Friday Free For All: February 27

I can’t believe that we are into March this weekend! This year is flying, but I am completely ok with that since it means spring is coming! Although I wonder if I am asking for it because spring means yard work and organizing the garage – all things I could pretend were far away during winter. But I really do enjoy getting into the garden, and mowing the lawn and scooping dog poop are Colin’s jobs anyway.

SPRING! YEEEEESSSS!!!

Here are my favourites for the week – enjoy! Anything you loved? Please don’t say the blue/black/white/gold dress. It happened yesterday and I am already over it. #YourEyesFilterLightAndStuff



1. The new CoverGirl Bloom mascara. Seriously, I hate crunchy, flaky mascara that gets everywhere. I hate clumps. I hate gloopy globs. This surprised the heck out of me. Great definition, great length, not flaky or itchy.



2. These blankets from kamala.com.au. They are so gorgeous and I want one in the worst way! Follow their Instagram feed @kamala.store for some drool-worthy photos of their product.





3. Yeah I know, I need to learn how to embed the video into the post…but the stills above from this video of children’s unfortunate moments kills me. So funny. For everyone but those kids. That fairy flying into the fireplace…devastating for the child, hilarious to me. 

Ok people, that’s all I have. I had a devastatingly boring week. Unless you want to hear about my shopping trip to the mall or babysitting my nephew? Those were the moments of fun.

Have a great weekend!

Xoxo Aubrey



Cabin Fever

Ok, I admit, we have had a pretty mild winter here in Southern Alberta and I have nothing to complain about. All the same, I am so ready for spring! All these dark nights and chances of flurries are sapping my creative juices and I haven’t blogged in almost 2 weeks! I have all these projects planned, supplies purchased, and…nothing. As evidenced by my lack of posts.
I promise I will pick up the slack – I still have to wrap up my home organizing posts for you all! I will get there! And then I am redoing my coffee table again (I hate the old top I did now) and I am itching to paint some new canvases…but Netflix and my saggiest sweatpants keep calling my name, and winning.

IMG_4016So this week I have to kick myself in the butt! BLOG! CRAFTS! BAKING! YOGA! POTENTIAL OUTDOOR RUNNING DEPENDING ON WEATHER!
All these things…and I am aware baking never shrank a waistline, but seriously I want Cheese Whiz on some homemade toast. And if you are going to judge me for that, you are on the wrong blog.

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So how is your week shaping up? Anything fun or exciting?
In other news, Kiely is as sleepy and lazy as ever.

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This Valentine’s Day, Love Yourself

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It is surrounding us now – shades of pink and pops of red everywhere. Balloons and bears and huge boxes of chocolate.
If you aren’t attached to someone else, or you are and it isn’t the most romantic season of your life, Valentine’s Day can be just plain hard.
I remember the high school days, when my friends and I were boyfriend-free, and we would share paper Valentines with each other, and spend Valentine’s Day cozied into a corner table at the local coffee shop, laughing and shouting and licking icing off of donuts. And nearly getting kicked out of a donut shop, because we were too loud…too happy.
Fast forward 15 or so years and suddenly Valentine’s Day isn’t about fun and friends and me…it is about someone else. It is about the lack of something you want to be there, or about the pain of having loved and loss, or about the fact that one more chocolate heart puts you over your carefully allotted calories for the day.
When did this happen? When did we start hating a holiday that is all about love. Put aside the romanticism of the day and focus on the love. Love for your Mom. Love for your BFFs. Love for a huge slice of satiny cheesecake smothered in strawberry compote and shaved dark chocolate. Love for yourself.

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More days than not lately, I look in the mirror and pinch a handful here, lift a sag there. I inspect and pick out the things I want to change. Lose this much. Even out that. Dye it this colour. Pluck that out. Glue that on. Cover that up. Suck that in. Don’t eat that. Don’t wear that. Don’t love that.
It’s as though all the fabulous bits of me at sweet 16 have dissipated, leaving me with the insecure teenage girl wondering when she would get pretty. I know I am not alone. We creep up to 30, 40, 50, and we pick ourselves apart, mentally documenting what needs to change before we are enough. Even that friend of yours who always seems to get it just right…she does it sometimes too.

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This year, take this one day to make it all about the love. Love yourself. Wear that dress. The red one that clings just a little at your new muffin top, but swings just right when you wear it with heels. The one that makes your boobs look so good no one will even notice your cellulite. Slip on some sexy underwear even if you are the only one who will see it. Go dance in a club full of college students and remember how it feels to have the music shake the floor. Eat whatever you want. Crunchy deep-fried appetizer, whipped garlic potatoes swimming in real butter with a tender steak, that decadent dessert. A glass of red wine. Eat it, enjoy it, for the love of all things gracious – don’t enter it into your calorie counting app on your iPhone!
If all else fails, take a friend for coffee. Sit in a quiet table in the corner. Lick the icing off the donut, laugh and talk and get yourself kicked out. Fifteen years later you will remember it. You will remember the love.
Xoxo Aubrey

Friday Free For All- February 6

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Harper Lee is releasing a new book. Written before To Kill A Mockingbird, it has Scout as an adult character. I am so excited! Harper Lee is amazing!

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I know we are in February already, but I love this list of goals for 2015 by Thyme is Honey.

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This mopping tutorial from The Creek Line House blew my mind! No wonder my floors never get clean enough!

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This little puppy. I have totally had that kind of a week. Watch the video; short and sweet!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! I have convinced the husband to go paint pottery with me! Squeee!

Xoxo Aubrey

Better than Store Bought: Butter Chicken Lasagna

So a few years ago, President’s Choice (aka Superstore/Loblaws) came out with a butter chicken lasagna. There was all this hype because it had been chosen as a result of a recipe contest. Colin and I were excited to try something new, so we bought it and threw it in the oven in anticipation.
It was good…but to be honest…it lacked something…and mine is better.
Even if you have never had butter chicken lasagna before, give this recipe a try! It is a great way to introduce some new flavour to your family, and much easier than you think.
Besides, I will use any available excuse to serve naan bread as a side dish!
A couple of things to remember when making lasagna:
– You MUST let it rest, or all those carefully layered fillings will run everywhere!
– Don’t be cheap on the cheese. The best lasagna should be cheesy and delicious. Even my mom, who could pinch a penny hard while I was growing up, taught me not to be cheap on the lasagna cheese.
– It is often even better the next day. So make enough for leftovers!

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(On a side note I have a lot to learn about food photography…)

Without further ado – the recipe! Enjoy!!!

Butter Chicken Lasagna:
9 cooked lasagna noodles

Sauce:
2 jars of pre-made butter chicken sauce
1lb ground chicken
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini mushrooms but button mushrooms would be fine)
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 cloves fresh garlic)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Cheese filling:
1 tub mascarpone cheese (ricotta can be substituted but the mascarpone is super creamy and delicious!)
1 egg
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Handful of chopped spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
Mix together

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Warm olive oil in a large pan. Brown ground chicken. When nearly cooked through, add onion and sauté. Add olive oil as required.
3. When onion starts to soften, add zucchini and mushroom.
4. Season with salt, pepper and and garlic.
5. Sauté until chicken and veggies are cooked.
6. Add butter chicken sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. In a large bowl, blend together mascarpone cheese, chopped spinach, egg, salt, pepper and garlic.
8. Layer in 9×13 baking dish as follows:
– 1/3 of sauce
– 3 noodles
– 1/3 sauce and half of shredded cheese
– 3 noodles
– mascarpone mixture
– 3 noodles
– last 1/3 of sauce and remaining shredded cheese
9. Cover in aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.
10. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with warmed naan bread and enjoy!

The Great Purge: In Defense of the Hoarder

Ok, I know, most of what I am blogging about lately is home organization! But in all honesty, it is so exciting and satisfying to see my home becoming cleaner and more useful than it has ever been.
If you are working through home organization, I strongly recommended showing a close friend or family member, who has seen your home at its most disorganized, what you have done. My husband gives me a simple “that looks good.” My sister in law is all oohs and aahs and excitement for all the hard work! Make sure to show someone who gets excited – it keeps you motivated, I promise!
Today I want to address the old adage of “once I get rid of that I will need it again.”
My grandparents had a clean organized home…until you went in the basement. Especially in my Grandpa’s woodworking room, there was every little thing kept “just in case.” As a grandchild with a wealth of creativity, it was fabulous! Grandpa would smile as I created something of cardboard, wire and old paint. I made collages using magazines from the 1960’s. Yes, my 15 year old self had no concept of the collectibility of a People magazine with Jackie O on the cover. I cut out her eyes for my collage. #ihadnoidea #buthereyesweresopretty

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In defence of Grandpa’s wood shop, you could find what you needed in there, and it man-organized.
But my grandparents grew up in the 1930’s. You kept things, because wastefulness was wrong. Money was scarce and you held onto what little you had. Waste not want not, watch your pennies and your nickels take care of themselves, and other quotes of that nature.
But let’s be honest, 6 year old paint, random metal pieces, and 10 rasp files are not all needed in your home. But I get it; I get that fear to get rid of something that you “might need.”
So fellow hoarders, I give you some exceptions, within reason:

Crafting for Kids: Kids need a little inspiration and a small budget. Egg cartons, toilet rolls, juice can lids, bits of ribbon and fabric. Kids love to glue things together and create Olympic medals from juice can lids and weave yarn around popsicle sticks and tin cans. So keep some of these kids craft items, but be reasonable – maybe there is a drawer or a bin somewhere that those items live. Keep it labelled, keep it kid-accessible and don’t allow it to grow to 2 bins, then 3 bins…reassess what is in there every so often as your kids grow and craft time changes.

Sentimental Stuff: Okay, I need you to all be aware – not EVERYTHING is sentimental! The stuffed animal you got from your grade 8 boyfriend is not sentimental, it is clutter. All those t-shirts from Disneyland, concerts, and family reunions. Clutter. Think about items that truly speak to your heart. Think about what you would want to pull out to show your kids or grandkids. Keep that. Keep it organized, keep it under control. Really, this should fit in a regular size filing box. And if the sentimental items allows, display it somewhere that it really gets the love it deserves.

Books: Keep books! I will never fault you for getting rid of books! I do recommend you go through them and get rid of books you didn’t enjoy or non-fiction that wasn’t useful (that diet book from 1985 can probably go).
Donate the books to someone or somewhere that will love the stories!

So give yourself a little bit of elbow room, but rein in your inner hoarder!

In other news, I ordered Chinese food for supper tonight just so I can eat cold chicken chow mein tomorrow. Don’t judge me – it is better cold than it is hot!

Friday Free For All – January 30

Umm…how the heck did we get to the end of January already? Not that I am complaining – by the time mid January rolls around I am chomping at the bit for spring to get here. We have had some warm weather recently and that has only made me want spring more!
Although the thought of yard work calms me down for now…until I get the house all organized anyways!
Without further ado – this week’s list of what I am loving! Enjoy!

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This article on changing the style of your home from The Handmade Home. I love her blog, and this article really captures how home design is a process that takes time.

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This dog’s video with his awesome focus – Kiely is cute but this is the extent of her ability to do a trick:

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This picture quoting classic art. Sorry for the bad word Mom! I feel like women have had this look on their faces since time immemorial.

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This GoDaddy commercial. Maybe I am just having that kind of sarcastic week, but this made me laugh. Stick it!
I hope you all have a great weekend! I will be spending mine doing more organizing…haha…*sigh*