friday faves

October 4, 2013

well, with winter soon approaching I decided to round up some of my favourite coats. I'm sort of dreading this winter - I have a feeling its going to be long and very very cold. All the more reason to stay home, cuddle up, and drink lots of caramel apple cider, right?

one | two | threefour | fivesix | seven | eightnine | ten 

picking up steam

October 2, 2013

I had such good intentions this week for blogging, but sometimes life just gets busy. It seems like my life is constantly picking up steam, getting busier. It feels a little crazy sometimes, especially since I am such a homebody and love being at home with my kids with no plans. (Sometimes I am such a hermit.) But most days even the littlest thing written on my calendar gives me anxiety. I try and think of every excuse to not do something (especially get dressed to be seen in public), but sooner or later things have to get done (and the stretchy pants must come off). I hate the feeling that I HAVE to do something. Ruby has started gymnastics this fall and it honestly feels like it makes my week out of control craycray. (lets pause to reflect here for a moment - gymnastics is only once a week.. on wednesday... for 45 minutes..) I guess its just a weird adjustment for me to see that my babies are growing up and starting new adventures. Its a little sad because I don't want this phase to end (and I don't want to share my kids?), but also so exciting to see them trying and enjoying new things. It just makes your heart ache a bit to know that time does go by so quickly - and it reminds you that every single second is precious. Motherhood is such a funny thing. It pushes, pulls, bends and twists you, takes you way beyond your comfort zone, and helps you to grow and love like you couldn't ever imagine. Its quite the refining process

Side note: Ruby is the cutest thing to watch in gymnastics. She gets SO excited when I take her, and she absolutely loves her coach, Coach Tara. She follows her around like a little puppy and asks about her throughout the week. As far as some of the moves go, I think she takes after her mother. (if you haven't seen it, watch the video I posted on Facebook and Instagram of her trying to roll. SO funny!) But she tries so hard and is so eager to show everyone her moves around the house. Sure love her. Our little gymnast!

^my sweet little bee^

friday faves - kitchen edition

September 27, 2013

another friday, another faves.
here are some of the things that i'm longing for in my kitchen.
one day.. one day.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

September 23, 2013

So, remember that phase I went through a couple weeks ago where I baked EVERY single day..? That was such a delicious week and it made me realize how much I LOVE baking. There is something about it that just totally centers me, calms me down, and just plain makes me happy (just going out on a limb here.. but I'm guessing it has to do with all the sugar Ive been putting in my body... maybe?) Not to mention the sheer joy that it creates with my husband. The expression on his face when he gets home in priceless (think kid going to disneyland. Yes he really gets that excited.) Anyways, lets get to the point.

(just thought maybe I'd throw that out there)

Anything that has rhubarb in it is a winner in my books. I love the combo of tart and sweet. So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to give it a go. In all honesty the way it turned out wasn't amazing. There are several things about the recipe that I would tweak - but I'll get to that later.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

3/4 pounds Rhubarb (trimmed and cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter plus 6 Tbsp cubed (for cake)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 cup Shortening
1/3 cup Milk
2 Eggs

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

^can we call just take a minute to admire how beautiful rhubarb is.. ? ^

^chop it into 1 1/2 inch pieces^

^combine rhubarb, 1 cup sugar (not all), 4 tbsp butter, lemon juice, vanilla paste, and 1/4 tsp salt in a cast iron skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until rhubarb is tender and the sugar is melted^
^whisk together your remaining sugar and salt, and add flour and baking powder. Add remaining butter and shortening and combine until you get pea sized pieces^
^add milk and eggs and stir together until combined (it will be sticky)^

^spoon the batter over top of your cooked rhubarb and cover evenly^

^bake until crust is golden (about 30 mins)^

^remove from oven and invert the cast iron skillet onto a plate^

^now eat itttttt!^

Overall - the flavour was great! It looks nastier than sin - but it was very flavourful. 

Okay! So here are the things I would tweak with this recipe. 
1. I would add more rhubarb. 
I found the cake to be very dry and dense. I feel that more of the rhubarb would have helped to make it more tender - and who the heck doesn't like ooey gooey delicious rhubarb?
2. I would slightly undercook the rhubarb. 
I cooked mine to the directions and found that it just turned to mush in the oven. I would have liked to have a little bit more texture from the rhubarb. (personal preference) Plus I think it would have made for a much lovelier presentation. Cause lets be honest the finished product looks like a hot mess. 

I also feel like this could easily be made in a non-cast iron skillet. 
Give it a try and see what you think!


September 18, 2013

Its crazy how quickly you can get behind on blogging. 

The past week has been a good one. We've been busy doing all sorts of things, like having our niece stay with us for 4 days, going to the corn maze, having our house appraised, helping unpack my sisters place, getting a girls night with a great friend, baking (lots of baking!!), reading an amazing book (Daring Greatly - READ IT! You wont regret it) and even some one on one time with Ster. 
The past couple of days I have had a few moments of quiet reflection and I've felt SO overwhelmed with how beautiful and full my life is. I am so blessed. I have THE cutest kids. They aren't perfectly behaved, or even remotely calm - but thats what makes them so loveable. They are the craziest. EVER. And I am lucky enough to get to enjoy their shenanigans every day and be their mother. I have such a loving, kind, patient, goofy husband who just adores me and our kids, and I love him. 
We live a very happy life. 
I forget sometimes in the craziness of life how richly we are blessed. But, I am so grateful for those quiet nudges that I get to slow down, take it all in, and enjoy every single second of it. 
I am SO blessed.

friday faves - dress edition

September 13, 2013

Who doesn't love a good dress? There are few things that make me feel more confident and feminine than a stylish, well fitting dress. Here are 10 of my current fav's that I dream of wearing.. enjoy! 

one  | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten

Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

September 6, 2013

I know, right?
Two of the yummiest things combine forces and make a super yummy (and easy) dessert! When I saw this on pinterest I had to try it out. I am a sucker for anything creme brûlée. After Ster and I were first married I kind of got obsessed with it and tried to perfect it.. Like I'm talking probably over 10 batches of it in a week span..

That was such a good week.

Here's the recipe:

The Crust:
9 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup butter - softened

The Filling:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese - room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt

Brûlée topping:
1/4 cup sugar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
 Line a square baking dish with aluminum foil {makes for the easiest clean up}

^In a bowl or food processor, grind up the crackers until they are fine. Add your butter until its incorporated and the crumbs are moist^
^Press to the bottom of the baking dish and throw it in the oven for about 8 minutes. Then, take it out and let it cool. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees^

^Next, whip the cream cheese until its smooth^

^Add your sugar, eggs, vanilla paste and salt^

^Combine until smooth and delicious looking^
^^Look at those dang vanilla beans.. Mmm^^

^Wait until your crust has cooled and pour the cream cheese mixture into your baking dish. Bake until the cheesecake is set but still a little jiggly in the centre {about 45 minutes}^
Remove from oven and let it cool down - completely. Cover it and chill it until its firm.
At this point cut it up into squares and sprinkle the tops with a generous portion of sugar. Torch the tops until it turns a deep amber colour. Refrigerate and serve.

*note there are no pictures of the finished product? Once it was cooled {or should I say once it was cool enough for us to get our hands on it} and then brûléed we dug right in {at 11pm}.. It was almost devoured by the time I thought to take a picture of it.*

This is a super simple recipe and it tastes delicious. The Brûlée top pushes it over the edge from being just a yummy moist cheesecake. That bit of crunch from the sugary top adds just the right touch. Try it out and let me know what you think!

wonderful wednesday

September 4, 2013

(Firstly, thanks for all of the love and support. Yesterday sucked, but I feel enormously blessed to have so many people that care about me)

(Yes, I did title this post Wonderful Wednesday)

I felt a bit like a Debbie Downer for my post yesterday - but I'm just trying to be real. Not every day goes right, I'm not always perfectly happy, and I'm not always depressed and negative. I hope I'm not the only one like this..? I am just trying to paint a real picture of my life.  Yes, yesterday sucked. But the great thing about life is that we get to CHOOSE how we let things affect us. Today I am choosing to be happy - to look for the good things in my life (because they majorly outweigh all the bad.) 

(I mean who wouldn't have a great day after having chocolate waffles for breakfast :))

So, that was my little happiness rant for the morning. Onto other items of business. We finished our basement (as mentioned in previous posts.) We had been plugging away at it for months and months and had essentially nothing to show for it. Then, 2 weeks ago we heard that the LDS missionaries were looking for another place in Taber. We thought it would be a long shot, but we called anyways. (in our minds we were thinking they needed a place in a month or two) Wrong. They were interested in renting our basement in 7 days. We freaked out a bit, but decided we needed to make it happen. At that point the basement walls had been drywalled and needed one more coat of mud, then sanding. We worked day and night - sanding, painting, installing floors, trim, building a closet, finishing a bathroom, plumbing, tiling, installing a kitchen, and more painting. It was sooooo much work. Looking back at it, its pretty incredible what we were able to get done (with Sterling working everyday until 5 pm). We had a lot of help from family and friends which was the only way we were able to get it finished. But magically it all came together and it was finished on time. We really couldn't have asked for a better set up or better renters. We feel very blessed. 

(this was mid-missionary move in. Its pretty basic, I would obviously decorate it 
much cuter if it were my living space, so use your imagination..)

^there will be a frosted glass panel in place of the shower curtain^

It isn't incredible or anything, but its DONE! 
Its such a relief, and I'm so proud of my Sterling. He is such a hard worker and it always amazes me how determined he is. 

(is anybody else missing the Auschwitz effect?? I was so tempted to keep it that nice fluorescent teal..)

worn out

September 3, 2013

these two words sum it up pretty well.
physically, emotionally, spiritually - all of the above. 

The past couple of weeks have been hard. Like really hard. We finished up our basement (yay!) but it drained us of everything. Energy, money, sanity, patience.. you name it - its gone. And not only did we sacrifice those things but we totally put our children on the back burner to get said things done. (I know, bad parenting 101) I've had a ton of guilt all week for that. So when we were finally finished and the weekend came Sterling headed off to his Man Trip, and I set off on my Women Trip. I had such high hopes for a relaxing, drama free weekend with the girls, and what do you know - it was neither relaxing or drama free. Turns out when you ignore your kids for a week they really pick up their best spaz game to get the attention that you neglected to give them for the entire week. I don't blame them. I was a bad mom this week. But then to have sleepless nights and crazy drama where you are targeted and its pointed out to you that you are a bad mom and that you ruined someone else's trip - that just plain sucks. Especially when it comes from someone you love, and especially when you are already self conscious about your parenting skills from the previous week. I cried - a lot. I've been trying this new thing lately where I'm trying to just really own and feel all my emotions - whatever they are - and be okay with feeling the way that I feel. I've been doing really good at it, and its been helping me feel more engaged in my own life - but going into this weekend I was already skating on thin ice. After that conversation (or scream fest - whichever you prefer) I totally shut down. Its easier to not even have to feel. Its easier to just be numb and un-present in your own life, that way it doesn't hurt so much, right? So after a terrible weekend, here I am. Tucked away safely at home, and in stretchy pants. I felt like I was doing so well. I was working out, I was eating good, I was feeling really good about myself, I was being really present in my own life, I was having fun with my kids (sans the last week), I was just in a good spot. Then real life hits ya, and now I feel like I'm tumbling head over heels down a rocky jagged cliff. Uggghh! Life sure is funny sometimes. But I'm not going to let it ruin my life. I've just got to move on and keep trying to be the person I want to be. 

Listening to: Honey - Mindy Gledhill
It feels like she is singing right to me.
I dare you not to love this song. 


August 23, 2013

one | two | three | four |  five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten 

Here are some home edition friday faves.. how bout' that rug?? and one day I dream of having a white couch (I can't foresee that anytime in my near future - especially with Ames (walking mess) Wallace roaming free)

Deep Thoughts - by Jack Handy... err, I mean, Julie

August 21, 2013

I read this last week and something about it really struck a chord with me. I feel like sure, I have parts of my life that werent glamourous and I did some really stupid things. I havent always been proud of how I lived or acted, and looking in hindsight there are probably a lot of things I would choose to do differently knowing what I know now. But the thing is - I didn't know those things then, and I think thats part of the reason that I DO know those things now. (Am I the only person that cringes thinking back to certain parts of my life?) Moral of the story - I used to be that person, I used to make those stupid choices - but I was still me. And every decision I made then has shaped me (slowly, and painfully) into the person that I am now, and will shape me eventually into the person I am trying to be. So I think there should be some sort of nod of appreciation or thanks given to that oh so silly girl who didn't know what the heck she was doing.. lets be honest - I still don't really know what the heck I'm doing. 

Well, basically I am just blogging to avoid changing one wicked rank stinky diaper (awesome mom award, here, please!)

Its been a really busy week thus far! We may have potential renters (fingers crossed) that want to move into our basement by the 28th!! YESS! But also super stress crunch time. If you've seen our basement recently you'll understand the panic. Luckily, Sterling booked off some days at work and we have been working on it like MAD. We've got the drywall finished, painting done, bathroom grouted, kitchen cabinets painted and in, floors installed, and carpet coming monday. There are still a million and one things to be done but I think if we work hard at it we can get it finished in time. I don't have any recent pictures of it - but you are in for a special treat - I have a few pre-reno pictures!

^going down the stairs *warning, its a mess*^

^the before living room.. when we bought the house there were chairs lining the whole room and that bed was in the middle of the room.. suuuper weird, and there was a label sticker on the bed frame that said "eddy baby" sooo yeah....^

^the kitchen. If you look closely the hole in the wall above the sink - that hole was stuffed with kleenex...^

^this is what we lovingly called "Auschwitz". The shower was soooo creepy - and yes, thats outdoor corrugated roofing for the divider.^

^I dont have a picture of the bedroom, but this was the bedrooms closet - closet. Just really awkward.^

Its fun to look back at these pictures and see how much progress we have made! Things really have changed lots and are looking good. I will do an updated basement post when we've got things together. *SPOILER ALERT* The walls aren't all pink anymore - and the shower door has sadly been updated! Stay tuned!!

hard days

August 15, 2013

Today was a hard day.
Nothing about the day went smoothly and the kids were just awnry, and screamy and clingy. I didn't get anything done that I needed to and the house was just a mess. I hate these kind of days. Ames has been cutting teeth so when he wasn't sleeping or drinking his "baabaa" he was SCREAMING his little lungs out (He is the WORST teether). And Ruby was just sassy and grumpy (Not like herself). By 3 o'clock I was just trying to hold tears back because I was soooo spent. Then, right when I thought I had hit my breaking point I look over at Ruby and see her throw up ALL OVER the couch. My poor little girl. I hate it when my kids are sick. So I grabbed her, put her in the shower, in the meantime Ames is screaming extra loud at me because I left the room without him (heaven forbid). I was trying so hard to not run in my room, lock the door and have a good cry. I called Sterling at work to see if there was a chance that he could get off work early and come help me (wishful thinking, right?) Nope. Another two hours. So I fixed Ruby up, made her a special sick bed and turned on Netflix hoping that would give me a little break. While Ruby was vegging out, I was trying to clean the couch. Ames really stepped up his spaz game. I tried all of the usual things and nothing was working. (I even gave the kid an Oreo - A birthday cake Oreo!! and he refused it and kept screaming) My last resort was a baabaa. So I made one, and he threw it and it hit my toe juuust right (you know, the worst pain ever?) I lost it. I put him in his crib and went and cried my eyes out. The rest of the day was the same - nothing miraculously made Ruby better, or Ames stop screaming, or the house to be clean. But thats okay. Some days are just tough, especially when you are trying so hard. If I wasn't trying I'm sure the day would have been a lot more relaxed and less stressful. But the point is that I was trying and that I do care. I think thats something to be proud of, even if nothing else in the day turned out.

a haircut never to be forgotten

August 13, 2013

Soooo, this one time I went away for a few days. 
In said few days - the Mr. decided he absolutely could not stand his hair the length it was any longer (for the record, he had luscious mid length curl/waves)
(just the way I like it)
So, in his moment of desperation he grabbed his trusty Nose Hair Trimmer, 
(yes, I DID actually say Nose Hair Trimmer)
and he went to town. Like TO TOWN. 

Now bless his little heart - but you can see the results.
I think the best description I heard of it was,

"it looks like a cat mauled his head."

^you know, in his defence he really did do a pretty good job with a nose hair trimmer and no mirror^

But seriously - bless his heart.
I fixed it up as best I could.
I mean, I didn't have much to work with - but at least it was an improvement. 
But the best thing about this guy of mine..
Doesn't matter if he has a whack hair cut, or a rat tail for that matter. I love him to pieces just the way he is, and am so glad to have such a great man by my side. 
(especially one that can make me laugh)

But babe, please don't cut your own hair anymore, k?

caught in the rain

August 11, 2013

Yesterday, my uncle organized a little hike in Waterton with a little weenie roast after. Sterling was working for the day so I decided that I may as well go and pack in as much adventure into the end of summer that I can. I wasn't sure that I was actually going to hike - because well,
A) I'm lazy and don't do very well at hiking 
(seriously complain the whoooole way - kinda deal) and 
B) I had hurt my knee skiing earlier in the week and was fully planning on using that as an excuse to get out of it. 

But once we got to the hiking path I decided I should go. Partly because I've never seen Crandell Lake, and partly because Ames was driving me craycray and someone had volunteered to stay with him while we hiked (hallelujah!) So off we went. It was great. I wasn't even breathing hard - mind you its like one of the all time easiest hikes ever known to man. But seriously, it was beautiful. And it was a fun group to hike with. Ruby tagged along with us and actually hiked almost the entire hike by herself! It was raining lightly as we were going up, but it was nice and refreshing and you could hardly even notice it.. and it was making everything smell amazing... Mmm! Once we got up to the lake Ruby conveniently had to go to the bathroom - twice. So that turned out to be an adventure in itself. But we had fun playing around and relaxing by the lake. By now the rain was picking up, but it would come and go, so we thought it would be fine.  We enjoyed the rest of our time up there and then it reeeallly started raining. HARD.. with crazy lighting and thunder and even hail. There was a little shelter up there so we just hung out hoping for the rain to pass after a few minutes. But it didn't. So we stayed and visited with a nice German couple, then after about 25 minutes we just decided to make a run for it. The path had turned into a little river, and me being the smarty pants that I am wore flip-flops. Yep.. Flip-flops hiking (just another get-out-of-hiking excuse I had come up with) But regardless.. we ran down the trail and got soaking wet, but it was SO MUCH FUN. We laughed the whole way down. I'm so glad I stepped out of my little comfort-zone box and tried something I normally wouldn't have. We ended up having a blast! After we ate some dinner we went and got some ice cream and headed home. I was so looking forward to a silent car ride, and thought for sure the kids would just zonk right out - I mean Ruby did an entire hike essentially by herself and both babes missed their naps for the day. Amesy babe conked out right away, but Ruby stayed awake the entire ride home. And not only did she just stay awake - she TALKED non-stop the entire ride home. I juuuust about went crazy. But thats my little Ruby and I love her for it! Thankfully I got a little bit of a sleep in the next morning, so all is well.

lake life

August 9, 2013

Aaaand I'm back.

I decided I needed to unplug, so I took the kids down to the cabin this week. All of Ster's siblings were there with their families and we had a great time.. (Minus Ames who was a bear the whole week) But between the times he was whining for me to pick him up and hold him, and the times when he was screaming his head off just for kicks and giggles, or to see how annoyed he could make me - he still managed to be cute and have a little bit of fun.

There is no greater place than the lake.

^^This is for real.. and it was a familiar sight since my kids would wake up at 6AM!
They obviously didn't get the whole sleep in on vacation memo..^^


We ate lots, laughed lots, and played hard. Ames is a little water baby and loved to be dunked and splash around. (He had soooo many 10 pound diapers that almost exploded this week) He'd also love to try and touch the water from the dock, which made me little nervous on more than a few occasions.. (dare devil already). Ruby was the opposite. She wanted nothing to do with the water - except on the rare occasion she loved to watch the little minnows and float on the tube tied to the dock. She definitely preferred to play on the slide and the swings with her cousins. Me being the mean mom that I am, forced her to ride the ski-trainer one day (she rode it when she was 1 and was fine - but this year put up more of a fight - we are trying to make our kids into child prodigies..) She ended up being fine but definitely did NOT want to try again.. I was able to slalom every morning which was SO nice! I've been working hard at it the last couple of years (and by working hard I mean skied once a summer...) but I am getting pretty good at it and my confidence is growing. I wish so bad I could live at the lake and ski everyday for an entire summer... I would be in such great shape! Ruby and I also enjoyed sneaking away a couple of times and having a kayak date, or as Ruby liked to call it "kayaked dayyyyyte"
There is just something about unplugging from life and going to the middle of nowhere and just breathing fresh air and not having your normal day-to-day worries. Its good for the soul.
Moral of the story - we had a fantastic time and are counting down the days until we can go back (maybe next time we will bring daddy though.. :))

Friday Faves

August 2, 2013

this weeks edition of friday faves. I am loooving that swimsuit.. 
(*cough* STERLING *cough*)

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight 

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

July 30, 2013

While in the garden this morning, doing my daily tending, I noticed 2 zucchinis that had appeared out of thin air. I definitely thought the hail had destroyed any hope of having fresh summer zucchini.. but thankfully my poor little plant was resilient and had made a triumphant return! The first thing that came to mind was of course - Chocolate Zucchini Cake. This was a staple growing up - I'm sure it was one of the only victories that my mother had of having us ingest some sort of vegetable. Its such a simple recipe, but such a treat. Super rich and moist, and that hint of cinnamon.... Mmmm! Go! Hunt down a zucchini and make it!

^add your butter, oil, and sugar^
^^p.s. mmmm... butter^^

^dear friends - do yourself a big ol' favour and invest in this stuff.. its divine!^

^look at all of those beautiful vanilla beans.. ^

^cream the wet ingredients together^

^add your flour and {beautiful} zucchini^

^at this point I just heap everything else in; Cocoa, BP, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg^

^don't forget the chocolate chips - I almost always bake with milk chocolate {my fav}^

^it looks pretty sketch - but trust me.. moist, chocolatey deliciousness remember!^
^^p.s. notice the spoon - almost everything I bake I whip it up by hand.. made with love, right?? or maybe I'm just still waiting for santa to bring me the mixer I've been asking for for 3 years... ;)^^

^moist, rich, and the perfect hint of spice^


Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

Bake 350 degrees
40-55 minutes

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil {I substituted coconut oil}
1 3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup {sour} milk {I substituted this with plain greek yogurt}
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups grated zucchini {finely grated}
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
(I added an additional 1/4 tsp nutmeg.. didn't want the poor guy to feel left out)

Blend oil, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk together. Beat well.
Mix dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 9 x 13" pan.

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