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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ever Evolving

My job is evolving slightly, and I'll be spending about 20% of my time on fundraising projects for our centre. I'm excited about the opportunity - it's a good skill set to have, and I get to work with some people in the Dean's office and around the university. I'm also a bit nervous, since it's a) outside my professional wheelhouse and b) outside my personal comfort zone (being introverted makes it tough to ask people for money). But, I know pushing my boundaries a bit will help me both professionally and personally.

Anyone else involved in this type of work? Any tips or tricks of the trade?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mantel Decor Update

A few weeks ago, I posted about how I wasn't super happy with our mantel decor, especially given how our wonderful new fireplace is now the focal point of the room. I received a lot of good ideas on the blog and Facebook, and took the advice to put something much larger above the fireplace.

So, after spending a couple weeks searching around with no luck, I went to a local art shop (The Art Bank Gallery) and they were amazingly helpful. They first got me to pull any art that called to me, regardless of the size, price, etc.. They really just wanted to see what I was going for. From there, they made some recommendations and I took a piece home to test and a few other ideas.

DH and I both fell in love with the local photography of Andrew Collett, and ended up going that route:


Though DH tends toward a de-cluttered (I like to call it "minimalist") decor, it just didn't look right to not have anything on the mantel. So, I put back some of the stuff we had there before, and flushed it out with some of our nicer looking books. 


I'm not sure about it right now - I'm wondering if I should reduce the amount of "things", or if I should try to find larger/taller pieces to put on either sides of the windows. 

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spiced Yohgurt Grilled Chicken Skewers

My in-laws gave me Simple Dinners by Donna Hay for Christmas. I love Donna Hay, and have loads of her cookbooks. My favorite part is that there is a photo of every single recipe, so the books are mouthwatering to even look through. Another favorite part is that her recipes are as mouthwatering as they look.

I wanted to try something quick and easy for a weekday night, so I choose this Indian-inspired grilled chicken recipe. Quick and easy it was! Just throw a few spices together with some plain yohgurt, coat some chicken, and throw it in the oven to broil for ~12 minutes.


I served it with some warm store-bought nan (flat bread), hummus, and a simple salad (this one has spinach, strawberries, onions, cashews, and a raspberry vinegerette). Tasty!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Passport

We are heading down to Arizona in March to visit my parents who live down there in the winter months...which means Evan needs his passport. We were worried about how long it would take to get a photo that would work. That he would freak out, cry, get distracted and not look at the camera...we were prepared for it to be a gong show, really.

Once in place in front of the screen, he sat there with a sullen look with his mouth slightly open.  She said he couldn't have his mouth open, so he closed it. One snap of the camera and, voila!


Is that not the perfect mugshot passport photo, or what?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Awesome Foundation

One of my goals this year is to do more planned charitable giving, and one of the ways I'll be achieving this goal is by taking part in the local chapter of the Awesome Foundation.

If you've never heard of this, the basic premiss is a group of people get together, put their own money into a pot, and give it away to someone who has a really cool idea...no strings attached. 

Our group first heard about it at a cross-sector community workshop a few months ago. A woman in the Awesome Toronto group spoke about what they did and the really cool projects they funded - like making a giant connect the dots using Toronto landmarks and Google satellite maps. 

A bunch of us immediately loved the idea, and now we have 40 trustees in our local group, split into 4 groups of 10. This means each trustee takes part in 3 rounds a year, so it's not an insane amount of money to invest. Each month there will be a call for proposals. Then, one of the groups of 10 trustees will choose their top three, hear those pitches live, and make their top choice. That person will walk away with $1000 that night to do something awesome!

Our first "call for proposals" was at the beginning of this month, and we received 41! There are a lot of really cool/amazing/touching ideas. The first award night is on Jan. 28th, and all 40 trustees are invited to attend (though only the 10 for the month can vote).

I fell in love with this idea because I think it's "awesome" for someone to get $1000, no strings, to do something really cool and interesting - things that probably would have a difficult time getting more formal funding. I also like that I'll be able to meet and work with the other trustees, who I probably would never meet otherwise.

Check out if there is an Awesome Foundation chapter in your area - if not, consider starting one up! It's a low cost way to do something truly awesome for your community.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mac & Cheese

I have a recipe for mac & cheese, but am never happy with how it turns out. Yes, I know - it's mac & cheese - how hard could it be? For some reason, I just could not season it right. So, when I came across a recipe for mac & cheese in the January 2013 edition of Today's Parent, I thought I'd give it a try.




It was still a bit bland, but so much better than my other recipe! I think I'll try it again with a bit more spices.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

iPad

My dad gave me his old iPad at Christmas and so far I'm really enjoying it! I'm now using it as my home computer and leaving my laptop at work durning the week. I will most likely still bring my laptop home on the weekend because there are things I can do with it that I can't do on the iPad - mostly adding photos from my various cameras and updating my iPhone and iPad.

I do find the keyboard a bit tough to use, which make typing things longer than a few sentences annoying. That, coupled with low functionality of Blogger's iPad app, has caused me to not blog as often as I'd like. It's tough to insert photos properly, I can't figure out how to justify the text, and my tags aren't imported to the app. Often, I use the app initially but then do final edits in a browser (which can be difficult).

I like the iPad, but I like the full functionality of the laptop. If I had to choose one, I'd definitely go for the latter. But, maybe I just need to learn how to use the iPad properly!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spelling

Evan ran up to me tonight saying that he spelled "mommy" out of the magnets on the dishwasher. This is what he did:


That's pretty close, right?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Broiled Lobster Tail

I've added another goal to my 2013 list: try 24 new recipes and post photos on the blog.

Over the holidays, DH saw some lobster tails on sale and decided to grab some. So, tonight I tried out this Broiled Lobster Tail recipe, and it was delectable!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fireplace Mantel - WWYD?

Our living room is really coming along, especially with the installation of the new fireplace and surrounding tile. One difficulty I'm having, though, is with the mantel.


As you can see, it's enormous - spanning the length of the whole room - and has two windows above it.

For the past couple of years, we've had a number of small decorative things along it, but this method doesn't do the mantel justice.

So, I'm looking for ideas - what would you do? Pictures or links would be doubly helpful!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

Here are my goals for 2013! As always, you can keep track with how I'm doing on my resolutions page.

1. Reading. 
I'd like to read at least 15 books this year to match what I did in 2012.

2. Knitting. 
Let's try to get this afghan done this year! Also, I'd like to do another baby blanket if we get pregnant again.

3. Back to style 
- Get a skin-care and make-up consultation, since my skin has changed a lot in the past few years.
- Focus my work style more by bringing in more of my own personality.
- Develop a casual/weekend wardrobe.

4. Get back into at least one of dance, music, or golf
As I wrote before, I really miss these things from earlier in my life. So, why not try to get back into them?

5. Planned charity giving
With the exception of my monthly donation to WWF, we tend to randomly give to charities throughout the year. This year, I'd like to plan this out a bit more. Perhaps budget a certain amount per month and then make conscious decisions of who to give too. I will also be taking part in Awesome London this year!

6. Home organization 
Now that we've been in this house for almost three years, some re-organization needs to be done. This includes, but not limited to:
- Reorganizing pantry, office closet, linen closet, and bookcases
- Putting together a cleaning schedule
- Going through old magazines and cutting out interesting articles/recipes
- Use Pinterest to keep track of fashion, home decor/design, and recipe ideas

7. Make note of the little things
Both my mom and mother-in-law say they wish they had written more things down when we were kids, so I'd like to do this more. Not sure on the medium though - I'm deciding between a written journal, private blog, or setting up an email for Evan.

8. Become more in tune with my body
I've been ignoring several signs that my body needs to be better taken care of, and that needs to stop.  I need to be more proactive about my neck/shoulder problems, be a more mindful eater, and work in more fitness into my life.

9. Professional development for work
I want to be more proactive in terms of my career development. A couple things I'd like to do this year are: 
- Take a continuing education class or two that would fit great with my current position (and help for future options)
- Foster my interest in education research by delving into the literature

10. Nurture our marriage more
We tend to take our anger and frustrations out on each other, and we need to stop. We also need to find more ways to spend more quality time together, even if it's not a date night out.

11. Have baby #2
This is more of a hope than a goal - hopefully 2013 will be good to us in this regard and we can add another child to our family.

Happy 2013 to all my wonderful readers! I hope the new year brings you much love and happiness!