Friday, May 24, 2013

homemade nut-free Nutella-like spread

- 1/4 cup unsalted butter

- 1 cup semisweet chocolate, chopped (or if you have 1 cup of chocolate chips, that'll do)

- 1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk

in a saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, while stirring. remove from the heat, add the the condensed milk and stir to blend. store in an airtight container at room temperature.
try this, you won't regret it! hope you have a great weekend! xo

Monday, May 6, 2013

no sew t-shirt headband (2 ways)

spring is finally here, spring cleaning too! time to clean out your closets, to get rid of stuff you hold on to for no good reasons and could be useful to somebody else, be recycled, etc. i had a few pieces of maternity clothing that i no longer wear. some were still in very good condition and will be donated to my local thrift shop, but some were kinda meh. nursing will do that to maternity/breastfeeding tops! milk stains, Lansinoh spots, you just can't give that away... nobody will want to wear them, haha! but, you can recycle your old clothes in many ways. here's how you can turn your stained tees into cute headbands, no sewing involved.

first of, measure your head (or in this case, your baby/kid's head). add about 2 inches to that measure in order to be able to tie a knot to close your headband. cut a strip out of your shirt to the appropriate lenght, avoiding stains and/or holes in the fabric. your fabric strip doesn't have to be super straight, because once your headband will be done, it won't show.

with your long piece of fabric, you could just tie a knot right now and be done!

or, you could take your strip and make a magic braid headband. if you don't know how to make a magic braid, this tutorial will help you out. here's what i did:

 fold your strip in half

 starting at the fold, cut 2 slits and stop at about 1/2" from the top

 unfold and tape the top to hold your strip while braiding

 start braiding! untangle as you go down (this is where the YouTube tutorial will be useful)

 tie a knot


Rubinette likes them.

have fun!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

dollar store design

ok. so i know that the words "dollar store" and "design" usually don't go hand in hand BUT, i want to show you that they can, in fact, work well together. like, really well. i wanted to start a new installment for the blog and i think this just might be it. i will try my best to do step-by-step tutorials to show you how you can achieve something modern and nice looking without spending too much dough. sounds good? let's start!

today i will show you not one but TWO easy-peasy-penny-pinching projects i did in my kids rooms. both ideas are inspired by some danish rooms i saw on Pinterest. i love browsing and gathering a million ideas on there, but i love it more when i actually get off my butt and try them, ya know? whether it's a recipe, a home cleaning tip or something design related, i feel like i need to at least give it a try and not just let the project sit in a folder forever.

Leo is about to turn 3 (omg) and i want to slowly start to change his nursery into something more "big boy" like. the room itself wasn't all cutesy-baby to start with, but it could use a little improvement. recently, he likes to sleep with his door completely shut, something he had never done before. i thought adding something fun in the back of his bedroom door could be a nice thing for him to look at when bedtime comes. i immediately remembered that i had seen black wall decals at the dollar store, and had a light bulb moment. the original design was rather ugly, kinda looked like the shadow of a chair. haha. BUT, there was sufficient black vinyl to be cut into something else!

for my pattern, i traced a (imperfect) triangle on a piece of carboard (out of an old herbal tea box!) and then cut out about 30 of them from the chair decal. then i applied them randomly on the back of the door and...err.. that's it! that's the whole it! i think it looks really nice now - Leo even said so - and gives a great graphic look to something rather plain and simple.

having vinyl leftovers i decided to use them in Rubis' room. i didn't have much and wanted to use it wisely. i had just enough to make small shapes. so i decided to go for raindrops. i just cut them out randomly, without any pattern this time. at first i wanted to apply only raindrops on the wall, but then decided to add a cloud. i had previously bought a few large pieces of cardstock at the dollar store to make a banner and so i used that. i started out with a white cloud, but it didn't pop out enough on her pale yellow wall. good thing i had some black too! i simply free handed a cloud shape, cut it out, applied double sided tape on the back and stuck it to the wall. pretty simple, right? and if one day i'm tired of it, it'll be super easy to remove. just peel off and say goodbye!

hope this has inspired you to try it at home! i'm telling you, the dollar store can rock!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

pimp yo basics

i love a good d.i.y.  i've always done creative projects ever since i was a child. my mother wasn't creative *at all* but her sister, my dear aunt Gigi, was and transfered me her make-it-your-own kind of approach on things. she would draw, paint, sew, knit, crochet... name it, she did it. good. like, reallllly good. i admired her so much growing up. i remember all those times she babysat me and we would spent hours creating all kinds of things like collages, revamping old furniture, drawing our own comic books and more. she would drag me to the art supplies store with her and it was just so.flipping.amazing. all those brushes and tools and what not to help you create whatever the heck you wanted to do. if she were still with us, i bet she would still be making amazing things :)

having kids means having the chance to create for them as well. i've made their bedding, lots of stuffies, pillows, hats and such. if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of my diy projects involving kids clothes. i mostly dress my children in basics (not a big fan of characters on kids clothes) but sometimes it can feel as if a little je-ne-sais-quoi is missing. enter fabric paint! oh the possibilities. they're endless. sometimes i get inspired by the current trends, sometimes i just go with what's in my head. it doesn't require particular drawing talents (which i do not have by the way) in fact, it can be very, very simple. lemme show ya.

the blue shirt is simply stamped on. can't be much easier, eh? i used cosmetic sponges, found at the dollar store. they were already triangle-shaped, so i just dipped them in fabric paint (i use Setacolor by Pébéo) and stamped stamped stamped, front and back. on the grey shirt i free handed the cloud and neon rain drops. again, very easy. my basics are from Joe Fresh Kids. they are affordable, durable and well made. i'm sure other stores have great selection of basics for kids! from the top of my head i'm thinking Walmart and maybe Target? these shirts are for Rubis. i've done some for Leo too!

after you are done, let dry for a few hours. to fix yours designs, iron on the reverse side of the decorated fabric for 3 minutes on cotton setting. once fixed, the designs are resistant to machine washing and even dry cleaning. hope this has given you the desire to pimp your very own basics!


yesterday, April 23rd, i turned 35. thirty-five. that's a lot of years people! we had pizza (Rubis had butternut squash while Leo ate lasagna - he hates pizza!) a few beers and cake! oh the cake. it was so good. Leo sang to me the birthday song and i was given this amazing SLR camera by the mister. a low key birthday, full of love and good times. i couldn't have asked for more. so far, 35 is great :)
 ombré cake. not as beautiful as the ones on Pinterest, but delicious nonetheless.

butternut squash face.

Monday, August 13, 2012

on the road with a toddler

driving for long hours with a toddler can be quite challenging. chances are they will want to get out of their car seat 5 minutes after you left the driveway. if you want to stay sane and enjoy your family road trip, you have to be a little prepared. here's what works for us and Leo, some of these may come in handy for you in the future!

make sure the kid is well rested. of course this is a no brainer, a tired tot can be a pain in the... neck, ha! and since no one in this universe knows why all kids, instead of just going to sleep when they're tired, rather cry and weep for extended periods of time, you want to make sure yours has had enough sleep before you get in a car for hours. if that isn't possible and you're counting on the car ride to help them fall asleep, think ahead and bring whatever may help them relax. whether it's a blanket, softie or a paci, bring it along.

entertainement is also a must, but it can be tricky to amuse and please them because, well, let's face it, they will get bored of whatever you're trying after 5 minutes or so. 

first of all, we never, ever rely on portable DVDs or iphones or whatever modern technonoly has to offer for entertainement, but that is a personal choice for the moment. maybe when he gets older we'll introduce these devices but for now we feel that those aren't necessary and that he can do without just fine. actually same thing goes when we're home; no tv, no computer. we just do other stuff to keep him entertained and so far, it works great.

things that do work with us are:

- music (no kids music tho, because that would drive us insane, haha) that has good rythm. among Leo's favorites, there's Bob Marley, the Beatles, the Smiths, oldies (50's rock n roll), CCR and Elvis. something the whole family can enjoy. of course we throw in there a few family sing along with him, as he likes to sing alot!

- a favorite toy or softie is always nice too, and i always (always) carry a spare toy in my diaper bag, juuust in case.

- little games of can-you-spot-a *insert whatever may be spotted where you're at* is a classic, and Leo gets all kinds of excited when he finds an ambulance, plane or police car. simple and efficient.

when we have to stop (for gas, for example) we all step out of the car to wiggle our legs a little and get some air. if the area allows it, we will run around and play a bit, and eat a little snack to give us the extra energy we need to successfully get where we're headed. speaking of snacks, we never, EVER leave the house without healthy snacks on hand and cold water. eating healthy on the road is quite the task, so you gotta make sure you can satisfy your littles' stomach on demand. i know most people wouldn't mind to give a bag of Cheetos and a sugary beverage as a snack, but we made a personal choice of always giving our kid healthy alternatives (and hey, if you think about it, it's much cheaper too!). plus, since Leo is allergice to peanuts, we have to make sure he can eat safely even when on the road.

a typical snack is consisting of:

- home made "party mix": in a spill proof cup, i mix in cereals like Cheerios, dried fruits (cranberries, raisins...), and an assortment of organic crackers - we love Annie's and Mum-Mum rice biscuits!
- fresh fruits : apple slices, a pear or a banana and we're good to go.
- Leo loves these gluten free chewy bars, so i always make sure i have one on me.
- water, and lots of it. essential.

sure it requires minimum preparation but it's well worth it. actually, a snack is a must even for short trips. saves you money and you don't have to wait until you find a store to get a snack, as it's right there in your bag. cuts the whining time in 2 ;)

finally, we keep a little shoe box in the car, under a seat, containing a change of clothes, a diaper and a few wipes. that little box is there for emergencies for situations like "hey i thought i had packed enough diapers? oopsy!" or if you kiddo gets sick and his clothes need to be changed. a life saver, honnestly.

hope these were helpful tips!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

banana bread

woke up the other morning wanting to make a little something special for breakfast. banana bread it was! i had a bunch of very ripe naners that were perfect for the occasion. i asked help from my little sous chef and he was very pleased to learn and participate in the operation. he quickly grabbed a chair to step on to be closer to the action. he really likes it when i ask for his help in the kitchen, and i love teaching him how mixing ingredients together make some pretty good stuff in the end. this little experience turned out realllly yummy. probably because of all the love we put in it!

 see? tested and approved.

here's my recipe:

2 or 3 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup of vanilla yogurt
1 tea spoon baking soda

3/4 cup to 1 cup organic sugar (depending on how sugary you want it. i always use 3/4 cup and it's sufficient, at least to my taste)
1/2 cup soften butter
2 eggs
1 tea spoon vanilla
1 cup of organic white flour
1 cup of organic wheat flour
1 tea spoon of baking powder
1/2 tea spoon of salt

pre heat over at 350.

in a bowl, combine the yogurt and baking soda. set aside. in another bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. set aside.

now mix butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla into your mixer. add bananas and mix. then add your yogurt, mix. now add your dry ingredients and mix a lil more.

you can either pour your mix into individual muffin cases or bake as a cake or bread loaf, depending on what you have - which ever you choose, baking time should be around 20-25 minutes. we decided to divide our mix into 2 round cake molds.

after waiting appropriate baking time, Leo and i went to check in on our bread. it was golden and looked delish! we waited about 10-15 minutes to let it cool a bit, and served ourselves a nice piece with fresh strawberries on the side. oh, and a tall glass of cold milk as well. so good, you gotta give it a try!