Blog-o! Notes from

Thu, 14 Apr 2011
Decorate My Bathroom

The Amazing Two Bathroom Home-Value-Inflating Reno Extravaganza is plodding along nicely. The basement powder room is framed out, the plumbing and electrical are roughed in and the drywall is up. (Oddly enough the guys who hang the drywall are not the guys who tape and plaster it, so we're in between those two stages at the moment.)

But I digress. This post exists to ask for your help. We're totally redecorating the upstairs bathroom and I have exhausted my teeny tiny decorating muscles.

As you can see in the collage above, the floor tile is a kind of stripey grey (it's the "White" colour), in 12" by 24" rectangles.

We're tiling the walls halfway up with elongated glass subway tile (4" x 16"), mainly white with about 15% bottle green, and a few tiles-worth of white square mosaic tiles in there for texture (and because Delphine really likes them).

The bathtub is really plain and rectangular. The sink is Ikea's Vitviken. (Or perhaps I should say sinkS! Whoo!) The vanity is shiny and white and plain, the medicine cabinet is shiny and plain, the faucets are shiny and sleek and apparently not discussed anywhere on the Internet (but here's the box).

So what colour paint is going to work with the bottle green tiles? Find me a shower curtain the softens up all that sleek shininess. Tell me what else I need! Shop for me, my pretties!

[Posted at 21:51 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 07 Apr 2011
Meals We Love: Bacony Rice

Wednesdays are tricky, dinner-wise. Delphine's art class ends at 5:15, which means we're usually not home until 5:45 or 6:00. Dinner is at 6:00. (Theoretically.) If I'm extra clever and don't get distracted by work, I put something in the crock pot and set the table in advance so we can sit right down and eat. Yesterday I wasn't extra clever.

We got home at 5:45 and there was nothing cooking anywhere, but I did have an idea. It started with half a pound of Perth Pork bacon. Any idea that starts with Perth Pork bacon is a good idea.

I cut the bacon into little bits and fried it up. When it was starting to get crispy I (reluctantly) poured off about half the fat. Then I added a cup of arborio rice to the pan and mixed it up. I minced two cloves of garlic and added that, then I poured in two cups of chicken broth, put the lid on and walked away for about twelve minutes.

When I came back, I added a cup of frozen peas and a large tomato, cubed, and also a bit more water since the rice wasn't quite done. I put the lid on, let that simmer for another couple of minutes, and then served it with that cheap "parmesan" in a can.

It was delicious and beloved; everyone had seconds. (Cordelia ate around the tomatoes.) Delphine took some for lunch today. Yay! Dinner victory!

[Posted at 12:05 by Amy Brown] link
Sat, 02 Apr 2011
New York Adventure, Day 5

Friday was our last day in New York. (I cleverly planned our trip to provide a weekend at home before the trip and one after. Unfortunately as it turns out, weekends in New York are on the same days as weekends in Toronto, and so Sascha and Leontine and Nina could not hang out with us during the day. Instead, they were kind enough to spend two evenings with us and completely annihilate Nina's bedtime two school nights in a row. If that isn't love I don't know what is.)

Anyway, Friday was our last day. We were flying out from Newark at two, so we had enough time to do a thing before leaving. The thing we did was brunch at M. Wells (Magasin Wells), a little hipster diner a couple of subway stops away from the hotel. The place didn't open until 10, so we had a donughnut for first breakfast while we packed, and then walked over.

It wasn't a nice walk — we walked under an elevated train for some of the way, and it was through a kind of industrial-ish area. Still, the sun was bright and warm, and it was interesting. Delphine picked up a lot of beer bottle caps for her collection.

M. Wells is a super-cool place with a somewhat convoluted menu. Brunch-y things were mixed up with lunch-y things, there were dishes with brains in them, there was clear evidence that they could make bacon and eggs and pancakes, but no bacon and eggs and pancakes on the menu, because bacon and eggs and pancakes are not hip. (I had expected something more diner-ish so I was a little taken aback by the menu.)

Anyway, Blake had tortilla Española, Delphine had a scone with apple butter, and Cordelia and I had buckwheat crêpes with maple syrup, which was billed as "maple syrup ploye". It was delicious — thin, heavy pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Everything else was good, too.

We went back to the hotel to pick up our bags, then began the long trek to Newark: N to Times Square, change to the 1 to 34th station, then a NJ Transit train to Newark Airport. We were not particularly early, so I was all fretty, but I liked the cute little shuttle train from the NJ Transit stop to the terminal at the airport.

We were flying Porter, and they were a helpful and friendly as their reputation suggests. The plane was small but comfortable, and the staff were patient with the girls. It was a bit of a rocky ascent, probably because it was a prop plane, but once we reached altitude it was a smooth ride. We were back in Toronto in about an hour. Porter provides a shuttle bus right to the Royal York, so the rest of our trip home was effortless.

We had been reluctant to come home: we felt like we could have stayed for a few more days. I think that's the perfect way to end a trip. I might even have suggested that we would go back some day.

[Posted at 22:13 by Amy Brown] link