DIY: How to Make a Wooden Ring

Last month my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary which, for those of you who don’t know, is the wood anniversary. So a month or so ahead of time I came up with my plan. I mentioned to my dad that I wanted to make a ring. My dad works in construction so his garage has a plethora of tools. He chopped up an old dowel and gave me a few disks which he drill pressed into for me, and lent me his dremel. This was the start of my beautiful creation.

Wood Anniversary, wedding ring, gift, wooden ring

Supplies

Wood
Sandpaper rough and fine grit
Dremel with Sanding Mandrel
Drill Press or a Drill with a Hole Saw
Stain*
Waterproofing*
Wood Glue**

*I mean, you could go without but it’ll totally be better with.
**Just in case it cracks after all your hard work

How to make a wooden ring

Starting Off Your Ring

So, I used a dowel, and in a dowel the grain is vertical. You could use a dowel like I did, because it was pretty easy to start off with, but I feel the ring could be sturdier if the grain was horizontal. That being said, I don’t do woodwork that often, so who knows.

Anyhow, first off, cut a hole into your dowel (or other wood. You do you, bra). Don’t cut to the exact ring size that you need because you will need to do a lot of sanding and fine tuning. One of the things about using wood to make rings too, is that you can’t make them too thin. If they become too thin, they become brittle and liable to crack.

I unfortunately had to get my husbands to try the ring on a bunch to make sure it would fit, so the surprise was spoiled. But I’ve since learned a clever trick. You can use the outside of a socket to gauge ring size fairly well. They come in so many sizes, that if you have a set of them there’s sure to be one in the size you need. So if you aren’t making a surprise for anyone you can just slide a ring overtop to see which socket to use. If it is a surprise try and ask someone the ring size, or sneak it away from them and use measuring tape to gauge it.

Sanding

This is honestly the biggest part of this project. I sanded forEVER working on this thing. I used the dremel with the sanding mandrel attachment. It’s a great tool to use because you can adjust the speed. I used it on a lower setting because I was a little bit afraid of sanding my fingers in a bad way, plus it’s a tad noisy and I could only work on it during Cog’s nap-time.

Gear and I have pretty different ring sizes, but I found it very helpful to keep trying it on as I went to see how the width and thickness looked on a finger. After all the sanding and beveling, the width of the band was approximately 1cm and the thickness of the band was about 2mm.

How to make a wooden wedding ring

Stain

The stain that I used was quite a dark wash. The instructions on it said to do two coats, but I only used one. After one coat and allowing it to dry fully (<-Important), it stained exactly where I wanted it to. Lighter stains would probably be best with two coats though. Different stains have different directions though, so follow yours and make sure to do so in a ventilated area.

Waterproofing

Now, I tried to do this on the cheap with clear nail polish. You know what doesn’t work well at all? Nail polish. I’ve found a blog post written by someone who makes wooden jewelry for a living. You really should check the link out as the writer gives a few different recommendations based on different needs. I don’t feel confident giving a recommendation as my way of waterproofing didn’t work out. Do your research and find what works for the type of wood that you’ve chosen; be sure to pick something that is safe to be on skin, or is food grade.

 

If you think you’d rather make a wooden ring a different way I’ve found a guy on youtube that has a very different technique from mine. It really depends on what you want out of your ring.

Let me know if there is anything else you’d like my amateur self make. And super let me know if you’ve tried this out, and how it turned out for you!

Halloween Party Food to Satisfy Any Ghoul

Since I was… I don’t know 15? I’ve always thrown Halloween parties for my friends. Minus last year (because I had a really small baby and was just not up to the task), and one year where someone else threw a party. So at present that’s at least 10 years of Halloween parties. Now, I’m not a bash thrower. My guest list has never had more than 12 people, because beyond that it’s too hard to control. Everyone’s favourite part of any Halloween Party is usually the party food. Generally, I stick to potlucks because no one really sticks around for clean up, and it’s always been BYOB.

treats, candy, baking, food, snacks, party food.

A little insight to my Halloweens: My parties always have a certain structure. It might seem predictable, but it’s what keeps my friends looking forward to it every year. A little predictability makes people more at ease, because they know what to expect. We always have some video games set up so some guests play while others mingle. There is always a Classic Horror or a ‘B’ horror flick. ‘Spooky Scary Skeletons’ somehow always ends up being played. And finally, there is always a mountain of food. I used to mostly have frozen pizzas because it’s easier to appease 12 different people with different tastes when just about everyone likes pizza. But as my parties have shrunk, I’ve been cooking a bit more.

This year will be the first Halloween Party I throw with Cog! So, I’ve found party food recipes for everyone! I’ve also found easy treats that aren’t too unhealthy for Cog to munch on too.

Snacks: Because Life Ain’t All About the Sugar!

Pumpkin Seeds

If you’ve never had pumpkin seeds, where have you BEEN, man? Pumpkin seeds are where it’s at and are probably one of my favourite Halloween snacks. If you have yet to gut your pumpkin, you know what to do now. Waste not want not, people!

Pumpkin Shaped Cheese Ball

I made this delicious treat last year to bring to my neighbors party! It tastes perfect on crackers and chips. It’s got the perfect amount of kick to it, making it a snack to taste over and over. Be sure to keep a spread knife nearby as this thick cheese ball goes on heavy!

Tangerine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These cute little numbers are easy as pie to make. No screwing up this recipe! I’ve heard of the banana ghosts being called “Boo-Nanas” before and somehow I think that makes these little goodies even more adorable. What I love about cute little ideas like this is that you know exactly what you are getting. Simple and sweet.

Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups

This idea is absolutely adorable. A really nice way to dress up fruit for a party. At Halloween parties, I always find, at some point your mouth has had enough of the candy, and is ready for something good and healthy and these festive little guys are the perfect way to enjoy it.

Treats: Because What’s Halloween Without Sugar?

Candy Corn Fudge

I made this goodie on Thursday and it is gives you an awesome sugar rush! Perfect for people with a big sweet-tooth. The instructions didn’t really say the best way to cut this, but if you cut half inch strips out of the fudge, you can then cut the triangles for the perfect candy corn shape out of that.

Tip: When cutting, do so on wax or parchment paper. It stuck like crazy to my cutting board.

Vampire Hot Chocolate

So I made this tasty beverage, and my mouth was so happy. My husband clutched his hand to his chest and went “OHHH!” about six times. Gear is a bit of a chocoholic, so he nearly flipped for this yummy drink. I skipped out on the sugary blood drippings because I honestly don’t have any cups that it would look cool on so I thought “Why bother”, haha. This drink is a really cute way to ramp up the Halloween spirit.

Oreo Witches Hats

Ok, so these treats are just about the cutest little things. Oreo’s and strawberries to make witch hats? Who would have thought! My store didn’t have black melting wafers that the recipe called for, so I used dark chocolate and it turned out pretty ok. They tasted soooo yummy!

Dinner: Because Snack Food Isn’t a Meal

Toxic Waste Mac and Cheese

This recipe is actually very similar to the one we use on a regular basis for our homemade mac-n-cheese. There are just with a few extra spices! And, I mean, ours is usually less green. HA. I used Broccoli instead of cauliflower, and it added a brighter pop. but if you want a more consistent colour, go with the cauliflower. You could use an old coffee tin, or a cauldron for display, The blogger who made this used an empty paint tin.

 

Check out my other Halloween Posts:
How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween
Is My Halloween Costume Racist?
The Absolute Best Things to Do in October

 

Let me know if you guys try any of these recipes!

How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween

So, Halloween is pretty much my favourite holiday. I just love baking tons of treats and sharing them with my friends. It’s a time for dressing up, having fun, and gorging out on delicious, delicious sugary treats. Honestly, I don’t understand when people don’t love it, it’s great! However, there are things to be cautious of, as with any holiday. Like, no matter how much I love Halloween I still tell people to be careful because you can’t trust that everyone else will be in the same good spirit.

Halloween Safety Tips, Keeping Your Kids safe this halloween, how to keep kids safe for halloween

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Every year I urge people to keep their pets inside. Fireworks can scare your pets, and potentially make them run away. And truth be told I’ve heard some pretty horrific stories about people harming animals as a ‘prank’, some leading to animal death. So it’s always a good idea to keep your fuzzy friends indoors for the night.

Another thing I like to remind people of is to be considerate of anybody in their neighbourhood that has PTSD. Since fireworks can often sound like guns, it can be triggering for Veterans or survivors of shooting. If you are dead-set on using fireworks, it’s a good idea to let those neighbours know that you plan to, and maybe offer them some earplugs as a gesture of good-will.

But I digress. Getting back to the point of this post: Halloween is pretty much the best adventure a kid can have, and as long as they keep safe and follow these guidelines, they are sure to have a fantastic time!

Reflective/Light-Up Gear

Now that it’s autumn and it gets darker a bit earlier, it’s a good idea to have your kids wear something to help them be visible in the dark. This is especially important in areas that might not have that many streetlamps, or if your child’s costume is dark. Drivers are generally a bit more cautious around Halloween because they know kids could jaywalk, but not everyone is a safe driver. Having your child be visible on the road will help keep them safe. Reflective tape works, or if you have an old dog collar that is reflective, they could use it as an armband. You can also buy LED armbands or key-chains that can flash or give solid light. I’ve seen some people use flashlights too (but let’s be real, their hands will be full, hahaha)

Check Halloween Candy

Although almost every rumor of pins, needles and poisoned candy is a hoax, there have been a small handful that have been true. In fact, most of these have been committed by family members. But, why chance something that doesn’t take very long to check? You never know if one year someone is going to take those stories as a malicious inspiration. Once they are done trick or treating, get them to dump their haul on the floor; inspect the seams of the candy, or see if the packaging looks deflated. If there are no holes, cuts or other things that raise alarm, the candy is safe! Anything else should be tossed, at the very least if it’s not tampered with it’s probably stale. If you’re extra paranoid, you can always make sure to break candy bars in half before they are eaten, to be positive there isn’t anything inside.

Discuss Halloween Hazards

Though Halloween is awesome, a lot of people take this fun holiday a little too far. So it’s important to talk to your kids about Halloween hazards. I know generally trick-or-treaters are out early, but that doesn’t mean that people haven’t been getting their drink on early. Make sure your kids are wary of drunk drivers. Fireworks can also happen early if it’s dark enough. If they see someone operating fireworks they should be sure to keep their distance. One of my friends once had debris hit her eye from across the yard! Talk to them about what they should do if they see something dangerous. Maybe someone is playing with fireworks and now there’s a small fire, or maybe some jerks are hurting a cat (happens all

Talk to them about what they should do if they see something dangerous. Maybe someone was playing with fireworks and now there’s a small fire, or maybe some jerks are hurting a cat (happens all too often on Halloween). Let them know to keep their distance from dangers, but to find an adult to help (Just knock on any door with a light! Everyone is ready to answer!) or if they have a phone, to call 911.

Go Over Basic Road Safety

This might seem like a no-brainer, especially if your kids already know the drill. The thing is though, Halloween is so exciting for kids that they forget the rules sometimes. Remind your kids never to jaywalk and encourage them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. If they have dark clothes but have visibility gear on them, they should make sure it’s visible while crossing the road.

Keep in Groups

If you won’t be trick-or-treating with your child you should make sure they are in groups. If they stay in groups they will be less likely to get lost if they too get eager about exploring different neighbourhoods for candy. It will ensure that if someone gets hurt, that they have people with them to help out.

 

Do you have any tips for keeping things safe on Halloween? Please share them with us in the comments, and remember to have a safe, fun, and Happy Halloween!

Is My Halloween Costume Racist?

Over the years, more and more people have been realizing that it’s not okay to dress up as a stereotype. But somehow, costume stores still carry racist costumes. It seems that the lines can be a little blurred at times. This is generally a white people thing, but other races aren’t immune to acts of racism.

I feel I should preface this by stating that I am a white woman. I am not the voice for all cultures, but I will use my privilege as a platform to do my best to help. People seem to think that people of other backgrounds are being overly sensitive, without considering why it bothers them so much. Hint: When you deal with microaggressions and dog-whistle racism on a daily basis, you get kind of fed up (not to mention hate crimes).

So, here we go, let’s tackle this thing.

is my halloween costume racist, racism, costumes, outfits, prejudice, bias

Race Costumes

Generally, nowadays most people know that it’s not kosher to dress up in blackface/brownface/yellowface/redface. But I’m still gonna say right now, for those of you who might not know it, don’t dress up as a disgusting generalization of a race. It’s disgusting that there is still an abundance of costumes that you find that are like “Mexican Guy” fully equipped with sombrero, poncho, taco, and moustache. If you don’t know why it’s wrong to dress like that I’m not sure if I can help you. I mean, I’ll try, but, not sure you’ll get it.

Question: Isn’t my costume funny?
Answer: No. It’s wrong. It’s not funny. People and their culture are not a joke. Someone’s heritage is not a joke. Try to imagine that someone took something very important to you, part of your identity, part of your family’s identity, part of your friend’s identity and shat on it. They make fun of it, they laugh at it, they’ve made something integral to your identity a joke. Suddenly it’s not funny anymore. It’s not a joke, it’s an attack.

Question: Isn’t it okay if I’m not actually racist? I love [race/country]!
Answer: You might not think you are racist, but the fact that you think that a costume representing a race is okay shows that you still have a-ways to go. Casual racism often goes unnoticed by ourselves because it is almost innate in our everyday interactions, and what we see in the media. So, though you might not perceive yourself to be bigoted, you undoubtedly have thoughts reinforced by society’s bigotry. (common examples include thinking: Chinese people are bad drivers, black people are thugs, all Indian people smell like curry… saying things like “I’m not racist, but…”)

Question: But what if I’m wearing my costume ironically? My costume is a racist idiot!
Answer: Is it really ironic? You are still buying a costume and giving your money to a company, telling them that it’s okay to keep manufacturing these awful costumes. People are not going to know just by looking at you that you are wearing it ironically. When a racist person sees you wearing a racist costume, it reinforces their opinion that other races are not on the same level as them. It tells them that it’s okay to think of other races as a joke, and it tells them they are not alone in their awful opinions. So even if you’re wearing it ‘ironically’ and you ‘don’t really mean it’, you’re still a part of the problem.

Cultural Influences

I have to admit that even I partook in this one before I ever knew what cultural appropriation was. I painted my face like a catrina (skull), wore a poncho, and one of those black hats with a ball fringe. It wasn’t to be offensive. I was wearing it because I was genuinely interested in Day of the Dead. Dia de Muertos is a cool thing. But the thing is, it’s not my cool thing to turn into a costume. It’s an important part of Mexican heritage. This article from Bustle lays out some pretty good outlines.

Characters

Characters are where the line starts to get a bit fuzzy. Especially when it comes to children in costumes. Dressing up as a character is generally fine, regardless of race, as long as the character isn’t wearing an outfit that crosses over into the other two sections I’ve listed. Like, if your white kid wants to dress up as Mulan, go for it, but don’t dress up as Mulan when she’s visiting the matchmaker/singing Reflection.

I feel conflicted on this sometimes, because I feel that for adults the standard should be a little bit different. It might be a bit more questionable for a white adult to dress as a character of colour. After all, in 2017 there was like, what? Maybe 5 movies with lead characters that were POC? How many movies starred white people? Pretty much all of them. I don’t see anything wrong with people of colour dressing up as white characters. However, I feel like, at some point, white people need to step back and let others have the characters that they relate to.

Do you have any other thoughts on this that I didn’t mention? Are there any stories of a time where you were insulted by a costume? Do you disagree with anything I’ve said? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Absolute Best Things to do in October

This season is so beautiful with all the leaves turning, and the air becoming crisp. Not to mention being able to bundle up in cute sweaters and the aroma of pumpkin spice wafting through the air. Is there anything not to love about October?

fall, halloween, october, pumpkin, apple, haunted, spooky

October is one of my favourite months of the year, so much so that I even got married in it. This year my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary! He got me a bonsai tree, and I made him a wooden ring. We’ve been rechecking our budget and saving up for Christmas so we didn’t do anything crazy. We went bowling, had sushi, and bought some tins from David’s Tea (They have my favourite, ‘Stormy Night’ in stock right now).

Anyways, I’ll get to the part y’all came here for. The fun things to do!

Check Out Local Haunted Houses

Some people in your neighbourhood might set them up. I’ve seen Scouts set up haunted houses before. Here in Vancouver our theme park (Playland) does Fright Nights where they open up various haunted houses and rides. Basically, other than ones set up by your neighbours, you might be able to check out the newspaper or online for ones in your area. If not, I’d bet you could find an escape room with a haunted theme.

Find the Best PSL

Joke all you will, but Pumpkin Spice Lattes are where it’s at. Don’t harsh a flavour. Finding the best Pumpkin Spice Latte is honestly miraculous. Once you find your dream one, you can skip anything less than perfect. I don’t have any independent cafe’s (total bummer) in my suburb so I haven’t had the chance to try any small coffee shop PSL’s. But as far as chain shops here’s my rating: Tim Hortons PSL is god-awful. McDonald’s is pretty alright. Starbucks has the best of the three. Knowing is half the battle.

Seasonal Photos

Fall is one of the best seasons to take photos. The colours are so vibrant! It’s perfect for scenery shots, or a family photo shoot. I took a super cute picture of my little Cog playing in the fallen leaves, it is absolutely adorable! The next two suggestions I have are also perfect places to take photos.

Apple Picking in an Orchard

I’ve not actually done this myself yet but I plan to go this year! My neighbours went last year and made delicious apple-y goodies. They made pie, apple butter, applesauce, apple cider. It all tasted so good! And the picturesque scenery of an orchard would be perfect to capture some beautiful memories in photos.

Pumpkin Patch

I know buying a pumpkin from the store is just so much more convenient, but nothing beats going to a pumpkin patch. If you buy from the store you miss out on hay bale rides, barn animals, the awesome photo ops. It makes finding a pumpkin more of an adventure when you have to run around a field to find the perfect one. Also, when you go to a store, your options are so limited. If you’ve got a super cool idea of what to carve, and you need just the right shape, your best bet is a pumpkin patch.

Bake Pumpkin Seeds

What better thing to do after gutting your pumpkin than to enjoy the proverbial fruits of your labour? Get all your (washed) seeds in a bowl, drizzle a little oil over-top, add some salt, and toss it in the oven. Easy-peasy and a nice snack.

Leaf Crunching

It’s really all about the simple pleasures in life. To me, one of the best things in autumn is leaf crunching. Going for a walk through a trail, breathing in the crisp air and leaves crunching underfoot. Is there anything quite so satisfying? My little one is big enough to join her dad and I on our annual leaf crunching adventures and it is honestly the best. I feel like October is the best month for this. It might be because here in Vancouver it’s pretty much guaranteed to be soggy past October.

Find the Best-Decorated House

Now, I know people don’t quite go all out for Halloween like they do at Christmas time, but you can find some pretty neat houses! There’s one house in California that decks out their house every year, you can always find videos of it on youtube. But there are sure to be plenty you can find just by driving around your neighbourhood. If there are some really nice ones they might even highlight them in your local newspaper.

Inktober

Doesn’t matter if you are a little late to the game, Inktober is about stretching your artistic muscles. The goal is to have a picture done in ink for every day of October, but no one is going to scold you if you skip a few days. There is an official website that has prompts if you have a hard time coming up with ideas of your own. If you have kids you can get them in on it too! I’ve seen someone post prompts suggesting easier things like pumpkins, leaves and ghosts for smaller kids. Honestly, you can even take the “ink” part with a grain of salt. Some people just use pencil, others use watercolour, others paint. Take what you want from it and make it yours. Inktober is all about fun!

 

Anything you love doing this season? Let us know in the comments!!

Perspective on Parenting: Dealing With the Loss of Identity After Becoming a Parent

The other morning I was out for a walk with my mom. We were talking about life, struggles, and the like. I was telling her about how I feel that parenting is really humbling. You go into it with all of these preconceived notions about how things are going to be, and what kind of parent you are going to become. You think that things won’t be so hard, because you have a plan. But things don’t go according to plan.

All the beautiful blog posts you’ve saved to Pinterest from all the super-moms who seem to have their whole life together. It’s part of your plan. You will have a beautiful seamless life, you will be a super-parent just like all those bloggers. But you don’t and you aren’t. Because in your excitement and ambition of wanting to be a good parent, and raise the perfect kid, there’s something that you forgot about.

Yourself.

Sure, you know to some extent that your life is going to change. You know you’ll be very tired. But it’s so much more than that. The emotional toll of giving 100% 24/7 is immeasurable. You fall apart, you don’t feel like you have an identity anymore, you feel like you’ve lost yourself.

What’s worse is that there are so many people who want to judge how you parent. The shame posts you see on the parenting forums that condemn certain ways of parenting are seemingly never-ending. Judging people for using a harness, screen time, cry-it-out, or not having eyes on your kid at every waking moment. Taking a few minutes to look at your phone while your kid plays generates comments from passers-by. It feels like all eyes are on you, and holding you to their own standards of what you should be.

People forget when you are a mom (moms get this way more than dads) that you are a person of your own. People judge like you have no right to any time to yourself. They’ll judge a messy house, yet condemn you for cleaning while your kid is left to their own devices.

Eventually though, you are able to regain control; but you have to lower your expectations for yourself.  And it takes a while, but you need to parent like people aren’t watching. You’ve got to stop feeling ashamed of taking time for yourself. For me, it took some time before I began to think “You know what? Maybe I’m not a crummy mom for letting my kid watch a couple episodes of Paw Patrol while I take a moment to myself.”

I was so hung up on the idea that any screen time was going to ruin my daughter. But one day she was sick and had no energy. She needed to be entertained, but didn’t have the energy to play. Gear and I were sick too, and didn’t have the energy to entertain her either. So we watched Moana. And you know what? Her brain didn’t melt out of her ears. She didn’t want to stop going outside or stop playing. And I realized that I could use this to take some me time in the future.

The thing is, as a parent, you’ve got to look after yourself. It’s not shameful to ask for help sometimes. You aren’t weak for needing a break. You are good enough. And you know what? Your kid won’t be perfect, but they’ll be perfect to you, and you can bet your butt that as they grow, they will want you to be happy. Your kid would be mortified when they grow older if they found out that your life basically stopped when you had them. So for your sake, and your family’s sake, go on a date! Enjoy your hobbies! Get stuff done! I promise, things will look up.

Munchkin 360 Degree Training Cup Review

Ok guys, so, very seldom I come across a product that is so great that I could shout about it from the rooftops. But I have found one, and it is the Munchkin 360  Degree Training Cup. My daughter has been having an impossible time trying to transition to big kid cups from her sippy and straw cups. Every time she tries to bring it to her mouth, the bottom of the cup would be below her chin and whoosh, she’d be drenched. There have been countless outfit changes, countless towels soaking up spills, and countless occasions of a very frustrated toddler. So I started wondering if there was such a thing as a training cup. After a quick google search, I found that there are a few different ones on the market. I bought the Munchkin one because it looked easy to clean and easy to use.

sippy cup how to teach your baby toddler to use a cup

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One of the best things about this cup is the 360° function. I love that Cog can drink from all sides without any trouble. Basically, whenever her lips press down on one of the silicone edges it makes a small opening that allows the liquid to pass into her mouth. The design is dentist recommended too! Sippy cups seem to be getting some flack in the dentist community because of the spouts getting sugars get behind the teeth, but the spoutless design of this cup allows the fluid to flow into the mouth naturally.

I love that it is virtually spill proof. I say ‘virtually’ because let’s face it, with kids, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The only way Cog has been able to make it spill is either by throwing it on the floor or by pressing on the sides while holding it sideways or upside-down. But if she decides she’s done with her drink and lays it down on the floor, it won’t spill. If she knocks it over it won’t spill (unless dropped from a hight). And if she shakes it, it won’t spill. Honestly, this thing is teaching her how to behave with a cup without all the mess.

sippy cup how to teach your baby toddler to use a cup

This cup is super easy to clean. It has 3 pieces: the cup, and two pieces which make up the valve. It’s top rack dishwasher safe, and since none of the pieces are too tiny you don’t have to worry about them getting lost. What’s great is that after your kid has mastered the training cup, you can just take off the valve, and let it function as a regular cup.

You can buy it here on Amazon.ca or here on Amazon.com

Recipe Round-up: 6 Cheesy Recipes to Sneak in Veggies

hidden vegetables, hidden veggies, sneaky veggies, cheese, cheesy, recipes

Lately, I’ve been having a little bit of a problem. A veggie problem. Or to be more specific a little-monkey-that-refuses-to-eat-her-veggies problem. It drives me absolutely bonkers when I try to cook a well-balanced meal and she tosses it all on the floor. If she so much as sees a vegetable in her meal, she won’t even give it a test bite. It’s already black-listed as far as she’s concerned. Sometimes if Cog doesn’t notice the vegetable right away, and it does actually manage to make it in her mouth, she separates whatever else is in her mouth and spits out only the vegetable.

That being said, this problem is not with my daughter alone. Both Gear and I also need to sneak veggies in for ourselves from time to time. Usually, we just toss some kale or spinach into a smoothie. But as far as meals go, we are big lovers of comfort food. Big hearty meals loaded with flavour, and well, not that many vegetables to be quite honest. I’m a big fan of meals where you hardly notice that there are any vegetables at all. If we can’t taste them, it’s so much easier to eat them. And, if I’m being perfectly frank, it’s nice to have the veggies in a meal rather than having green smoothies all the time.

You can only blend cauliflower into mashed potatoes so many times before it gets boring, so here’s a few recipes that I’ve found leave you wanting more.

Creamy Avocado Spinach Pasta – Jo Cooks

I’m a big pasta-head, I can hardly get enough of it. This recipe takes things to the next level. It’s is so smooth and creamy. And the parmesan in the sauce? MUAH! beautiful! The recipe calls for spaghetti or fettuccini, but I think that if you wanted to make it a veg loaded recipe, you could even make zucchini noodles for it!

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet – Primavera Kitchen

Every time I make this I’m so happy with how easy and tasty it is! I especially love that it only uses one pan. My husband loves it, I love it, and most importantly my picky toddler gobbles it all up. Now, the veggies might not be super concealed in this recipe, but when it’s all mixed up and stuck together with ooey-gooey mozzarella, who could say no?

Cheezy Zucchini Tots – Lil’ Luna

These tiny tots positively BURST with flavour. My mom had cooked these a little while back, and I begged her to send me the recipe. I’ve got to say, these are the tastiest dang tots I’ve ever eaten in my life (yes, that includes ‘tater tots). You can have these as a delightful little snack, or a great side to have with breakfast, brunch or brinner.

Cauliflower Cheddar Fritters – Gimme Delicious

 This is yummy with a capital Y-U-M. Gear took one bite, looked at me and said “You have to make these again!”. When I made these I didn’t properly get all the water out of the cauliflower so they fell apart a little bit, but they still tasted just as awesome. Be sure to blot the oil off of them after to keep it light!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Little Miss Kate

This recipe comes from a fellow Canadian (and mom) blogger! So first off, mac n’ cheese? Yum. Butternut Squash? Double yum. Put ’em together and you’ve got a tasty dream come true that your little one won’t think twice about.

Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken Chili – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Tacos are pretty much the best thing ever, but when you make taco chili? I’m pretty sure that’s the best thing ever. This recipe is loaded with good-for-you ingredients but doesn’t taste like it. No kid will question it.

 

Have any favourite hidden veggie recipes? share it with us in the comments!

Harrow County Volume 1 Review

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So, some of you might know this about me, but before becoming a mom I worked at a comic shop. After having Cog my boss would have the occasional staffing hiccup, so I’ve picked up a few shifts. One of the new staff members and I were chatting about what kind of horror we like. I told her that, while I’m not into excessive gore or torture stuff, I’m into creepy things. She eagerly asked me how I felt about witches, and it took me a second to respond because I wasn’t sure if she was talking about witches or ‘Wytches‘ (which is next on my reading list). After I told her that I LOVE witches, she recommended Harrow County.

Before I talk about the plot, I’ve just got to say, the art in Harrow County is gorgeous. Instead of colouring digitally, Tyler Crook (the artist) used watercolor. Personally, I find the texture that can be achieved in watercolor really brings a whole ‘nother level to horror comics. In fact, when Gear and I finally get around to working on our comic, I hope to use watercolor as well. Crook uses thick bold lines for the characters, and more delicate, fine lines for the details. One thing that I find especially interesting is that, other than the night-time scenes which used mostly cool colours, the comic mainly uses warm colours which is pretty unusual for a horror comic.

The characters in this book are brought to life by the fact that they look like average people. Not super-models. The main character, Emmy, looks rather ordinary which makes her seem all the more interesting with how fantastical her story is.

countless haints, ghosts, horror comic, comic reviews, comic book reviews, harrow county

Getting on to the plot (there will be some spoilers), the story starts off telling the story of the witch Hester Beck. She was a healer to the townsfolk, a friend, but also did some sinister, shady things that the people could no longer ignore. They beat her, they shoot her, they hang her, and finally, they burn her. As she burns she tells the townsfolk that she will return.

The story then follows a girl named Emmy on the cusp of her 18th birthday. She lives on a farm with her Pa, somewhere in southern USA (circa 1930, judging by the fashions). The closer she gets to her birthday, the more strange things start happening around her. The livestock are getting sick. She’s having nightmares. Things start to get strange when she goes out to walk through the forest near her farm and sees a boy. Emmy tries to call out to him and he runs. She chases after him, and warns him not to go a certain way because there are thorns and brambles. He still runs. She follows through the brambles and finds flesh. A sentient flesh, of the boy who ran through.

I won’t say any more than that about the plot because honestly guys, you need to read Harrow County for yourself. It is sooooo good. It kept me very engaged while I was reading it. There are many comics that I feel I can set down and pick up later, but this one was one that I couldn’t set down. I put it up there with Locke and Key, and Coraline.

I enjoyed this comic so much, that I’ve already put out an order for volume two! The trade for Vol. 1 included character sketches, notes, watercolor tests, as well as the original script for the first volume (which was originally intended to be an online serial!).

If you guys decide to read it, let me know what you think!!

15 Awesome and Unusual Date Ideas

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It’s been awhile since Gear and I have had the chance to get out and go on a date. I feel like we’ve been stuck in an “I don’t know what do you want to do”, or “Let’s just go to a movie” rut. The kidlet takes up a lot of our energy so that’s usually how we default. We’ve just been plum out of ideas or gusto to do anything. Dates are so important to maintaining a relationship though. Just taking time to focus on each other, and do something fun or silly together is positively peachy. So I’ve been working on some ideas to put in our date night queue.

A date can create a moment that you’ll cherish in your memory, and strengthen your bond. The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be with a romantic partner. Friend dates are important too. So if you are dating/married/single/whatever any one of these dates are a great time.

Pillow/Blanket fort

Drape up blankets or spare curtains, hang them on any high surface you can! You aren’t limited to throwing a blanket over top of chairs like you were when you were a kid! Got a floor lamp? Bookshelf? Toss a blanket over it! If you’ve got a hook in your ceiling you’ve pretty much got it made. Clothes pins will be your best friend for this. Set up some fairy lights to set the whimsical mood. Heap quilts and pillows on the floor to make a comfy nest. What do you do when your fort is all done? Set up a flick and cozy up together with some popcorn. Ramp it up by making it an indoor camping event. Roast marshmallows over the stove, make some s’mores cones, or use flashlights and tell scary stories! It’s honestly sooooo fun!

Safety Tip: Don’t use candles in the blanket fort, if a blanket comes loose you really don’t want a fire.

Shoot Pool

Ok, so this might not seem that unusual, but it’s definitely a good time! I feel like people don’t really think of pool when they think of a date. But it’s excellent because you get to be playfully competitive, and able to have a conversation. There’s also something to be said about the atmosphere around pubs and pool halls. Not to mention there’s usually some good food to be had. The bonus is that if you shoot pool on a first date, it’s in a good public space that you’ll be able to bail from pretty easily if things go south.

Go to the Playground

Let out your inner kid! I mean, if you’ve got kids this might just be a bad idea cause you probably hit the park all the time, but if you don’t, it’s so fun. Pushing each other on the swings, sliding down slides, attempting the monkey bars with your weak grown-up arms that don’t have nearly the strength that you had when you were eight… It’s such a good time! Top it off with a slushie and some Dunk-a-roos to really feel like a kid again.

Dress Up Fancy and Hit the town

I don’t even mean going to fancy places or anything. Just walk around town and take a bazillion photos. Go to the least formal places you can think of, just for fun. Go to like, Chuck-E-Cheese in your fancy clothes. Stand in a ball-pit, in a semi-formal dress or suit. You’ll look like weirdos but You’ll be laughing too hard to care.

Themed Restaurant

I once went to a restaurant in Vancouver called The Dark Room. The gimmick is that all the light is blocked out, you can’t even see what you are eating. It was such an interesting experience and trying to share food was hilarious, and it added a whole layer of fun having to feel around the table. There are themed restaurants all over the world from rude cafes to restaurants where you use sign language to order. Eating out at a place like this ups your dinner date to an experience, rather than just a dinner.

Bake-Off

See who can bake the best of a certain treat. Y’all have to make… I don’t know, pineapple upside-down cake or something. Then judge whose turned out better. If you are competitive and can’t admit defeat, find someone else to judge. Loser has to deal with the fact that they are the inferior baker (and wash the dishes).

Pick Outfits

Either raid each other’s closets or go to the mall. Pick out clothes that you think they’d look good in, or really bad in (just for funsies). Take pics of the worst offenders for the scrapbook, and for the best ones, you wear them to the next date.

Paint Night At A Bar

Another one that isn’t all that unusual, I know. But it’s still not your standard date. Paint nights have been increasing in popularity the past few years. Not only do you get to have a great time, and let your creative juices flow, but you also gain a memento to remember the evening by.

Come Up With the Next Blockbuster

Some of the times I enjoy most with my husband is when we talk about universes and characters that we are making up for comic books that we are working on. There are so many awesome ideas to be had, and coming up with them together and creating a world together is pretty amazing,

Read Craigslist Personal Ads Together

Ok, so, have you ever read the personals or Missed Connections? Some of them are a flipping riot. It’s even better when you do the voices when you read them out. Brings that extra level of sass to the table that makes it an A+ time.

Black-Tie Bowling

This is something one of my sisters did with her friends yeeeaaars ago. They all wore their prom dresses and tuxes to the bowling alley. This was some time after they all had graduated, and it wasn’t anywhere near prom season, so they seemed totally out of place. Added an extra level of difficulty for those in the gowns.

Tell Bad Jokes or Puns While Trying to Befriend Crows

I’ve gotta put one outlandish thing in here, right?? So, I have this thing with crows. I think they are so fascinating. There’ve been so many studies on them that show their extra level of cool (Cracked has a pretty neat post on some crow facts). But befriending birds takes patience, so you might as well tell bad jokes while you’re at it. The worse the better. In fact, you should just murder the jokes (get it?).

Debate Team

Sometimes arguing can be fun, and it’s good to get it out in a controlled way, where nobody is attacking anyone. There’s a game called Superfight which is honestly such a fun game. When I worked at a hobby shop I recommended this one to people all the time. Of course, you don’t have to buy a game to debate, you can pick topics and go wild.

Netflix & Doodle

Not diddle, DOODLE! Although, who am I to tell you not to diddle if you want to. In any case, toss a show or movie up on Netflix and draw together. One thing that’s always fun (to me at least), is drawing different body parts. Split up the drawing into segments and don’t let each other see what you are doing, but give guidelines to know where they are supposed to pick up.

Go Thrifting

Check out thrift shops, garage sales, estate sales or, if you are broke, dumpster dive. I know dumpster diving probably doesn’t scream “good time”, but I knew someone once who went behind a fancy furniture store turns out the store was getting rid of a two-hundred dollar mirror because there was a scuff on it. Some stores toss out display models for old products as well.

Have any fun, weird ideas to share? Let us know in the comments!