Saturday, 31 December 2011

Another Year...

Christmas swept away my time this December! Between my little sweetum' having an asthma type reaction to a virus, piles of sewing projects, baking, and runs to be run, I was strapped for time - and so blogging fell to the wayside. Sorry! With the bulk of the holiday travel over, and order slowly being restored to our home, I am well on my way to a regular routine again [ which is due in large part to the wonderful stocking Santa spoiled me with, filled with Oxygen and Runner's World Magazines, an Oxygen subscription, and chocolate haha; as well as the pylo-box my Awesome Hubby made for me!] And while Christmas is behind us calendar wise, December would no be complete without a Christmas post, so here are the highlights from our little celebration with my Amazing Hubby's side of the fam!

          Darius was the little lamb in our Nativity Pageant - so sweet!

Someone was really tired...but aren't their jammies cute!?!

Christmas morning in our matching family "p-jammies" [as Darius says]

The craziness of Christmas presents and stockings all before 10am church!

A brand new year is rolling in at the strike of 12 tonight; I love the fresh start that January 1st brings! Christmas is my favourite season and celebration, partly because of all the time that is slotted to spend with family and friends, and partly because of the proximity to New Years!  Looking to the future I am excited for all that 2012 represents, and all the goals I am eager to achieve - Happy New Years!

Monday, 12 December 2011

[for my] boys

I was a sewing machine Friday night![pun intended ha!] As I ticked items off my "Handcrafted Christmas" list, not only was I excited to give the little gifts, but I was excited to show all of you! Crazy, I know. Without further ado, here's a little preview of what will be tucked snugly into my little men's stockings:

I used the pattern and tutorial located here to create the little masterpiece pictured here [and the matching one for little brother Eli tucked safely away] and highly recommend it if you're wanting to make some ties for the wee men in your life. Not only was the tutorial clear and easy to follow, but the pattern pieces were awesome! Thanks to Amber at Very Homemade for helping me achieve the quality craftsmanship I desire in all my handcrafted goods!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cookie Exchange

Last night my Relief Society had a Christmas program, a cookie exchange, and volleyball. If you had to guess, which two would you say I made it too? Sadly, I had a conflicting event that I couldn't miss during the Christmas program, but I made it just in time for the cookie exchange and volleyball! The cookies were an amazing assortment of colours, textures, and creativity - I can't wait to try them! My contribution to the exchange happen to be a very simple recipe - but always a crowd favourite. If you're looking for an easy yet elegant addition to your holiday fare, give these a go!

Meringue Surprise Cookies
shared with me by Alisha

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups white sugar
16 caramels, cut into 1/3's

Heat oven to 250*F. Line two large cookies sheets with parchment or wax paper.

In a stand mixer, combine egg whites, salt, and vanilla. Beat until foamy.

Gradually add in sugar, beating until peaks form.

Pipe or spoon mix into 3/4" wide mounds 1" apart on parchment. Top each mound with a piece of the chopped caramels, then pipe or spoon mix on top, covering caramel piece completely.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until crisp. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool for at least 10 minutes [or you'll burn your tongue on hot caramel!]

Makes about 48 cookies.

What is your go to recipe for cookie exchanges?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


I have a special place in my heart for my nieces and nephews. Before having children of my own, I already had several nephews, and a few nieces. One of these nieces was a lone princess for a few years before being granted a female cousin [on her Dad's side of the family anyways.] And so this sweet niece and I would play, painting nails, brushing hair, and all other sorts of girlie adventures. We even went 'pink' camping one summer! On Christmas Day, this sweet niece is turning eight, and will be baptised and confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In Honor of her birthday, and her baptism, I have been working away at a special gift, for this very special girl! Darius calls her 'Alexica' [pronounced Ah-lex-ick-ah], but to me, she'll always be my sweet princess Alexa even if she scratched a chunk of skin out of my face, while smiling, the first time I met her.  Here's a sneak peek at what I've been making for this special girl:

What handcrafted gifts are you eager to give?

if you would like to make a scripture bag purse of your own, check out this blog for the free pattern and tutorial!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yup. Cookies. They're all over the bloggersphere right now, and all over my brain. Darius and I have been baking, cooking, and creating in the kitchen and I have to share! This recipe was requested by one of my sweet cousins who travelled in this past weekend, and so Natalie, I hope you enjoy making these for Calvin!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup earth balance

1cup honey

1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder1/3 tsp salt
1tbsp cinnamon
2 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour*

3/4 cup oats

3/4 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup dark chocolate


first, cream the earth balance [it is a vegan substitute for butter. If you want to use butter you can do so] then add the honey and continue to cream the mixture together.

second, add the pumpkin to the creamy mixture, and puree together.

Now, add all the rest of the ingredients, one at a time [pulse the mix in between additions to ensure thorough mixing of the dough] finishing with the chocolate chips.

bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 10 minutes. The cookies will look a little soft, but once on the cooling rack they set up quite nicely.

Enjoy these healthy treats with your family - or hoard them for yourself - and enjoy the sweetness of the holiday season!

What is your favourite holiday treat? Does it stem from great memories, or is it a recent discovery?
350F for 10minutes

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Yesterday family travel from near and far, gathering in a town outside of the big city to celebrate Grandpa James. We sang, talked, laughed and shed a few tears of joy and remembrance. The musical numbers were touching, the talks were humorous and yet focused on a eternal perspective, and family lingered long, not wanting to part ways. We gathered round Grandma long into the evening, enjoying a family meal, and cousin time. It seems that times like these have the potential to bring families closer together, and that is just what it has done for our family. We wanted to hold tight to one another, and not have to return to our homes scattered on both sides of the border. How I wish all my cousins were also my neighbours!
Memories shared, ice cream consumed, and photos taken, we parted ways, travelling home in the driving snow. The occasion was solemn, but the celebration was sweet. Thank you for teaching us the importance of family Grandpa and Grandma. We love you!

photo courtesy of PMG IMAGE, taken at my wedding May 2006

Friday, 2 December 2011

Reindeer Food

I am so excited for Christmas! Maybe its my personality, maybe its my two little boys with gleaming eyes, or maybe it's the fact that I never stop listening to Christmas music ALL YEAR LONG! Haha, maybe its a combination of the above ha!

I am ticking items off my list as per usual and stumbled upon these adorable tags:

Seriously so cute! I just printed mine off so I could get a little crafting done for the holidays!

Whats on your Christmas Craft list?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Do you feel it? The shifting of gears when something really big is coming your way? Man, I feel that way right now! I am surrounded by positive, successful people! I love to wake up in the morning, knowing that each day is full of possibilities, and the opportunity to create my dreams.

I just finished a business call with my team, and my favourite quote from tonight's motivation session is:

"ANYTHING is possible if your motivation is strong enough!"

This statement sums up how I feel. The world is my oyster - or barley pearl as some might say ha! - and I am achieving my goals, and dreams!

   The power of the mind is amazing! If you're in a downward spiral, look to someone or something that is going up, up, UP and decide that is the direction you are going from this moment on! Financial, health, whatever area in your life needs improvement, it is completely possible - all you have to do is decide to change, and do it!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Brotherly Love [sneak peek]

Our decorations are up, the stockings are hung [on the railing, but really, I'm having troubles with the idea of drilling hooks into the mantel], and the advent calendar is telling me we only have 29 days until Christmas! 29 days! Yikes I have a lot to do!!! This week, once the tree was up and decorated, Darius started asking for presents to put under the tree. Naturally, I had nothing ready for him ha! So, my little man got to work, figured out what he wanted to make for his brother, and is the first one to have a present ready to give. How sweet is that! Here is a little sneak peek of what Darius chose to make his his baby brother:

Darius chose the elephant design, the fabric, the color of the onesie - everything! Seeing my boys together makes the sleepless nights, vomit drenched dress shirts, and poo stained furniture all worth it!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Castile Heaven

A true multi purpose, full service product is hard to come by. Sometimes it will be fantastic at one thing, but really lack in all other 'suggested' uses. Well, I've found one that holds up across the board! Have you tried Dr.Bronner's Magic Soap?

photo courtesy of Dr.Bronner's Website

Dr.Bronner's Castile soap is touted as an 18 in 1 solution, and I'll admit, I don't know all 18 uses. But, what I do know is that it smells FABULOUS!!! I have the peppermint scent, however I've heard [and yet to see myself] that it comes in many scents, including lavender - I'd love to get my hands on a bottle of the lavender scent! Not only is this a fair trade product [for more about fair trade, look here] but it actually cleans every surface better than most cleaning products out there, while being gentle enough to be used as a body or laundry detergent! [I have an he machine, so I have not used this to wash laundry, but others have tried it and loved the results]

Here is a list of the suggested uses straight from Dr.Bronner's site:

"How should I use the liquid soap?

For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour several drops of soap full-strength onto hands-washcloth-loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh and clean.

For other uses: Dilute from one part soap into 40 parts water for light cleaning, to cutting it in half or using it full strength for heavy-duty grease-cutting jobs.

For laundry: Use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on the hardness of your water. Adding a dash of baking soda makes it even better.

My liquid soap turned cloudy. What happened, and what should I do to clear it up again?
Our liquid soaps are so concentrated that they are nearly solid. Thus, when the temperature drops to about 50° F, the fatty acids begin to solidify and cloud out. Just put the soap in a warm room, or warm water, and it will clear up at about 70° F. But clear or cloudy, the soap works just the same."

"What are the uses and dilutions for your soap?

Although the label claims eighteen uses, we do not have the space to write all these uses on the label and still accommodate for my grandfather’s philosophy, as well as the new labeling laws that are periodically implemented. In reality, there are far more than eighteen uses, as people constantly write in to tell us about yet another utility of the soap. We won’t detail them all, but below are some of the major uses and dilutions.

For everyday body-washing: Get wet and pour soap full-strength onto hands-washcloth-loofah. Lather up, scrub down, rinse off, and tingle fresh and clean.

For other uses, dilute from one part soap into 40 parts water for light cleaning, to cutting it in half or using it full strength for heavy-duty grease-cutting jobs.

For shampoo, people have been telling us for years that they like using our soaps to shampoo their hair. Now, paired with our new Citrus Conditioning Rinse and Organic Leave-In Conditioning Crème, it works better than ever. For details, click here.

For the laundry, use 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup for one regular load; adjust as needed depending on hardness of water. I've been told that adding a dash of baking soda makes it even better.
For pets, lather up well and apply to their body. Be careful to keep the soap and the lather away from their eyes. I find a mixture of peppermint and eucalyptus works best.

For tooth brushing, apply a drop or two of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (I prefer the peppermint) to a wet toothbrush. Brush as you normally would, rinsing accordingly. Be careful about using more than a couple drops of soap, as you might start foaming at the mouth (last time I checked "rabid chic" was not hip). Many people with sensitive or softer teeth like to use our soap as toothpaste because it lacks abrasives."

Get yourself a bottle [I got my 32oz bottle at Trader Joe's for $5.99 back in July, which is a smokin' deal considering on the Dr.Bronner's site the same bottle is $16.99] and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Big Dreams

When I was little,  nothing was out of reach. I knew I could do, and be, anything I set my mind to. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, many of us loose that sense of courage and self belief. We eventually are knocked down one too many times, and think,"wow, I don't think I can do this."
Recently I did a dream exercise that restored my childhood grandeur. As I worked through the steps, I felt the hope of possibility wash over me. Truly, there are no limits to what you can achieve - you only have to dream up the possibility, then make it a reality.
If you'd like to work through the steps I did, here they are! Enjoy - and remember DREAM BIG!

Take 5 to 10 minutes, and focus on this exercise. Do not stop writing for at least 5 minutes.
 Fast forward three years, and write down the details of your ideal life. How big would you dream if you knew you could not fail?   Where would you live?    How would you live?     How would you spend your time?    Who would you spend your time with?     Would you travel?      Where would you go?      What would your personal income be?      How much money would you have in your bank account?      What would you do for fun?       What charities or philanthropic causes would you support with your time, money, and resources?      Who would you help?       What would a typical day look and feel like?

Now that you know what you want - how are you going to achieve it? Make your action plan, and start today; there is no time like the present to start living.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mercedes Macarons

First, thank you to all who have expressed such heartfelt love, concern, and support for my family and I. We all truly appreciate all of you, and are gratful to have you in our lives. If you are wanting to know the funeral arrangements, please contact me at and I will be happy to share them with you.

As I was getting ready to write earlier this week, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face on my blogger dashboard. My curiousity peeked, I opened up the link for the House of Smiths and saw a beautiful sight - the smiling face of a great friend. Mercedes White [and her sister Rachel too!] and I spent many hours together in our premarried lives. We worked in the cosmetics industry together, often using one another as guinea pigs, and conincidently, my Amazing Husband and I officially became 'official' at the White house. Not that you needed the history, but its fun right? ha! Anyways, Mercedes is now living in Utah, and is the owner and creator of a successful specialty shop. What does she sell you ask? None other than French Macarons! These little delights took Mercedes a year to perfect [not an easy baking task to take on; infact, having perfected the art in only a year is impressive!] and are now for sale at markets around Utah, and this weekend at the Bijou Market in Provo, UT. Mercedes also has a website [it's here if you want to check it out!] where she sells her mixes [ hello Christmas presents!] and provides baking tips to all.  Mercedes also teaches classes, and if you're able to attend one do so!

If you were going to perfect the art of a specialty dish, what would it be? Would you focus on desserts or main dishes? I love the idea of perfecting French Macarons - so dainty, and beautiful to display!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Life and Death

Tuesday evening, I drove for forty minutes to get to my Grandparent's home in a small town. My boys were tucked safely into bed, a CD on nutrition and health played on the stereo, and my car was humming along. I was trying to distract myself from what I knew I would be doing when I arrived at my Grandparents. I'm not very good at saying goodbye.
I walked into a very peaceful moment. My mom and two of my cousins were at Grandpa's bedside, holding his hand and talking to him. With his right arm sore, the sweet spot to be was on his left, where you could gently hold his hand and not worry about waking him. Grandpa dozed in and out as we talked to him, as we tried to laugh more than cry. His breathing was laboured, but no cough came to clear the congestion away.
As the night closed in, I knew I needed to get home, but I didn't want to say goodbye. Goodbye is so hard to say, especially when you know in your heart it's the last goodbye you'll be privileged to say. Each of us were given time with Grandpa alone, and this is what I said:

"Grandpa, when I was eight years old, you gave me my first Book of Mormon. Inside the front cover you wrote," Dear Katie, We know the Lord will bless you in many ways for reading this book. As you read, study, ponder the words herein you'll come to know what we know, "That this is God's word to us." He will bless you in other ways too. You'll soon realize that your ability to read and understand will grow. All our love to a very special girl, Grandpa and Grandma James"

"Thank you for always telling me I'm special. Thank you for always loving me. Thank you for being my Grandpa. Thank you for making us a forever family, and for showing all of us the way to live. Thank you for giving us strength, and showing us what strength is. I love you Grandpa. I know - we all know - how hard you've fought, and it's okay to let go now. Until we meet again, know that I love you, just as I know that you love me."

I kissed my sweet Grandpa's cheeks, squeezed his hand lightly, and turned to go. As I hugged everyone that was lingering longer, I felt the heaviness of the moment on all that were present. Death is not an easy subject to digest, or a moment that can be bore alone. I'm grateful Grandma was not alone.

At 11am on Wednesday, November 16th, my gentle giant slipped peacefully away. Ronald Keith James was a husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, friend, teacher, and missionary. Thank you for blessing our lives with your love, and for teaching us humility by example. Thank you for being my Grandpa. I love you, and will miss you until we meet again.

my cousin Lindsay wrote about Grandpa on her blog. If you'd like to see more pictures, and hear more about this amazing Grandpa I've been blessed to have, you can check it out here.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Monday Monday

How was your weekend? There is just something magical about Monday's - a proverbial blank slate if you will. Sometimes a weekend is wonderful, productive, and full of happy family time. And sometimes...sometimes its not ha! Either way, I love Monday and the fresh perspective it brings. Here are my "SUPER-DUPER-BIG-IDEAS" for the week [thanks goes to Darius for a wonderful new household saying!]:

Go running 3x

do yoga 1x

play volleyball 1x

secure a full house for my Private Business Reception [if you want an invite, email me at!]

sew Christmas Eve Pajama Shorts

send in all warranty paperwork [yep, we've been living here a month and still haven't done this opps!]

go to choir and sing my heart out! Ha!

What are your great intentions for the week? My thought is, if I don't complete all of these its okay - it's striving to complete them all that will slowly tick them off my list!

*none of the photos are my own, but seriously doesn't that volleyball pic make you many to play??? If so, send me an email [] and I'll tell you when and where you can do so! And my family is that loving and cuddling for the most part but we've yet to get a pic of us in matching pajamas.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Handcrafted Christmas

I never stop thinking about Christmas. Never. I listen to Christmas music year round; I look forward to the time when every house is covered in lights; a tree glows in the window; and carolers sing on door steps and street corners. I love the thought of cuddling up with a cup of hot chocolate, a fire, and my Amazing Husband while the kids doze happily in their warm beds. You get the picture? This year it was decided that we would embark on a new tradition, one that takes thought, planning, and talent to pull off: Handcrafted Gifts for Everyone on Our List! For one another, our kids, our family and friends, a lot of time and preparation is going into what will be given as tokens of love, appreciation, and gratitude. I've been slowly getting items completed[since February], but have left the bulk of the work until now, and my list is long and daunting...but oddly exhilarating at the same time[we'll see if I still feel that way in a month...] You see, once you think of the PERFECT gift for someone, the anticipation of watching them open and enjoy it, is worth all the effort. Here are just a few of the projects on my list to make:

Aprons [his and hers]

Pajama Shorts

Crochet Headbands


If you're looking for ideas to incorporate this idea into your Christmas gifts, there are a plethora or tutorials online. Some of my favorite site for handcrafted goodness are:


Make It Love It

House of Smiths

Jones Design Company

Ana White

Check out the sources, get inspired, and don't forget to have fun! Darius was looking at ideas today trying to figure out what to make for his brother - it almost brought a tear to my eye!! I of course only gave a hint of what all will be completed in my craft space, but I look forward to sharing the completed projects soon!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Both Good

When given the choice between playing with Buzz Light year or Woody, Darius would say,"ahhh, they're both good, both good." No decision will really be made, and he'll happily take both toys and go play. But what if you're in a situation where you'd have the same sweet answer as Mr.Darius, but you truly have to decide? Well, that's the pickle I'm in.

             Do I train and compete in a Fitness Competition?

               Or train for and run another Marathon as planned?

Decisions, decisions. What decisions are you debating right now? When all the choices are great, how do you choose?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Joy in Giving

As I spoon fed Eli his Green Shake this morning, I watched a video that resonated with me on such a deep level that tears welled in my eyes.  At this time of year, when the weather turns colder and the need of those less fortunate becomes more apparent, this video is a good reminder. Please watch:

We are all human, we are all connected - we are all children trying to find our way. How can you lift the burden of those around you? India does not have a monoply on suffering - we can serve where ever we are.

Thanks Cheri for sharing this.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


When I was in grade seven, I was the 'new kid' in school, and looking for a way to make friends. Enter volleyball season. As soon as the posting for try outs went up, I ran home and told my Dad. It was literally music to his ears to hear one of his children wanted to follow in his footsteps ha! My Dad is was a serious athlete in his day, playing baseball, basketball, swimming, and even playing volleyball in university. While many of his children played basketball from a young age, I was the first to express interest in volleyball, and boy did I get attention for it ha! Everyday after school we were out in the Quonset volleying, setting, and running drills. By the end of my first season I was MVP, and I never looked back!
I played all through high school loving every minute of it, but haven't had the chance to play much since then.
With our new home has come a lot of new to us experiences, one of them being our church congregation. Our new church congregation is involved in a semi-annual volleyball tournament, and so this past week I had a practice, and a tournament that brought back such amazing memories. Not only is it great to switch up your exercise routine to avoid boredom, but to reawaken neglected muscle groups. I came home from both nights on a high, loving the bruises I knew would be surfacing by morning, and the soreness I knew would be minor muscle aches soon. I'm already dreaming of the next tournament, and a way to make volleyball a part of my regular life again.

Sand is one of the hardest surfaces to jump on, and yet look at this! Pure power, drive and determination at the 2004 Olympic Games!

What did you love when you were younger that you haven't enjoyed in a while? Is there a creative outlet that could bring you as much joy now as it did then? Sometimes you need to look back to find joy moving forward.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Positively Awesome

The parable of the seed rings true in so many facets of life. From thought springs intention, word, and action just as from a seed springs roots, shoots, and eventually a tree. I have been employing this principle in my life, but also in the way I parent my sweet little men. Last night, as my amazing husband walked in the door, he was greeted with calm, happy music, two boys in the midst of melt downs, and me smiling. Needless to say he was confused ha! But here is what I've found: if I join the boys in their brain busting screams, the level of stress in our home only rises[shocking I know]. However, if I stay calm, they eventually drop down to my level. To have a happy, even keeled home, it all starts with the Mama.
I have so many items on my daily 'to do' list, from cooking, cleaning, and laundry, to running, weight lifting, building my business, and blogging - and that's not even including my role as Mama to two sweet boys! As I write down everything I need to do that day, it can be overwhelming. The sort of overwhelming where you don't even want to start ticking things off ha! I've decided though that my list is now my challenge - Can I get it all done, while still putting my boys first? Now I burst out of the 'starting gate' [bed] with a smile on my face. The time in each day is numbered and limited, however what I choose to spend my time doing is up to me! Do I want to be accomplishing tasks, or do I want to end the day wondering what I spent my time doing? Life is what you make of it - and my life is positively awesome!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


Do you remember my post about a quick health fix? If you don't you can read it here. Health and wellness are major areas of study for me - as well as millions around the world. I want to share with you a vitamin, mineral, antioxidant formula that I found with AMAZING health benefits. And these benefits are not just found in testimonials - they're found in the lab. With two double blind studies documenting the effectiveness of the Vemma formula, and clinical trials showing actual lab results [blood test results] where the bio markers IMPROVE ENORMOUSLY with the use of this formula, I couldn't turn away from it. Here's why:
 Over $40 Billion is spent every year in America on pain medications. Pain and inflammation are HUGE problems, and bring in big dollars for the pharmaceutical industry. What if I told you that mangosteen and minerals [the Vemma formula] are a powerful anti-inflammatory, and pain reliever [while being completely and totally NATURAL] that will reduce pain and inflammation in two weeks by a measurable amount.
  High cholesterol is an issue that is so prevalent across North America that even Cheerios boasts its cholesterol lowering benefits. What if I told you that Vemma lowers cholesterol by 30 -40 points on AVERAGE in that same 2 -3 weeks time frame. That is HUGE!
In a clinical trial preformed at the        by     Vemma increased immunity. The ramifications of increased immunity are countless - less sick days at school or work meaning more productivity and income; less missed training sessions on your way to your next event, whether that is a marathon, triathlon, fitness competition or other; decreased susceptibility to virus and bacterial infections that take over society [remember the avian flu? mad cow disease? hand and foot disease? The list could go on!]
Above I mentioned just a few of the positive health benefits, all of them stemming from a simple solution. If there are vitamin or mineral deficiency in your body, Vemma will correct them with its full spectrum of vitamins, and 65 minerals [all plant sourced,organic and bio-available]. If your body is riddled with free radicals [which, lets face it, even the healthiest diet and lifestyle does not combat all the free radicals we ingest from our environment and foods and create from our activities] the wide spectrum of antioxidants, including 43 xanthones [found in the mangosteen fruit] mop them up and flush them from your body. Xanthones are described as "free radical scavengers" by and have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-prolific properties [read: anti-cancer, as the spreading of cancer is called 'prolification'.]
Many different products have been brought to my attention by those consuming them, or contemplating doing so. I have looked at cleansing systems, weight loss systems, meal replacement systems, juices and pills. None had all I was looking for in a supplement. Then Vemma was brought to my attention by a Nutritionist, and after researching the product, I can honestly say this is something that anyone and everyone can benefit from.
IF you want to invest in your health, send me an email, or leave a comment, and lets chat! You will never regret prioritizing your health.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Whipped Coconut Cream

I had a request for the 'how to' on whipped coconut cream. This is seriously, the EASIEST little treat to whip up and serve on desserts, so I don't know why I didn't think of it myself! But alas, I found it when I was searching for an alternative topping to garnish my vegan pumpkin pie

Whipped Coconut Cream

premium, full fat canned coconut milk
optional: powdered sugar

place the can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Once it has chilled completely, open the can [DO NOT SHAKE IT, TURN IT, OR OTHERWISE JOSTLE THE CONTENTS BEFOREHAND] and scoop out the thick cream sitting ontop into a large bowl, or standmixer bowl.

Either whip with a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, until smooth and creamy, then enjoy! [optional:add icing sugar to thick the whipped cream even more, but I found it plenty rich and thick without added sugar]

What would you love to top with Coconut Cream? I enjoyed it thouroughly on my pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I bet it would be equally good on cake, or as a dip for fruit.

Monday, 31 October 2011


Yes, today is Halloween, and there will be a full recap of our Halloween festivities later this week, but today I have a little baby shower recap from Saturday. If you remember last week I posted about party planning, and the baby shower I was currently planning. Well, baby Armani's safe arrival was celebrated on Saturday and here's a photo recap of all the love for this little sweetheart.

I made this coconut cake, and it is AMAZING! If you're interested in the recipe I can definitely share!

beautiful Ariana, Armani's Mama

Armani needed another chance to wear her Halloween costume [isn't she a gorgeous Monkey!?!] and enjoyed lots of snuggles from all who came to show her some love!

Armani you are so very loved [as is your Mama!] and I look forward to seeing you grow. Thank you for letting us celebrate you sweet daughter Ariana - she is so blessed to be born into your family. And don't worry Paul, Darius and Eli will protect her along with Crew - she'll have a little army of men to keep her safe.

Did you enjoy any non-Halloween events this weekend? Or has your time been eaten away by ghosts, goblins, and vampires alike?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pumpkin Love

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? We FINALLY got around to it last night [delaying the boys snoozing big time!] but seeing as we had promised a certain someone pumpkin carving since Sunday, it was time to make good on that promise. [Does that happen for you? Where you make a promise to your kiddos - or friends - sincerely planning on following through, but time just doesn't allow you to in the time frame promised? It seems to happen a lot more now that there are two little munchkins in our roost!]  I was assigned the pumpkin design work, and the incredible Daddy was given the task of carving. I asked Darius what he wanted the pumpkin to look like and he said,"I want a HAPPY pumpkin!"

Daddy tried to talk him into a scary pumpkin [saying pumpkins aren't suppose to be happy] but Darius just threw back his head and laughed. Happy it is!

Eli enjoyed some green shake for supper while Daddy carved away under Darius' watchful eye. Can you see his cute teeth??? This little monkey has teeth number 5 and 6 coming in right now!

After some careful sketching, de-seeding, and carving, Darius had his happy pumpkin! He was so excited we had to light it up right then! I didn't get a pic of it then, so I had my little man-o pose with his pumpkin this morning.

Darius thinks his pumpkin looks like him, in fact he believes this so much he named his pumpkin "Darius Pumpkin." So cute!

Is your pumpkin carved and ready to greet trick or treaters? Or do you carve last minute? Last minute has its advantages [the pumpkin is less likely to be complete mush on the 31st for one!] but I love the festive look of a carved pumpkin on the porch too much to wait!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Batty Surprise

The other night I spent two and a half HOURS cutting out 75 bats, and sticking them on the wall in a flight pattern for my sweet little Darius. It turns out that Halloween is a big deal this year, and hes been begging for decoration EVERYDAY, and pointing out what areas of the house are lacking the Halloween spirit. To say that my three year old is a task master is an understatement ha!

Anyways, After putting in all that time on the bats, Darius did reward me with a big reaction in the morning. "Oh Mom! It's beautiful!!!.....BUT, the couch is not Halloween." Sheesh. So, we headed off to Fabricland, picked out some fabric, and made some bat pillows to 'Halloween-ize' the couch. With the decor now meeting the very critical standards here's a little peek!

this is what greets you when you walk into our home!

notice the munchkin eating Cheerios? He's so focused ha!

If you'd like to whip up some of these for your couch, check out the tutorial at MADE


Close up of the creepiness! Can you believe Darius picked these out??

These Martha Stewart [found at Michael's] window decals were our most expensive decoration. But, seeing at they're reusable, I thought it was worth the splurge! The web is kindly provided by a neighborhood spider.

Even the table needed to get 'Halloween-ized!'
 Between the cob-webs, spiders, skulls, and bats we're set for a great Halloween - and making one special three year old overjoyed in the process!

Did you do any D.I.Y decorations this year? Did you follow a tutorial? Or did you create your own pattern?

Friday, 21 October 2011

Baby Shower Planning

A great friend of mine recently had a baby girl. Ever since July I have been scouting out ideas for a baby shower to celebrate this sweet baby girls arrival, and now the baby shower is next week! When planning the perfect baby shower [or any party for that matter] it is important to consider a few main elements key to a successful party.

What is the date of the party?

How many guests will be invited?

Where would you like to have the party?

What is the theme or color scheme?

How much do you have to spend on your shin-dig?

Since I already knew the answer to many of these questions far in advance, I've had plenty of time to throw into the planning of details, such as decor. Martha Stewart offers up a plethora of decor inspiration [really, she is a genius when it comes to all things entertaining.] Here are the images that grab me the most, and are driving the decor direction for next weeks shower:

Sweet baby Armani [such a cute name!] is going to be celebrated  next week at her whimsy-chic brunch, with pink, yellow, and white as the color scheme. I can't wait to see it come together! If you're curious about the outcome, I'll be posting photos after the party, so stay tuned.

Do you love planning parties? What details do you get obsessed with? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pant [ so to speak]?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Brand New

It's been almost a week since I last posted, [apologies] but I have a VERY good excuse. We moved into our BRAND NEW house on Tuesday, and we've been busy making it our home! Along with all the boxes to move, unpack, sort and organize, comes the marking of territory [so to speak] that my little men must do around their new neighborhood. This process entails hunting down the best parks [there are so many to choose from!] scouting out the best water features [the lake wins in my books - the boys have yet to decide] and making friends left right and center. Why is it that children can make friends so easily??? Darius saw some kids at the park as we played on Saturday evening [and by kids, I mean three 11 year old girls who could care less about my sweet and precocious three year old boy] and stated very matter of fact, "there's some kids Mom! I'm going to go talk to them." Then off he strode to those girls, who proceeded to ignore him until he lost interest in them and challenged me to a race. Thank goodness he's such a resilient little man!

Anyways, with all the bustling about, blogging has been put on the back burner. Now that I'm feeling a little more settled, and am starting to see the light as the boxes empty and retreat to the basement, I actually took the time to go for a run in what feels like FOREVER! My Amazing Husband held onto the monitor [and dutifully folded laundry - thanks Hon!] while I hit the streets for my inaugural run in our new digs. After not running for weeks [packing, cleaning, and moving out take up LOADS of time - time I usually reserve for me haha] it felt good to pound out a 45 minute run with only minor hiccups.

Here's the breakdown:

Distance: unknown
Time: 45 minutes
Speed: actual unknown/ perceived 6.5 mph range

Making the transition from mainly treadmill running back to gravel, dirt and pavement is oddly nice and relaxing. I forgot how distracting the flashing display can be, and how meditative nature [even with roads, cars, and houses crowding around me] can be.

Do you prefer to run on a treadmill? Or do you enjoy fresh air and nature - even if you're in the middle of a concrete jungle?

After my run I enjoyed a large organic carrot and homemade hummus. Hummus is soooo incredibly easy to make that it should be in everyones fridge at all times [personal opinion...but still very true.] My favorite hummus flavors are roasted garlic and roasted red pepper, but I always start with the same base. For those of you who aren't sure where to start with making their own hummus, but whom now believe that maybe they should have some in their fridge right now, here's how to make it happen!

Super Easy Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed clean
2tbsp tahini [sesame seed butter]
4tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
garlic to taste
spices or roasted vegetables to taste, as desired

Blend all the above ingredients in the blender until a consistent, spreadable dip is achieved. Now enjoy!

There are loads of variations on this basic hummus recipe, and while I haven't tried this one I'm dying to try Cheri's Peanut Butter Hummus she posted recently. Doesn't it look Divine?