Week-end of Festivals, Part 1

Here we are today, September 30… It’s the Moon Festival. Our week-end (which is Sunday-Monday) is absolutely jam-packed with celebrations! From Michaelmas and slaying dragons, to the Moon Festival and indulging in moon cakes, the harvest season has well and truly arrived.  There even might be some homemade sausages, pretzels, sauerkraut and steins of beer in our future …

Looking forward to two days of excitement and celebration!

Here’s how we celebrated the Moon Festival last year: Moon Festival 2011

Enjoy your week-ends wherever they may find you!

XO,
N&N 

Tardy Friday Favourites

Hello readers!

Happy Michaelmas!

I know I am a bit on the late side with the Friday Favourites (#FF), but we have been battling strep throat in our household, myself included. Nothing gets you down like a sudden illness tossed from person to person, long sleepless nights…you know how that song and dance goes.

My #FF’s this week are all things that have been gifted to me quite recently, all of which I genuinely love! Our wedding anniversary is coming up on Monday ( 7 years!) and so I am merrily plotting…it is the wool and copper anniversary, but the modern gift is apparently a desk set. We have vetoed the desk set idea entirely, as you might have guessed!

And now, without further ado, I present this week’s favourites:

Punjammies

Gorgeous pajamas from India, made by women who have escaped lives in which they were forced into prostitution. Part of the International Princess Project.

Learn more at: http://www.punjammies.com

Origami

I appreciate practical, elegant gifts that allow me to use my hands and to create.

Fabulous Origami Boxes by Tomoko Fuse

Beautiful washi paper to accompany it by Daiyo

For Mama and Baby

Maya Wrap – super comfy ring sling

Ergo Baby Carrier in “Galaxy”

A new diaper bag from JJ Cole in ‘Midnight Dahlia’

And, shoes…glorious shoes!

XO,
N&N

www.punjammies.com

Nurturing – Head, Heart & Hands: Part 1

We are in the full swing of homeschool around here, having started our curriculum just after Labour Day.  This month we have been focusing on ‘Discovering Me’ and all of the components that make us unique and special as human beings, from emotions to skills, even to talents we never knew we had.

I will be documenting our lessons in greater detail. We will be celebrating Michelmas a wee bit early (the 26th instead of the 29th this year) and are looking forward to this festival. Do you celebrate Michelmas where you live? Our son Finnlagh really does not like dragons at all, so either he will rejoice in the story of St. Michael’s Day, or be terrified of it. Let’s hope it is the former and not the latter!

All of the children are fast asleep (all 3 of them at the same time, including the cat) so time to pour myself a chai and enjoy a film with my dear husband, Grant.

A star for you to wish on,
The sun for warmth and light,
The moon for you to think on,
Sweet dreams,
A hug and kiss goodnight.

XO,
N&N

33 Things

My always thoughtful husband arrived home at midnight with these!

Only twelve minutes into my 33rd birthday on September 23rd and we are enjoying a plate of glorious stinky cheeses, charcuterie and tall glasses of brut cider, to be followed by tollhouse cookies and macarons.

For this post, I thought I would share 33 things. 33 things you may or may not know about me, need to know, idiosyncratic bits of information…

There are always kindred spirits to be found.

33 Things

1. Citrus, particularly of the orange-hued variety is an unstoppable craving. Valencia oranges, fat & juicy Sumo oranges from California, tangerines, mandarins and clementines.

2. Miniatures – figurines, collectibles, small soaps and lotions, stones and beads. I like things that have a great bit of personality packed into a tiny surface area.

3. White walls, natural light and bright airy spaces. During my university years, it was always so dark in my apartment, I was a virtual bat in a cage. As the years have gone by, I gravitate to minimalistic spaces, loads of sunshine and very high ceilings.

4. Poetry. I would much rather read poetry than a novel, although reading is my greatest love. I’m a writer/translator by profession and a poet at heart. I’ve had several poems published but it’s been many years now. Since I had children, I don’t always get the time or circumstances I require to write good, decent poems. On a recent walk across downtown to go pick up a rental car, I composed a poem in my head and promptly typed it into my iPhone as I walked. I considered this a personal triumph and a stroll well-spent.

5. iPhones. How I do love my iPhone. An iPad in mini, compact clothing – there is hardly anything else one needs to carry with them these days. Although I do miss the type pad on my Blackberry. Plus BBM is still superior to iChat – I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a hard fact!

6. Cover Girl Lipslicks in ‘Hipster’ and L’Oreal Voluminous mascara. I swear, I have worn these since high school. When I was a young professional, I wore expensive makeup and enjoyed making the rounds of cosmetic counters in various department stores. Before we got married, Grant took me to the Guerlain shop and probably spent the equivalent of a down payment for an apartment on makeup for our wedding. God bless that man. Now I feel guilty spending $35 dollars on a single lipstick, although I still think it’s worth it for the perfect shade…

7. Carbonated water. Fizzy, bubbly or sparkling. I don’t drink any sugary drinks, but consume vast quantities of water. Liters you say? Yes, please.

8. I wear a lot of patterned clothing to hide dirt, mess and baby spit up. True story. Everyone I have told this to has incorporated this into their lives. If you are a parent or simply enjoy getting messy: buy patterns. You won’t regret it.

9. Tea. Steaming hot pots of tea on rainy days or ice, cold, spicy chai in midsummer….I love tea wherever and whenever. I also love coffee served in a French press; pressed coffee has a lovely sense of occasion. I also love semi-colons.

10. Scarves. Only second to underwear, scarves are an absolute clothing essential. Pashmina, by preference.

11. Kobo eReader. I know I said that the iPhone is basically one of the only things you need, when in fact one also requires an eReader. At least I do. I love my Kobo Touch because the screen is not backlit (like an iPhone or iPad for example) and it is very easy on my eyes. It can go forever in between charges – simply fabulous. I also love the ability to instantly buy a book and have it there right in front of you. It feels so decadent and utterly wonderful.

12. Hard, crunchy, crystalline snow. If you’ve survived winters in Montreal or similar, you know what I am talking about. The fresh snow that glimmers and glistens like diamonds and crunches beneath your feet. I miss the sights and sounds of winter so much.

13. Autumn. I share my birthday with the Autumnal Equinox. This explains quite a lot. Not only am I a totally fall baby, totally obsessed with this season, but I am also a Libra. This makes me non-judgmental and diplomatic. It also makes me vain and possessed with a deep love of the aesthetic. I never leave the house without makeup. Ever. I do not wear a ton of makeup, but when I put it on, I feel prepared to greet the day. Otherwise I just feel like I am stuck in the house cleaning off baby spit up and scraping Playdoh from under my fingernails.

Moral: an undressed face is a face that needs to go back inside and start again.

14. Impromptu affection. Giving and receiving love is all we really need in this world. Hugs, kisses and out-of-the-blue I-love-you’s. The very best. Even snuggles and nose rubs with our cat.

15. Birkenstock Gizeh sandals. These have been my go-to summer sandals for over five years. They wear incredibly well, never give me blisters, and help my with my bunion. That’s right, I said bunion!

16. Animals. All the good ones, and maybe even the ones that have bad reputations. I’m looking at you, sharks! Poor misunderstood creatures.

17. I prefer savoury to sweet. I take it you gathered that from the little feast I started at the top of this blog post!

18. Cheese and dairy. I think I must eat dairy at every meal. In fact, I must! I cannot live without cheese and dairy. Give me fried haloumi, saganaki or a salty cheese stick any day of the week.

19. Baguette and rustic breads. I really love roast beef sandwiches on baguette with blue cheese, roasted red peppers and artichokes. Having lived many years in Montreal, I am a bit of a bread snob. Ok, a huge bread snob. Bread baking in Montreal has ruined me for life. Kind of like how growing up in New York and eating Ray’s pizza (or John’s if you prefer)… and the tomato sauce! One of my guiltiest pleasures is spending betwen $8-10 on a jar of tomato sauce from Rao’s. Can’t beat that New York water – there really is something to why tomato sauce tastes as amazing as it does there.

20. Curry. Whether it be one of Chef Grant’s concoctions or from the local takeaway – I love curry! Right now I would love a red bell pepper and portobello mushroom curry (with paneer!) from Vij’s Rangoli in Vancouver. I don’t think it’d survive the trip to Austin, though. Boo.

21. Hard apple cider. Served iced cold. I dreamt about it all through this last pregnancy and now I have it a few times a week before dinner.

23. Uniball extra fine inky pens and marker pens from Le Pen. I have really skinny scrawl, and if I use a pen that is too thick, the letters start to fuse together and it looks like I am trying to compose a letter of ink blots.

24. Stationery and paper. Papeteries, book shops, paper stores of all kinds… I still send cards by snail mail and treat myself to gorgeous paper products whenever possible.  My brilliant husband has gifted me origami books and truly delicious washi paper for my 33rd birthday.  Journals and notebooks. I record everything from to-do lists, book reviews, passwords, quotes, bits of information…

25. I never wanted or received ‘push’ presents with my first two children. Thought the idea was pretty grotesque, actually. Things changed however. After I gave birth to Reed in July, Grant gifted me champagne, chocolate cake, a flat screen tv for our bedroom and a really lovely designer watch. Needless to say, he took me by surprise…and changed my mind! Ladies: I can loan him out for a disgustingly high fee, lol.

26. I like to wear rings with large natural stones on my ring finger on my right hand. Amber, blue lapis and moonstone are among my favourites.

27.  Fresh flowers in the house make all the difference in the world. They take a boring, tired room to one which awakens you and says, ‘Yes, there is life everywhere!’ Well, that’s how they make me feel anyways.  From time to time I treat myself to fresh flowers, but usually my romantic husband brings them home to surprise me. If you only read #25 and #27 you would want to marry my husband too. He is also a fantastic father. One of the reasons Grant married me was that I enjoy doing ‘acting’ out impressions of synchronised swimming to Saint Etienne music. It’s true.

28. Breastfeeding. I really and thoroughly enjoy breastfeeding.  It doesn’t matter that my children have made signs above my bed that say ‘Mama’s Dairy’ and call me a leaky cow. I love these quiet moments that I have shared with each of my children that are so personal and only for us. Each time I have stopped breastfeeding at around 19 months, and each time I have cried and cried. You don’t actually know…you can’t predict precisely when your child will stop. And when it stops, be sure to cuddle and play and do whatever else both of you need to fill the void. I intend to breastfeed Reed until he is 2 years of age, or beyond. I’m hoping we make it that far!

29. I don’t watch much tv but I do watch (religiously) Doc Martin, Charlie Rose, House Hunters International and Coronation Street. I am concurrently an anglophile and an old grandmother who yearns for adventure! I was unimpressed by this last season of Mad Men, I must admit.  When we moved to Texas, Grant and I stayed up nearly every night watching old seasons of Friday Night Lights. Much of it was filmed just across the street from our apartment. It’s off the air now, but I think that Friday Night Lights might be the greatest show to have ever been on television. No exaggeration. Clear eyes. Full heart. Can’t lose!

30. The colour purple is my very favourite. Purple and orange are among my favourite colour combinations. I also love teal and hues of yellow in combination with grey. I love shades of rose paired with bright greens and black and white with pops of bright colours, too.

31. Holding hands with my husband. A very rare treat these days, but one that signifies that we are either on a date or have managed to grasp eachother for a couple of minutes in the supermarket or on a walk. We try to hold hands whenever possible – it is our unbreakable bond.

32. I hate clutter. I hate mess. Repeat after me: I hate clutter. I hate mess.

And lastly…

33. My family and friends, without whom my life would be incredibly boring. A life surrounded by those you love is a life well-lived indeed! I thank all of you for always being there for me and for sticking with me all of these years.

Happy Autumn to all!

XO,
N&N

Birthday Gal

We celebrated Alina’s 6th birthday on September 8th.  Lots of presents, eating, followed by playing, then more eating, running around in the sunshine, on to exploring, and then back home to dinner and most importantly, cupcakes! Many thanks to Executive Pastry Chef Javier Franco of the Four Seasons Hotel Austin for bringing a huge grin to the birthday girl’s face.

A star for you to wish on…
The sun for warmth and light…
The moon for you to think on…
Sweet dreams…
A hug and kiss goodnight!
We love you Nonnie! Wishing you many happy and healthy returns of the day, sweet girl!
XOXO.