Karen Ballum

Karen Ballum

Hi, I'm Karen Ballum. I'm a Community Moderator on BlogHer.com. You might know me as Sassymonkey ...   see full bio
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Karen Ballum

Hi, I'm Karen Ballum. I'm a Community Moderator on BlogHer.com. You might know me as Sassymonkey.

I live in Ottawa, Ontario -- Canada's national capital. Keeping me company are my husband and cat, commonly known on the internet as the Fake Husband and the Fake Cat. Last I checked they were both still very real to most people but according to Denise, it's not real unless she can see it. (She's met the fake husband and has seen pictures of the cat but once fake is always fake in her books.)

Karen Ballum Sassymonkey

I have been blogging about life (and food, I like food) since 2004 on my personal blog, Sassymonkey.ca, and started my book blog, Sassymonkey Reads, in August of 2005. I don't read quite as many books as I used to but I still love hearing about the books you love.

While I spent a LOT of time here on BlogHer.com you can also find on Twitter. If you want to judge for yourself whether or not my cat is fake, she features prominently in my Instagram stream. (But you never know, I could be using a stunt cat.)

I also have a slight addition to the overuse of parentheses. (Oops?)

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5 Easy and Fun Last-Minute Halloween Crafts

I know people who start their Halloween crafts in September. I applaud their obviously superior organization skills, because that is so not the way things roll for me. The way it works in my house: I look at the calendar, realize Halloween is a few days away, and then I say, "GAH!" So here's a list of crafts for the BlogHers like me out there who need fun Halloween crafts they can whip together quickly. ...more

The Ottawa Shootings Can't Take Away My Canadian Identity

I was sitting in a Starbucks in Toronto when I saw a tweet that stopped me in my tracks. A soldier had been shot at the National War Memorial in Ottawa—where I live. It was followed up by another tweet telling me that the shooter was in Centre Block of Parliament. I looked around … and no one was reacting. No one else knew. ...more
It was tragic and extremely shocking for our country.more

5 Easy Ways to Decorate Pumpkins This Fall

I love walking through my neighbourhood and checking out the fall decorations. I will always have a fondness for the traditional Jack-o'-lanterns I see perched on people's front steps, but I've never been a very good pumpkin carver. Luckily, pretty decorated pumpkins are completely within in my reach. I've seen some stunning decorated pumpkins online and what continues to surprise me is how easy they are to make. Here are five easy and pretty ways to decorate pumpkins. No-Mess Sprinkle Pumpkins...more
Julie Ross Godar So adorable. I really love that she used white pumpkins for them. I seem to ...more

5 Fall Wreaths and a Banner You Can Make. It's Easy!

It's easy to buy a wreath, but they are actually one of the easier decorations to make. I found five fall wreaths and a banner I would love to make and that can be made even by people, like me, who are not so very crafty. Some are best for inside while others will fare just fine hanging on your front door. ...more
Wonderful post and some really great Ideas!more

Waffle-ize It! 6 Dishes You Can Make In Your Waffle Iron

The idea of using your waffle iron to waffle-ize things that wouldn't normally make it into your waffle maker is rapidly gaining popularity. We've gathered up six recipes that you can make in your waffle iron. Grab it off the shelf, dust it off, and get ready to have some fun. ...more
Waffle omelet hmm! Surprisingly, I never knew that it is possible.more

It's Fall! Here Are 5 Scarves You Can Make at Home

Every year finds me dragging my feet into autumn. I never like how the temperature drops, but I do find things to love about fall. I love how the tree leaves burst into a brilliant display of color before dropping to crunch beneath my feet. We start piling up logs by the fireplace. I start pulling out my colder-weather clothes. I especially love scarves....more

7 One-Pot Meal Ideas for Busy Nights

"What's for dinner?" It's a question we hear daily. There are days when we throw back an easy answer. There are other days when the question makes us want to throw our spatulas on the floor and wail. Here are seven one-pot meal ideas to get you through those busy weeknight dinners. ...more
I've made that, minus the spinach. It is pretty good!more

Goodbye Glasses! I Had Laser Eye Surgery

One month ago, I did something I thought that I would never, ever do -- I let a doctor shoot lasers into my eyes. Up to and during my laser eye surgery, it was scary and I questioned my sanity. A month out, I can tell you that I believe it was worth it and I don't regret it. Not even a little bit. I've been asked lots of questions by friends and family over the last few months. I thought I'd try to round up those questions into one post. Here it goes. Why did you get laser eye surgery?...more
IndigoOcean.org I have travelled since having the surgery. It's fabulous.more

6 Fabulous Body Scrubs You Can Make at Home

Exfoliating scrubs are one of the easiest beauty products to make at home and only take a few minutes to mix together. Most of these scrubs use coconut oil as a base, so if you don't have any you'll want to grab some from your grocery store. Once you've made your first body scrub you'll wonder why you ever spent all that money buying them. ...more
Great recipes!more

5 Things I Learned Training for a 5K Race

I spent the last few months training for a 5k run. I've run close to half a dozen of them in recent years but I've never actually trained for one before. I'm not saying that I'd just pop out of bed on race day and go run but calling what I did real training was a bit of a stretch. I'd run once or twice a week but really only if I was in the mood for it and I didn't run very far. This spring I decided I wanted to give this whole training thing a proper shot....more
texasebeth I know. We're such horrible influences. ;-)  Sports bras are TRICKY.more