4.15.2015

CSA Week 1: What we got, what we made


We've talked about it often, but this year we finally made the decision to join a CSA. You can read more about Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) and the one we joined here. We chose this particular one on the recommendation of a neighbour and because the pick-up location is literally around the corner from our house.

We like the idea of eating more seasonal, locally-grown foods, and incorporating more organic produce into our meals (the farm we chose is in the process of transitioning to all certified organic production, but they specify which items are certified organic, non-organic, spray free, etc. each week).

There are tons of options to choose from; we chose a small veggie share and a small fruit share. We wanted to buy an egg share, but we were too slow to sign up and missed out. The CSA we joined posts the contents of the coming week's shares on their website every Friday, which makes it easy to meal plan and figure out what else you'll need to pick up at the grocery store.

The total cost of our shares works out to around $25 a week, though I'm sure the volume of produce we get will vary (some weeks more, some weeks less), depending on the time of year. I'm hoping it will encourage us to waste less food, since we'll be focused on making multiple meals with the same five or six ingredients instead of deciding which meals we want to eat and then going shopping.

If you've ever thought about joining a CSA, or wondered if it's right for you, I thought it would be fun to document what we get each week and what we make with it, along with a few stray observations about our experience. Sound good? Here we go!

WEEK ONE

We got:

  • Cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Squash
  • Onions
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Apples
  • Dried apples
  • Frozen blueberries

We made:


Stray observations:

  • We added grated onion to our potato and turnip cakes for extra flavour. They make a great leftover work lunch with Greek yogurt and chives on the side.
  • Hannah ate the entire pint of blueberries on her own. Not all at once, but still.
  • Dried apples are delicious. They quickly became my go-to snack with a couple slices of cheese and a small handful of nuts.
  • Alfalfa sprouts! I forgot how much I love you.

4.13.2015

Easy toddler craft: Painted balloons


We're always looking for easy ways to entertain our resident toddler. She's having a moment with balloons, so when I came across the balloon pop game (apparently it's a classic?), I thought we'd give the painted balloon part a try.


That focus! So cute :)

As you can see, Hannah was thoroughly absorbed in this activity. She eventually switched to using her hands, so you've been warned: it can get a little messy. Just another reason I love our none-too-precious, new-old dining room table.

4.09.2015

A new old couch


As you may have guessed from our Easter photos, we got a new couch! Technically it's an old couch, passed on to us by friends, but it's new to us - and we love it! Its arrival prompted me to make some other changes in our living room, and maybe because the winter has dragged on for so long, I felt the need to let in as much light as possible. I loved our curtains (Target claims they're brown, but I swear they're black), but they blocked a lot light and made the room feel darker.


I made faux roman shades using a pair of Pottery Barn curtain panels I found at Frenchy's years ago. They're meant to be casual and none too perfect, and I think they're both (they look quite blue in these pictures, but in real life the colour isn't as intense). The windows already have wide slatted blinds, so we don't need the romans to actually function, just look pretty.

I also sewed new pillow covers out of an inky-coloured curtain panel I bought on clearance. I've been moving some furniture around in here, and doing a little de-cluttering, too.


I like the new direction the room is headed in (I've made some other changes that I'll share soon - just waiting on one more piece of art), but I still have a few things to figure out to pull it all together. Like, we need some pattern in here.

I made of couple of mock-ups in Photoshop with pillows I spotted on Etsy (the first one is from here and the second one is from here), but I haven't settled on anything yet. If you know of a good pillow cover source, please share!



A little pattern goes a long way I think.

4.07.2015

Easter 2015





I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter holiday. Hannah was excited to celebrate Easter this year, and understood that the Easter Bunny would be coming to our house to hide eggs for us to find. Adam had to work that morning, so the Easter bunny came during Hannah's afternoon nap instead. She had a great time searching for eggs, insisting on opening each one to see what was inside. We try to keep the holidays pretty simple, but Hannah got a few little spring gifts, like bubbles, sidewalk chalk and a new hat. Unfortunately, we still have plenty of snow outside (with more falling as I type this), so it may be awhile before she can put any of it to use - thank goodness for our chalkboard fridge!

4.04.2015

A Weekend in Halifax

One of my best friends from college decided to make a last-minute road trip to visit us recently and we had such a great time together! She made the 12-hour drive up from Boston, so we made sure we had beer and homemade Mexican food waiting for her.

We stayed up way too late catching up, but made it to the Seaport Farmers' Market the next morning to check out the scene, drink some Laughing Whale Coffee and eat sweet treats (Adam is obsessed with the German pastries there). Hannah was a bit of a handful, as two year-olds sometimes are, but she was mesmerized by a string duo and insisted that we grab a seat on the stairs to watch and listen. She wanted to dance, and even ventured to the bottom of the stairs a couple of times, but was a little too shy to join the other kids. Maybe next time.


My mom kindly took Hannah overnight so we could do some snowshoeing at Hemlock Ravine and enjoy a night out. It was gently snowing and the sky stayed pretty grey during our hike, but it was so much fun! Adam and I agreed that we need to invest in snowshoes of our own next year.

That evening, we went downtown for a drink at Stillwell and dinner at 2 Doors Down. Nova Scotia has a ton of great craft beers to offer, and Stillwell has them all on tap. Their snacks are yummy, too.


The chef at 2 Doors Down is a good friend, and it's been awesome to watch his incredible success over the past several years. He actually catered our wedding (and our guests still rave about the food!), though we joke that we'd never be able to afford him now!


We also took Mere to see Point Pleasant Park. Hannah insisted on throwing rocks in the water and splashing in every puddle she could find, getting soaking wet in the process. That evening we ordered Thai take out from Chabaa Thai and watched The Way Way Back on Netflix. Have you seen it? So funny, so good.

Monday was Mere's last day in town, so I took the day off work and we drove to Dartmouth to take the ferry across the harbour. Hannah is obsessed with public transportation (the kid wants to get on every bus she sees), and we've been promising to take her on the ferry (it's pretty fun for adults, too).


We went straight to Two If By Sea for coffee and delicious baked things, then made our way to the library. The new library is an incredible space - it's definitely worth a visit if you're planning a trip to Halifax.

It was a great visit, and the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy all that our city has to offer. I only wish it has lasted longer. Come back soon, Mere!

3.24.2015

An update on the mini-playroom


First things first: it's impossible (for me) to take photos of our basement without weird colour casts. Sorry about that. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to snap a few photos of the play area we created for Hannah downstairs - I was hoping my photography skills would spontaneously improve :)

You can see my original plans for a mini playroom here. The biggest purchase we've made for this space so far is the shelving unit. I love how much storage it provides, and Hannah can easily pull toys out and put them away herself. I picked up some of my favourite plastic Dollar Store bins to corral loose items like blocks, train tracks and stuffed animals.


You may remember that I'd planned on painting the shelving white, but I like it as-is and I'm sure it will hold up better over time this way, too. Instead, Hannah's desk - a console table that I trimmed down to size - will be painted white (still need to get around to that one!). The rugs are from Adam's parents. They're neutral and 100% wool, so now Hannah has a soft place to play (there are three of them, so we placed them side-by-side to fill the room).


Hannah's aunt and uncle made her this play tent for her birthday. Hannah likes to read books in here, fill it with toys, or just cuddle with a couple of balloons :) The set-up is working well for us right now, and although it will never be a beautifully-finished basement, having a dedicated play space has made a big difference in our small house.

3.19.2015

Waiting for spring


I've been spending a lot of time here lately. As someone who's been known to brag about my indefatigable immune system, this has been the winter of eating crow.

Between the brutal cold and flu season and the never-ending shoveling, I've never felt more desperate for spring.   


These are the views I've been enjoying while watching Netflix, or reading a good book, or meticulously planning fantasy vacations to someplace, anyplace warm. There's nothing fun or magical about winter anymore. Like many Maritimers, I've been gradually moving through the stages of grief and got stuck on depression.


Come on Spring, we need you.

Scenes from yesterday. If you need me, I'll be shoveling.


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