Life In The Slow Lane

Well Darlings, we survived! The Winter "Break" that is! ;)

You Mamas will absolutely know what I mean. 

Not only did we have my father visiting for a few days, but I was down with the flu the whole time he was here. I did call my Dad to tell him a few days before he was due to drive down, but he decided to make the trip anyway. I was so grateful I had the foresight to prep some baked goods before his arrival. Not sure I would have made it otherwise. Sadly, Dad fell ill upon his return home, which meant he got to spend New Year's Eve all by himself in his log cabin in the woods. And yet, he was glad he had come anyway, even though the flu "knocked him on his ass" (His words, I swear! LOL!). 

The rest of the break was spent generally loafing around, hanging out with my little Fambam, eating, resting, and catching up on chores. 

I wonder, do anyone else's kids need to sleep in every day of the week, but once the weekend or holidays arrive, they're up at the crack of dawn? It can't be just our kids who do this, right? LOL! 

Anyway, I wish I had a whole post filled with photos of the winter wonderland outside our windows, but I'll be honest here, I'm not a huge fan of winter. So instead, I thought I'd share a few shots of items I've been working on. 

I've been working on a few new items to list in my Etsy shop, and since my second favourite holiday is coming up, I thought I'd fill my inventory with some pretty little crochet hearts. 

Just so ya'll know, this is pretty. much how work gets done around here. If he's not ON me, he's tripping me up by hanging out at my feet. (I'm not kidding, the amount of times I've hip checked this kid in the head is outstanding.)

Some finished, some still needing their ends woven in. 

As I mentioned above, I did a little bit of baking before Dad's arrival, because I didn't want to be spending his whole visit in the kitchen, either prepping, cooking, or cleaning. Though I still did do a whole lot of the latter ;)
What you see above, are all the herbs and spices I needed to make a batch of tourtière, following my Great Grandmother's recipe. Incidentally, our Didi's teachers were hosting an international week, and one of the assignments was for the students to bring food from their family's culture for their classmates to taste. Which is why I decided this was a great time to make a huge batch of tourtière for Dad. So I set off to make three dozen mini meat pies for her classroom, thinking the teachers would prefer to hand out individual servings, rather than having to dole out from a big pie. Turns out I was right, especially since we were later informed that we would have to not only serve the food ourselves, but make a wee presentation as well! Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh well, it was fun. And most of the kids ate them. 
Now, knowing full well that not everyone would want to eat them, or not even like them (tourtière can be a bit savoury for some. My husband and I love the dish, but our kids will only have a very small portion.), I let the teacher know that I would also be bringing a little something sweet to class for the kids to try. I picked another recipe from my Great Grandmother's cookbook, and made almost 7 dozen mini tartelettes. Yes, you read that right, SEVEN. DOZEN! Thank goodness I didn't have to pick and prep the cherries for the filling, LOL! I was smart and got that from good old Bulk Barn

We're still in the process of finishing our basement renovations, which will include our brand new kitchen, but for now, I'll have to make due with showing you process photos from our existing 1970's special. 
I made the dough from scratch, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. 

Oh man, if I told you how many times I wanted to lick the spoon. Or how many times I had to tell Didi that no, she COULDN'T lick the spoon! LOL!!

They're quite time consuming to prepare, but also took me a looooong time to bake, since we're down to using a small countertop convection oven after our oven died last summer. Ask me how excited I am for our new kitchen to be finished. Go ahead, ask me! 
Oh, I can't even tell you how nice it's going to be to be able to roast a whole roast or turkey in a full-sized oven again! 
Now see, I don't hate winter entirely. I don't like to hang out in the snow too much, because the cold hurts my bones, but I do like the way it looks ;)

And I also let the kids have the opportunity to play out in it to their hearts' content. However, I'll fully admit to loving the fact that I can let them loose in our back walkout, while I stay inside, and watch them play as I sip on a hot coffee... 

Also, December sunsets aren't too shabby. 

TTFN Dolls! 

High Tea At Prince Of Wales

A few months ago, my friend Paula and I decided we really needed to start implementing some fun time in our busy schedules. We've had a few great outings, including pedicures at Great Wolf Lodge (what a TREAT!!!), and some relaxation halotherapy time at the local Healing Salt Cave

So a few weeks ago, while planning another playdate, Paula told me she wanted to surprise me, refused to tell me where we were going, and simply instructed me to "Dress as if you were going for High Tea with your grandmother". You have no idea what that did to me, with too many cute outfits to choose from, and try, and not being sure if they'd be fancy enough, or TOO fancy! LOL!!! I finally narrowed it down to two of my current favourite dresses, and some of you kindly helped me with my final decision - I went with the blue wiggle dress with tulip sleeves. Both were lovely, but the blue just felt so right to me. 

My beautiful friend Paula, in front of one of the beautifully decorated trees at Prince Of Wales, in Niagara On The Lake.

And Moi.

The front of the hotel was so beautifully decorated, but the interior was breathtaking. I wish we had walked through the whole first level, just to show you all of the lovely baubles. This life-size nutcracker was quite eye catching, and they had quite a few of those.

The High Tea room setting was just breathtaking. I loved walking through and seeing a few guests who really took their High Tea finery seriously. I'm talking fancy feathered hats, , full gowns, opera length gloves, and rows upon rows of pearls. But for the most part, the guests chose a generally modern dressed up approach. There were also a few demure gatherings, for what we surmised were bridal or baby showers, and both Paula and I thought this was such a lovely quiet setting for both. 

We each got to choose from a lovely selection of loose teas, Paula chose Earl Grey Classic, and I went with Deep Green Embrace, a caffeine-free tisane labeled as "a lively blend of herbs and spices, such as mint and cardamom, and finished with sweet notes of rose". It smelled like Christmas!

Pretty Paula!

And Moi, again, trying to fluff my hair back up after wearing a hat in the cold, dry, staticky air.

Our goodies were served on pretty china, with Victorian flair. Everything was presented so perfectly. we each got our own pot of tea, and matching cups and saucers. We were surrounded by absolute prettiness, and honestly, a girl could get used to this sort of treatment. 

We were served a pretty little tray of finger sandwiches, and miniature treats. Including coconut macaroons, tiny frosted cupcakes, and bagels with cream cheese. My favourite had to be the chicken salad stuffed puff pastry. OMG Delicious!!! Also, I never knew I could get so stuffed on Miniature foods! LOL!

These fresh from the oven raisin scones were TDF served with a side of butter, creme fraiche, and strawberry jam.
Look at all this delicious perfection! I loved the attention to detail, and our server, Mehdi, made sure all our needs were met.

Paula and I spent a good 3 hours, just munching on our goodies, sipping on tea, people watching, and catching up on life. 

We had such a great time hanging out, that we decided to finish off our evening with a few hours of getting our sweat on in Paula's backyard sauna. Let me tell you, there's not much more invigorating than stepping our into the cold winter air, your skin steaming from the hot sauna.

How often we forget, especially moms, that we simply must refill our own cups. We are so busy meeting everyone else's needs, that we push our own needs aside. These are the little pockets of luxury that refill our cups, and give us that feeling of being Human again. These moments are refreshing, replenishing, and so desperately needed. 

And I'm already looking forward to the next one!! 

TTFN Dolls! 


Life Lately

I thought I'd share a little Life Lately post, now that everyone in the house seems to be over the scourge that plagued us for the last 3 months. Honestly, it felt like we'd just be getting over one thing, that one of us would fall ill with another sinus infection, stomach virus, or flu-like symptoms. 
I'm so happy the warm weather is just around the corner, just so we can finally stop being sick, even if I know this also means ALLERGIES!!! LOL! * I just can't win* ;)

We had one last good snowfall last Friday, and I decided to keep the girls at home for a snow day. Surprise, surprise, nobody complained. I always love that one last snow fall, the warmer temperatures make the snow heavy, and it just seems to blanket everything so beautifully, which makes for some fabulous photo opportunities. 


Darling and I are so excited to finally get started on garden planning. We will have to hurry up and start our seeds this weekend, but we did plant garlic for the first time last fall, and it's started peeking out already. We definitely look forward to eating homegrown garlic, and growing our patch every year. I'd welcome any tips on successful garlic growing for sure! 

This year, we will have our usual plants: Roma Tomatoes, Lemon Boys (yellow tomatoes), Seedless Cucumbers, Zucchini, as well as our go-to herbs of Rosemary, Basil (sweet, Italian, and Purple Thai, Sage, Thyme (regular and lemon), Tarragon, Winter Savory, Marjoram, and Oregano. But we'd like to start expanding, and are looking into building a few raised beds for lettuce, kale, carrots, and parsnip. Maybe even peas and squash. Heck, if it were up to me, I'd grow all over our property, front lawn, back lawn, boulevard, planter boxes. WHO NEEDS GRASS?

The littles are growing so fast, I feel like if I blink, I'll miss a stage. This little guy is already running all over the place, and is living up to his nickname of Bam-Bam. If something can be climbed, pushed over, emptied, broken, climbed, hidden in, destroyed, spilled, well, you get the picture. I have never, ever had such a busy baby, he is into absolutely everything! Honestly, I can't remember the last time I finished a hot cup of coffee! Ha! Ha! Ha! 
Oh but he is SUCH a sweetheart! He loves nothing more than to cuddle in bed with me first thing in the morning, and loves being picked up and carried everywhere. I love the dynamic between him and his big sister Didi. She is so lovely with him, and so very helpful with us. She's a total little mother hen with him, but absolutely has her 'Middle Child' moments when she feels like she's not getting enough attention.

We are finally going to get started on some much needed renovations in our house, and had a celebratory dinner last week, to talk about all of our plans, and all the things our beautiful home needs to operate optimally. And something Mama's been waiting for for a long time: I deep soaker tub to relax my old bones in ;)

We're not really into dragging all the kiddos out with us, so we tend to order in. We got everyone's favourites from Mandarin, and got to enjoy it in the comfort of our own home. Having our children at such different stages in their lives means we don't always get to have a sit-down meal, and to enjoy each other's company. Add to that the fact that Darling's workdays often blur into the evenings, and this becomes a rarity. We were so happy to all be sitting together, chatting, laughing, that I just had to get a photo of us all. (Thank you iPhone camera timer! LOL!)

We've been pretty much over winter for the last few months ;), and I've been bringing nature indoors any way I can. Last week, our grocery store must have received a bigger order of fresh cut flowers, because all of their bouquets were on sale. Who am I not to take advantage of such a deal? I splurged, and got three bundles of beautiful tulips (at $5 a bunch!). I got home, selected one of my many (mmmmaaannnnyyyyy) vases, and got to work getting them ready, by chopping them to the desired length, dropping a penny in the water, and just let them fall where they may. No muss, no fuss! I don't know about you, but fresh flowers always put a smile on my face. 

* Had to sneak a shot in of our big girl, who was making one of her rare appearances outside the confines of her bedroom walls.

Morning school drop offs have been getting warmer, and a lot more comfortable without having to bundle ourselves up in layers and layers of clothing. The sidewalks have become easier to maneuver with the stroller as well, since the snow has gone - most of our neighbours aren't too fond of shoveling for pedestrians... 

A few little Monkey Faces (wild violets) have popped up on the boulevard, and Didi has a blast picking herself tiny bouquets to give her teachers. 
And what an active little bug she is, most mornings, I can barely keep up, as she'll skip all the way to school. Which amazes me to no end, as any time we have to walk somewhere, her legs get so tired, but boy oh boy, when she wants to skip and run, good luck catching up! 

Sweet little man, he so enjoys watching all the kids running and jumping, and playing ball. He'd be so happy if I'd just let him out of his stroller, but alas, I just can't bring myself to release him amidst the chaos of the jumble of children. I've witnessed too many accidents amongst them, and know all too well how underfoot he can get, and how little kids simply don't have the wherewithal to keep an eye out for him.

A little moody nature shot. The sidewalks and pathways are littered with nature's tiny refuse after a good thunder storm. Which helped melt the rest of the snow: YAY!

Little Man Man hanging in his ride

I sure hope you are all having a wonderful start to Spring.

TTFN Dolls!



Oh. My. Goodness.

What fun this was! I've thoroughly been enjoying baking more, especially with the littles, and there's nothing Didi would rather do than to be my insistant, and get first dibs on bowl and whisk licking duty ;)

I'd been wanting to try my hand at brownies for the longest time, and I don't know why I waited this long, they were so easy. Anyone else like that, just feel daunted or scared to try something new, for fear that you'll just mess it up and waste the ingredients? I've been slowly getting over that fear, and trying all sorts of new things (thank you Pinterest! LOL!)

I followed this recipe right from the label on the box of Fry's Cocoa Powder:


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional, of course)

1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from heat, and stir in the cocoa powder. Blend in sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Slowly add your dry ingredients, and the chopped nuts.
4. Pour the batter into a greased 13x9x2" pan.
5. Bake at 350F, for 30-35 minutes.
6. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!

Survey says: well, the pan was empty in a matter of one evening. That's what happens in a house full of chocohollics ;)