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!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Images of Spring and Two Spring Books

{Sunday afternoon nap}

{baby toes}

{lots of puzzling going on these rainy days}

{more baby naps}

{another baby bonnet for a wee lil lass}

{cooking lessons: deviled eggs}

{morning snuggles}

{a surprise snow}

The following are a couple of favorite books from the library. This first one, "Nature's Day" was more for pictures and just gazing at the lovely illustrations than actually reading. Natasha wasn't so much a fan, but I loved flipping through the pages. It has a section for each season, but I focused on spring. Naturally.

This second one, "Springtime in Noisy Village" was an instant hit for both me and Natasha. It's written by Astrid Lindgren, who wrote, "Pippi Longstocking". We both loved the story and the children featured. And yes-once again-the illustrations are darling. Might be my favorite part.

I particularly loved this one where it gives you a glimpse inside the kitchen where a very realistic scene greets you; kind of haphazard and slightly cluttered, but so real to life. Absolutely loved it. Plus, it reminds me of me bottle feeding my lamb, "Sarah" years ago when I was a little girl.

And these children's clothes! Look at those knitted sweaters, wrinkly socks, rain boots (or wellies) and the wind-blown hair. Perfect for spring. 

I just did a search on e-bay for a copy, in case I might find one for Natasha's upcoming birthday. Whoa! The first one listed costs $85! There are some for less, but still way out of my price range right now. Guess I'll have to keep my eyes open for a hidden gem at a used book store instead. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Little Nook Rug

After I rearranged the living room, we had this empty corner behind the couch that just needed a rug. I had it in my mind to put a round, crocheted rug of some kind there to add some texture and coziness. I thought it would be just the thing for some toys and a little play space there for the littles. Whether or not they actually stay ON the rug. But that's beside the point.
Problem was, I don't crochet.
However my sister does, and she happily crocheted a rug for me. 

Raveled HERE

She said it only took her about 3 hours using this pattern, which was one of the easiest round rug patterns she found. How about that. :)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Quote, A List, A Paragraph on Sleep

You always have time for the things you put first.
~Cynthia Gavin
And probably others, as I've seen this quote floating around recently.

  • I read this quote a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me. I realized I hadn't been putting Bible reading very high on my priority list, so I started up reading through the Bible in a year. I use the She Reads Truth app and their reading plan which I really, really like. They divide each day's reading into some of the Old Testament and some of the New, and then thrown in occasionally are a few Psalms. It's my favorite of all read-through-the-Bible plans I've ever tried. As I read through this time, I'm on the hunt for the word "compassion" and how many times it's mentioned.                                                                                                                                                                   Now that I'm getting my daily Bible reading in, I'm moving on to other things. At least, trying. I have projects that don't get started or finished because I'm too often putting insignificant things ahead of them. So instead of turning to Instagram when I sit down to nurse Lincoln, I'm picking up a book. And I'm reminding myself that I have a whole host of cute projects pinned and if I don't START them, they'll never be reality. One can wish all one wants, but that doesn't get the knitted baby pants knitted, or the wall art hung. 

  • With that in mind, it's still a good thing to realize that I don't have to do everything. One of my favorite bloggers recently had a post on doing less and the real life fact that no one does it all. Shelley came up with a "Don't-Do-List" after listening to a podcast on the subject. Here's my "Don't Do List": 

1. Breakfast
Daniel started fixing breakfast for us when Natasha was born so I could sleep in, and he hasn't stopped. Hallelujah. That means I only plan menus for supper and I always try to make enough to have leftovers for the next day's lunch. That way I'm not scrambling for a whole new meal come noon the next day.

2. Cloth Diaper
I did with Natasha, (even made my own cloth diapers) but this time...I'm embracing disposables and not fretting over it. Maybe when Lincoln is older I'll do it again, but not now. It's not that I don't want to cloth diaper and be able to save money; it's that I don't want to deal with leaking diapers and honestly, I dealt with a fair amount of that. I really, really don't like wet onesies. It's too stressful for me. And, little boys fill diapers differently than little girls (if ya know what I mean) and I don't feel like dealing with that learning curve right now.

3. Clean the showers
Now, don't take this wrong-they're not that grimy. We have soft water now and they simply don't get that dirty compared to having hard, orange, rust colored water in our previous rental house. So, I just wipe them down occasionally and let it go.

4. Edit blog pictures
I used to try to be semi-professional and use Light Room to edit pictures, but no more. I'm not a professional and aside from occasionally adjusting some fill-light or brightness, you get them how they were snapped. It makes my life simpler.

  • Our little man is not sleeping through the night. I know, I know, not all babies do and I'm not expecting perfection here. Natasha didn't till she was around 18 months old and I probably could have stopped that one nightly nursing session a lot sooner than I did. But I digress. I had hoped to try some sleep training of some kind with our second baby but it's harder than it sounds. Night-weaning is actually what I want since Lincoln goes to sleep fine during the day for his naps all by himself. Ideally I'd like as little crying involved as possible, but I'm learning maybe it isn't possible. I tried holding him when he woke up and just not nursing him, but he only gets MAD when I don't nurse him. So...there has been some crying the last week or so, but we have gone down to about 2 feedings at night versus 4. I take that as progress...?