Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Come and get it!

Don't get me wrong I enjoy junkin' out as much as the next girl, but I feel best when I end the day with a dinner for my family that is healthy and satisfying. Even before I became a mom I found it difficult working full-time and always making sure that we had a good dinner on the table at a decent time. I'm sure you can all relate! There was a period of time where I could always expect a call from my husband around 3 PM asking the dreaded question "what should we do for dinner!?" You pretty much set yourself up for disaster at that point because anything you decide to make is going to be unlikely, considering that the chicken you now want to cook is a solid brick of ice in your freezer. So I decided to make some changes for our bellies and my sanity. This is what works for me but feel free to tweak it to work for you!

I started by writing out all of the recipes that I am comfortable with making and dividing them into categories- pasta, soups, chicken dishes, beef dishes and fish recipes. I just keep this as a running word doc. on my computer.

I also have a portfolio where I keep all of my loose page recipes that I have ripped out of magazines. These are also divided into categories- desserts, appetizers, soups, entrées, breakfasts. I found the portfolio at Target in the dollar section... score!

On my Pinterest page I have everything lumped under foods except for desserts, muffins and soups. If I make a recipe we like it enough to make it again I transfer it into the folder recipes I've tried. 

Being someone who is very visual, I recently started using a menu board as well. I purchased a piece of galvanized sheet metal from the local hardwood store as well as some scrap pieces of wood. You can use erase markers on the sheet metal and it is also magnetic which is great for posting recipe cards to ahead of time. 

So here is what I do every week. I use the Flipp app on my iPhone to figure out what is on sale for that particular week and what I want to price match. I then look in my freezer to see what meats we have at that time. I check out my calendar and see what our family has going on that week as my husband typically works late a couple nights a week. On those nights I don't really plan a meal as it is just myself and Max. I will typically just make an omelette, soup or a Restaurante pizza. On the nights that we are all at home, those are the nights I meal plan for. On really busy days I typically plan for an easier meal with a short prep time or something that can be made in the crockpot

Every week I make some form of pasta dish, fish, chicken meal and other meat meal (steak, tenderloin, pork chops, ground beef). I then look to my Pinterest board as well as my portfolio to figure out what I feel like that week. Based on what I choose I then write my grocery list and I write it all down on the menu board so we know what we can look forward too :)

And there you have it! This has saved me many headaches and I like to think money too, since I have a specific grocery list with me each week and I am not just grabbing things that I didn't realize I already had in my pantry. 

Good luck with dinner!

Friday, 24 October 2014

I put a spell on you!

Today I'm sharing Halloween crafts I have made this year and from past years. They are all super easy to make. The majority of my supplies come from the dollar store and Hobby Lobby. The mason lid pumpkin is my favourite. Take a bunch of lids, tie em' together with a piece of yarn and stick a few cinnamon sticks in the middle.. boom! Adorable and rustic decoration for your living space! The along came a spider printable was taken off google images.

yarn spider web

 candy corn wreath

 burlap bow tutorial


 And of course.. the cutest picture of pumpkin belly from last year :)

sticky felt from Hobby Lobby

Hope everyone has a spookacular weekend ;)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Becoming a mom

So far, I would have to say that this year has been the best year of my life. I became a mom in January. I always thought about having a boy and a girl; one of each. I think most people secretly hope for this!? But while I wanted a boy (eventually) I had my hopes set on a baby girl for our first. Then, when the ultrasound tech pointed out my unborn baby’s genitalia in slang terms during my 19 week ultrasound, I was left thinking “holy crap it’s a boy in there!” This was not going to go over very well considering the closet in our nursery had baby girl clothes hanging in it for the last four months! My mom happened to be visiting that evening. After revealing the gender to her and having a conversation with her, she encouraged me to fold up the sweet baby girl clothes and accessories and let her take them home with her for safe keeping. I did this willingly knowing that the very next day I would be hitting up Joe Fresh and H&M for some baby boy retail therapy. As the months went by I became okay with the idea of being a mom to a boy. To be honest I was a little nervous. I'm what you would call a girly girl ;) But I never knew how really okay I would be with having a boy until the day my sweet baby Max was born. I always thought love at first sight was just a saying. I mean, I thought my hubby was pretty cute sitting in grade nine science class, but that is what I would call infatuation ;)Well let me tell you, love at first sight exists. Funny thing is I can only see myself having boys now. I think Max would have the most fun with a little brother. 

 The last nine months have been filled with love, fun and memories that will last a life time. As my husband so eloquently put in my 1st Mother’s Day card, “life is better with him here, with us”. Many lessons have been learned as well. The most meaningful lesson being the reason for this particular post; follow your instincts. I have friends that are new moms, friends that are mommies-to-be and friends that will become moms in the coming years. I cannot encourage this enough. You will have people (some who have children and others who do not) give you advice, question your decisions or just completely pass judgement on you for the way you do things. When this happens, turn that pretend volume dial located behind your right ear counter-clockwise.

Here is a story for you. As a profession, I have worked for years as a community support worker. A couple of years ago I worked with a single, new mom who was very nervous when making decisions regarding the care of her baby girl. Me, being someone who had been in the field for a few years, and having a university degree in child development (enter sarcasm) took it upon myself to give this young lady advice. So when this woman’s baby was around three months old I explained to her that the baby was ready to be bathed in the large tub. I thought my reasoning at the time made sense, baby tubs are meant for infants, right!? Despite her extreme nervousness, I helped her bathe the baby in the large tub. Something she was not ready for. I look back on this now, especially this week, and shake my head. Why? Because Max had his first bath in our tub five nights ago. Max is 9.5 months old. He bathed in his whale tub until he was approximately six months old and then he was bathed in the inflatable Munchkin duck tub set in the large tub for the last three months for fear of him falling to the side and hitting his little head. As a result bath time for me has been stress-free and Max has been without tub incident. But I am disappointed in myself. Who was I to tell this woman what her comfort level should be. Who was I to tell her how she should be bathing her child. The point here ladies, is do what works for your baby and what is comfortable for you, even if your friends or other people in your life do things differently with their babies. Every baby is different and what works for one mama might not work for another, but at the end of the day… the kids are alright. 

To end, I want to sharing my top 10 must haves for becoming a new mom. These items have helped Max, Daddy and I survive year one (so far).

1. A stroller that you love. We have the Baby Jogger City Elite. It has been fabulous for our needs (pushing the stroller while walking a dog who pulls every which way). But it may not work for some. Regardless, I encourage you to test some out and not rush picking one out. I went to Buy Buy Baby where they literally house every stroller you have heard of to test drive / test stroll.
2. A ton of wash clothes. You will use these for everything. Feeding, spit ups, bathtime, even during diaper changes. I thought I received way to many at my showers. I quickly learned you can never have enough.

3. Indestructible books! I LOVE these books. In the early months I used them to distract Max in his highchair while I prepared his meals. He loved to mouth them and crunch them up. Now he will sit and look through them and I don't have to worry about them being destroyed if I put them in the back with him during a car ride. His favourite is Baby Faces.

4. Lansinoh Cream = Life saver. Very soothing and used daily during the first few months. Enough said.

5. Bibs with catchers. While the cloth bibs work well during the first few months of eating solids, now that Max is feeding himself these bibs will save you a a massive clean up at the end of each meal. I find the smaller ones work better right now, since he is still a little guy :)

6. Munchkin sippy cups. These are a must because they do not leak and do not have a ton of parts to fit together.

7&8. Aden and Anais Burp cloths and swaddle blankets. The burp cloths are shaped like a lima bean so they fit nicely on your shoulder without being too bulky. The swaddle blankets are very light weight and especially awesome for breastfeeding in the summer months.

9. Links! Great for hooking toys onto, teething, hooking to the car seat to ensure toys do not go flying to the ground while you are driving, and hanging from your dining room chandelier when your newborn starts to check out their surroundings :)

10. Oballs. This was the first toy/object Max grasped because of the wholes they have for his tiny hand to fit through. He also has both cars which are a lot of fun. Plus they come in lots of colours. Fun fun!

There you have it! Really, I could go on, but these were the first ten items that instantly came to my mind. Hoping that someone out there finds this helpful :)


Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Best of "Friends"

Last night I had a small group of close girlfriends over. It seems whenever we are together, quotes from FRIENDS are thrown around (followed by an eruptions of laughs). So I thought it would be fun to host a friends marathon night to watch our favourite episodes, and of course since it Fall we had to have festive treats :)

To start we made caramel apples. I bought way too many caramels. 2 cups would have been plenty for five apples. I purchased the sticks and toppings at bulkbarn. I added a little bit of milk to the caramels while they melted, about 1/4 cup, and I used low-medium heat. We found that dipping the apples in the toppings worked better then trying to the sprinkles toppings on, since the caramel set quite quickly. I refrigerated the apples and sent them home with the girls wrapped in wax paper. Caramel apples for breakfast?? Yes please!

While I put the babe to bed, the girls enjoyed pumpkin lattes. Since I am currently without a coffee pot (there was a messy coffee pot shattering situation a month or so ago) I relied on Tims to provide the coffee for the base. So these were premium lattes ;)

How did they turn out?? AMAZING. so amazing I gave up my one cup of coffee limit and treated myself to a second. Oh, and of a dollop of whip cream for effect.
Here is the recipe link. I will definitely be making these again next season. y.u.m.

The rest of the 'sweets' menu included pumpkin fluff with gingersnap cookies, ghost cupcakes (white icing with choc. chip eyes) in fun spider holders from Dollarama (I may have done an internal happy dance when I saw them on the shelf) and pumpkin/ghost chocolate pretzels.

It was so nice to get together with the girls. I find that now that we are older with husbands/boyfriends/babies/jobs, etc. we don't have the same 'hang outs' we used too together. I think it's important to have these light-hearted, stress-free girl's nights to re-connect, have some laughs and enjoy some comfort food. Good for the soul :)

Now I am looking forward to a visit to the pumpkin patch, celebrating M's first Halloween, and an Alice in Wonderland themed 1st birthday for my niece. Thanks for checking out my first post!!