Friday 29 March 2013

Baby Girls Nursery [reveal]

I can't believe baby girl's nursery is done - and before baby girl have arrived! I'm just going to stop right here and pat myself on the back. Seriously, I didn't think I would pull this off...and secretly I was okay with that. I've been trying to cut myself some slack as my body has been throwing me some curve balls, like debilitating braxton hicks. I truly don't remember having braxton hicks with the boys, in fact when I thought I was having them I was actually in labor  Girl's really are different right from the start!
  So, are you ready to drown in pink? Every time I walk past the nursery I smile - I love all the bright happy colors, and of course, all the pink! 

Many details went into this room, but I have to say I'm really happy with the end result. I started with three paint swatches, a watermelon pink, soft pink, and coral, and made that my palate from which all the projects stemmed. Here's a list of the projects:


cloth crib rail guards

baby quilt

hair bow holder

painting a feature wall

painting picture frames [that will hold pics of baby girl once she arrives]

painting shelf

custom painting of giraffes [made by my awesomely talented sister]

All these elements came together, along with items I already had [crib, chair, table, lamp, family blessing dresses, paper lanterns and tissue paper pompoms from a baby shower I co-hosted, my old stuffed animals, and a sweet book from my Aunt and Uncle for baby girl] to create a soft and sweet room for a baby girl whom is loved beyond measure already. 35 weeks...the countdown is on...and we're finally feeling ready. Did I mention I even washed her clothes? Yeah, these braxton hicks have me doing things a little earlier this time ha!

Thursday 28 March 2013

Superhero Room

My sweet little gentlemen have been so patient as I have worked on projects for their room. Really it doesn't look like I did much, but when I break it down maybe you'll see why it took me months to complete...literally. Or maybe you'll decide I'm lazy. Either way, it's done and I'm happy ha!

My little superheros are happy as clams to have their space just the way they wanted it! Here's a break down of the projects that went into this room:

Painting stripes on a feature wall

Making bunk beds from scratch [ the Hubby did this one. Only the base bed is in the room right now until Eli is ready for bunk beds]

Sewing superhero blankets

Creating the superhero art prints

Photographing my boys with their superhero blankets

Painting a shelf and mounting it to the entrance wall for special superhero items

My boys are loving their personal space, and play in their room now -cause it's a cool place to be ha! It brings me joy to see their sweet faces light up with each little detail that has been added. 

Oh, and baby girl's nursery is done! Eek can't believe I actually FINISHED that project on time! And Eli's baby book is done! Yep, that's a whole lot of ticks off the 'ol to do list! 

Monday 25 March 2013

Photo Book

Monday night I compiled, completed, submitted, and ordered a quiet book for my boys. Yeah, it's as awesomely simple and fabulous as that! My boys are very visual little men, and are happily occupied for long car rides simply by Handsome Hubby and I telling them to find specific things out the window. We use a similar method during church to keep our kiddos listening to what is being taught and not making a huge ruckus for everyone around us [and truth be told, they are not perfect at keeping still/being quiet, but they do pretty well for their two and five years.] While listening to speakers, the boys will be given a word to listen for, and each time they hear the word they can collect 'points.' Points can be redeemed for candies some days, or for a show later, or sometimes they're simply collected - it doesn't seem to matter too much what the points are going towards, as long at they get 'points.' My boys are wonderful that way :) 
  Back to the book: So, to make their points system more enjoyable and efficient during sacrament, I made a quiet book with pictures I collected through a google image search. These images include temples, Prophets, Jesus Christ, and a few others. I then uploaded these images to Shutterfly and made a quiet book of wonderful pictures [that my boys can choose their points collecting word from] to help my boys find enjoyment in stillness, quiet, and learning. The best thing about Shutterfly is if you order books from them they will send you promotional codes every now and then to redeem a FREE 8x8 hard cover book - which is what I did with my quiet book! So, with a total cost of $6.99USD, it doesn't get much better than this! The code I was sent is MYBOOK. Give the code a try, and if it doesn't work for you simply call the company and I'm betting they'll honor it for you. 
Just in case the link [found at the bottom of this post] to the book doesn't work for you, here is a sampling of the photos found in my boys book to give you an idea of what to put in yours:

Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Pursue Virtue

My boys are taking a little quiet time break with some "Little Einstein's"  right now, so I'm going to grab a moment to get some thoughts down on paper. I have been reflecting a lot lately on the type of Mama I want to be. The kind of person I want to be - the kind of role model I want to be. Not only are there little eyes watching my actions, and modeling my behaviors, here at home, but I come in contact with others everyday and those interactions sometimes leave me wondering,"Did I make an impact for good? Do they know they are loved because of how I treated them? Does interacting with me bring light and warmth to their life?" 
Almost as if my mind was being read, Mara over at A BLOG ABOUT LOVE wrote an intriguing and thought provoking post on this very subject. On being at peace and happy with who you are and what you are. Read her thoughts here; you won't regret it. Here is my summary and take away from Mara's words.

"Align yourself with [God] by pursuing His virtues: Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Compassion, Gratitude, Joy, Hope," Good Works, and Integrity. "...Once you do it, the power of virtue starts to snowball.  It starts to dominate and embody you, instead of the other awful thing that you were trying to rid yourself of.  Basically, when you pursue these’re "at one" with the very energy that they’re "at one" with God himself.  You know, "light is attracted to light", etc.  There is an ENERGY associated with this stuff.  You will feel it!!!!!! " 

This is what I needed today. And so I pass it on to you - maybe you're in need of it too. 

Wednesday 20 March 2013


I've been off in school for the past two days, learning and refreshing my memory in two very important tasks - standard first aid and CPR level C [meaning for adults, children, and infants.] I have been meaning to do this for forever, and finally a week and a bit ago I just called up the school, registered, and that was that. My Hottie Husband is certified, and re-certifies through work on an annual [or maybe bi-annual...not completely sure] basis, but seeing as I'm the one at home with our sweet kiddos we both felt the need to have me be up to date on life saving techniques. 
I walked in the door this afternoon so relieved to be home with my sweet little family, and was quickly made aware of why it is so important to have this training. Not only do they teach you what to do to save someone in a variety of circumstances, but the emphasis on staying calm is drilled into you at every step. So, when Eli began choking on supper [while sitting on Husbands lap, so he didn't see the visual signs of Eli's distress] I didn't hesitate or get scared, I simply told Hottie Husband Eli was choking, and he helped Eli dislodge the food. Soon after the boys were in the bath [part of their bedtime routine every night] and Eli swallowed water and began choking. I calmly reaching into the bath, retrieved my choking little man-o, and helped him dislodge the water. Once he finished puking up water and food I grabbed Darius out of the bath too - no one wants to marinate in puke ha!
And so now I sit here, having handled two previously panicky situations with ease [all on the day that I walked out of class a certified First Aid responder], and know that the $150 for the two day course is completely and utterly worth every penny. Honestly, I would have paid more - I had a fabulous instructor who went into more depth than the book or videos provided, and left me feeling ready to apply my learning.   
Don't follow my example in putting off this course - but do follow my lead in finally taking it. You'll be happy you did when your little man-o needs your help.

If you live in the Calgary area, register for your course with St.John's Ambulance by calling 403-250-2922. Ask for Dell Pratt as your teacher - he was seriously that good.

Friday 15 March 2013


I'm 33 weeks today and feeling the crunch! This weekend will be spent picking up supplies for the various projects and getting them going...I'm be working into next week for sure, but that's okay cause I'm getting the ball rolling!
Curious what projects are currently underway? Here's a list of the DIY links I'll be utilising:

Making the master bed headboard. I am still on the fence as to whether I'll be making the headboard or buying this one from Ikea.
The deciding factor will be cost; if I can find the right materials for as cheaply as the tutorial did (she spent $67!!) then I'm making it! The king sized headboard from IKEA is $299, so we'll just have to wait and see which happens.

Transferring photos to canvas for the boys room. At an activity for the women's group in my church, some women made canvas prints of their families...I'm doing super heroes ha! The boys should love them, provided they turn out.

When I was at the Easter Sale for Coco Rose Couture yesterday, the beautiful and talented Bree, owner and creator of Coco Rose explained to me how to make the hair clip holder that she sells in her shop! I couldn't believe how generous she was to explain, in detail, how to make these! So, baby girl's room also has a project in the works! [Follow Coco Rose Couture on facebook; Bree often does giveaways that are completely incredible!]

Besides these projects we have the babies room to clear out, the basement to clear out, an item being picked up that we sold on kijiji [yeah!], family dropping by on both Saturday and Sunday, church Sunday, and possibly helping some friends out Saturday afternoon...I'm ready for bed already ha! 

What projects do you have going on this weekend? Do you blaze through a pile of projects at once, or tackle one thing at a time? 

Wednesday 13 March 2013

So grateful

My sweet little slippers; now waiting for chubby little feet to fill them again
Back when I was pregnant with Eli, I watched a you tube video on quilting and thought,"how hard could that be?" So, I bought fabric, made a quilt top, quilted it by hand, then stopped. The you tube videos for binding the quilt left me feeling very overwhelmed. When visiting with some friends one day, one of the friends, Laura, noticed my heap of quilting materials in a basket in the corner of the room. She asked if she could see what I had done, and I of course whipped it out [hey, even if I had no clue how to move forward I was extremely proud of what I had accomplished ha!] She admired my choice of fabrics and patterns, loved the shiny gold thread which I had used to hand quilt, and asked what color I was going to bind the quilt in. I admitted that I had no clue how to make the binding tape, let along bind the quilt, and so hadn't thought much about what color to bind it in. Laura offered right then and there to come back to my home the next day, help me make the binding tape, and teach me how to bind the quilt. The offer alone had me close to tears I was so grateful! 
Laura spent many hours with me, teaching, guiding, and praising my efforts. She gave me the encouragement and support I needed to be able to complete a second quilt [for Darius] before Eli arrived on the scene. We had known and loved one another before this time we spent together, but those hours really did form a bond and an appreciation for one another that I am forever grateful for.
Last night as I finished up baby girls quilt, I found myself thinking of my dear friend Laura. She passed away just over a year ago, on Valentine's Day. She left behind a legacy at forty five years old that many people will not accomplish with twice the time. Teaching me to finish quilts was just a small example of the service and depths of talents that Laura had and shared. I miss her, and I wish I could be driving over to her place this morning with baby girls quilt in tow. Even though I know I can't show her my latest quilt myself, I know she would be repeating to me what she did with both my boys quilts;" No one can say that buying a quilt for their baby is the same as making one. Sure you save money some times, and save a lot of time when you buy the quilt already made, but wrapping your children in a quilt you made with them in mind is like wrapping them in your loving arms. It's just so much more." 
I am grateful for Laura and the lessons she taught me; and I know shes happy with baby girls quilt - imperfections and all.

Monday 11 March 2013

Flourless Chocolate Torte

We enjoyed quite the Sunday supper this week...and my favourite part? That all I had to do was dessert! Ha! But seriously, it was a real treat to have family over for dinner, and they were so super sweet and brought dinner WITH THEM. What could possibly be better than fabulous company and minimal prep time? Well, the cake we had for dessert sure gave it a run for first place, but I still think having Dad and Karen here was the best treat of the night! Since they were bringing supper I insisted on making dessert with my handy sous chef Darius. Darius and I had been perusing this months Food Network Magazine the day before, and while he had deemed most recipes 'bisgusting' there was one picture too good to resist, "oh, let's make that Mom! We could even make two cakes for my birthday - and that would be one of them!" Reading the recipe I could taste the flavors, and truly I was on board with making it right then and there if we had a reason. And so we waited a day to whip up this beautiful cake to share with true gluten free connoisseurs, hoping that the recipe would truly be as good in reality as I felt it would be when I read the recipe. And guys, let me tell you - wow was it ever amazing! Light, yet dense enough to put weight on your fork; chocolaty  creamy, and yet not too rich; smooth as silk on the inside, with a slight crust to the top and sides. Absolutely perfect! We sent the rest of the cake home with Karen [who is gluten free 100% of the time] for true enjoyment, so this picture of the magazine will have to do...and lets be honest, this cake turned out a better looking than my own, so I don't mind using it :)

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Food Network Magazine April 2013, page 159

3/4 c butter, plus more for the pan [I used vegan butter]
1 1/2 c bittersweet chocolate, chopped [I used dark chocolate]
6 large eggs
1/2 c sugar [I used coconut sugar]
Pinch of kosher salt [I used sea salt]
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly butter bottom and sides of a 9" spring form pan [I lined mine with wax paper, cut to fit the pan.] Combine the chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until melted and combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and let cool slightly.
2. Combine the eggs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and thick, 5-8 minutes. [I did this in my Bosch mixer, on level 1 for 6 minutes.]
3. Gently fold half of the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until just combined, then gently fold in the rest.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is no longer shiny and barely jiggles and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few crumbs, 35-45 minutes [I baked mine for 45 minutes.] Transfer to a rack and let cool completely in the pan. Remove the spring form ring and transfer to a platter, dust with cocoa powder.

Dad and Karen both deemed this the best gluten free cake they'd tasted, and the boys and I had to agree - it is really good! One of Karen's favorite parts about it was that there is no gritty-ness to it, and there is also no strange after taste; both are common problems with gluten free goodies. So, if you're firmly entrenched in gluten free fare, give this cake a whirl! 

The next gluten free recipe to conquer: pizza crust....

Friday 8 March 2013


As I laid in bed talking over the day with my Handsome Husband the other night, he said something so profound that I need to share. I was *complaining* about the number of times I have to say something to the boys before they respond, and just how hair-pulling-frustrating it is. As he laid quietly listening to me vent, give examples, and then vent some more, he said,"Have you ever considered that they're not ignoring you? It's just so darn hard to hear anything over their own awesomeness." And it's true. I have no doubt in my mind that these two little men of mine have a running commentary in their little noggin's to rival a stand up comic! Since our talk it's still been hard at times as I wait for a logical and reasonable response time, but it's also been much easier to understand where they're coming from. So yes, I still expect a response when I'm talking to them, but now I'm willing to give them sometime to 'come to.' Life is just a little bit sweeter.

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Pep in Your Step!

Life is meant to be lived, enjoyed, and experienced - not merely endured. So, today I bring you two things to  escalate the fulfillment and kick up the pep in your step!

First, Read THIS:

"My wife, Harriet, and I love riding our bicycles. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature. We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders.
However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive. I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more. And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife.
Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct. She smiles and says, “Dieter, it’s not a race; it’s a journey. Enjoy the moment.”
How right she is!
Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.
Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?
Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition.
Do we say our prayers with only the “amen” or the end in mind? Of course not. We pray to be close to our Heavenly Father, to receive His Spirit and feel His love.
We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”6 
Second, Make THESE:

PB ‘Nana Cream Bites 
I hes­i­tate to even call this a recipe, as it’s so basic it’s really more of a guide­line. These cold morsels of nom­ness con­tain the tri­fecta of fla­vor– banana, peanut but­ter and choco­late, mak­ing for a lux­u­ri­ous ice cream-esque bite. You can always sub­sti­tute a dif­fer­ent nut butter.
2 large bananas
1/4 cup nat­ural peanut but­ter
1/2 cup choco­late chips
2 tbsp-1/4 cup milk of choice [I used coconut oil]
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or parch­ment. Slice bananas into coins about 1/2–3/4 inch thick. Spread a lit­tle dol­lop of peanut but­ter on top of each one. In a small bowl, com­bine the choco­late chips and milk (remem­ber, less is more). Microwave in 15 sec­ond incre­ments until you can whisk them together. You want it to be a dipable con­sis­tency, not spread­able. Add a splash more milk if nec­es­sary. Dip the banana chunks using a fork as a lit­tle chocolate-coating fork­lift, dip­ping them into the melted choco­late. Place choco­late coated bananas on the pre­pared sheet and place in freezer until com­pletely frozen (3–5 hours). Remove frozen banana chunks from the sheet and store in a freezer container.

Read, create, enjoy! Finding joy in the everyday moments is what makes this journey worth every step.

Monday 4 March 2013

Car Seat Cover [how to]

Have you seen the cute car seat covers shielding all those sweet little babies in the grocery store, church, and everywhere else? Well as it turns out they're insanely easy to make! Like beginner sewers can tackle this easy! So, if you're in need of a personalized baby present, whether for yourself or for a lovely friend, here's what you need to know about them:

First, you need to make sure that your cover is big enough to cover the car seat. I have a massive Graco car seat, so what worked for me was cutting my top and bottom fabric to 35"x 42" dimensions [which meant adding a border to the quilt top that I was converting into the top layer.] There are so many tutorials that give instructions on how to make them, but this one is what I followed. The only difference I made from the linked instructions was to use ribbon ties instead of Velcro wraps for securing to the car seat handle. The reason I did this was two fold; 1) I couldn't decide what fabric to use for the wrap; and 2) I really wanted to keep this cute and feminine. The bows seem to add an extra bit of whimsy, and remind me of ballet slippers which is exactly what this cover needed!

If you're looking to make one of these covers take a look at the tutorial and dive right in! I'd love to see a picture of your completed project - leave a link to it in the comments section so I can check it out!

Friday 1 March 2013

February in Review

With February behind us I wanted to take a moment to take stock on my Top 10 goals for before baby girl makes her grand entrance. Here's the list:

  1. Compile and submit Eli's baby book for printing - it's a doozy, but seriously how long can you put off such an important project? Apparently two years.
  2. Plan and decorate baby girls nursery.
  3. Finish the super hero bedroom for the boys.
  4. Choose and finish a quilt design for baby girl.
  5. Finish decorating the master bedroom.
  6. Walk everyday to build up strength and endurance for the marathon to come - yep, I'm talking to you labor.
  7. Enjoy yoga three times a week, also for labor prep.
  8. Sort through the boys toys and donate a bunch to charity.
  9. Spend time with friends every month [and yes I know its pathetic that 'spending time with friends' made it onto a to do list; but really if I don't plan/prioritize it, it's not going to happen.]
  10. Have a family over for dinner every month.

So, how am I doing on these?

1. All of the photos from Eli's first year are uploaded to the photobook site and ready to be made into his book! This took forever, but man am I excited to get that book completed for my little man!

2. Currently the nursery has a mattress and box spring leaning agaisnst the wall, and a table and chair in the corner...and no plan as to what is going to happen moving forward. BUT I have a pinterest board that is over flowing with ideas and helping the plan come into focus! 

check out this image and many others on my nursery decor pinterest board

3. The boys bedroom is so close to being done, but it to is not ready for a grand reveal. It is far enough along that both boys love it, so it's not been given very high priority either...and may stay low on the totem pole for a while...

4. I have chosen a quilt design for baby girl! And it will be finished soon and ready to share with you all!

5. This too is in the same low spot as the boys room. Our master bedroom is not anywhere near what I envision it to be, but it is my energy and enthusiasm are easily sidetracked onto other projects.

6 & 7. Walking everyday and yoga three times a week hasn't happened consistently, but exercise in general has been VERY consistent! With an average of 5 workouts a week I am very pleased with where I'm at. 

With week three having two yoga sessions and week four having three [four if March 1st counts too!] yoga is becoming more consistent again. Walking has been a minimum of twice and max of four times each week, and weight training has rounded out the rest. Over all I'm really happy with where I'm at - yeah for starting iron supplements and getting some energy back!

8. The boys toys are slowly being sorted through. I've had Darius help me with this endeavor and he really likes the idea of donating toys to boys who don't have any. For being a rough and tumble boy he is also very sensitive and practical - for example, when I brought him home a new math work book today he asked me very pointedly,"Mom, did you get this on sale?" He was very pleased that I had haha!

9. Spending time with friends sometimes falls to the way side, but planning really has made this one work for me. I went out with a great long time friend of mine at the beginning of the month, met up with women from my church mid month, and hung out with my sister last week. I do plan on going out tonight even if I can wake up! So this one is also a marked improvement over last month!

10. And having friends and family for dinner has also happened! I organized a big cousins dinner at the beginning of the month, we had another family dinner for Eli's birthday mid month, Uncle Brayden [my brother whom my boys are obsessed with] has come for dinner a few times, Auntie Marin [ my sister who wishes my boys were obsessed with her too ha!] and Uncle Andrew came for dinner, and my Mom also joined us for dinner. 

Another month down, and I truly feel like progress was made! I'm 31 weeks today which means I really need to pick up steam on the decorating projects, but I'm thrilled to be able to look back on February and see that progress has been made!

What projects do you have on the go right now? Do you feel like you're four weeks closer to completing your big "to do's" or are you now kicking yourself for letting four weeks slip by? Either way, whether kicking or happy, I hope you set your intention on progress and purpose this month. Move forward with your eye on the goal - something good is bound to happen!