Our Wood Home

Our Wood Home: July 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

monthly grocery shop, part 1: meal planning

Good morning!  If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen a couple posts about our new grocery shopping method.  Instead of shopping for groceries every week we decided to try doing one big trip per month.  Since I started working again I'm a little pressed for time and I certainly don't want to spend it driving half an hour into town and grocery shopping 4 times a month.  I am working at a small town grocery store that has almost everything we need food wise (except for organic whole wheat flour and crunchy natural peanut butter) so I can shop after my shift or even on my day off since the drive is less than 5 minutes from home.

I decided to write a 4 part series on the monthly grocery shop to see if it really is better than a weekly trip.  I'm also curious if it will end up saving us money and be as productive as I thought.  In this post I'll talk about the first step to preparing for a monthly shop: meal planning!  After you've read this post I'd love for you to visit my Facebook page and give me your feedback, opinions and general advice on grocery shopping.


I knew that one of the components that would make monthly shopping successful is not being wasteful. I turned to the internet and recipe books to decide what meals I'd be making for the month of August, including desserts and breakfasts.  Then I made a list, wrote down what is needed for each recipe, took stock of my pantry to see if I already had some ingredients and then crossed them off the list, leaving me with the things I need to buy.  This ensures I have everything I need to make any of the meals and that nothing goes to waste because I didn't plan to use it. 

I chose recipes that are fairly quick and easy, since I usually work until 4 or 5 PM most nights I don't have a ton of time to cook.  I also asked David what he would like to eat and he suggested a few of his favourites (Philly Cheesteak for example).  

August is sort of an odd month for us to experiment with grocery shopping because we will be going away for a week and will likely have to buy extra groceries.  But maybe not, since most of what I planned to make can easily be made on a BBQ!  Lunch  is usually a sandwich, veggies or fruit, a breakfast muffin and a baked goodie.  

Here are some of the dishes I'm making in August:
  • chicken lasagna
  • tuna in shells
  • chicken, broccoli and potato casserole
  • pizza
  • slow cooker shredded chicken
  • tuna burgers
  • perogies with feta
  • chicken in feta sauce
  • chili
I also included every day food, like bread, milk and fruit on my list. I'll likely shop for produce more than once a month but I did stock up on veggies that can be frozen such as broccoli and green pepper.

I'm really excited to share the rest of my monthly shopping trip with you so check back soon for part 2: list making.  You can follow me on Facebook for more frequent posts or subscribe via email (there is a box on the right side of my blog) to ensure you never miss anything.

Have a great day!

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Monday, July 28, 2014

weekend recap: July 25-27

My new job has me working most Fridays and Saturday, but thankfully I get Sunday off (although, sometimes I may be working a Sunday but would get the Saturday off).  So my Friday was spent at work, then rushing home to get dinner ready.  We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and then David went to bed early, so I stayed up to watch some Pretty Little Liars on Netflix!


I read the books years ago, and recently watched seasons 1-3 on DVD but since we don't have TV I had to wait for Netlfix to release season 4.  I'm halfway through and can't wait to finish!  I won't say any spoilers in case any of you are part way through, like me.

I worked on Saturday but David was busy at home taking apart the hot tub deck.  Our house came with a hot tub but we really didn't want to deal with one especially since it was connected to the breaker panel.  We had an electrician disconnect it right away and we were able to sell it for a good chunk of money in November.  But, now that the tub is gone we had to look at this tall platform that was built for it.  We decided to take it out and use the base for wood storage over winter.


David said the screws were all stripped so it was a time consuming process.  The plan is to take all the wood out but leave the very bottom, which is just an extension of the lowest level deck.  I took this picture through the window because it's raining out, so you may be able to see my shirt pattern and camera strap in the reflection!

Since Sunday was my day off, we planned to go to church but I slept in so late!!  We ended up going out for a hike, but first I bought some new running shoes.  I have a pair of runners but they are shaped funny and really hurt my feet, so it was time to get a new pair.  I seriously haven't had running shoes since middle school (excluding my painful pair, but I'm not sure if they are even meant for running or lots of walking).  I wore runners for gym class in grade 8 but then started wearing skater shoes, knock off Converse and slip ons.


My new shoes are super comfy, light and fit really well.  I'm excited to get more use out of them soon.

After I got the shoes, we went for a walk since the weather was nice.  The path we walked on took us through meadows, forest and along the river.



Since I'm a photographer, I obviously enjoy taking pictures.  I take pictures of so much in my life, whether it be mundane or exciting.  But sometimes I spend so much time behind the camera I forget to be present in the situations. I have to remind myself it's okay to keep the camera away sometimes (although I still pull it out for family parties and stuff) and just enjoy the moments as they happen.  I still take my camera on walks with David but I'm no longer obsessed with taking the perfect nature shots or trying to document everything I see.

I could probably go on a giant rant about being present instead of to photograph everything but I'll save that for another day!

Anyway, today started off on a good note because I found a jar of homemade nectarine jam I canned last fall.  I think I will have some toast and jam for breakfast and enjoy the rest of my day off today!


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

how NOT to take a selfie

My Facebook feed is littered with my friend's self portraits taken in the bathroom mirror.  Usually the photo is poorly composed, poorly lit and shows all the stuff they keep on their counter.  I'm not pointing fingers just at my friends...selfies everywhere are like this!  It's pretty certain that my generation, and people younger, are obsessed with taking pictures on their phones but that's no reason to compromise quality.

But personally, I think taking bathroom mirror selfies is weird.  I've got mirrors in 3 other rooms in my house, as I'm sure other people do too, so I'd rather take a mirror picture in one of them!  Never the less, I'm sharing with you today my simple guide on how NOT to take selfies.



Oh boy, this will be interesting!  Get ready, friends...


NO:   Please, for the love of all that is good, DO NOT take a mirror picture and show us what you have on your counter.  All phones have a built in editor that allows you to crop the photo before posting.   Showing all that stuff is distracting!



NO: The big problem here is that you can see into my shower, which is creepy and distracting. My shower curtain is fabulous and would make a good background, but instead you get to see my towels and shower stuff.  If you take pictures like this, simply spend a few seconds prior removing the towel and closing the curtain.



NO: The mirror is dirty (purposely, for the sake of this guide), I'm looking at my phone instead of straight ahead and the mirror frame is very distracting.  Cleaning a mirror takes no time, so do that before taking your picture.  And look up!  If you're taking a selfie in the mirror you probably aren't showing us your phone...you want us to see you face!


NO: This would have been a good shot if the flash was off and the whole picture was in focus.  Please NEVER use a flash when taking a mirror picture.  Turn on the bathroom light or open a window, but never use flash.


Okay: this shot is better because the curtain is closed behind me, I'm in focus and looking straight ahead, there are no visual distractions and the mirror is clean!  However, it's a little crooked and I'd find that annoying.


Okay: This is very similar to the above photo, but straighter.  I'd say this is pretty close to a great selfie.  


Great: In terms of self portraits in general, this is nothing special. BUT, I took it in the bathroom on my phone.  I stepped away from the mirror and stood against a light coloured wall next to the window.  I got natural lighting and zero distractions because all you can see is me!  And really, isn't that the point of selfies?


Let's review, shall we? When taking mirror selfies be sure to:
  • remove all clutter from counter
  • remove distracting things from the background such as hanging towels
  • don't use the flash!
  • clean your mirror
  • look at the camera, not your phone
Easy enough, right?  If you enjoyed this funny(ish) post, please let me know below in the comments. Or, you can send me an email (davidswife2574@gmail.com) or get in touch with me via social media at the top of the page.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Winona look alike

Recently someone told me I look like a young Winona Ryder.  I've NEVER heard this before, but the person who said that was adamant that I'm the spitting image.  So of course I had to do a Google search of Winona to see if there are, in fact, similarities.  



What do you think? I think apart from short hair and an angular jawline, we look nothing alike.  Winona's eyebrows are darker and heavier, her eyes are not green and her face looks a little more rounded than mine.

Here are more pictures of her with short hair for comparison. 









I'd love to hear your two cents! Comment below, send me an e-mail (davidswife2574@gmail.com) or contact via social media using the icons at the top of the page.



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

spaghetti squash chicken cacciatore

Have you ever had chicken cacciatore? If you're unfamiliar with the word itself, it's pronounced catch-i-tory.   There are many ways to make it but the simplest is with chicken, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and pasta.  My mom made it a lot when I was growing up so it's one of my favourite pasta dishes.  Her recipe involves cooking some peppers, onions and chicken strips in a frying pan, then adding diced tomatoes and Italian seasonings.  Once everything is cooked, add it to cooked pasta and mix it up before serving.  It's an awesome recipe that is easy and filling.

But sometimes pasta is a little heavy for summer meals.  David and I had recently tried spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs (sorry, no picture because we ate it so fast! so I thought I'd try squash in the cacciatore.

spaghetti sqaush

Spaghetti squash is a gourd with insides that are meant to be eaten like pasta.  You simply cut the squash, cook it and scrape out the insides.  It's a little crunchier than wheat pasta, but it is still filling without making the eater feel lethargic.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (found with the gourds at the grocery store)
  • chicken breast (I used 3 small pieces because that's all we had)
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • herbs such as oregano and basil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Fill a baking dish with 1/4 inch of water and set aside
  3. Cut the spaghetti squash in half (watch this video if you are unsure of how to do so) and place cut side down in the baking dish
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes
  5. Remove squash from oven and carefully scrape out the 'noodles' from the inside.  I suggest holding the squash in place with an oven mitt clad hand and using a fork for scraping.
  6. Discard the slimy part directly around the seeds.
  7. In a separate baking dish combine the chicken, pepper, sauce, garlic powder and herbs (if using). You may also add the squash pasta to the dish.
  8. Cook uncovered in oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked all the way through
  9. Remove from oven and serve.

spaghetti squash

I know it seems like there is a lot of work to this recipe, but it really is worth it!  If you wanted to save time while making this dish, you could cook the chicken mixture in the oven while the squash is cooking in it's own dish.  


At first glance you'd never even know this isn't actually wheat pasta!  It has a similar taste but is so much lighter!  I highly recommend you try cooking with it :)  

If you do try this recipe, please let me know!  You can contact me through the comment below, via e-mail (davidswife2574@gmail.com), or using the social media icons at the top of the page.




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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

camera skirt


I got this skirt from David last month, after casually mentioning a while back that I'd maybe like this skirt for my birthday in September.  He surprised me with it as a "just because" gift :)  I think it's actually my favourite piece of clothing because it's so cute, stylish and has POCKETS.

Top: Old, unsure of brand
Skirt: Modcloth.com
Belt: Joe Fresh
Shoes: Walmart

And since the skirt is camera print, I HAD to take a picture of me wearing the skirt and holding a vintage camera.  This particular camera belonged to my grandfather and is an old instant print model.  It weighs a ton but looks super neat!  I submitted a picture of my outfit to modcloth.com and they used it as an example photo showing how to wear the skirt.


 I know it's small but there's me circled in purple. I was pretty excited to see that on their site:)

David and I went to see the Lion King musical last month with his family and I wore this skirt again because I just adore it so much.


Here I wore it with a black patterned blouse and black shoes for a fancier look.  Funny story: David actually picked this top for me to wear! I had about 6 different tops laid out and I just couldn't decide on one.  I used to ask my mom for help but since I've got my own house now, I usually have to make these choices alone.  David proved super helpful though!   Oh, and in case anybody is curious, David's shirt is from Sears (I think) and the pants, belt and shoes are all from Mark's Work Warehouse.

I like this skirt because it's versatile; I can wear it with sandals and a tee shirt for errands or dress it up with a blouse and heels.



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Monday, July 14, 2014

weekend recap: July 11-13

Unfortunately this weekend was pretty boring, so it's recap might not be an interesting read for you all.  But I like to stick to a pattern, so I'll post anyway.

On Friday I started watching My Week With Marilyn  on Netflix.  The movie was released a few years ago but only to select theatres so I never got to see it. I'm super excited to be able to watch it now! Like most people, I adore Marilyn Monroe and I am actually interested in watching her movies (or movies about her, in this case).   I won't talk much about the movie because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I will post some pictures from it!  Oh, and Michelle Williams is a great Marilyn!!





If I had the time to spend curling my hair every day I'd grow it out from my current pixie into a more Marilyn-esque length.

Anyways, I worked at my new job on Friday afternoon and then came home to relax.  On Saturday I photographed a wedding at a family cottage.  The weather couldn't have been better! It was sunny and warm without being muggy.

ontario lake wedding

David was at home doing yard work and then went up to his parent's cottage before I got home.  I was feeling a headache coming on so I stayed home and rested.

On Sunday I worked again so I didn't really get to do much at home.  When I got home David and I watched some Netflix until bedtime.  Suuuuper exciting, I know.

I have the next few days off so I'm hoping the weather cooperates and lets me outside for some weeding.  Today I've got a hair cut and 2 maternity sessions to photograph, so fingers crossed for good weather!





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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

strawberry and peach smoothie

Recently David said he wanted to start drinking smoothies for breakfast.  He usually isn't hungry first thing in the morning so I pack some breakfasty foods in his lunch so he can eat them once he gets to work (usually it's something like banana bread or a PB&J sammie).  But smoothies are awesome as a breakfast food because they are tasty, versatile and take literally seconds to make.

We've just started making smoothies and are still figuring out what fruits and veggies taste good together.  I'm also experimenting with nuts and seeds too.  Here is a super quick and easy smoothie recipe I made the other day. I'm sure someone else has already created this recipe, and maybe even named it too. But I created this version from my own imagination and am going to call it Country Sunrise Smoothie because it reminds me of the colours in the sunrise (David said the smoothie looked like pasta sauce but that's not a very appealing name for a fruit smoothie!).

easy smoothie recipe


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup water
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender
  2. Blend until desired consistency is reached
  3. Pour into a glass and drink!



We don't have a blender, but our small food processor works just as well and is easier to clean up.  You'll notice I used water instead of milk or juice but that's just a personal choice.  I probably would have used juice if we had any, but milk was out since David has chosen to consume less dairy.  

I made this smoothie again today as a snack for me to take to work because I tend to get pretty hungry if I'm not able to snack all day (which is the case at my new job).  But since I'm allowed to have a drink at my register I figured I may as well make it a meal in a glass!  Now I can stay hydrated and not be hungry at the same time.  Double win!!!


Are there any smoothie recipes or combos you think we should try? Let me know in the comments below or through social media (just follow the icons above the picture in the right panel of the blog).  If you haven't already done so, feel free to subscribe to my posts via e-mail (there is a little box on the right of the page).  


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Monday, July 7, 2014

weekend recap: July 4-6


Happy Belated Independence Day to my American readers! I hope you all had a great weekend:)

I'm in Canada so I didn't have any county-related celebrations this weekend (mine was the previous weekend for Canada Day).  Our weekend started off as usual, with dinner at home and Netflix.  We are currently watching Happy Endings, which is pretty funny.

Saturday started super early for me since my mom asked me to drive her to work because her car had to be scrapped.   The rest of the day was spent at home doing housework (me) and yardwork (David).  I went back out to take my mom home from work and along the way we stopped to look at cars for sale.  I don't really enjoy car shopping, especially when it's out of necessity because it seems like there is a limited selection of used cars that are in good shape and decently priced.  In the evening David worked on a birthday present for his sister (Kaitlyn).

felted Totoro

It's a character from her favourite movie, My Neighbor Totoro.  David made it through a process called felting. 




Sunday was spent doing a bit of caulking repair in the bathroom shower.  For some reason the seal between the tub and shower surround keeps flaking off.  David thinks he figured out the problem so hopefully this is the last time we have to recaulk.  Kaitlyn's birthday party was in the afternoon so we spent some time at David's parent's house with the family.

raw vegan cake


seriously, how cool are these gladiator Birkenstocks?!
David was showing everyone how we made the felted Totoro
Before the party we went to the mall so I could look for a new bathing suit top and since we had some time to spare we checked out some other stores for fun.  We found the best lawn ornament EVER and bought him for the garden.


It's a zombie gnome!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm not a huge zombie or gnome fan, but this guy was too awesome to pass up.  Right now he is in the garden under the living room window but he might adventure in the other gardens eventually.

This week is going to be busy for me! I'm going grocery shopping and taking my mom out today, tomorrow I'm working in the morning and have a maternity photography session scheduled in the evening, Wednesday and Friday are work days again and Thursday will likely be spent on yard or house work.  I enjoy having a paying job again but it is taking some getting used to (considering how most of my time was spent in yoga pants before!).

I'm hoping to post a recipe and decor post this week, so check back soon.  If you haven't already done so, feel free to subscribe to my posts via e-mail (there is a little box on the right of the page).  Alternatively you can follow me on social media using the icons at the top of the page above my picture. 





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