Tuesday, 21 October 2014

I had to buy a bigger diaper bag!

Hello few people who might still be glancing at my blog.  It has been over a year since I have posted here.  There has been so much that has happened in that time span.  Products and recipes tested,  places visited, first house purchased and WE ADDED A NEW BABY BEAR to our funny little family!  We welcomed his arrival October 2013 and we have been busy, little bears ever since.  But I need to blog.  I need to prattle about daily life, about my love of cooking and baking, of being a momma bear, about some of the cool products and things I am lucky enough to get to try!  Be prepared for posts!  My goal is to try and post at least once a week for now and we shall see where it goes from there.  So sit back with a hot coffee (because I always drink mine lukewarm, not by choice!) and check out my new digs,  the lovely edibles I make in my kitchen and bits and pieces of life.......I find at the bottom of the diaper bag.
The oldest bear cub and I

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Buffalo Chicken Stew

   Today I am sharing a recipe I created.  I might have to do this more often with the recipes I Frankenstein (I do a lot of tweaking sometimes) in an effort to blog more. 

    Earlier this week I made Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, a recipe I stumbled across on Pinterest.  And reminded me of how much I love anything Buffalo Sauce flavoured.  So I went pin-surfing for more recipes.  I found two different recipes for Buffalo Chicken Soup.  One had a lot of veggies and the other called for six cups of cream and THREE cans of cream of chicken soup!  Needless to say that last one horrified me but I liked the idea of a creamier soup.  So today I created my own version by somewhat combining the two.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Stew
1 tbsp oil or margarine (I used olive oil this time)
2 uncooked chicken breasts, cubed (you could use more but because I was adding lentils I just went with 2)

1/2 onion, finely chopped (so children don't notice it)
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped (see above reason)
fresh mushrooms (optional - you could also use tinned)
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed (next time I might parboil them so it doesn't take so long to cook)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup or more lentils (optional and the amount to your liking - the ones I used were tinned)
cauliflower puree - optional. I puree veggies every so often and freeze them in bags to add an additional dose of vegetables to our meals
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth (you could use chicken broth, I opted for the organic veggie broth.  You could also use homemade)
2 cups/1 carton of Campbell's Stock First Cream Base (you could use 2 cups cream of milk if you prefer, I was just trying this product out to see how I liked it)
1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce (I use the pc brand but you could use hot sauce - and you can add more or less to taste)
1/4 cup flour
a pinch of thyme
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Let's assume you have done your prepping and chopping shall we?  Put the oil or margarine in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the cubed chicken.  Cook until no longer pink and add onion and celery.  Went they start to look translucent, throw in your fresh mushrooms (if using).  Cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

Put the potatoes, carrots and lentils in the slow cooker.  And cauliflower puree, if using.  Add the chicken, onions, celery, and mushrooms from the frying pan.  Add two cups water, two cups broth, the Campbell's Stock First, and the half cup of Buffalo Sauce to the slow cooker.
Stir.  The ladle out about a cup and a half of the broth and whisk in the flour.  Add back to slow cooker and add the pinch of thyme.
Cook on high for 6-7 hours. (lessen this time if you parboiled your potatoes).
Ladle out a cup of broth and add a tablespoon of cornstarch.  Mix well.  Add back to pot and repeat this step with the second tablespoon of cornstarch.
Top with grated cheese (Blue if you want to keep with the Buffalo Chicken theme.  I used Havarti) and a drizzle of Buffalo Sauce.
Ta-da!  The perfect dish for a snowy day like today. 



Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bzzing Bees

   I was lucky enough to get in on the latest BzzCampaign for Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Products!  Over the course of the first week I used the face wash and night cream once a day at night, because I do have sensitive skin.  Here's at look at my first week:
Day 1 (December 3rd).  Before I wash my face I scrutinize it in the mirror.  Mm-hmm dry spots around my nose, chin, terrible around my eyebrows and nose ring, topped off with an oily forehead.  Lovely. 
Okay, now for the wait for the hot water to make its way up to the second floor bathroom.  Probably doesn't help that I am running the dishwasher and doing laundry too.  Having read another agents review I was wondering if it was going to sting where I had really dry spots.  It felt refreshing, cool and clean.  AND SMELLED FANTASTIC! On to the cream.  It felt a bit heavy going on but soaked in very quick, leaving my skin feeling silky and soft, with almost a powdered finish.  The cream smells terrific as well.
Day 2.  Have I mentioned how much I love the smell of these products?!  I think starting next week I'll start using it in the morning too, if I can remember to put it in the shower.
Day 3.  Skin feels great.  Flaking around eyebrows has been noticeable reduced.
Day 4.  Having been a long day full of tough decisions, I totally forgot my routine and crashed into bed!
Day 5.  I felt the effect on not using a night cream the next morning, when I awoke with my skin feeling a bit tight.  My husband snitched one of the samples to use on his horrendous dry patches on his legs.   They only appear in the winter and give him much grief. 
Day 6.  Tried some of the night cream on my three year old son, who has some nasty chapping on his chin.  Cleared up by the next day! My skin feels much better today.
Day 7.  Almost no flaking by my eyebrows!  My skin looks happy and youthful to me.  Now to start using it in the morning too!
   So far I have given out 4-5 samples.  One person already reported in: "Day one of face cream, face feeling really smooth! I was worried I'd break out, but I feel great!"
I also tested the Burt's Bees sensitive skin products.  The moisturizer worked a treat on sunburns, better than the aloe stuff I normally use.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Big Boy Bed and Dreamlights

    Just this week my little Bear hit a new milestone.  He moved into his new big boy toddler bed.  I didn't cry while I took down his crib but I was nostalgic.  Remembering when I often watched him sleep when he was brand new.  How amused he was with his mobile in the beginning.  The first time we walked into his room to discover him standing up, smiling.
    Bear was very excited about this new development.  Especially because it means he now had his very own pillow.  Very exciting stuff when you are a toddler.  The first night he jumped into his new bed before I could pick him up and sing to him.  And he didn't want me to when I asked him (now that almost made me cry lol).  He stayed in bed all night.  No pitter patter of little feet on the floor were heard.
   Bear has been skipping naps for awhile now so I have instituted "Quiet Time", so for an hour and a half everyday around naptime, Bear is to play quietly in his room.  Too bad the quiet part is lost on Bear.  But at least he seems to know at bedtime he is to stay in his bed.  Two nights in a row now, keeping my fingers crossed.
   We had to move things around in his room to accommodate the new bed.  Which means we had to move the Thomas nightlight to another wall, and it no longer seems adequate, as it is blocked in by some furniture.  The little critter shaped one we got him at IKEA awhile ago is a little bright.  I'm a bzzagent and today's daily bzz campaign is for Dreamlights.    It is 6 solar powered LED lights that dance and float in a jar, like fireflies.  It says it is very easy to recharge in a sunny spot.  I would love to give one of these a try, as a couple of Bear's favourite shows have had episodes dealing with fireflies and he had so hoped to see some at camp this summer.  This might be the answer to our nightlight problem, and they look beautiful. I love how one website has advertised them as "soothing cruelty free lights!"  Perhaps we shall be given a chance to try one out!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


  As parents I think we sometimes fail to see the bonds our kids create with their silent, stuffed friends.  My Bear has had a stuffed seahorse that plays lullabyes since he was 6 months old.  It has been dropped so many times it doesn't play properly anymore.  Bear chewed open one of the fins on it's back while teething.  As tattered as it is, Bear refuses to sleep without it.
  We recently took a trip to Belleville to visit our family.  Packing seahorse was on my last minute list of things to do.  And at the very last minute, I forgot to do just that.  So you can imagine my panic and Bear's sorrow when bedtime at his grandparents arrived and there was no familiar face in his pack-and-play.  I apologized profusely, I felt TERRIBLE.  Cousins to the rescue.  His awesome cousins piled stuffed toy after stuffed toy of there own in with Bear.  After snuffling and sniffling for awhile, he finally gave in to sleep.
   Daddy came up later that week to join us and thoughtfully brought along seahorse.  One would think Bear would be overjoyed to see his bedtime companion.  Nope.  He started crying, and screeching at her, pushing her away and even throwing her to the floor.  What was being witnessed?  Betrayal.  How dare seahorse show up and try to save the day after he had been without her practically all week.  While the adults were on a soother-finding mission, Bear finally forgave seahorse and curled up, hugging it tightly.
   I won't lie.  I was amazed at Bear's display of emotions.  And I will NEVER forget seahorse again.

Friday, 17 June 2011


   For years I dreamed about how, when I had children, I would be THAT Mom.  The one who played and set up lots of activities and crafts.  Who would sing all day and make stories and bake loads of goodies.  Who would smile and would never run out of patience.  Who would know just what to do.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that I am not THAT Mom.  I like to create stories but my little Bear isn't old enough to play into them yet.  I get bored of doing the same thing over and over again although my dear one obviously delights in it.  I often don't find the time to bake goodies.  And where was that unending fountain of patience which I was to draw upon? What happened to all my finely laid plans?
   I took Bear "camping" for a few days.  Which means we stayed in a nice, cushy RV with satellite tv, running water (no hot water though), BBQ and other amenities.  My focus was to try and understand Bear better.  He knows how to push my buttons and since turning two has taken it upon himself to be a model toddler and throw some wicked tantrums.  The one thing that drives me nuts more than anything is that when we go out without the stroller, because Bear likes to walk and ride in carts, that walking with the Bear is like dragging along a large tuna fish, flopping and flapping out of water. He also thinks that he need not hold hands.  I figured that I could slow things down and get a handle on the issue.
We still had our blow ups.  I am ashamed that I sometimes yell, snip or even bargain with him.  But I also found ways to deal with him.  The walking greatly improved if I constantly kept up a stream of chatter or singing with him.  When he throws a fit I have to repeat myself calmly until he calms down.  We both need to be "gentle" with each other.
I also broke a bunch of my parenting rules.  Some I won't mention because my friends and family might disown me.  His uncle filled him up with freezies.  At the beach, he wore his life jacket and while I caught fish for him I often turned my back on him while he was in the water.  He let me know if he needed help and if I heard a splash I always turned around.  We had the tv on a lot while indoors.  While I was getting cleaned up and packed to go home I put him out front of the trailer to play, looking out the patio doors every few minutes.
  The most important thing I learned on our mini vacation is that my son is very much like me.  He is independent, willful and just a bit dramatic and stubborn.  Perhaps this is why we butt heads.  We had a great time and learned from each other.  So while I may not be THAT Mom, I am something much more wonderful.  I am BEAR'S Mom and that makes me very happy.  Can't wait to go back to camp!