The Games We Play!

For as long as I can remember, we've been playing a little game with Alex (that I'm pretty sure he made up himself), that we call "the guessing game." As he gets older (he's 4 now), it becomes more elaborate, and we now spell the words too. I think it's so much fun because it's educational, it passes the time on our daily commute, and it's a fun way for us to interact creatively as a family- no game pieces required, just our brains.

The premise of the guessing game is to give clues about what type of animal you are and have others guess. We each take turns coming up with an animal; it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with new ones. It teaches him facts about animals, their habitats and also how to spell their names. He also very much enjoys spelling out his animal, as long as we don't try to correct him!

Alex enjoyed today's clues:

1. I'm small and grey.
2. I have big sharp teeth and a long tail.
3. I'm a marsupial, so I keep my babies in my pouch.
4. I play dead when danger is nearby.
5. I live in the USA.
6. My name begins with O.


Did you know that Opossums are fascinating and often misunderstood creatures? They're also immune to rabies, which I didn't know. I recommend reading this very sweet little article about opossums; they are amazing little animals and I have always been intrigued by their tiny human looking hands.

Baby opossums. Image by Frank Lukasseck/Corbis

How to Store Your Pancake Batter

Welcome to my first fluff post!!

Mr Alex is a voracious consumer of pancakes. The kind of pancake that hides under several layers of strawberries, agave syrup, whipped cream and butter.

But who really wants to make a batch of pancake batter for one little kid, only to have to throw the remainder away when it quickly turns black in the refrigerator? Perhaps this is common knowledge and I got overly excited about my little method of preventing batter from oxidizing but I'm going to bestow it all upon you anyway.

I've tried all methods of keeping air out of the batter but it wasn't until I read this post on the Kitchn, illustrating a very easy way of keeping guacamole green that it occurred to me.

How to prevent pancake batter from oxidizing

1. Pour your batter into a tall mason jar.
2. Cover with 1/4" milk.
3. Screw on lid and refrigerate (in case that wasn't very obvious)

The batter will stay white for at least a couple of days if you keep the air out this way. It does start to lose its airiness, taking on a more "crepe-like" consistency, which appeals to me, but you could also add a bit more baking powder after you mix the milk back into the batter.

I used to use a buttermilk pancake recipe until my mother told me about Martha Stewart's recipe, using plain milk and oil, which I've included below. I love how easy and moist these pancakes are!

Basic Pancakes (makes 4 small pancakes)

1 cup all purpose wheat flour
2 tbsp cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
(mix dry ingredients together)

1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
(mix wet ingredients into dry)

Spray frying pan with oil. Allow batter to stand for a few minutes, while your pan heats up. Fry on low medium heat. The pancakes will be fluffier if you allow the batter to rise a bit before frying.

Easter egg hunting, and boundaries

A few things came about lately that have had me thinking about where this blog is going, and how I set boundaries for the type of images and information I share online. Until this point, I've been hesitant to share images and stories about my kids, knowing though that most successful blogs share many of those details and more (they also post more regularly than once or twice a week, tssk tssk). I suppose I feel as though plastering my children's photos all over my blog would be benefiting me, and not them (though in no way do I judge the decision of others' to do so).

A couple of weeks ago, I left a comment on a very popular blog (one I really enjoy) asking the author how she approaches the dilemma of how much is too much to share about her child. I really wasn't expecting any kind of response, as is typical of blogs receiving 500+ comments per post, but a few minutes later, she sent me a very sweet email addressing my question. I think the fact that she responded so quickly must mean that it's something she's thought about herself, and she did say that she and her husband have an agreement about what would be shared publicly. What struck me about her note, though (and sorry for being so vague here) was that she herself identifies more readily with bloggers who share bits and pieces of their home lives. So, there you have it! I am doomed to cyber obscurity! (And I'm going to have to come up with some pretty fabulous designs to overcome that).

Fast forward two weeks, however, and I'm not sure obscurity is such a bad thing. I stumbled across a blog whose premise, I believe, is to chronicle intense dislike of other blogs. 900+ pages of abusive comments about one popular female blogger. Nothing sacred, from the tone of her voice to the tone of her hair... her parenting choices to her fashion choices. Sheer brutality. What I found most shocking was how much time people spend on the blog of a woman they profess to abhor, researching and gathering fodder for their malicious exchanges. I'm not really drawn to her blog but I don't think that poor woman is guilty of anything besides having a cute, albeit well-documented family. I don't care how much your sponsors are paying, having those things said about you and your kids (especially your kids) for everyone to see, and to be powerless to do anything about it- I don't think I'd be able to get out of bed!

And so I've considered what it is I love about the blogs I read, and how that should inform the type of topics I discuss. I am drawn to blogs that inspire my design sense, show rooms that I haven't yet seen a dozen times elsewhere, introduce new and exciting products, and/ or challenge my preconceptions (bonus if they're funny. Emily comes to mind, though in no way do I enjoy such lofty aspirations). So, that's what I'm going to be trying to do more on here. One thing I know is an issue for me is posting consistently. I'm at home with small children (with no outside help) so in taking the time to blog on top of my weekly design posts for that other site, I sometimes feel some other, more important (no offense), area of my life gets neglected. Part of the problem has been a reluctance to do fluff posts between the all-consuming inspiration boards. Everybody needs a bit of fluff, I suppose.

I'm still not sure where the boundary line is; I'm not sure you really know until you've crossed it. There has been many an occasion, such as Easter egg hunting in the garden yesterday, when I would have loved to have shared the beautiful moments I captured (I'm sure my Facebook friends wish I exhibited the same consideration for their news feeds).

Perhaps just a snippet for now.

Reading the clue in his Easter egg

All smiles in her little polka dot shift dress (from BabyGap)
 We decided to try something fun, perhaps as an Easter tradition. In the morning, we ate delicious pancakes (Martha Stewart's recipe is the best!) We hid Easter eggs all over the house and garden. Inside each egg was a little chocolate and a clue to the location of the next egg. We kept the clues pretty simple so that Alex would be able to read them himself. The last egg was a large golden egg, containing a treasure map, which led to his Easter basket. The thrill of the chase was trumped only by the realization he'd received the much coveted and debated Chima lego set from the Easter Bunny.


On My Shelf: Little Art Lover Inspiration Board for Kids!

Hello All,

I hope you like my little "On my shelf" inspiration board on Apartment Therapy today. I'm also working on a "big girl" room inspiration board based on the elements of this design, complete with lots of gold, hearts and graphic patterns!

Click here to see this post with resource links on Apartment Therapy.

On My Shelf: Spring Edition

On My Shelf: Spring Edition Inspiration Board, by Lex&Liv

Happy Spring, Everyone. Is it really here to stay this time? I'm not sure that I could handle seeing my garden covered up in snow again; it's been a particularly cruel winter this year.
I've been working really hard on this new inspiration board format. I had the idea a while ago but had the hardest time coming up with the perfect wallpaper for my Spring/ Easter theme. Some of my favourite Scandinavian designs (like Josef Frank) aren't readily available in North America but I was so happy to discover wallpaper in Helen Dardik patterns.

On My Shelf: Spring Edition Inspiration Board, by Lex&Liv

Click here to see today's Apartment therapy post!

Lagging :-/

oh my, has it been a week since I last posted?

Stretched a bit thin at the moment- about a mile wide and an inch deep. Make that 1/4 inch. Working on so many simultaneous posts that I've lost track of what I'm doing and cannot seem to finish anything.

Plus, Olivia's teething schedule is seriously interfering with my efforts at sleeping.

And Mr Alex has "rediscovered" ABC mouse and commandeered my computer for himself. I suppose I have no say in the matter.

*Edit: Oh, forgot to add. Was traumatized to discover that someone clicked on my "crazy face" profile pic (I seriously do not have a single unembarrassing photograph of myself- unless you count the ones from my wedding 10 years ago, which hardly make appropriate profile images). So, spent a considerable amount of time *patiently* explaining to my husband the manner in which I would like my photograph taken. Several shots and many more fake smiles later, I realised he had been cutting my hair and chin off and pretty much just zoomed in on my nose. So, needless to say you will have to bear with the crazy eye one for a while longer while I attempt to find a photographer who can capture me in a slightly more flattering light.

Progress on Olivia's room

Still making little additions and improvements to Olivia's room, editing and adding little pieces. One of the areas I wanted to address was the changing station. I purchased a baby changer/ dresser with the intention of changing babies on it but I've actually always changed the kids on a changing mat on the floor. Not only does it feel safer that way, we have a bit of playtime on the floor afterwards and I've snapped some of my favourite photos of the kids there. The light from window above is perfect for pictures and even a photographic novice such as I manage to capture some great images (though always by accident).

I was very excited for the mail to arrive today because I suspected my little package from the Ukraine had arrived. How I hate to wait for orders to clear customs... but my little find is so adorable that it was worth the extra wait. I was having the hardest time finding cute, playful bookends until I thought to check on Etsy and was suddenly spoiled for choice. It was difficult deciding between this little Elf and Squirrel and the Fox.

So, a couple of new additions to the dresser "vignette" today, see below for links.


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