Happy October, friends! Definitely one of my favourite months. And without a question, Fall is my most favourite season. Beautiful colourful leaves, cozy sweaters, and everrrrrything pumpkin! 😀
I’ve had some fun decor out since mid September and it feels all homey in here (I mean, is there really enough time to enjoy Fall decor before Christmas stuff comes out otherwise?!). The leaves are just starting to get some colour in them and the temperatures have been dropping to the most comfortable degree.
We had our first family outing to a local orchard yesterday and Levi had so much fun. It’s his first Fall (cannot BELIEVE he’s going to be ONE in November! 😦 ) It was great to take him on the hay ride, and see the pumpkin patch – he was smiling from ear to ear! ❤
Tonight I’m going to be making some pumpkin cookies with cinnamon frosting – I tell ya, all the best eats are in the Fall 😀 ! I’ll be sure to share the recipes. 😉
I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. What’s your favourite thing about this time of year?
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 😀 .
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!
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.
I hope you all are enjoying the sunshine this weekend!
Hey all! How have you been? Long time no…anything! 🙂 I wanted to catch you up a little bit on what’s been happening around here.
The weather has been lovely. Quite perfect, actually. I guess we have had a fair bit of rainy days, but I don’t mind those. And until this past Monday, it WAS Spring so – what did we expect?!
Last week we were down visiting some family and friends in Niagara. We had a friend’s wedding to attend along with:
1) A friend’s birthday
2) A friend’s son’s 1st bday/gender reveal (she is expecting only 2 weeks before meee!)
3) Father’s day ❤
4) A sister’s (my sis-in-law) birthday
Needless to say, there were NUMEROUS cards purchased, gifts wrapped and shindigs to attend. But it was awesome to be able to celebrate such amazing people that have such great things that are celebratory – worthy!!!
So my best friend found out she’s having a little girl!! A sister for their first little boy <3. I am so excited for them and cannot WAIT to find out what we’re having first!! I am in my 16th week and still feeling pretty great. I actually felt the baby move around yesterday – which was pretty surreal. It’s neat how excited Matt gets when I tell him little exciting tidbits about what’s going on with the baby
Me : “This week it’s developing FINGERPRINTS!”
Matt: “Reeeally?!” *look of disbelief
Me: “This week my body is producing 50% more blood!”
The miracle of life is so…amazing. Words cannot even describe it.
Anyway, plans for the gender reveal party are well underway and I planned the décor and menu while Matt was at work 😀 . We plan to go for a 3D ultrasound which offers a free package for military members – so awesome!!
We also have booked with a photographer for some maternity pictures in early October. I LOVE the Fall (favourite season!) and can’t wait for this upcoming photoshoot!
Anyways, other than that, not too much new here! Our move is fast approaching and Matt only has one more commute to work at the other base (3.5 hours away). He was always gone for 4 nights and it just seemed like it was forever. He has one more shift to drive up for on Tuesday, and then Wednesday he comes back to our place here. Then the military move process takes place!
Until next time,
Well, it’s over! Finished. Terminado. Fini. Finito. All done!!! MATT HAS GRADUATED!! After what has felt like THE absolute longest year (+2 months) of our lives, Matt has finished his military firefighter training and has graduated!! It was a busy and eventful year for both myself and him, in different ways. We sold our first home, Matt went to basic training. I moved in with my in-laws, attended Matt’s grad and visited him there, and then he moved to an air force base to await his course training in firefighting. I quit my job of 5+ years and we went on a cruise after being apart for a few months. I eventually moved up onto the base with him, and he began training. Transition after transition, change upon change. A crazy year of highs and lows/ups and downs. He was so stoked to graduate and to be done with the studying!!
Matt’s parents came up to visit us the night prior to his grad, which was nice. The ceremony was last Friday, and was only about 20 minutes long. It was held right in one of the truck bays, which was kind of cool.There was 18 people in his class, and much like any graduating ceremony, they were called up one by one.
The officers inspected the graduating class, and congratulated them. And then they were acknowledged and presented with their certificate and their seals. And of course, pictures with the family were taken afterwards! We all went out for dinner together afterwards to celebrate, and it was a wonderful day.
I’m so proud of his determination and hard work! I’m such a proud firefighter wife :D.
So looking forward to this next chapter in our lives!
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 graduating 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.
She spent the weekend here, and it was nice just to talk and visit. 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? 😉 ).
We decided to bake a coffee cake. Something sweet that would accompany our
addictionfavourite 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:
Streusel Topping and Center:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
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
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
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 😉 **
Recipe adapted from Southern Food
Hey – It’s been awhile! Things have been busy here. I’m afraid I’m running behind in the blog world! I’ve been trying to get things sorted out with our posting, as well as the details regarding our house hunting trip. We are SO looking forward to moving and just having a chance to put down some roots in the community. We have been looking at real estate and we are excited to buy again! We’ve really been praying that we find a welcoming church that we can be a part of, and that honours God’s truths in the Bible.
A couple weekends ago we drove down to Niagara Falls to visit with some family. On the Saturday we went to a play place for a party to celebrate our eldest nephew’s FIFTH birthday! It was a pretty awesome indoor playground. There was a climber with 5 slides, mazes, zipline and plasma cars to ride. There was even an area for basketball and air hockey! You could tell the kids had a blast – they were running around all over. My nephew didn’t even want to stop to open his birthday gifts – he was having too much fun. 🙂
Monday “Family Day”, a statutory holiday here in Ontario. Matt didn’t get the day off, however, so it was back to the training grounds for him! We are excitedly counting down the days until he graduates! He only has one more test to go, which is awesome 😀 .
Last Tuesday I went to IKEA with a friend. Oh, how I love IKEA. I feel more organized just browsing around. I picked up this cool (and super affordable) storage unit that I’m going to use for our office/craft room. I came across a cute idea on Pinterest for this item as well. So I’m going to spray paint mine black, and add wood to the front of each basket. I’ll paint the front with chalkboard, label the drawers and add handles :).
Wednesday I had my MRI. Read my story here. It was a bit nerve wracking… knowing that it was a mid day appointment, and Matt would be training. I’d never had an MRI before and it was a different medical centre than the one I was used to (I never had any reason to visit it before now). Anxieties were kicking in. I was BEYOND thankful when my friend, Grace, wanted to know how it was going with the medication I’ve been taking. I updated her, mentioning the MRI, and she jumped at the chance to offer to come along with me! So wonderful. So she drove 2.5 hours to see me for 2.5 more hours before we headed on over for my appointment. So supportive <3. It really helped to have her there and we just kept on chatting/visiting up until they called my name in the waiting room. It was a successful test, however, they injected something called “contrast” intravenously, which apparently I am allergic to (who knew?! 🙂 ). It is something that allows them to see more abnormalities and (in my case) brain tissues more clearly. They took scans with and without the contrast agent. They unhooked my I.V. only to see hives breaking out on my neck. Ugh. Soo, we had to stay a bit longer! It was nothing that some antihistamines (Benadryl) couldn’t fix, but definitely didn’t get out of there as quickly as I would have liked to. After a cold compress and a drowsy car ride, Matt had a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for me on our dining room table. It was a lovely surprise! Now, we are just awaiting the doctor’s report 🙂 .
Hello, hello! How’s your weekend going? Got any interesting plans? Last night we ordered a pizza and just stayed in. It’s still quite cold here (this is Canada, yo!) 😉 and the snow came down all day today again. Matt had a long day Thursday, as he went in at his usual early time in the AM, then came home for a couple hours in the mid-afternoon. He rested, we quickly ate at like 4pm, and then he went BACK in again for his first nightly practice run. They have been training on the more practical side of things lately, as they are nearing the end of the training. This is refreshing for Matt as he is more of a hands-on kind of guy, and he wasn’t particularly digging the theory side of things. The fire was a “Code 4” (which is the highest level of response for fire dispatch). It required all hands on deck, and he was out until well after midnight. So he was tired. Hence the reason he wanted to just veg last night. And I can dig it ;).
I went out shopping with a friend Thursday. Partially just for fun, and also I wanted to be on the hunt for some party supplies for Matt’s surprise Grad/30th Birthday party this Spring. I found this awesome vintage looking fire truck which was hand crafted by artisans. So happy about it! I have officially began planning…trying to see what items I already have on hand, and which ones I still need. I sometimes find myself to be more of a kinesthetic (tactile, hands-on) learner, however occasionally a more visual type of approach works well, too. I love the use of visual boards to get my thoughts and ideas in order. Before our wedding I had numerous inspiration boards, and I think that’s one of the reasons I really like Pinterest – it acts like a giant bulletin board. So, for the sake of inspiration, and gathering décor ideas, I decided I would share some of my party plans. 🙂
Ok, so first things first. This is the look I’m going for. The “firefighter” theme, and a bit rustic/industrial. I put some stuff together to get a rough idea of what the set up would look like!
I’m going to print some pictures of Matt while he was training. I’ll either put them on a display board/Bristol board for family/friends to look at, OR, I will attempt to include these photos (along with baby ones and various others from his entire life thus far) and tape them on a wall to say “3-0” 😀
I also found this “Firefighter’s Wife Prayer” and would like to print it and have it framed and displayed.
I plan to pick up some (red) paper plates and red serviettes from the dollar store, along with streamers and balloons, of course! I also found these items from a party themed store. I think the “caution tape” would be awesome either be on the walls of the room, or just around the table with the food! The mini extinguishers are also pretty cute and I would just have them strewn about on the table.
I thought this was a great idea, with the peppers cut up and looking like “flames” and in the cups with the dip. I’m still in the midst of tweaking the menu items a bit.
I have a red table cloth that I will be using, and I have tons of cutlery on hand (often we use them if we take a picnics or have a BBQ). I also have numerous glass jars that I will try to implement (apothecary and mason). I want to have some snacks and candy with the cake and those will work perfectly. We have some galvanized metal buckets that I bought from the dollar store before our wedding (they hung from shepherd’s hooks and had flowers in them.) The letter “K” is for our last name 😉 . The wire baskets I will use also, for placing food in (chips for example). I have 4 identical square ones, and just the one with the basket base. I think these elements will help incorporate the industrial feel.
I know the local party store only has select “firefighter themed” supplies, but I did see that they have some of these plastic helmets. I know Michaels carries crates, that would work great for stacking food and/or décor on. And I also have a white storage unit identical to the ones in the following picture. It would work well in giving items some height off the table.
I know initially these parties seem too childlike, but I do like certain elements. I would like to attempt to make these smoke clouds, and have them hang from the ceiling. The flames are also cool, and seem doable enough to recreate. I might also have a few clusters of these around the parameter ;)…IF I’m feeling crafty!
I like the idea of having the signs on the table by some of the treats. “You’re a Lifesaver”, “Rescue Rope” (licorice), “Burning Embers” (Reese’s Pieces). Maybe a bit cheesy, but totally my style. He’ll have to love it! 😉
Check out these other similar “firefighter themed” parties:
This was the party I saw online that started it all. It looks so amazing!
My next step is to get some quotes on cakes! Check out these ones below – they’re so well done. They look awesome!
I know Matt will be so excited to see everyone, and he really has no idea about this! I’m excited to see the look on his face. I ❤ party planning! 😀 My ultimate hope is to make him feel special and loved. I’m so proud of all his determination and hard work, and can’t wait to celebrate with him!