French Toast In A Pinch

Well not really but a close second for sure! I wanted to share a holiday favourite with you, a little after the holidays. I meant to make a big batch of this and give it away in mini mason jars as Christmas gifts for friends. Like many, time slipped away from me and the holidays we over. Still, I couldn’t resist this super simple recipe, a staple in our home: Cinnamon Butter! This batch should probably be called cinnamon-maple-vanilla-honey-butter though. If you have read any of my food posts before, you know that I tend to veer away from following recipes. I am more of an instinct person when it comes to ingredients. A dash here, a heavy hand there. In the end, if it tastes good it is probably working just fine. So rather than share exact measurements, I am just going to tell you the ingredients and steps. Everyone has different tastes so feel free to add more of one thing and less of another. Spread it on your morning toast and it tastes very close to french toast with half the work and none of the clean up. A win-win for all the busy mommas out there.

Ingredients:

Butter – I use unsalted and a full pound. This made five mini mason jars.

Cinnamon – my personal favourite is by Watkins.

Maple Syrup – use the real stuff, not pancake syrup.

Vanilla extract

White Sugar – many of you will shake your head at that one but I am sure all the bakers can appreciate it’s importance.

Honey – liquefy before adding.

Mix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and MIX. I went old school and used a vintage hand egg-beater that my mom had. I was feeling the need to work out some aggression. Probably something to do with the kitchen faucet exploding that morning OR the furnace shutting down for 24 hours and leaving us all shivering our booties off. It’s been a tough week here! Using the hand mixer actually whipped up my butter and made it super frothy though so I will no doubt use that method in future. Taste as you go and add more of ingredients depending on your taste. In my case, it was all of them! But the result was perfection. Every buttery time. Enjoy! Full disclosure: Not the healthiest option and tastes even better on white bread. YUM!

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Interior Vibes

This always happens to me with the change of season or once a big holiday is over with (i.e.: Christmas). I feel the need for a redesign in my main living areas of the home. So in our case right now that would include the kitchen and living room. We have a semi-open concept for those two rooms in this house so though they should flow and complement one another, they can each have a bit of their own style. Currently the living room has a cape cod vibe while the kitchen area has decor that would reflect that of a farmhouse kitchen. Not OVERLY but there is for sure a rustic presence and heavy use of plants potted in galvanized steel pots. Maybe the ‘brick wall’ adds to it as well. There is not a ton left to do in either room except a paint job on the kitchen and a refresh of decor in the living room.

I have always tried to have plant life in our house. I love the idea of bringing the outdoors in and the vibrancy or green, especially planted in cute pots that reflect the room’s overall feel. That being said, over the last few years I seem to have dulled my green thumb. Many flourishing plants succumbed to their injuries after I neglected them. It was a sad few day as I removed the once lively hibiscus and escorted it’s dehydrated carcass to trash outside. I spared a couple lives by simply gifting them to my mom, knowing she could give them the care they needed. I accepted that the only plants that I could really love and care for were succulents. That began my obsession with them! So it’s only fitting that my inspiration for a living room decor remodel be in tune with succulents and related southwestern items. Luckily the wall colors and furniture color palette fit in quite nicely with the direction I want to go. That means we only need to work on artwork, some DIY terrariums, swap out some furniture, OH and have my busy husband stop everything he is doing to build a new kitchen island. Let’s just say this redesign will take a bit of time, hence why I am starting while there is still snow on the ground outside. Perhaps if I will the warmer months inside, it will happen quicker outside. Also, after a toddler head/coffee table injury yesterday, I would like to sway that out for sofa side tables instead. Round ones too, no corners. These kids only get one head so I guess it’s up to me right now to limit how many objects it can encounter widely while playing. Below is some of my current inspiration which is fueling this redecoration. Now it’s time to get back to football and enjoying Sunday Funday! Go Steelers!

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Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things…. Sort Of..

Happy Friday! Except it really doesn’t feel like one. I guess after the holidays it’s normal for most people to go back to work and continue on with their routines. As a stay/work-at-home mom I may strive for the odd routine here and there but often my day to day is quite unpredictable. Did you see that meme that floated around social media over the holidays? Something about eating lots of cheese, not knowing what day it was, where you were in life, what you should be doing or what day it is? I guess parts of that still exist for this momma. The eating lots of cheese part and not knowing exactly what I should be doing. We have absolutely NOTHING on the go this weekend and I am also feeling awkward and fidgety without a go-go-go plan on our hands. But I guess this is one of those more quieter times of the year I should just appreciate. Speaking of appreciating things. I have a couple girlfriends back in Vancouver and we have an ongoing text chat about life, wine, babies… you know all the important things. Sleep, or should I say sleep deprivation often seems to be the most popular topic. Well that and daytime chardonnay. But at the moment, we are very tired mommies. With my first baby, I blocked out the nights where I would get up five times in a night. I forgot about the many mornings where I dumped a spoonful of formula into my coffee instead of sugar. I absolutely neglected the memory of heading out the door wearing my husbands pants instead of my own. Sleep deprivation, though can be very comical as previously stated can also be extremely dangerous. Luckily no babies have been harmed due to my lack of zzzzzzzz’s. While it is so easy to forget all of these painfully exhausting moments, I find myself right back in the middle of it with baby number two. This time, there is no ‘nap when the baby naps’. No, you need to spend that time chasing after the naked toddler making sure the Sharpie she is holding doesn’t make it’s way onto the white front door. Oh snap, it already did. In the odd moment one baby sleeps, the other one will be wired awake and demanding all of your attention, but in the most sweetest way so that all you can do is smile, sleepily and lovingly at them. By some crazy (probably never going to happen) miracle they BOTH sleep, you better count your god damn lucky stars, guzzle that bottle of cheeky afternoon wine and get those nine loads of laundry done that have been staring at you for the last three days. BUT! Here is the caveat…. these times are fleeting. They are exhausting and they are transitory into the next phase which will no doubt be more tiring than the last. And here is the real kicker. You miss it! I actually miss how small Hallie was and how she needed me to get through the night. She couldn’t go a few hours without my cuddles. Or maybe formula but whatever, I was the giver of formula! Now you couldn’t pay me to sleep with her. It’s like sleeping with a drunk octopus. But there you have it, that light at the end of your tunnel moms. It might seem like the end of the world now, and trust me some days it feels like it is. But soon they are two years old, CRAZY, and sleeping is the least of your worries. They’ve got it DOWN. Now it’s time to find out where they are stashing their baby brother’s dirty diapers…

Since it’s Friday I leave you with my playlist for the weekend. Have a good one!

Dancing On My Own – Calum Scott

You’re Not There – Lukas Graham

24K Magic – Bruno Mars

David Guetta Ft. Sia – Titanium

Pink – Just Like Fire

Hamilton Leithauser – I Had A Dream You Were Mine

Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling

DNCE – Cake By The Ocean

Shawn Mendes – Treat You Better

Kaleo – Way Down We Go

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

I can still say that right? We are merely days into 2017 so you are still allowed to wish a Happy New Year & Happy Holidays, at least until the weekend that follows. At least that is my justification. As usual I intended to sit down and get a few thoughts typed out on New Years Day but life does it’s thing and ‘happens’, so that little moment of ME time didn’t happen. I actually spent the day playing in the snow, sipping white wine and overindulging in fondue…. a battle I was not prepared to fight so I simply gave in hah. I mean, we all know how good white french bread tastes dipped into bubbly cheese. These activities did not prevent me from thinking about the year that had passed and the year ahead. It’s a bit of a shocker when you reflect back at how much has changed, or hasn’t, in the year that is gone. I know ours was a busy one. It was filled with change, joy, adventure, stress, worry, excitement, frustration, essentially all sorts of emotion created the ride we call 2016. I am not really one for resolutions and rarely make them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have ambitions as to how I want the next year to play out. I am not sure why I don’t do ‘resolutions’ so to speak. I have never really wanted to give anything up. Usually if I do set a goal it’s like eat healthy or exercise more. I guess if I am vague about it I do not have to hold myself as accountable. Now that I write that down and read it back to myself, that sounds terrible but it is what it is. It’s probably why I did so poorly in a sales position back in my mid-twenties. But nonetheless, that is me and for now I am sticking to my non-resolution ways.

As far as the kids go, there are a couple things I do need to get done. It just so happens the timing falls within the New Year  and there is no better time than the present right? Potty training. Yayyyyyy shoot me now. I have tried a few times and failed miserably. I now have the tools (and shiny stickers) for a Potty Chart so we will try that. And we will succeed damnit. So stay tuned for the messy details there that shall commence next week. Sharing. What do ya know, another one for Miss Hallie. Apparently Jackson is not allowed ANY toys so that is another thing we will need to work on. I have included a very endearing photo below that showcases her toy hoarding abilities quite well. For both babes, we are going to get on the healthy eating train. For Hallie that actually means eating dinner that I cook and not rejecting it in disgust. Jackson seems to have a hungry eye and I have a feeling he will do just fine.

As for myself…. more adventures on the weekends and less hanging around the house. We live in a beautiful place and have explored only snippets of it. Can’t let the minus 20 hold us back! Actually wait, we can. Will let it warm up a bit and then get to some proper exploring! So often we get lost in obligation and forget to just go out and do what we really want to do. Or in my case, what my toddler wants to do. I would like to get our home more organized. It is such a small space and I CANNOT WAIT to move to a larger home. But until that happens you gotta work with what you’ve got. Any space can be functional and comfortable if it’s organized properly. This way I can create spaces that promote healthy and happy habits for these two little humans I am trying to raise. In saying that, I should probably try to be more present for them as well. It’s so easy to mentally check out and get lost on my phone in the world of Instagram or Facebook. I need to make more of an effort to put down the phone. One awesome trick I find is I bluetooth my phone and blast the times from it. That way I am less tempted to answer a text or call or go on it as I am enjoying the music playing. Usually Hallie is busting a move to it too and if I know anything, you do not interrupt a toddler’s dance moves.  The list could really go on and on. More cooking, less delivery. More intention, less worrying, more laughter, more fun, more memories. We can really only just put more effort into enjoying each day and making those moments count. Because at the end of one year, and the beginning of another, you really see how quickly it goes and you need to make the most of it. So Happy New Year, have a good one and make the most of it!

 

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Christmas Week!

As usual I am blown away how quickly this week creeps up on me. One minute we are just entering the month of December and planning out all of the festivities. The next moment it’s time to buy a turkey and participate in the last minute chaos of stocking stuffer shopping. I can happily say with the very few days left, I have completed all of my Christmas shopping and only need to do the groceries. And booze of course. Ah, life’s necessities.

So no doubt, your house is busy busy with all of the usual Christmas week activities. Ours sure is. Wrapping paper rolls seem to be the toy of choice to play with. The tree is still standing which is miraculous to say the least. It took one major tumble last week (I think we both know without naming names who was responsible for that – three feet tall with charming blonde curls and sticky fingers). We entered the week with festive hang overs from my husband’s birthday, combined with the never-ending cold germs that are plaguing this house. I must have super mom powers as I have managed to avoid it by living off of vitamins and nightly glasses of red wine. It’s a winning combination I promise. Fingers crossed I can keep it all together and not get ‘the cold’ for Christmas. Just live among the infected instead. Our Elf on the Shelf is still going. He appears to not be as busy as other elves may be (read:mom is lazy and forgetful) but it is still fun see him move throughout the house and for Hallie to hunt down his whereabouts. Christmas baking started last week and proved to be an epic fail, so we will try again tomorrow. I think my baked goods packages for friends will follow suit to my mailed out Christmas cards and packages; slow and late. But hey, we are all a little slow on meeting deadlines this time of year, aren’t we! Lastly, the Christmas movie saga in our pyjamas seems to be going strong. I am not sure if it’s because they are cozy or the kids look so darn cute in them but I see very little reason for us to put on actual clothes each day! On the movie menu tonight for us I believe is Home Alone. It may turn into a marathon too as I am a fan of the second just as much as the first.

I think what I am most excited about, besides all of the usual fun that goes on this week, is for my brother to come visit. He has never been to Kamloops and boy is he in for it when he gets here. The minus fifteen temperature and all of the snow may be the first hit. The drinking games and festive fun that will follow, the second treat. We are overdue for some sibling fun. On top of that, I am so pumped for Christmas morning and seeing Hallie open her gifts. She has way too many presents coming her way of course. Next year I will start the tradition of something she wants, needs, can wear and can read. For now we will just go with the natural spoiling that is going to take place; mainly by her uncle and grandma no doubt. Jackson being the young age that he is, will just come along for fun this Christmas. I have a couple things for him but we certainly aren’t going crazy in that department.

As we enter the countdown until the big day, I hope you are all having fun, staying healthy and keeping warm. Merry one week till Christmas!

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PRE Christmas Train Ride which he spent the entire time asleep.

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Baking…. Lets just say there is dough that I use for cookies and then there is ‘Hallie’s dough’

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The child who doesn’t sleep.

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There are very few words….. unless you count the swear words muttered under my breathe as I cleaned up tree water.

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Grocery shopping!….

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My girl friend gave me a fabulous idea of how to class our boxed wine up. Really does don’t ya think?!

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First Family Photo Session

Ahh photos. I might be the only person I know who has not had professional photos taken of their babies. We had a family friend take our engagement photos and of course we had a photographer at our wedding. But for whatever reason I have a hard time swallowing the prices that you need to pay for even a mini session. Plus I happen to LOVE taking photos (the proof is on my phone when I see that there are 6000 photos I need to upload onto the computer). When you love to do something yourself, and you aren’t too terrible at it, there is another reason of why it can be hard to cough up the dough. So yes, I am that horrible mommy who never had photos of her newborn babies take – professionally. I have about a thousand though of each kid in the hospital, plus I can’t help but take them constantly all day every day. Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook knows this very well. #sorrynotsorry

With all of that being said, I was extremely fortunate enough to win a FREE mini Christmas session from a local photographer. I guess we were finally meant to get a family photo done. What better time than Christmas? Full disclosure; I was doing makeshift family photos up until this point. It’s a piece of cake really. Each parent has a picture taken with one kid and you simply crop and collage them together as one in an app. Ghetto but awesome in my opinion. But since we had this great opportunity, we masked our holiday hangovers, slapped a smile on our frozen faces and enjoyed a very cold hour out in the park. A great memory with some fun pictures to show for it. We might have learned a thing or two for the next time we do it too. (Huge shout out to the photographers who can manage two year olds. Mine proved to be the most difficult and BUSIEST model in town- ‘wait I see a squirrel, better run this way!’)

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Seizing Moments of Productivity

This post is brought to you by nap time for one baby and the fact that the toddler is completely engrossed in Astroblast’s smoothie station….. for the moment. It shall also be sponsored my momma’s oh so festive Caralan’s & coffee, but that is between you and I. The past weekend and start to this week has been non-stop, and we are only half way through it. I am wrapping up with craft fairs and focusing only on online orders for my baby business Deer Baby, and one last pop-up shop event next week. Hubby has been busy with work, and many of you other realtors know, the work doesn’t stop just because it’s Sunday. Then there’s the babies. Busy, busy babies. Hallie has been a mile a minute, from morning until night. For the most part, she is full of giggles, mischief and spilt apple sauce. Yesterday however was tantrum-Tuesday and boy did girlfriend live up to it. Conveniently, I discovered this on Facebook and found it extremely appropriate for my life these days.
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It’s on those days where your toddler is crying for the 78th time before 9am that you do one of two things. Wish for a reset button on the day to start things over, or pray the next ten hours flies by so that you can have a glass of wine in peace, call it a day and pray for a better one tomorrow. Funnily enough, I always find that when I am at the breaking point of patience, completely frustrated and sleep deprived, the next day my kids are absolute angels. They sleep, they eat well, and comply with all of my plans for the day. Little masterminds that they are have me in the palm of their hand. How can we play with mommy’s head today?! God help me when one is four and the other is two…. I am already feeling a little outnumbered and they don’t yet have the ability to plot against me together. Good times ahead my tiny tots!

As I write this, Hallie has decided it would be a fabulous idea to tape unused diapers to the living room window. I guess I deserve that for leaving a roll of tape out on what I thought was a very high countertop. Apparently her arms are those of Gumby and she can now reach everything. It’s a good thing diapers fall from the sky and we really do not go through that many at all on a daily basis….. She still grins at me while completing this artsy task and looks cute as pie. Good looks get you far!

So with all of the chaos and mischievous fun happening at the Hayward house, I managed to sneak out moments throughout the day to be productive and get some housework done! By housework of course I mean Christmas decorating. Today I wanted to share a few fun shots of our festive moments throughout the house. We do not have a large space to play with and I really wanted to avoid the feeling that Santa threw up in my living room. It was all about finding a nice balance and I am happy to say I didn’t go that overboard. We don’t have our Christmas tree yet so that could really push the envelope, but we will cross that bridge on December 10th. That is when we set out for the perfect tree. Henry always makes fun of me because I have no concept of ceiling height. In my mind we have ten foot ceilings when really they are probably 7 feet. The perfect tree for me would be about 20 feet tall and require a couple of ladders to decorate. Maybe in my next house! So far Hallie has managed to keep her sticky fingers off of most of our decorations, but I have a feeling it will be a different story once the tree goes up.

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And with that, one baby is awake and the little lady has emptied goldfish crackers all over the sofa. Time to find something to do that productive to them! Cookie baking time anyone?