April 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - April 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather...
3C with lovely sunshine.  Rain this afternoon with snow overnight.  This is typical spring weather where I live.  It is forecast to be 20C on the weekend! 

Right now I am...
Enjoying a mango smoothie while writing my grocery list and watching Miss C play with play dough.

That 2013 is flying past!  I can't believe it is almost May.  

On my reading pile...
The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy (one of my favourites)

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Tacos
Tuesday: Grilled chicken tenders with mashed potatoes and peas
Wednesday: Baked cheese tortellini with salad
Thursday: Fish and chips
Friday: Chicken teriyaki with rice
Saturday: Homemade hamburgers/buns
Sunday: Roast chicken with trimmings

On my to do list...
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...
I am updating my home management binder. 

Looking forward to this week...
Nothing in particular.   

Looking around the house...
Toys to be picked up, desk to be tidied, enjoying the splash of colour on my dining room table from the orange tulips Miss S chose from the grocery store this week.

From the camera...

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Tech & Internet, 5 eBooks for $7.40!
Learn how to use the technology in your life to your advantage with this week’s collection of ebooks. You’ll discover the secrets to beautiful iPhone photos, how to get organized using free apps and programs, the beauty of online friendships and more. But don’t wait because this bundle is on sale for 70% off this week only!
Once Upon the Internet by Marla Taviano

Once Upon the Internet is the funny and touching memoir of the Tavianos’ one-year quest to visit 52 zoos in 52 weeks — and the online friends who helped make it possible. Through the course of their journey, they stayed with 31 different families, 17 of whom they’d never met in person (and countless others met them at zoos along the way), and today some of their dearest friends are ones they first met on the internet.

iPhone Photography by Alli Worthington

Alli’s iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide is your go-to guide for the best iPhone photo editing apps. With plenty of full-color images, you’ll find step-by-step tutorials to capture and create stunning images yourself as well as ideas for using iPhone photos to stay organized, save money and just be happier.

Pin-terpretation by Holley Gerth & Stephanie Bryant

Your Pinterest account and the images you pin say more about you than you might think, and the ladies at Squee! wrote Pin-terpretation to help you step back and really see yourself. Their goal is to help you see your Pinterest boards with fresh eyes — to provide questions as well as insights into you, your personal brand & your blog. It’s kind of like a Cosmo quiz for your Pinterest boards.

Paperless Home Organization by Mystie Winckler

Organize your life with a digital home management “binder” that you can take with you, doesn’t use up extra space, works on every platform and doesn’t cost anything. In Paperless Home Organization, Mystie shows you how to get organized using only free, web-based applications that sync with free apps on both Apple and Android devices.

Evernote for Moms by Lauren Rothlisberger

Lauren’s specialty is providing tech tips for “non-geeks”, and Evernote for Moms is the quick and easy guide to help you use Evernote to organize your ideas and information. It includes a quickstart guide, simple template files and step-by-step instructions for installing, launching and adding items to Evernote through your smartphone or computer.

The Tech & Internet bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 5/6. Get yours today.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post. Thanks for your support of Simple Joys of Home!

April 24, 2013

Savouring the Moments

Are you sometimes too busy being mom to enjoy being a mom?

We sometimes run around so busy with chores, to-do lists and deadlines that we forget to enjoy the little people we're doing all that work for.  We put them on hold saying "in a moment", "not right now", "as soon as I finish this" and before we know it, the whole day has passed by without truly connecting.

Here are some ideas on savouring the small moments of mommyhood:

1. Cuddle together while reading a story.

2. Snuggle together in bed and watch your child sleep.

3. Be silly together.  Tell jokes, play tickle monster, make funny faces or sing silly songs.

4. Watch the joy on your child's face as they conquer a new skill - they are so proud of themselves, as are we.

5. Push your child on a swing and watch the happiness on their face.

6. Laugh together.

7. Look at your child when they are talking.  Focus on their eyes, the curves of their mouth and the fact that this beautiful child is yours.

8. Join in with their play instead of sitting on the sidelines.  Take a few minutes to play tag, complete a puzzle together or build a Lego tower.  Give yourself permission to have fun.

9.  Dance together.

10. Create together.  Play with play-dough, paint, draw, plant a garden or bake together.

Enjoy the small moments and fill your heart with joy.

April 22, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Gardening, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Whether you’re a new or experienced gardener, this week’s collection includes a variety of gardening tips for everyone! Learn how to garden without a big budget or a lot of space, discover tips for  organic gardening and preserving your harvest, and get organized with custom printables. But don’t wait because this bundle is on sale for 75% off this week only!
Frugal Gardening 101 by Phoebe Hendricks

In Frugal Gardening 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Vegetable Gardening Without Breaking the Bank, Phoebe shares her passion for gardening and proves that vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a comprehensive guide that shows you how to garden organically for very little with tips for buying, starting and saving seeds, organic pest and weed control and more.
Apartment Gardening by Jami Balmet

If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s possible to have a garden with limited space, Jami’s ebook will show you how! Apartment Gardening: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables in Small Spaces is a beginner’s guide to everything you need to know about container gardening, including more than 100 pages of how-to advice to help you start your container garden today.
Simple Food {For Spring} by Shannon Stonger

Simple Food {For Spring} is more than just a cookbook. In addition to 28 grain-free recipes (complete with full-color photos!) highlighting spring produce, Shannon also encourages readers in sustainable and homegrown living through her introductions to cleansing, foraging, dehydrating greens and more.

In Heavenly Homemaker’s Guide to Gardening and Preserving, Laura shares her tips for a successful, organic garden, including how, what and when to plant. Beyond gardening, you’ll also find her strategies for making the most of your farmer’s market plus canning tutorials and recipes to help you preserve your harvest.
The Gardening Notebook by Angi Schneider

In addition to a how-to guide for gardening beginners, Angi has created the perfect spot for recording all of your notes and research for your garden. With more than 50 pages of printables, The Gardening Notebook is the perfect way to organize everything you need or want to remember for your garden!

The Gardening bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 4/29. Get yours today.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post. Thanks for your support of Simple Joys of Home!

Happy Homemaker Monday - April 22, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather...
It's sunny today! Hopefully, the girls and I will be able to play at the park this week.  

Right now I am...
Cleaning up from lunch and writing my grocery list.

That I am tired today and already looking forward to bedtime!

On my reading pile...
Money Rules by Gail Vaz-Oxlade    (oops - edited to change "The" to "Money")

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Chicken a la King
Tuesday: Mac and Cheese
Wednesday: Baked chicken and Spanish rice
Thursday: Spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread
Friday: Pizza with green salad
Saturday: Barbecued steaks with baked potatoes and corn
Sunday: Pasta Bake

On my to do list...
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Change bed linens

What I am creating this week...
Nothing planned yet.

Looking forward to this week...
Miss S performing in her school play.  She has her own lines for the first time and we have been practicing over the weekend.  

Looking around the house...
Kitchen needs a clean and I have to sweep my floors.  

From the camera...
Miss S's new fish - Marlin
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

April 19, 2013

Cute Things Children Say

Some of the cute things my girls said this week:

DH to Miss S - spell enigma:

DH to Miss S - spell confident:

Miss S playing with my bangs:
"Are these your fangs"

Miss S looking out of the window:
"All of this snow looks like we're on marshmallows"

Miss C at the dinner table:
"Mummy can I have the red mushrooms please?"  (she meant tomatoes)

Me to Miss C - can you eat your mushrooms please?

"I don't like mushrooms.  I like squirrels for my dinner".

I hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend.

April 15, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Simple Living, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

Is simple living just a pipe dream in today’s fast-paced, always-on, more-is-better culture? With this week’s collection, you’ll discover the secrets to living simply from five authors who are living intentionally and inspiring others to do the same! But don’t wait because this bundle is on sale for 90% off this week only.

25 Intentional Days by AndHeDrew
Laid out in an easy-to-follow format, 25 Intentional Days will take you step by step through setting effective long-term and short-term goals, finding time you didn’t know you had, tracking your progress and creating the life you’ve dreamed of.
Simple Ways to Be More with Less by Courtney Carver
In Simple Ways to Be More with Less, Courtney shows you how to simplify your life and live each day more purposefully. This book will challenge you, brighten your day, and if you let it, change your world.
Inside-Out Simplicity by Joshua Becker
Living simply starts on the inside, and in Inside-Out Simplicity, Joshua shares why healthy relationships are essential to a simplified life. You’ll discover how to live intentionally by embracing contentment, gratitude, and humility and making generosity, kindness, service, and forgiveness a hallmark of all of your relationships.
ClutterFree by Leo Babauta & Courtney Carver
With the tools in ClutterFree, you’ll learn how to eliminate the clutter and create more time and space in your home and life. Leo and Courtney walk you through understanding why we have clutter, learning how to get rid of it and enjoying a clutter-free life.
Flying by the Seat of My Soul by Tess Marshall
Through personal stories, profound lessons, uplifting quotes and stories of others, Tess inspires you to live more passionately and pursue your heart’s desire with more conviction. Flying By The Seat Of My Soul will empower you to move toward inner change, let go of the past, follow your dreams and fly!
The Simple Living bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 4/22. Get yours today.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post. Thanks for your support of Simple Joys of Home!

Happy Homemaker Monday - April 15, 2013

Hi everyone.  Welcome to another week!
Happy Homemaker Monday
The weather...
Cold and snowy as we had 4 inches of snow over the weekend.  It will be a high of -4C today!

Right now I am...
Enjoying my morning cup of tea.

That I would love to be back in my warm, comfy bed!

On my reading pile...
Still the Scarlatti Inheritance by Robert Ludlum. I didn't manage to finish it last week and I need to return it to the library this weekend.  

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Chicken with mushroom sauce over rice
Tuesday: Fish fingers, baked beans and homemade chips
Wednesday: Baked ham, mashed potatoes and broccoli
Thursday: Spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Fish and chips
Sunday: Roast pork with trimmings

On my to do list...
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
RSVP to a party for Miss S
Listing items to sell on Kijiji
Order my friend's birthday gift

What I am creating this week...
Some new recipes - lemon cake and dinner rolls, wedding stationery for my Etsy shop.

Looking forward to this week...
Having a few hours to myself on Friday as the girls are visiting with their grandparents.

Looking around the house...
Miss C playing with Lego, the sound of my washing machine whirring in the background.

From the camera...
New invitation design I am working on
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

April 12, 2013

Welcome Ultimate Blog Party Guests

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Welcome blog party guests!  Please pull up a chair.  May I offer you a cup of tea or slice of banana bread?

A little about me

I'm Debbie.  I was born and raised in England, but now make Canada my home.  

I'm currently a stay at home mom to two beautiful girls and work part time on my Etsy shop.  

Vintage Inspired Fleur De Lis Handstamped Gift Tags

I love reading, baking, romantic comedy movies, period dramas, reading, photography, card making / paper crafting, playing / crafting with my girls and did I mention reading!

A little about my blog

I started my blog to write about my daily life as mom and to share random thoughts, homemaking tips, craft projects and recipes.  

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon.  

April 10, 2013

Homemade Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna


Meat Sauce
1 pound ground beef (I use extra lean)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste (approx. 1/2 to 1 tsp each)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, to taste
10 - 15 button mushrooms, sliced
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
6 cubes of frozen spinach
1 tbsp brown sugar, to taste

Cheese Mixture
3 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
2 eggs

1 pound (approx. 2 cups) mozzarella cheese, grated
10 - 15 no-boil lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). In a large Dutch oven or pan start cooking the ground beef over medium heat. After a few minutes, add the onions and garlic. Stir occasionally until the meat has browned.

Reduce the heat to low. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and spinach to the pan. Cook for a few minutes then taste for flavour.  Add brown sugar at this point, if needed. Simmer for 30 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, make the cheese mixture.

In a bowl combine cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley together.

To assemble:
Spread 1/2 - 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of your baking pan (I use a 9" x 13" pan).

Add noodles, half the sauce, half the cottage cheese mixture, half the mozzarella.  Repeat.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes until bubbling in the centre and the cheese has melted and is golden.  Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


April 08, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - April 8, 2013

Happy Monday everyone!

Happy Homemaker Monday

The weather...
Currently -5C and snowy.  I'm longing for sunny days once again.

Right now I am...
Eating lunch and enjoying the quiet while Miss C naps.

About the large pile of paperwork I have to tackle this week.

On my reading pile...
The Scarlatti Inheritance by Robert Ludlum

On the menu for this week...
Monday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice
Tuesday: Lasagna and green salad
Wednesday: Barbecue pork chops with butter and herb pasta and peas
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Roast beef with trimmings

On my to do list...
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list

What I am creating this week...
Seed starting pots for my vegetables, mango strawberry ice pops, banana bread, freezer meals (chicken curry / lasagna), applesauce.

Looking forward to this week...
My haircut.  It has been a few months and I'm feeling straggly.

Looking around the house...
Dishes are soaking in hot water to wash after lunch.  I am enjoying the sun shining brightly through the windows.

From the camera...
At the park before the snow came (again!)
If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

How to Clean and Shine Your Stainless Steel Sink

This is how I clean my stainless steel sink.  It's a quick task that makes my kitchen sparkle!

Step One:  Rinse with hot water.

Step Two: Sprinkle all over with baking soda.  I use a damp cloth to cover the rim, sides of the sink and the tap.

Step Three: Spray with white vinegar.  Watch the two fizz together.

Step Four: Scrub with a soft-bristled brush.  Make sure to also clean the sink strainers.  

Step Five: Rinse off with warm water.  Use a cloth on the rim of the sink and the tap.  Buff with a dry, clean cloth.  

Enjoy your shiny sink!

April 05, 2013

Family Fun Night: Dance Party

We all enjoyed a dance party tonight after dinner.  This is something we often do on a Friday night to have fun together before the girls go to bed.  

I tried to capture some pictures of the girls.  The photos are fuzzy as they were moving so fast!

Some of the music we enjoy listening to:

The Piano Guys

The girls particularly enjoy the Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody) and Code Name Vivaldi (Bourne soundtrack). 

Lord of the Dance / Feet of Flames

Katy Perry - Firework 

Dora the Explorer soundtrack

Tangled soundtrack


How was your family fun night?

April 03, 2013

No Bake S'mores

These no bake s'mores (also known as chocolate blobs in our house) are so easy and yummy!  


1 cup of chocolate chips
6 graham crackers (in bite size pieces)
1 cup of mini marshmallows


Melt the chocolate chips.  Add in the graham crackers and the marshmallows.  Stir until well combined.  Place spoonfuls onto non-stick paper on baking tray.  Put into fridge until set.  


April 02, 2013

Easter 2013

We had a lovely Easter weekend.  On Friday, DH and Miss S had a date to see the new Croods movie.  Miss S loved it!

Miss C and I stayed home and baked cupcakes together.  This was the first time she has been interested in helping me.  It was great.  
The mixer was not plugged in for this photo!
She helped to crack eggs, whisk the dry ingredients together and helped use the hand mixer.  The best part was when she got to lick the spoon!  
The finished product
Saturday was errands day.  We took the girls to the library to return books and came home with two bags full of books.  We also made stops at Wal-Mart, Staples and Michaels. 
A small selection of the books
Easter Sunday was fun.  The Easter Bunny was very generous this year.  We each received a Smarties Easter egg.  The girls also received chocolate bunnies and little purses from their grandparents in England.  Brunch was held at Nana and Grandpa's acreage in the country.  The girls love it there.  After brunch my sister in law and I hid the eggs while the girls were busy creating crafts from foam shapes and stickers.  Then the hunt commenced!  This is always great fun.  Each girl has two particular colors she has to hunt for.

Opening the eggs.

The eggs have stickers, mini eggs and tiny toys.

All in all, it was a lovely, relaxing weekend and a great way to finish off spring break.