Thursday, July 6, 2017

These Summer Evenings...

Have been so glorious. Bubbles are a favorite and I'm loving spending it with my people. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Woodland Birthday

Lincoln turned one on June 2nd and I'm just now getting around to sharing pictures of his party. It was a small gathering with family, but was just right for celebrating his first year. 

Weeks ago I decided we would use his party as the opening of our summer/pool house, and whatever decor I put up would stay there for the summer house decor. It's been a warehouse for Daniel, but I consolidated boxes, washed the windows, unrolled the carpet and tidied it up for the party as well as for summer. 

Let me preface all the following pictures with a disclaimer: I am firm believer that kid's birthdays can be WAY overdone. Wonderful childhood memories can be made without any theme, decor, games or party favors. Those are all simply fun extras for the child and it's completely up to the mum that feels up to doing it. So while this may look like a lot of work and time and effort, I had fun doing this. I'm not a Martha Stewart, but I really did enjoy decorating and preparing for my little boy's birthday. Plus, I was doing double duty for decorations: 1st birthday AND summer house decor. So most of it stays out there in the summer house now for any upcoming summer gathering. Score!

The cross flag is my rendition of a maritime signal flag for the letter "X". There's no significance to that particular letter for our family; I just liked the design for that letter best. Ha! It's a very simple muslin square with the navy cross machine appliqued on. One day I'd like to have a 13-star American flag to hang out there.

Thanks to Parabo Press, I got 25 free prints of the past year with Lincoln. I tried to take monthly pictures of him sitting in the same chair. It's so fun to see the changes all lined up together, because babies do a LOT of changing in those first few months.

Daniel was good enough to cook our sausage patties and brats over the fire, and the rest of the menu was fairly simple too. I did as much as I could ahead of time. If you search for woodland or forest party ideas on Pinterest, you will probably realize I stole most of my ideas from other parties. I could have made little tags for the food that said things like, "trail mix" or "twigs" (for pretzels) but I thought that was going a little far. ha! We just ate and it was fun.

Fruit trays are very simple, but they can sure be time consuming if you have to wash and slice and arrange it all in an owl shape. ;)

These hedgehog cookies were fun to create. I used my favorite gluten-free sugar cookie recipe and just shaped little hedgehogs by hand before baking. They turned out just right and I dipped them in chocolate before Natasha sprinkled them with chopped pecans or sprinkles. 

 Ah, the cake. I knew I wanted a Schleich animal on top with a somewhat "naked cake" look. It turned out exactly how I had pictured it and that sure can make a Momma happy.  I made Danielle Walker's yellow cake from her book, "Celebrations". In my mind, a bear adorned the top. But, in the end, a moose was perfect. Especially since we were just in Canada last fall and there are a lot of moose up there.

 Lincoln was happy to dig into the cake, but was not fond of eating it. He kept handing me pieces of crumbled cake instead of eating it. :)

 In all the birthday cake fun, I completely forgot to light the candle and have everyone sing before he smashed it. So we did that afterwards. Better late than never! I made it a tradition to always use a brand-new candle for baby's first birthdays, and I kept the one on Natasha's 1st birthday cake and I kept Lincoln's too. It will go in his baby book.

It was so fun having family sitting around our little campfire, laughing and talking and simply...being. 

The cousins went swimming, pretended to be animals and helped Lincoln open his gifts.

It was a grand 1st birthday for a grand little boy.

Friday, June 2, 2017

One Year Ago Today

 A son joined our family.

And we're sure glad he did.

Happy 1st Birthday Lincoln!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mother's Day Everyday

Mother's Day in the United States was this past Sunday. Social media was bursting with special giveaways for moms and pictures of mothers with children. There are so many expectations set for this day and sometimes it's hard not to get caught up with high hopes for the day. Ideally, the baby would sleep through the night, the 7 year old wouldn't complain about the food that was served, and a pleasant aurora would float over the entire household for the full 24 hours. 

But it doesn't always happen that way and despite what the calendar says, life must carry on and mommas do the work they always do and do best, even on Mother's Day. Which is perhaps as it should be, because without these little children to mother and feed and teach not to whine, we wouldn't be mothers, would we?

All that being said, I'm very glad to be the Mum to these little people. It's harder than I ever imagined, but it's so, so good at the same time.

Yes, I know Lincoln has only one shoe on. The mate is not lost, it just wasn't on for the picture. Real life, folks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Dragonese Birthday

Dragons seem to be a rather highly sought after fantasy animal in our house these days. Have been for months actually. So Natasha naturally requested a dragon themed birthday. 

The cake was a pinterest-inspired creation, with tissue paper wings. It was very simple to put together, but let me tell you, icing that creature took a while. {Many thanks to Daniel for watching Lincoln while I iced and iced and iced.} 

My process for the cake consisted of the following: 

~ bake
~ cool completely
~ wrap in saran wrap and foil, freeze
~ assemble, dirty ice it to contain crumbs
~ refreeze uncovered, to harden the base icing 
~ finally, ice it with the decorative icing
~ we stored it overnight on the counter with just a huge stainless-steel pan covering it to keep dust off. As long as it hasn't been sliced, the icing seals the cake and keeps the moisture in so it doesn't have to be in a completely sealed container. Good thing too, because I didn't have a large enough container.  

 Natasha stuck the candles in the dragon's mouth for a fire-breathing dragon when we lit them. (Not pictured.)

I drew a couple dragons on a box for a bean bag toss, and Natasha colored them in. 

For party favors, we drew dragon scales on metallic Easter eggs (which were 66% off at Hobby Lobby!) and put some chocolate eggs and almonds inside for treats. It's nice having a spring birthday when all the Easter stuff is on sale.

I do so like parties at parks. The weather was lovely and it's so fun to be outside after a long winter of indoor gatherings. Lincoln liked the fence nearby to hang on and observe the world.

One of Natasha's gifts was a package of gluten-free ice cream cones and so naturally she requested to have ice cream after supper that night. This probably makes the second proper ice cream cone she's ever had in her life, so that was very fun.

Happy Birthday my dear new 7 year old!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

Easter is one of those holidays I just love. There aren't high expectations for much in our family and it makes it so much less stressful and more enjoyable. Like last year, did a very small little gift for Natasha on the first day of Spring rather than Easter morning and I really like that tradition. It keeps Resurrection Day more set aside for celebrating the empty tomb rather than getting gifts, but I still get the fun of doing a little spring gifting too. This year it really was "little" with Natasha's one gift being a pack of face paint. Not even any candy in her bag this year. (!)

Apparently it's another tradition to get a family picture in our Sunday best:

This year we had a special meal for supper rather than at noon, and it was so fun. I went into it with a "nothing-fancy" mentality and the results were better than I anticipated. (Goes to show I should probably try this thought method for every gathering.) Even though I did a few "fancier" things anyway. It is a special day, after all.

Because I had all afternoon to prepare, I wasn't running around like a crazy catering woman, and instead had fun clipping blossoms from our ornamental pear tree and set the table casually
 yet out of the ordinary. The table decor was completely inspired by Rebecca Gallop from "A Daily Something" after I saw a beautiful picture she featured on her Instagram account. It was super easy to replicate and so springy. 

I used the hard boiled eggs that Natasha and I dyed last week, and napkins I had on hand from one of my Grandma's. They didn't all match, but that was fine. Less perfect is more perfect to me. 

My little piece of "Magnolia Market" are these little salt and pepper shakers. I discovered them a while ago and waited till they were in stock then ordered them so Daniel could give them to me for my birthday. ;) They are my idea of perfect salt and pepper shakers. I smile almost every time I reach for them for these three reasons:

  • First off, they're simple, straight-forward and not fussy. 
  • Secondly, you can easily see which is which without being scared of getting too much of whichever one you didn't want for not knowing if the pepper shaker has more or less holes than the salt.
  • Thirdly, they have cute shaking holes which make it even more clearer, in case for some reason you need extra clarity with that. Also adds an element of fun to an ordinary household object. 

Our Easter menu was based around a leg of lamb. I typically cook it in the crock pot, but since I had more time, I roasted it using Danielle Walker's lavender-rosemary roasted lamb from her Celebrations cookbook. It turned out quite tasty paired with her Moroccan marmalade from the same cookbook.  Also on the menu: Roasted Yukon potatoes and sweet potatoes, fresh green beans (prepared by my sister-in-law), gluten-free dinner rolls, deviled eggs, carrot slices and rice krispie treats for dessert.

None of all that glorious food is pictured though...because we ate it.

What are some traditions your family has for Easter? Are you the brunch type of folks or the eat-out-and-not-cook for Easter Sunday group? I hope whichever category you fall in (and I've been on both sides of this in my life), you had a wonderful relaxing weekend.

He is risen, he is risen indeed!