Lifestyle Blog

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!

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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)

Oil

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

Spray bottle

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!

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Outnumbered

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.
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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.
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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.

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An Organized Day

It seems to be a common theme since I had my second baby that I am always behind the eight ball. Whether it is decorating around the house for a holiday, gearing up for a vacation, or even just general day-to-day planning, I am not on my game like I once was. My husband says it’s OCD, and he may be quite correct, but I have always been super organized and well prepared. With the birth of each kid, that sharp skill has dulled. It’s still present but definitely not as mastered as it once was. This is also why I purchased and started using my new planner well into February rather than on the first day of 2017, like other super organized individuals who share the same sickness. I should disclose my feelings about planners and calendars while we are on the subject as well. It is a love/hate relationship. My need to be overly picky when it comes to my agenda is so bad sometimes I often think I should sit down, design my own and have it printed. That would take an immense about of time though which is a luxury I know longer have. There also has to be different calendars in use, it seems. I have always been a big fan of the monthly whiteboard in our home office area. I will usually plan out the month indicating family events, appointments and bill payments so that they are there, up on the wall for both hubby and I to see. When Henry became a realtor, he got all fancy and joined the world of technology, more so than before. This meant calendar sharing with him on our phones and laptops. People, we are now up to three separate calendar areas I have to update. Lastly, at Christmas I was given a pretty fun wall calendar. It’s monthly glance and has areas for each person in the family. It also has fun stickers to use. Most of all, it was a gift and even though I love it, I feel a slight obligation to include it in my rotation (read: crazy roller coaster of trying to be organized). Thankfully, we changed up our ‘home office’ and the whiteboard no longer suited the space. So the score was evened back down to three: Wall calendar for the family, personal planner for me, the family and my business, and finally the digital calendar shared with the husband. I am HORRIBLE at updating that one though so maybe it doesn’t even count. Either way, all of these are avenues in which I attempt to lead a semi-organized life, keeping all the people around me organized too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it absolutely doesn’t. This obsession however has lead to me finding a planner that I ADORE and felt the need to share with you. I have tried a few over the years, many of which I have found to be useless. So far I am loving my START PLANNER and every little detail in it. I selected the HUSTLE PLANNER which has a small business section at the back. It has financial planning, meal planning, grocery lists, holiday planning, vacation planning, monthly and daily views for the calendar, really I could go on and on about it’s features. It also looks great. It is on the bulkier side so if you are looking for slick and streamline, this option may not be for you. I tend to carry the contents of my entire house in my purse or diaper bag so to me it makes no difference. In fact the bulkier the better for me; that way it stands out amongst the diapers, goldfish snack packages and paw patrol books that crowd up my bag. A small glimmer of a put-together adult hanging out with a couple of sticky-fingered monsters. Which I love to bits and pieces but they still can be monsters. MY monsters. So moms, what are you using these days to keep your crew/zoo organized? Have you completely moved into the digital world or do you still enjoy putting pencil to paper like myself? Or all of the above. Either way, cheers to organized chaos!

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