Category Archives: come hungry

when the holiday inn express west edmonton got in touch with me to chat about their new property opening up near the west edmonton mall, i jumped at the chance to head there to check it out with the family for a weekend. we’ve been wanting to try a staycation and the timing was perfect — we actually celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary there with the kiddos and didn’t even have to cook or wash dishes πŸ˜‰

this new hotel is unique to edmonton as it’s IHG’s first dual-branded property in canada, with the holiday inn express on one side for short term visits and the candlewood suites on the other for longer stays, but the most exciting things for our kids (and us) were the family friendly amenities and the proximity to the mall (yay shopping!)!

lila is currently going through a phase where she loves to know the weather forecast at all times so she was more than thrilled with the interactive screen in the lobby on which she could check out the day’s weather, among other things, and the boys were most excited about making up the couch bed for themselves. having three kids, it’s sometimes hard to find hotel rooms with enough sleeping space for everyone so having the two beds plus the pull out couch was a welcome change and we quickly made ourselves right at home. (meanwhile i was impressed with the modern decor and clean lines that aren’t always to be found in hotel chains!)
next on the agenda, was checking out the pool, which mark and the big kids would have loved to stay all day. oscar and i were perfectly content to hang out in the hot tub while the sunshine streamed in through the giant windows (a photographer’s dream come true).
while there isn’t a full restaurant in the hotel, they do serve up a pretty awesome little complimentary hot breakfast buffet. the kids were, of course, thrilled by the plethora of cereal options that we don’t usually have around the house, and even more excited to watch the hotcakes slide out of the one minute pancake machine!
after breakfast we headed over to west edmonton mall for a round of mini golf with the cousins and a bit of shopping, because what’s a staycation in edmonton without hitting the second largest mall in north america, especially when it’s just minutes away? πŸ˜‰Β  (for those of you unfamiliar with our mall, there’s also the option of ice skating, the water park, an indoor amusement park, a mirror maze and a small aquarium if your heart so desires!)
overall, our staycation was a total success, thanks largely in part to the hospitality of the holiday inn express west edmonton, and we can’t wait to do it again!


having children has quickly made halloween one of my favourite times of year. any excuse for a celebration is a good one for me. one that includes crafting and sugar, even better.

if this post isn’t huge enough for you (ha!), you can see iphone photos on instagram (#monstersandspidersandghostsohmy). (thank goodness for the one photo of oscar with his “fire” in on ig because he boycotted it the rest of the week.)

costume prep was a little less stressful this year as most of the kids’ costumes (cupid, scuba diver, dragon and hot air balloon) were ones i had designed for my costume feature in better homes and gardens, the jet pack was a hand me down from a couple of years ago, and the spaceman was lila’s old ballerina robot costume with some modifications! (it was so fun to reimagine that one for cole this year.)

lila already has a few costume ideas up her sleeve for next year — i can’t wait!

spooky print is a digital download from hello tosha designs.
tutorials for the bhg costumes are available until november 3 here.

we woke up this morning to fresh groceries on our door step — that was awesome.

sustainable produce urban delivery (spud) has just launched in edmonton and we were lucky enough to receive a couple of sample boxes of local organic groceries this morning. (thanks spud!!) i may or may not have already placed my order for next week πŸ˜‰

if you’re located in edmonton, calgary, vancouver, vancouver island, san fransisco or la, you can follow this link to get $40 off your first order of $60 or more.

happy grocery shopping! (from home. in your pyjamas. it’s amazing.)

ps. you’d better believe i ordered more cookies.

a number of people on instagram have requested the ‘recipe’, so here it goes:

1. prepare your favourite white cake recipe per the instructions (we just used a boxed mix!)
2. divide batter into three bowls, tint one bowl each orange and yellow and leave the third
3. layer batter in cupcake cups
4. bake according to your recipe
5. top with your favourite frosting (we use the recipe on the back of the roger’s icing sugar bag — never fails!) and a piece of candy corn
6. peel papers off when ready to serve

ridiculously easy and crazy cute. just the way i like it πŸ™‚

i am forever indebted to whoever it was on instagram (of course, i can’t find the source now!) who shared their photo of peanut butter s’mores the other day — i have no idea why i’d never thought of or come across the idea before, but yum! spread a little peanut butter on your graham wafer, add a few chocolate chips, put a marshmallow on top and broil in your oven until golden brown.

go make some right now! you can thank me later πŸ™‚

i’ve been looking into cotton candy machines for a while now, so when the la shop contacted me with the opportunity to review one, i jumped at the chance. because really, (even though we used blue for most of the photos) is there anything that says ‘pink sugar’ more than a sweet puff of pink cotton candy?

the whole process is super simple: add the sugar (it comes included) to the pan, turn it on, and wrap the candy floss around a cone (not included — we made ours out of striped craft paper) as it begins spinning out. it’s the perfect little single serving, and each one only takes a couple of minutes, so making up a few cones was no problem. we did have some issues with the candy melting and sticking to the sides, but a little warm water rinsed that right off. overall, if you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your kids and don’t mind a bit of sugar once in a while, i’d definitely recommend looking into one of these cotton candy makers.

and as soon as i figure out a good way to package the stuff, my clients can look forward to their packages being just a little bit sweeter! …in the meantime, we’ll snack on it ourselves πŸ˜‰

thanks again to the la shop for sending us this awesome kids’ cotton candy maker to review. make sure you take a minute to check out their site and see all of the other goodies they have to offer — they carry some photography gear alongside the fun novelty items πŸ™‚

i haven’t posted a recipe in really a long time, partly because i seem to have a knack for making food look really unappetizing, even when it tastes good, but mostly because i just don’t cook awesome meals all that often πŸ˜‰ that all said, this recipe, shared with me by my friend christine, is definitely worth sharing. i just throw everything into the crockpot, add some coconut rice, and boom, dinner.

any awesome recipes you’ve come across lately?? i’d love to find some new favourites πŸ™‚

after eating pretty much anything and everything put on his plate for the last five months or so, cole has decided that yogurt is the only food group worth touching for the past couple of weeks. we are, of course, encouraging him to get back to eating all of the foods he previously enjoyed, but on those occasions that only yogurt will do, these reusable snack containers from squishy snak pak have been incredibly convenient for yogurt on the go.

the lovely michelle fromΒ squishy snak pak is giving away a set of two reusable snack containers (perfect for yogurt, applesauce and any other sort of puree) to one of you πŸ™‚ these would be an awesome stocking stuffer for the little one, or new parent, on your holiday gift list!

to enter:
head over and like the squishy snak pak facebook page and leave a comment here letting me know you’ve done so;
and then, for a second entry, leave another comment below with a favourite snack, meal or feeding trick for the toddler set — i’ll take all the help i can get πŸ™‚

contest closes friday december 14.

best of luck (and yay for awesome canadian businesses)!


congratulations shara!