Holidays

Easter Fun!

Well it’s almost time for the ol’ Easter Bunny to hop along our way and we couldn’t be more excited. Why you ask, because that means spring is officially here! Old man winter has finally thawed his cold ass out and we are getting sunny days and warmer temps. My kids have been CRAZY being cooped up in winter – yes I know a lot of you brave mommies just bundle everyone up and do the damn thing but we just aren’t cold weather people. Which is odd because we live in Kamloops but we like bare feet and bare bums (well the kids do at least). I am not one for the ice and snow. Winter unfortunately means a lot of indoor madness and endless movies in my house. I try not to worry about ‘screen time’ though as I know that once spring and summer hit, we are outside morning until supper time; Judge if you may. But back to that big white bunny. We will be heading out of town for the Easter holiday as we need to tend to a few family matters. That means our easter baskets are already organized (almost) and packed away ready for the road trip. I wanted to share a few of our favourite finds along with a few old loves that never die (wind up chickadees all day every day please).

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Back when I was a kid Easter was all about CHOCOLATE. The giant chocolate egg that you cracked open and low and behold it was filled with even more chocolate but at a bite-sized level that you could hide and munch on in secret without your parents knowing. I don’t know about your kids but my son, at the ripe age of 21 months can actually SAY chocolate. They get more than their fair share on a weekly basis. I am at fault here too. A tiny piece of chocolate goes a long way when your tiny terror is mid-tantrum and you have little to no resources other than the promise of a delicious piece of milk chocolate tastiness waiting at home for them. Or in the car. Or at the next destination. Whatever momma needs to say, am I right? So on holidays, it’s not really about the overload of sweets for us. I try my hardest to make it more about the holiday, the tradition and the experience. I am (pretty much) done completing the assembly of the kid’s easter goodies and there is no trace of anything edible yet. I will include a chocolate treat of course but for now, we are busting at the basket with anything but sugar. Oh crap… that’s a lie. I did order a local box of homemade cookies and treats. That is more of a family treat for the road trip though. So of course it doesn’t count! I mean most of that will go to mom and dad and necessary bribes. But they are homemade and gluten free so it’s all good right? So down to brass tacks…. the winding chickadee. This is a MUST. I don’t have a single childhood easter memory without one of these babies. My kids love them too. Perfect for races. We also have the token bunny ears. I am a huge fan of the glittery kind too but to keep things simple, we went or good ol’ dollar store fun and furry. Since we are hitting the road and staying in Grand Forks for the holiday, I have included a few colouring activities, including glitter chalk. I did not know this was a thing. My chalk world has now changed! With any messy activity too, aprons are required. The ones pictured above are actually my own design from my store Deer Baby. A little vintage floral for the ladies and nothing but the coolest for the gents: butcher style! Lastly, I am not a fan of the Paw Patroller crew but my kids fight ENDLESSLY over the few that we own. Therefore they will each be acquiring their own set. How I will keep them from mixing them up and continuing to fight, I have no idea. Lord give me the strength to be the Paw Patrolling mediator. Oh yes, don’t forget a couple books. Those are mandatory.

At then end of the day, it’s all just STUFF and not at all relative to what the holiday is actually about. But the little ones love it and I am here to make them smile in whatever way I can. That means Easter baskets for them and Easter wine for mama. Here’s to hoping all of your Easter hunts end with happy little munchkins.

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A New Year

Hello! It is completely shameful that I have not written a post since Christmas! I do have excuses, I promise, and most of them valid. Christmas was wonderful. Very relaxing, Hallie had a ball with her gifts and all of festive fun. I know that each year as she gets older it will get better and better. Next year she will understand a bit more and I just know she will love Christmas just like her momma.

We didn’t have long to relax after the overindulgent holiday as we took off to visit family in Vancouver as of the 27th of December. We spent the week living in a hotel, eating out for most meals and visiting friends and family. While all of this sounds like a good time, doing it with a toddler presented it’s challenges. I am not sure if it was just a overstimulating time (Christmas) or living in a different environment, but kiddo just wouldn’t nap. This was fine until we reached about 4pm each day. She would start to show signs of crankiness and boredom, eventually resulting in a full on public meltdown in a restaurant during dinner. I know it wasn’t her fault, she was just exhausted and they were all very long days. But girlfriend should just listen to her momma and take a GD nap once in awhile! The best meltdown was in a little Italian joint my dad took us to. We had a large group and were seated right near the front entrance, why I am still not sure. It was a busy night so there was a wait for tables. Multiple families basically stood on top of us, hovering and watching us eat as they waited for their own table. It was awkward to say the least. About twenty minutes into being seated, Hallie decided she no longer wanted to sit in the highchair. She would rather run around. That not being an option, she decided to scream a lot. A kind waiter distracted her with an orange popsicle. The lovely orange popsicle very quickly ended up all over my face and in my hair. Onlookers stared at me with judgemental eyes as I tried to contain my screaming child who was now convulsing at this point, trying to escape my hold. I swear none of these people had kids. It’s parent code to look away in such scenarios or at least smile sympathetically and wink like you know exactly how it feels. Not these jerks. Finally, I had an AH-HA moment which also might be viewed as a fail to some people. I pulled out my phone, propped it up on the salt & pepper shakers, and put Paw Patrol episodes on repeat. Folks, we have some peace. Everyone can finish their meals and the dagger eyes from strangers can cease. Thank the lord for those Paw Patrol pups is all I gotta say! That was probably the most chaotic episode during our trip. It doesn’t matter anyways. Two hours later they do something so gosh darn cute that your heart melts into a million pieces and you just want to hold them close. That is what babies bring, all sorts of moments. I am blessed and thankful for even those crazy ones.

We drove home to a very snowy Kamloops on New Years Eve. Our neighbours were having a party so the kids got to run around burning all of their energy before bed. I managed a tiny glass go champaign since it was a special occasion, and retired home with Hallie at about 7:30pm. Not going to lie either, I was asleep by 10. New Years is for the energetic folks. Even though my participation in New Year’s Eve was low, I am so excited that it is a new year. It’s going to be a great one! We have a few exciting things going on here.

Hallie – always growing, always surprising us and keeping us on our toes. This will be a fun year for her for sure.

Baby two – coming this July! Can’t come quick enough. This pregnancy has wreaked absolute HAVOC on my body. So different from the first time round. I am so thankful to be going through it all obviously but the symptoms are really hard to handle. Looking forward to the second trimester!

Hubby has gone back to school! Sort of… He will be doing online studies to obtain his realtor’s license. Very exciting stuff for him and I am so ready to support him along this road to a career change. You got this babe!

I’ve gone back to work! Sort of…. I have recently partnered with Rodan + Fields as a skincare consultant. It’s all done from home and online so it is definitely something I can balance with Hallie and running our home. It’s a little scary in the beginning but it’s fun and challenging and I feel it is going to be a great opportunity for me to explore. Stay tuned! (Oh, did I mention I will get young and beautiful skin again?! Good-bye mommy bags under my eyes!)

Grandma is coming! My mom has sold her home back in Vancouver and will be moving here at the end of February. We have been renovating the bottom level of our home into an in-law suite. It’s going to be an adjustment having her so close but I believe as long as we set boundaries that suit both our needs, we will be okay. She is going to be close to her grandchildren too which is the ultimate goal. I also get a babysitter now and then! #win

Summer – can’t wait for summer! We bought a trailer when we moved to Kamloops but it was the end of camping season so we haven’t even used it. This Spring I am going to get it cleaned up and even do a bit of redecorating (read: ‘glamping’ anyone?). Come summer that baby will be ready to go. As soon as baby #2 is ready we will be off to the lakes every weekend. I can taste the icy cold beers already!

Fitness – I have been letting myself off the hook lately due to morning sickness and catching the flu on New Years. I am actually still bedridden. Trying to be optimistic and not complain though! As soon as I am feeling better I am signing up for prenatal barre. It’s like ballet barre fitness. I have never done it before but I took ballet for thirteen years when I was a kid and always miss it. I think this will be a nice and easy way to get some healthy exercise for me and baby, plus have some fun. Hallie and I will also be doing her swimming lessons as of next week. I have to squeeze my chubby pasty body into a swimsuit in the dead of winter…. yippppeeeeeee! She better enjoy swimming!

So that is my little list of what is going on here and things I am looking in the next few months. What are you looking forward to in 2016? Goals and aspirations? I am still sorting out goals. I find it challenging to have goals in the New Year because I am such a goal setter all year long. I am always striving to be this and do more of that. I think my main goal should be achieving those goals! I am a little scatter brained at sticking to things I suppose.. Tomorrow is always a new day and a fresh start I suppose!

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If you have a toddler, you know how challenging a family photo is.

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New Year, new business for me! ( http://www.rodanandfields.com )

 

Meeting Santa Clause!

Last year when we went to meet Santa, my precious newborn babe didn’t even stay awake. She fell asleep on route to see him and we waited until we were second in line to sit on his knee to wake her. She remained awake for all of one minute and then fell asleep again. It’s still a darling picture but she is very much asleep. This year, I had no idea what to expect. Judging by how emotional my girl can be (she slightly takes after her mother there) I was thinking it would probably not be a positive experience. I braced myself for tears and screams. So all dolled up in our Christmas plaid, we set out to meet Santa Clause. The Kamloops North Pole set up at the mall was great. They did a very good job. The Santa, though he be a little on the skinny side, was wonderful too. In my opinion, with Santa, the ‘jollier’ and chubbier the better. But he was great. Hallie however was very unsure of the entire process. There were no tantrums or meltdowns or tears. It was actually just awkward. She was frozen like a statue on his lap and had this funny look on her face. Not quite a smile or frown. Just awkward. She even gave a very uncomfortable wave to the camera. No matter what happens it is still a very special moment for parents and we loved every minute of it. It’s not every day your child really meets Santa for the first time! At least she was coherent this year. =) Children really have a way of making this time of year so extra special. I can’t wait to experience the many more ahead of us. Merry Christmas Hallie!

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Furry Girl eyeing up my Hot Cocoa….
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Thanksgiving Meal Prep

I can’t believe we are already well into October and it is Thanksgiving weekend! Seriously, where does the fricken time go? Hallie will also be ONE on Friday! I am baffled at how the last year passed by so quickly. When you watch a tiny baby grow into a toddler it really puts time into perspective. But enough time of reflect because it’s high time we cooked a turkey. Or at least prepped for cooking it tomorrow.

It’s our first holiday in our new home and new life in Kamloops. Even though there is only going to be three of us in attendance, I still felt the need to go all out with the usual Thanksgiving meal. I found a great local butcher and though I probably shouldn’t have, ordered a fresh local  bird. I requested the tiniest turkey possible, falling in the 11-15 pound category. I had a mild heart attack this afternoon when I went and picked up (and paid a ridiculous price for) my NINETEEN POUND birdie! WTF. May as well invite the entire Food Bank over now. I have not told hubby how much I paid for this chubby chickadee either. I will drown my broke ass sorrows in wine tonight though!

Since the real cooking action does not take place until tomorrow, I had a full afternoon of preparation on my hands. Now either I have done this meal too many times, or the shiraz has numbed all nerves, but I found it relatively stress-free and enjoyable. Or maybe it’s because no one is coming over. That sure relieves the usual holiday tension as well. I have decided to share some of my prep pictures and recipes, just in case you are in a last minute scramble looking for some tasty ideas.

Fall Inspired Sangria:

This was inspired by my new neighbours. I went to a shopping party the other night (yes, a shopping party) fuelled with this sangria and boy was it tasty. I am also never one to flow recipes exactly so feel free to toy around with the ingredients. I have a feeling though that this particular concoction will result in a very happy Thanksgiving afternoon.

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1 bottle chardonnay, 2 cups club soda, 2 cups white grapefruit juice, 2 cups rum (I used spiced rum for an extra kick), 1 cup sugar, half a bag of cranberries, chopped apples (I used Honey Crisp and Granny Smith). Let it sit and simmer for 24 hours, add ice and get tanked! I will let you know how it goes…

Homemade Stuffing For The Bird:

I am known to cook up some stove top stuffing on a normal day but the holiday calls for the homemade goods. There are countless recipes out there and sometimes it is fun to try variations that include sausage and apple and nuts. This year we are sticking with the traditional flavours. Three days ago I ripped up a bag of white sliced bread and let it go stale. I combined 2 cups of celery, 2 cups of onions, butter and the usual spice suspects in a sauce pan and let those babies sizzle. My kitchen smelt amazing! In a large mixing bowl mix together 2.5 cups of chicken stock, the stale bread, 2 eggs beaten, the celery/onion combo and salt and pepper. Go easy on your salt though because once you cross that sodium line, you can’t go back. That’s it. Refrigerate the mixture overnight and stuff that birdie with it in the morning. (On a side note here, if the turkey is done and your stuffing is still a bit soggy, bake it under the grill and it will crisp right up. Most importantly those turkey juices have become one with your stuffing, all getting ready for a party in your grateful mouth.)

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Cranberry Sauce:

Every time I make cranberry sauce I miss one of my best girl friends so so much. Maria, this batch is for you. We have a tradition of making cranberry sauce (while drinking) and I feel super nostalgic whenever I have to complete this task on my own. Much like stuffing, there are a TON of recipes out there. My favourite includes orange zest but since it is a sparsely attended meal this year, I am keeping it simple. I even followed the directions on the packet so that just shows you my imagination is limited right now. I did add a splash of whiskey and a sprinkle of nutmeg because it is tradition and really adds a punch of flavour. I highly recommend you take a peak in your liquor cabinet and see what secret sauce you can add to your own recipe! Untitled

My last tip is don’t forget to keep that little one busy. Here is my attempt while my husband turned our living room in to a construction zone and I prepped for our MASSIVE meal that shall go down tomorrow. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving prep to you!

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Canada Day BBQ Planning

Canada Day is almost here! Every year I say we are going to have a big party (much like Cinco de Mayo) and every year time sort of gets away with me. Plus a lot of people take vacations this week every year too so (more…)

Holiday Table Settings

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays as much as we did. I will need to do a little catch up posting to fill you in on our holiday festivities so here is your warning, you may get our entire Christmas all in one post soon hah! This post is a little late as most of you are done with holiday entertaining but I wanted to share it anyways. (more…)