Friday Finds: Camera Coats…& a Promo Code!

I am a picture-o-holic.  Really.  I take thousands of pictures.  This started when I was a little girl and has never stopped.    I always had a camera with me and was always capturing moments.  My grandfather used to tease me that I would never be able to afford life because I was always paying to have my pictures developed!

A couple of years ago I took the plunge and moved beyond a point and shoot camera and purchased a DSLR camera.  I purchased a backpack bag and was set….except the backpack bag was an additional bag that I needed to take with me or I would have to throw my camera into my purse or children’s bag – and after waiting my whole life for my DSLR, I was not about to risk scratching or damaging it!  So I set about searching for a smaller camera bag – even contemplated making making my own – and then I found Camera Coats!  I saw the ‘Jane Eyre‘ and had to have it!  But they were sold out!  So I haunted the camera coats website almost daily to see their products.  When the ‘Ti Amo‘ came out I  I did not hesitate – thank goodness because it sold out FAST!

The Camera Coat is one of the best purchases I have ever made.  Ever.  It has allowed me to take my camera with me everywhere.  I can fit it in any bag without worry, I can sling it over my shoulder and it is protected and looks lovely.  Two years ago for Jay’s birthday, Mel and I decided to purchase one for her. We bought her a grey chevron with yellow shabby flowers.

We both have our camera coats with our cameras all the time – so we can take our cameras with us anytime.
camera coat
I know I would like to purchase another – a waterproof one this time – maybe the Glimmer of Paris with matching strap or the touch of glitter with matching strap?
Here’s a promo code for you to get $10 off their shipping price…that will make it $8 to ship to Canada! 
Code: PurpleShip  Expires: June 30, 2013.Not good with any other codes/offers. www.cameracoats.com

andie1

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Eating Healthy Made Easier

I read this quote the other day, and it was like a giant bell went off in my head.

dont-focus-on-the-skinny-do-focus-on-the-healthy

It really can be that simple.  And its so very true. Wish I had found this a few months back when I was bathing suit shopping! {If you are new to Purple Eggplant, you can read about my battle with the B-Word here}.

I don’t know about you, but the biggest deterrent for me to follow through on eating healthy is not being organized.   A work from home momma, I feel I should be way more organized than I am around here when it comes to meal planning. But I am not. I am now accepting and at peace that is my reality, so I am working with it ! Solution focused thinking here I come.

I want to be successful, so I had to come up with a plan.

Lying in bed one night last week, I realized my over thinking tired brain was actually being productive! I am going to try what I am now dubbing “the at home salad bar“.  Sounds fun, and for me if something is fun and has a theme, I am even that much more likely to do it.

Outreaching to our Purple Eggplant Facebook followers and friends, we put together a pretty super list of items that could be used in an at home salad bar:

  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers snap peas
  • Red onion
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Goat cheese
  • Low fat brick cheese
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Beansprouts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avacado
  • Almonds
  • Olives
  • Chickpeas
  • Quinoa
  • Beets
  • Grapes
  • Feta
  • Crispy noodles
  • Mushrooms
  • Pineapples
  • Baby spinach
  • Assorted lettuce greens
  • Green onions

{the possibilities are seriously endless}

The great thing about this list is if you don’t end up using it all in salads and don’t want it to go to waste, you can make a stir fry, mango bean salad, fajitas, or spaghetti sauce…and you’ve already saved yourself the chopping time!

Off to the grocery store I went armed with my list. I love unpacking such a healthy bag of groceries!

unpacking the groceries

I then got organized with the needed containers {and have to admit these are brand new. I have never nor will I ever have this many matching container/lid combos!}

the containers

…and then I got to chopping {and my veggie monster snuck in for some irresistible fruit and veggies!}.

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It really is a beautiful thing!

almost done

The at home salad bar is ready to go.

Healthy eating made easy!

ready to rock

We would love to hear how YOU make healthy eating a little easier?

jay2

Outdoor Balloon Birthday Party in Pictures {Part I: Balloon Themed Party Food}

This weekend we celebrated my C’s 3rd birthday. Unreal. 3 already.

C’s 1st birthday party was outside, and the week leading up to it I was glued to the weather channel. I loved the outdoor party vibe so much, we risked it again. Thankfully I wasn’t as stressed this year! … but I was a bit worried as we woke to overcast skies. Turned out, Mother Nature had a present for C too – a rain free day !

C’s daddy and I headed to Claudette Cain Park in Ottawa early on Sunday morning to start setting up the balloon themed birthday party!

setting up the balloon themed party at Claudette Cain Park

I set my own record with 765 photos taken!  So I thought I would share bits and parts of the party with you through different posts. Many ideas were collected on Pinterest and can be found here.

This first post is about balloon themed party food. I had too much fun with this!

We also have some printable party food labels for your in .jpeg format and water bottle and juice box label freebies for download. I printed them onto 4×6 cardstock and folded it over to make a tent card, but you can use the images so many other ways!  {clicking the image will open it so you can save to your computer}

meringue rainbow clouds
cloud printable label

{meringue rainbow clouds}

timbit pop
timbit ballooons printable label

{timbits are a staple play date item with our group so I had to incorporate into the party food – timbit balloons – yum!}

Balloon shaped party sandwiches

ham ballooons

pb and j sandwhiches

{balloon shaped sandwiches…PB&J pockets, tortilla pinwheels, mini ham pitas…topped with cherry tomato balloons}

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cookiepops

{Oreo pops…have you seen the birthday confetti kind?? Yummy and super cute}fruit pops
fruitpops

{This is one case where the cardboard box wasn’t enough to keep the food standing up! If you try this for fruit pops, I suggest using a deeper box for the stand so they aren’t falling over!}

rainbow jello cups
rainbow jellow

{Rainbow jello cups}

balloon party theme popcorn
popcorn

{POPcorn!…We had POPtarts too but I couldn’t get them to stay on the stick so they were left out at the last minute}

veggie balloons
veggie balloons

{I didn’t get a pic with the wrapping off! But you can use cherry tomatoes, and cucumber, carrot and pepper medallions to make a tray of balloon shaped veggies!}

DIY water bottle labels

{Water bottles with custom “refresh” wraps…printable water bottle label wraps}

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{Apple and mixed berry juice boxes wrapped with custom juice box labels so young kiddos can easily identify}

balloon cake pops and DIY cake pop stand{Balloon cake pops! stand created by wrapping floral foam, cardboard boxes, and decorating! and of course a special cupcake with candles for the birthday girl…that never got lit…more on going with the flow at your kiddos birthday party in a later post!}

The cake pops created by a dear friend were certainly a hit!

alexa and pop caley popsc and cake pop

For the tots, the take aways and party activities, we stayed with the balloon theme/outdoor!

outdoor treatsIMG_8475 IMG_8481IMG_8482ky and rainbow wandmorgan under balloon treeIMG_8479

 

Because only one or two of the guests were old enough to recognize their name, we personalized loot bags with the kiddos pics

loots







You can also visit Catch My Party, where C’s Outdoor Balloon Birthday Party was featured!

IMG_8477

jay2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Good Reminder….

I teach, contractually,  students at the college level – so the end of the semester, and the beginning of May, for me symbolizes a time to slow down, gather my thoughts, take care of myself in a better way and finish the number of projects I started but slowly lost priority in every day life.  I have yet to do any of this so far in the month of May  – and it is almost over! May has turned out to be a month of finishing up & preparing for work, attending meetings and conferences, dance rehearsals & recitals, baseball practices & games, swimming lessons, birthday parties and medical appointments.

In the midst of all of this I have struggled to maintain balance…and I have failed….taking care of my children’s lives and work came first.  And although these are things I love – I am disappointed that I did not set better boundaries to do the things I set out do do at the beginning of the month.  This really hit yesterday when I realized that my 21 years anniversary since we have been together as a couple passed with only a phone call and greeting of “Merry 17th“ to my husband to commemorate the day.  I usually make a bigger deal of this as it is a special day.  I am not ok with this path I seem to be following.  I need to adjust my mind to realign with my heart and soul to make different choices on how I spend my time, so I create the flow not follow it.  I started thinking about what I need to do this.

One of my favorite quotes that I used as a life motto for many years is `You are not defined by what has happened to you in the past. You future is defined by what you want for the future` ~Unknown.  It is time to gain some perspective. Time to think about more than the work that is waiting to be finished and what is on the schedule for the day.  Setting long term goals helps remind me of the life I want and the groove I am striving to attain. Because I only get one chance as me in this life and when I am old and sitting in my rocking on my front porch the memories that I want to sustain me are the ones I want to create. I came across a great tool for long term goal setting on the Lululemon website, you can type write into the PDF and print it: http://www.lululemon.com/education/goalsetting

As I complete this form I am inspired – I am reminded of the possibilities life has to offer and a little less lost in the busyness of everyday.

Vision Goals Worksheetvision_goals_worksheet

andie1

A new perspective on gratitude

The Storyteller was my pick for this months book club. I anxiously awaited Jodi Picoult’s new release in March.

I’m so glad I made the time to sit down and read it.

photo (10)

But tonight as I walk past our gratitude wall, I do so with a heavy heart.

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The past 200 pages of this story are moving me beyond measure, as I read about a young woman who is living through the Holocaust. I’m nearing the end and I don’t want her to stop telling her story and at the same time I wish her story was purely based on fiction.

As I look at our gratitude wall and typical mom//dad//kid schedule I can’t help but feel – well actually I don’t know what I feel – but it’s not a good feeling. What I am thankful for seems so very insignificant in the face of what so many women, children, men, babies would have been thankful for in Germany many years ago.

While I can’t change history, I can change today.

Above our door we have the words “today I’m going to try and change the world”. It was part of a country song lyric that i heard a few years ago and just couldn’t get out of my head {custom decal from Blue Couture Design}.

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When I was working directly with children and women who’d experience violence, I knew I was making a difference. Now that I’ve left frontline work, the difference I can make isn’t the same – not greater or lesser, just different. And sometimes my heart and mind miss this work. As I read about atrocities such as those in this story, there’s a little part of me that comes alive again and says, ok, what can I do to make this world a better place. Because today still, atrocities happen. Here and worldwide. But I know the job I am doing raising my daughter is just as important. And maybe one day she will grow to change this world.

Today we CAN change the world. We can all do something in our own way, that makes a difference for someone. The difference may be huge, tiny, small scale or grand. But it us ours to make.

If you have a few moments, here’s a link to the video that inspired our over the door quote:

{ Johnny Reid // Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World }

jay2

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the Mama’s out there – celebrate today.   Do something special for yourself – guilt free – you are deserving!  For all of you who have a Mom or know a Mom – do something to remind them how special they are.

I printed this and put it in a  white frame from the dollar store and put it in the center of my kitchen table.  It brightened up the room and reminded me to be good to myself this week – because of who I am and all I do.

Mother's Day 2013I found this printable on Creative Cain Cabin  139932516-Mothers-Day-Printablehttp://www.creativecaincabin.com/2013/05/mothers-day-printable-free.html?showComment=1367971297061#c3048034874466554053

You can find a different free Mothers Day printable printable from A Night Owl

http://anightowlblog.com/2012/05/printables-mothers-day-2.html

What special thing did you do for your Mom today?  What did you do to celebrate you?

We’ve been enjoying this gorgeous dose of sunshine !

Hope it is sunny and wonderful where you are !

We sure are lucking out here in Ottawa ~ so much that we’ve been away from our laptops and our Purple Eggplant friends.

summer so far

Today marks the day of back at it for me, with my own course starting, the courses I teach kicking off, and my C’s 3rd birthday to plan ! {look out for some posts in the coming weeks about the party planning!}

Well, now at least I can look outside at the beautiful sunshine as I type on my new Kelly Rae Roberts covered laptop !

laptop

{Hey, have you heard of Kelly Rae Roberts? She is an amazing artist and soul. Gorgeous products, mostly available in the US, but I have managed to discover some finds in Canada through the Village Shop yipeeee!!!}

jay2

Friday Finds: Free Printable from the Idea Room & Summer Fresh Bean Salad Recipe

Summer is in the air here in Ottawa today and my C and I got to celebrate the sunshine and warmth with Purple Eggplant Mel’s kiddos.

kiddos

And I am lucky enough to take full advantage of this sun by spending the evening outside tonight at a BBQ.   Something about having snow for so many months of the year that makes days like this that much sweeter.

I was in need of a pot luck item and a hostess gift and thought, hey, this would make a great Friday Find !

Before summer BBQs and parties get into full swing, we have a brilliant idea from the Idea Room to share with you…and a Summer Fresh Bean Salad recipe of our own!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I see all these super wicked hostess gifts on Pinterest, but never get around to actually making one. This is one that will be your go to – or at least it will be mine this summer ! So simple, adorable and brilliant ! You need only 5 supplies and it comes with a free printable. Check out the Homemade Lemonade printable and summer hostess gift from the Idea Room here.

It comes together so nicely ! Hmmmm…But I think I need to pick up some yellow chevron ribbon !  I always feel a sense of fulfillment when I actually put my pins to use!

lemonade kit assembled

I was lucky enough 2 summers ago to taste the yummiest summer salad prepared by Purple Eggplant Mel.

Have a look…

salad close up

Delish right?

Pulling together these simple, seasonal and fresh ingredients will make you the hit of any backyard summer party. And your body will thank you too ! We at Purple Eggplant are thinking more and more about eating healthy and whole foods, and this fits right in.

What you need:

1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 yellow pepper chopped
1/2 orange pepper chopped
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
2 fresh limes squeezed
1 cup of mangos diced
1 1/2 cup of black beans
1 avacado diced
salt and pepper to taste

mix it all together and you have the perfect summer salad !

salad

{ do they make cute portable salad bowls? all I have is this plain one. If you know where I can find one, I would love to know ! }

Do you have a go to hostess gift, or a favored pot luck item ? We’d love to hear about them !

jay2