Thursday, May 31, 2012

Easy Dinner - Couscous Salad

Kate has been practicing her cooking skills recently and has made a few meals over the past few weeks, but I'm behind on posting them.  This recipe for a cousous salad is very easy and is nice for a hot evening as it can be eaten at room temperature or warm or cold.  

The hardest part of this recipe is peeling and chopping the eggplant - seriously, it is that easy.

1 medium eggplant - peeled and cut into 1 cm square cubes
1 vidalia (or other sweet) onion - chopped
1 cup of frozen peas
1 can of chick peas
2 pieces of roasted red peppers, chopped or sliced
1 cup of couscous
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
approximately 1/2 cup of olive oil for cooking the eggplant and onion

1.  Cook the eggplant and onion in a frying pan, adding oil as it is needed so it doesn't stick.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the eggplant is cooked.
2.  Add 2 tbsp of water to the frozen peas, cover, and microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring part way through.
3.  Bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil, then remove from the heat, add the couscous, stir, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork
4.  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and enjoy.

You can find other quick and easy recipes that take approximately 30 minutes to make and use approximately 6 ingredients at Project 6:30 (you can see I took liberties with the number of ingredients for this recipe, but it's worth it as it is delicious and easy to make).  I would love it if you joined me in linking up easy recipes.  I'm sure we can all do with some new cooking inspiration.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WISH Wednesday #33

I wonder if you can guess why I chose this as my WISH Wednesday photo?  It's because it is very close to what our bedroom is going to look like.  I'm up there creating a recessed coffered ceiling right now.  Kidding!  But I am painting the walls a colour that is very similar to the one in the photo.  I am going to have light coloured bedding and drapes.  And I am going to have a capiz chandelier. (oh and we do have yucky cream coloured carpet that is best forgotten about).  I love the window seat and even have a window in the exact same size and position in the room and was debating making one, but I don't think it is worth the time and money given that we are hoping to sell the house next year.



Painting is progressing apace in the bedroom, but I still have some major hurdles to overcome like fixing the drapes.  This weekend is my big block of time to get things finished up so wish me luck.

Here's the mosaic of all of May's WISH Wednesday pics.  I bet you'll be glad when I'm finished the bedroom as I definitely have bedrooms on the brain.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Favourite Souvenir - My Jolly-Minded Truck

I'm joining Kate for the ‘Favorite Souvenir’ link party she is having over at Centsational Girl.  I'm looking forward to seeing all the weird and wonderful things people have brought home from their travels.  

I love to travel and try to go somewhere new every year even if it is just visiting a new town close to home.  One of the biggest trips I've taken was last summer when I went with a friend to Bangladesh for a month to teach in the Speech Therapy Department (you can read more about it here, here, herehere, here, and here).  We left ten months ago this month so this is a great opportunity to reminisce.

I had never been to southeast Asia before and wasn't sure what to expect, but it far exceeded my expectations in all aspects - it was definitely noisier and wilder then I had thought, but also more vibrant and colourful than I had thought it would be.  

One of my favourite things in Bangladesh were all the colourful trucks.  

When I think of transport trucks and dump trucks here in North America they are all painted with just one or two colours and have the name of the company on them.  Not in Bangladesh.  There the drivers spend a lot of time and energy decorating their trucks with all kinds of pictures taken from nature and religious scenes.  There are birds and houses and lakes and flowers painted all over the trucks and all done in bright primary colours.  It wasn't just the occasional truck that was like this either, they all were.

When we were in Dhaka and visited Aarong the fair trade organization that carries many souvenirs and crafts, I bought this little wooden truck that holds a special place in my heart.

One of our students in Bangladesh described someone as being jolly-minded meaning they were happy and that is definitely a term I would use to describe this truck - a jolly-minded truck!

My jolly-minded truck is often on our kitchen shelves adding a colourful reminder of the adventures we had in Bangladesh.

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Linked to Favourite Souvenirs Party at Centsational Girl

Monday, May 28, 2012

Up-dates from the Bedroom

Sorry I've neglected you, my friends.  I've been working on our bedroom re-do every spare minute of this past week - pushing myself to get a little bit done every day.  I really do have to force myself most evenings to get some painting done.  Typically by the time I'm finished with work and walking the dog and making dinner, I'm done, but I really want to try and get the bedroom finished while Jonathan is away in Edinburgh doing research.  

Here's where Jonathan has been spending hours upon hours every day doing his research

Last Sunday's trip was to visit the beautiful Durham Cathedral (can you believe the gorgeous weather he has been having)

I finally carved out a chunk of time on Sunday afternoon and with Kate's help got two of the walls painted.  That leaves only two more walls to paint (amazing math skills I know), fixing the drapes, getting a new bed frame, a new ceiling light (I've actually decided on getting a capiz light), rearranging the furniture, and adding some finishing touches.  That should keep me busy as there are less than two weeks left before Jonathan returns, so if I don't come up for air you will know why.

The walls are now BM Silver Gray

Well not all the walls.  Not to mention that we have curtain issues
Details coming soon.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WISH Wednesday #32

In honour of Jonathan being in Edinburgh to do research for his next book, I decided to post a room with a Scottish feel for WISH Wednesday.  I'm not actually sure if the room is in Scotland, but it certainly looks it.  I love the blue plaid against the yellow walls, the ornate furniture with the calm white bedding, and the paintings of Scottish Highland Cattle on the walls.

Design, Decor ...

I always wonder if it would be a problem having such a dominant pattern on the headboard and chair in your bedroom. Would you do that or do you prefer neutrals so you can change the bedding?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Warm and Wonderful Victoria Day Weekend

Thank you Queen Victoria for having a birthday at such a lovely time of year.  It always seems like a long time from the Easter weekend to the May long weekend so when it finally rolls round we are chomping at the bit to unwind for a few days.  I'm so glad we went to the cottage this year as we had amazing summer-like weather - it was so warm that we all got in swimming and some of us got in more than once.  The Victoria Day long weekend can bring any kind of weather, but usually we are wearing sweaters and polar fleeces and thankful we have a wood-burning stove, so to wear capris and t-shirts and flip flops was very exciting. Three cheers for global warming (okay, just kidding - but the warm weather did make for a wonderful weekend).  

The weekend included some canoeing,

and hiking up the lookout trail

amongst the trilliums

and the wild columbine.

Can you believe the gorgeous colour of these columbine.  The only wild ones I have seen in the past were pale pink and yellow.  These were so pretty - and if I do say so myself, so current in their colour choice perfectly capturing the Pantone colour of the year - Tangerine Tango!

There was a lot of sitting on the dock, drinking tea on the dock, and chatting on the dock.  Not only was the weather perfect, but the dock was three days old.  Yep a brand-spanking new dock.  The previous docks was much smaller so this one felt like a floating living room in comparison.

Every year on the Victoria Day long weekend we celebrate a couple of family birthdays.  This year we ate Greek food and my Mom decorated the cake with boats and chocolate rocks (that really looked real) and all kinds of goodies.

I love long weekends at the cottage.  Now that I'm all rested up and Jonathan is away in Edinburgh doing research for three weeks, I'm starting to work on the bedroom.  The first order of business is painting the walls - details and photos coming soon.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WISH Wednesday #31

This is may all-time favourite laundry room so I had to choose it for WISH Wednesday given that I'm busy doing laundry and all other manner of chores this week.  It's been a busy week, but soon we are off to the cottage to relax for the weekend - can't wait!

Back to laundry rooms though - isn't this one divine.  The soft blue on the walls is one of my favourite colours, I adore the striped runner (and would love to have one in our house), and I love the long counter under the window and the schoolhouse light overhead.  I think I could almost grow to love doing laundry if I had a laundry room like that - well on second thought perhaps not, but I would love visiting the laundry room and arranging fresh flowers there.

Canadian House and Home

Do you have a separate laundry room or is yours down under?  We have our laundry room in the basement and I did a little fixing up down there a few years ago (which you can see photos of in an ancient post here).  Anyone else decorated their laundry rooms?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let There Be Light - in the Bedroom

I'm in the process of decorating our bedroom - and by in the process I mean that I have been at it for five years. Yep, I'm nothing if I'm not thoughtful and methodical ... okay maybe I'm just slow!  The truth is that I got interrupted by having to fix up another bedroom for an exchange student, entertain said exchange student, then I was sick for a bit, and then I got sidetracked onto fixing up other parts of the house ... and next thing you know five years had passed.

But all that is about to change because at the end of the week my husband Jonathan is going away for three weeks to do some research in Edinburgh, which means I am going to take this opportunity to finish the bedroom makeover.  

So far I have only painted the accent wall, hung drapes, and painted and organized the walk-in closet.  I have lots to do in the three weeks Jonathan will be away.  I'm going to:
  • paint the rest of the walls
  • fix the drapes as the rod is coming out of the wall and the drapes were hemmed too short
  • get better storage for husband's papers and books 
  • replace the ceiling light
It is this last thing that I need some help with.  Right now we have a terrible, horrible, no good builder's ceiling light and we need to replace it.  The only problem is that I have no idea what to put there instead.  I've had a look around the internet for some inspiration so I thought I would share my very important research.  By the way, have you noticed how difficult it is to find pictures of bedroom ceiling lights as so often the pictures are cropped so they don't show.  Here are the ones I have found.

There are drum shades,

House and Home via the

Candice Olson via HGTV
Style at Home via Echoes of Laughter


Sarah Richardson via The Globe and Mail (you can read the complete article written by Sarah here)

Sarah Richardson
capiz lights,
star lights,

High Street Market
Style at Home

modern pendant lights,

Four Walls and a Roof


bookmarks bedroom

and unique statement lights.

Sarah Richardson
Sarah Richardson 

What kind of ceiling light do you have in your bedroom?  Do you have a particular favourite?  By the way, I'll show more pictures of our bedroom later (I'm working up to it), but here is a picture of our bed so you can see the general flavour of our bedroom.