Friday, September 30, 2011

When life gets the best of you.

I often hear questions like "How do you do it all?" or "Where do you find the time?", and the answer is, I don't. I do what I can, and I take each day as it comes. This week each day has come with temper tantrums, a few sleepless nights, and a mountain of chores that just keeps getting bigger. But I do what I can. I nurse a fussy baby, while the laundry sits unfolded, in a basket. I follow time-outs with snuggles, and explanations about why life is just not fair sometimes, while the dishes pile up on the counter. I help with homework, and give advice about boys, and leave the days blog post for another day. I do what I can, and they always come first.

If you haven't read this poem, you must. It speaks to the heart, powerful and strong. It speaks the truth, and should never be forgotten.

(brings a tear to my eye, without fail, every time.)

So, when life gets the best of you, remember these words. The cleaning and chores really can wait til tomorrow. Spend your days making memories, and enjoying every moment.
Oh, and hang this sign in your front entryway.


This week was certainly not our happiest. Being two is tough, and comes with many different challenges. But, we made the best of it. Distraction is often the key to preventing meltdowns. Remind them why life is good, so they're not stuck thinking about the complicated puzzle that is being a toddler. In this time where they are trying to find their independence, develop their own personality, and become little people, hold their hand, guide them gently, and show them that it's not all bad. Explore with them, do safe activities that allow you to shorten their leash and give them the freedom they crave so badly.

The answer for us is lots of time outdoors.They can run, they can touch, they can be loud, they can get dirty, they can let it all out!



So for now, the Organization Challenge has been pushed aside (Hmph!), and lovin' on babes is taking front and centre. Tomorrow is a new day!

Happy Friday, friends! Have a fantastic weekend!
xo.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crock Pot Quickie!

Just a quick post (remember how I was telling you that we can have it all, just not all at once? Yep. Fall colds, teething, and lack of cleep got the best of this household last night! Blogging was just not possible.) to share a new crock pot recipe I whipped up last night. I just used ingredients I had on hand, and it turned out wonderfully!

Lemon Dilly Chicken

Ingredients:3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 a small onion, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon dilly spice from Epicure (If you don't have this, you can substitute the zest from 1 lemon, some fresh or dried dill, and some garlic powder)
fresh lemon slices
pepper to taste


Place thawed chicken breasts in crock pot. Mix chicken broth and lemon juice together, and pour over chicken. Sprinkle lemon dilly seasonings, and pepper over chicken. Place chunks of onion and garlic cloves around the chicken, in the juices. Place 1 slice of lemon on each chicken breast. Cook on medium for 4 hours.


I served mine with wild rice, and steamed veggies :) YUM! It was a big hit, even with the kids.



I'm linking up to Mommas Like Me Crock Pot Party this week! Come join in the fun, and check out all the links for some fast and easy meal ideas.


Hopefully, tonight will prove to be a better night, and I'll be back later!
Happy hump day!
xo.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Heavy Heart.

 As I tucked my cherished babies into their beds tonight, I kissed them more than usual, I told them I loved them in a way that they could feel the love, and I lingered in their rooms just a few minutes longer. I'd consider myself an extremely affectionate person...I love on those babies a lot. But tonight, it wasn't enough. Tonight, it needed to be more. Because in the blink of an eye, your life can change forever, and you may not get those moments again.
My heart is heavy as I think about Nancy Borusiewich, and her family. Nancy was a violinist with the KW symphony, and a teacher at the Beckett School of Music. She was beautiful and 36 years young, and had a wonderful life full of promise. She was a wife. She was a mother. And tonight, she is not there to tuck her baby into bed, and kiss him extra hard... because her life was taken by the viscous throws of ovarian cancer.
Nancy was the mother of one of Cheyna's classmates. I know this happens all the time, but this particular death hits really close to home. Dealing with cancer in my own family is hard enough. Seeing it get the best of someone so young...someone who was still needed here, has me feeling overwhelmed. I didn't know Nancy personally, but I can't stop thinking about her son who will go to bed tonight, knowing he will never see her again. I can't stop thinking about her husband who will have to bury her, and say goodbye for the last time.

Tonight, I am feeling thankful. Thankful for my family, their health, and my own health. Tonight, I am promising to tell my children often...more often, how much I love them. Life is so short, and I'm going to live mine without any regrets.

*************

On a happier note, we did have a good day. The skies were a bit dreary, the kids have runny noses and sore throats, and it was just a day for coziness and cuddles. And, a few tears, because let's face it - being sick sucks.

Books and blankets were scattered across the floor all day, and the house smelled of homemade chicken stock, simmering away.


We drank hot chocolate, and lounged around in our comfies. It was blissful, and should be done more often.
Oh! And to top the day off, I received a little surprise in the mail.


It's always a good day when you get free Nutella in the mail!

And, this one? She couldn't have been happier with our day of nothingness. She happily sat with us, gnawing away on those little fingers, trying to get some relief on those poor little inflamed gums. I think we'll be seeing some teeth very soon.



*****
Lastly, I started the "21 Days to Getting Organized Challenge" today. First up, the junk drawer!

(imagine a really messy junk drawer, here. Apparently my before picture got deleted! Oops!)
My junk drawer was filled with little things that actually had proper homes in other areas of the house, but were lazily thrown in there. So, I put everything in their respective homes, added a few containers for all the little things that seem to collect in there, and filed my receipts into a little monthly folder.
Much better!



Happy Monday, everyone!
xo.

Before and After...Finally!

*Can I get a drumroll please??* It's the moment you've all been waiting for! The grand kitchen reveal! And, the crowd goes wild.... Oh, wait. Maybe it's not that exciting. But nonetheless, those of you who have not yet seen it have been asking. So finally, here it is. Keep in mind, it's not quite done...but like every home project we have ever tackled, I'm certain it will take ages to get it just the way we want it. So, this will have to do.

First, the before pictures. (We had the appliances delivered when we moved in. I should have took a picture with the ancient white appliances...it would have had a better effect! haha)


As you can see, it has a strong "country" feel to it. Just not my style.
As you can also see, the kitchen was already in great shape. and there was "no need to rear it all out"...which is what my husband's nagging voice will be saying for the next 25 years.




The breakfast bar served no purpose, other than to sit at and eat. It was more of a room divider than anything.

This entire area, all 25 feet of it, was designated living room space.  The area beside the kitchen, near the patio door (You can't see it in these pics, but can in the "after" pics) was the designated "dinette".
But, if you know me well, you know I neeeeed a dining room, for entertaining! Unfortunately, they come far and few between in these new houses, so we had to do some shuffling.
We took the silly long space (which was really a stupid layout, anyways. Not to mention, that we have an upper level family room, plus a finished recroom in the basement, and didn't really need another "tv room"), and made it into the dining area, with a small seating area. The dinette was converted into built in office space, and kids eating/craft area. It's perfect!

So, without further adieu, here it is!


 We added a full kitchen island, complete with 3 drawers, 8 cabinets, and a little microwave niche hidden in the back. The extra storage is uh-mazing.
We want to change the light fixtures in the kitchen. The single light above the sink will be a pot light, and we want to add 2 or 3 hanging pendants above the island. I'm not sure what I'll do yet, with the main light in the kitchen area. Any ideas?


The double oven is a dream, and exactly what I need. I use both ovens super often. The hood range is one of my favorite touches. Oh, and the glass and stone backsplash!


The monstrous fridge has proven to still be too small for our family, as it always seems to be full! But, I am loving it anyways. I LOVE the wine racks, but at the moment, my husband has them stocked with the contents of our liquor cabinet. LOL. I need to stock up on wine.
You can sort of see the office space here, to the right. The big, tall cabinet? That's my new pantry with roll out drawers. *swoon*


We need to replace the window treatments behind the dining room table still. I have them, but we haven't had the time to put them up yet. We'd also like to stain the railing a dark wood color, and replace the front post. That photo screen is hiding the thermostat and some light switches, but it will be replaced with something else, at one point.
You'll also notice there's no light fixture above the table, which makes for a dark meal. We'll be adding something there.

The couch on the right will be gone (one day? My husband gets a weird attachment to furniture, and doesn't like to get rid of anything!), and the 2 chairs will be replaced with some nice slipper style chairs one day. But for now, our MALM chairs from IKEA will do the trick! We also need to replace that light fixture - I think it will also be a pot light. The couch will be replaced with a hutch or sofa table, and I'd also like a new side table.

So, there you have it...the almost-finished-product! I can't WAIT to bake hundreds of Christmas goodies on the massive island space :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reflecting.

Do you ever see that mom at the grocery store? The one with her thick, flawless curls bouncing as she pushes her adorable, happy, toddler in a top of the line stroller, with her perfectly french manicured nails? Or the one who you see at the park, in her gleaming white Nike's, unpacking a nutritious lunch of fresh veggies, homemade hummus, organic juice and freshly baked zucchini muffins for a picnic on her freshly laundered red and white checkered picnic blanket, while you wipe a dirty picnic table with a baby wipe, and unpack your PB&J sandwiches and goldfish crackers while your kid is screaming at your leg? And in that moment you look at her enviously, and think "how the hell does she do it?". I know you've been there. But, truth is, so has she. Chances are, that mom -- that mom,who seems to have it all together without missing a beat, is falling apart elsewhere. She may have found the time to style her golden locks and to treat herself to a manicure, but she probably sacrificed something else - laundry, dishes, time with her husband, work, the possibilities are endless. And tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week, she'll probably have to catch up on some of those things, and she'll spend the day in her yoga pants, hoping no one pops in for one of those annoying surprise visits, because let's face it - her house is a disaster, there's no clean cups to offer guests a drink, and she hasn't had time to brush her teeth yet! (Sounds familiar, right?)

So, always remember, you can have it all -- you just may not have it all at once. Choose your priorities with each day, and don't feel guilty about neglecting other areas of your life. If you spend the day playing dress-up with your babies, and at 5:00 realize the house is in shambles and you forgot to take something out for dinner, don't sweat it! Order a pizza and clean it up another day.  Or, if you need to spend an afternoon catching up on some work, don't feel guilty about recruiting Dora and The Backyardigans to babysit the wee ones for a while. They won't remember that day anyways...they'll remember the day you played dress-up all day!

****
I have been having one of those weeks. One of those weeks where I am completely overwhelmed with my kids, and feel like a failure of a mom because they're unhappy, and we've been butting heads for days, and I should know how to deal with it. One of those weeks where no matter how hard I try to keep a tidy house, the little ones manage to destroy it all before I can blink, and when my husband comes home I feel like a failure because it literally looks like I did nothing all day. One of those weeks where I just want to crawl into bed, and wake up next spring.
But...I got through it. It's Friday, the weekend is here, and I am finally feeling in better spirits. Cheyna is gone to a youth retreat with a wonderful new friend she made at school (A boy!), and I am happy to see her happy. Trevor and I snuck out with the little ones for some yummy seafood tonight, and it was perfect - no fighting, no temper tantrums, no meltdowns, just fun. We then came home to a relaxed evening of bubble baths, bedtime stories, and snuggles with the littles. Now they're all tucked in bed (Daddy included!) and I am forgiving myself for losing my temper this week, for not keeping the house clean, and for not being super mom.. No one ever said motherhood was easy. Some days are challenging, some days are frustrating, and some days are just downright disastrous. But, we make it through, and we move on, looking ahead, and knowing that these years are short - too short. Enjoy every second that you can, because in the grand scheme of things, the bad days won't matter...the happy memories will be the ones that last.



Happy Friday, friends.
xo.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frosted Buttermilk Banana Cake



So today's post comes from a litre of Buttermilk that has been sitting in my fridge since Novelle's Christening. I used a teeny amount of it (Like, a teaspoon?) for a recipe that weekend, and had NO idea what to do with the rest of it! Since the expiry date was creeping up, I decided to whip up some Buttermilk Banana Bread. As I was searching for a recipe though, I decided that Buttermilk Banana Cake was a tastier option! I couldn't find a recipe that exactly suited what I had on hand though, so I merged a few recipes, and came up with my own.
The result? Heaven.


Frosted Buttermilk Banana Cake

Ingredients
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 over ripe bananas
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Frosting
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
small amount of milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 9X13 glass baking dish, set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together in a large bowl, until nice and fluffy. Beat eggs into mixture, one at a time, and blend well. Then add vanilla.
In a smaller bowl (I used a 4 cup measuring cup), sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.


Slowly blend flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with Buttermilk. Mash bananas in a small bowl, together with the lemon juice, and then add to cake mix. Pour batter into your prepared pan.


(extra brownie points if you have a cute baby keeping you company!)

Bake for approximately 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Now, here is the secret to making a deliciously moist cake: Put the cake directly from the oven, into your freezer! Yep, right into the freezer. I was a little worried the glass would shatter, but it did not. If you're really worried about it, you could always use a 9X13 metal cake pan, and just increase your baking time accordingly. Leave the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes, and them remove.

Now for the icing - cream your butter and icing sugar together until fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Then slowly stir in milk, about a teaspoon at a time, until the icing has reached your desired consistency. I didn't actually measure how much I used, but I imagine it was about 4 tablespoons. Poor icing over cake, and place in the refrigerator for 20 mins before serving.

Now, sit down, and enjoy.


This cake is best served chilled, and is really tasty the next day. So, a perfect dessert to make a day ahead of time!! It will keep for about 4 days.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Ten

So, I had been sharing my top 10 Pinterest finds, from different categories, with you on Thursday's Pinboard. But, a blog I read, Miss Mommy, hosts a linky party every Tuesday called Tuesday 10. I wanted to join in the fun, so I'm going to switch my Pinterest day to Tuesdays.

This week, I want to share my most favorite bedroom designs. Now that the kitchen is done (Post about that coming soon!), we're moving onto the bedroom. What better place to find inspiration, than Pinterest?!

I'm pretty dead set on a yellow, gray and white color scheme.

1. I love the carpet, and the window coverings, here.



2. I would probably never be brave enough to do something so bold...but I really LOVE it.


3. Love everything about this.




4. These tone on tone, horizontal stripes are stunning.

5. Without the ceiling fan, it'd be perfect.


5. Love the mirrors, and the striped bench.



7. This is just so clean and crisp...I imagine such a peaceful sleep in this room.


8. I have a fetish for pillows! And, the stenciling is divine!





9.  I really, really wish we had space for this adorable sitting area. And, a fireplace to go with it. Talk about dreamy.



10. Lastly, this bathroom. We don't actually have an en suite...but if we did, it would look like this.

Linking up to Miss Mommy!


(Can anyone help me figure out how to make my own button??? :)

********
Also for tonight, I wanted to share with you the "21 Days to Getting Organized" Challenge, from A Bowl Full of Lemons! I am going to be starting this very soon, and would love for some of you to join me. We can share our progress with each other, and encourage each other to keep going. I know my house could use a serious organizational overhaul! And, I know I can't be alone.




I'm thinking about starting this Friday, and hoping at least 3 people will join me! Leave me a comment, and let me know you're interested.

*****
Happy Tuesday, everyone!
xo

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's here, it's here!!

What's here, you ask?

It's this special delivery, of all of my most favorite things, wrapped up with a crimson red bow. It's the smell of cinnamon, and cloves, the luscious feeling of a chunky knit sweater bundled around your shoulders, the sweet warmth of mulled cider and hot chocolate.
It's Fall.


The temperatures are just right - cool enough to wrap the kids up in cozy sweaters and socks, but warm enough that we can still play at the park for hours without getting cold.
I do have one complaint, though, and that is the ever-looming possibility of precipitation. The forecast has looked like this for weeks. Mind you, it hasn't actually rained often, but the pressure in the air, and the clouds that loom over us, threatening to rain on our parade make for awful headaches. So, if that little element could just dissipate, and leave us to enjoy my most favorite time of the year, it would be perfect.

I really can't express how much I freaking love fall. The thought of trips to the pumpkin patch, pulling hot pies out of the oven, the vibrant colors of the changing leaves gets me so pumped up. It inspires me to make wonderful memories with my kids, and to fill their little spirits with the same love of the season that I posses.
In fact, I love fall so much that we exchanged vows during this time, and had leaf fights with our wedding party. It was bliss.

This year, the list is long...the list of memories I want to make. Some of the must-do's are:
Visit the apple orchard
Make pies with the kids
Rake colorful leaves into mountains and jump in them for hours
Fill the house with the smell of cider, mulling with fragrant cinnamon sticks and cloves
Make a fall wreath
Visit the pumpkin patch
Carve pumpkins
Deck the porch out with mums, corn stalks, and other fall goodies
Serve up a mouth watering Thanksgiving feast
Make a "Thankful jar" and teach the kids about giving thanks, and being grateful
Drink many pumpkin spice lattes
I could go on and on, the possibilities are endless.
What are some of your favorite things to enjoy in the fall?
Happy Monday. I hope your week is full of love, laughter, and many things to be thankful for.
xo.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Making the most of each day.

I’m a firm believer in living life to the fullest, having no regrets, and making the most of each day. We all have a myriad of things we’d like to so each day, but realistically, it’s not always possible. I realize that what makes me happy, may not make everyone happy. But here are a few things that anyone can do, each day, to make the most of it.

1.       Be sure to hug each person in your house at least once, and tell them you love them. You’ll never regret doing it, but you will regret it if you don’t do it often enough.
2.       Do something to feel good about yourself – whether  it’s a quick lip gloss application, or a cute pair of shoes you love, or a quick bubble bath…do something for you. You deserve it.
3.       Clean something. As a busy mom of 3, I know it’s not easy to keep a clean house on top of everything else. But, when my house looks good, I feel good. I especially like to make sure my bedroom is kept clean and free of clutter. I can’t get a good nights sleep if I’m surrounded by a mess, or have to much to look at.
You don’t have to clean an entire room, but if you spend ten minutes tidying up, or shining your mirrors, you’ll feel good about it.
4.       Eat something healthy. Healthy meals take time, energy, and money. Sometimes, it’s not always possible to serve a meal that includes all the food groups, is low in fat, and high in nutrients. But if you make an effort to consume at least one healthy food per day, not only will you feel better about yourself, you’ll also have more energy.  Grabbing a banana on your way out the door, or topping your cereal with some fresh berries is as easy as pie (wait, who said pie was easy?! I can barely whip up a pot of Kraft Dinner some nights, nevermind a pie!!)!
5.       Spend at least 10 minutes outside.  Sit on the porch with a good book, go for a walk, jump in the puddles with your kids, or do some gardening. There are hundreds of things to do outdoors, and the fresh air will lift your spirits! (Be sure to get your kids outside, too! The fresh air will help keep grumpy moods away, and also help them sleep better at night!)
6.       Take a photograph.  Too often, we let silly things hold us back from taking a photo – the house is messy, we’re not doing anything “fun” or “memorable”, the kids have messy faces and dirty hair. But none of that matters. 20, 40, 50 years from now you’ll want to look back and remember things just the way they were…. your daughters smile, complete with the chocolate beard from that cookie she really enjoyed…your son playing with his favorite dinosaur, in the war zone that was previously known as the playroom…your dog sleeping in the mountain of clean(or dirty) laundry that has been sitting on your couch for 4 days…this is your life. And,  this is how you should remember it.  So try to snap at least one picture per day. When you’re old, and suffering from the inevitable “empty nest syndrome”, you’ll be so glad you did.
7.       Write in a journal. This is something I personally struggle with. I always feel like my writing is inadequate, or like I have nothing interesting to write about. But really, who cares? Write down what’s important to you, what you want to remember. Try to record something in your journal, blog, whatever you use, each night before bed. Write down something funny the kids did, something that made you happy or sad, or a recipe you want to save for future generations. You’ll love taking the walk down memory lane one day, and your children and grandchildren will cherish it.
8.       Do something nice for someone. Making someone else happy, will make you happy. Happiness is the key to good health, and a good life. Open a door for someone, help an elderly person carry their grocery bags, or donate your change to a charity that’s important to you.
9.       Smile. Self explanatory – smiling makes you feel good. Do it as often as possible. (Even if you’re having a rotten day, go look in the mirror, and force yourself to smile really big. You’ll feel better, I promise, even if it’s just for a second.)
10.   Learn something new. Learning is nutrition for the brain, and the soul. Read a book, browse your favorite blogs, watch the news…you’re sure to learn something you didn’t know before.


“Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, they would be happy. Well, that is doubtful. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing as you can and don't put off being happy until some future date.”
-Dale Carnegie




********
Friends, don't be afraid to leave me some comment love! What do you think of today's post? I am trying to think of something different to feature each day of the week - Thursday will be the Pinboard, Friday will be some sort of list, if you guys like it? Monday or Tuesday will be my tutorial day, and hopefully I'll have a specific day for recipes :)
What would you like to see more of?
Happy Friday! Wishing you all  a wonderful weekend!
xo.
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