Spiced Winter Snowflake Cookies

Something about this time of year has me wanting to bake (and eat!) cookies all the time. Though I do not have much of a sweet tooth, I love baking and forcing my husband to eat the results – though let’s be honest, not too much force is needed with him. Sugar cookies are the best for cookie cutters and decorating however I get a bit bored of the standard sugar cookie all of the time. That is why was so happy when I came across this recipe in Canadian Living. It was like a sugar cookie met a shortbread cookie and got all spicy on the dance floor. I had my own plans for topping so I ignored the icing section of the recipe. Though I must say, ombre cookies do sound pretty cool! I picked up some adorable Wilton Sprinkles and Snowflake Cutters from Walmart and was pretty excited to put it all together. So here I will share with you the cookie recipe and my finished product. I am averaging about 5 cookies a day so I guess you could say they turned out pretty damn tasty!

Spiced Shortbread Dough:

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

pinch nutmeg

Use mixer to beat together butter, icing sugar and vanilla until fluffy. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir the butter mixture in until just combined. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Between wax or parchment paper (P.S. this is a genius idea, thank you CL!) roll out dough  to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter snowflakes to cut out shapes. Arrange on a light coloured baking sheet 2 inches apart. (Two things here: The recipe calls for rimless but mine had rims and it worked out fine. Secondly, lighter coloured baking sheets in my own opinion are way better for cookies and have a lower chance of burning. No idea why just take my word for it.) Refrigerate the cookies on the baking sheet until firm (about 10-20 minutes). Bake, 1 sheet at a time in 325 degree oven (F) for 12-15 minutes. For the smaller snowflakes I would bake for 10-12 minutes, the bigger ones closer to 15 minutes. Baking is all about judgement calls! Let cool completely before icing and decorating.

It is a rather tedious and laborious recipe but I think it was worth the three hours I spent in the kitchen that afternoon. These are some tasty snowflakes!


Skincare To Combat Mean Ol’ Man Winter

With the arrival of Winter weather also brings on dreaded skin issues that you have not had to deal with since last year. Chapped lips and dehydrated, lacklustre skin is just the beginning. Eyes can look even more tired than usual! It is so important this time of year to stay up to date with skincare regimes, making sure to take care of your skin daily. I have always held a special interest in skincare products. My mom used to run the hair salon in Sears and often made friends with all of the ladies at the beauty counters. She was always bringing me home different samples to try out. I believe that was the start of the obsession. Since going over a few bumps in the skin-road while pregnant, and then my skin changing again after having my daughter, I continue to try out new products and see what works well for me. The only problem here is I end up with ten favourites and it’s impossible to narrow it down to a strictly regimented routine with the same products. Lucky for you though that means personal experiences with many different products that I can share here with you all. Below I have rounded up a few favourites, specifically for this time of year. When the winds are harsh and snow is all around, it is important to protect your face. It’s the only one you’ve got so you better take care of it right?


1.) Biotherm Aquasource  – This hydration gel is the most soothing thing I have ever put on my face. I have used it on a daily basis and it is not only soothing and refreshing, you feel it hydrate your face long after you apply it.

2.) Bronze Goddess By Estee Lauder – This shimmering body oil spray is perfect for Winter and especially great for all of those holiday parties you will be attending. It is not as harsh as a self-tanner. The last thing you want is to look orange in the middle of Winter. This body oil is subtle and creates a light golden dusting that will make people wonder if it’s a natural glow. The smell is also to die for and will take you back to warm Summer days with one sniff.

3.) Bliss a-‘bright’ face Facial Kit – I have only recently discovered (and fallen deep in love with!) Bliss products. They are light-weight, feel great on your skin, and are reasonably priced – bonus! This time of year is the best as well because all sorts of packages and kits are put together for holiday gifting – much like this one! This is a brightening kit which will bring that dull and dehydrated skin that Winter sucked the life out of, back to life. I will be keeping this permanently stocked in my bathroom cupboard, it’s must-have now.

4.) Shiseido Creamy Cleansing Emulsion – If I could emulsify multiple times a day I would, I swear. I love the feeling of it on my skin. I particularly love this one by Shiseido. As it’s for all skin types it is super gentle. I love many of Shiseido products, especially their Protective Lip Conditioner.

5.) Lancôme Advanced Genifique  – I tried this product in the later stages of pregnancy and after my daughter was born. It FELT incredible on my skin. Unfortunately, the early stages of motherhood (AKA severe sleep deprivation and raging hormones) made it pretty much impossible to have beautiful, young looking skin. I would go back to this product in a heartbeat to try for results again though. It was just bad timing in my case. Trust me, nothing could have saved those tired looking eyes! Still a fave, nonetheless…

6.) WATER!!! – I cannot stress this enough. If you are going to invest anything at all into your skincare routine, let it be H2O! I myself don’t drink early enough water and am trying every day to up my intake. Even if you think you have had enough, have some more! Your skin will thank you, now and later.

7.) NUXE Reve de Miel Three Piece Gift Set –  This lip repair kit is so appropriate for this time of year! I am always getting chapped lips! People forget that your lips are skin. Much thinner than the skin on your face but still skin. I am often forgetting to put on proper protection in the way of lip balm or gloss. I think my problem is I have too many, dispersed throughout my millions of purses, and never on hand when I need it. Well because of that scatter brained trait of mine, I now have poor, damaged lips! I love this kit put out by NUXE. It is a simple treatment with effective results. Being a holiday kit they have thrown in a fabulous hand and nail treatment as well. It’s a treat for the lips and the hands!

What are you must-have products for this chilly time of year? I would love to hear your favourites! Until then, bundle up, take care of your skin (and lips!) and go pour yourself another glass of water.

(All the above chosen products can be purchased at Hudson’s Bay)

Snow Day!

Last night was a pretty standard sleep with Miss Hallie – the usual one time wake up at about five am for her bottle (which I would LOVE to cancel out sometime soon..) Then at about eight she was making the usual baby babble sounds that indicate ‘mom…get the f#ck up!’. It has been SO hard to get up lately. Pure exhaustion seems to be the only thing this momma is feeling. But as I pitter pattered through my kitchen to let the dog out, and head to see little miss sunshine in her room, I noticed a fabulously bright glare pouring through the window. WHITE! EVERYWHERE! A nice big dump of snow had happened while we were sleeping and it was beyond picturesque. Completely peaceful. Needless to say a fresh blanket of snow also has a way of snapping you out of a sleepy morning haze. I wasn’t rushing out the door to play in it but I sure was awake and couldn’t wait to show Hallie and see her reaction. Little Miss loved it! Even through the kitchen window she was pointing and smiling and making all sorts of sounds of excitement. It gives me so many feelings of nostalgia. I remember being a little kid and being SO EXCITED at even the thought of snow. The chance that it could cancel school? Ecstatic to the point of shaking! It needs to be a good snow fall though. No dusting of snowflakes here and there. I am talking proper snowman making levels that require snowboots and waterproof pants. That is the sort of weather pattern that makes a snow day what it is! Plus we got to try out our new sled that we bought Hallie! She wavered between two expressions; sheer delight and total boredom. Bipolar baby me thinks….One thing is certain though – snow days really are the best!







DIY Sharpie Mugs

With the holiday season just around the corner, thoughts of gifts for others keep creeping into my mind. Like many others, money is tight for us this Christmas. We love getting into the spirit, decorating the home, and making sure we eat lots of yummy holiday-inspired treats, but we do try to go easy in the actual gift department. It’s so easy to go overboard with spending and we are trying to curb that this year, focusing more on the experience of Christmas. With all of that being said, I have turned to Pinterest for some inexpensive DIY gifts. There are so many ideas but what that caught my eye in particular was the DIY SHARPIE MUG. There are so many adorable ways to complete this craft, and not only was it a piece of cake, it took me all of twenty minutes to make three of them (perfect nap time craft!). I am going to get a few more mugs to try out different designs though. This being my first attempt I definitely see room for improvement and wouldn’t mind putting a bit more effort into the fonts. I just free-handed these puppies and quite frankly, you can tell! Either way though, loads of fun and super simple. They would make great gifts with a miniature Baileys bottle tucked inside with some coffee grinds, or perhaps a nice tea selection. I know a few people on my gift list who are going to be receiving one of these, perfectly tailored to them.






Sharpie – a nice new one with a sharp tip

Plain Mug – needs to be oven proof. Many mugs will indicate this on the bottom. Ceramic is what I chose to try and it worked out well.

Make sure your mugs are wiped clean and dry. Make your design on the mug with your Sharpie. Depending on the color of the mug, you may want to use different coloured Sharpies (images of silver and gold are now dancing in my head!)

Place mugs into the over and set to 350 degrees. You want to place the mugs in before it heats up so that they warm up with the oven and this will prevent cracking. Heat in the oven for 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes, turn the oven off but leaves your mugs in there to cool down with the oven, again prevent cracking. This will set your design so that you can wash your mug after use and it won’t effect the design. My research indicates this should make the mug safe to wash in the dishwasher, however I will not encourage that until I have actually done it myself. For gifting, tie a cute homemade tag with twine to the handle and indicate care instructions. CHEERS!

Gift Giving: The Perfect Hostess

If you are not already in the swing of things, for many people it is almost that time of year where holiday parties and gatherings seem to be happening all the time. Who doesn’t love a good holiday party?! A chance to dress up, eat tiny appetizers with excess amounts of cheese, drink one too many Christmas cocktails and sing along to carols on repeat. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Over the past few years, I have developed an obsession for finding the perfect hostess gift. When I host my own parties, it is just so NICE of someone to show up with a token of gratitude in a pretty form of a candle or even a bottle of wine. Of course it is NEVER expected but when it has happened, I have been completely delighted and full of gratitude. This act encourages me to always bring a gift when attending parties. Candles are my usual go-to. This year however I could not help but notice how many wonderful, giftable items are available. You can tailor it exactly to the person who is hosting the party. If they are a book lover, a foodie, a boozie or even have a green thumb, there is something for everyone. In my opinion, the more unexpected type of gift, the better. Below I have rounded up my holiday favourites, all of which would make fantastic hostess gifts. (I have included links to all of the items incase anything sparks your online-shopper eye!)


Marqee Letter / Voluspa Holiday Gift Set / Modsprout Herb Garden In A Jar / Just Perfect Foods BBQ Sauce / Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Chocolate / Rose Gold Corkscrew / Champaign Flutes / Oil Gift Set / Party Crate

First Snowfall Of The Year

The little lady and I made it home from Vancouver yesterday afternoon safe and sound. Just as well we left when we did as the highway got 20 centimetres of snow overnight! It’s looking pretty white up there right now, not at all ideal for driving according to this gal. We also woke up to snow sprinkled all over the yard. It is so pretty! Hallie was too little last year to know what snow is, however this time she definitely knew something was different when she looked outside. She was pointing and full of baby babble and delighted screams. Unfortunately, by midday it was already starting to melt. We are supposed to get another dump overnight so hopefully tomorrow is just as snowy. Maybe even a bit more would be nice. The slightly melted snow did not stop us from bundling up in snow pants and loading baby girl into her red wagon for a little stroll along the river. She just loves that wagon. It gives her the perfect view of everything going on around her, and makes for the perfect bed of blankets. I discovered this morning that it also has cup holders, perfect for my latte this morning (or for icy cold discreet beers in the summertime!). After a very ‘Winter’ feeling morning, I am hoping to get hubby outside this afternoon to put up some Christmas lights! We watched National Lampoons Christmas Vacation last night in hopes that our hero, Clark Griswold, would inspire us. I feel inspired, hubs not so much. He still thinks it is too early for anything Christmas related. He is sorely mistaken if he thinks we are waiting until December. The trick in my marriage is if I just start doing something that he would be better at, and if I do it bad enough, eventually he will step in to make it right. I happen to know for a fact that he is an expert at putting up Christmas lights. It’s all about strategy.

This sudden snowfall has a funny way of making you realize that there are a few necessities we require for Winter that we still do not have. I need to locate some proper footwear from Hallie so that she can play outside. Everyone in Kamloops has been recommending these boots by Stonz that slip over her cozy Padraigs. This may be the best solution for my chubby ankled angel. We also are going to need a little sled. Hallie loves being pulled around inside in the laundry hamper for fun, so I think she will LOVE a sled. I imagine all the second hand ones have been snatched up so I will more than likely have to buy new, like all the other mommies who neglected to think about this. Lastly, we are going to need to find some mittens that baby girl cannot pull off and launch across the playground. Are there ones that velcro up around her elbow? That would be perfect! Oh Winter we love you so! Can’t wait to see what our new city brings us- crossing fingers for a Winter Wonderland!




Gold Lips Mug From Lofty Living

Nate Berkus Sideplates – Last Year’s Holiday Collection (Sold Out From Target!)

Nothing like a romantic heart shaped egg to start the day off! (Find them here)

Back In ‘Raincouver’

At the last minute, Hallie and I had to head out on a road trip to Vancouver to visit my mom. I call in ‘Raincouver’, as many do, because we have only seen a monsoon of rain since we got here. I certainly do not miss the weather here. We came back into town to help my mom out with preparing for the open house and hopefully sale of her home. She has lived in her home for five years yet in such a small amount of time, it can be very easy to accumulate ‘stuff’. We are all guilty of it. I felt terribly guilty leaving her to do it all alone so it just made sense to pack up the wee one and head on down here. It has been a productive week as well. The place looks great and there is an open house this Sunday. With any luck and the current state of the market, there may even be a bidding war. In much more exciting news I also managed to squeeze in a fair bit of shopping! Holiday season and Christmas seems to be in full force already! I had promised myself not to go crazy but it seems to be a slippery slope into a winter wonderland of Christmas decor. I picked up a huge variety of galvanized tree ornaments from Michaels, like this one here. They are fifty percent off right now too so it will cost next to nothing to completely update the look of your tree. I am in a very rustic frame of mind with my aesthetics at home these days so this suited perfectly. On to other things that hang… West Elm has brought back their Felted Garlands! I adore these and almost consider them to be year round decor. I picked up two of the white ones, though am regretting not getting any red. Just cute to boot! Next on my shopping adventure was Anthropologie. I LOVE their holiday decor that they bring in each year. It is so whimsical and nostalgic. They had an assortment of trees which were absolutely darling and I picked up a little silver one to match my table vignette at home. I also picked up the Aurora Copper String Lights (I used these at my wedding) and can’t wait to have little fairy lights dancing off my mantle. Tis the season right!? Now I just need to get home and continue on with Winter decorating, as we slowly creep into splashes of holly red here and there, paving the way for December!

On a much, MUCH sadder note, my poor sweet little girl took quite the tumble last night. She was rushing around with her wobbly walk, in her socks, and slipped on the hardwood floor. She smacked her face right on the ground and chipped a huge chunk off of her front tooth! My heart broke for her as she wailed, and I joined in with tears of my own. Utterly useless mother here in a traumatic situation. I have had a number of people, including the dentist, tell me not to worry, it’s a baby tooth that will fall out, and just to keep an eye on it in case of infection. None of that reassurance makes me feel better though! I keep blaming myself for not being there. Hubby says that is crazy and she certainly can’t live in a bubble. These bumps and bruises are going to happen no matter what. But that is a friggin huge bump if you ask me! So for her first real injury, I am an utter mess. The endless joys of motherhood. I would shatter my own tooth in a second if I could give hers back. For now I guess we will need to teach her this song.

Hope you are all having a wonderful night and staying dry!