Kitchen Busy Box

Sometimes simple toys are best, right? Some of Sweet Pea’s favourite things right now are at her great grandma’s house.

photo 3

Another favourite is this yet-unpacked bin of spices. Those little bottles are just irresistible!

photo 4

Sweet Pea is pretty good at independent play, but she likes me to be nearby. I thought this morning that she needs some kind of box of toys to keep her busy while I’m in the kitchen. This little bin came from the Free Table in our community, and rather than filling it with toys, I decided to fill it with baby-safe kitchen items.

Contents of our Kitchen Busy Box: A couple bamboo plates, wooden spoon, plastic baby spoon, spatula, old spice jar filled with rice, small tupperware container, egg carton, measuring cup, empty water bottle, empty formula canister, IKEA dish brush (another favourite!), and a colourful cloth napkin. I will add a couple empty cardboard food boxes as I get them. This was a totally free little kit to put together, and can adapt and change as she grows, or as disposables need to be disposed of.

photo 2

I think it’s a hit – this managed to keep her busy long enough for me to unpack 2 kitchen boxes. Long overdue, I now have cupboards to unpack into, and I found plates, bowls and drinking glasses. Success.

photo 1


Esse Reusable Bags Product Review

I did a big shop today and I’m excited because I have something I’ve been wanting to show everyone. Not often does a product come along that is so cool that I think everybody needs to know about it, but one has. Today we’re talking about reusable bags.

I know, I know. You have your reusable shopping bags. Some you prefer for groceries, others are best for clothes or lighter items. Heaven forbid you need to stop in at the pharmacy for a new toothbrush and a bottle of tylenol. Nobody has reusable bags in THAT size, and so you mumble “yes” when asked if you need a bag and try not to make eye contact with the cashier – you can’t even use this one as a garbage bag later!

How many did you buy because you forgot to bring with you in the first place? Some big, some small, different styles and materials, and with a variety of endorsements printed on them, all scattered around your house (you were GOING to put them away right after use), or in a big messy pile in your trunk.  I can’t take it. Despite the chaos that often takes over, I prefer simplicity, tidiness, organization, and a little bit of style.

I have the solution. The Esse CarryAll Tote is changing my shopping life for the better. Here is my haul, just in from the car:


The CarryAll Tote comes with a total of 7 bags: 3 big black Grocery Bags (the kind with flat bottoms for easy unpacking), 1 green Everyday Bag, and 2 white mesh Produce Bags. Missing from this photo is one produce bag (used recently and holding apples in the fridge) and the third Grocery Bag (because I ran out of money before I ran out of space). I’ll get to the small patterned bag in a moment.

The 7th bag in the set is the tote itself. and this is where the magic happens. The grocery bags, market bag, and produce bags all fold up (yes, even the giant black ones, which close with snaps) and fit into the little tote:


Tidy, organized, and stylish, with a number of designs to choose from in either 3-pocket or 4-pocket styles. Did I mention all the bags are machine washable? Unpack, wash and dry if it’s time, fold them all up and tuck them in the tote. Use the adjustable strap to hang it on your door so you take it back to the car on your next trip out – mine sits on the front seat until it’s ready for use again.

That front pocket is best used to hold coupons, your shopping list, your loyalty card, or even your car keys. You could easily tuck your wallet in and get away with carrying just the tote instead of your whole purse.


Oh, and that little patterned bag in the first photo goes everywhere with me. It’s the perfect size for a few things from the pharmacy or a speciality shop, and it makes a darn cute lunch bag. It’s called the Clip-It bag. It rolls up and is kept clipped to my keys for those impromptu buys:


The 3-pocket CarryAll Tote retails for $35.95 US, and I would personally buy it with an extra set of produce bags. Now through August 20th, you can get 20% off your entire order, and a free Clip-It with a purchase of $20 or more. Use Coupon Code SCHOOL20 at checkout.

I am in no way affiliated with Esse, nor being bribed to write a good review – I’m just a happy shopper who loves these bags.


Boxes, Gates, and Frogs

Yesterday, my dad asked me what I like best about living on a farm.

I was going to say it’s falling asleep while being serenaded by frogs.

I thought I might tell you it’s looking out my kitchen window and laughing at the lambs leaping through the field (they do leap. They really do).

I was pretty sure it wasn’t being unable to fall back asleep in the morning because I’m listening to sheep… though even that can be a pleasant sound on the right days.

But even though all the farm “things” I can think of are cool, I’ve changed my mind. My favourite thing about living on a farm is that we suddenly act – no, we feel – like we belong here. In the valley, on a country road, at a farm, in this little house (that Herb built). I grew up near here so I’m used to what I thought was the country, but  I was wrong. And if this feels different to me, the Mr. must feel like it’s a real culture shock.

I love that living here has made us rethink how we relate to our environment. It has inspired us and challenged us.

Today, I hung laundry outside.

Tomorrow, I am going to a workshop at Home Depot about Organic Gardening and Composting.

We’re talking about getting a couple chickens.

And the Mr. builds really great, functional things that even look pretty! We are all appreciative of  the new gate, especially Cora.

A friend of mine, upon seeing a picture of the gate, remarked that “this man was wasted in the city!” I’m inclined to agree. He’s building things because they need to be done, but also because he loves it. It’s interesting to me that this is all stuff we didn’t do, or didn’t even consider, years or even months ago, but that it seems to be a relatively easy, natural transition.

We are happier, and healthier. We spend more time outside. We do things that we’ve often wanted to do, just because that’s the way it should be done on a farm. Slowly, but eagerly, we are starting to think and act outside of the box we’ve been in for many years. It is expansive, and very, very good for us.

And I really do love falling asleep every night being serenaded by frogs.

Favourite-Things Friday

I’m sure other blogs do a “Favourite-things Friday,” but I don’t know any… so if you’d like to join me, do so in the comments, please!

One of the things I found in the house struck me as a “favourite” and my iPhone actually managed to get a pretty good picture of it. There is, in our basement, a no-longer-functional chimney in our basement. I gather it originally went up to a wood stove in the kitchen, which is sadly no longer there (too bad! What I wouldn’t do to have it!). Anyway, some of the bricks are stamped as shown in the photo, and I just thought it was really neat.

A designated heritage site, Clayburn Village is about half an hour away from us, and I know it for the little tea shop there. I found some history on the village website when I was looking for more information about these bricks. Apparently, Clayburn is considered the first “company town” in B.C. – neat! Here’s what the website has to say about these bricks:

The discovery of high grade clay throughout Sumas Mountain and the demand for bricks brought Clayburn Village into being. The Village and brick plant were built more than a century ago, in 1905, by Charles Maclure, son of John Maclure, a former Royal Engineer and B.C. pioneer. Because of fall off in demand, the brickplant, after operating for a quarter century, was dismantled in 1931.

So, the bricks downstairs definitely pre-date the house! I wonder where they may have originally been used.