The 3 of Us

The last few months have been really fun. Matt’s been off on paternity leave, and I have been off as well, so we’ve really been enjoying bonding as a family. Having your first baby is quite the transition – and in our case specifically, to go from being a married couple for 6 years and then having your first baby and now being your own family – it was so wonderful to both have time off to adapt to these changes together!

We have been visiting friends and family in the Niagara region every month or so, which is awesome because Levi has some grandparents, GREAT grandparents, aunts, uncle AND sweet cousins (also boys 🙂 ) to interact with! We went to check out the local zoo, and have been on many walks exploring different parks. He’s just at such a fun age and his personality is starting to shine through. He loves to giggle and explore absolutely everything around him! He just started this drag crawl (army crawl? 🙂 ) and is starting to get around the house. I’m both excited and slightly terrified to see him as a fully mobile toddler 😉 .He is now drinking a bit from his sippy cup and eating some solids – he always seems so eager to try new things! I’m quite proud of our little guy 😀 .

Levi strollerLevi walkLevi eating

The other week we got some wonderful family photos taken by Laura Fretz Photography, which was perfect as I wanted some updated shots for our gallery wall!

Klassen family3Klassen family4Klassen family5

I am definitely looking forward to what Summer brings and we are excited to introduce Levi to activities like picnicking, camping and going to the beach.

Klassen family2Klassen family1

I hope you all are enjoying the sunshine this weekend!

 

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Jumbo Raspberry Chip Muffins

Let me just say this: there’s raspberries AND chocolate in these muffins, so I pretty much guarantee you’re going to love them!

I made these muffins for Matt to take with him to work (or that’s what he THINKS at least 😉 ) but I was feeling pretty good (getting my energy back!) and really wanted to bake. Plus I’ve been digging fruit so I decided to roll with it. So he took a few…and I got to keep some to enjoy as well, of course!

Ingredients:

– 3 c. all-purpose flour (careful not to over measure)

– 4 tsp. baking powder

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 1 tsp. cinnamon

– 2 lg. eggs (at room temp)

– 1/2 c. granulated sugar

– 1/4 c. brown sugar (I used light)

– 1 c. milk (at room temp)

– 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted (you CAN use canola/vegetable oil)

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– 2/3 c. white chocolate chips (dark or semi sweet would be delightful, too!)

– 1 & 1/4 c. fresh raspberries*

Raspberry & Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425′. Brush muffin tray with oil/spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, gently whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix until all combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and both sugars until combined. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Mixture will be a bit of a pale yellow. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together by hand. Avoid over mixing which would result in tough, dry muffins.* Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be extremely thick and lumpy. Fold in the chocolate chips, then very gently (to avoid them from leaking their colour), fold in the raspberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top.* Sprinkle tops with extra sugar. Bake at 425′ for 5 minutes.* Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 14 minutes until tops are lightly golden. Insert a toothpick into the centre and it should come out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Muffins taste better the same day, but they will last for up to 5 days if stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

*Be sure to read below for details and rationale for baking temps, etc…*

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These muffins are so good!!! Super – moist and they come out extra tall if you fill the batter to the brim in your muffin tins. Baking them at a higher temp for the first 5 minutes (before lowering the oven temperature) lifts the muffin top up quickly and creates a tall crust.

They taste like your favourite bakery style muffins – you really should try them. Muffins from scratch are super easy, especially if you have a recipe to follow ;). These would be great with dark chocolate chips or semi as well. I actually wanted to use semi-sweet, however I didn’t have enough chipits left in the bag! Then I saw that I had a full bag of white chocolate chips and I actually did a bit of both (even though the recipe states “white chocolate”)! Be sure to use fresh raspberries as the frozen ones have too much juice – leakage.
Tart, sweet, and decadent all in one bite 😀 . Put away the cereal, don’t toast that bagel and you’ll thank me later! 😉

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Scrumptious Salads

I don’t know what it is about the Spring, but as soon as it starts getting warmer out, and the days stay light a little longer, I start to crave salads. Winter is over, Spring is finally here, and I make comfort food no more! Gone are the Shepherd’s Pies, meatloaves, chillies, Mac and Cheese dishes and soups from my ‘menu’. I start to say, “Hello” to the crunchy, refreshing, colourful salads of Spring and Summer! A perfect side dish to so many entrees; they’re so versatile! Some of them are hearty enough to BE the main event at a meal!

My my love for salads runs deep, but it can be easy to get bored with them and to get into a bit of a salad rut 😥 . Here are a few of my favourite recipes I’ve collaborated that I have either already tried, or they are on my ‘must-make’ list. Hopefully these can inspire you too!

  







First Signs of Spring

The snow has begun to melt. Today, temperatures were above 0 (Celsius, here). The sun was out, I even had my some of our windows cracked open for a brief period of time! It really helped to freshen thing up. Music was cranked, did some “Spring Cleaning”…it was a productive day. Yesterday was daylight savings time and it’s so nice to have our longer evenings back again. It’s not dark right after supper!! 🙂 Spring will be here soon enough and the Winter blahs will be gone away!

We’re especially looking forward to this season because there are some exciting changes on the horizon. Matt will be graduating, and will start working in his new career as a firefighter. We both have birthdays in April, and Matt is turning the big 3-0 ! We are also moving in the next several weeks. Lots of changes ahead, a lot to be excited about! 🙂

I created a few printables to share. Feel free to print ’em! I sometimes frame mine and add mine around the house (see our home here and here) for some décor. I hope you enjoy them!

Spring Printable

Hello Spring Printable

Spring Chalkboard Printable

What do you do to get ready for Spring? Care to share? What do you love most about the season?

 

 

 

Now That Spring Is In The Air…

…except it’s not, really. Sadly, enough it was just snowing yesterday. And temps have been -20ish. How nice 😦 . Did you know that Niagara Falls (our original neck of the woods) is partially frozen over?!?! CRAZINESS!! Don’t believe me? Oh, and check out the daredevil who climbed up it!daredevilNiagara falls frozen

Why does it seem like the Winter months tend to drag on so much? I don’t know about you, but I for one, am completely over this weather. SO looking forward to warm, Spring days ahead! It may be bone chillingly cold out there, but it is ALL SPRING in our home right now. See for yourself! 😉

I try to spread the seasonal décor throughout the house. This can cut down on clutter, as well as help to bring about a cohesiveness within every room.

Sometimes a bouquet of flowers is all you need! So fresh and such pretty colors. I tend to be drawn towards all things green and purple this time of year. I try to be creative, using what I have. I tend to use teacups as home décor, just because I have so many in my collection. I picked up the rabbit on the kitchen shelf at floral gift shop a couple years ago. The brown and yellow bird (unsure of the “type” of bird) was purchased from Winners, whereas the blue bird (on our living room antique trunk display) is from a houseware/gift shop in the Niagara region. The “Crown”  mason jar “vase” is an antique and was given to be from my grandmother. The kind of vintage looking “Nellie’s”  tins in the laundry room I got from a garage sale AFTER the actual soap was used, and they hold my homemade dryer sheets in one, and clothespins in the other. The third I’m using as a plant holder for some wheat grass. Those same tin cans can be found at HomeSense. The birdcage was also from Winners, and lastly I found my plant pot from IKEA.

Printables I used can be found here and here.

Dining Room:

Dining shelf

half of shelf

Flowers - Dining Room Table

Flower Arrangement
Living Room:

Trunk Display - Living Room
trunk display right side

trunk display left side
Living room end table

Kitchen:

Spring chalkboard

Crown Mason Jar Vase

Crown Mason Jar vase

Kitchen shelf

Laundry Room:

Laundry decor

laundry room decor

Guest Room:

Guest Room Spring decor

Guest Room Spring decor

Now my home screams “Spring!” and it’s so refreshing, especially compared to that awful white stuff we’ve been getting so much of. All I have left to do is decorate some eggs, and pick up some Easter candies for our candy dish (Cadbury Mini Eggs – *drool). I may attempt to create a Spring wreath, if I’m feel adventurous enough!

Wishing you warm days ahead,

Things I’m Loving Thursday: Signs of Spring

Why, hello there! Fancy meeting you here 😉 . I’ve been MIA lately and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. However, I wanted to share for “Things I’m Loving Thursday” and keep up the new “tradition”!

Life hasn’t really felt … blog worthy as of lately. I guess I’ve been having a case of the Winter blahs. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been many blessings this Winter. Just life hasn’t been too interesting. We’ve been reading lots (me) and Matt has been studying…there’s been lots of tea and hot chocolate. We went to the movies, and we took a trip last weekend to the flea market in the city near us. None of these details really felt like they were worth capturing in my blog. 🙂

We are, however, REALLY looking forward to Spring’s arrival! We had our first meeting with the relocation services company this past Monday. It helped to be able to sit down with a professional and plan things. She spoke with us about our military entitlements as far as the move goes, and it really makes us feel more organized about our first posting. This weekend, I’m going to a “leggings party” at my friends house. It’s a bit of a “good-bye” party for her, too – she is also a military wife. It won’t be a sad good-bye for me, though, because her and her hubby got posted to the same base as us! Next weekend we are driving back down to Niagara for our sweet nephew’s 5th birthday party! I can hardly believe how big he’s getting. I love parties AND I love party planning even more! Speaking of parties, Matt is turning the big 3-0 this Spring AND he will be graduating, so I’ve been in the midst of planning a party for him. I have the location firmed up, the guest list decided/invited, and the décor is “in the making”. It’s going to be a “firefighter” themed party. I’m planning on using more industrial styled serveware (e.g. galvanized buckets, crates, and a ladder among other things). I hope to find a fire engine or extinguisher at maybe, Marshall’s. Of course, Pinterest has some great inspiration. I will be sure to post pictures!

Today, as I sit with my cup of tea, I look out at all the white stuff and wish it all away! I decided to blog about Spring and some of the new fashion pieces I’m hoping to eventually add to my wardrobe. Some staples, like a classic trench. And some fun, bright things like a new floral scarf. A lot of it would be timeless and lasting in my wardrobe. I just want to freshen up my style a little.

Spring Refresh

1. Kate Spade New York “Rain Check?” Umbrella (Not necessary but really cute! Well, necessary if it’s raining… 🙂 )

2. Kate Spade “Jump For Joy” Hinged Idiom Bangle (Love the colours in this bangle.)

3. Stella & Dot Flora Chandeliers (These earrings are awesome! You can wear them 3 different ways – as a stud, mini chandeliers, or combine all three for a more dramatic look. I kinda want to ask for them from Matt for my birthday in April… 😉 )

4. Merona Women’s Woven Floral Print Infinity Scarf (Target. Need I say more?)

5. J.Crew Dulci Scalloped Suede Kitten Heels (I can’t walk in heels but kitten heels are great. The scalloped edges sold me on them.)

6. Essie “Madison Ave – Hue” polish (“A chic upper east side pink” 😉 )

7. Linea Essential 3/4 Sleeve Cardigan (I need a cardigan. Love the pop of colour. I don’t need this EXACT cardi, but this green is awesome. Very Spring-like.)

8. Kate Spade New York Vic Crossbody Bag (I love the simplicity of this bag. I think Kate Spade’s designs are super cute. I don’t remember the last time I bought a purse.)

9. MAC “Candy Yum Yum” Lipstick (LOVE this colour of lipstick perfect for Spring.)

10. H&M  Loafers (I don’t have one pair of black shoes. Not even kidding.)

11. Choies Beige Color Block Double – breasted Trench Coat (I would wear this in the Spring and Fall. I love the silhouette of this. And the price is pretty decent. It’s so elegant!)

12. H&M Denim Jacket (I also don’t own a jean jacket. These go with everything!)

13. Essie “Avenue Maintain” polish (You can buy Essie polish pretty in so many stores.)

14. Sperry Top-Sider Washed Bahama Women’s Boat Shoes (They just seem like they’d be really comfortable walking shoes for both Spring and Summer.)

15. J.Crew Painter Boatneck Tee in “Indigo Stripe” (I forgot to add that there is a Kate Spade New York Gold-Tone Faux Pearl and Crystal Luster Frontal Necklace on that boatneck shirt.)

What Spring items are on your wishlist?

Free Valentine Chalkboard Printables!

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I LOVE doodling on my chalkboard. I’ll switch it up for holidays, birthdays, parties, and sometimes just because! I also really dig chalkboard printables. I have a few displayed around our home, in frames. It makes for some cute and low-budget décor. And they’re all the rave on Pinterest. Check out some of these chalkboards that other bloggers have created and how they are incorporating them into their home décor:

ChalkboardChalkboard in dining roomYou can have them hanging up on the wall, or framed and on a table top.Chalkboard art

Chalkboard Spring display

Chalkboard springChalkboard valentines inspirationChalkboard Valentine ideaThey’re especially cute when they are on a shelf or mantle 🙂 .

Free You Are My Sunshine Chalkboard Printable from livelaughrowe.comOn a clipboard would work too…

Chalkboard Hot Chocolate MenuOr by a hot chocolate bar – even BETTER! 😀

Soooo in  the spirit of the day of LOVE I made 3 Valentine 8×10 printables for you to print off and enjoy!! They can be found at the bottom of this post.

Valentine Chalkboard Printables

Click >>HERE<< to print your 8×10 chalkboard printables. Happy Valentine’s ❤ day decorating!