So we have a new look. Not that I think you are retarded and didn't notice, but I feel compelled to post about the blog equivalent to botox. Back to my laundry folding.
As you were.


Anthropologie Love

I'm too lazy to copy+paste all the links...
But this is all the gorgeous stuff I've been lusting after....

uuuum... can anybody say : too cute? Did you see that cardigan? Adorable. And those button boots? Amazing.
Aaah, Anthropologie, you do everything so stylishly.
Why don't you come here to Quebec?



Nope- that's not a typo. I did not mean, I'm Miss Pancakes... I truly meant that I have been feeling lonely and what I need to fill that loneliness is to make a gargantuan amount of pancakes.
I started making pancakes when Bruno and I moved in together. Before that, I had been a crepe girl. Yes, a crepe girl. When you have a Breton mother, you are automatically a crepe girl. Not only are you a crepe girl, but you are also a pancake hater. You are raised to believe that pancakes are a bastardized version of crepes. That you, as a crepe girl, are inherently better person than those pancake eaters. In fact, you are raised to believe that pancakes are an inferior food, fit for an inferior palate.
Luckily, by the time I met Bruno, the brainwashing hadn't completely erased all common sense. I was still at the point in our relationship where I thought I could impress him with my culinary prowess. Ha. Problem was, my pancakes were terrible. Dry, cakey, tasteless.
It's been a few years now, and we have eaten many pancakes. Some were good, some were bad and most were mediocre. Some had buttermilk, others had separated egg whites, some had buckwheat and others had yoghurt. I searched many books and websites, I flipped many pancakes and I am finally proud to share with you my (and Bruno's)

Very favorite pancake recipe: (it's stupid easy and simple)

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup milk (whole if you're feeling daring)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Set aside
In a small bowl, whisk egg, oil, milk and vanilla together. Add to dry ingredient mix and mix well. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Heat cast iron pan to medium high and melt butter to coat the cooking surface. Pour about 1/3 cup pancake batter into skillet and cook until top has bubbles. Flip and cook other side.
You can add fruit such as bananas or blueberries for the kiddos.
What I love best about these pancakes is how easy they are to freeze:
You double or triple the recipe and just freeze the ones you don't eat! Stack them between sheets of parchment paper, stick them in a freezer bag and just pop them in your toaster for a super fast breakfast option!

All this to say... I can brag about how easy and fast they are to make... but there are NO pancakes in my freezer. We ate the last ones a few weeks back. It was a dark, dark morning. One day, we will see the return of the frozen pancake breakfast. Until then, we will have to be content with pear-cranberry (or fake raisins as B. calls them) oatmeal.

And with that, I am off to bed.

Magazines Love and Traditions

This post started as an emotional trip down memory lane. Until I realized that it was just a story about how much I like magazines and how awesome it is when someone else buys them for you!
p.s Martha: $5.95 for Everyday Foods is highway robbery.

My parents live on a "farm" and while I was in design school, I rarely had the chance to go up and visit. The odd weekend that we could all be together was something I'd truly look forward to for weeks and weeks. My mother would even call me on the Tuesday preceding our arrival to dry-run the menu. That's how excited we all were about it.
They were golden weekends and I will always remember them as some of my happiest days.
Specially Saturday mornings.
On Saturday mornings, my dad and I, clad in our best farmers' gear, would hop in the pick up and head out for the village. Our mission: Panissimo for two baguettes, Emporium for the newspapers and, let's not forget, my lusted after magazine-du-jour. That was the "treat" my father would buy. And I loved him for it. I was poor and addicted to design magazines. Typical design student. Anyways, I digress.
These little trips were really the only time I ever spent alone with my father- and I loved them. Not that we ever exchanged any deep conversations, or revealed any dark secrets. Nope, we just sat and drove.
What I liked best about those little trips into town, were the ride back home. Holding the new magazine, feeling the smooth paper and wondering what wonderful things awaited me within the pages!! Oh the excitement of a new mag. It still gets to me.
Here's a sampler of what I've been reading:

And I'm very happy to report that I am no longer addicted to magazine. I just really really really like them.

Household Cleaners

So I've been slacking... or rather life has happened. It is now IMPOSSIBLE for me to use the computer while Mateo is awake. He does not tolerate time spent in the office, unless he is the one using the keyboard. Needless to say, I have stopped trying and can only do stuff at naptime. What happens when there will be no nap time... I don't even want to think about it!

Few things that I've been meaning to share with you all:
Homemade cleaning products:
I started a few months ago and after some trial runs, I've discovered recipes that work for me.

All Purpose Cleaner:

2 cups hot water
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons Borax
1/2 teaspoon castile soap (we use Dr Bronner's)
Few drops of your favorite essential oil (we use eucalyptus)

Dissolve the washing soda and borax in the hot water, mix well and add the soap and essential oil. Keeps very well and just needs to be shaken once in a while.
Use it on kitchen surfaces, highchairs, floors ( I dilute 1/2 cup of cleaner to about one gallon of warm water).
Bruno was super skeptical of this endeavor but now sings the praise of the all purpose cleaner. It even cleans leather! We salvaged a leather Marcel Breuer knockoff and got the white leather super clean using the cleaner and a soft cloth.

I've also made laundry detergent , but will not post the recipe, as I still haven't found the right balance. I also think it might be responsible for some bum/cloth diaper issues. I need to make another batch, but I think I'll wait until after the holidays! My sanity is more important than homemade laundry detergent.

I got all my supplies at our local Co-op. It costs a bit to get started, but once you do, you'll recuperate your initial costs quite quickly. And you'll have earned bragging rights!!


Getting Organized!

Nothing makes me happier than a good list. In fact, I have books filled with lists from years ago. They're like small snapshots into my life at the time.
Now that Bruno is heading back to work, we are getting serious about getting organized. This is what I say now, talk to me in 3 weeks and I won't even be able to spell L I S T.
But seriously, we even worked out a weekly family schedule... !
And because I have so much time on my hands, I even completed my Pantry Stocklist and cleaned out my existing pantry (I got a little jealous of Sarah's pantry)!

Now my life will be perfect, right?
Thought so!

End of an NDG Era

Tomorrow is another important day. My long time friend is leaving our neighbourhood. She's bought her very own condo and is leaving me... stranded...with two babies.
She's the kind of friend who will lend you her favorite pair of sweatpants when you've realized your pants are too tight and you've had way too much to drink. She's also the kind of friend who reads your blog and buys you the things you're lusting after (thanks my love!).
She's helped me through two of my last moves, bailed me out of "compromising" situations and never made me feel shitty about any of the dumb things you do when you're drunk and 19 . Needless to say, I am sad to see her go.

She's a very brave woman, facing this life change on her own, and I wish I was around to help her.
Hil- I love you and good luck tomorrow. Try not to let the small things get to you and be as kind to others as you have been to me. Everything will work out for you but NDG will not be the same without you.

Birthday Love

A very special friend of ours is about to turn 6 today!!! What a big day... is Mom is going to pull you from school...? Did Buster give you a special birthday kiss?
Happy birthday Katster,
Love Mateo and the gang


Down with Facebook

I am the first to admit it... I was intrigued at first. My friend at the time convinced me that "all the scenesters are doing it". Heck, I was single and had no babies... so why not?
With a few clicks and an obscene number of terrible digital self-portraits, my Friendster profile was up and there was no stopping me!
It was so much fun... spying on what other people were doing, seeing who was friends with who... the entertainment was endless.
A few weeks later, Friendster was nothing more than an Ugg boot to me- something really ugly disguised as something I should want.

That's why I should have known better regarding this Facebook business... but no.
Now, it's like my teenage acne: I despise it, but have no way of avoiding it.
Instead of getting creepy messages, I get messages from people who were mean to me in Junior High. Why would they now want to be my "friend"?
I preferred the creepy messages from my friends in Mozambique. At least I knew they genuine.

I will cut my rant short (be thankful, I just erased three somewhat angry paragraphs).
And if you needed further proof, my friends, check this out:

(I will be canceling my Facebook account as soon as I've caught up on who's fat, who's married and who's balding)


Worms...are we really going there?

So as many of you know, winter is slowly settling in. Bruno has just finished insulating all the windows and doors while I am in the painstakingly slow process of raking the never ending pile of maple leaves. Do we have a maple tree on our front lawn? No, we do not. Our neighbour, on the other hand, does.

And it's very big.
And no, I am not bitter.
I like raking.

But the question on our minds is the following: what do we do with our dearest friend, the composter?
It was so good to us: it ate up all the garbage, all the leftovers, all the rotting stuff hidden at the back of my fridge. How can we turn our backs on someone that has helped us and made our lives better? Do we just leave it out there, to freeze, alone, until the warmth returns to us, next June?

I say nay.
I present to you.... the worms.

Now, bear with me people. Sure they may be gross and wiggly. Yes they are asexual and yes, when you cut them in two... they just keep on living. These things, and many more, make them quite gross. But maybe, just maybe, we can learn to live together?
We may fail, we may find ourselves with a toddler eating worms... but we are ready to take that risk.
Ladies and gents, I give you the project of winter 2007/2008: Vermicompost


I'm sorry Martha. I take it all back

Dear Martha,
I hope you called the Stasi off. I'm sorry I ever spoke badly of you. It will never happen again- this time I'm telling you the truth.

Martha darling, you have truly outdone yourself...

Paper Ornament Kit Frosty Village Kit
Advent Calendar Kit

It's all too much. Unfortunately, the shipping to Canada is exorbitant. All I need is a bestest friend in the States that can do all this craft shopping for me. And pay for it. Any takers?


The two germ monsters are at the hardware store... hence post #2!

How much fun is this banner? If there was ever an image to represent what I want my life to look like... this would be it!
We, as a family, have been getting into music these days. It helps that Mateo has discovered dancing and will perform for us every morning, afternoon or evening as long as we're willing to dance with him. He's quite shy, so if you guys come over, I can't guarantee a dance show, but I can sure try to convince him! He likes to bop up and down... it's too much.
We got this great Putumayo CD from our friends at The Knowlton Station.
And we LOVE it- although I am getting a little tired of the same 12 songs, over and over and over and over again. We highly recommend it and I think they're on sale... so swagger down to the soap store and buy your little families some music!
(wow- sorry for that corny, shameless plug)
Back to the original post topic: family music...

So I tapped into my inner Nancy Drew and started sleuthing on my favorite blogs to see if they had any musical recommendations...
This is how I discovered Dan Zane.
Ironically enough- he's featured on the Putumayo Singalong that we love so much! You can just tell that this guy is fun... just look at the album covers!

Needless to say, I think I've found a part of Mateo's Christmas present!

Happy dancing!
If I was a little more savvy, I'd add a sample of Dan Zane's songs, but I'm not that much of a cyber geek...! You can listen to most of his songs at his website.

Where the *&^%$#* is Martha???

So I may have forgotten my own advice.
The Martha Holiday issue is nowhere to be found. So I decided to go on her site and see where the new issue is at.

1) Why is it so hard to find anything on that site? It's like there's way too much Martha and not enough computer power to handle her.

2) How dare she publish photos from the 2006 issue? Come on. Don't you have enough people working for you?

3) Why is there no Michaels craft store here in Quebec? People...have you seen her craft line? Sure, you can make your own decorative labels using a pirated version of Illustrator, a cheap printer THAT NEVER WORKS and millions of dollars worth of adhesive paper... but you can buy them for under $5. So why cause yourself all that anguish?

4) How cute are those button cards?? And who, do you think, bought millions of buttons on Ebay last year....? Oh yeah... button cards, here we come!


Christmas Crafting

I know, I know....it's been awhile. Not that you were all desperately waiting for this latest installment of CR (that's cyber lingo for Cochonet Rouge-oh yeah) but who knows, I may already have stacks and stacks of fan mail pouring in from all over the world!
All kidding aside, you should cut me some slack.... we just had a baby! But that's not what this post is about.
Christmas is around the corner folks. Just another couple of weeks and... BANG... there will be no time to craft and I'll be all Stressed-Out-Spice. My husband does not want a repeat of last year's pre-Christmas breakdown.
So this year, I want to be a keener and start crafting right away. My original plan was to craft in September... but that.. ahem... never happened.
I have gifts for family, friends, babies, kids, grandparents; gifts for my neighbours, gifts to mail in Canada and gifts to send over to Europe.
What's a monkey to do?
I can't realistically make all these gifts. Judging from the wide range of recipients, my idea of making one gift for everyone is not feasible .
This is a great place to get some inspiration!

Babies: I'm thinking sock puppets. Materials are easy to come by and it's a fun crafting activity for a group of ladies.

Kids: Book bags... although sewing may not be my forte... I'm hellbent on making bookbags for the 3 kiddos on my list.

Siblings and Friends (adults): Basket of homemade cleaning products... although quite a production, making these products is fun and makes me feel like I'm singlehandedly saving the world.

Parents: Photo album of the new baby...always a hit (considering we had a new baby last Christmas as well- whaaaaaaaaaat? Two babies?)

Now all I have to do is stay calm and not panic. This crafting list may or may not get done and I must be O.K with that. Don't let all the small stuff get to you and enjoy it as you go along.

Having said that, I might cry if I don't find my Martha Stewart Handmade Holiday Issue.