Saturday, February 25, 2012

World Map

As a longtime subscriber to National geographic, I have aquired quite a few maps over the years, but this particular map has always been my favorite. After Nathaniel and I traveled around the world, I toyed with the idea of framing it, but whenever I looked into how much it would cost to have it down professionally, I changed my mind. A couple of months ago, I was nursing Claire, and I came up with the idea of getting my hubby to make me a frame from crown moulding. I picked up a couple packages of cork board from the dollar store and glued it to the inside of the frame so that there would be something to tack the map to. In hindsight, I would not have used something other than cardboard as the backing, but we didn't have anything else lightweight enough on hand, and didn't feel like waiting until our next trip into town to finish the project. Consequently, when we glued the cork board to the cardboard it warped a bit. Nonetheless, Nathaniel was able to screw it to the wall and I am happy with the finished product.

I used push pins from staples to document all the countries and main cities that he and I have visited.

Red = Places I have traveled on my own
Blue = Places that Nathaniel has been on his own
Black + Yellow = Places we have traveled together

In the future I plan to place white pins on the countries I REALLY want to visit in the near future. At the moment, my wish list includes Italy, Morocco, Greece, New York and France.

A few close-ups:

Central America

Southeast Asia


Just to give you an idea of how big it is:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thoughts on motherhood

Today I was rolling out some pastry for my hubby's favorite chicken pot pie when I started thinking about my role as a homemaker. For some reason I used to think that being "just" a homemaker was unfortunate, and to some extent a form of drudgery. It is amazing how much my perspective has changed since then. I never would have imagined that I would embrace my role as a mother and a wife with such devotion. I still have dreams outside my sphere as a mother, which I think is important, but, I will never let those dreams detract from my "first loves", my family. Truthfully, a career would probably feel more fulfilling, and in some regards, easier than motherhood most days, but I know that there is value in being home for my girls.

Motherhood is punctuated with such intense highs and lows. One minute I am filled with an almost euphoric love for my children, and the next minute I am ready to run screaming from the house like a maniac. Some days are blissful, like today, while others leave me aching emotionally as well as physically. Today was one of those *blissful days*. The sun shone brightly on the snow laden trees outside our home. Claire had two decent naps while Amelia spent the day outdoors with her dad. I baked a chocolate cake from scratch, made dinner, worked on a frame for my favorite world map (which is not yet ready for its big reveal), all the while listening to my favorite music. My home remained relatively tidy, my daughters played happily with one another, dinner was served without any tears, my hubby did the dishes and then read a storey to Amelia while I nursed Claire to sleep. A good day.

Other days are not so good. A bad day generally begins around 5:30 with a baby that is no longer interested in sleeping and intent in yanking every last strand of hair out of my head. After being awake half of the night, my feet hit the floor and I feel like death. Picture a lot of crying, dishes piled in the sink, -30 weather outdoors(so taking a walk is not an option), a dog that keeps eating Amelia's toys, pees on the curtains and repeatedly knocks Claire over, a VERY whiny toddler that ends up spending the majority of the day in time out and a teething baby that wants to be carried ALL day long . To top it all off, when I feel like my head is going to explode, I get a phone call from my hubby telling me that he is going to have to work a double shift. That is a very bad, terrible, no good day. And yet, some how, the good days, make the rough days worth it.

The picture at the top of this post epitomizes the joy that my children bring me, but I don't have a photo that illustrates the frustration and utter despair I often experience. If I did, (have a photo), it would be a picture of me slumped on the floor in my room, with my back against my bedroom door, sobbing my heart out. Motherhood, truly, is the most difficult job in the world. So take heart mothers. You are doing an incredibly valuable thing. You are shaping hearts and lives and moulding small humans into compassionate, loving, God fearing adults.You are making an impact and you WILL survive! Motherhood is IMPORTANT and WORTH IT!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Project 365: Feb 8th -22nd

February 8th: Did some Spring cleaning in Amelia's room. We tossed a bunch of toys and removed the lower bunkbed so she had more room to play.

February 9thth: This is my favorite online magazine and I relish each page of its online publication. Check it out!

Feb 10th: These are a fewof the Valentine cookies Amelia and I made. I have had a few requests for the sugar cookie recipe I used so I have included the link. Caroline, this website also has a great recipe for butter cream icing.

Feb 11th: I have been making a bunch of these books for friends lately. This particular one was supposed to be a shower gift but by time I finally got around to making it, the little one was a year old. Opps.

Feb 12: We got to together with a bunch of other families and had some hot dogs and hamburgers around the fire at our local ice rink. The girls were so happy to be outdoors.

Feb 13th: I went into town today to buy groceries and ended up bringing these pretty flats home with me. I actually bought five pairs for shoes, but the boots didn't make it into this picture. Believe it or not, but I only paid 29$ for 5 pairs of shoes. Now that is what I call a SALE!

Feb 14th: Don't these look delicious? I bought an armload of lindor chocolates for my man for Valentines, but specifically requested that he hide them so that I am not tempted to eat them. Milk chocolate and raspberry. *sigh*

Feb 15: I started my spring cleaning today, although you would never know that spring is around the corner with all this snow. I tackled my china cabinet, my kitchen cabinets and for linen closet.

Feb 16th: My girls and I attended a tea party themed birthday party today and it was so much fun.

Feb 17th: Amelia spends a great deal of time caring for her animals. On this particular day I walked into her room to find that she had a plate of pretend food for each and every one of those animals. This one was my favorite because "they were sharing".

Feb 18th: A delicious spinach and blueberry salad with balsamic vinegar. I eat A LOT of salads these days.

Feb 19th: Enjoying a ride on the cow gate that leads to our favorite meadow.

Feb 20th: Our family took a trip into town today for some grocceries, a dentist appointment and a swim at the pool. Claire and I managed to sneak in a little clothes shopping as well.

Feb 21st: My husband found this poor kestrel with a broken wing this evening. Isn't he beautiful?


I weighed myself this morning and was thrilled to see that I have finally reached my first weight goal. It was a tough week but I remained strong and turned down many delicious things - namely tuxedo cake, red velvet cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, chips and a chai latte from Starbucks. Not only that, I weighed every ounce I food I put into my body.

I have always had a hard time loosing weight, so the fact that I am consistently loosing weight and eating healthfully, makes me want to do cartwheels (if I only could). When I look at myself in the mirror I don't look as though I have lost 15 pounds, but all my pants are baggy, my bra's fit me perfectly, and just feel GOOD!

Strangely enough I hardly miss my favorite bread, and yogurt. I do, however, fantasize about my friend's monster cookies from time to time. I have decided that when I reach my ultimate goal weight, I will get her recipe, make a huge batch and then freeze them in individual serving sizes so that I can have one a day with my peppermint tea. Life is full of good things and I want to partake in them, but with moderation.

These are a few things that are helping me stay on track:

1. I portion my meals out onto small plates so that I trick myself into thinking that I am eating more than I am

2. I portion my food into a tray so that I know exactly how much I have to eat and then I can pace myself accordingly.

3. When I go into town I pack myself a lunch so that there is no temptation to cheat.

4. When I make something delicious for my family, that is off limits for me, I try and put away any leftovers that may remain, in the fridge, so that I am not tempted to sneak a bite.

5. I eat the protein portion of my meal for 15 min, the salad, and raw vegetables for 15 min and then I wait 15 minutes before I eat a piece of fruit. By the time the hour is over I actually feel satisfied rather than full and then I wait four hours before I eat my next meal.

I thought it would be torture to take an hour to eat a meal, but it is actually a more practical approach to eating - especially since I am a mother of two and
constantly distracted by my girl's needs. Furthermore, I find that when I eat quickly, I eat more than I should. Also when I eat until I a FULL, I CRAVE something sweet afterwards. Conversely, when I eat on;y until I am satisfied, I am content to have a piece of fruit rather than a handful of chocolate. I'm thankful that I am finally have a system that works for me, that is affordable, that works with my lifestyle.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentines and dinosaur tails

Nathaniel made me a gigantic card and filled it to the brim with compliments, encouragement and gratitude.

Amelia and Nathaniel enjoyed some heart shaped pancakes with fruit and whipped cream.

I made Amelia a handmade dinosaur tail with some leftover fabric and felt. I used a tutorial I found here. I couldn't get a picture of her standing still with her tail because she was having so much wagging it around. I think I am going to make a mini version for Claire.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts on Valentines

Eeee, it is valentines tomorrow! I know I may sound ridiculous but I really like Valentines. Our culture celebrates a lot of funny things, but love is definitely worth celebrating. In my opinion, Valentines is not just about expressing love for a boyfriend or husband, but also for letting all the special people in your life know how much you appreciate them. I usually send snail mail to my girlfriends, although this year, I didn't get around to it. Opps... Sorry friends. I hope you still know how much I appreciate you! :0)

When I was younger my mom would always make us a fancy breakfast (usually waffles with strawberries)as well as a little gift. I look forward to carrying on that tradition in my own family. I have plans to make heart shaped pancakes topped with raspberries and whipping cream tomorrow and present Amelia with something I handmade for her. She is going to LOVE it! Nathaniel will be getting a book he has wanted for a long time as well as some of his favorite chocolates. I was going to buy him an orchid, but I couldn't find the variety he likes.

Once our babies are in bed Nathaniel and I are going to cook us something special and then dine by candlelight. My absolute favorite part of Valentines is getting a card filled with heartfelt thoughts from my hubby, so we will most likely read our cards to one another while we enjoy some dessert (that is if I decide to break down and make some). I am tempted to make a molten chocolate lava cake or a flour less chocolate cake. Dah!

Nathaniel and I have always tried to do something special together on Valentines,and it is always fun thinking of something different to do each year. A few of my favorite Valentine celebrations include, a fancy five course dinner that my taste buds will NEVER forget, a salsa dancing cruise in Vancouver, a hilarious show accompanied with a sumptuous feat, and an overnight camel safari in India. I know that we have many more years ahead of us to do fun, adventurous things, but this year I am more than happy to stay home and keep it sweet and simple.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Friends, cookies and buttercream icing

I hosted a little Valentine Party for Amelia's playgroup yesterday and it was loads of fun. I a lot of candy kicking around the house and I thought it would be fun to use it to decorate cookies. Amelia asks to make "cookie shapes" nearly every day, so I thought it would be a fun activity for her to share with her friends. I realize this is starting to become a tradition of sorts. Last years I had a couple of girlfriends over and we decorated cupcakes (read about it here) and the year before that I had some mom's and their children over to decorate cookies as well (read about it here). I guess I enjoy celebrating Valentines!

Amelia and I made heart shaped sugar cookies a few days before the party and then froze them until we were ready to use them.

The next day we made some paper garlands while watching tree house.

She REALLY enjoyed helping me organize the candies into two different muffin tins. I was surprised that she only tasted one jelly bean.

On the morning of the party we made the butter cream icing.

I love that even some of the mom's even took the time to decorate a few cookies. Carrie did a fantastic job on one of hers.

Amelia was so excited to have her friends over that she could barely contain her joy!These are two of the cookies we made together.

Claire throughly enjoyed watching everyone and spent the majority of the time lolling around on the floor.

After the kids were done decorating their cookies they had some silly snacks and made some Valentines.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Project 365: Feb 1-7

February 1st: Had a hike through the woods with my favorite people. Nathaniel carried Claire and Amelia and I lagged behind.

February 2nd: I have loved this bird house since I moved to Alexis Creek, and was thrilled when the owner moved away and left it on the property for me.

February 3rd: Nathaniel gets a little crazy about orchids this time of year. We currently have three happily blooming in our kitchen window.

February 4th: I got to spend some uninterrupted time in my favorite craft store when I took the girls to town. Claire is playing so well on her own these days and I am SO thankful!

Feb 5th: Lots of yummy things at the Superbowl party. I decided to indulge a little.

Feb 6th: I ordered a meat grinder adaption for my kitchen aid mixer and I was pleased with the results. Perhaps one day I will order a pasta maker.

February 7th: Me and my Nikon. I have decided that I need to start taking more photos on manual.