Monday, February 28, 2011


i watched my friend's daughter this morning as she took her 6 week old (?) to the doctor.
calli is such a sweetie. 
at one point in the morning both noah and jude were reaching for the basket full of crafts.
i was not feeling so great so i told them that it was not craft time, just play time.
both greatly disliked this answer (as you can well imagine).
and then calli went over to the basket and started reaching for it, looking at me.
i said, "no calli. we're not going to do crafts right now."
she said, "okay." and walked away.
i thought in my head how absolutely delightful that exchange was.
i'm not sure if it's her age or her gender or probably the fact that she's got some great parents but yeah - i miss those days of happy obedience.
oh well.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


i know there are others out there.
other moms out there.
other moms who have strong-willed children.
i'm not just talking about having a tantrum on the occasion or exerting their independence every now and then.
i'm talking about children who are characterized by people who barely know them as well as those who know them well as strong-willed (is that just the nice phrase we use for stubborn? defiant? i don't even know anymore).

i'm talking about my noah.

and part of me knows that it's a lot about the age he's at. the phase he's in. the developmental stage he's going through.
he's three. three is rough letmetellYOU. and it's such a ridiculous pendulum swing - for everyone because we just have no idea when the switch is going to flick and he's going to be sweet, adorable, agreeable noah instead of defiant, insolent, disobedient, out of control raging noah.
i mean, three is
"i wanna cuddle with you, mama", punching and kicking me, "i love you so much, mama", screaming and melting down anytime, anywhere he feels like it (today it was church and not wanting to go into his classroom that he's been going to for at least 6 months now and having a 10 minute tantrum that was not limited to pounding his 3 year old fists on the door), saying NO to me about something so simple it should not even be an issue, exasperating his brother, inciting his brother, being excited about reading Bible stories, making up hilarious songs, spitting at everyone, holding up his fists to people and giving them a grinchy face, putting away his toys, NOT putting away his toys, refusing to put on his own boots, INSISTING on putting on his own boots.

three is confusing. and if it's confusing for me, it's gotta be confusing for noah.
so there's grace.
but there's also a need for teaching and correction and it's my job to both teach and correct him. because if i don't, who is supposed to? is it not unrealistic for me to just expect him to learn it on his own?

someone once told me about the idea of a family's "rallying cry" which is something or someone the entire family (or at the very least the husband/wife team) can rally around and focus on for a determined amount of time or until a specific goal is met.
i think jamie and i need to rally around and behind noah. to focus in on teaching him and correcting him as he navigates the waters of being three years old. to pray for him. and pray for wisdom for us to know how to teach and correct this precious gem and blessing we've been given.

in part i've been meeting him head-on like two battling rams. i know exactly where noah gets his strong will and i can match him every step of the way. and in some situations i know and thank god that he's given me this iron will to be consistent and teach my child that i mean what i say. but i know that this isn't always the best way to address every situation. and to be honest, it's tiring. and children can sense weakness like bees can sense fear. it's wicked crazy and it is not to be messed with. for reals.

one specific step i will be taking (and blogging more about in the coming weeks) is that i've made a list of things i want to pray about/towards as part of my lent experience this year. one of these is noah. 40 days of specific, concerted prayer for my first born and how i am supposed to parent him through this season of all our lives.

so to all you mom's of strong-willed children, i know your child is different from mine and i am different from you, but have you any encouragement? advice? suggestions? anecdotes?

*you may now go back to watching the Oscars (we have no cable and streaming was so chopping it really wasn't worth it).


yesterday my lovely friend beth tweeted saying that she had picked up a small gift for me, "just because". 
i love "just because" gifts. those tend to be the most thoughtful, special gifts.
anyway, she dropped it off today and i almost died from the cuteness.
it's a little owl.
and it's heavy! it's made out of iron or something. it feels wonderful in my hand.
this little guy is coming to uganda with us for sure.
i think i might name him hedwig.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


today was a weird day. 
i stayed in my pajamas until 2:30pm.
everyone napped (except for me) for 2 hours. 
it was a lazy day.
dinner was rejected by both boys.
i have no idea why. it was burritos.
i can't pretend to understand the eating habits of children.
especially my children.
and now i'm off to clean up the messy kitchen you see in the background.
bon nuit!

Friday, February 25, 2011

here's hoping

We have never given Noah permission to leave his room after we've put him down for a nap/bedtime.
He knows that he's to call for us to come get him and to wait on his bed.

But tonight.

In an effort to help him keep his diaper/pull-up dry in the morning (it seems he likes to poop and pee in it and then call for us in the morning) I've told him that he can get up in the morning to do his bidness on the toilet instead of calling for us. I've told him this before, but tonight I really went at it saying that if he felt he needed to poo or pee he can just get up by himself and go to the bathroom without calling for us.
Not 5 minutes after tucking him into his bed I hear the patter of feet and the door open

*yelled whisper* MOM! I have to pee!

Me: *sigh* Okay. Go! Go!

I go upstairs to oversee said "pee" and further explain that he just needs to go back to bed once he's gone pee/poo. So I watch him run back to his bed, blow him a kiss and shut the door.
and hope I haven't created a monster.

or that tomorrow's wake up time is no earlier than usual.


*edited the next day:
Last night before bed I went in to check on Noah and Jude in their room and I saw this:
Aw, my little man asleep on the floor. I'm not sure when he got out of bed or why, but I have seen him half falling out of his bed in his sleep, so who really knows how this happened. I motioned to Jamie to come and look at where Noah was and we had to stifle our laughter because it was so cute! I ran downstairs to get my camera so we could snap a pic. Afterward I moved him back into his bed where he resumed exactly the same  position.


it seems like we have an unofficial tradition of doing something special on fridays.
tonight we treated the boys to a whole donut (usually we just let them have a timbit or two).
noah scarfed his down faster than i did.
jude didn't eat any of his except the sprinkles.
happy friday and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dear Elderly Couple,

My heart was warmed and my face smiled (yep, my whole face did) when I saw you both walking out of Zehrs with pink balloons and flowers for perhaps your daughter or son who just had a baby girl.

I wanted to say "Congratulations" to you, but I didn't.

So now I am.

Congratulations! You're grandparents! Enjoy!

Mazel Tov!

finger painting

today i ventured into the scary world of...finger painting.
i bought a pack of finger paints the other day and thought i would try it out with both the boys.
it went well.
noah loved it. he got right in there squishing his hands and feet into the paint.
jude took a little while to warm up to the idea and then once he was okay with it, he was bored quite quickly and i had to barricade him into the kitchen.
but all in all, they created some lovely artwork and had a blast as well.
also, they both had baths before naps and are still currently sleeping. (is this the secret to great naps?)
next time i might just do it all outside or in the bathroom. 

share the love

I can't remember if it was last year or the year before (can you blame me? the last 3 years have been a bit of a blur - heck I can't even keep the Harry Potter books/movies straight.) but I bought these amazing shoes for Noah on a whim at Old Navy. They were on sale and they were ridiculously cute. Or maybe they weren't on sale but they were still ridiculously cute.
They looked like chucks but they were made out of corduroy, had elastic laces and a zipper on the side thus eliminating me sitting there like a fool tying up a 2.5 yr old's shoes when he wanted to be outside running around. All we have to do is slip his foot in and zzzip! his shoe is on. Brilliant. Except Old Navy isn't making them like that anymore. Sure they have the zipper on the side but instead of elastic laces, they have real laces! What's the point in that?
Anyway, luckily I bought them slightly big for Noah at the time so they'll still fit him for at least part of this summer.

Every now and then I get into Etsy all over again. I mean, I love Etsy but I try not to go on too much or else all I start to do is covet and want, want, want things. And right now when I'm trying to get rid of things the last thing I need to do is accumulate more!
But the other day I came across this amazing little Etsy shop and I love everything in this shop. A woman named Liz Hutnick runs it and the description is Boho Chic Romantic Gothic Flower & Bird Theme Jewelry. Um, does it get any better than that? 
Anyway, so Jamie agreed to let me purchase 2 things from her shop and I'm so excited to get them!

aqua mini mum earrings. love.

this bicycle  necklace had me at hello. it's on a long chain and I'm in love.

A month or so ago the input broke in our car that allows us to hook up our iPods to the car stereo so I've taken to making mix CDs of my favourite music at the time - or even just albums that I've recently downloaded but haven't got a chance to listen to yet.
Some favourites have included:
The Black Keys - Howlin' For You (Noah loves this song - especially singing along to the "dah dah dah" part)
Kings of Leon - their entire new album (Radioactive, Birthday, Pyro, etc.)
I bought this bluegrass sampler album by Shane Barnard and Shane Everett and I am totally loving it! If you like bluegrass and hymns this is the album for you. (And if anyone knows where I can find similar music to this...share the love!)

Also, this is not a new song, but I can't get enough of it these days:

And I'm sure a lot of you know about this blog, but I love The Nester. Lately she's been blogging about spending your money wisely and not just buying something at a thrift store because it's cheap and cute. There's so much more to it, but I'm truly loving her blog as well as her design ideas (plus did you know she rents her house?!).  Her motto is "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." and really? SO TRUE.

So that's all I've got for today.
I'm hoping to get the boys' passport pictures done today and go for a decent run (5 miles) at some point today so wish me luck!

I said good day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


There's been a lot going on lately.
This post may bore you as I'm writing mainly for my future self to remember some of these smaller details that are quite easily forgotten.

We're moving out of this house as of May 1st. We'll be living with my parents until August when we move to Uganda. So now our landlords have started showing the house. Have you ever tried to get a house presentable to be shown when you've got 2 young kids? Yeah. That. But hopefully they've found some people interested in renting once we move out.
We've been selling loads of our things - some on Kijiji (oh wonderful, wonderful Kijiji) and some to friends and people we know. The two big things I want to conquer next are the garage *shudder* and the boys toys.
The garage has just gotten progressively worse as the winter has gone on. It's a disaster. I will divide and conquer.
The boys toys are another issue - which toys do we keep and store? Which toys do we sell? Which toys do we bring? I'd like to bring as few toys as possible as kids can really make toys out of anything and I really only want to keep/store the ones that are timeless (like metal cars, trains, some puzzles, wooden play food) and sell/chuck the rest.

Yesterday we went into Toronto to the travel clinic for our travel consultation and first set of vaccines. The boys were a bit stir crazy, but we managed. And they did relatively well with their two needles (each). I felt bad about not warning Noah - he really freaked out. It's so hard to know with him - do I warn him and possibly make him even more reactive or do I just let it happen and deal with the freak out then? He has a super quick recovery time for the most part so we did alright this time. He has one more needle to get before we go.
Jude, on the other hand was not as quick to recover and didn't even want his chocolate "prize". (So I ate it.)
He wailed and wailed and wailed and was pretty angry about the needles. He started wailing just from the swab being rubbed on his arm before the needle. This kid, man. D-R-A-M-A.
And $600+ later for vaccines we walked out with 2 bouncy balls, 6 sore arms, 1 kid hyped up on gummies and chocolate and some knowledge about malaria pills and family planning (among many other things) that will be tucked away for future reference (on my part).
As we were walking back to the car (we parked a short walk away so as to avoid paying the parking toll) I mused in my head that a part of me wishes we were living downtown Toronto with no car and taking the public transit everywhere. Perhaps one day. I absolutely adore the country side and even living in Guelph is wonderful, but there is a City Girl that owns a part of my heart.

Then last night I got picked up by my brother Keven who took me out on a date as my Christmas present (this year my family drew names and he picked mine and his gift to me was a date with him, all expenses paid by him). While I'm pretty sure that he ultimately left it to the last minute (perhaps not, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if it was) I'm so glad he didn't just go out and buy me a gift card or give me cash. He gave me the gift of time and relationship and I honestly can't remember the last time he and I talked one-on-one for a longer period of time.
We went downtown to Wayne Gretzky's restaurant where I had some pretty amazing baby back ribs and then we went next door to The Second City for my first ever (and Keven's, too!) comedy show.
I found myself laughing pretty hard at some of the social commentary that was weaved into their sketches. Too funny. (You know it's funny stuff when you laugh to yourself the next day just thinking about it and then ruin it by trying to reenact it for a friend who wasn't there. Oh well.)
Plus I got to talk and catch up with Keven for the whole drive back to Guelph. I had a really great night and got to get to know my brother a little better - and he's a pretty great guy. Also, he got pulled up onto the stage at the Second City which pretty much made the night a complete winner in my opinion.

Anyway, so there's lots going on these days. My goal this week was to renew Noah's passport and get one for Jude but tomorrow is Thursday and I haven't even started. So, we'll see how that one goes. Perhaps tomorrow should be passport picture day. Or something.

And I'm keeping at my half marathon training although it's only going so-so.

And my eating habits are total crap, but I'm just doing what I'm doing and trying to make healthy choices when I can. I've also decided to give up sugar for lent but there's a whole blog post coming on that one (for reals. It's currently a draft right now.).

If you made it this far, well...bravo. Thanks for hanging in there, friend.
Bon nuit!


noah got a few really cool puzzles for christmas.
this one is a "map" of the world and then it has pictures of animals around the areas that they live in (ie. the brown bear in canada and the clown fish near the galapagos islands, etc.) but it also has slots to put in more animals in their appropriate regions.
i like the illustrations and colours.
noah thought it looked like an obstacle course for a car to drive through.

Dear man at the YMCA,

You are by far, the strangest person I have ever seen at the Y.
You were walking on the treadmill.
Wearing an outdoor fall-type jacket and jeans.
With your hands in your pockets. 
Um, I'm pretty sure that's not even safe to do while walking outside, much less on a treadmill.

Still really curious (and mildly concerned),

*this idea was taken from my friend Beth who devotes an entire blog to letters to strangers. You should check it out.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


there's something special about the beauty of pretend play.

*vowing to keep the television off as much as possible and engage the boys in more play involving imagination. for all our sakes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

family day

today was family day. 
jamie got the boys up and i got to sleep an extra hour and a half this morning.
it was glorious.
the boys watched old looney toon cartoons that we borrowed from the library this morning and then our friend eric called us and suggested a humphrey/strickland hang out today.
done and done!
went met for a winter walk and turned back a little too late as jude melted down for the last third of it.
{i used my beco for the first third!}

we went out for lunch at montana's cookhouse and the kids did relatively well {did i mention that the boys went to bed 2.5 hours after their usual bedtime last night?} and then we went back to the humphrey's house and hung out until just before dinner.
the kids played well together {and we got a foretaste of the boys being able to play better together in about a years time - their two kids are exactly one year old than each of ours} and we {the adults} got some time to talk and hang out and catch up.
we came home for dinner and watched some more looney toons while we ate {a treat to watch tv and eat dinner!} and now the boys are in bed and i'm pretty tired.
jamie and i will likely watch the first episodes of this season's survivor and the amazing race.
and then to bed.
all in all, a lovely family day was had.

silhouette art tutorial

This year my Mom sent out an email to the fam saying that she didn't want any presents, just chocolate and flowers. Well that's all fine and dandy but being in the crafty phase I'm in, I couldn't just settle with "chocolate and flowers". So I started thinking and browsing online for some ideas.
And I came up with one that I thought would be simple, easy and yet very classy. Oh and it didn't cost too much, either (that always helps).
I'm not sure how it all came together but I had this memory flashback of my Mom giving framed silhouettes of all us kids to my Geda (it's what we called my Mom's Dad) when I was maybe 11 or 12 for his birthday (which was February 14th, incidentally).
And then I found some really adorable silhouette crafts/gift ideas.
And then I came up with my own project;
the family silhouette.
supplies needed:
digital camera
black paper (I used scrapbook paper that I had from my scrapbooking days which is acid free)
a frame (I purchased a relatively inexpensive frame meant for posters from Walmart - 16x20 I think)
a pen
adhesive (I used scrapbooking acid-free double sided tape)
white paper (I bought white poster board since my frame was larger than any paper I had at home)

So while back in the day, my Mom taped a piece of paper to the wall, made me stand in front it and shone a light on me while she traced the shadow of my silhouette onto the paper, I just made my family stand in front of me and face sideways so I could snap a picture of their profile with my handy dandy digital camera. I got Jamie to take mine.
Now you don't need to be standing in a back lit situation (as all of us are except for Jude because I realized later that he was looking slightly down and didn't get a good angle of his chin so I re-took one a couple days later) but I found it helpful (especially compared to getting a clear profile of Jude).

Once you've got your pictures, you can print them out. All of the pictures were fine in relation to one another except Jude's which I had to scale down a bit so he wasn't larger than Noah. It took several tries, but I eventually got it the way I wanted it to look.
Then cut out the silhouettes.

Make sure to include as many details as possible like hair sticking up, mustache hair (only for men, please), certain nose details as this really defines the silhouette of that particular person.
If you turn them over so you see the non-picture side you'll get a better idea of if the silhouette looks fine/accurate/etc.
Once you you're satisfied with the silhouette, trace the outline of it onto your black paper, including any and all details from the picture.
Cut out all silhouettes from the black paper.
Now make sure your white paper is the correct size for your frame and make any adjustments that you might need to.
Position your silhouettes on your white paper and then use your adhesive to fasten them securely to the white paper in whatever position you'd like. You could even use several frames with one silhouette per frame. (I'd like to do this above my bed one day.)

Now you may have noticed that my pictures are all facing one way, but the silhouettes are all facing the other way. Well, that's because I just flipped over the black paper so that you wouldn't be able to see any pen marks left over from when I was tracing the pictures. I know, pretty tricky right?

Now put the white paper into the frame, secure, turn it over and you're done!

Stand back and admire your classy handiwork.

This is a very easy, but also personal gift or piece of art you can hang in your house (I kinda wanted to keep mine!) or give as a gift.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sour Cream Apricot Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting and Toasted Almonds


A friend sent this link to me and when I saw these cupcakes I knew I was going to make them for my Mom's birthday. 

They turned out scrumptiously although we were all really full from Red Lobster. (Yum times two.)

Here's the recipe for exactly 12 delicious cupcakes:
recipe from ming makes cupcakes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
apricot jam

Mix flour, baking soda and salt (or not. I haven't been lately due to laziness - I just add in half the flour and the other ingredients when it calls for the flour mixture. Then I add in the rest of the flour and it seems to turn out alright.). In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add almond extract, vanilla and egg. Stir in the sour cream. Add the flour mixture. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full (no more than 1/3 or you won't have enough to cover all 12 cupcakes). Place a small spoonful of preserves in the center. Cover with batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

1 cup mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
toasted almonds

Beat ingredients together at high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Spread on cupcakes and sprinkle with almonds.

Tomorrow will be my very first tutorial blog about an easy gift you can make so do drop by and check it out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


the other night when i couldn't sleep i got thinking about all the places we've lived since we've been married and all the times we've moved and how it shouldn't be legal to move that many times and also at the same time i was thinking about the importance of "nesting" and settling into in our home in Uganda (whatever and wherever that will be) and how if all goes according to plan, when we move back to Canada, we'll have lived in Uganda longer than in any one place during the course of our marriage.
that is ridiculous.

when we got married, jamie and i were both living with our parents in toronto.
we moved from toronto to a fantastic 2 bedroom apartment in kitchener (about an hour west of toronto). jamie was commuting between the university of waterloo and the university of guelph working with campus for christ. i was working as a bank teller (or customer service representative) with td canadatrust.
i loved that first year of marriage.
we got married at the end of june in 2004 and had the rest of the summer to hang out with our friends, stay up late, watch tv, have dance parties, and well, you know. do what young married couples do.
during this year i wrestled with my desire to serve God but not being entirely certain that working with campus for christ was where i was supposed to be.
eventually i realized it was and so i joined staff with campus for christ in april 2005. i left my job at td and we moved out of our apartment and into jamie's mom's place in toronto.
so we lived in toronto with jamie's mom and sister while we raised my portion of support (campus for christ's staff raise 100% of their salary) for the next 8 months.
once we had raised almost all our support we moved to guelph (roughly just under 1 hour away from toronto)  in february 2006 to work solely at the university of guelph.
we found a 2 bedroom 1/2 below ground apartment in a 3 storey apartment building.
 we would have stayed in this apartment for a lot longer if i hadn't got pregnant in january 2007.
we wanted to keep our home office and our bedroom separate so we were on the hunt for a 3 bedroom apartment.
we almost took a town home but as costs kept adding up a 3 bedroom apartment opened up in the complex we were living in for only $50 more a month.
we took it.
and moved across the parking lot.
i was 8 months pregnant.
and it was on the third floor. no elevator. which was okay because i just figured it would be like my built in exercise. no biggie.
and this was a great apartment. i laboured in the living room and then gave birth to noah in our bedroom. it was perfect.
we would have stayed there with subsequent children if it hadn't been on the top floor. with no elevator. and there was no way i could do stroller + 21 month old toddler + baby in an infant carseat + groceries by myself - just forget about it.
so when we found out in october 2008 that i was pregnant again we knew we had to move. again.
onto a new home.
we found our home in an actual house - still renting, though.
when i was (again) 8 months pregnant we moved into our lovely (and current) home.
i laboured in the beautiful and spacious backyard. i gave birth in our bedroom. i have played with my sons and baked up a storm in our kitchen. to have had a garage to park our car during the winter and laundry just steps away have been huge blessings.
we had planned to stay here until we had saved enough to buy our own home and then move for a final time.
and then God called us to Africa.
so we're moving. again. and a lot sooner than we thought we would. and while living in this house has been the longest we've stayed in any one place, we'll still end up being in uganda for longer (if all goes according to plan).
each place we've lived in holds some really special memories and the fact that we still do not own our own home was sometimes hard as it was too easy to compare our lives to others around us in similar life stages. but we realized that we could just "up and go" without having to worry about paying a mortgage or finding
suitable renters who won't trash the place while we're off the continent.
maybe some day we'll own, but for now - we're happy with where we're at and anticipating where we'll be in a years time!


today i suggested noah do some painting because i didn't have any wrapping paper that i liked.
so we/he made some.
it's drying (still?).
today's painting session was surprisingly less messy than last times'. 
i think the key is not to add too much water to the paint.
it gets too drippy if you do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

we love books

noah has always been fascinated by books (and television, but that's for another day).
in general, he's a very visual learner. 
he watches things and people in a new situation before jumping right in.
he loves pictures and looking at them and he's always enjoyed having a book read to him (i started when he was 3 months old as part of our bedtime routine).
i have been a book worm and a lover of books for as long as i can remember (dating back to senior kindergarten!).
i devour books at a ridiculous pace and then i'm sad when they're done (if they've been a good book/series - i am currently halfway through the last book of the harry potter series).
and so i must give praise to the library system in guelph.
there is a kid-friendly play area in every single branch of the guelph library.
you get email reminders when your books are due back.
you can request things online and then get an email when they are ready to be picked up.
and um, you can spend the hours between nap and dinner there. 
and then walk home super hungry.
not that that happened to me today or anything...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the eyes have it

green and blue. 
both handsome.
and although i'm constantly told how much of a "mini jamie" jude is, all i see when i look at him is jude.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


i liked what i wore today.
i liked how i felt today.
i felt pretty. 
and cute.
and put together.
and the opposite of frumpy. whatever that is.

still on the journey to love me.
does that sound weird?
either way, it's true.

share the love

recently i've come across a few things that i just really love. and i can't stop raving about them. and so i wanted to add this (hopefully) regular edition to my blog:
share the love
in which i share the things i love. or really, really like.
we all have different tastes and preferences so there's no guarantee that what i love (or really, really like) is going to be what you love, but someone out there might, so i'm just going to share the love.
and please feel free to blog about things you love or add them in the comments if you don't blog (or if you don't want to blog about it or that it's likely you'll forget the moment you walk away from your computer like me).

share the love: first edition

the beco gemini

people! this thing is a beauty! i've never before been into wearing my babies. i attribute this mostly to the baby bjorn which did nothing to properly distribute the weight of my gigantic babies and therefore was more painful than to just carry them in my arms.
then my sweet, thoughtful, generous friend gave me her spare beco gemini. i can carry jude (weight approx 27lbs. age: 18 months) on my back and LOVES IT! and so do i. it's going to be so great (i think/hope) for africa. and it can also do front carries and side carries and carry newborns without having to add in an infant insert (should the need arise for me to have an infant to carry...). sweet sassy! (you can buy it here.)

the gap tee

i have found my go-to tee shirt. i'm not sure if i'm the only one with this problem but usually by the end of the day my t-shirt is not as fitted as it was when i put it on in the morning. sure it regains this shape after a wash and dry, but again, by the end of the day i look frumpalicious. not good. and then i realized that i had one shirt that was 95% cotton and 5% spandex instead of 100% cotton and it held its shape throughout the entire day. ah the magic of spandex. (too much = not good.) so i went on a hunt for t-shirts with this ratio (or close to it) and i found it at the gap. i went to the gap outlet and bought a bunch for around $13 in some fantastic colours. i tested one out yesterday and it held up. brilliant. (you can buy it here.)

pc salted dark chocolate covered caramels

i splurged on a box of these ($5.99 at zehrs) a few weeks ago and i just about died when i ate one. (and then another. and another.) these are amazing. if you like your salty with your sweet and your caramel with your dark chocolate then these are for you. i loved these. i hope zehrs continues to carry them because oh! delish.

now it's your turn! what are some things/artists/songs/places/people you love?

*disclaimer: i was not sent any form of compensation for this review. these companies have no idea i even exist. i'm simply sharing the love. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


how glorious to wake up when my body told me i had slept enough (8:30!). 
the boys are at my parents' house until this evening so i took advantage of a quiet, unhurried morning and enjoyed a muffin and the Word. 

i'm continuing to see how Holy God is. it's hard because it reveals how sinful i am. and that's never a fun experience. but it is a wonderful experience to meet with God. in the morning. 

how long has it been since i've done that?

so thankful for His new mercies. every.single.morning. whether i meet with him then or not.

Monday, February 14, 2011


last night i made marshmallows. homemade marshmallows! i feel like i got a years worth of use out of my kitchenaid just from last night! it was whipping those bad boys up on high speed for 15 minutes! oh yes, i put my tangerine beauty to work.

but anyway.

they needed to sit overnight so i set my alarm so that i'd wake up before the boys. now usually they aren't up until sometime after 7:30. but who did i hear shortly after 6:30? jude. and then noah around 7. they were happy enough in their room so i let them be so i could quickly set up the table, cut out heart and star shaped marshmallows and put in the first batch of their favourite muffins - banana chocolate chip.

then i went upstairs and we did the whole routine (diaper changes, getting dressed, etc.) and i gave them their little baggy with a heart-shaped marshmallow.
noah was thrilled and quickly gobbled it up proclaiming, "they're sweet, mommy!"
oh yes. yes they are. in fact, they are pure sugar. and you are eating this gigantic heart-shaped marshmallow at 7:20 in the morning. right.

i brought them downstairs and noah quickly gobbled up the other heart and star marshmallows, ate all the little heart sprinkles out of his cereal, slurped down his smoothie (thank God for the nutrition he got from that smoothie) and declared that he was full and done his breakfast. okay then.

jude was pretty happy with the muffin but wouldn't touch the gooey marshmallow.

it was a good morning. we avoided tv. i packed an overnight bag and then we dropped jamie off at work. we quickly played "valentine elf" and dropped off some goodies at a few peoples homes

and then zipped off to toronto where i left the boys with my parents until tomorrow evening (so i can get some uninterrupted packing/sorting and also have a little date tonight!).

later on in the afternoon i set to work on our at-home dinner:
twice-baked potatoes
steak marinated in chipotle sauce
spinach salad with pecans and strawberries
with (as you know already)
white russian cupcakes for dessert. yum!

then we had a delicious, wonderful, cozy dinner together and talked (uninterrupted) and ate (uninterrupted) and enjoyed ourselves.

we had free coupons to the movies (thank you cereal boxes!) so we went to see the green hornet (not what i was expecting, but i definitely laughed out loud. so we were both happy).

it was a lovely day.
oh and here's my mantel. i decided not to add a bunting or anything. mainly because i was lazy and had a billion other projects i wanted to do.
so i added jude.

hope your day was filled with smiles. and love. and sweets.


i love sweets. jamie is more of a savoury man. but when i came across this recipe, i just knew i had to try it out. who can say no to a white russian? in cupcake form? not i. and apparently not jamie, either. 
hope your day was lovely.

white russian cupcake. 
recipe adapted from Baked Perfection
for adults only.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Kahlua, divided

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line your cupcake pan with pretty paper liners.
Beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Add your egg and egg white. Then add the vanilla, Vodka and 1/8 cup of Kahlua. Gradually add the dry ingredients {i just alternated between flour, baking powder and salt) alternating with the milk.

Bake 17-20 minutes {depending on how hot your oven is}. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with the remaining 1/8 cup Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream
recipe from Baked Perfection

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp of Kahlua

Beat the butter until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add Kahlua 1 tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

And then enjoy!

*PS this was my 1000th post!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


tonight i put my kitchenaid to work whipping up some special treats for tomorrow morning for the boys.

i like how you can see my apron and legs in the bottom of the bowl.

birthday cake

**Please forgive the length of this post. I thought about splitting it up, but then I couldn't bring myself to do it. it is. Enjoy!**

As I looked at my calendar last week I realized that my friend Jen's daughter was having her first birthday today. I thought about volunteering to make the cake but then as quickly as the thought occurred to me I forgot (like most things - but that's an entirely different post). Then, a few days ago Jen emailed me wondering if I was interested in making Naomi's cake but that there was no pressure.
Great minds think alike. 
So it was set. I was making Naomi's cake. And I was going to get to use my sweet, sweet KitchenAid. (Woot!)
So Friday morning (when I should have been at a play date which I completely forgot about it - again, that's for another post) I set to work and decided on a recipe for the cake (Pure Vanilla) and the icing flavour (lemon buttercream), the shape (square at first, but then circle) and the theme (yellow duck!).
I actually did one of those shots with all the ingredients that you see on all those fancy food blogs:

I used this recipe for the cake and this recipe for the icing. (I felt very Joy the Bakerish. If you haven't heard of her...*gasp*. GO. Now. She is adorable and bakes amazing things.)

I even bought real vanilla extract. (As opposed to the artificial stuff.) Here's the batter, ready and waiting to be bake-ed.


(And then my kitchen looked like this:)

Not so YUM.

And then in the evening I cleaned up, wrapped up the cakes, put them in the cold room and went to bed.
The End.

Just kidding. Is that mean?
So Saturday afternoon (after I ran 6 miles, what what?) during "nap time" (Noah fought it ever step of the way) I whipped up the lemon buttercream (triple YUM) and brought up the cakes. I sawed off the top of one of them to make it more flat and then iced the cakes together (you can see in the picture above the 2 round cakes - I just stacked them with icing in between). Then I slathered the cake in icing until it was perfectly unperfect (I can't do a perfect ice anyway, so I opt for the cool "unperfect" look) and then set to work on the fondant additions (a giant "1", a giant "N" and yellow ducks).

If you don't know what fondant is, you are missing out. read this, buy some and eat it. Or not. Whatever.

I printed out the N and 1, cut them out and then traced around them with a toothpick on the fondant. Then I used a knife and cut them out. I used cookie cutters for the ducks.

I used water to attach the ducks to the sides of the cake as well as smoothing down any ragged-looking edges. I just guessed that this would work and it did!
Oh yeah and I had enough extra cake batter that I was able to make a smash cake for Naomi. I've seen "smash cakes" and I thought it would be fun to make one - plus then I'd get to make an "N" for the smash cake (since Jen preferred a giant 1 on the bigger cake - the smash cake was a surprise for her). 

Here's the final product:

Simple and cute. Just the ways I likes 'em. And delish.

After icing this small square-ish cake I was pretty happy I chose a circle for the larger cake - corners are hard to ice!

Naomi getting into the smash cake. Love this shot. All we're missing is Graham (but he was busy taking a video of this momentous occasion).


You know when you can't enjoy something (whether it's something you've done or something about you or some sort of talent you have) because you're too caught up in all the things that are wrong with that particular something? Yeah. Boo to that. 
But not this time.
I'm proud of my work. And it was such a joy to present this offering of love - and the proverbial icing on the cake; I had fun making it! That's not always the case with things I set out to do for others but this one, it was fun. 

Thanks Jen for giving me the opportunity and honour of making your daughter's first birthday cake!

Pure Vanilla Cake and Lemon Buttercream

The recipe the birthday cake I made for Naomi's first birthday.

Pure Vanilla Cake
recipe from Form V Artisan

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup 2% milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two round 9x2-inch cake pans.
Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachement. Add sugar and salt and mix on low speed until the ingredients are well blended, about 2 minutes. Add softened butter and beat on low speed until the mixture is a sandy, crumbly consistency and everything is well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add half of the milk and whisk to blend. Gradually pour this mixture into the flour mixture while mixing at a low speed for 5-10 seconds. Pour in remaining milk and continue beating at medium speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated and batter appears smooth. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix for another 5 seconds. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Lemon Buttercream
recipe from Desert Candy

1 cup butter, softened
4 cups icing sugar
zest of 1-2 lemons
4 tbsp lemon juice

Cream the butter, then add the icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the lemon zest and then add the lemon juice 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desire consistency. Beat until smooth. Spread of cooled cake.
And enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


today i: 
ran 6 miles.
enjoyed a free lunch at the chalet with family.
made lemon buttercream.
decorated a ridiculously adorable 1 year old birthday cake.
took tons of pictures of this fierce 1 year old. 
love her. 
happy birthday, naomi!

"this town ain't big enough for the two of us."

Friday, February 11, 2011

movie night

noah loves movie night.
and popcorn.
(me too.)
so the boys cuddled up with a bowl of popcorn and watched robin hood (noah's current favourite movie that he could watch if we let him.)
movie night at chez strickland!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


better get used to this, boys.

noah and jude enjoying their suckers that they got in the mail from their great-nana and talking on skype with "kaka" {a friend of mine and jamie's - "kaka" means "brother" in Swahili and we were in Tanzania in 2008 with Kevin and the name just sort of stuck. that and it's extremely easy for kids to say.}

wednesday night dinner

last night i made spaghetti for dinner.
i had been hankering for spaghetti for awhile now. generally i steer clear of pasta because it means that i'll have to make a different meal for noah altogether which is just more work than it's usually worth {we've tried to get noah to eat pasta - many, many, times. i blame my lack of perseverance when he was a baby. i think that would have definitely helped. sad. so let this be a lesson to you mom's introducing foods to your baby. if at first you don't succeed - or food ends up all over the floor or in their bib or everywhere but their mouths, TRY TRY AGAIN. Apparently it can take up to 10 tries of a food before a child will like - or at least tolerate - a kind of food. but i digress.} but yesterday i was willing to work out an alternate dinner for him.
on the menu {for me and the judester}:

whole wheat spaghettini 
hearty veggie-filled spaghetti sauce (LOADED with ground beef, green and red peppers, onions, mushrooms, carrots)
finely grated cheddar cheese + parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

i served up some ground beef with the veggies on a plate for noah with a bit of sprinkled cheese {because it's fun!}.
for jude i just served up a big plate of spaghetti with sauce and i cut it up as small as i could.
jude started shoving handfuls of spaghetti into his mouth until it was all gone. and it was gone FAST. praise the Lord i have a child who loves pasta!
and noah ate up all his ground beef {the one type of meat he will eat - i swear the kid is a vegetarian! unless it's chicken nuggets in which case he gobbles it up. gah.} and veggies.
and i sat down to a delicious and hearty plate of spaghetti.

{and it was so yummy i didn't even bother to take a picture. well, that and i was trying to keep jude's spaghetti mess somewhat contained.}

also: jamie was out so it was just me and the boys. we do pretty well on our own. it's taken awhile to get here {with 2 young kids} and we miss jamie, but we do pretty well if i do say so myself.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


i'm not usually one to decorate for valentine's day - much less "celebrate" it or make a big deal out of it {or spend piles of money on it}.
but i think i've always wanted to {well, maybe not spending the piles of money, but definitely decorate for it}.
this year i've been getting my fill of sweetie-pie, cutesy, romantic crafts in preparation for valentine's day.
because of this, noah doesn't get that it's a 'day' because we've been making valentine's for the past month.
oh well.
that's a good thing, right?

in my head, my mantel is not quite finished so i won't post a picture of it yet, but i'm pretty pleased with it as is. {so pleased, in fact that i have had it set up as it is for weeks now without adding the finishing touches}.
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