WEEK EIGHTEEN: Baby Room Completed!!

Well, not much to be said other than HERE IT IS! 99% finished...

The last piece which my super-talented sewing-diva mother-in-law is making for us--custom bumper pads, crib skirt and drapes in dark teal--check out the fabric below!

All and all, the entire project wasn't that huge of an undertaking financially which was our goal. As we've learned, baby stores out there prey on us poor "first-timers" with their crib sets + coordinates..and everything in between. Our aim was to still bring baby home to some style but do it without breaking the bank!!

Paint ~ Benjamin Moore (Jalapeno Pepper + White);$50
Shelving ~ IKEA; $30
Plant - Salisbury Garden Center;$40
Fabric ~ Calico Corners (Slick Outdoor Aquamarine; $25/yrd) -- see below

Antique Dresser - check out WK #16
Baby Changing Table - check out WK #16
Rocking Chair - Baxton Studio Chair; $150
Crib - Graco; $180
Green Poof/Foot Stool - CB2; $80
Lights - IKEA; $50

And, last but not least, our fabric for the bumper, crib skirt and drapes:
**The plan is to post an update on our sewing project in the coming weeks with patterns and pictures to boot!


WEEK SEVENTEEN: De-Tox Green Juice

My former neighbor (shout out to Lisie Adamson) might be the healthiest and most overly informed 'mind-body' guru that I've ever come across in my entire life! She single-handily managed three of the most active kids while running her own business, gave birth to her children in big blow-up pools, was able to gauge her toxicity levels and create meals to accommodate acidity and over-base results, educated me on what a colonic (yuck!) is and not only cooks like a star but juices the most unbelievable concoctions with her high-end juicer. So after many a conversation about all-things health--I figured I'd take a small step toward trying out her "green" lemonade and the whole process of juicing. Now, once you read the ingredients, I'm sure you'll be skeptical but believe-you-me, it's actually pretty good. To boot, I had a LOT of fun figuring out different recipes and subjecting my husband to all of them!

With a little extra spending money, I bought myself a BREVILLE JUICER--Now, mine is the basic mode that you can get at Crate + Barrel for about $100 and change. Now, Lisie's juicer, which is in a whole other weight class, (it can chuck wood, digest pulp all while making dinner for 5) makes my juicer look like it has on training wheels but, I've still been keen to give it a go! An added bonus, we had such a huge harvest from our garden that it was a logical next step to use some of our excess cucumbers for juicing.

These recipes are not only uber-healthy but will act as a full detox if you're interested in all the buzz and hype around detoxing. Skip the big production of buying marketed products and just do a little juicing/research and you can find the same results!!

1 cucumber
2 lemons (peeled)
5-6 stalks of kale
1 tablespoon ginger root

NATT'S HEALTHY HOT MESS (double batch)
2 cucumbers (straight from the garden)
2 oranges 
5-6 stalks of kale
1 pink grapefruit (peeled)
1 tablespoon ginger root
added after: 1 tsp. Green Vibrance

If you try these out and get the bug, just remember--nothings written in stone, create your own mixes using any and all fruit & veggies. When I first got my juicer I was obsessed with beets and those seemed to find their way into everything. Also, juicing has been a great save on those weeks when we overload on produce and then plans change (dinners out, visit friends, etc.), it allows us to use up all those extra groceries instead of having them go bad!

The other thing I've been recently introduced to and am loving is GREEN VIBRANCE. It's a dietary supplement that has more pro-biotics than any other product on the market. In addition, it's an added veggie kick as it accounts for about 1/3 of your daily intake of greens. Andrew and I have been taking this in the mornings for about 6 months now (in addition to eating pretty healthily) and swear by it! We've gotten to the point where we can tell on the days we miss our morning ritual. 



WEEK SIXTEEN: Re-furbished Baby Dresser + Change Table

If you've had a child or are just about to, I'm sure you've been or are about to be, overwhelmed by the multitude of baby options out there. Andrew and I just dragged ourselves to BuyBuyBaby a few weekends back to check out strollers and to start figuring out what we need pre-baby arrival. To say the least, it was definitely an experience! By the end of a 40 minute 'personal' stroller consultation (apparently this is a common place at these type stores) our heads were spinning and couldn't fathom that there was that much to know about strollers--jogging vs. city, travel systems vs. other accessories, light weight vs. two-seater, weight capacity...OYE!!! ...I don't want to even go into cribs or car seats and baby furniture in general...

Upon leaving the store, Andrew and I made a pact that we wouldn't get wrapped up in all things baby-merchandise and with that, we decided to re-purpose our furniture and find a very slim list of 'needs' as we start to plan for our new addition.

Recently I was gifted a dresser from my sister (thank you new cottage renovations that phased out this gem!). I forgot to take a bare-bones picture so the picture below is as good as it gets---just imagine very dated wood and the fact that this piece had been in storage for 40+ years.

I decided on grey, white and teal blue to compliment our already jalapeno walls. I stripped down everything washed it with bleach and voila--here it is!

GREY--Benjamin Moore (Natura) -- T-Shirt Grey $50
BLUE--Benjamin Moore (Natura) -- Calypso Teal $25
WHITE--Benjamin Moore (Natura) -- Pillow White $15

*Note, the Natura Benjamin Moore paint has the lowest VO levels. I would recommend it for anyone painting while pregnant (I had a lovely protective mask as well) or painting a room where an infant will reside.

Have you seen how much changing tables are? $300 for a table that I'm positive will only have a few months of use. So, I decided to get creative and make my own. With supplies, I was able to add a 'topper' to our new re-purposed dresser FOR FREE (BIG thanks to the nice man at the hardware store who cut and filled my wood order for free using wood from the 'homeless' wood pile)  

2 pieces of 2x1 pine cut at 30 inches
2 pieces of 2x1 pine cut at 11 inches
Base using thin wood (can't remember the type of wood) cut at 32 X 11
GREY--Benjamin Moore (Natura) -- T-Shirt Grey

A little grey paint and kitchen cabinet liner. Using the dimensions above, I was able to pop in a standard changing table pad and cover---and VOILA!


WEEK FIFTEEN: Skinny 'Scratch-esque' Strawberry, Apple, Rhubarb Pie

Being 6 months pregnant has some advantages--DESSERTS ARE ALLOWED!
But, in trying to keep somewhat of my girlish figure, I thought I'd throw out my skinny pie recipe for those who love pie but hate the crazy calories, for those who don't want to spend an afternoon baking and for those wanna-be-scratch pie makers as this pie recipe is simple, guiltless and scratch-esque! 

In all, a pretty easy and calorie free result: Strawberry, Apple + Rhubarb pie with no butter, oil and to boot, reduced sugar with only 30 minutes of prep. Try it out:



2 cups of chopped rhubarb
2 cups of chopped strawberries
1 cup of chopped apple

wet ingredients:
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbs. vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla

dry ingredients:

1 cup of Splenda
1/2 cups of white sugar
5 tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


1 egg white (put in separate, mini bowl)


Round up strawberries, apples and rhubarb. We grew rhubarb in our garden this summer and the apples came from the tree outside our place after IRENE wrecked havoc on the crop this past weekend. The strawberries alas, are from our local grocer. Chop 2 cups rhubarb, 2 cups strawberries and 1 cup apple. I used the mandolin for the rhubarb and it saved me at least 10 minutes of chopping. If you don't have a mandolin-->pick one up for $20, it's a great must-have!

Put all your dry ingredients together (flour, Splenda, sugar and cinnamon) and your fruit and wet ingredients together (rhubarb, strawberries, apple, lemon juice, lemon zest, Greek yogurt and vanilla).

**PIE CRUST TIME SAVER** I should probably be shammed for not making dough from scratch but honestly, who has the time or the patience. I picked up two deep dish shells at the grocery store. Washed the first one in eggwhites and put all my ingredients into it. To make your pie look even more legit get rid of that store-bought silver pie shell it comes in and put it in a glass or ceramic pie plate for baking. The second pie shell, I heated up for one minute in the oven then layed flat on a cutting board. 

With a pizza cutter I made stripes with the extra pie shell then weaved the pastry to finish off the top of the pie. It took me no time to do, gave it more of a 'homemade' look and saved on what was sure to be a disaster of me trying to lay a full pie crust on top! 

To add to my faux traditional pie, I used the leftover dough and built up the edges so the pre-made indents couldn't be seen anymore.

Bake at 425C for 15 mintues then drop the temperature down to 375C for 45-50 minutes and VOILA!! Just like Grandma's with a third of the sugar and no butter. Just add vanilla frozen yogurt and you've got a home-run!


WEEK FOURTEEN: Easy One-->Classy Commode

We could possibly have the smallest, most ill-placed bathroom in our home and to boot, it's on our main floor--pocket door, not much character, box-like...essentially, super boring! My quest--to make it a little more fun and keep my spending to a half-gallon of paint.

I found a chandelier stencil on-line and blew it up and once again, used my handy over-head projector (thank you Math Department). A little white paint and a mink-haired small brush and we've now got the classiest, and smallest, bathroom in the North East. Tell me how many people have chandeliers above their toilet?


Benjamin Moore Natura Paint ($24.60) <Darkest Grape>
Benjamin Samples ($2) <Cloud White> 


WEEK THIRTEEN: Our Garden-To-Table Mvmt


One of the biggest shocks to my system when moving to rural CT is that RECYCLING isn't common practice or mandated/promoted by the State. It's completely bizarre. Luckily, in the past year and a half, our community has embraced plastic recycling which is a relief but we still have miles to go with cardboard and compost. We have a regional transfer station that's about 15 minutes from our place but no regular scheduled recycling pick-up. I miss my green box, my blue box and my 1 bag of garbage a week standards??

With our lack of recycling causing me much frustration my fantastic husband decided that in addition to trying our best to recycle as much as possible (and as many ways as possible), we'd also try our hand at buying less "high-travelled" and more "completely organic" products--not just those labeled as such in the grocery store. With that, came our backyard garden. I know we don't carry the label of full-scale 'Farm-to-Table' but we're trying a small pilot project-->'Garden-To-Table' as our nod to a movement that we hope is catching on.

The premise:
  • Establishing and promoting the purchase of local produce-->ranchers, farmers, artisans, etc. to minimize fuel use/carbon footprint and environmental decay.
  • Farmers going "beyond organic" to bring us fresh and seasonal produce without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers
  • Ranchers raising their cattle, lamb and pigs naturally on pastures as opposed to confining them to factory pens.
  • Local restaurateurs incorporating market-based and seasonal foods into their menus.
  • Local grocers bridging the gap between customers and producers (cutting out the middle men)
  • The average bear/person eating more naturally--sans over-processed and processed foods, preservatives, middle-aisle shopping, etc.   
For more info, check out:

So I know our garden is a stretch but it's our tiny attempt at playing a role in this movement while our town tries to catch up. Andrew planted in early May and we were nervous that nothing would grow. 1 1/2 months later, we've got cucumbers, peppers, rhubarb, peppercinis, blueberries, broccoli and lettuce. Now, I have to plug lettuce. If you're thinking of starting a little garden in your own backyard, I definitely advocate for lettuce. What a waste of money at the grocery store and, I can't remember the last time I ate a full head of romaine before it went bad. Now that we've got our own, I can walk outside, grab a few leaves and voila! We're all set.

Your local garden center can offer tons of tips on best practice so I would recommend asking as many questions as possible, as we did, when you start out.

Happy Planting!



WELL HELLO!? It's been a while....

After what was definitely a long hiatus from blogging, I'm back. Things got a little feverish in late March and unfortunately my creative extra-curricular activities were what ended up falling off my plate. 

So here they are--->MY LONG AWAITED AND CERTAINLY LONG-OVERDUE (my project in procrastination) CHAIR PROJECT. In addition, we finally sprung for a new dining room table. Thank you Crate + Barrel for the great addition to our living room-->Parsons Glass Steel Table

--Six Antique Chairs @ Estate Sale (@180)
--Rustoleum 2x Spray Gloss Grey
--Rustoleum 2x Spray Robins Blue
--Fabric + Materials for Seats @ Calico Corners (Avon, CT)




It's great to be back in the smoggy city! On Friday, we packed up the car, made the 8 hour trek north (with cat + dog in tow) and have the entire week to catch up with family and friends. To survive the car ride, Andrew and I have a few AUDIO BOOKS queued up (many thanks to our AUDIBLE membership which is super-fantastic). (INTERESTING FACT: audio books are the only thing keeping the cassette tape from extinction). In addition, this past Christmas I was gifted an AMAZON KINDLE which is what I've chosen to post about today as I HEART KINDLE.
If you haven't checked one out yet or if you're a 'purist' at heart (my smart literary sister) and have a hard time parting with real paper---I DARE YOU TO ORDER ONE! My reasons for loving the KINDLE are many. They are extremely lightweight so for those of you who read at night SAY GOODBYE to awkward book holding, strained hands, aching shoulders or the worst, reading on your stomach (but who actually does this for more than two seconds). The KINDLE holds over 800 e-books so it's compact for TRAVEL so BRING AN EXTRA PAIR OF SHOES as you won't lose half of your luggage space hauling multiple titles through customs. And, the best part, YOU READ FASTER (okay, maybe this is just me). I can roll through books at a pretty significant clip now with the impressive glare-resistant screen and page turning features. 


So with my plug---if you're out there Amazon, I'm happy to be a spokesperson :)---I'm also on the hunt for new authors and good reads so please POST A FEW TITLES OF YOUR OWN. Below, my quick + dirty list of READS from the past SIX MONTH + a few oldies but goodies. 

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (Wroblewski)
The Guernsey Literary + Potatoe Pie Society (Shaffer/Barrows)
The Imperial Cruise (Bradley) **via Andrew
Girl With The... Series (Larsson)
Hunger Games...Series (Collins)
Sarah's Key (De Rosnay)
Ape House (Gruen)
Book of Awesome (Pasrichi) *grew up with Neil; go and buy it!
The Help (Stockett)
A Red Herring Without Mustard (Bradley)
Room (Donoghue)
Life (Richards)
Glass Castle (Walls)
Complicated Kindness (Toews)
Prisoner of Tehran (Nemat)
The Birth House (McKay)
Push (Sapphire)




As I'm sure my wide fan base has noticed (HA!--note sarcasm), I've been slacking with posting. SORRY GUYS! I've been busy refurbishing a set of six antique chairs for our living room which I hope to have pictures of soon.

VACATION~We're headed NORTH! Packing up the animals next week for a trip back to Toronto but I hope to have my next project up (along with our very cool new dining room table compliments of Crate + Barrel) in early April.

To wet your whistle this week, I thought I would share a few of my FAVOURITE BLOGS. Most of my ideas for projects come from sifting through the daily pics/commentary on these sites. So, if you have 15 minutes to kill at work today or at home this weekend, try visiting a few of these. GLEAN SOME INSPIRATION FOR A NEW PROJECT OR DINNER IDEA!

Apartment Therapy
Haute Nature
Design Sponge
Modern Cottage
Grass Roots Modern
Design Milk
Sweet Spot
P.S. I Made This

Delicious Days
101 Cookbooks
Smitten Kitchen
Gluten-Free Goddess
Amateur Gourmet
Pinch My Salt