Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Books

I love reading parenting books.
I'm not sure why though...
I am fairly confident and secure in the choices my mister and I have made for our family and I don't look to change many things or for much advice regarding our parenting style.
That said, I love hearing about how other's parent their children and why they think their way is the "best".
When I was pregnant with Zac I read a bunch of pregnancy and parenting books but haven't really had the chance to completely get into one for the last year or so given how busy the two boys have kept me.
Beyond the Sling and Bringing Up Bebe have caught my eye for a few months now and I have been itching for a chance to sit down and read them.
The boys have been playing exceptionally well together the past few weeks and I have found myself exhausted in the evenings with the desire to curl up with a good book and do little else; so I took the opportunity to pick up these books and get to reading.
The contrast between these two books was so interesting and amusing to read.

Beyond the Sling is about attachment parenting, encouraging co-sleeping, breast feeding for as long as possible, baby wearing, gentle discipline and so forth.

Bringing Up Bebe discusses the difference between American and French (France) parenting styles/philosophies. Basically that Americans are softer with their children and allow them to get away with far more then French families do. The Parasian parenting discussed in the book focuses mainly on setting boundaries and helping your child establish their individuality and independence.

Both are very well written and well researched books and I found both to be very interesting.
However reading these two books, back to back, just confirmed my feelings towards parenting:
No ones knows your family better then you and only you can decide what is right for your family.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pink Quilt

I finished my pink quilt and I couldn't be happier. 
Well I could I suppose, but I've decided when it comes to quilting I need to give up any form of perfectionism I hold on to as I am completely incapable of making a "perfect" quilt.
I've decided that will be my signature charm though, imperfection.
Realistically I think quilting could teach me a thing or two about life and learning to let go of my perfectionist nature. Think of all the things I could do, the stress that wouldn't exist and the fun I could have if I didn't once think about doing/performing it perfectly.
Ah quilting, teaching me so many life lessons!

*the pattern for this quilt can be found in Amy Butler's Book Little Stitches for Little Ones* 
I doubled the batting as I plan on using this as a play blanket on hardwood floors after my little Miss arrives.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Food Confession

I would consider myself a bit of a "foodie". 
I love food, have a pretty solid knowledge about it and have tried most things. 
For this reason I often hung my head in shame when people started discussing Red Velvet Cake. How could I love food as much as I do, desserts especially, and never had Red Velvet Cake before??
So I made some. 
I used a store bought box mix, only because it seemed like less effort not knowing exactly how it was supposed to taste and I wanted something pretty reliable on the flavour, and made some cupcakes.
I have to say, they were good but I wasn't over the moon with them. 
My mister loved them and said the combination of the cream cheese icing with the red velvet was delicious but I think I enjoyed the icing the most out of the whole process.
What is your favourite kind of cake?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Musical Monday: Ok Sweetheart - We've Got Love

I love Ok Sweetheart.
Their album is currently only available for download and I'm just not modern enough to know how to go about that... plus I listen to my music in my kitchen away from all my downloadable gadgets... I'm really hoping they put out a CD someday so I can play the album in my kitchen while I putter about.
I think it would also sound so amazing on vinyl... but that wouldn't help me much either since we don't have a record player...
sheesh... I am so limited it appears in my ability to listen to music!

Happy Monday my dear friend! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

House For Sale

Our house is officially on the market.
It has been for 2 weeks now actually... I've just been slacking on my timely updates.
To say I am a bucket of nerves is a bit of an understatement. To say I am stressed is also an understatement. To say I am exhausted from keeping it "show ready" while having 2 little boys, is probably the biggest understatement.
Fingers crossed and prayers voiced that we will sell fast. 

Have you ever sold a house? What are your tricks to surviving living in a "show ready" state?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Single Crochet Blanket

I have decided that I love crochet.
That said, we do not have an easy relationship. We have more of a love hate thing going on. I love it, it hates me.
I have been told over and over and over that crochet is super simple and if I could knit then crochet would be easy peasy.
This, my friends, is a bold faced lie.
Crochet is not easy. In fact I get more tangled up in yarn crocheting then a cat ever could.
I was just about to give up, accept that crochet had defeated me, when I stumbled across this tutorial for an easy baby afghan that is made up completely of single crochets. 
I bought the hook (the size of the hook alone made the project worth it to me, I am so happy to have an S hook in my collection! It's freaky big.) and the yarn and forced myself to sit and try.
It was a rough start and I had to pull out and restart the blanket 3 or 4 times, but once I hit my stride it was magic!
I am so happy with the results and would recommend this tutorial to anyone as a beginner project. Even if you know what you're doing, the blanket it turns out is so sweet and cozy!!
 Now to tackle the infamous granny square!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peanut Butter Pillows

I made these.
 They may look like normal delicious chocolate cookies but cut them open and...
wham-o! peanut butter!! 
mmm... they were super good!!
It was a 2 step process to make these babies but the steps were actually quite easy and felt like little/easy work. My mister told me to hang on to the recipe but to never make them again because they were too dangerous. I think this one is a keeper!
(recipe found here)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Musical Monday: John Mayer ft. Brad Paisley - Daughters

We are going to have a little lady!
I think both of us are still in shock from the exciting news but are pumped to infuse our otherwise blue hued world with a little pink!
In the spirit of our excitement, I simply had to choose a daughter related song for today and "Daughters" by John Mayer kept popping into my head. The fact that I found a version with Brad Paisley singing (one of my mister's favorites) made it all the better.
Happy Monday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

He Or She?

Today we find out if this little bean growing inside of me is a little boy or a little girl!
I couldn't be more excited!!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ice Burgs

One of the fun things about living in Newfoundland is that we get to see some pretty amazing things.

Back when my parents were visiting an ice burg had floated into an inlet and we were able to walk quite close to it.
I wish the pictures did it more justice because it really was amazing.

I am not one to stair and be amazed by nature but I can honestly say this did take my breath away.

The village that we had to walk through to get close to the ice burg was the cutest thing ever.

Don't you just want to sit on one of those decks wrapped up in a blanket sipping a warm cup of tea?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hummingbird Cake

It feels like I've heard about Humming Bird Cake for, like, my entire life.
It was always that mysterious cake that people talked about but I had no clue what was in it or what it would taste like.
This past Saturday was Eli's birthday and I decided enough was enough, I was going to bake us all the strange cake.

It tastes just like Banana bread to be honest... I will take the mystery out of this tale for you. It is filled with all sorts of ingredients and I would consider this an "everything but the kitchen sink" type of cake. If I were to make it again I would probably leave out the coconut, which is strange since I adore coconut... I just found it made the cake almost too sweet... which is also a strange comment coming from me...

Hummingbird Cake
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
2 cups mashed rips banana
8 oz canned crushed pineapple
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup shredded coconut

In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, sugar, salt and baking soda and whisk together. Add the eggs, vanilla and oil and stir until no lumps remain. Add the banana, pineapple nuts and coconut and mix until just combined.
Pour into two round, greased, baking pans and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

Mother's day is always a smaller event in our house, although I have no complaints. 
I slept in and was greeted with huge morning hugs and well wishes by the two sweetest little men in my life.
And I got croissants.
Any day that begins with croissants is a good day in my book.
I hope all you mother's out there had a wonderful day to!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Musical Monday: Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars Safe and Sound

I am not a fan of Taylor Swift... it seems like a confession that needs to be made...
that said, I am a freaky huge fan of The Civil Wars and in my head this song is more their style then Taylor's typical stuff... and I'm kind of in love... (the song starts about 1 minute in)

This is also the song to go along with The Hunger Games movie... I didn't know that before, but let's be frank here... that's just another reason to love it!

You can watch the official video here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

T-Shirt Yarn

I feel like it's been years since we did a little crafty DIY on here so I thought it was about time to get back in the habit.
Since it has been so long I figured we should start with something that is super easy to ease you back into crafting mode, so today I'm going to walk you through making T-shirt (or Jersey) yarn.

You'll need an old shirt and a pair of good scissors and that my friend, is all!
Fold your shirt in half and cut off the top, chest area (arm pit to arm pit) and the bottom hem. This will leave you with just the middle part of the shirt.
Keep the shirt folded in half, but pull it down about an inch or so, so that the edges are not completely lined up. Cut slits up the shirt but do not cut through the top fold.
You can do the next step by either using a book or your arm, however when just figuring out the process I found a book to be much easier.
You will have a tube of cut up shirt now... slide a book or your arm up the center of the tube so the side  that you did not cut is separated from the side that you did.
This is where it can get complicated. When looking at your fabric you will see where your cut slits match up. Do not cut straight across your fabric as this will just cut a thin tube of your fabric and not a continuous "yarn". SO! Cut on an angle to the slit one over (not directly across) from your starting point. Hopefully the picture below will help illustrate...
Once you've done this for the length of your fabric you will have one long strip of Jersey material. To turn it into a thinner yarn simply tug it gently (length wise) and it will fold in on itself and increase a bit in length (right side of the picture below is pre-tug and left side is post-tug)
And there you have it! 
Wind it into a ball and use as you would typical yarn!!

I have so many plans for this stuff, I can't wait to show and tell all about them!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Day in the Life

My boys are pretty schedule-y dependent so our days often follow the same pattern.
If you were a fly on the wall, or if you just hung out for the day, at our house this is typically what would happen...
8am the boys wake up and we eat breakfast and slowly gain consciousness.
 9am playtime for the boys; sometimes this includes TV time, book time or dress up/imaginative play. 
I am not a morning person by any definition though so the morning doesn't usually contain many crafty activities or anything that involves too much thought on my part. During this time I also make all the beds, fold and put away any laundry I may have done the night before and empty/reload the dishwasher. On a good/lucky day I also fit a shower in!
10:30 snack time! If we are going out for any reason, playgroups or errands, we usually head out now to do them. If the day is looking like a rough one I may put this off until the afternoon (if I have high hopes that someone might fall asleep in the car), but more often then not we do out outings in the morning. 
If we stay home we usually color or work on "school" sheets around now.
Noon is lunch prep and lunch time. The boys usually play with each other while I get lunch ready either pretending to be superheros, playing with their toy superheros or working on puzzles.
1pm Our afternoons vary in activities quite often depending on everyone's moods, the weather and how busy our morning has been.
If it's a nice day we will head outside and kill a few hours. If it's an "inside" day the boys may paint, do a craft, play with play-doh, play with their toys/imaginations, make a fort, make puzzles or read stories.
If it is a horrible day we will usually do some of the activities just listed or go outside, but also have a quiet time lasting 1-2 hours, depending on what is needed. Our quiet times often consist of a movie or a couple of TV shows and cuddles, snuggled under some blankets with their stuffies on the couch.
3:30 snack time again!
4:30pm my mister arrives home sometime between now and 5:30 and we eat dinner shortly after he arrives.
6pm is the last leg of the day for the boys. If it's nice outside we may go out again to burn off that last bit of energy or my mister may just chase the boys around the house in the way only a daddy can.
We start bath and bedtime routine around 7pm and try to have the boys tucked in and read to by 8:15 or so.
Once the boys are down I get to be a bit selfish with my time. I do my computer stuff, work on any crafting projects that I have on the go and probably watch a show or two with my hunnie. I always try to be in bed by 11pm but it's far more realistic to say I crawl under the sheets around midnight and read until 12:30 or 1am.
Go to sleep and then do it all again! 

Do your days follow a routine or do you just "go with the flow"?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Superhero Quilt

It seems like forever ago that I finished Zac's superhero quilt and I just realized that I never shared any photos!
Shame on me, I know!
soooo.... dum da da duuum!!
here is the finished quilt!
I alternated solid print squares with a striped square (3 rectangles sewn together) and then went around the whole thing with a 3 inch (or so) border.
I'm not usually the sentimental type but I was pretty stoked to repurpose the blue border fabric from some bumper pads I made him for his crib as a baby.
I'm actually so super excited with the finished product and I know Zac will love it.
I am hanging onto it and will pull it out as a special surprise once we're in the new house; something special and exciting for his new room.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Happy Times

Some days are wonderful. 
The weather is great, the boys are pleasant.
We go for walks and picnics and feed the ducks.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
It was beautiful outside so we were able to go out, however the boys were not pleasant which in turn made me unpleasant.
I have high hopes for today though. 
I went to bed early last night, both boys slept well and I am determined to have a creative and fun day.
Happy Tuesday! 
I know mine will be.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Musical Monday: The Naked and Famous - Young Blood

I can't get enough of this song right now.
A few weeks back my mister took the kids to a birthday party, leaving me home alone. I blasted this song, like I was having my own party, while I worked away on a quilt.
This is a live version but if you'd like to see the actual video go here

Friday, May 4, 2012

Pretty Pink Blanket

Dear Pretty Pink Blanket,
Why do you insist on tormenting me so?
I lovingly bought your beautiful fabrics 2 years ago. I cut out all your required squares and rectangles taking great efforts to be exact with my measuring as proper measurements are often my downfall. I laid you out all nicely and looked at you everyday for 2 years, promising to give you the attention you deserved "tomorrow". Well "tomorrow" finally came along and I sewed and assembled you with great excitement until it happened. I still don't quite understand it, we were getting on so well, so why, oh why, no matter how hard I try do you refuse to line your finished blocks up?
I have taken blocks apart from other blocks, I have rechecked my measurements I have even ironed, so many times... so why my sweet pink blanket (perhaps you prefer the title "quilt"?) are you being so difficult?
This weekend you and I will spend quality time together and you can whisper your woes in my ear and I will repeatedly apologize for neglecting you for over 700 days. But please take mercy on me and start lining up properly or I will sadly be forced to set you aside once again...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Kiddo Lunches

I'm often asked what I feed the boys for lunches.
Not that I thrive in this department, I think it's just one of those things everyone gets in a rut with and we can all use some new ideas sometime.
As the question has come up a few more times then usual these days I thought I'd show you a "typical" week of lunches for my boys.

We are big on sandwiches in this household. We would eat them every meal without batting an eye.
Eli is a PBandJ kind of guy and would eat it morning noon and night if I would let him. Zac is the same with tuna salad, and both will mow down a cold meat sandwich provided it doesn't have lettuce.
I always try to include either a fruit or a veggie (or both) with the sandwich instead of chips and always a bit of cheese, because... well because it's good.
I don't make grilled cheese too often as it seems to be the only sandwich my boys tend to get moody with, but it usually makes an appearance every other week or so.
Did you know they now have apple sauces with fruits and veggies in them? I was pretty stoked when I saw that and the boys can not get enough of them. I'm going to try and make some of my own, but I can honestly say I am slightly intimidated by getting the right ratio so it doesn't taste too veggie-ish... I'll be sure to let you know how I make out.

I kind of have a freaky hatred for feeding my kids processed meats, so you can judge this lunch and the next if you must, but the boys love them so they are hard to avoid. 
Crackers with meat and cheese and yogurt with a side of ants on a log. I let the boys put their ants on their own logs as it's fun for them and I find they are far more likely to eat something (healthy) if they had a hand in making it. 
 Cheesy noodles (mac and cheese to the rest of the world), turkey bologna, apples, peas and carrots. If we have ham I usually give that instead of the bologna. 
The boys love pizza and would gladly eat it everyday along with their sandwiches. Neither of them will eat the crust on standard pizzas though so I have found that making our own on pita bread usually ensures they will eat the whole thing, especially if they get to make/top their own! I secretly love this one too because I find it just as tasty as "normal" pizzas but far less heavy because of the lack of dough/crust. Just bake them at 350 until the cheese melts and the pita bread is crispy.

And there you have it. Some of our standard lunches. 
What sorts of things do you make for yourself, your kids or your family for lunches? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eli's Birthday Party

My parents flew home Monday afternoon leaving two little boys sorely missing two very special play mates. 
Eli's birthday isn't until mid May but we decided to celebrate a few weeks early while my parents were around to enjoy the excitement.
I didn't do this party up to the same extent that I have in the past for a few personal reasons, but we did decide to have a small BBQ with a few close friends that have kids that my boys absolutely adore.
Sadly I must admit to taking basically no pictures... how horribly embarrassing, I know!
We kept the food simple, BBQing hotdogs and hamburgers, making a few salads, fruit and veggie trays and chips. I also totally cheated on desserts by purchasing sugar cookies and two bite brownies from our grocery store. I only got out a bowl and put in a slight effort making cake mix cupcakes and from scratch icing.
 I had originally planned on doing a train theme decorating with Thomas toys and some fabric I had with Thomas prints, however I forgot (another fail!) so the only aspect of the theme really came in with the party favors which were train whistles, small canisters of M&M mini's and some dee-licious fruit gummies.
 Such a little pumpkin! 
So hard to believe he's going to be 3 in a few short weeks!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Reads

This month I read two books that I absolutely loved.

The bulk of this story takes place in England in the 1920's. The story is told in first person by Grace, now approaching 99 years old, who worked as a lady's maid during her late teens. While working for the family at Riverton, Grace whitnesses a horrible event which she keeps the true facts secret for her entire life. She is approached by a film maker, while living in a nursing home, who is making a movie of the event based on the details recorded in the history books, which causes Grace to relive her days spent at Riverton.
If you would like to see/hear more about the book (worded far more engaging then I ever could) the author, Kate Morton, did up a little description that can be found on You Tube, here.
I loved this book. I'm actually reading it again right now! Tif (aka Dottie Angel) Fussell writes in a way that warms my heart and makes me feel so cozy. The words make me giggle and the pictures make me swoon. Full of inspiration and laughs, what more could one ask for in a book?