Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year!

Sweet Roxy Girl

Jet's been doing this face lately where he'll scrunch his eyes and smile so big and for some reason he clenches his fist while doing it - kills me everytime!

What a ham

Jet Li

Friday, January 20, 2012

Key Lime Pie

This is the easiest and tastiest key lime pie and the secret is all in the juice, you've got to use Nellie and Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice . Their juice has got just the right zing that every good key lime pie should have and the recipe comes right off their bottle. Try it! If you can't get your hands on it, using fresh-squeezed key limes will do too. If you're super desperate you can use regular limes, but it won't taste the same.

(I recommend making your own graham cracker crust rather than buying the pre-made ones at the store. Try this one from Ina):

Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie
  • 9" graham cracker pie crust
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 egg yolks (whites not used)
  • ½ cup Nellie & Joe's Key West Lime Juice
Combine milk, egg yolks and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Pour filling into pie crust and bake at 350ยบ for 15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before refrigerating. Just before serving, top with freshly whipped cream, or meringue, and garnish with lime slices.

Always a hit!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cinnamon-Cranberry Whole-Wheat Bagels

 I had some extra dough from the master recipe I made courtesy of "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" and decided to make bagels for the first time ever. It was pretty fast and easy and they turned out delicious! You all have to get this book!

Prepped and resting




SOOOOO good!!! Jet and Matt loved them and so did I!
I love that I can make bagels for our family now!

And once you use up all your dough, you just make another batch in the same bowl without cleaning it. The remnants help serve as starter for the next batch - how great is that?!

Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Minute Bread

It is difficult to find good, inexpensive artisan-type kinds of bread in the stores here so I have been wanting to make my own for awhile now. A few months ago I heard about this book and immediately set my mind to ordering it and I I finally got to try out my first recipe yesterday and I couldn't be happier with the result! I made their master recipe first and am looking forward to trying the other ones out soon.

Okay, so of course it takes longer than 5 minutes to make bread but the authors of this fab bread book are saying that it's 5 active minutes, the rest is waiting for the dough to rise and bake. You will make a big batch of dough and store it in the fridge so that when you are ready to bake, everything will be ready for you. There are a few number of steps involved but after you do it once, you'll be able to do it again easy peasy. Definitely worth it!

They have another book where they make regular artisan-type breads that looks good too but I thought I'd try to go the healthy route, especially if we're going to be eating it all the time:)

One of the best smells ever

Typically the pictures in cookbooks look a lot better than in real life, but in this case, their recipes and instructions are so good that the final product is a pretty close match to the loaf on the cover don't you think?

You will need a pizza baking stone and I also highly recommend investing in some Silpats and food scale to make your life easier.

We love it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Office Space

We have a little corner right next to the kitchen by the chalkboard wall that needed some utilizing. I was needing a little space where I can work on the computer, do some admin work and some studying so the idea for an office nook was born! I am loving having this bit of organized space and hope it helps me be more productive:)

The last chair from the set I got off Kijiji for a steal, 5 for $40. Since it was the only captain's chair, I decided to paint it the opposite color of its counterparts and went with black.

Proof that this chair was antique - it was stuffed with straw! So gross... but definitely worth it for the price.

Paint + fabric = magical makeover

I saw some ideas for making a fabric corkboard and decided to give it a go. Now one thing I've learned through all these projects is that I am not a naturally talented DIY-er like many of the other women bloggers whose blogs I read. They always make it look so easy but I usually stumble upon some sort of complication, buy the wrong parts, measured the wrong size, sweat, cry, etc, etc. So all this to say, if I can do it, ANYONE can - I'm not going to give up (yet:)!

For the fabric corkboard, I went and bought a frame at Michael's. You might not know this but they have a small area over by their custom framing area where they sell frames I'm assuming were mix-ups from their custom orders and all of them, no matter how big or small, are all $8. The only thing is that they are final sale so you can't return them so make sure it's really the frame you want. I went with this nice big one that had some fun carvings in it.

Painted and distressed it...

Went to Home Depot and bought a piece of hardboard (I think it was about $5?) which they will cut to size for you. They give you 2 free cuts, anything after that, they'll charge you.

Bought squares of corkboard they had at Dollarama and measured them out on the hardboard then used spray adhesive to glue them together.

Found this big beautiful piece of vintage yellow fabric at where else, Bibles for Missions! For $3! I ironed it out, glued and stapled it onto the backside of the corkboard then popped the entire thing into the frame. This will be good for the future when I want to change out the fabric, making it easy to remove from the frame. Now this is where the project gave me a run for my money. The backboard ended up being a smidge too big for the frame and since I don't have an electric saw, I had to whittle that thing down with a steak knife. This part made me want to go bonkers but it worked!

The sweet Hubs screwed top and bottom into the wall for me (this frame was a little wonky so in order to have it be completely flush against the wall we had to drill it in). I put some white paint over the top of the screws and voila! This thing is ready to get pinned!

Here's a before shot of the desk we bought at Moveline for $33.

 And here's the final product! 
Now I'm on the lookout for just the right table lamp...

Thursday, January 5, 2012


If you live in the province of Ontario and are looking for inexpensive furniture to refinish, I highly recommend checking out Moveline. They sell used hotel furniture and you can get some major scores there and their inventory is constantly evolving. On our way home from our Niagara getaway, we happened to be driving right by the warehouse so we stopped in. The Lord was so kind to provide some things we were specifically looking for: 2 nightstand tables, a desk, and two lamps - all for a great price! 

One of the employees was eager to point out Sarah Richardson's and Steven and Chris's picture on their wall as being fans of the place and I can see why. So if you're ever out in Oakville or even if you're not, Moveline is worth checking out. You can even browse their website to see what they have in stock before you go.

I almost always forget to take "before" pictures of what I refinish - sorry! But these nightstand tables were a red mahogany color so I painted them white and changed out the knobs and voila! Also bought a new lampshade for the lampstand to finish out the look.

These nightstand tables were $33 each, I just used the same can of white paint I've been using on a lot of the other furniture pieces and with a new knob I paid about a dollar for at Michael's, these tables come in at about $36. Who knew that Michael's sells knobs? I sure didn't but they are cheap, only $1.50 each and if you wait for their coupon specials, you can pay even less for that (don't ever step foot into Michael's without some sort of coupon in your hands - that place is majorly overpriced without one! But I must say that I was quite impressed with their $1.50 section, very pretty stationary and fun little knick knacks).

And the lamps were $15 each. The lampshades they came with were a little shabby and not at all chic so I just went with simple, white drum shades that I found at Walmart for $15 each.

The Hubs enjoying the upgrade.
Excited to see everything coming together, piece by piece!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Family Portraits

 My sweet mother-in-law got us a photo session last year for Christmas and we barely used it in the nick of time before the deadline ended this year:) Time flies I'm telling you! But we got in there and were able to get some fun pics of our fam - thanks so much Mom!

Jet LOVES this little blue bear that one of my co-workers had gifted at a shower before he was even born; I don't even want to think about what would happen if we ever lost Mr. Bear (*shudder*)

Sweet little Roxy Girl. 
We knew before Roxy was born that we would be having a daughter and it was so hard to comprehend at the time what life would be like with a girl since all I knew was boy but the transition was as easy as pie - Roxy is such a sweet, happy, and snuggly baby and we are so blessed to be parents to this precious little girl.

Daddy's Boy.
I wish Jet was a classic Mama's Boy, but nope, I mean he's sweet to me and everything but you can tell that he thinks Matt is way cooler and would much rather play with him, which:
A. He's right.
and B. Secretly, I love that he loves his Daddy so much and thinks that's exactly how it should be, but shhhhh.... don't tell Jet that, I'm still working on trying to sway him to my side just a little bit more.

Praising God for the gift of marriage and children

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012!!!

Wow, I can't believe another year has come and gone. How is it possible that every year goes by faster than the last? Well, I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for us as a family in 2012, especially as I look back at 2011 and see all the ways the Lord worked in our lives to reveal Himself more vividly to us. So it is with great anticipation that I face this year knowing that whatever it may hold, I can be assured that the Lord will be ever present, ever faithful, and ever loving as He always is and always will be.

Here are some pics that captured some of our last days in 2011:

The Famous Sylvester Christmas Tree - 
Full of ornaments marking special moments in our lives throughout the years. I don't know how she does it but Mama Sylvester always finds the most fitting ornaments for each and everyone of us year after year.

 Jet getting a guitar lesson from Uncle Markie

So pretty

My in-laws recently renovated their kitchen - very nice!

Wow - I get to be married to this hot stud!

Sweet Roxy Girl with G-Ma


Loves horsing around with his uncles

The best father-in-law ever!

Lot of December birthdays: we did a fun little birthday celebration for Mom, Dad, and Daniel. Jet helped to blow out candles and added a little bit of his special sauce for free:)

I surprised Matt with a little getaway to the Niagara area. This region is becoming fast known as a major leader in the wine industry - I have never seen such a concentrated number of wineries in one place!

We stopped for lunch at Peninsula Ridge Winery where we had such a delicious lunch. As a starter we had this spinach gnocchi - bites of heavenly fluffy goodness!

Then we split this chipotle roast beef sandwich - so good!

Then we went on a little tour of some of the wineries in the area. One thing is for sure: every winery we went to had the most beautiful interior design, lots of reclaimed wood and stone - loved everything we saw.

Henry of Pelham Winery

Creekside Winery

Upper Cheese of Canada - yum!

Vineland Estates Winery - just gorgeous

The inside - see what I mean?!

So we had Jet open his presents from us on Christmas Eve. It was fun watching him this year since he definitely was very into it where last year, not so much. He loves construction machines and calls them "monsters" so we went with that theme.

The face says it all.
This is by far his most favorite toy right now.

Goodies at the annual Sylvester-Hales Christmas Eve party. The little Monkey kept sneaking stuff off the table. But hey, can you blame him?

Christmas Jet

 Christmas Roxy

*sigh* I wish I had more pictures with my kids. Especially with this one, I'm lucky to have him sit still for more than 5 seconds with me.

PoPo with Roxy Girl

Roxy with Uncle D

By far the best gift I received this year

Love the finger over the nose

The Homies on Christmas Day

More gifts!

 It snowed a couple days after Christmas. It was so beautiful I just had to take Jet out since he hasn't really been in it. He loved it so much that he threw a fit when I finally brought him back inside. I showed him how to catch snowflakes on his tongue - this kid kills me!

Kung Fu Roxy

My mom is in town and it was great having her here celebrating Christmas with us. She has been such a blessing to us and we are so thankful for her! Anyway, she brought me a fryer, which is good and bad news for the obvious reasons but for New Year's Eve we made homemade Chinese food and I busted out the fryer and made sweet and sour chicken. It turned out excellent and I highly recommend this recipe for it:

Panda Express has got nothing on this!

The sweet and sour sauce was da bomb!

My mom made the fried rice and beef chow mein - delicious!

The last thing I saw before falling asleep in 2011 - so blessed.