Where Has November Gone?! 

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! 😉 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 🙂 .

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  😉 . 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 ❤

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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 🙂 .

  

  

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 🙂 .

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 😉 . 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 🙂 .

  

    
 

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

  

He thoroughly enjoyed that cupcake 😀 !

 

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. ❤️

  
  

    

  

  

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DIY Cloth Wipes 

 

So our order of cloth diapers just came in and so far I’m liking them. We have a good sized stash and now that Levi is beginning to outgrow his newborn disposables, we’ve started to implement these bad boys. We came up with a plan to cloth diaper while I was pregnant, and I’m glad we’re deciding to stick with it! We didn’t want to order numerous sizes (can you say “expensive”?! 😛 ) so we wanted to wait until he was at least 8lbs. Having been born a little premature, it has taken a little while to reach this point but he’s finally surpassed that! Babies always lose a little at first, and getting him up to his birth weight was a small feat of its own (having had difficulty with his latch in the beginning 😥 )!

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disposable diapers, nor do I have any judgemental thoughts about exclusively using disposables (or cloth). To each their own! But we decided to use disposables at first while newborn babies excrete meconium. Also the added expense of purchasing the newborn sized cloth diapers was a tough pill to swallow. We also received quite a few packages of disposables at Levi’s baby showers, so having taken that into account, we opted to use those overnight as well as when we go out. That being said, we finally placed our order and I actually found myself EXCITED to receive the shipment in the mail! There’s just so many cute colours and patterns – a mom could really get carried away! 😉

Cute, right?! And it’s great because diapers really do add up, and although cloth are more of an expense up front, you’ll get your monies worth out of them. Especially if you reuse them on more than one baby! We opted for more gender neutral prints for this reason. 😉

So we basically had no idea about cloth diapers, so we read reviews and asked friends. Upon discussing the diapers, the topic of wipes came up. I began searching for a do-it-yourself wipe “recipe” . There were disposable ones (think paper towels), but I figured why not do cloth wipes as well?! We may as well go all. the. way :D. We snatched a couple packs of cloths (10) and emptied a case of Huggies disposables wipes. Figured it could be reused to store my cloth ones and – voila! Now, you can always use whatever material you want, be it flannel or heck – even bamboo! And it’s on my to-do list to eventually mod podge over the container with some scrapbook paper or fabric. 🙂

Now, don’t go reading this and dismiss the idea yet! I wouldn’t steer ya wrong. I know how precious your time is! But, they’re actually pretty fast and simple to make. It literally takes me maybe 5 minutes every 3 or 4 days to make a new batch! Pretty good, if you ask me.


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Cloth Wipes Mix: 

Dry washcloths

1 c. Hot water

1 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile liquid soap

1 tsp. Aloe Vera gel

1 Tbsp. Coconut oil

1). Mix your tablespoon of coconut oil with your cup of hot water. Add soap, and the aloe gel. Mix thoroughly.

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2). I add just a few cloths to the wipe ingredients at a time. Wring them out slightly before placing on a flat surface. Now we fold them so they’ll fit into our wet wipes container.

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3). Place one cloth down flat, and lay another on top of half of it…(see below).

4). Bring the bottom half (that’s been tucked under the top cloth) up…

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5). Place another wet cloth on top of the bottom part you just folded up…

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6.) Now you can fold the top half down. Continue this pattern until all your wash cloths have been soaked in the soap mixture and folded.

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7.) Place them inside your emptied container. If you have a wipes warmer these would work well in that too! Pull the first wipe out of the top slightly so it’s ready to be used when it’s time. 😉 All your wipes should come out after one another if they’ve been folded correctly.

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Super easy! Now you know exactly what’s going on your baby’s delicate skin. They’re reusable and eco-friendly, and you don’t have to worry about those dangerous chemicals that are found in disposables! And I tell, ya – they make clean up a cinch. It may seem like a hassle at first, but once you’ve tried them and you see how much better they work than disposables, you might decide to make the change a permanent one in your home as well. 🙂

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Just Can’t Live Without…

Hey bloggy friends! How was your weekend? Ours was relaxing, which was nice after the whirlwind of the holidays and so many jam-packed weekends.

I mentioned how I’d likely be posting more about maternity, pregnancy and all things baby related now that I’m a new mom. 🙂 Today I thought it appropriate to blog about baby items that have been making things a heck of a lot easier when you have a newborn!

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1. Sophie la Girafe –  Every child loves Sophie! She’s a toy, she’s a teether, and she’s so cute! A squeaky, BPA free that is durable, fun and engaging and easy for little fingers to grip. Levi is still too young to REALLY appreciate miss Sophie, but in a few months he’s bound to love her.

2. Ikea Krama washcloths – Cotton, and soft for your babies skin. We use them under Levi’s bum (on top of his change pad cover) in an effort to keep the change pad clean longer! So far they’ve been working great. They’re cheap too – a 10 pack for $5.99.

3. Nose Frida Snot Sucker – Made in Sweden, doctor invented and recommended, it’s a hygienic baby booger buster! It’s proven to be highly effective when Levi has his first cold a couple of weeks ago.

4. Huggies Clutch and Clean – Refillable, hypoallergenic wet wipes. I keep these in our diaper bag. Even though we are making cloth wipes, it’s great to have this carry case for wet wipes when we’re out and about. The case comes in fun prints and patterns and hangs anywhere too, which is handy 😀 .

5. Ikea Tutig Baby Care Mat – Easy to keep clean, easy to store, easy to fold…it’s a large surface and great for changing dirty diapers on. It’s a large surface, and machine washable, and has a waterproof backing. Love it.

6. Medela Pump In Style Advanced Electric Breast Pump – Great for daily use and easy to clean parts. It’s electric and has a double pump, so it cuts pumping time in half – which is convenient! The pump is in a bag that’s portable and discreet and you can choose the style of bag that suits you. It comes with a cooler and freezer pack, BPA- free bottles, freezer bags, and quick clean micro- steam bags. Definitely worth checking out for sure! Love mine.

7. Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets – They’re soft, a great size and durable. Plus they’re multi-purpose – use for swaddling, as a receiving blanket, and/or nursing cover. Plus, makes a cute pashmina for your outfits if you choose to wear it. They come in numerous patterns and colours.

8. Phillips Avent Natural Bottles – The New Philips Avent Natural bottle is the most natural way to bottle feed. They say that this bottle comes closest to feeding at the breast, and can be combined with breastfeeding. The bottles are BPA free and come in 4oz. and 9oz. sizes in a 3 pack!

9. Board book & Stuffed Bear “I Love You Through and Through” – An adorable rhyming story of unconditional love with adorable illustrations of a toddler and a teddy bear. The book has sturdy cardstock pages and a padded cover with rounded corners for safe handling by little ones. And the little bear is super cute and is little enough to be toted around in baby’s diaper bag without taking up too much space! 🙂

A few other favourites…

Carseat Canopy

There is a website (I’ll share it below) that offers free car seat canopies – you just pay the shipping! It comes in various patterns and is lined with warm minky fabric. I love my chevron one :D. Great when your baby is born in the colder months.

Udder Covers

These are great if you’re nursing. Cute patterns offered here and this product also is free if you pay the shipping (link below).

Nursing Pillow

Great size nursing pillow – perfect for travel. I take ours with us wherever we go, and it’s great to have. Free also if you opt to pay shipping. And, again, lots of fun colours and designs! 🙂

*CLICK HERE FOR THE WEBSITE THAT OFFERS PROMO CODES FOR THE ABOVE 3 products

Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-to-Seat

I love that this is not only a bouncer, but a swing too! Levi loves his and it was given to him by 2 of his aunts and uncles 😀 . It plays soothing tones (crashing waves, crickets chirping) which are more like white noise, as well as more upbeat lullabies.

Skip Hop Grab and Go Stroller Organizer

This item is perfect if your stroller is in need of cup holders. I use it when I’m shopping as I can zip up any cards I take in. Plus that part is detachable and can be worn as a wristlet. The middle section between the cup holders is perfect for smaller parcels.


Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

I LOVE my diaper bag! I’ve had my eye on Skip Hop diaper bags before I was even pregnant. One of my many favourite shower gifts – isnt it beautiful?! I feel as though I should be vacationing in the French Riviera 😀 ! I didn’t choose it completely based on its appearance, however. It’s as functional as it is stylish. It has enough room for all my baby necessities, plus a shallower section that I can use instead of my purse. It also has sections for bottles, an adjustable shoulder strap, and a travel change pad is included! I’ll be doing a blog post in the next few weeks sharing about it more specifically 😉 .

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City Select Stroller by Baby Jogger

I’ve heard a lot of good things about the city select, and it has stood up to it’s good reviews! For one thing it’s extremely versatile as it grows with family, and has numerous seating options and positions. We have a compatible car seat and the car seat adapter so it can pop right onto the stroller. It’s easy to fold and unfold, as well as easy to lock. It maneuvers beautifully. The handlebars are adjustable making it very ergonomic. The storage basket below is quite large too! My number one top reason for picking this stroller is the fact that it converts to a double when the time is needed 😉 !

 

So there ya have it! My favourite baby products that are out there on the market. And I’m sure as he continues to grow, there’ll be new items that I’ll use and learn to love. Hope you have a great week!

*What are your favourite baby products?*

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Summer Makeup Must Haves

Summer Makeup Must Haves

Some of us ladies go for our regular mani/ pedis, others go and get their highlights for the Summer. For me, I can’t keep up with that type of regular maintenance 😉 . I like to get highlights, sure. Or the odd pedicure is delightful but can be pricey if you keep it up. I prefer to highlight and enhance what I’ve been given by wearing some of these beauty products. And so, without further adieu, these are some of my top fave beauty products this Summer.

1) Revlon “Long Lasting Lipstick” in “Smoked Peach” – Is about $8 and I think it’s the perfect summery shade! And Revlon is a brand that is definitely more affordable. Apparently is a close contender to MAC “Ravishing” lipstick which sells for $15. I haven’t compared these two products specifically but would love to hear feedback if you have!

2) Covergirl “Eye Enhancing Trio” in “Shimmering Sands” – This is my go – to palette. The colours would be flattering on blue, brown or green eyes, in my opinion. Even the name sounds inviting and Summery 😉 .

3) E.L.F. “Shimmering Facial Whip” in “Lilac Petal” is a cheap (ONLY $1!!) highlighter that’s a steal of a deal. It provides a natural glow, and is a close substitute for the more pricier “High Beam” by Benefit. I know they sell E.L.F products at Target (however they pulled out of Canada – sad, right?!) but sometimes you can score them at Winners and Giant Tiger depending on your location. In the U.S. Walmart and Walgreens carries them!

4) This blush is ahh-mazing. NYX blush in “Terracotta” is a total dupe for MAC “Peaches” which is fine by me. I’d rather put my money towards something else other than blush if this is such a close sub! I bought mine at Target on clearance before it closed down in Canada (I know, you don’t want to be reminded 😥 )and it’s lasted me all Summer so far. However, I didn’t leave my fellow Canadians hanging, and did my research: you can purchase NYX products including this blush at Rexall, Pharmaplus and Dell pharmacies. 😀

5) Essence *NEW* “Lash Princess Volume Mascara” – awesome product and makes my eyelashes, dark, voluminous and look like I’m wearing extensions (if I apply more than one coat). It’s brush is designed to lift and separate I buy the waterproof at Shoppers Drug Mart for $4.99. And you really can’t beat that. Every time I see mascaras going for $40 I cringe…

The other mascara beside the first one is another Essence product called “Plump No Clump” and it is another one that’s great for volume. It also retails at $4.99 which is pretty wonderful!

6) The Body Shop “Shimmering Dry Oil” in “Honey Kissed”. Can you tell I like to look shimmery and sun kissed in the Summer? 😉 This product is a bit more of a splurge but you only need to apply the littlest bit to get results. The look is a warm, sunkissed result. I use this on my legs (calves) and shoulders, as well as my collarbone for a bit of bronzing. It has a lightweight, non-greasy finish and goes for $24.00 in Canada and $22 in the U.S. Body Shop locations.

*What are your go – to Summer products?!*

KFC Knockoff Coleslaw Recipe

Sorry it’s been awhile! Life has been busy, but at the same time, not exactly “blog-worthy”. However I wanted to share this recipe that I just made tonight!

I’ve been feeling so good lately, I really have no complaints, but been having random food aversions and cravings. I’m suddenly such a picky eater! I REALLY was in the mood for a refreshing side dish to go with some of the BBQ we’ve been having. The weather here has been quite hot and humid the last couple of days (almost feels as if we just skipped right past Spring!) so we’ve been enjoying chicken and burgers on the grill.

This coleslaw is a copycat Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe, and I have to say that it tasted pretty darn similar! I made a big serving, so we could refrigerate it and have it with a couple meals. I used my food processor on the cabbage, carrots and onion, and while it makes things faster it’s not necessary. I don’t think KFC has onion in their slaw, nor do they use red cabbage but I did. And some say adding Tarragon Vinegar instead of white vinegar would give it a more true KFC flavour, however I did not have any on hand, and this mama-to-be wanted coleslaw and she wanted it NOW!! 😀

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KFC COPYCAT COLESLAW

Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 c. mayo

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. buttermilk

2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

Salad Ingredients:

4 c. red cabbage, finely chopped (approx. 1/2 head)

1 lg. carrot, shredded

2 Tbsp. onion, minced

Instructions:

1. Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl, and beat until smooth.

2. Add salad ingredients to the dressing and mix well.

3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy this side dish! It’s great for BBQ’s, potlucks and parties and you’re bound to get people raving about it! If you make this, be sure to let me know how it turns out! Keep me in the loop with any additions/alterations you may make! I’m always willing (maybe not so much lately, with this picky baby 😉 ) to try new things and tweak my recipe.

**You might want to check out some of these salad recipes too**

Until next time,

Lemon Poppyseed Loaf (Starbucks Copycat Recipe)

The other day I was at the mall with a friend and we stopped in at Starbucks for a coffee latte. I saw the lemon poppyseed loaf slices, and I couldn’t resist. It’s always so good! It was the perfect midday indulgence…
I figured there HAD TO BE a way to replicate this at home! Of course, Pinterest has a bunch of Starbucks Copycat recipes, including their drinks and baked goods. Are you even the slightest bit surprised?! 😉

Now, I know that most bakers would prefer to use butter in their baking for the flavour factor, and most times I would agree. But the fact that this recipe calls for oil instead caught my eye. There are certain instances in which oil can really help to deliver the moistness that so many loaves lack. And then there was the fact that this recipe yields 2 loaves instead of 1. Well, it seemed to me that it was about perfect and I decided I just HAD to give it a go!

The verdict? This recipe is ahhh-mazing. The loaves had just the right amount of lemon I was craving. They were moist and delicious, similar to a pound cake. And easy too! You really can’t go wrong here. Perfect recipe for a weeknight dessert, or an afternoon snack. 🙂


Lemon PoppySeed Loaf (Starbucks Copycat Recipe)

Adapted from: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Yield: 2 loaves

 For the Lemon Loaf:

3 cups AP flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup + 2 Tbsp. canola oil

3 lg. eggs

3 tsp. lemon extract (or you can use vanilla an add lemon zest)

For the Glaze: 

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. butter (melted)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350’f. Generously grease (or spray with cooking spray) two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaf pans.

2). In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Mix on lowest speed until combined.

3.) In a separate medium sized bowl, combine milk, oil, eggs, and lemon extract (or vanilla and lemon zest, if using). Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry with mixer on lowest setting. Mix until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

4). Pour into prepared pans and bake for approximately 1 hour; or until a toothpick has been inserted into the loaves and comes out clean.

5.) While the loaves are baking, make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, combine the icing sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and melted butter. Whisk until smooth.

6.) Once loaves are finished baking, remove from oven and spread icing glaze over both. Allow loaves to cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Run a knife along the sides of the pans, to loosen the loaves. Turn upside down onto a cooling rack and allow to completely, and for the glaze to harden.

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You’re welcome ;). Lemon desserts are so delightful and remind me of Spring. Which, of course, is right around the corner :). Ahh, yes – the power of positive thinking! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!