Happy Halloween! I’ve been looking forward to today all month long. I just love Halloween, although over the years I’ve realized that I what I love is the pumpkins, goodies, costumes, and the pretty tame movies – I’d be happy to leave the overly scary or frightening bits out. It all boils down to my very overactive imagination (Garrett, my friends, my family, anyone who has been to a haunted house with me can attest to this).

I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, convinced that someone is in the room, only to turn on the lights and see it’s a jacket hanging on the back of a chair. Or I’ll hear a branch scratch against the window and I’ll jump out of my skin. Just this week Garrett and I were walking around the neighbourhood at night, looking at the decorations when we saw this creepy doll hanging from a lantern as part of someone’s decor. Just as we walked by, the wind caught it and it turned towards us…ever so slow and creepy. Garrett jokingly said it was watching us and would probably follow us home. I kid you not – I looked over my shoulder just about every five minutes convinced I might catch the doll peeking around corners and alleyways, as we made our way home. Even just typing that up gave me goosebumps on my arms, haha.

This year Garrett and I are having a much more low key Halloween than we’ve done some years because even though it’s a Friday night, we both have to work tomorrow. Instead we’re heading over to our friends’ place tonight to watch a scary movie, make dinner and hand out candy – which sounds like the perfect Halloween night for us this year. Some R&R and hanging out with good friends (and candy, of course). I can’t wait to see all the cute kids costumes too. Just like every other year, I’ve made a costume for Whiskey and I also made Cola his first costume too. I have a few little touches to put on them and then I’ll post a photo on Instagram later today.

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Earlier in the week we scooped out our pumpkins (mainly so I could get the seeds out), but since then they’d sat uncarved. Just sad, hollowed out gourds. Before bed last night, we mustered up the last of our energy to finally give them some faces.

Using a small orange pie pumpkin and my big fat green Cinderella pumpkin, I made a little chubby cat. I used florist wire woven through black felt for the whiskers, ears and tail, and the “paws” were little mini pumpkins.

 Garrett got the big huge pumpkin and gave him a goofy face.

This morning I woke up to find this little riddle taped to the big pumpkin…

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Finding the perfect pair of jeans is no easy task. There are so many things to consider like the fit, the stretch of the fabric, the colour…but there is nothing more frustrating about shopping for jeans than finding them too short or too long.

I’ve found that the easiest solution is to buy them longer than you need them and hem them to the exact length that fits you.

how-to-shorten-your-jeans-and-keep-original-hem-video
This method that I’ve been using the last few years really gives you a professional look while keeping the original hem intact. It’s like custom tailored jeans!

I got some new jeans last week and I thought it would be fun to show you how I hemmed them with a little video:

 

 

I’ve found that this really is the easiest way for me to hem my jeans to fit just right while still keeping the look of the original hem. I hope you find this helpful for you too!

When I was growing up, Sunday night dinners were a special ritual. My sister, brother and I would eagerly help mom set the table with the real tablecloth (it was a thick grey wool-like material and I still get all warm and fuzzy inside when I see it in the linen cupboard), we’d carefully light some candles and use the fancy cloth napkins. The whole house would smell amazing – I’m talking real home cooking. The evening would usually wrap up with a yummy homemade dessert (like this apple cake) while watching The Wonderful World of Disney on CBC. At the time it just seemed like something we did, but now that I look back on it I realize that my parents were making a real effort to make those dinners special for us and start the next week on a good note. Isn’t it funny how you really don’t appreciate these things until you’re older?

I remember being at university in first year and the cafeteria was closed on Sunday evenings, so I’d be making something in the microwave and I’d call home to see how everyone was doing and they’d be having a big roast dinner that I could almost smell through the phone. Talk about home sick! After a few times, I’d call and my mom would totally lie and say they were having something I didn’t like just so that I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out, haha.

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Even though it’s just Garrett and I (and two begging dogs) in our little cozy apartment, I still like to make Sunday night dinner feel special. Even if it’s just a couple of candles lit and a simple dinner, it feels different from the usual weeknight meal or the Friday/Saturday night treats. With the colder weather on the way, I’ve been getting back into Sunday night roasts – whether it’s a roast chicken, a slow cooker beef stew or this week’s dish, Garlic-Herb Crusted Sirloin Tip Roast. I served it up with a flavourful gravy and sweet potatoes and broccoli roasted in the oven.

What you’ll need:          Printable Version

  • 1 beef sirloin tip oven roast (about 4 lbs)
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt or salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

garlic-paste

In a small bowl, mash garlic with salt to form a paste. (I used our mojito muddler!)

garlic-herb-mixture

Stir in the oil and remaining seasonings.

garlic-herb-sirloin-tip-roast

Place roast on rack in a roasting pan and pat dry with paper towel. Spread the garlic mixture over the roast.

Roast in the oven at 500°F for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 275°F and roast until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 140°F for medium-rare, about 2 hours. (I made ours 155°F because I like it medium-well)

presidents-choice-meat-thermometer

I recently picked up this electronic meat thermometer that you can leave in while it cooks. Once it reaches the desired temperature, it beeps!

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behr-marquee-paint-one-coat-recycled-glass-stool
When I went to California last month to meet with the team at Behr Paint, I was shocked to see that the new Marquee line can completely cover previously painted surfaces with just one coat. I thought I’d put it up to the test by painting over the brightest paint in our little apartment – our red kitchen stool.

red-stool-ikea-bekvam
Back in 2012, as part of the 10 Tasks in 10 Days Challenge, I painted our unfinished wood IKEA BEKVÄM step stool with bright red paint. At the time, I was using lots of red accents in our kitchen decor.

Over the past two years, my colour palette has gone more towards calm blues and greens – and the big red stool just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I decided to freshen it up with a coat of Behr Marquee Paint in Recycled Glass – a cool light green colour.

behr-paint-marquee-sample-size
I was able to pick up a sample size of the paint in flat finish for less than $5. It took about 3/4 of this container to paint the whole stool. Given that the stool is in a high traffic area and will be used often, I also picked up a matte polyurethane to apply after the paint was dry. This will give it extra protection, while still keeping the flat finish.

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Based on some of the tips I got from my trip to see the folks at Behr, I grabbed a new fabric smaller roller and ditched my usual foam ones (they slide too much!) and got a new good quality 1-1/2″ brush.

painting-setup
I started by washing down the stool with a rag and hot soapy water, and then wiped it again with a clean wet rag. The stool sits in our kitchen area, so I didn’t want to risk that it had any grease marks that could affect the paint. I set up my painting area in the living room, on top of some plastic to protect the floor and carpet. Behr Marquee paint is low VOC, so I wasn’t worried about painting indoors. I did keep the windows open while I painted just to be safe (and because it was a beautiful fall day!)

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Fridays’ posts are usually saved for my favourite things from each week, but I need to address something today before we can get onto the good things that have happened.

With the events that took place this week in Ottawa, my heart has been very heavy. I have family and friends who live there, and thinking about them all being a stone’s throw away from this tragedy was really hard. There have been moments of sadness for the lives lost and moments of anger that this could happen, but mostly I have been proud – of the people who stepped up on that day, doing their part for our country and for the outpouring of love from all over for our nation’s capital. I also can’t help but think of the young soldier who lost his life – Bruce MacKinnon’s cartoon this week explains it perfectly and makes me tear up every time I see it.

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fall-leaves-ontario
Painting the Town Red (and yellow and orange): The trees in our little town have been putting on quite the show this fall. I don’t remember them being this vibrant last year!

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It seems like every corner I turn there is another bright colourful tree that is even more gorgeous than the last. It makes me really appreciate being able to live somewhere that we get to celebrate fall.

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Even with the chilly air, I’ve been loving my walks with the dogs lately. Last weekend we were walking around and I stumbled upon the farmers market. I thought they’d closed up after Thanksgiving, but it turns out that they weren’t over yet.

farmer-market-jam
I didn’t have any money or bags with me, so I walked the dogs home and then headed back out to the market to get our produce for the week.

farmers-market-brussels-sprouts-stalk
I always forget that brussels sprouts grow on a big stalk like this. Such a weird plant, but man is it delicious. I love to roast them in the oven, or chop them up and saute them in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. So simple, but so delicious.

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