Domestic Goddess

by Nadine on May 8, 2015

Guys, I’m pretty much a Fifties housewife — with a job. (For three more weeks, at least.)

I haven’t been blogging here as often because I’ve been busy in my kitchen for Shine On.

Here’s what I’ve made recently:

Beer bread. Cake-mix pie. Moisturizers. Waffle eggs. Ice Cream. Peanut butter. Pear pie. Deodorant (to be posted soon). Eggs Benedict.*

Click on any of the above links for recipes/reviews.

I’ve been using the aloe moisturizer and deodorant daily. I’ve made the peanut butter twice already. And the ice cream will be a repeat offender in our household. Not bad for a day’s work.

*Full disclosure: Matthew made the Eggs Benedict. As per usual.

P.S. Speaking of work: Two friends of mine are going viral. I’m pretty proud. Read their story here.


Getting Organized: Paper, Paper, Paper

by Nadine on May 8, 2015

I’ve always wanted to build a dollhouse. Maybe with a filing cabinet in it.

Our apartment is a total mess right now. It looks like we’re moving. We’re not.

Boxes and books are stacked everywhere. Tools are lying on the floor. Old paint cans are hiding beneath my desk kitchen table.

The reason: a baby. (Who, according to our latest ultrasound, has a very sizeable noggin. Poor girl’s gonna have to shop for hats in the men’s section like her mama. Also…ouch.)

I’ll share our nursery progress soon. Hopefully we’ll have it set up in the next week or so, considering I’m almost full-term and would like to have a place for her to sleep here should she make an early appearance.

(Both Matthew and I are firstborns. Both of us defied the stats and were born early. So I don’t trust my midwife when she says to expect to be 10 days late. Nope. Not in this family.)

The construction project in the old office has kept me from “nesting” as I should — the desire to waddle around the house and make it pretty is a very real thing, folks — so I’ve been stuck addressing other house issues. Like paperwork.

Whoever said we were becoming a paperless society lied.

Because we work from home, we have to keep more receipts, bills and bank statements than most.

So if you’re hoping to launch into full-time freelance work and don’t know where to begin, paper-sorting wise, here’s what’s currently working for us:

(Not shown: online spreadsheets tracking our income and tallying our annual expenses.)

For the baby:

She has her own accordion file.

(I stole this idea from Unoriginal Mom.)

Categories: Government, Health, Midwife, Resources, Receipts/Warranties, Gift Receipts, Lent, Borrowed, Articles, Keepsakes, Cards/Notes, Misc.

Already filed: our prenatal class booklet, ultrasound pics, a list of local resources for new parents, and our midwife’s contact information.

To file: a list of things we’ve already borrowed from our adorable three-month-old nephew — thanks for outgrowing your Moses basket, buddy! — and the warrantee for our (super-cool) stroller.

For the current year: 

Every couple of weeks, I toss all of our bills and receipts that are otherwise scattered across our apartment into this file.

This file separates our work expenses from our personal ones, our individual expenses (my files are labeled in purple, Matt’s are in blue) from our joint ones (the green files).

Record keeping: 

At the end of the year, files get consolidated into folders in our brand-new mint CB2 filing cabinet. (It’s the pretty piece of office furniture I’ve ever purchased. Highly recommended.)

Each year gets its own colour. At the front, we keep important files and contracts that will need accessing throughout the years, like life insurance paperwork — I’m finally worth more dead than alive, just like George Bailey! — notices of assessment, and child sponsorship information.

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the best one we’ve implemented yet.

How do you organize the piles of paper at your place?

P.S. Here’s how we’ve organized our manuals and warranties. And here’s a peek inside our laundry closet.


Bye, Bye, Barbie Feet

by Nadine on April 30, 2015

 These two dolls cannot wear the same shoes. Welcome to my life.

I’m almost 34 weeks in. I miss my bony ankles. And cute shoes. That is all.


Because reading is the best way to procrastinate. 

The F Word: How to build a Canadian rom-com

The F Word was one of the most underrated films of last year. If you get the chance to watch it, do so. Well-written, with a lovely dose of Toronto. It made me want to write a movie.

Speaking of writing….

Neil Gaiman shares the easiest way to become a successful writer

While I don’t really consider myself “arrived” when it comes to writerly success, Gaiman’s advice is pretty spot on.

The Nerd Hunter

I love profiles like these. Allison Jones is a casting genius.

Somewhat related and also recommended: the documentary That Guy…Who Was in That Thing.

Yelp Reviews of Newborn Babies

Not sure if you want to have a baby or not? Read the reviews first.


[photo source: Shadetree Photography]



Havin’ a ‘Me Party’

by Nadine on March 25, 2015

Last night’s party guests:

  • J.R. Watkins Calming Bath Soak
  • DIY shea butter moisturizer
  • DIY lip scrub
  • Essie nail polish in Bahama Mama
  • Not pictured: “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain

In a few short weeks, life is gonna change. Big time.

As we prepare for a tiny person to turn our lives upside down, I’m trying to really appreciate the quieter nights (and lazier mornings), the dinners for two, the quality alone time I’m about to (at least temporarily) forfeit.

Instead of pining for her “to just get here already,” I want to take advantage of the here and now: of warm baths and at-home manicures and reading too late before bed.

Because I don’t want to regret not doing these things while I had the chance.

And because I want to find little “me time” indulgences that I can easily reintroduce into my life once the little one and I get used to each other. ‘Cause mama’s gonna need ‘em.

New moms out there, how do you take time for you? What’s your favourite way to unwind? (Please include “glass of wine” in your answer.)


Ignoring the Pregnancy Police

by Nadine on March 11, 2015

The pregnancy police’s favourite song: “The Word is No”

The pregnancy police. It’s a phrase I came across early in my pregnancy that I’ve since adopted to refer to, well, any experts/forums/strangers that have very strong opinions about my body and/or unborn child.

Instead of serving and protecting, as police should do, they exist to preach, judge and scare.

“Don’t touch receipts!” one article warns.

“Are you ready for stretch marks?” an online newsletter threatens.

“You’re so small!” and “You look ready to pop!” strangers bump-assess. Sometimes on the same day.

“Decaf, right?” asks someone who’s never been pregnant but has “read things.”

“Don’t eat your husband’s shoes!” this tag says:

And I know it’s only going to get worse. Enter the mommy brigade.

“Don’t let your kid ride the subway alone!” says…America.

I’m fortunate that I have a laid-back, everything-in-moderation midwife who doesn’t lecture me when I tell her I still drink a cup of coffee or two a day. A husband who doesn’t stop making hollandaise sauce just because the egg isn’t totally cooked in it. (I avoid restaurant hollandaise sauce, though, as I don’t know how long it’s been sitting around.) Parents and in-laws who let me set my own food-and-lifestyle boundaries during this short 40-week season.

Refreshing articles like this one help, too.

As a general rule, I try to assess food-poisoning risk and make smart decisions. I won’t eat mall sushi, but might give it a go at a reputable restaurant. I avoid raw sprouts, but I’m not going to sweat the deep-fried spring roll. And I won’t line up for an out-all-day deli platter, but have no problem frying up a slice of ham for a sandwich.

I avoid cat litter. But I don’t have a cat, so that’s not hard.

I don’t use skincare products with retinol or salicylic acid in them. I’m careful with essential oils and avoid questionable herbal teas.

I don’t attempt to ski. Because I can’t. (Literally. I’m the worst athlete. Even when not front-heavy.)

I suppose my approach is: avoid the forums, trust my gut, chat with my midwife, don’t stress. Oh, and don’t do drugs. (Unless pie is a drug. I do pie.)

And I hope that I will extend this same freedom to other friends who are/will be pregnant. Some will drink wine occasionally. Some will abstain. Some will ditch the aspartame. Others won’t. I want to be nothing but supportive. I don’t want to judge the temperature of your bath water or your tuna-consumption frequency. Just do your thing, mamas. Love your babies and bellies. I’m on your side.

A lovely friend (and new mom) recently gave me some great parenting advice:

“Ignore what other people say. Walk away from the computer. Do what works for you and your family.”

I like that.

Sorry, pregnancy police, but I’m not listening. (And, no, I’m not “ready” for stretch marks. Ask me again next week.)

And who eats shoes?!


High Fashion: For the Moms

by Nadine on March 6, 2015

This week I’ve been feeling round. Very round.

Which means I’ve been paying less attention to Milan Fashion Week. And Paris Fashion Week. And….

No, I won’t be round forever. But then a maternity wardrobe will need to be replaced by a breastfeeding-friendly one. So certain fashion trends aren’t going to be an option for a long while. Like…dresses. (Unless it’s a shirt dress or a wrap dress, I’m probably not interested.)

Still, this gone-viral collection from Dolce & Gabbana made this hormonally compromised mom-to-be smile.

Check out the rest of the sweet tribute to moms here.

I hope I have the guts to do this one day: have my daughter’s drawings printed on fabric. Cuteness chic.


Getting Organized: Manuals and Warranties

by Nadine on March 5, 2015

Confession: I stole this idea from I Heart Organizing

One baby step at a time. We will conquer the clutter.

First up: manuals and warranties.

The easy solution: a binder with sheet protectors, each filled with a manual, warranty, or some sort of important document that I’ll need only if I throw it away. (Things always break when you ditch their accompanying paperwork. It’s the law.)

Colourful tabs divide the binder into sections: kitchen, small appliances, tech/office and misc.


And, yes, the front page is filled with take-out menus. I’m pregnant. Sometimes there are food emergencies. (Like when there’s not enough of it.)


A Tiger Named Nadine

by Nadine on March 2, 2015

Don’t you hate it when you want to wear your ONE PAIR of comfy pants but can’t because they’re covered in mushy banana and hyena goo?

Yeah. Me too.

This hyena’s name is Eddie. He hates being cold. I love him. 

I met a tiger named Nadine on Saturday. Matthew made fast friends with her den-mate, Taj. I overheard one zookeeper tell another that “Nadine got really jealous when she saw Matthew playing with Taj. She wanted the attention.” I thought she was talking about me. Nope.

Weirdest thing: Having a zookeeper tell you to put your fingers in the tiger cage.* Apparently EVERY rule is meant to be broken, after all. 

*Seriously, though, please don’t ever do this without the careful supervision of a keeper. Unless you don’t care about those fingers. Or your life. 

Baby tigers want to play. When they’re 80 pounds at six months, you’re not allowed to indulge them. (I’m glad I’m having a human baby.)

Contessa the tiger wanted to pounce on the little kids who were in line to meet her next. Tigers are easy to read. No poker faces here. 

I also discovered that I have the eating preferences of a hyena. And/or a lemur. I, too, would eat grapes, bananas and granola out of strangers’ hands over raw chicken any day.

Apparently this super-social little lemur named Guido would make a lousy pet. Mostly because he would eventually learn that Matthew is another male and he’d feel threatened by him. His loyalty would only lie with me. Mwah-ha-ha. I’d have my very own lemur minion.

Jungle Cat World for the win.


Always Audrey

by Nadine on February 26, 2015

Audrey was alive and well at the Oscars last Sunday, no?

Hepburn in Sabrina publicity photo; Sienna Miller in Oscar de la Renta on the red carpet

Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s publicity photo; Felicity Jones in Saint Laurent at the Vanity Fair party

P.S. My favourite Audrey-worthy look of the night. I need more chunky turquoise in my life.