Tuesday, 24 November 2015

My Weekday Brood

Well now I have two kids during the week that hang out with Iris and I, and so far, so good! I'm not going to lie, there has definitely been a day or two that has felt completely mad (kids won't sleep, Gus eating the snacks off the table, everyone dislikes the lunch I've made, fighting over the much coveted glitter wand) and I think to myself "What was I thinking?!" BUT for the most part, I'm really liking being at home with a little gang of toddlers.

With three now it makes going for our morning walk a bit more challenging as I have to put all of them in the wagon. And these kids are not light let me tell you. So instead we try to spend more time outside in the backyard. Des (the youngest) spends most of his time crawling around in big circles after Gus, Iris tries to climb anything she can find, and Henry divides his time on the slide and watching to make sure nobody touches his favourite toys while he's not using them. 

I've had a few people inquire about joining our brood but the truth is, even though legally I can take two more kids, I don't think I could handle it at this point. I feel like three is the perfect number for me right now. Who knows as they get older and they can get in and out of their chairs on their own, put their own coats and shoes on, then maybe I'd add some more to the gang. But right now I'm being honest with myself and what I can and want to handle. And three is where it's at :) 
(for now)

Sunday, 22 November 2015

(Vegan!) Pesto Mac & Cheese

Lately we've been eating mostly vegan at home. It's been a lot easier than I anticipated and makes grocery shopping so cheap! We still eat animal stuff when we're out on dates or at our families houses but we're trying to cut back for the most part.

Anyway, I found this in a cookbook the other night and decided to try out this whole vegan "cheese" thing again. It was amazing! The pesto really made it though. Here's a general recipe (I really eyeball most of it so it's not exact) if you wanna try it out...

Pesto- wiz everything up in a food processor 
1 1/2 cups of basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
handful of walnuts
half a lemons worth of juice
1-2 garlic cloves

If it's too thick, add more olive oil, too runny add a bit more nuts.

Pasta Sauce
-make a roux with 4 tbsp olive oil and about 1/3 cup flour. cook for about 8 minutes, whisking it.
-add in 2-3 minced garlic cloves and cook until it's just about to brown
- add in some non-dairy milk (I used almond) about 3 cups, 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast, a good squirt of ketchup and a little bit of lemon juice, whisk and cook until thickened.
- toss with cooked pasta and top with as much pesto as you want

This was really really good. And surprisingly cheesy! And toddler friendly!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Thrifted Things

Just a few (vintage!) things I've picked up recently...

1) How cute is this wooden light switch cover?! It semi-matches Iris' hooks on her wall too. $0.50!

2) An original Fischer Price doll house! $2.50! I had to give it a good scrub but Iris loves playing with it, especially using her hot wheels as "people". Also, I am a totol hypocrite because I never want to buy Iris modern fisher price toys but I go crazy for the vintage ones.

3) Some ceramic carolers! $2! Dave thinks these are creepy, but I think they're festive. It's a fine line sometimes.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Let's Call This a Hygge Moment

The other day I took a quick solo trip to the thrift store after dinner.  I've been looking for the game Sequence for a while now. Dave's family plays it all the time at our yearly cottage trip and I got hooked! I've been looking for so long now and wouldn't you know it I found a BRAND NEW IN PLASTIC copy randomly in the sporting goods section, what?! Totally meant to be. Side note, I also found a pair of red skinny jeans in my size too for $8! Anyway that night after Iris fell asleep we made some tea and toast and busted out Sequence. 

I won both times, FYI. ;) 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Iris & Art

Lately Iris has been more into art and I love it! I was a super crafty kid, I even had a small room in the house where my mum would stock it with things from the recycling, markers, glue and a seemingly endless supply of White Rose materials. Heaven! When I'm trying to get dinner ready, or I just need Iris to stay in one spot for a bit I'll plop her in her chair at the table and put some paper and writing utensils in front of her. When she gets bored of that I'll give her some puffy stickers (I find those are a lot easier for her to get off the sheet than regular stickers). And if she gets bored of that and I'm still desperate for toddler containment, I'll offer up the coveted markers as a last resort. Man, do little kids love markers! Have I mentioned my entire house has white walls?!

I think I've said this before, but I bought Iris her own big hardcover sketchbook from Micheals ($7 with a coupon!) that she can doodle and create in. Right now she mostly just scribbles in it, or will meticulously put all her puffy stickers on one page and then rip them all off. Sometimes I'll just leave it open on the coffee table with a pencil beside it and she'll come over and doodle throughout the day. 

Personally, I think it's really important to display kid's art around the house. It gives them a sense of pride to see their creations on the wall, it shows them that we value art and creativity, plus it looks great in her room! Like I said before, our whole house is white so having a bunch of colour stuck on the walls is great. We just use washi tape to stick it on the wall and try to keep it just above where she can reach it since she loves ripping it off the wall or taking the stickers off again. 

I'm not really sure if I'll keep a lot, if any of her art as we change it up. Is that a bad parent thing? I don't know, my mum kept a lot of my kid art and although it was fun to look through once as an adult, I didn't have much use for it after that. Maybe taking photos of it is enough? Who knows!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Weekend Away (with no kid!)

This year for Dave's birthday, myself, and our parents pitched in to get Dave (and me, score!) a weekend at one of his favourite places, Bill Lishman's cabin. You may remember last year when we went with a little non-mobile Iris. This year we decided to leave Iris in town with my parents for two nights, the longest we've ever been away from her! I picked Dave up at work on Friday and we drove on up to Bill's. After many detours, and wrong turns we finally arrived when it was very very dark. Bill met us at his really amazing underground house where his friend Ed (an equally friendly older gentleman) drove us in their truck down deep into the forest. The whole way down Bill's dog Della ran beside and in front of the truck, I thought for sure we were going to run her over! Once at the end of the path we climbed the steep trail to the actual cottage in the pitch black all while carrying our food and bags with Bill leading the way with a headlamp on. You would never it know to look at him, but that guy's a tank! He climb that hill no problem! 

Once we reached the cabin Bill and Ed showed us where everything was again, and pointed out the latest addition to the cabin, a muskox rug. Bill said he bought the pelt from an Inuit woman up north and tanned it himself (I remember last year one of the employees mentioning that there was a muskox pelt stinking up the whole studio). He also mentioned that the woman he bought it from said "there's nothing like making love on a muskox rug". Ha! 

After that they left us and we had 2 and half glorious days just to ourselves. We went hiking, drank lots of tea, stoked the wood stove, napped whenever we felt like it (a luxury!!), read, played card games, and ate lots of bread and cheese fried up in a cast iron pan. I felt like I had been stripped down to my basics, no kid, no routines, no makeup, no chores, nothing. And it felt so good. Sure every once in a while I would get these sharp pains of missing Iris, but ultimately I knew that in order for this weekend to be worth it I had to enjoy it 100% and not waste any time with guilty feelings. Plus Iris got to watch as much Baby Jake as she wanted, eat as much cheese as she wanted, and take baths for as long as she wanted all weekend so it was a treat for her too. 

 Getting away without Iris was so good for us. It's been awhile since Dave and I could go off just the two of us and it felt very restorative. Beeing "on" as a parent 24/7 is crazy draining sometimes so it was good to take a few days off to recharge. There were even talks of making this a birthday tradition!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bread #4 (Whole Wheat Honey Oat)

I made this one a few weeks ago but totally forgot to post it! This was was another no-knead one, where you pretty much just had to stir the dough in the bowl, very very easy. I also love how simple it was to add in extras like some seeds or ground flax to make it a bit healthier and snack friendly for the kids. 

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Bread
Makes 1 large loaf

4 cups of whole wheat or spelt flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 large Tbsp instant yeast
1 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 Tbsp honey
seeds (optional)

Make It!
In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. In a large Pyrex jug, mix together the warm water, sunflower oil and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing them together. Cover and put in a warm place. It should stay for 20 minutes, or until it's doubled in size.

Once it has doubled, stir it with the wooden spoon until the air is gone and it is back to its original size. Trust me on this. Place the dough in an oiled 6 3/4-cup (9x5x2.5-inch) loaf pan, sprinkle seeds over the top if you want and banish it back to the warm place for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degree F oven.

Put the bread in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how it looks.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The New Bed.

Iris has never slept in a crib, but she's been sleeping in her playpen on a sheepskin since she outgrew our co-sleeper around 3 months old. Recently we decided to make the transition to the big kid bed, or rather a twin mattress on the floor, and oh boy has it been a transition! The decision was perhaps a little selfish. Lately Iris has been getting up in the middle of the night and has been a pain to put back down. There were many nights where Dave would fall asleep on the (hardwood) floor with Iris on top of him, or we would switch on and off going in to comfort her and attempt to sneak out of the room when she finally fell asleep. Unfortunately no one was getting much sleep with either of those options so we decided to get a mattress, that way we could just lie down with her and if we have to, sleep there too.

A few things about the transition that have been harder than I imagined...

She gets out of bed. All. The. Time. Now that she's not "confined" in a playpen she knows she can get up whenever she pleases. This has definitely made naptime and bedtime harder. It's equal parts total sweetness and complete annoyance when after you've tucked her in she'll come to the door, knock and say "Mama? Yaddy?" And then have a meltdown when no one comes right then. We've let her cry it out a few times and she'll eventually make her way back to her bed to sleep but there have been many afternoons where she'll just play (semi-quietly) in her room for 2 hours. Or pull out all of her clothes, books and toys, oh man! Toddlers are a different breed I tell ya!

Dave actually sleeps there some nights. Dave is the best. Like seriously the best. He decided to be the nighttime parent for this transition and gets up with her and promptly falls asleep beside her for the rest of the night. It's come to the point where if I go in at night Iris will push me away and cry for "Yaddy!" What?!  While I do love having the bed to myself for half the night, it's not exactly what either of us pictured as ideal. You do what you gotta do I guess!

Anyway just thought I'd share. If you have kids you can probably relate to the whole crib to bed transition and how tough it can be. Toddlers right?!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Past Few Weeks in Photos

Around here we've been super busy! Fall has proven to be the busiest time for photoshoots so on weekends Dave has been flying solo with Iris while I travel around from photoshoot to photoshoot. At home we've been soaking up the lovely cool weather and getting more into drawing and stickers. Remember how awesome stickers were when you were a kid?! I love that Iris is getting more creative and will spend 20 minutes just standing at the coffee table drawing away in her sketchbook while Dave and I read on the couch. It's so cool! We are constantly telling each other "Man, our kid is so awesome!" I'm really loving this age.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Made in Canada Etsy Event!

A few weekends ago I got to be the photographer for the Made in Canada Etsy event wooooot! I'm a huge fan of everything Etsy so it was pretty neat to wander around the whole day taking photos. If you were there, you know that line to get in was ridiculously long. CRAZY LONG! I think some people waited about an hour just to get into the building. Thank goodness it was nice out!

I had never done an event like this before so going into it I was really nervous. My worst fear was that the lighting inside was going to be awful thus making my job rather difficult. And what would you know, it was awful lighting inside (ha! figures!). There's nothing like facing those terrible lighting fears! It all worked out in the end though.

Anyway here are a few of the photos if you'd like to take a peek...

All in all a pretty neat way to spend a Saturday :)

Friday, 9 October 2015

Let's Call This a Hygge Moment

You can read about hygge here

I'm really loving this cooler weather lately. And in my mind cooler weather means HYGGE! I love the concept of hygge. 

Anyway today I spent the entire morning baking up cupcakes and a wedding cake for my childhood friend whose getting married this weekend. When I got home, I put Iris down for a nap, looked the other way at the laundry and dishes piling up and made some tea instead. I lit a vanilla candle, grabbed some hazelnut wafer cookies and brought over my latest haul of cook books from the library and had myself a good cozy break.

Perfect perfect perfect.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Bread #2 (Honey White Bread)

I was off to a slow start with this whole bread making challenge but then it got cold out (yay!) and now all I want to do is bake bread non-stop! This one was my first ever "kneaded" dough. I say "kneaded" because you still mix it all up in a mixer with a dough hook first, and then knead it by hand after. And kneading is definitely not as hard as I thought it would be! Well, the recipe only calls for 30-60 seconds of kneading so can't really complain about that.

This bread was light, easy to slice, and toasts up real nice. The recipe I used makes 2 loaves so I baked both and then threw the one in the freezer for later. But then I ate half a loaf for dessert (it's really good ok?!) so I had to take the frozen one out the following morning, ha!

Here's the recipe I used from "Back in the Day Bakery: Made with Love" Cookbook.

Honey White Bread

5 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter melted, and cooled
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tbsp honey
3/4 cup room temp water

1 large egg lightly beaten with a pinch of sea salt for the egg wash.

Make It!

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add melted butter, eggs, milk, honey and water, turn the mixer on low speed and mix 2-5 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed until the dough comes together. (It will be kinda shaggy) Turn speed up to medium and mix for a full 7 minutes. 
  2. Transfer dough (it will be rather sticky at this point) to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 30-60 seconds. Shape into a ball.
  3. Butter/spray oil a large bowl and put the dough in there, turning it to coat the outside in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm area for an hour (I preheated my oven for 200 then turned it off and put my bowl in there)
  4. Grease 2 loaves pans. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls, roll each one out to the size of a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper. Then starting at the small end roll it up in to a log and place it seam side down in the loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again for another hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Brush top of loaves with egg wash. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Let cool and eat that sucker.

Making bread is awesome. I'll admit it's not something you can just whip up right before dinner, but it's totally worth the extra thought and effort. 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Where Am I?!

You know the one thing that sucks about being a photographer? I am never in any of the photos. Recently Dave and I were going through our summer photos and realized that I wasn't in any of them! I mean, I was obviously there, but when Iris looks back on these pictures when she's older, she will see none of me. Oh man, how sad right?!

I feel like most mums (or whoever is the main photographer in your family) fall into this invisible role. Especially once you have kids! You go from taking selfies all the time to taking photos of your kid and your loved ones with your kid, you completely forget to document yourself in any photographic way. I want to change that. Dave has been trying recently to get more photos of me, especially with Iris, and I think I want to go back to taking some self portraits more often. I want to be visible in my family photo albums!

Over the next few weeks I'm going to bust out my tripod and get some good self-portraits and maybe ask Dave to spend a few minutes getting some pictures of Iris and I together. In 2016 I'm gonna be all up in those family albums!
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