Well my big January 2018 comeback to writing was slightly delayed. Did anyone else find it extremely difficult to bounce back from the holiday season and get into a routine again? I sure did. Still am struggling a bit actually. But slowly, as we begin our activities again, put down the holiday celebratory cocktail and pick up that clean eating schedule again, things seem to be shifting into place. Our holidays were BUSY. The front door seemed to revolving with friends and family filtering in and out. It was of course very welcome and a lot of fun! Exactly how the holiday season should be. Certainly gluttonous as well. Salads we non-existent and meat and cheese platters seemed to dominate. We laughed, we loved, we ate and we drank. The kids had a ball too. Christmas is absolutely going to be a hit with them every year. Now that January completely zoomed by, and February has made her debut, we are focused on being healthy, happy and trying to slow down the day-to-day. As I do every year, I looked back on last year’s resolutions. Well not even resolutions. More like lifestyle commitments. I smiled when I saw that we had managed to incorporate it all. I didn’t really do anything different this year. Just a few mini goals and when you add them all up, it just means try to BE better all around. Spend more time in the present with my kids and husband, less time looking at Facebook on my phone. Buy less on Facebook! Damn you to hell mom swap and all the dollars you sucked out of me this year on things I didn’t need, nor was I looking for until I scrolled passed. You know you have been a victim too! Less television, more reading. More crafting and creating! Clean smarter and not all the time. Less laundry! I realize these are all remedial tasks so far…. be kind to others and go out of our way to help people out. Volunteer. Donate. Be mindful of our neighbours and friends. Be thoughtful, intentional and surprising. If I learned anything in 2017, life is short and throw a curve ball.. It reminds us of that often and sometimes in painful ways. 2018 will be more about making all of our moments count, and less about stress, worry and grudges. And though we are already well on our way into the year, I am excited to dive in. Cheers to all of the days ahead, and hopefully more blog posts on my part!
Labor Day Weekend
The last long weekend of the summer has arrived. Labor Day weekend is one of my favourites. I am not entirely sure why but there is just something about it. A certain feel or vibe is in the air. Everyone is relaxed and easy going from enjoying recent summer holidays. We are tan with crispy and freckled noses from long sunny days at the lake. ‘Summer feet’ have developed from the lack of wearing shoes. Fall, school & responsibilities are just around the corner but on this weekend, that matters not. Everyone is having a good time and hanging on to the last of the summer sunshine. If you live in the Interior, you also may be hanging on to 35 degree weather. Aside from a wedding on Sunday, we do not have any major long weekend plans. We will be lighting up the bbq non-stop, sipping on some sweet summer drinks, and feeling all the feels that this time of year brings.
Many of you know I am a lover of all seasons. The colors in the leaves & trees changing, the holidays that present themselves all of a sudden and disappear just as quickly. I love it all. It’s a festive passion almost that I plan to encourage my children to embody as well. The summer lovin’, the fullness of Thanksgiving, the spookiness of Halloween and of course the magic of Christmas. The fresh feeling you get when starting the New Year, the excitement of Easter, the easy-going fun that comes with May Long Weekend camping and the patriotic party that comes along with Canada Day. So much fun packed into one year that I find it impossible not to be excited about each season as they approach. I have a number of people in my life who have their favourites too. Some are winter people. They love to ski, snow mobile, drink hot chocolate and hike off into the woods to cut down their own Christmas tree. My mom has a green thumb and loves to create beauty in the garden. The gardeners in my life tend to gravitate towards Spring. Sunday football, chilli & stew lovers always look forward to fall. Though I LOVE all of these moments in the year, I think I have turned into a bit of a summer girl. I love hanging in the sunshine with my kids, eating watermelon for dinner, juicy peaches and corn on the cob. Packing up for the day to head to the lake and bringing most of the sandy beach home with us, finding it in our hair or beds for days to follow. Exploring where we live. If it has cell service, we probably don’t want to go there. Taking that leap into the water only for it to quickly take your breathe away, then adjusting and not wanting to get out for it’s warmer in the water and the sand is going to be way too hot on your feet as you scramble back to your back towel. Summer is a secret escape from routine, bedtimes and stress. Sure those are all present somewhere in our heads and I am not one for living in total denial. But it seems to be a lot easier in summer to ‘leave that for tomorrow’ and enjoy the rest of today. So one question I have as we approach a new season. How can we bring that summer feeling with us all year long. At Christmas time, I FEEL Christmas and vow to carry that happiness, joy and care for others in my heart all year long. On January 1st, we make promises to ourselves that the year ahead will be different than the last. The year ahead will be better. WE will be better. Better people, better mothers, better eaters, better at exercise and spending money. So my vow is to keep summer in my heart this year. Try to be more relaxed. Enjoy more moments with my family and be grateful for our time together and the experiences we have. Keep a little more adventure in my spirit and leave a few of those chores ‘for tomorrow’. I won’t be able to keep my tan or my flip flops and I am guessing it might be hard to enjoy sticky popsicles in the snow. But I can keep summer excitement alive in my family by being brave, playful and present. Everything that summertime requires.
Have a happy and healthy labor day long weekend friends!
Cutting Board Rejuvenation
I am a big fan of my wooden cutting boards in my kitchen. I have different types of wood and different shapes. Not only do I use them multiple times daily I also like to have them displayed on the counter. This means I need to keep them looking fresh. I always wash them after use but sometimes, just like many areas of the home, they need a deep clean. In an attempt to move more chemical-free at home, I did some research to come up with a cleaning recipe used by many. Effective and as natural as it gets.
What you will need:
Lemon cut in half, use one half of a lemon per cutting board
Coarse Sea Salt
White Vinegar (you can also use a vinegar cleaning agent)
Start by covering the board in white vinegar. Sprinkle a heavy dose of sea salt all over the cutting board. Use your half lemon to scrub it into the wood. While doing this, squeeze the lemon so that the juices pour out. I did this for about two minutes. Then pour a couple tablespoons of oil onto the board. Continue scrubbing with the lemon, mixing the oil into the salt and vinegar and covering the entire surface of the cutting board. Do this for about one minute. Let sit for fifteen minutes. Rinse clean. Voila! Fresh and clean, looking good and ready for use.
The End Of Summer
Somehow we have gotten ourselves into the middle of August. Normally I am a glass half full kind of gal and would be thinking we still have lots of summer to go, including a nice September! This month however seems to be a huge downer. The BC Wildfires have taken over the province. Not only is it super smoky but it also seems to bring the temperatures right down making it feel very fall-like. Of course the bigger issue here is for the people in the dangerous areas closer to the fires. My heart goes out to the evacuees who have been forced to pack up with very little notice and stand by waiting to see if their home survives mother nature’s rage. It really is heartbreaking. The community I live in has been outstanding with supporting evacuees which I have to say makes me so proud to live where I do. Unfortunately there is not an end in sight for ending a lot of these fires, but we pray for all of those effected by it and hope for the end soon. Perhaps maybe we can claim back a little of our summer too! We certainly plan to pack as much into the last few weeks of August. This week is a busy one as I have the Farmer’s Market tomorrow for my business which always makes for a hectic week. I am also getting all aspects of family life ready for the end of the week…. parent’s vacation weekend! Yes. We are leaving for three whole days. Gramma has a friend joining the toddler battle field and they are taking care of the two little rascals all weekend long. I know right now I am going to miss my babies like CRAZY (no FaceTime calls allowed, lesson learned on a previous trip – drunk momma talking to babies = ugly crying in the bar). Hubby and I are headed down to Vancouver to see some friends, do some shopping, eating and drinking, AND to see Zac Brown Band! I find it slightly hard to contain my excitement for this show as I have been hoping to see them live for maybe the last five years. So bring it ZBB, this momma is so ready! Once we return we have to pack right up again and head out to see family in Grand Forks, kids and all on this trip. Here’s hoping for a couple winery pop-ins on the way there. And back. We’ll see! Then once we get back from that trip it is right out again in the trailer for a weekend on the lake. Funny how all of this vacation time may just exhaust us. As long as no one gets sick I am going to be happy. Germs ruin the best of times in this family lately. All of this busyness and thinking about the fall season approaching really just leaves me wanting watermelon, sprinkler jumping, sticky popsicle kisses and wet grassed sweaty babies. Summer is so wonderful here in Kamloops and we are totally feeling shafted with it being cut so short. It actually even started late after the longest winter of all time. Time to get out as much as the smoke allows, and soak up all the last sunshine filled summer moments that we can, am I right? So as I catch up on the first Bachelor In Paradise episode (Can I get an Amen for the classiness of all these fabulous people!) I toast you – cheers to the end of summer and all we can cram into it without losing our minds!
OHYA! Did I mention how excited we are about potty training. Public toilets (she thinks its the best…..) Pirate Pack dates. Oh and our new funny faces.
Who looks like they ate FOUR pirate packs…. it’s my one sitting on the floor haha! Oh Jackson . … . .
Can I start off by asking where the heck has July gone?! Summers are always busy. I know that. This year though I feel like it is zooming by. The days may be long but the weeks seem to be disappearing way too quickly. Tomorrow is the beginning of August which means we are well on our way to Fall and this mama is just not ready for that.
I can also say that with two babies running round, my house seems to be in a constant state of chaos. Toy bombs have gone off in every room, about twenty-five sippy cups litter the living room and kitchen, chairs are knocked over, blankets and stuffies are everywhere. I simply walk around following the monsters, picking up in each new disaster zone they have created. The floors are hazardous due the fact that multiple popsicles are consumed throughout the day, and when you have small hands that means most of said popsicle melts all over the floor. (Normally I encourage outside popsicle consumption but due to the wildfires and the smoky air, many outdoor activities have transformed to indoor). The kids are always sticky and sweaty and covered in grass or sand from the beach. The laundry NEVER ends and has honestly lead me to believe that there must be at least three other people living here that I am not aware of. Bath time needs to happen on the daily and quite often dinner and bedtime is a bit later than one would hope (as in me!). Amidst the mess are sticky watermelon kisses, movie night snuggles, and all of the sprinkler jumping giggles you can handle and I am SO OKAY with that. Not only does summertime fun exhaust us but it brings out the best in everyone in this household. So as we enter the final month (and pray for an Indian Summer in September) we intend to do ALL of the things and get out as much as we can. We still have a couple camping trips to do and I definitely think a few lake days are in order. Before you know it pumpkin spiced lattes will be around and we will be planning our Halloween costumes. So lets stay up a little later, play in the pool a little longer, and embrace the summer heat (40degrees on Friday!?) while we can!
Beaches & Baby Bums
Well it’s finally June & summertime fun seems to be in full swing for us. May & June were so busy that I completely neglected my laptop and instead have been soaking up every moment of the day with my babies. Well that and managing my orders for my business and current stock for the farmer’s market every week. Life is busy! What do you do when you get too busy? Why you take vacations of course! I started the month off with a quick Runaway Mom’s weekend to Kelowna. I learned a couple things on this getaway. First, I still cannot hold my liquor if shots are present. No matter how sweet and girly-named they may be, they are the devil and a very quick route to being completely hammered. The second thing I learned is that you let a group of mamas off the hook of parenting for the weekend, things get pretty wild pretty quickly. Lets just say a lot of fun was had, and a lot of Vitamin Water was consumed for the following five days trying to recover all nutrients in my body I had destroyed. I fear the brain cells are gone for good though. So after returning home to my babies whom I missed SO MUCH, it was time to flip the script and get ready for a little family vacation to Osooyoos. The kids decided I should PAY HARD for skipping town on them. They accomplished this by not sleeping at all really all week long. Also being overly needy so that I found it almost impossible to get anything ready for the trip. It basically took me all five days to prepare. We finally got away on Friday morning though. Hubby is crazy busy with work so he was not joining us. My mom and I rented a lakefront townhouse for a week. Probably the best set up you can get with small children. Tons of space in the actual house so everyone had comfy sleeping quarters, play areas, etc. We also have a patio overlooking the lake with a bbq and a bit of lawn area for the kids to play on. Lastly, there is a fantastic outdoor pool and hot tub! Throw in the fact that we are dead in the middle of wine country and it sounds like a pretty perfect time to me! We are halfway through the trip and I think I have put a good ten pounds on between the good eating and the great sipping. But summer is a bit like December in that sense. Who cares! So far here are everyone’s favourite aspects of the vacation:
Me: Pineapple Ceasars (yes they are a thing), sleeping in (should not jinx it by talking about it), having all my meals with a view of a beautiful lake, and lastly, day-long playtime and fun with my babies. They have miraculously turned into excellent vacationers. Again, should not speak about this or even think it. The ability to jinx great behaviour is not a good thing….
Hallie: Chasing & ‘feeding’ the ducks, lounging on ‘Sophia’ our jumbo swan floatie, gummy bears & juice boxes. Oh and definitely going on shopping adventures downtown. This girl really does have simple needs.
Jackson: Hmmmm talk about simple needs. Loves to sit on the grass and watch the ducks. Likes to climb the stairs. Loves mealtime and wrestling around in mama’s big bed.
Gramma: I haven’t asked her yet but I have a feeling the view of the lake and all of the wine are probably up there on the list.
Now if we could just get our booties to a winery! I doubt it will happen but maybe we can pop into a few on the way home simply to purchase a few bottles. Don’t think my kids will tolerate a tasting or tour hah! Come Friday we will hustle on home, only to get the trailer ready and take off again for a weekend of camping and baseball! All this vacationing will either leave me completely relaxed or totally exhausted. Stay tuned!
Put Your Big Girl Pants On
I will be the first to admit, I am rather slow at certain things when it comes to parenting. Potty training – still ain’t happening. Not my fault now though, she has chosen to embrace the diaper. The battle shall be hers and hers alone. For now. . . Drinking milk from a bottle – the effort is there I promise you. I have tried every sip cup on the planet and girlfriend still wants her milk out of a bottle. It’s not like she is dependant on it to go to sleep or anything, she plain ol’ likes it. But yes I know, it’s gotta go. Lastly, the crib. Hallie was in her crib up until quite recently. She never attempted to climb out of it and slept quite well in it, so why on earth would I let the lion out of her cage. Or lioness I suppose. After a few road trips though where we had no choice but to set her up in a ‘big bed’, we decided to take the plunge and stick her in a toddler bed. Well that didn’t really last long at all. She LOVED it. I however did not love trying to be a contortionist when trying to comfort her in a nightmare. I would be lying half on the floor with my back twisted and my arms attempting to stroke her hair. Two nights of this and a new decision was reached. Toddler bed OUT, bigger bed IN. Since my kids share a room and there is really no room whatsoever, we went with a twin. After a month of just a mattress on the floor (yes I know, parental neglect) I ordered a lovely bed on Wayfair. I am so excited to share a few snippets of the big girl ‘side of the room’. There a moments every day that I see this baby girl turning into a big girl. It’s so hard as a mom to watch this happening but at the end of the day, that is what we are here to do. Raise these little people into bigger people and send them off into the world. Oh ya and hope that we did a thing or two right along the way. Perhaps that why mommas keep having babies. One gets growing up and the baby fever sets in again. I always tell myself Jackson is here because I wanted 2 (or 3?) kids and wanted to give Hallie a sibling close in age. But lets be real folks, it was baby fever! Lord help me when I see too many preggos in one day. For now though these two troublemakers are keeping me rather busy so lets keep the baby makin’ at bay. In the meantime though, we can pick out super cute bedding and throw pillows for their big girl room.
H E R B S
I have a major soft spot for fresh herbs. Really anything out of the garden. Last year we installed two are garden boxes in our yard and it was shocking how well they did! We had a crazy amount of very large cucumbers (I mean like five new ones daily, it was slightly out of hand), a TON of homegrown potatoes, carrots and green peppers…. it was a beautifully, flourishing garden. We had way too much kale and swiss chard and will probably rethink that this year but how are you to know before ya know right! Anyways, every year I like to make a valiant effort to have fresh herbs growing on hand. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, I thought keeping these babies indoors would be best, and why not on my kitchen window sill. That way they are nice and accessible for all of your cooking needs. This was such a simple task that even those who lack a green thumb can easily obtain one. Here is what you need:
Herbs of choice: I chose chives, parsley and cilantro. I LOVE cilantro in guacamole and tacos so it’s a staple in this house since we eat them so often.
Pots or some sort of planter (you will need one that is a good size for the amount of herbs you have chosen)
Potting soil to top up if needed
Start by filling my kitchen sink with about 2 inches of luke warm/room temperature water. Gently remove herbs from the plastic containers you purchased them in. Place them in the sink of water, sitting upright, and let them soak up the water for about a minute. Remove from water and gently loosen the root. Place in your new pot and add potting soil as needed. Place in a bright place with a good amount of sunlight. Trim herbs as you use them in your cooking to keep them growing evenly. Happy planting!
Outnumbered is EXACTLY what I feel these days. But not in a negative way at all so please don’t take it that way. When I got pregnant with my second babe, a million thoughts would run through my head DAILY. How would I take care of two tiny humans? How would I find time to make each little person feel equal and loved and give them enough one on one time? How on earth could I be expected to keep two little people alive with only two arms, two hands, one set of eyes and no sleep? Quite frankly it seemed impossible. But I knew we would manage just as every other mom of two out there does. Moms of three and four and five, I salute you as you are obviously made of extreme super hero powers that I have yet to discover (did I just say YET as in I might do so in the future?!). Those first few months of going from ‘one baby to two’ are a total blur. Maybe it was sleep deprivation. Maybe just a bit of shock at how my life quickly turned from busy to a total shit show. Maybe it was all the wine drinking I decided to catch up on. Nevertheless, there were two of them and one of me. And as young and innocent as they are, those two gremlins are SMART. They know exactly what they are doing when they are doing it.
Jackson….. nine months old and going on 72. He is the oldest man on the block. You put a cardigan sweater with elbow pads on that kid and hand him a pipe and he looks the part of an old professor pondering away in his library or gentlemen’s smoking room. To say he is sensitive is an understatement. If you greet that old man with the wrong pitch of ‘hiiiiiii babyyyyyyy’ (which is sister does daily) and you will get a bottom lip so big a bird could fly along and poop on it. Now put a farmer twist on this old soul as his teeth have decided to come in out of order: two centre bottom teeth and two at the top out to the sides. Can anyone say hillbilly? This does not seem to bother him as he loves to eat every darn item in the kitchen cupboard. I must say for baby led weaning, this kid is setting new records. It’s a good thing he is starting young though, learning how to fight for his snacks. You need that sort of fire on the playground these days. We do also have to check the wrist rolls daily to make sure he hasn’t hidden a cheerio in there for later. He may be an innocent baby boy but he sure knows how to scrounge and get the last bite in there before I notice. God help me when I haven’t swept the floors that morning and he decides to snag a dust bunny. Just kidding, I usually catch those.
Miss Hallie…… We have always known this girl had a heart of gold. She is the drama mama who wants to take care of everyone and be involved in everything. She carries her tiny Paw Patrollers around in various receptacles (READ: whatever she can find or steal from mommy) and if one so much as falls or gets lost along the way, it’s very much true to being the end of the world. Tears, dramatic collapsing to the ground, you name it. I don’t even know which one is her favourite anymore as they all seem to deem much more importance than ANYTHING else on earth. And boy does she love her brother. It’s a mixed emotional roller coaster ride of course. I love him, I want to kiss his head, I want to smash his head into the ground or trap him behind the loveseat so he cannot touch any toys sort of love…. I can honestly see how hard it is to be a toddler sometimes. I mean I have absolutely no understanding as to why said meltdown is usually happening but I can appreciate how difficult it can be to understand why things are the way they are. Why did the microwave eat my sandwich? Why did you take away my toy? Why are you giving it back? Why can’t I play with the knives in the dishwasher? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! This two year old tantrum too shall past my sweetness. Oh wait is that a shiny paw patrol toy hiding under the sofa? *TearsEnd*. Seriously no day with a toddler is like the next. But with all of her current ups and downs, my little lady does have a total heart of gold and it really is hard to stay frustrated for more than a minute…. until an hour later of course. But that is life with a toddler right? They tell me age 3 and 4 it gets easier…. Said no mother ever.
So these two. Every day they test me. Push me to limits I didn’t know I had. Take me to places of love and joy that I didn’t know I could experience until they came into the world. So for every moment that I feel helpless and completely like it’s two against one, which it usually is, I know we are making memories and experiencing what we know as life. Life with my crazy babies.
Easter is just around the corner! I actually don’t remember the date exactly and will need to google it (or look at one of my three calendars, if you read my last post) but nonetheless, I know it’s March/April and this year it is going to be a fun one! Last year we sort of got into it for Hallie. We decorated the night before and did a small hunt around the house. She is much more adventurous this year and is comprehending so much more that I think we can take it to the next level. Jackson, we will just give him a bunny stuffy and a plastic egg to suck on and he will be happy as can be. So first off I wanted to share a few ideas off of Pinterest and other blogs that I think would be super fun to try. If you have a backyard and access to a helium tank, this idea is adorable. Also very straightforward for toddlers. There are some great ideas for getting festive with food in this link, I particularly love the breakfast efforts and know they would be a huge hit in this house. If you are looking for basket treat ideas that are not candy and filled with sugar, I love this post and all it suggests. I would like to think I will take a few ideas out of that one but at the same time, I know our easter will likely be filled with way too many Mini Eggs! They are too yummy to resist and a staple snack during Easter.
Now for some Easter Favorites…
As a Tupperware Consultant I get a pretty savvy discount, which explains why I have mass amounts spilling out of my cupboards. Gotta love TW AND keep a finger on the Tupperware pulse at all times. They are always coming up with fabulousnous. When they released the Spring sales for this month, they had the cutest idea of using the pails as an Easter basket. I love it when something can be used again after so this idea appealed to me immensely. They also suggested using the avocado keeper to surprise little ones with their Easter treats – like Mini Eggs! LOVE love love this idea and I also love to keep my avocado as fresh as possible. So win win there for this momma. I am also loving just about everything in GAP KIDS right now so have selected all of our favourite Easter outfits from there. I am going to track down those sandals for Jackson as quickly as possibly as they are just too cute! They suit his style perfectly too- anyone who knows him would totally agree. Aside from all of the cute kid’s clothes, I love this time of year so much. It feels so fresh and we are all so sick of snow and winter that it couldn’t come at a better time. Now if the climate would just get it’s act together and warm up, all would be just swell!