Friday, December 30, 2011

Fluffy bums

So, I use cloth diapers on Darian's bum. I love it now, but I made a LOT of mistakes in the beginning which could have steered me back to disposables had I not spent a significant amount of money on the things.

The Prep

Let's start at the beginning. Long before I was pregnant, I came across a thread on The Nest about cloth diapers. I was intrigued. So I looked it up, read about the virtues (Save the environment! Save money! No rash! No poopsplosions! And they're cute!), and decided that when the time came, I'd give it a shot.

Victor wasn't convinced, but since I'd be the one staying home, changing most diapers, and doing laundry, he agreed.

Once I was pregnant, I tried to read up, but was overwhelmed without actual samples to look at. At a friend's suggestion, I visited a local cloth diaper shop. The woman in the shop gave us a riveting demonstration of the different types, and we went ahead and bought the whole starter kit of 30 brand new diapers plus all the accessories.

From what I had read earlier, I thought that all-in-ones would take too long to dry, and pockets would be too much effort to stuff. So I got some Totsbots Bamboozle bamboo fitteds with covers, and some Grovia all-in-2s with snap in cotton soakers, all "one size" which would fit from about 9-35 lbs. (I'd explain it all but others have done a better job, so you can read more on The Awesome Cloth Diaper Blog.)

Victor and I had agreed to stick with disposables for the newborn stage, and then transition to cloth as parenthood became more manageable. I figured that the baby would start fitting in the one-size diapers within about a month. I was excited.

Starting out

Darian was born at 7 lbs 11 oz. The newborn-sized disposables lasted about two weeks before he started outgrowing them and we decided to try out a Grovia. He was probably around 9 lbs by then.

I snapped it to the smallest setting, put it on him and it looked HUGE. A couple of hours later, I changed the diaper and was disappointed at how wet it felt. I thought there was no way they'd last through a night.

See? Huge, right?

At one point, he had an explosive poop which scared the cat, but more importantly, leaked all over the place.

We had slightly better luck with the Bamboozles, but they were also way too bulky.

Not only that, but Darian was a very gassy newborn, and the bulky cloth diapers made it difficult for us to deal with that. Thin disposables, being much thinner and more flexible, made it easier for us to pump his legs to help with the gas.

Finally, I did find the laundry a little overwhelming. Both the Bamboozles and Grovias seemed to take forever to dry.

I started to think this was a mistake, and an expensive one.

Growing into them

So, we kept using mostly disposables through the first three months. I kept using the cloth every now and then, but by no means full time.

I also took back some of the Grovias, and exchanged them for Fuzzibunz.

Fortunately, I loved the Fuzzibunz - they fit Darian well, they are fairly trim, and the microfibre inserts dry quickly. And stuffing pockets wasn't as big a deal as I thought!

Happy bum, happy baby!

When Darian turned three months old, Victor went back to work. Left to my own devices, I started using cloth full-time. I braved night-time cloth diapering with the Bamboozles and lo and behold, they worked! I joined cloth diaper buy/sell/trade communities and sold off some of the Bamboozles in order to buy some more used Fuzzibunz (saving enough Bamboozles just for night-time use).

Also, Darian started growing into the diapers, and outgrowing his gas issues, so that they bulkiness was no longer an issue. I started noticing that the cloth was way better at containing poops (it wasn't a big issue when Darian was a newborn because poops were regular and small... but as he got bigger, they got bigger and more forceful). And I got into a groove with the laundry.

So now, I'm loving it. I almost never deal with diaper leaks, and if I do, they're very tiny. I even use cloth when we go out - even though the diapers are bulkier to carry, it's so much easier to do that than change clothes while we're out. Today was our first garbage day without a single diaper in the trash.

And they're delicious!

If I could start again...

- I'd start with trying a few different types (natural and synthetic fibres, pockets, AIOs, AI2s and fitteds) rather than deciding that one or two would work for us
- I'd try to start with some cheaper brands or buy used
- I'd consider buying newborn fluff, or at least realize that one-size wouldn't work for at least a couple of months
- I'd join a community where I could chat with other cloth diapering mamas and learn a lot more

So, that's my story. I realize that a lot of these mistakes have been discussed in blogs and whatnot (including the one I linked above), but hey... live and learn.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A new ministry

I've been involved in music ministry at church since I was 13 years old - 17 years. I loved it. It was definitely my calling. The choir was also instrumental (no pun intended) in developing my relationship with Victor.

Whenever the parable of the talents came up at mass, I thought to myself, "I'm good. I'm doing my music thing."

When I had Darian, we stopped. On top of the fact that we live farther away from the church now, it's just too impractical to commit to Thursday night rehearsals which conflict with his bedtime, too hectic to try to get to the church for the hour-long warmup before mass, and too difficult to try to keep him quiet up there in the choir loft.

I've kind of lamented the fact that I'm done with it for now. I keep thinking, "We could join the choir again in a couple of months..."

This past Sunday, sitting in the congregation, I realized that I've spent all those years behind the piano losing touch with the liturgy. For me personally, it's become hard to properly reflect on the readings, homily, and sacrament when I'm always on my toes for the next hymn to play. It had become sort of a performance.

Also, DH took Darian to the children's liturgy for the first time on Sunday. Apparently they had a really great time and we're looking forward to continuing that.

All of this is to say, I realized that my 'ministry' now is to raise my child in the church. Among other things that this child has brought me, I feel like God has given me the opportunity to get re-acquainted with the liturgy and my faith, and to start fresh through my baby's eyes.

And I am thankful for that.

Maybe one day when he is much older, we'll re-join the choir, but for now, I've finally made peace with the fact that I've moved on.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hard wired

You know how most newborns are swollen, wrinkled, and generally kinda funny looking?

Before Darian was born, I had told Victor, "When he's born, I'm going to have a rush of hormones telling me that he's the most beautiful thing in the world, but please feel free to tell me if our baby is funny looking. I want to know the truth."

Well, he was born and we both thought he was the most beautiful and adorable thing, ever. Of course.

Anyway, this morning, I was looking through some pictures and videos from the early days. And it turns out, he was a little funny looking. I mean, he was cute like all babies are cute, but really... his face was kinda wrinkly and not quite filled out, his features kinda misproportioned, and he looked super grumpy all the time.

And I found this video. It's not so notable... except that about halfway through, I say: "Why are you in such a good mood?"

We watched it and said, "... THAT'S a 'good mood'??" How were we so incredibly deluded?

Darian smiles and giggles regularly now and my heart overflows with joy to see him every day. I guess back then, 'not crying' signified a 'good' mood.

It's amazing how we are wired to get through the dark times... and then forget them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I won't lie. I sometimes miss my pre-baby life.

They say that you don't even remember what was life was like before your baby entered it, but that hasn't been the case with me. I remember it clearly, and I have fond memories of it.

It was a pretty good life. Victor and I lived downtown, biked to work, walked to any of the nearby restaurants for dinner out on a dime, and travelled now and then. Just before I got pregnant, we were toying with the idea of visiting Peru. Now we've had to lament the possibility that we may never get to see Machu Picchu.

I don't want to go through life with regrets, and I've wondered whether this will be one. I've had some pretty awesome experiences, but Machu Picchu was one that I really wanted to add to the list.

But then the other day, while I was changing Darian's diaper, I tried to entertain him by razzing my lips. And he copied me and razzed back!

And I can say with certainty, THAT was the most awesome thing that's ever happened to me in my life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Works in progress

When Darian hit the 11-week mark, it's like he became a new baby. He's spending a lot more time being alert, less time fussing and crying, sleeping well, and he's happy to let us put him down in his chair where he can amuse himself with his hands for maybe half an hour at a time. Sometimes I don't even know what to do with him anymore now that I'm not operating in crisis mode 100% of the time.

So, with that being said... back to some non-baby related business.

House projects came to a bit of a standstill when he was born but I've started finding a little more time on my hands now that he naps well. So, I thought I'd post before pics of the next rooms that I want to tackle.

The den:

This is a big long room, no bathrooms or really interesting features. The pic doesn't do the paint colour justice, but it's a very pretty light aqua (BM Palladian Blue - I had blogged about it here). Behind me is a window and a small futon, and on the right, across from the desk, there are a series of bookcases (it was hard to get a good picture of them). I'm hoping to turn this area into a playroom / music room / office. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to divide the space since it's so long and skinny.

The living room:

This room is directly above the den, so again, it's long and skinny. It's painted in BM Litchfield Gray. The main thing I want to tackle is decorating that huge blank wall behind the TV - get a wider TV stand, get a bigger dining table, put up some artwork in the dining area, and maybe, just maybe make an accent wall out of the long wall. The photo wall above the couch will be expanded - this is just what I managed to do with the frames I already had before we moved here - and the artwork will be changed up to be more harmonious.

So many ideas swimming around in my head!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sherlock & Darian

A lot of people have been asking me how the cat is getting along with the baby.

He mostly ignored Darian when we first brought him home. As far as he was concerned, Darian was just a noisemaker who woke him up from his naps. Sometimes he'd even get up, give Darian this "What the heck?" look, and walk off in a huff.

Lately, Sherlock seems to have accepted that Darian is part of the family. He sidles up to us when Darian is nursing and sniffs him, or nuzzles up to his feet. When visitors come to our house, Sherlock keeps a close eye on them as they hold Darian.

Sherlock never showed any interest in the nursery chair before Darian was born or immediately after, but it's now his favourite spot. I guess he thinks the party is at Darian's crib.

I hope they become great friends one day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mama Bear

You know how they say that it's really dangerous to get between a mama bear and her cubs?

I totally get it now.

The other day, Victor and I were taking a walk and stopped at an intersection waiting for the light to change. It turned green, and literally one second later, an impatient driver honked at the front car for not moving on the green light RIGHT AWAY. This car horn was about 10 ft away from us.

Darian woke up and started screaming. Luckily he only cried for a few seconds and drifted back to sleep.

To this day, I am STILL angry at this driver. You make my baby cry? I'm gonna get you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Darian is rather a high maintenance little boy. He loves to be held, and it's pretty hard to put him down and let him amuse himself so that we can get stuff done. He's recently started to become interested in his mobile and playmat, but those only work for maybe 10-15 minutes before he gets bored and starts to fuss.

This is kind of frustrating, but yesterday it occurred to me that there will come a day soon enough when he won't need or want to be held as much. There will come a day when he'll stop letting me hold his hand, and there will come a day when he leaves home.

And on those days, I will never regret that my house was dirty all those years ago. I'll only regret that I couldn't hold him more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A birth story

My beautiful little boy Darian Thomas was born on July 14th, 2011 at 9:17 AM.
Just a few days old
And a month later!
Around noon on July 13th, I was relaxing at home when I started noticing painless contractions. I suspected Braxton-Hicks contractions, but Victor insisted on timing them, and we realized that they were about 15-20 minutes apart. I tried not to get too excited for fear of false labour and went about my day. (We even kept dinner plans that we had with Victor's cousin from out of town; I kept having contractions during dinner while she - an ER doctor - told us all sorts of interesting labour and delivery stories.)

I already had an OB appointment scheduled for the next morning. As I got ready for bed, I figured that I'd go to the appointment with my hospital bags and be prepared to check in if necessary. But it turned out that I would need to go sooner than that. Around 10:00pm, the contractions started getting quite strong, so I started tracking them. Within half an hour, they progressed from 10 to 5 minutes apart. At 12:30am on Thursday morning, we headed to the hospital.

By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions were strong enough that I had to stop in my tracks and brace for each one. After quickly being admitted, I went to L&D triage, where the first thing the nurse asked me was, "So why are you here?" I was utterly confused - after all, wasn't this L&D triage?

After I told them I was having contractions, they led me to a bed and I waited what seemed like forever to be seen. I started having to take the contractions either leaning over, or squatting. Finally, a nurse came in, asked me a series of questions about my medical history, hooked me up to some monitors, and told me that I'd be monitored for 20 minutes. The monitors limited my ability to move around and I had to take the contractions lying awkwardly reclined in the stretcher, which was hard. The nurse told me that my contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes. She left the room and the monitors stopped printing after 15 minutes; Victor went to tell the nurses but they said it was OK.

Finally, they took me off the monitors and I asked to go to the bathroom. When I came back, the nurse told me that they needed to monitor me for another 5 minutes! I started getting annoyed at this point; they had ignored Victor when he alerted them earlier, and I couldn't take another 5 minutes.

A medical student came in. He started asking me the exact same questions that the nurse had asked me earlier! I was completely annoyed, but in too much pain to protest. Victor answered most of the questions for me while I took the contractions squatting beside the bed. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and said that I had to throw up; they managed to get me a container just in time. I guess that's when they realized how far along I actually was. Another nurse came in soon after that and checked me - I was already 9cm dilated!

I was surprised, relieved, and anxious that this might soon be over! They wheeled me up to the labour & delivery room. I was asked whether I wanted an epidural; I had always planned on it, but I briefly thought about what the instructor had said during our prenatal class - "If you've gotten this far, you're almost done!" But Victor kept saying to me, "There's no trophy at the end," and I decided that I didn't want to push through that pain. The anesthetist was thankfully very quick in getting me that epidural, and I took the opportunity to get some sleep.

Soon after I got the epidural, I was told that I was fully dilated but that the baby was only at -1 station. They told me to wait for the contractions to do the work; otherwise I might spend hours pushing. Eventually, they administered pitocin to help it along. At some point, I was told to give a practice push... I couldn't believe it was almost time! I felt excited to meet my baby but anxious that everything was about to change. The practice push worked well and the OB fellow told me that she could already see the head.

At this point, I was REALLY ready to meet this baby. But I had to wait a little while longer to let him descend further. I slept a little longer, lulled by the sound of his heartbeat on the monitor. The night shift ended and a new OB resident introduced herself... turns out, I recognized her as a former student of my boss and one of my former TAs from undergrad. The nurse's shift also ended and two others took over.

It later turned out that the OB fellow from the night shift had to stay late to supervise the resident because it was a busy morning. I remember feeling really glad that she'd be there... it was an emotional time and I had become attached to everyone who had been taking care of me through the night. Finally, the resident came in and told me it was time to push! I don't know why I expected it to be more ceremonious, but for some reason I was really surprised that the time had come, just like that.

I pushed through five contractions. At the fourth contraction, I felt very aware of the moment that his head was crowning and hoping that the next would bring our baby into the world. Finally, he was here! Victor took a look and said, "It's a Darian!" (our boy name). I didn't cry, laugh, or feel emotional; I was simply stunned. He cried as soon as he was out and they said that he had a great set of lungs (that's my boy!). They wrapped him up and gave him to me and I said hello and happy birthday.
Six weeks
Darian is now six weeks old and Victor and I are totally in love! There are rough days and nights, but then he flashes a little smile and all is forgotten. He furrows his brow a lot, which always makes him look like a skeptical little man. He is growing like a weed and becoming more and more interactive every day. I am so excited to watch this little guy's personality develop as he gets older.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Living in a Star Trek world

I giggle a bit inside whenever I see someone on the subway, street, wherever reading from a Kindle.
Image from here
It reminds me of Star Trek.
From here
Except that on the show, I recall that they used to be handed individual tablets with individual messages; sometimes an officer would have a handful of tablets to review. It seems that our smartphones and such are even more advanced!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thank you

I am very gratified and humbled by the people who have been offering me their seats on the streetcar and subway during my daily commutes.

I mean, it's pretty jerky NOT to do so when a woman looking like this is standing in front of your face:
My first Mother's Day ~29 weeks
But I am still very grateful. There is kindness in the world. Thank you, people of Toronto.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stream of consciousness

I had the best conversation with a kid on the subway last Friday. He was about 4 or 5, and I met him with his dad while waiting for my train to go home. I love how kids' thoughts just gush out, no censoring or retooling.

Kid: Hi! (he said 'Hi' to several people before I finally responded.)
Me: Hi buddy!
Kid: What's your name?
Me: My name is Adriane. What's yours?
Kid: My name is Oli. Are you coming on my train?
Me: Sure, I'll come on your train.

The train arrived. We both got on.

Kid: Are you coming to my stop?
Me: Which stop is that?
Kid: St... George.
Me: No, I'm not coming to your stop. My stop is St. Clair. It's 3 after yours.
Kid: Oh. Are you coming to my home?
Me: No, not today.
Kid: Oh. How about tomorrow?
Me: Maybe tomorrow.
Kid: We can have a picnic!
Me: Oh yeah? What will we have at the picnic? Will there be sandwiches?
Kid: Yeah, sandwiches!
Me: What else?
Kid: Peanuts.
Me: Anything else?
Kid: Peanut sauce.
Me: How about orange juice?
Kid: Yeah, orange juice!
Me: OK, maybe tomorrow then.
Kid: Yeah, we'll have a picnic!

They arrived at their stop. I wonder if his dad gave him a stern lecture later about not inviting strangers to their home for picnics.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Easter thought

Easter is quickly approaching, so I thought I'd share something that really touched me from this past Sunday's homily at my church.

I have very blessed lately, but I've witnessed a lot of sadness and heartache with recent world events and also events in my friends' lives.

This week's message was that Jesus' resurrection could not have been so glorious if he had not had to endure the pain and suffering of dying on the cross. That final awesome chapter wouldn't have been so awesome without the turmoil of the middle chapters.

We're singing this hymn at an ordination mass on April 29. An ordination is a happy occasion, but I like the sentiment of remembering that there will be trials ahead, and to turn to God during these times.

Be Still My Soul - words by Katharina von Schlegel, music by Jean Sibelius

Be still my soul - the Lord is on thy side;
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change - he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul - thy best thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I was having dinner at my local sushi joint last night when I witnessed the following exchange.

A university-aged couple walked in. The server showed them to their table, which had a booth on one side and chairs on the other. The guy headed for the booth seat.

The girl said, "Do you want the outside [chair] or the inside [booth]?"

He thought about it for a second and responded, "Do you want the inside?"

"Maybe," she replied. So he offered her the booth seat.

I had to laugh, not only because it seemed like such a passive aggressive way to communicate, but because I'm sure the hubby and I have had this exact same exchange before. More than once. Fortunately, he just laughs at me.

This is so silly. Why do we do this?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kitty heaven

A lot of pets don't deal well with major changes like moving. So we were very relieved and pleased when Sherlock not only made it all the way to our new house without pooping in the car, but also seemed to love this new place right away.

Because the two places were such a short distance apart, we actually left him at our old place for a couple of hours while the movers unloaded everything into the new house. So by the time we brought him over, his new home was a city of boxes.

It has lots of rooms, closets, nooks and crannies to discover. Particularly while our stuff is still all over the place.

Every time I unpack a box and move it out of the way, there's even more to investigate.
And did I mention his new cat tree?

And a great lookout spot in the kitchen?

Yes, Sherlock is very happy here indeed. As are we.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our last night

Here's our lovely condo before:

Annnd here it is now:

Yup. Tomorrow is moving day!

I've lived here for six and a half years. The first few years, I lived here with my brother, and then when I got married in 2009, the bro moved out and the hubby moved in. Living in 550 sq ft has been frustrating at times, but we've loved this cozy little home.

But we are very excited for our new home!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nesting: yellow nurseries

The closing on our new house went very smoothly, and I am thrilled to have a new project to blog about. Back when my friends were up early on Saturday mornings watching cartoons, I was dragging myself out of bed to watch Debbie Travis' Painted House.

For whatever reason, the nursery is top of mind right now. (Nesting?)

I did end up going with BM Soleil on the walls and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

A simple furniture solution would be to get matching furniture. White is bright and easy.
From Ilovemybaby

Espresso is trendy and sophisticated enough to give the baby zone a little bit of grown-up style - after all, the parents will spend as much time in there as the kid!
From The Bump
But, an entire matching suite can be a bit stark. Perhaps because my parents were design-challenged creative, I grew up in rooms full of mismatched furniture. Once I did get the chance to decorate on my own and seized the opportunity to match my furniture, I have to admit I found it rather boring.

So, I plan to mix some white and some light-coloured wood and other natural elements. I find that wood tones add both airiness and richness to a space.

Love the white and honey frame with the woven baskets. From Coochicos
So chic! From The Design File
To that end, I definitely want to take a look at this crib from Costco. It's priced at $299.99 CAD which isn't bad for a solid wood crib (the drawer is fibreboard, I believe).

I've also been keeping my eye out for a used crib... there are good deals out there because some babies end up barely using their cribs at all. But if you go this route, please make sure to look up the brand and model for any recalls. Here is some good information from Health Canada about buying a crib.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Paint scheme

In anticipation of closing on our new house next Tuesday, I've been busying myself picking paint colours. Ideally, I would have loved to move in, figure out all the decor details, and then pick paint colours to coordinate (since it is MUCH easier to pick paint to match fabric and decor, than the other way around). But there is a huge appeal to getting the whole house painted while it's empty, not to mention that my nesting instinct will almost certainly drive me nuts if there are huge unfinished projects left hanging by the time Little Ringy arrives.

Anyway, I will post floor plans and room pictures later, but to give a brief overview, the house has three floors.

On the first floor, there is a den which will be used as an office and playroom. I wanted something fresh and fun for the kid, but still sophisticated and soothing for the office. I'm thinking along the lines of Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue, a lovely greyish aqua.

Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue HC 144
From Decorpad
I generally like neutrals and I absolutely love the cozy and calming feeling of grey-beige (or "greige" as some decorators have affectionately coined it) walls. Both staircases, the living-dining room on the second floor, the hallway on the third floor, and the master bedroom will be in something like Benjamin Moore Abalone.
Benjamin Moore Abalone 2108-60
From Darling-Est

While the master bedroom and most of the house will try to be all sophisticated-like, I want the other two bedrooms, one of which will be the nursery, to be a little jazzier in a soft yellow like Benjamin Moore Soleil. I'll also have the kitchen in this sunny colour.
Benjamin Moore Soleil AF330
From Decorpad
There are also three bathrooms... still some things to think about!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A spring-related conversation

The other day, I witnessed the following conversation between three university-age guys in the elevator.

Guy 1: April flowers bring May showers.
Guy 2: May showers? It's May flowers, right?
Guy 1: Oh, right. May flowers.
Guy 2: April showers bring May flowers?
Guy 1: Yeah.
- pause -
Guy 3: It's March.

Image from here
I cannot wait until spring! I think it's my favourite season. Hubby and I starting dating in March 2007, so spring always reminds me of a time when I was constantly giddy and happy. It can look a little gloomy before the buds open up, but you know it's going to happen soon. I love the optimism of it all.

Don't forget to set your clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time this Sunday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy anniversary, Sherlock!

February 27 marked one year since we brought home our cat, Sherlock. In honour of this momentous occasion, I thought of posting things I've learned in my first year of pet ownership. (Neither the hubby nor I grew up with pets other than fish.)

I mean, Sherlock has taught us a lot, like:
  1. Bowel movements, and the increased aerodynamic-ness you get from making one, are worth celebrating.
  2. Cute eyes can get you a lot. But not everything.
  3. The world simply stops when you snuggle.
But most of all, I've learned that love comes from a bottomless bag. You can't run out, and you can't give enough. Well, such is my ideal world anyway. Over the past year, I've seen this little furry guy grow more and more playful, cuddly, and generally awesome and I just can't stop giving him head pats, nose kisses and snuggles.

Happy come-home-aversary, Sherlock!

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Deviled eggs & being a grown-up

    I recently came across deviled eggs on some random TV show.
    I mentioned to the mister how much I loved deviled eggs. "Why don't you make them?" he asked.

    It had simply never occurred to me to make them. At some point when I was a kid, my mom must have told me that they were too much work to make. Thereafter, they became special picnic and party food only. I only rarely ever got to have them, so when I had the opportunity, I savoured them.

    Ah, the best part of being a grown-up... realizing that things are within your reach, and then reaching them for yourself. Of course, I now know that they are super easy to make. So I made myself a small batch as a midnight snack. They were the best thing ever.

    I didn't even get a chance to take a picture, I was so eager. So I'll just leave a link to and also credit them with that pic above.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Everyone wants to know

    "Will you find out if it's a boy or a girl?"

    As of right now, we will be waiting until the birth to find out. There is so much that we're guessing about the little one, and I kind of like the sense of anticipation. Will it have his eyes or my nose? Will it have straight or curly hair? Will it have dark or light skin? Fussy or easy? Chubby or skinny?

    I like the whole package - bundle of joy, if you will - of unknowns. So as of now, we will be on Team Green.

    The ultrasound is on Thursday. I'm not promising that I won't eat my words by then. :)

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Can't see or feel it...

    ... but I know it's there.

    That's what I keep telling people when they ask how the baby is doing. Other than what I've been told at my appointments and ultrasounds, I really don't know very much about how the baby is doing. I've done lots of reading about the stages of the baby's growth, but I can't see or feel it for myself yet. (Only a couple more weeks!)

    I just have to have faith that baby is there, and doing OK.

    Yesterday morning at mass, it struck me that this is how people feel about God.

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    French macaroons

    These turned out amazing! Hubby made the cookies and I made the buttercream. We brought just under two dozen to a party and they were a huge hit.

    For the cookies, we adapted Bon Appetit Magazine's recipe. For the filling, I used Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe. Actually, I think both recipes are virtually the same for the cookies and filling.


    The Bon Appetit recipe says that this makes about three dozen sandwich cookies, but for us it was more like two dozen.


    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup (lightly packed) sifted almond flour, or 3/4 cup sifted almond flour and 1/4 cup sifted hazelnut flour (sifted, then measured; any coarse particles reserved for another use)
    • 1/2 cup (scant) egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
    • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar 
    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375F.
    2. Sift powdered sugar, almond flour, and hazelnut flour (if using) into large bowl.
    3. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, sugar, and pinch of salt in medium bowl until medium (soft) peaks form.
    4. Add egg white mixture to almond mixture; fold to incorporate.
    5. Working in 2 batches, fill pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch-diameter plain pastry tip with batter (batter will be thin and will drip from bag). Pipe batter in 11/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart (cookies will spread slightly). Let rest on sheets at room temperature 20 minutes.
    6. Bake cookies about 5 minutes. (Hubby did it for about 3-4 minutes.) Reduce oven temperature to 325F.  Continue to bake cookies until puffed and golden on top, about 10 minutes
    7. Remove from oven. Cool until cookies can be peeled off parchment. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

    The Martha Stewart recipe says this makes about 3 cups, which is fairly accurate. I only used about half of it for my two dozen cookies. So for the above cookies, I'd recommend cutting it down by at least one-third.

    • 3 large egg whites
    • 1 cup sugar (edit: I did find the buttercream too sweet for my taste so I think this could be cut down a bit)
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
    • 1 tsp vanilla, almond extract or other flavouring of choice
    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk egg whites and sugar. Set mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.
    2. Transfer bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until butter is thoroughly incorporated. (Whip in vanilla, almond extract or other flavouring at this point.) The filling can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before stirring.
    3. Variations: To make hazelnut-honey filling: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of macaroon filling with 1/3 cup finely ground hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons good-quality honey.
    Using a pastry bag, pipe about 1 tsp of filling onto the bottoms of half of the cookies. Press the rest of the cookies, bottom side onto the buttercream. Chill overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    Nursery ideas

    I will post the finished macaroons tomorrow, but in the meantime, I thought I'd post my first nursery mood board! (Have I mentioned that we're moving into a new house in March, and expecting in July?)

    This is a little more boy-oriented, but for a girl, I'd throw in a couple more coral and red accents.

    Yellow Nursery

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    French macaroons preview

    We're making these for a party tomorrow. So far, the cookies are done, and now I shall move on to the buttercream filling.

    I hope to be able to post tomorrow that these were a huge success. So far, so good.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    I had to. I couldn't resist

    Yesterday, we had a meeting with some out-of-town guests. We got refreshments for the meeting.

    There were cookies, coffee and tea. The catering company also gave us milk, cream, and two containers of sugar. But no stirring implements.

    So naturally, when someone asked, "Are there any spoons?"... I had to respond, "There is no spoon."


    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Karma is a funny thing

    On cold days like these, I love a good hot drink. So I popped by Tim Hortons to get a cup of tea.

    The guy in front of me ordered two hot chocolates, one for him and one for his girlfriend. It came to $2.87. He tried to pay with a pre-paid card but the machine didn't work. So he had to walk away.

    My tea, as usual, was $1.52. I decided to pay for their hot chocolates as well - after all, they were already made, and sitting on the counter. I had already done the rough math in my head so I had $4.50 in change ready for the cashier.

    Somehow, the cashier got really confused and ended up charging me $2.87. I mentioned that it didn't sound right, but she was so confused that she just said, "Oh well."

    So I put the remainder of the change into the Tim Hortons Children's Foundation box. Then I told the guy that he could have his hot chocolates.