Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone, from our family to yours!

What a happy little family... This is what really happens behind the scenes:

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas Eve + Disassembled Chocolate Turtles Snack Mix

Hello there!  How is Christmas Eve already?  I  definitely love Christmas Eve as much as I do Christmas Day, so you better believe Brett and I will be having a relaxing day.  Since we live so close to both his parents and my parents, we rotate having Christmas Eve with one side and Christmas Day with the other (which works out awesome because we get twice the Christmas fun!).

If you are doing some last minute party planning/host preparation, I want to let you in on this little recipe I whipped up for caramalized pecans.  I adapted my recipe from Gimme Some Oven's Candied Pecans recipe.  It is so easy and makes a great snack to have by the Christmas tree or to gift.  I was inspired by chocolate turtles, which I actually don't love *gasp*.  Chocolate turtles are such a staple Christmas chocolate, and I like all the things in them (pecans, caramel, chocolate), but for some reason don't 100% love it all together.  But I digress....

So I decided to make a snack mix with all the things I love that are in chocolate turtles.  And it turned out amazing.

Prep Time: 10 min             Cook Time: 40 min             Yield: 4-6 cups

4 cups pecans (or any nut really, this would also be great with almonds... yum)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg white
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Skor chips
1-2 cups milk or dark chocolate chips (depending on your chocolate preference)

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees
2.  Mix together dry ingredients and skor chips
3.  Whisk egg white until frothy, then add nuts and toss
4.  Add dry ingredients to the nut/egg white mixture and stir well

5.  Coat a pan with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper, aluminium foil would work as well) and spread nuts on pan
6.  Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes, being sure to give the nuts a stir at the 20 minute mark
7.  Remove from oven and let cool until the nuts and sugar coating reach room temperature.

The last thing to do is put the nuts in a storage container or pretty serving dish!  I used these cute mason jars embellished (if you can even call it that) with some bakers twine.

I hope you all have a Christmas Eve and Christmas (or any other holiday you may celebrate) filled with love and all your favorite things. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Sometimes life gets in the way...

Well folks, I am a little disappointed.  Last week (exactly a week ago actually, because this all started to go down on Monday) I started to feel a little off.  By the time Wednesday rolled around I had a full blow flu complete with stuffy nose, achy muscles, sore throat, intense headache and a fever.  Awesome.  Add to that Brett and I moved me home from the city for good (moving while ill is never a fun time) and I have been just exhausted.

Naps with George, pushing fluids and watching Youtube videos is about all I've been able to handle the past week.
I had so many grand plans for this time between the end of exams and Christmas.  I was going to pick up some shifts at work (I love making a bit of money to add to the Europe trip savings account), do some sewing (including beach cover-ups for Cuba and my tulle skirt for grad in January) and do a bunch of baking.  Sadly, I haven't been able to do much of anything other than sleep, watch a bit of TV/beauty bloggers on Youtube, and do a bit of writing for the blog (at least I got that done).

We learned in this post that I am a really terrible patient, and that definitely proved true once again.  I am not always easy on myself.  I love to be busy, even if it is knitting or doing some kind of craft in the evenings while Brett and I watch a show.  I like to have my hands busy.  And this past week (a week where I had tons of stuff I needed to do), I just wasn't up to it.  And I had to be okay with that.  It wasn't easy, but I am definitely thankful for it now that I am feeling a lot healthier.  

I've recently found Emily Ley through another blogger.  She is a blogger/mom/wife/business owner who built her stationary business from the ground up (find out more about her here).  One of her moto's - which I absolutely love - is "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection".  I definitely think that is something we busy ladies need to remind ourselves of frequently.  There is so much pressure now days to be perfect, have the perfect home, perfect hair, perfect everything.  But all we can do is our best, so we should be holding ourselves to a standard of being a kind and good person rather an a perfect person.

Hope you have a good Monday, and a good few days before the holidays!

Friday, 19 December 2014

2014 Christmas Favorites

Christmas has snuck up on us again!  Only 6 days left and I am home for good now.  After writing my last exam of the term on the 16th, Brett and I have been a flurry of productivity in moving me home.  I am still trying to get my bearings and realize that I never have to move away from home again.  I am actually at the farm to stay... Nope, still hasn't sunk in.

In the meantime, I am going to do my Christmas favorites for 2014.  To be fair, last year's Christmas favorites post probably includes most of my all time favorites.  My favorite carol is still Oh Holy Night, I still love jewelry, etc.  But in the interest of not writing the same post over again, I will share some other/new favorites this year.

Smell: This one has actually changed from last year.  My mom introduced me to Willow Tree Collections, which is a store in our nearest city of Moose Jaw, SK.  They produce vegetable and soybean candles and wax melts, as well as body products for sensitive skin (they're amazing).  A ton of people are crazy about Sentsy products, but I personally like Willow Tree stuff better.  Plus I love supporting a local company.  In any case, my favorite Christmas smells come in the form of their wax melts - my favorites are Old Fashioned Christmas and Cinnamon Sugar.  Also, Willow Tree ships to both Canada and the U.S.

Tradition: This isn't necessarily a "tradition", but every year Brett and I are lucky enough to see both of our families because the farms are only about 20 minutes apart.  We alternate having a Baron Christmas on Christmas Eve and Tollefson Christmas on Christmas Day (and vice versa).  There are a lot of people I know who have to alternate years of seeing their parents or their spouse's parents, so it isn't lost on me how lucky we are to get to see our parents every Christmas (and really as often as we want throughout the year).

Movie: Yep, The Family Stone still takes this one for sure (again, I recommend lots of kleenex).  But I also love The Holiday (I usually can make it through this one without tears... But not always).

Hymn: I'm really loving Carol of the Bells these days, especially the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version.  It is almost hard for me to believe that there are actual people singing - it seems like they should be angels or something to have voices like that.

Memory: I am thinking back a lot lately to Brett proposing on Christmas Eve with all my family there.  It was so special that he did it on my family's Christmas day.  Definitely a Christmas I will never forget.

Gift: As I have mentioned before (anyone who has had to interact with me over the past month and a bit is for sure sick to death of me talking about this), I am most looking forward to the mukluks that Brett is getting me for Christmas.  I'm sure you will hear more about them, see pictures of them, etc. in weeks to come.

Sight: Christmas trees through peoples windows (does that make me creepy?).  I love driving by people's houses and snooping at what their tree looks like though their window.

Dislikes: Trying to park near the mall basically the entire month of December.  It is pretty much the impossible task.

PS - I wasn't compensated for talking about Willow Tree, I am just a fan of their products who wants to share.  I highly doubt they even know who I am.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Long Haul

Our wedding photos are courtesy of Diana from Infinite Moments Photography

This time in December will always be a special one for me.  This was when Brett decided he was really ready to get engaged (I had decided that months ago - like a typical man, it took him a little while to catch up... I am mostly joking).  This was when we decided to go to the mall and just "look at what was out there" for engagement rings, and ended up going home with one.  And Christmas Eve was when he proposed in front of my mom, dad, sister and grandma.

I've been thinking a lot about marriages lately, both because this was the season of our engagement, and also because December is the month that holds the most proposals.  But rather than my head going immediately to weddings and gowns and cake, I have been thinking more deeply about marriage.  What is it that makes them succeed or fail?  Fate surely plays a part in it, some people just aren't meant to be together.  But I think that there is sometimes more to it than that.

One of the things I said I was thankful for in our speech at our wedding, was the wonderful examples both Brett and I had been given of a true and lasting love.

My grandpa had a brain aneurysm before I was born which completely changed his personality.  Before that point, I have been told, he wasn't always an easy person to be around.  He could be stubborn and had a quick temper.  I remember being over at Grandma and Grandpa's house with my mom one day when I was small and listening to Mom and Grandma visit.  Grandma was regaling Mom with some story or other about Grandpa before the aneurysm and Mom asked "Why did you stick it out all those years?"  To this day I remember my grandma's response.  She said "On the day I married Otto, I vowed to God that I would love and care for him until death do us part.  I would never break that promise."

I don't have a whole lot of memories from when I was that little, so it seems kind of silly that that is the one that I still hold onto.  But when I reflect, I can see the deep impact that hearing her say that has had on me.  Now, this is certainly not to say that anyone should stay in a relationship where they are not feeling valued; an unhealthy relationship is an unhealthy relationship.  But for me personally, this is the reason why I was happy to be getting married young; it was also the reason that I found people's commentary on us being "too young" to get married so frustrating.

Were we young when we got married?  Yes (I was just 21 and Brett was 23).  Were we immature?  Of course we were!  We still are (and we will always seem immature when we look back on our younger selves, whether we are 15, 21, 40, etc.).  But the reason we were ready to get married was because we understood that we were taking a vow.  On June 29th, 2013 I vowed to God that I would love and care for Brett until death do us part - and that isn't a promise I plan on breaking.

Years ago now, my grandpa had a stroke which rendered him unable to walk or really care for himself.  Grandma tried to keep him at home with her until my dad and aunt and uncles convinced her that she just couldn't care for him by herself.  So the family moved him into long term care.  Many wives who had a difficult husband through much of their lives would have taken this as an out.  Would have assumed that the staff at the care home would deal with things from now on and pop by for a visit every few days.

That wife was not my grandma.  Every day (except for a very few holidays where she went to visit my aunt and uncles) she would go to the care home and feed him his breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Every day for years, until the day he died, just under a year ago.

This isn't that remarkable of a tale.  Just an old married couple.  But in today's world where we throw things away so quickly, give up on things so quickly, I think it is something that we need to try to remember.

Not every day of your marriage is going to be perfect.  Your husband won't bring you flowers every day, he won't make you breakfast in bed that often (if he does, high five to you.  Someone has to live the dream :).  Nor will I always be cheerfully making meals, or getting the laundry done right away.  If you are a farm wife, there will be some seriously trying seedings and harvests where your husband isn't a real fun person to be around.  But for me, that was what for better or for worse encompassed.

Daryl Cobbin wrote in this article that "Love is not just an emotion.  Love is a choice."  I could not agree more.  Every grumpy day, every day in seeding when I get to hear ranting about how the brand new seeder still isn't working, I make a choice to love Brett - and it is the best choice I have made yet.

Are you with me on the long haul?  What are your deep marriage philosophies?  I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Oh Hai!

Long time no talk!  Things got right out of hand for a few days with finals studying, but I think we are slowly getting things back on track (or as on track as things get during the Christmas season).

So you guys, what is the 4-1-1?  What has everybody been up to?  What is the hot gossip?  Tell me everything.  Sorry, couldn't help a Mean Girls quote.  My internet has been very patchy in the city for some reason and I have been watching my Mean Girls DVD a lot.

Anyway...  Things have been going good around here.  I am done two of my three exams, with the third to be written tomorrow.  These will be the last exams of my degree, since we don't write any for our final practicum/work term.  That excludes the NCLEX licensing exam of course... but let's not go there - I don't think I can handle the stress of thinking about that right now.

My new glasses have arrived and I am loving them!  The ones in these lovely awkward car selfies are from Ralph Lauren.  I got a two for the price of one deal, so I have a second pair that I have been wearing a lot as well.  Not that you could tell from most of my photos on this blog, I actually do wear my glasses 99.9% of the time (that 0.01% is when I am in photos when I go blind).  So it is nice to have two pairs of glasses that I feel really good in and might actually start wearing in photos now.

My passport finally came in the mail so we are actually for sure going to Cuba now!  Woohoo!  I never changed my name on it after we got married, since we left for our honeymoon the Monday after our wedding, I was still Aubrey Baron on all my documents.  The passport was the last thing with my maiden name on it.  I actually hadn't thought about that until right now as I am writing this... Now I am feeling sentimental.

Brett has been spending his time shepherding super-b's (the semi's that haul our grain away) in and out of the yard and burning flax straw.  Contrary to popular belief, farmers do still work in the winter.  They just work semi normal hours (8-5 if we are lucky) and usually/sometimes get the weekends off.

That's all for now!  Hope you have a lovely week!  

Friday, 5 December 2014

Holiday Party Outfits // Oh Hey Friday

Hello for Friday!  Holiday party season is approaching so for today's Oh Hey Friday, I am sharing my top five favorite party outfit ideas.  I made these outfit sets on - which is a cool site that lets you put different items together into outfits (really good site to waste time on).  As per usual I am Linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September Farm - click on those links to check out more of the Oh Hey Friday link up.

1.  Tulle skirt.  All the love for tulle skirts.

2.  Lace is a classic for a reason.

3.  Sequins are perfect for the holidays.

4.  A sheath dress is very Mad Men-esque.

5.  Last, but not least, you can't forget about the classic ugly Christmas sweater party.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

English Muffin Recipe

Finally!  I have finally gotten this recipe good enough to share with you here - it has definitely been a long time coming.  The reason for this recipe taking so long is I never ended up finding one that worked properly online that I could just tweak to make my own (generally what happens with a lot of my recipes).  I was literally starting from scratch with this one and crafting my own recipe.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to make these get the bubbles in the middle like the store bought ones have.  I do not know why, and I still have no clue as to how to make that happen (if you know, please take pity on me and fill me in in the comments).  However, I find that these still taste better than the ones bough in the store.  So is it worth the time making your own?  Yes, I would say it is.

So, after all that lets get started!

Prep & Rise Time: approx. 2.5 hrs          Cook Time: approx. 16 mins/batch          Makes:
Skill Required: Beginner

4-5 cups flour
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 package quick rise yeast
2 tbsp oil

1.  In 3/4 cup water, dissolve 1 tsp sugar.  Heat this mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds.

2.  Fill a sink or large bowl with a couple of inches of warm water.

3.  Ensure the sugar water from the microwave is not hot (it should be merely lukewarm), add the package of quick rise yeast and give it a gentle swirl.  Place the water/yeast cup into the bowl/sink of warm water.  Let the yeast proof.

Note - this method of yeast proofing is very likely over kill.  However, I have had some bad experiences of dough never rising and have developed a very anal method of preventing that.  I haven't had dough not rise since I started this.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of salt.

5.  In a small mixing bowl, mix 3/4 cup milk and 2 eggs.  Microwave this mixture for 20 seconds (this may seem crazy, but pouring the yeast into fresh-out-of-the-fridge milk and eggs could kill the yeast).

6.  Gently mix the yeast into the wet ingredients, then gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

7.  Stir in one more cup of flour, then turn onto heavily floured board to knead.

8.  Knead dough for approximately 10-15 mins (the stronger you are, the less time this will require).  You can also put the dough into a stand mixer with a bread hook and knead the dough on low for 5-10 mins.
There are lots of ways of telling whether you are done kneading (such as the windowpane method).  But I just press my finger into the dough ball, and if the indent I made pops back out I know I am done (this is what both my Baba and Grandma taught me).  When you knead, you are building up the gluten in the dough (gluten is the substance that holds the bread together, keeping it from being too dry and crumbly).  The more you knead and build up the gluten, the less crumbly your English muffins will be.... But I digress.

9.  Pour the oil and 1 tsp of salt into a large mixing bowl (glass is preferred, tin often gets too hot when rising I find).  Taking the dough ball in one hand, rub the top around in the oil and around the bowl - this greases the sides of the bowl and covers the whole dough ball in oil so it doesn't dry out.
10.  Place a tea towel over the bowl and place the bowl in a warm - draft free - place to rise for an hour (best is in the oven).  My oven has a bread proof heat setting.  If yours doesn't you can simply turn on the oven light (many people find this to be warm enough), or turn on the oven preheat for about 3 mins (make sure you do not forget it on!!) and turn it back off.

Steps before rising.

The dough after having risen for an hour.

10.  Remove dough from bowl and roll out with a rolling pin.  It should be approx. 3/4" thick when you are done (this isn't an exact science, just keep in mind that they will rise a fare amount).

11.  Cut the rolled dough into circles.  I used a drinking glass for this.

12.  Cover the circles with tea towels and let rise another 45 mins to an hour on the cupboard.

13.  Brush a griddle pan with margarine (you can also do this in a frying pan on the stove).  Dip each side of the dough rounds into flour and place on the pan.

14.  Cook muffins for approx. 5-8 mins each side.


Monday, 1 December 2014

Currently - December Edition // Day 1 of Christmas Photo Challenge

Well folks, things have really hit the fan around here.  I am moving home because I got my final practicum in our nearest small town (YAY!).  We are also trying to get the house decorated for Christmas, finalize any Christmas shopping.  Oh yeah, and study for exams!  On top of those things, Brett is manning the farm solo this week and getting the run around from truckers (to try and get some grain hauled to the elevator).  The reason for this long rant it just to prepare you for some possible irregular posting in the coming weeks...  On the other hand, my posting could also become very regular as I attempt to avoid studying by writing lots of blog posts.

This year's Christmas tree.  My apologies for the poor quality photo.  I've been moving (again) and misplaced my camera battery charger and thus this photo was taken with my iPhone (which I find does a really poor job of taking photos in low light).
In any case, here is what is happening with us currently:

Baking: Unfortunately, not a whole lot is happening in this area lately.  But I am going to try throw together some English muffins today and post that recipe ASAP.

Drinking: Caramel apple cider.  Did you know you can get these for a Keurig?  Yep, it's pretty life changing.

Reading: I just finished Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant.  These are some good books.  One and two are definitely my favorite (I didn't really love the ending, I'm going to be honest).  But I loved Divergent and Insurgent.

Wanting: To get started with Christmas baking.  I've got a long list of recipes I want to try this year. 

Looking: At the snow outside our picture window.  There is something I just love about winter.

Playing: Fetch with George.  He is really enjoying attacking the Christmas ornaments, so I am trying to distract him.

Sewing: Nothing at the moment, but plans are set for a tulle skirt for graduation and a couple of beach cover-ups.

Enjoying: Having satellite TV for the first time in ages (I've really been missing Dr Phil and Say Yes to the Dress).

Wearing: This top from Target.  It is comfy but still looks nice.  I think I will probably end up getting one in every color.

Waiting: To start exams on the 8th.  I just want to get them over with!

Loving: Our Christmas decorations.  There is nothing like relaxing on the couch in the dark with the Christmas tree lit up.

Anticipating: Our trip to Cuba at the end of the month.  Brett and I got very very lucky when his parents decided to take us with them to Cuba.  I have never been on an all-inclusive vacation and am so excited!

Smelling: My English muffin dough rising.

Praying: For Brett to stay safe on the farm in this cold weather.

Feeling: Blessed to have a healthy family, lots of friends, ample food in the fridge and a truly wonderful husband.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

25 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge

I have seen a few photo challenges floating around the internet and decided to make my own for the 25 days before Christmas (starting December 1st).  I hope to post these each day, but if I happen to miss a day please forgive me.  Exam time crazyness will be hitting right in the middle of the challenge.  I think that these photos would be really cool to put in a yearly photo book (something that I hope to do someday... although, that day is not today).  It is always nice to use our creative side, and I am hoping that this challenge will bring that out for me.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hazelnut Wreath Ornament Tutorial

I am obsessed with rustic Christmas decor this year (and probably will be next year too).  I have been trying to stock up on tree ornaments, but those darn things are expensive!  So, I decided to make these little hazelnut wreaths for our tree.

Let me start by saying that nuts with the shell are way more expensive than I anticipated.  Who knew?  But from a $25 bag of mixed nuts from bulk barn (which contained hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds) I made 36 ornaments.  Way more than I thought I would be able to make.  So all in all I call this project a success.

Also, I think this would be a fun project to do with kids because their little fingers would be good at arranging the wreaths while you (the adult) works the hot glue gun.

So lets get to the fun stuff!

What you will need:

-Hazelnuts with their shell (the amount is a little tricky because mine were mixed nuts [I bought around 3 lbs] and I picked out the hazelnuts... but you use 7-8 nuts per ornament)

-Hot glue gun

-Canning jar lid (I used one from a narrow mouth quart jar - I found the wide mouth to be too big)

-Clear aerosol lacquer to seal

-Raffia, Ribbon, or Baker's Twine for bows (see this post for how I tied my bows)

-Ornament hooks for hanging

The Steps:

1.  If you bought mixed nuts like me, separate the hazelnuts out into a bowl.  Trust me, you will need to work quickly and won't have time to be rooting around for hazelnuts amongst the rest of nuts.

2.  Place 7-8 (depending on size) hazelnuts in a ring in the canning jar lid.

3.  This is the harder part.  You need to put a dot of hot glue on one hazelnut, then quickly squish its neighbour onto it before the hot glue hardens.  The upside, if you mess up it is easy to scrape off the hardened hot glue and try again.  I found the best technique was to slide two hazelnuts apart with my left index finger and thumb, drop a dot of hot glue onto the side of one of them and then quickly slide them back together.

*at no point are you hot gluing the hazelnut to the jar lid. The lid is just to help make the "wreath" round

4.  Trim off all the hot glue "strings" and let the wreath sit for a few minutes until the glue is fully hardened.  I used two jar lids, so I would make one wreath then leave it sitting in the lid until I finished with my second wreath.  By that time the first one was cooled.

Before trimming the hot glue "strings"
5.  Lacquer both sides of the wreath.  Make sure you pick up your lacquer and not a can of primer... Oops.

That's better

6.  Last thing you need to do is add a bow to top off the wreath.  I give a step-by-step on how to tie the perfect bow here, which also happens to be the perfect size for this project.

Now all that is left to do is find a spot on your tree to hang these!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Oh Hey Friday - Friday Favorites

Hey there!  How was your week??  Hope it was awesome.  I am so excited for this weekend for two reasons, (1) Brett is coming to visit me and (2) we are Christmas shopping!  So, I want to start the weekend off right with a few good reads I found on the blog Nurse Loves Farmer (as you can tell by her blog name, she is a nurse and a farmer's wife).  When I first heard about Sarah's blog I was all "I'm a farmer's wife, I'm a baby nurse [aka nursing student], this blog and I were meant for each other!"  Then I found out that her family farms in Alberta (our neighbouring province).  I was a match made in blog heaven is what I am saying.  That being said, she doesn't actually know who I am...  But it doesn't stop me from loving her posts.  So for this Oh Hey Friday, lets take a look at my favourite posts from the Nurse Loves Farmer blog.  As usual I am linking up with The Farmer's Wife and September FARM - click on those links to check out more of the Oh Hey Friday link up. 

1.  If I Were a Food Activist.

2.  Coventional and Organic Agriculture Myths.  The title of this one is pretty self-explanatory.  I like that she is real about there not being a set right or wrong choice in this battle, but just because you choose organic doesn't mean that you get to slander people who choose conventional.

3.  Farming Requires Faith Like a Mustard Seed.  Lots of truth in this post.  I love this quote from the post: "We try to control what we can control, but you have to do your best with what God and nature throw at you."

4.  The Truth About Glyphosate and Wheat.  I read this post right after I read an article from a different source titled "The Real Reason Why Wheat is Toxic" (which I won't link here because I refuse to spread propaganda and falsehoods on this blog).  It is a good reminder to think about where you are getting your information from.  Also, glyphosate is more commonly known as Roundup - if you were curious.

5.  The Skinny on Modern Wheat.

Hope you can enjoy a few of those reads this weekend!  See ya on Monday!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How to Tie a Bow Using a Potato Masher

Yes, you did read that title right.  I don't know if you have seen all the tutorials of how to tie a bow using a fork floating around Pinterest.  That technique was pretty revolutionary for how I tackled bow tying.  However, those turn out so small that I never really had any use for them.  So I set out on a quest one night to find a tool that would work like a fork but would give me larger bows.  Enter the potato masher.  It works perfectly because you can use it to make two different bow sizes.

I used the middle three "tines" and it makes about a 2" wide bow, which was exactly what I was looking for for a tutorial that will be coming soon.

The Steps:

1. First off, I used my legs to hold the potato masher, if you couldn't tell in the photos - a girl only has so many hands.  Take a length of ribbon/string/etc.  I used raffia for a rustic look (something to note is that if you are tying a lot of bows with this red raffia, it will stain your fingers red...).  I left one end attached to the spool so I wasted less.  For this tutorial, the "loose end" will refer to the end of string not attached to a spool.  If you are using it where both ends are unattached, just pick any end.

2. Loop your string under the tines.  I used the middle "W" of my potato masher to make 2" bows.  You could use the outer tines as well to make something larger.

3. Wrap the loose end of string around the tines several times (the more times you wrap, the more strings you will have in your bow loop).  Make sure that the loose end is below the attached end.  You can see in the photo how I kept it underneath (this is important for when you go to tie your knot).

4. Thread the loose end over the wrapped pieces, underneath and then back up between the wrapped pieces and the "u" of the middle masher tine.  Basically you twist it with the attached end, then make a loop around the wrapped pieces (this forms the middle part of the bow that separated each looped end).  Here is an enlarged photo of the step:

5. Tie both ends of the string (loose and attached) into a double knot.

6. Snip the attached end so that it is the same length as the loose end and slip the bow off the masher.  You are done!

Hope these directions made sense.  I realize that step 4 is pretty confusing.  If you are struggling with any of these steps please do not hesitate to ask a question in the comments or send me a message on the facebook page.  No question is silly, I am always happy to help and to connect with readers!

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Inevitable...

There comes that inevitable point in one's university career that you are just plain burnt out.  This past month has really been that for me.  This is my fifth year in university... Ugh, it sounds even worse when I say it out loud.  Five years for an undergrad degree isn't a ridiculous amount of time, I know this.  There are lots of people who have needed to take longer to finish up, and that is totally fine.  But I do not envy those people, that is for sure.  Because I tell you what, five years has felt like an eternity.

Don't get me wrong, I have had some truly amazing times on this journey.  I met my husband here, made some friends who are more like family than anything else, and found my calling and passion in nursing.  But to the people who say college will be the best time of your whole life... I sincerely hope that that is not going to be the case in my life.

I know that part of this recent burn out has to do with some of my classes just not being my passion.  I realize that they are important and necessary for a well rounded nursing education, but this term has just not been my thing.  And I need to remind myself that that's okay.  No one is going to love every class they ever have to take - or even every second of their career.  You just have to be stubborn and push through - and if there is anything that I am good at it is being stubborn (or so my husband tells me).

The other thing getting me through: I just cannot wait to get started on my final practicum.  Final practicum is basically an internship for nurses.  You get paired with an RN and spend a whole term (yay!) learning on the job in an area of your interest.  I am just so excited to further develop my interests in nursing.  There are just so many opportunities in this field, and I can't wait to explore them more.

In the mean time, I will be trying my best to remind myself that good things do come to those who wait.

What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?  I would love some inspiration from you on this Monday!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Buying Glasses - Why is it so Hard?!

Well, it is that time again.  And by that time I mean time to upgrade my glasses.  Getting new glasses always fills me full of excitement panic.  It fills me full of panic.  I don't know what it is about having to decide on glasses but it makes me so nervous - you have to commit to that accessory (that you will likely wear every single day) for a whole two years!  Plus they are super expensive.  I usually get my glasses somewhere cheap (because I am generally a little cheap).  But this year I decided it was time to upgrade and get myself some big girl glasses that I hopefully will like for a long time, so that I don't have to go through this agonising decision process again.  As a nursing student/soon-to-be nurse, contacts just aren't happening for a 12 hour shift - so I wear my glasses all the time.

My new specs should be arriving next week (be prepared for selfies when they do) but in the mean time, these are the top five glasses I'm loving right now:

1.  Tortoiseshell is my absolute favorite glasses style at this moment.  Definitely what I will be going with this time around.  There is just something so classy about it, plus it is neutral and goes with everything.

2.  Two tone is a cool way to mix it up.  Also, this lady looks so amazing in glasses.  I think she is a specific glasses model because I have seen her in a ton of glasses adds on Pinterest.

3. I feel silly wearing a true cat eye, but I absolutely love the style.  Especially these Tom Ford ones:


4. Blue frames.  No explanation, I just like blue frames.  These Tory Burch ones are amazing:

5. Rose Gold... Ah rose gold, it makes me so sad that I can't wear you (I feel like I am the only person in the world whose skin tone clashes with rose gold)...


Do you wear glasses?  Any favorite styles that you've been seeing a lot of lately?  I would love to hear!

P.S. - This was an Oh Hey Friday link-up with  The Farmer's Wife and September FARM - click on those links to check out more of the Oh Hey Friday link up.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Christmas Shopping Tips + Free Printable

Hello there!  The middle of November is officially here and so is my Christmas mood.  I like to try get my holiday shopping done before December if at all possible.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  I like to get to the mall before things are too picked over and I am not a fan of huge mall crowds.  Also, I like to have Brett come with me, so to avoid a full on husband pout I find it is best to go when things are as slow as possible.

We have learned a lot during our joint shopping trips over the years.  Lesson number one is always go in with a plan.  There is nothing more frustrating for me than getting to the mall to Christmas shop, but not really having a set direction or knowing exactly what I am buying each person on my list.  I find if I don't pre-plan these things I also end up spending way more money than I wanted to.  I also like to map out what stores I need to go to and find the most efficient way to go from one area of the city to another (the less city driving for us farm folk the better).  Along with your plan, I find it best to have a well organized list.  I made up this free printable:

To get this print, click on the image.  It should open up larger in its own window type thing.  Next, right click on the enlarged image and save to your computer.  From there you can go to your photo viewer and print (make sure you choose the right size of paper, 8.5x11).

Lesson number two that we have learned is to either eat before you go, or plan a set meal time.  Brett and I do all our shopping in one afternoon or evening, and it is easy to forget lunch or supper time when you are really into it.  But the best way to have a pouty husband on your hands is to not feed him, so trust me when I say build in a meal time.

Do you like to do your shopping ahead of time?  Or are you one of those people who like the bustle of the mall?

Monday, 10 November 2014

The Funny Thing About a Wedding

I realized as I was reading the Huffington Post wedding section (I think I am developing an addiction... There is just so many interesting opinion pieces!) that for a blog with "Married" in the title, I haven't been writing a whole lot of wedding/marriage posts lately.  I happened upon this post by Marta Segal Block and was inspired.

I hadn't really realized the effect that the media (in all forms, Pinterest included) has had on weddings - especially on the brides.  There is a lot of pressure on engaged couples these days - with news and magazine articles about celebrity weddings, Pins about "having a unique wedding", "how to lose weight before the big day" and "how to plan the perfect ceremony".  First, there is no such thing as perfect, especially when you are trying to wrangle a wedding party and a couple hundred guests at a single event (really, it just ends up being a whole lot of cat herding).  Second, what happened to the day of putting on the best dress you have in your closet, walking down to the church with a few friends and relatives, getting married with the same vows everyone else says and calling it a day?  The end result is the same, you are still married at the end of it all.

I don't know that I quite understand all the pressure to have the coolest most unique wedding.  Brett and I have always been the type of couple who did our own thing - it is just how we are.  I couldn't really care less what other people did at their weddings - least of all celebrities (except, of course, for Will and Kate. I talk more about my royal obsession here).  When we first started wedding planning my dad left me with the warning "weddings always turn into being about everyone else, so be ready for that.  They never seem to actually be about the bride and groom."  I definitely think that there is some truth to that.  I think one of the biggest reasons brides feel pressure to have the most perfect and unique wedding has a whole lot to do with the fact that we are so worried about how everyone else is going to see us.

I'm here to remind you that your wedding should never be about anything more than inviting your friends and family to join you as you pledge your life to another person.  And the fastest way to end up having issues between you and your groom, is to lose sight of that fact.

That isn't to say that you can't do something different with your wedding.  But I would ask yourself whether that actually reflects you and your partner as a couple.  Are you getting married underwater because you both love deep sea diving and it means a lot to you as a couple?  Or are you doing it to put on a show for your guests and have it be something cool that they haven't seen before?  You don't need to do something different just for the sake of being unique.  In a weird way, having a "unique" wedding now days is almost the least unique option - because everyone is trying to be unique, therefore by being unique you are really just following another trend (well that was confusing.... still with me?).

The funny thing about a wedding is, no matter where you say your vows, whether you wrote them yourself or not, no matter where you have your reception or how you decorate your venue; at the end of the day you still end up married to your best friend.  Isn't that what weddings should be about?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Fall Favorites

Fall is slowly turning into winter here in Saskatchewan.  As of right now there is no snow, but I can feel it coming.  As the weather turns, it really makes me feel like curling up under a blanket with a book and hibernating until spring.  As I am curling up with that book, I like to have a nice cup of tea.  I am not a coffee person, nor do I think I ever will be.  To be totally honest, the smell of Starbucks coffee (sorry Starbucks) makes me feel extremely nauseous, and some other types of coffee will turn my stomach too sometimes.  That being said, Starbucks serves Tazo vanilla rooibos.  *insert angels singing here*.  Seriously, it is that good.

If I am on the go and cannot enjoy my tea at home, I always put it into a contigo mug (sometimes even when I am at home).  I haven't had a mug that keeps stuff as hot as this one does, also it is super handy because you only need one hand to drink from it. 

I am officially in love with these Metis mukluks (also, I am getting a pair for Christmas!  Woohoo!).  I can't wait for Christmas and snow so that I can go for a walk while keeping my feet toasty warm.  My mom has an old pair of mukluks and they are the warmest boots ever - I can't wait to have my own.  Also, Manitobah mukluk works with Canadian Aboriginal artists on many of their beading designs - it is nice to support something that is such a piece of our Canadian culture.

When I said I like to read a book with my tea, I actually meant Hello Magazine.  Brett teases me and says that Hello magazine is only for women over 65 but I disagree.  How else would I find out what is happening with Will and Kate?  It is possible that I am obsessed with the royals...

What are some of your favorite things to transition you from fall to winter?

Monday, 3 November 2014

Things learned over the weekend

We had an overall good Halloween weekend at the farm.  We had remarkably good weather considering it almost always snows on Halloween night here (no snow yet!).  I got a paper written, Brett got more farm work done, and we got some things around the yard accomplished (like putting up our outdoor Christmas lights before that snow shows up).  We even learned some lessons along the way:

1.  Before being annoyed for two years about your house not having an outdoor porch light, you should look a little closer at the ceiling.  As it turns out, we do have a light and all it needed was a new bulb.  #rookiemistake

2.  There is a reason why many people do not go all out on Christmas lights... Which leads me to numbers 3 and 4.

3.  When your husband accidentally drops a glass Christmas light bulb from the top of the ladder, it might shatter on the ground so explosively that you get shrapnel in the face.  I have never been more thankful for glasses.

4.  Even though you can lean a ladder against a spruce tree to try get lights to the top, does not mean that you should lean a ladder against a spruce tree to get lights all the way to the top.  Exhibit A:

This picture does not capture the stupidity of what we were doing nearly enough.

5.  Putting up Christmas light can go one of two ways:
     Option 1 - your marriage may almost break up because you waited to late to put up the lights, it is freezing cold and snowing and all of your new lights aren't working (yes this was us last year - obviously I am kidding about the breaking up part, but there was a lot of rage happening).
     Option 2 - practice makes perfect... You start earlier in the year when the weather is still good, you've checked all the lights before hand and know they work and your husband is being so hilarious that you almost pee in your pants laughing (thank goodness this was us this year).
     Option 3 - never take your Christmas lights down (this might be us next year)... Because even if you can have fun with it, putting up lights is still a bad job.

Have a lovely Monday!!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Oh Hey Friday // Happy Halloween

Well hi!  I hope you had a lovely week.  Are you a Halloween aficionado?  I must confess that I sort of forgot about it until exactly a week ago... Lets just say that thanks to October being prime time for papers and midterms, Halloween doesn't always make it to the top of my priorities list.  However, in honor of the "holiday", today's Oh Hey Friday 5s will be all my favorite Halloween things.  As usual I am linking up witThe Farmer's Wife and September FARM - click on those links to check out more of the Oh Hey Friday link up.

1.  I'm just going to put it out there and say that my very favorite part of Halloween is all of the yummy treats.  I doubt I am alone in this.  Probably the best are the popcorn balls that my mother-in-law's good friend makes for us every year (I really scored by marrying Brett and thus being given my own popcorn ball every year... Hehehe).  I am tempted to try making my own one year and this recipe seems pretty easy (probably the one that I will try).  Thankfully, it does not require the making of caramel (been there, tried that, it wasn't pretty) so that is definitely a step in the right direction.

2.  Couples Halloween costumes.  One year Brett and I got really creative and dressed up as Minnie and Mickey Mouse.  I searched and searched to find a picture of us together but seriously can't find one anywhere.  Sheesh.

3.  Creative decor.  I am not the type to go all out on themed decor - I'm not sure if this is because it requires advanced planning and don't think about it enough ahead of time (I really struggle sometimes guys) or if I am actually just lazy, but for some reason it just doesn't happen for me.  That being said, next year I really want to do this somehow (minus the forest, growing the forest in southern Saskatchewan would take an actual act of magic...).

4.  Seeing all the cute little kids dressed up.  Seriously, the cutest (I can feel the baby fever setting in):

5.  Seeing all the children get waaaay to wired on candy.  After all, the best cure for baby fever is reminding yourself that you can sit on your couch and relax while all the parents in the neighborhood try to put their overtired, all-jacked-up-on-candy children to sleep.  Hehehe.

Enjoy your Halloween and your weekend!  Also, thanks so much to everyone who participated in my giveaway this past week!!