Where Has November Gone?!ย 

December is here!! November…came and left – FAST! Didn’t it? I feel like I merely blinked and it was gone. And now the most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching! 

I have a lot of good stuff to share these days as a lot has been happening and I’ve been making more of an effort to document these happenings and whipping out my iPhone at a moments notice! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think being a mom has helped me learn to have super quick reflexes! 

Speaking of being a mom – Levi is now a ONE YEAR OLD! Can you believe it?! They certainly don’t stay little for long. It seems as though almost overnight he’s full of sass at times and has all these opinions about things. Not even kidding! He now shakes his head ‘no’ all.the.time. And he’s suddenly become a picky eater! And super independent with things now too. Where did my snuggly little baby go? He’s always itching to go explore ๐Ÿ™‚ .

To celebrate his first birthday we drove back down to Matt’s parents. They let us have his party there – which worked out super well because that way he could be with family and close friends. It was a lumberjack themed party – which I thought was pretty perfect for the time of year, Movember and all that good stuff  ๐Ÿ˜‰ . It was a full house – I think there was about 26 adults and 12 little ones running everywhere! My in laws are pretty awesome for opening up their house to that many guests!!

 It was so much fun planning this party. It definitely helped me to be more excited about the fact that my baby is now one year old! Pinterest is always a great inspiration and got my creative juices flowing. When I think about my theme “lumberjack” I think about flannel, outdoorsy, camping, roughing it, that type of rustic feel. So I incorporated a lot of natural, outdoorsy elements in my decor and tried to keep it as simple as possible. With this theme, I was able to utilize a lot of our camping gear as well as my winter/Christmas decor, so that helped us to stay on a budget! I had leaves, acorns, and pinecones scattered around, and used more rustic party supplies like birch “ribbon”, twine and burlap.

 

I printed off some fun lumberjack photos from Pinterest as well as some of Levi’s first few months…

Aww, look how little โค

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The key things I wanted to have at the party was a hot chocolate bar and trail mix favours, so those were fun to have and were enjoyed by both the kids and adult alike ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  

  

My awesome sister took all the photos for me as I was busy prepping food/welcoming guests, etc… But sadly there wasn’t a picture taken of the hot cocoa table! I can tell you that it was fully stocked with many goodies! We had out both a vanilla syrup and a peppermint syrup (that I made myself). Then for the toppings there was both chocolate and butterscotch chips, whipped cream, caramel sauce and cinnamon, mini marshmallows and even salt! So people could have a salted caramel hot chocolate or even a peppermint one! There were many flavour options and it was thoroughly enjoyed. This is something I’ll definitely do again at another party ๐Ÿ™‚ .

For the trail mix we put out salted peanuts, pumpkin seeds, banana chips and raisins. I had some “sweet timber” out on that table too which was Kit Kat bars stacked like logs and scattered some tootsie rolls to add a little sweetness to all that salty. 

I made everything myself. I wanted a fabric banner and considered buying one on Etsy, but it was cheaper to make it (and was super simple!) I baked “pancake” sugar cookies, and also made both red velvet and chocolate cupcakes (black and red – lumberjack flannel, anyone?!) 

  

    
 I had picked up both the lantern (similar) and the wooden server (acacia) from Chapters/Indigo. The candle was Bath and BodyWorks “Pumpkin Pecan Waffles”! Mmm…it was especially fitting as lumberjacks are known for their big breakfasts! 

We took our own cakesmash/ one year photos of Levi at a conservation area and then had those pictures framed an on display at the party! I was so pleased with how well they turned out. Little bottle brush trees were found at the Dollarstore.

 

Everyone came over for lunch and we served pulled pork on a bun with a side of brown beans and broccoli salad (which I nicknamed “forest of trees” – everything is on theme, of course!) with apple cider punch. There was other little finger foods/ snacks (s’mores kabobs AND s’mores dip!) and by the time we brought out the cupcakes everyone was either stuffed or had indulged in too many sweets already!

 

 

The birch paper straws I ordered on Amazon as well as the wooden utensils! The plates and napkins were from the dollar store.

   

  

  

 

 “Sharp” cheddar and Pepper “Jack” cheeses ๐Ÿ˜‰ . To keep things cohesive, food was placed on either white or wooden serveware. Some things were left to keep warm (pork in slow cooker, beans in a soup pot and S’mores dip in a cast iron skillet). 

 
 

The cute little “log” place card holders are Kate Aspen and fit the party theme perfectly! 

 
    

The cute “Don’t Feed the Bear” printable can be found on Etsy. The bear glass jar that I had filled with Teddy Graham’s was actually Matt’s that he had kept from his childhood! My sister let me borrow the brown teddy bear ๐Ÿ™‚ .

  

    
 

I love how hard dad is laughing in that picture above! 

  

He thoroughly enjoyed that cupcake ๐Ÿ˜€ !

 

You can kind of see the hot chocolate table set up behind us under the window and photo banner.

   
 

Levi was gifted some really cute clothes, a few toys and lots of great books!

   

Levi and I got a few cute pictures with my younger brother and sister. I loved that a few people dressed up in the lumberjack flannel shirts to fit the theme! 

  
 

   
 

Poor Levi had so much fun but was so hopped up on that cupcake and was in dire need of his afternoon nap! He was super tired after all the party festivities came to an end.
It was awesome to be back around family to celebrate the blessing this kid is! Matt and I feel so fortunate that he’s ours and that he has such a wonderful extended family who loves him and  prays for him regularly. We are truly blessed. โค๏ธ

  
  

    

  

  

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“P – A – R – T – WHY?! ‘Cause I Gotta!”

Jim Carrey, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Matt loves him. And this post is about Matt’s graduation / 30th birthday par-tay (which finally took place last Saturday!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ When I had first spoke about throwing this party for him, the tentative date was set for end of March. However, we went on our “house hunting trip” and so the party needed to be postponed. Since it was in celebration of two milestones, and his birthday is April 29th, an April party was perfect!

I had it at Matt’s brother’s church in Niagara Falls, which was the perfect location as this is where our families and most of our friends are! I had use of their kitchen including stoves and fridges, and any utensils/serve ware  that I didn’t have enough of. I had drove down from the base where Matt had been training (where our rental is) while Matt was working at the base where we got posted to. He came to the Falls once he was done his shifts, and met me there. I came down a week earlier because it was my sister-in-laws baby shower (baby boy!) :D. This allowed me to have time to book a cake to be made, and to shop around for any last minute decor. My sister, was a big help with the set up. She also took these pictures for me of the finished result:

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The ladder had an extinguisher on it, a “fire helmet”, an ‘M’ for Matt, and a the firehalls Dalmatian ;). My nephews and friends kids, loved playing with with stuffed puppy and tearing off the balloons!

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The candy bar had ‘burning buildings’ on them, and a chalkboard stating the top movies/ music / toys on the year 1985 (when Matt Q’s born!). A photo collage was created thanks to the help of my sister! It telly was a little more tricky to put together than I bargained for. Pictures of Matt growing up with family and friends were included. There was ones of him camping, drumming, and dating me, and our wedding day. I tried to capture the 30 years of his life so far, and to include a picture from all the guests that came to the party!

“Burning Embers” were Reece’s Pieces (beside the ‘burning apartment building). “Water buckets” were filled nearby with blue Carribean and blueberry jelly beans.

Hot Tamales were the spicy, hot candies.



I did a “Stop, Drop, and Roll” with Gobstoppers, Gumdrops, and Tootsie Rolls. Most of these candies are Matt’s favourite!


Nib Licorice was “Rescue Rope”…

…and Cheesies were “Flames” at this party ๐Ÿ˜‰ !

My sister helped me dip pretzels in red chocolate to make “matches”.

  

Chairs were set up along the outside of the walls, and kind of grouped together to encourage conversation. We did buffet style with the food tables in the centre of the room. Matt’s favourite food, Italian, was out. Matt’s mom provided homemade lasagnas, and then spaghetti with a homemade meatsauce was also there with of course chillies and parm. Garden salad, Caesar and garlic bread accompanied the pasta dishes. I made a (red) punch, and then of course bottled water was also provided for this firefighter themed party ๐Ÿ™‚ .





I displayed a couple of his textbooks, his graduation certificate of completion, and a couple cool firetrucks I picked up for our new house (maybe for in the family room?).

Everything was was done kind of rustic, and red, orange and yellow ( including dinner plates, napkins, etc), with a touch of black and white (Dalmatian).

The cake was SO good and was white, with strawberry filling (Matt’s fave) and buttercream and had his grad day picture on it. It was served amongst cookies with tea and coffee.

About 40 people came, which was a great turn out, and everyone seemed to have a great time! There were many cards and well wishes given and Matt loved it. He thanked me numerous times afterwards, and I know it meant a lot to have the support of his family and closest friends there. We are looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead and even though we’ll be moving away from where we grew up, we know we have loved ones praying for us back home!

 

A Sweet Visitor and An Even Sweeter Coffee Cake

My sister came up to visit us a couple weekends ago. It’s such a blessing to be staying in a place where we have room for guests to stay when they come to visit! My sister and I are super close, more so now than when we were younger. There are eight years in between us, and when you’re graduatingย elementary school, while your sister is starting elementary school, it’s hard to relate to one another. But as we’ve grown into adulthood, we developed a strong bond and she is my very best friend. We have more in common now, too, which makes spending time together even more enjoyable.

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She spent the weekend here, and it was nice just to talk and visit.ย I haven’t seen her since the holidays, so it was nice to catch up. We went to the mall, watched a few movies, and went out for lunch a couple of times. Some much needed quality “girl time”. And of course, we HAD to find some time to bake in there. I think she likes to bake just as much as I do (or is she just being the agreeable younger sibling to her first born sister? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

We decided to bake a coffee cake. Something sweet that would accompany our addiction favourite morning drink…you guessed it – COFFEE! We’re pretty big fans of any caffeinated bevy. A cinnamon streusel coffee cake. Streusel means “something strewn” in old German – easy to throw together! It’s topped with a sweet glaze, which is perfect for it. And has a delicious inner circle of cinnamon. Everyone needs a solid coffee cake recipe in their repertoire, so here ya go!


Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake:

Ingredients:

Streusel Topping and Center:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

course salt

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped

For the Cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

course salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream (I used plain greek yogurt)

For the Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tbsp. milk

Directions:

Make the streusel topping: Mix together flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small to medium clumps form. Mix in 1/2 cup pecans. I put some plastic wrap on the top, and popped it in the fridge until I was ready to use it.

For the streusel center: Mix together remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup pecans.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter a 9-inch tube pan. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl.

Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream (or greek yogurt!), beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.

Spoon half the batter into pan. Sprinkle streusel center mixture evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter, and spread evenly using an spatula. Sprinkle streusel topping mixture evenly over batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 mins – 1 hr. Once a bit cool, remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

Make the glaze: Once completely cooled, you can glaze it up! Mix together confectioners’ sugar and milk. Drizzle over cake, and let drip down sides. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.

** Best enjoyed with a hot cuppa java ๐Ÿ˜‰ **

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Recipe adapted from Southern Food

{Check out my cinnamon scone recipe here!}