Sunday, June 15, 2014

Closed for Summer!

I love my blog and wish I could be doing it fulltime, but right now it seems it's the last thing I want to do when I have a minute to myself. (It's taken me weeks just to get this post finished and published).

So, I'm taking a summer vacation. I will be back... Just not for a couple of months (hopefully). If I get a chance to pop in before then, I will.

It's been a long time since I've had a summer off and I'm going to be busy enjoying every minute, spending lots of time with the little guy, hopefully having lots of weekend getaways near and far, spending time with family and friends, and of course, taking some time to relax. I'm also anxiously trying to figure out my return to work and where the little guy will be going... I would love to work from home full-time but I'm not sure that will be happening just yet. I'm hoping to take a few courses and get things figured out this summer... Fingers crossed I'll have some exciting news come fall! 

In the meantime, you can still see what I'm up to by following me on Instagram (@themarthaanne) and of course I'll be keeping the Etsy Shop open most of the time too!

See you soon and happy summer!

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Monday, May 19, 2014

A Day Trip to Almonte, ON | The Handmade Harvest

A couple weekends back we ventured off the Almonte, ON for the first time. Well, let me just say we fell in love. Why hadn't we been there sooner?

Amongst all of the chaos in our lives right now... lowering our back deck, taking down fences, adding fences, building an outdoor kitchen and gardening... and, well lets not forget, a very busy 5 month old - who thinks he should be running around playing but has yet to learn how to crawl! Okay it's really not THAT bad... But it's making it nearly impossible for me to get on my blog.

Anyways, here I am. And here's our little trip to the most beautiful little town. We made our first stop at the Handmade Harvest craft show. A show unique enough that you must apply to get accepted. It was like a real life Etsy by far! (photos courtesy of my little iphone - I apologize for the lack of quality)

After spending our life savings, just kidding, we ventured over to the "main" street for some lunch and shopping. That's when we discovered the cute little cafes, bakery and gift shops, including the Tin Barn Market, Hello Yellow and Doree's Habit.

I don't think these pictures can even explain to you how nice of a town this was and what great shopping. Basically, I'll be going back as soon as I have an excuse too - which might not be until the fall - Handmade Harvest of course. But I will return Almonte - I promise you!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The "New" Bathroom on a Budget (Less Than $1000) | Before & After

Well, it's done. Well sorta. We didn't do the closet or laundry area... but the rest is finished and worthy of sharing! To recap on the progress, here are the previous posts... Planning for a new bathroomBathroom renovations part 1.

With an initial goal of $500, I quickly realized that wasn't going to be possible. So, I upped that to $750. Before I break down the final costs of what is completed to date... here's what the bathroom now looks like.

First we tore everything out (here). That always seems to be the easy part. Before I show you the good, here's a quick view of the bad. Shutter.

Everything... and I mean everything was horrible. The only thing that stayed was the paint colour... and that's only because we had actually painted it when we had moved in. Here's the original colour.

Dust is flying in this picture... likely because we were in the middle of renovating the whole upstairs of the house. It's pretty painful to look back through the pictures... I can't believe we saw what we have now underneath all of that paint and horribleness. 

But we did. And because we did, here's the bathroom now!

There's a place for towels to hang, toilet paper to roll... no more cracked and, did I mention, cold tile. It's perfect - to us. Anyways, here's the breakdown on costs.

Click Tile Floor - $260 (End of the Roll)
Vanity (dresser) - $50 (used - Kijiji)
Sink - $70 (Ikea)
Faucet - $50 (Ikea - sale price)
Toilet - $90 (Home Depot Canada)
Wainscotting/Trim (DIY coming soon) - Approx. $150 (Home Depot - Canada)
Pendant Lights - $52 for 2 (At Home Depot Canada)
Mirror - $30 (Lowes USA)
Paint - $50 (Lowes Canada)
Shower Curtain / Hooks - Approx. $50 - I lost the receipt (Target Canada)
Curtain Rod - $30 (Home Depot Canada)
Other (Plumbing, Electrical, Hooks) - $30

Drumroll Please.... That leaves the grand total of the makeover at $912! A bathroom renovation for under $1000! And, I only went over my $750 estimate by $162... not too bad, considering we did splurge in a few areas!

Well, that's it. I finally managed to get something share-worthy on the blog! ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chickpea Cookies | Recipe

(I apologize for the weird recipes lately...)

You read that right - chickpea cookies. What can I say. I may have gone crazy and I think it's only going to get worse. I'm on a mission to cut the garbage from our life. We haven't really shopped in the "middle aisles" of the grocery store for as long as I can remember. We might get the odd thing.... But chips, cookies, crackers... Manufactured garbage does not come home with us.

Don't get me wrong... We eat 80/20. I don't think a lifestyle of clean eating should be punished... We still enjoy "junk" food once in a while. Truth is though, after cleaning up our eating, the old stuff doesn't taste the same and actually has made us sick to our stomach... Even white baby potatoes had us in agony one night and we haven't had them since!

I'm now addicted to finding healthier ways around the foods we love or just making them from scratch so we know there are no crazy additives to give them a never ending shelf life. The hubs has been all for it and a pretty good sport... He just insists that Little P gets to try the "regular" stuff as a child. (Agreed - in small doses).

For example, last nights dinner:

Smoked Maple Salmon, Kale Salad and Zucchini Noodles. It was delicious and the husband loved it all... Actually more than I thought... I was convinced he'd hate the noodles.

Anyways, back to the cookies. Don't knock 'em until you try 'em.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chickpea Cookies
(makes 16 cookies | source)

1 540mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup maple syrup (honey works as well)
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor (I don't have one so I used a blender - a little harder but just make sure all of the chunks are well blended). Stir in chocolate chips. Wet hands and form 1 1/2" balls - the "dough" will be very sticky. Place cookies on parchment paper lined baking sheet and press down to form cookie shape if desired. Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies will be super soft - this is okay!

These are absolutely delicious right out of the oven - I mean melt in your mouth goodness! The hubs preferred them after they were cooled in the fridge. Try them both ways! I think I will warm them up when I eat them as a snack - microwave for 30 sec?

Anyways, I'm already thinking about trying other variations - PB2 Peanut Butter to cut the calories, PB2 Chocolate Peanut Butter to make a double chocolate cookie... and of course you could always change up the chocolate chips for different flavours or dark chocolate! Follow me on Instagram and I'll keep you posted!

And just because... Here's how I made the zucchini noodles.

Zucchini Noodles aka Zoodles
(serves 1 - 2)

2 - 3 small zucchinis
1 pot of water

Use a mandolin or grater to create noodles. This was so easy and quick - I was impressed. Next boil a pot of water large enough to fit noodles. Once boiled, place noodles in water for 1 - 4 minutes, depending on desired tenderness.

That's it! Our first time trying them I added grated mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, pink himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper. The hubs said next time we should try them without the cheese - he liked them that much! We're also thinking cucumber noodles would make a great summer "pasta" salad!

That's it for today... I'm off to find more recipes to try out!

(another apology for the not so great images... blame the iphone).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PB2 Chocolate Brownie Bites | Recipe

Easter is over... But the chocolate cravings are no where near gone! So... I did some experimenting this morning and came up with these.

PB2 Chocolate Brownie Bites

1 1/4 cups PB2 Chocolate Powder
225 mL Maple Syrup
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tbsp Water
1 1/2 cups Quaker Rolled Oats

Heat the oven to 350F. Mix everything in a bowl and let sit for five minutes. Grease a medium baking sheet and spread mixture across. Bake for 7 minutes cool and then cut into snack sized bites.

Note: I completely experimented with this. They are very chewy and delicious but actually might bake to more of a cookie texture if left longer? I'll update when I try it... I'm also going to try spooning the mixture onto the sheet rather than fill it!

If you tried this recipe let me know what you may have done differently! Feedback is definitely welcome!

Now someone please remove these from my kitchen... I keep taking bites every time I walk by.