I replaced the sherry with orange juice, since that's what I had on hand. I've used apple juice in the past to substitute for sherry as well, but I thought that the citrus would pair better with fish. I didn't have cilantro, either (boo!) so I omitted that from the recipe. The salmon took a little longer to cook than the recipe suggested, but the extra time in the pan helped the sauce to get nice and sticky. I paired the salmon with couscous and steamed veggies and we feasted!

Try out any new recipes lately? Do share!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Etsy Feature: Heart Box Studio

The Home in Your Heart by Heartboxstudio

Etsy Feature time! 

I have just had one of the best Etsy experiences ever. Have you ever ordered something from an Etsy seller that was, let's face it, a let down? Insufficient packaging, no receipt or even a lack of a thank you? No matter how the nice the product is, it's highly unlikely that I'll be back to one of those shops. Etsy is all about the experience. From the moment you open the mailbox until you leave their shop feedback, you should be smiling all the way. Well, guess what? That happened to me today.

Road To My Heart by Heartboxstudio

Heart Box Studio has a beautiful collection of cards, card sets, and prints, along with a new children's book. Each piece has the sweetest sentiments written on it. I ordered a card for a friend after I discovered the shop through a blog that the owner advertised with. I won't share the card that I bought, but trust me, it's cute!

Teach Me To Be Brave by Heartboxstudio
The card arrived today from Indiana - and I ordered it on the 10th! That in itself is unheard of from any Etsy seller, Canadian or elsewhere. It was properly packaged in an unbendable envelope and was addressed in the best handwriting ever. Seriously, so jealous. It came with a thank you and several freebie postcards. Spoiled! The card itself was just as beautiful and vivid as the photo from its listing. I can't wait to place another order from Heart Box Studio

Be sure to check this beautiful shop out! 

I was not compensated in any way to blog this Etsy Feature - just love the shop!

Snow Day

Not sure if you know this or not, but we got dumped on this weekend. With snow, that is. It was the most snow in the shortest amount of time that I can remember - seriously. Our entire island was rocked by the snow monster. Dan was on call for work all weekend (he takes a cellphone home and the emergency department calls him if someone needs an x-ray).

When he got called in to work on Saturday, look what he had to dig out:

Our poor little car - all buried by snow! Crazy, right? Actually, Dan went out earlier in the afternoon to dig our car out and plow our driveway. He didn't want to have to go to work and be greeted by a snow disaster. Still, though, isn't that nuts?!

Yep, I took the photo of the tree through the screen. I wasn't going outside!

In total, I think we got about 30 cm in 12 hours. Record-breaking! (In my books, at least!) It took about two days for everything to get back to normal around our neighbourhood. Not going to lie - I didn't leave the house on Saturday or Sunday. Yep. Chilled all. weekend. long.

My sister-in-law and her kiddos are here for the day. It's my niece's 5th birthday, so we're going to have a par-tay! Not really... but I do think that we'll be going sledding. And building snowmen. And... anything else that involves snow!

What are you up to today?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Multitude Monday

Who had a birthday on Friday? That guy. I'm no longer the cradle robber - we're both the big 2-5 now! (I turned 25 in November - I'm the big three months older.) To celebrate Dan's milestone birthday, today's Multitude Monday is focused on him, since he's my #1.

What is Multitude Monday? Well, each week(ish) I compile ten things that I'm currently thankful for. It helps me to be a less of a Debbie Downer and more of a Cheerful Chathy. Yeah, I said Chathy. Deal with it. :) 

This week, I'm thankful for:

380 - my husband's uncanny ability to make me laugh
381 - his dependability/reliability
382 - Dan's truthfulness
383 - how he always puts me (and others) before himself
384 - his great money-managing skills
385 - how he relies on the Lord to help make decisions
386 - the fact that my cooking is his favourite ;)
387 - how great he is with babies and children - nothing give you the baby itch more haha
388 - his hard-working nature, both in his career and at home
389 - Dan's beautiful eyes

I'm off to spend the day with my parents (who I'm thankful for) on a mini road trip... 
which I'm also thankful for :)

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! I woke up this morning and Dan was already gone to work. When I went out into the kitchen, there was a huge breakfast on the table with a beautiful flower arrangement and note. He got up at 6:00 and got everything ready for me when I was sleeping! What a surprise - we don't usually do much for V-day, so I was especially blown away. SPOILED!

I hope you have the loveliest of days today with your loved ones - family, friends, and significant others. Want to know the greatest display of love? 
God demonstrated His LOVE to us, in that while we were yet sinners, 
Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:8

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Back on track.

Wow! The past week here on Polka Dot Soup has really slipped through the cracks! Oopsies!

I've been up to my eyeballs in basketball this past week - my brother was in a three day tournament and I managed to get to all of their games. Saturday was an all-day event, but Dan and I managed to sneak a little date in. One of our favourite little cafes, The Dancing Goat, was 15 minutes away from the school where the tournament was held, so we went there for lunch. 
Check out our yummy desserts:

David's team made it to the boy's championship game! They ended up losing by nine points, so the team was pretty disappointed. David got a MVP medal for the championship game, which was really cool. Gotta love that the rest of my siblings are athletic. Jealous!

We have friends down for the next four days, so I'm off to spend some time with them. I also am hosting an accessories swap tomorrow night, so I'm prepping some yummy snacks. I'll be back with more details!

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Polyvore Loves

I love making up these Polyvore posts! It's such a great way to reassess items in your closet that get pushed aside. I find that I will find a couple of ways to wear an item... and then leave it at that. Not finding new ways to wear items is a quick way to become bored with your closet. We can't have that now, can we?

My friend Jacalyn, who's my #1 Polyvore Loves fan, has a baby shower coming up. I decided to build her two outfits for inspiration around one piece - one dressy, one more casual. I adore every item on Ruche - I seriously would love to have every piece in my closet. I knew that I had gotten Jacalyn hooked recently, so I chose a dress from their site to build my outfits around.

Guess what? Jacalyn owns this dress! How sweet is that? I built the outfits using only Ruche products, but it's basically just inspiration for using items that you already have in your closet. Ready to take a look? 

Here's the casual outfit:
shower casual

The beautiful patterned dress is perfect for a girly little shower! Lace-up knee-high brown leather boots are great for this time of year - no getting wet feet! The cozy infinity scarf is warm and stylish - keeps you snuggly warm outside, and chic enough to wear inside. The cute little cross-body navy purse would certainly be a fashionable staple in any closet, too. Put on your geeky-gal glasses and all you need is a present in hand to be ready to attend any shower!

Here's a more dressy approach:
shower dressy

The dangly gold earrings are delicate and feminine, perfect for any event, really. A clutch is always a dressier way to carry your goods, and this navy one with gold detailing is a terrific choice. Navy oxford wedges are a classic and useful way to add a little height, and the navy flower clip is absolutely adorable. I love hair accessories!

Now, if the choice was up to you...
Which outfit would you pick?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Multitude Monday

It's Multitude Monday! Each week, I get to select ten things that I am currently thankful for. It's a great way to stay optimistic about what's going on in my life. 

This week, I'm thankful for:

370 - having craft time yesterday! I made valentines :) Yes, I'm 25. Thanks for asking.
371 - being able to go to my favourite post office today.
372 - watching my youngest brother's basketball tournament this afternoon.
373 - working on a new painting.
374 - sending out invites to an accessories swap at my place next week.
375 - Dan's step-brother, wife and little girl coming for a visit next week, too.
376 - getting my first e-mail (and her first!) from my mom :)
377 - having Dan make supper as I write this post.
378 - being hooked on a new series.
379 - getting my favourite fair-trade organic cocoa on sale today!

What are you thankful for today?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pin It

I've got a challenge for you.

By my recent home pins on Pinterest, can you tell what my favourite colour is?

Give it a go.

Ready? Set? Go!

Happy Thursday!

(For more info on any of the photos, click on them to follow the link!)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bonjour FĂ©vrier.

Thanks for bringing all of the snow!
(Seriously, I love it. Bring it on!)
I stayed snuggled in my little apartment all day long
as the snowflakes fell. all. day. long.
Dan came home early and we watched a new favourite series.
I had the slow cooker bubbling throughout the afternoon and evening.
We had leftover homemade pad thai from last night for supper - yummo.
I went on the treadmill - third day in a row - a new record!
(This time I need to stick to it. Please, Lord... help me. Pray for me, guys.)
My bros wanted us to come over, so we ventured outside.
What an adventure!
We watched a kids' movie - Road to El Durado - remember that one?
Struggled back outside and had to shovel several time to get out of their driveway.
The snow is intense! Up to the bottom of the car - craziness.
David and Shamus are hoping for no school tomorrow.
I would too, if I were them.
It was a good day. Great day.
Happy Wednesday.
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