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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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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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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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Feeling The February Love

Somehow we are already well on our way into February and I do not even know where January went. It felt like winter was ending and we were starting to get excited for spring. I even unpacked all our spring clothes to launder and freshen up. Florals were definitely in the air! Then BAM! A massive dump of snow and back down to minus twenty. I almost felt like I should be digging all of the Christmas decorations out and setting up again for festive fun. Don’t worry – that did not happen! For now we are just weathering ‘the storm’ and trying to embrace the pretty white snow that has covered my yard yet again. So much for seeing grass last week. We do however have a sunny and beautiful weekend on our hands though and with any luck, it will melt away in a hurry. Though it may be pretty we are VERY over winter. Ready for sun-kissed noses and hardened summer feet from running around bare foot all day. Yes we still have to wait a bit for that but one can dream of warmer temps.

So where have the last few weeks gone exactly. Well we started sleep training our little guy so there was ten days of my life there where it all seemed to blend into one stressful mess. The sleep training wasn’t even the hard part. It was more the fact that we were simultaneously trying to get both kids into one room. A two-year old and a six month old don’t exactly make the best roommates right off the bat. Luckily my mom was headed out-of-town for ten days and we were able to use her suite. So one parent would sleep downstairs with Hallie while the other would sleep up with Jackson. This worked great for the kids but I for one was really missing sharing a bed with my husband! Bigger picture though, it was worth it. While Hallie was getting by sleeping in a playpen (my poor TALL girl), Jackson went from five wake ups and three weddings to one wake up and feeding. ONE! After tackling that, it was time to transition the roommate situation. Our first attempt was one big fail. It was like a symphony between the two of them who could cry the loudest and longest. We maybe last twenty minutes before giving up and splitting them up again. The next night though, we had no choice. Grandma had returned home and we needed to give her space back. Surprisingly, it didn’t go TOO bad. Each night gets better too. There are definitely challenges to sharing a room at these ages. If one cries the other one seems to wake. Hallie has also reverted to waking up a bit more. I have faith we will eventually get there though and they will not mind sharing a room at all. Hopefully everyone will sleep better too. It may not be perfect right now but its manageable. Next house though, separate rooms are a must!

On top of sleep training we have had a couple of colds, one more potty training attempt, six month immunizations for the little one, lots of giggles and snuggles, a handful of play dates, and everything in between. Jackson is now on solids and eats three meals a day. The kid likes to eat, should be no surprise there. Other than her getting into constant mischief and him trying to crawl, the days seem to just be flying by and with each day, those two team up on me a little more. Feeling outnumbered and loving almost every minute of it.

Valentines Day is on Tuesday and usually I am much more prepared! There are heart garlands hung and heart-shaped cookies everywhere. Oh and glitter. Lots of glitter. This year I seem to have dropped the ball a bit. I will see if I can get something done in time but you can bet your boots we will have heart-shaped pancakes morning of. We also are attending a Valentines Day lunch at a friends. Three or four mommas with double the amount of babies….perhaps it should be a liquid lunch! I am sure there will be plenty of photo ops among the chaos. Even if I am not ready for the holiday of love, Pinterest is and I would love to share some favourites with you. These Strawberry Funfetti Pancakes would be so much fun for the kiddos, not to mention tasty. I also LOVE these Heart Shaped Pizzas for a toddler snack idea. If you are into making homemade cards for your loved ones, like we are, there are some super cute and corny ideas in this link for Cards. I think this garland is the SWEETEST and would make a cute surprise to wake up to on Valentines morning. Nothing says Valentines Day like flowers; I love getting away from your standard roses and doing something a little outside the box. These wild flowers in mason jars would be perfect scattered around the house, kitchen or part of a tablescape. Don’t forget kid’s themed pjs are an absolute MUST for all holidays, like these heart ones from Carters. When it comes to Valentines Day, I could go on forever. Thank you Pinterest for sucking up two hours of my life today.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and enjoying whatever crazy weather you might be having!

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Friday Favourites: Mama Style Winter Edition

The weekend has finally arrived! I couldn’t be happier because this week has SUCKED! It just felt that anything could go wrong this week was going wrong. I also felt super BLAH and the kids were not sleeping so each morning started with that feeling like you had been hit by a train. It was a bit of a struggle! But each day is a new one and all things do pass so here we are again at the beginning of a great weekend! So much fun going on too for us. Hallie has her first day of ballet; I can’t even contain my excitement about this. We have some adorable dance outfits to try and though we don’t have shoes yet, she can patter around bare foot and look just as cute. I don’t know who in their right mind thinks they can carole a herd of two year olds but power to ya! I intend to watch it to! I think it will be a combination of proud mom-tears and a good chuckle at the little kiddo’s expense. Will be quite the show! We are also heading out for some adult fun at the casino for a friends birthday. I have baked her a Bailey’s Chocolate Cake (yes, the boozy kind) and my entire house smells amazing right now. I am salivating just writing about the darn cake. If it’s a success tomorrow night I will be sure to share the recipe on here. If it tastes as good as it smells you can bet your boots I will be making it again soon. Bailey’s cake in the morning with coffee? Yes please! Okay so not the busiest, action-packed weekend I thought I was about to get into, that is pretty much it. Fun will be had nonetheless. Since it is so bitterly cold here, I decided to share some very appropriate Friday Favourites. Some of these items I own, and some I just wish I did. Either way, put them all together and you are feeling pretty darn cozy in this minus 25 degree weather we are having. No pone says you can’t look good, feel good and stay warm all at the same time.

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Victoria’s Secret Bralette / Tupperware Large Water Bottle / Sorel Coat / John Masters Organics Dry Shampoo / Sorel Booties / Pom Pom Toque / Piperwest Watch / Gap Sweater

I was browsing through Pinterest at some Winter fashion and LOVE the look of the bralette peaking out of soft winter layers. It’s at the top of my list next time I am shopping. I am in love with my large Tupperware water bottle, and love even more that it is black. I signed up to sell Tupperware just so I could get a great discount but I got this little baby for free. (Tupperware loves to give you free stuff!). And it’s not really little at all. You can fit an entire bottle of wine in there! Coincidence? I think not. One brand I have become deeply obsessed with since I moved to Kamloops is Sorel, mainly because everything is so warm. Your fashion choices definitely open up when you move to a colder climate. I particularly love this coat and the tan booties. They are not what you would typically guess to come from Sorel and I love that they are a little less rugged and a little more chic. Now that I have two kids and am a lot busier, I find the need for dry shampoo more than ever. This one by John Masters is light and feels incredible on your hair. It doesn’t leave behind a residue as well that some do. A winner in my books for sure. For those days where not even dry shampoo will cut it, I love hats such as this one. I have many pom pom hats but I am really liking this one in black. The hat and the this GORGEOUS watch are out of my friend’s online store, Wishlist. With a birthday coming up real soon, this watch may be on my wishlist too. I love the Rose Gold and the simplicity of the strap and face. Lastly, I picked up this sweater at our GAP Outlet and seem to live in it these days. It is so warm and cozy…. plus I have a thing for grey. All items are linked back to their sites above.

Happy Friday friends! It’s just about Happy Hour so I think we should get this weekend started. Have a great weekend!

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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