Live Nativity

In all the hype and rush to accomplish everything on the “to do before Christmas” list, I sometimes need to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy this time of year!  Between the cleaning, packing, cooking, baking, wrapping, it is easy to get lost and forget the meaning of Christmas!  Driving around looking at all of the houses decked out with bright lights is one of my favourite Christmas activities!  Listening to Christmas tunes and looking at each house decorated in their own creative way.   It helps me slow down while enjoying the magical displays.

 

Having Norah has helped us to go out and try new activities during this season!  As she grows older, I can picture us skating on the local outdoor rink and tobaganning down giant snowy hills.   

 

Last night, we bundled her up in her stroller, and took her to see a live Nativity with some family friends! She may have slept the entire time, but it was still a fun little outing!  It was a beautiful scene, run by one of the local churches- who have been doing it for 29 years!    

 It was really well done.  There were angels, wise men, carolers, sheep and even a donkey; all participating in this beautiful re-enactment. Seeing this nativity brought the true meaning of Christmas to life! 

 
Afterwards, we walked around the grounds, looking in awe at the wonderful light displays.  

 My favourite was the GIANT light tree!  If only I could have that in my yard!  

 On our drive home, we of course took the long way to view all of the decorated homes.  So pretty with their lights! 

 It was a wonderful night filled with wonderful memories (did I mention the free hot chocolate?) and I’m looking forward to many more this season!  

 
God Bless xx

The Season Of Traveling! 

Now that we have Norah, I notice a lot of changes “before baby” and “with baby”, and one major change is traveling!  

 Aside from the obvious, (that being the extra amount of gear that is required to be packed such as diapers, toys, chairs, playpens, receiving blankets, bibs, food, bottles-the list goes on for a very VERY long time) the actual travelling part has changed significantly.   
 
Before baby, the morning of the day of travel, I would wake up and slowly sip a coffee.  

  

I’d make a nice breakfast while packing a lunch for the road (sometimes I try and be thrifty/healthy). I would then shower and get ready, maybe curl my hair, sip another coffee while quickly throwing a music mix together, and then hit the road!  
 Note: I am an obsessive organizer so am usually completely packed the night before. 
  
The morning of the day of travel with a baby is a completely different story. Most times I am not packed and ready to go the night before. The time is undetermined when we wake up, but when we do, it is go time! We do quick diaper change and I feed Norah a bottle. After that, she plays while I make a coffee and start packing up last minute baby items. I finally take my first sip of coffee hastily, as i know it may be my only sip of HOT coffee.  

  I then quickly get ready (hopefully I had time to shower the night before) before Norah becomes impatient. I change and dress her, pack diaper bag, and make up bottles for the car ride. I realize it is time to go, so grab banana, chug the cold coffee, and put baby in carseat (hurrying to catch her naptime). 
 Of course, she tends to spit up all over her outfit as we leave, so semi-quick wardrobe change (she does not like changing outfits two times in a row) and we are on the road!  

 Once on road, I usually realize that I have forgotten half of my items, but at least the baby has every single toy and piece of clothing to survive a 3 day trip!  

 The actual carride (before baby) was always my favourite part of the trip! I would put my “awesome roadtrip” mix on really loud, and enjoy the scenery. I always tried making the trip without many stops, which is not the case with a baby. 

 

Travelling with Norah is always a gamble. Sometimes she will sleep the entire way and wake up rested and happy when we arrive.  

  Other times, we play the game “why is she crying, what does she want”. This game can be very difficult when driving on a 10 lane freeway. She loses her soother 20 times, which means pulling over 20 times! The other half of the trip is singing children music loudly and changing diapers at truck stops. What an exhausting adventure it can be!    

  

From some of my travels, I have gathered a few tips:

-pack as much as you can night before (including snacks for road)

-shower night before

-the baby doesn’t need as many toys as you think

-keep extra kleenex and wipes in the car

-attach soother to carseat and keep many on hand

-stay calm and do not rush to destination

  

So, if you are traveling with a baby over the holidays like we are (as well as with our two dogs..) drive safe and have fun! 

  
God Bless xx

Are Christmas Cards Dead? 

We are definitely in a new fast-paced world: everything at our fingertips with the touch of a button. Siri, google, amazon, pinterest, itunes- anything we want or need in 2 seconds.    

 I’m not going to fill this blog with pros and cons and start a debate on if this electronic life is beneficial or not. I definitely find it very useful to be able to google quickly: “what is a high fever for a baby?” or “is it safe for a dog to eat an entire casserole dish full of turkey?” (true story from last Christmas.. my dog thankfully survived! )  

Included with these awesome features such as itunes (which i love, being a music lover) and google map, there are items such as facebook photo albums and ecards. 

One of my favourite things to do when I visit my parents is to go through the old photo albums. Pictures of my siblings and i fishing, visiting cousins, Christmas memories; it is so nostalgic.  

Since Norah was born, I’ve had a million pictures sitting in my phone- for only me to look back on. What will Norah do when she is older? Look on my facebook page, if that is still popular? So I have decided to create photo albums, the way my parents did.   

 Keeping that paper tradition alive as opposed to the new online albums. 

Another paper tradition that I love is Christmas cards. As I was gathering addresses for mailing the cards, one person gave me their email address thinking I wanted to send an e-card! 

This leads me to my main thought and final question– are Christmas cards dead? I know the price for postage has gone up, and people now update their lives on social media and through email- not needing to send their family update in their yearly Christmas card.  

As our family is beginning new traditions with it being Norah’s first Christmas, I think I will carry out this older tradition a bit longer (unless postage stamps reach 5$ that is)!   
Do you send Christmas cards? What are your views on this tradition? 

 
God Bless xx

DIY Christmas Gifts

Looking for a really unique gift to give someone for Christmas? Below are a few DIY gifts that anyone is guaranteed to like!

1. Recipe Holder

I love this so much I want to make one for myself! It has a great vintage look and it hardly costs a thing.

 Recipe Holder instructions and credit Here

2. Personalized Mugs:

This is great for any coffee, tea or hot chocolate lover! Throw in a bag of fresh coffee beans, or a mini bag of marshmellows as an added touch!
 Personalized Mugs instructions and credit here

3. Jewelry Holder:

This is a cute gift- easy to make with many stylish options to customize!


Jewelry Holder instructions and credit here

4. Sewing kit in a jar: 

I have been seeing a lot of “in a jar” homemade gifts recently but this one is one of my favourites!
 Sewing Kit instructions and credit here

5. DIY Heat Pack:

This gift is great for sore muscles and headaches, and the patterns for the packs are endless allowing a personal touch!
 Heat Pack instructions and credit here


6. Beadboard Photo Display:

Out of all picture frames to make, this is my favourite! There are so many different stains and paints I want to try!
 Photo display instructions and credit here


7. Paint Chip Wall Art:

All you need is a frame and paint samples and you have art worthy of any wall!
 Paint Chip Wall Art instructions and credit here


8. Flavoured Salt Jars:

These flavoured salts are perfect for anyone who loves cooking in the kitchen!
 Flavoured Salt Recipe instructions and credit here


9. Chalkboard cheese stone:

Perfect for the wine lovers and so simple!!
  Chalkboard Cheese Stone instructions and credit here


10. Rustic Wood Shim Vase:

This is a beautiful gift that adds that perfect rustic touch!
 Rustic Wood Shim Vase instructions and credit here




God Bless xx

BBG Mom Blog

Two years ago, I was deeply invested in living a fit life. I was eating well, walking the dogs daily, and using Kayla Itsine’s BBG (bikini body guide) program.


This program is amazing- it can be done at home (with minimal equipment required), and does not take long to complete the exercises! It focuses on building and toning your muscles- and I was starting to look and feel good!


15 months ago, I became pregnant and had to stop the program. I continued walking and yoga- but I was still out of shape after my daughter was born.
 (41 wks pregnant) 

I also had had a c section- which I do not wish on anyone! Not only did I have to learn how to be a first time mom, but I had to recover from a major surgery at the same time!

My only form of exercise was walking during this recovery. Even light core exercises hurt.  My ab muscles were affected by the c section, so I couldn’t just start building muscle right away.  I have had to wait while my damaged muscles slowly repaired themselves.


It has now been almost 6 months, and I can finally begin BBG again! I am at the end of week 3, and I already feel more toned, energetic, and fit again! I hope to show my progress at the end of 12 weeks with a transformation photo- so stay tuned!


Check out Kayla’s website here:

Kayla Itsines- Sweat with Me

You can also follow her on instagram (kayla_itsines) and other social media too! She also just recently came out with an app for the iphone.

There is an entire BBG community out there too! I follow a few women on social media who have completed incredible transformations- they are truly inspiring and keep me motivated!  I also find some great healthy recipes through this community!

Until next blog.. get fit and God Bless! xx

Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Ok, so I really love recipes with lemon and garlic (I promise to switch it up next time) and this meal is one of my top favourites! I looked up a few recipes on pinterest and then experimented to make it my own!  It is simple, cheap (great for my mat leave budget) and most importantly, delicious!  

  
I used brussel sprouts because that is what I had at the time, but you can use any vegetable! I like the green contrast- broccoli, spinach, or peas would be good too. 

Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta with Brussel Sprouts
:

Ingredients

-olive oil 

-1/2 cup (roughly) parmesan cheese 

-2 Tbsp of Minced Garlic

-2 tbsp lemon juice

-2 lemons

-any kind of pasta (I like spaghetti) 

-1 cup of frozen brussel sprouts (sliced in half) 

*I am horrible at measuring my ingredients- I love to cook freelance and taste as I go!*


Steps
:

-fry minced garlic in olive oil until golden brown

-add brussel sprouts and 2 tbsp lemon juice

-heat up and then turn to simmer

-at same time, boil water and cook spaghetti

-rinse spaghetti and pour in pan with brussel sprouts and garlic

-drizzle olive oil all over pasta

-squeeze juice from two lemons

-add salt and pepper and parmesan 

-stir well with heat on medium high

-turn heat down and dish into bowl

-add pepper and parmesan to garnish

This pairs well with grilled chicken, or just on its own! It also goes great with a glass of white wine..yum! 

  
Enjoy and God Bless! xx

The Routine of Change

Well, our little Norah is growing up. I feel like I’m going to blink and there she will be-a teenager and fighting my every word. I’m trying not to think too far ahead though- she is only 6 months old.  

 A lot has happened in 6 months! And unsurprisingly, the only constant has been change. Norah is very much like myself in which she loves routine, but I try and not get too comfortable with our “perfect days”. The fact is, with these perfect days, comes the complete opposite- “what the heck is going on/everything I know about babies is out the window” days. And then the guessing games begin. Is it teething? Growth spurt? Developmental spurt? Weather? Gas? I just pick all of the above now, and we have learnt to go with the flow on those days (a huge accomplishment for me as I am not a ‘go with the flow’ type of person).  

 The milestones seem so small to an outsider, but here in Norah’s world, I am beaming proud over every accomplishment! Sitting, grabbing her feet, her coos, giggling, holding toys, rolling, and eating from a spoon-which is yet another change in our routine.  

 It seems that when a baby reaches the stage of eating solids, they also reach the stage of extreme curiosity and the need to touch everything, causing there to be a whole new level of patience required as the parent. I always pictured myself quietly feeding my baby, and her gently taking each bite with extreme concentration. In reality, that lasts about 2 seconds. The goal is trying to get her to eat while the food is warm- waving the spoon in front of her wandering eyes to get her attention, while keeping everything out of her reach (including the spoon). Note: do not leave bowl on highchair tray for even a second-babies are fast. 

  Another change has been the sleep routine. We were pretty lucky with Norah- she was sleeping 8-11 hr nights by the time she was a month old!  However, now with her teething/developmental spurt/growth spurt, she has slightly regressed. Just a couple of weeks ago, she had a cold and her immunization needles thrown into that mix and it felt like she was a newborn all over again.  This meant a lot of sleepless nights and zombie-like “just try and survive” days (it didn’t help that I was sick too). Our routine was to not have a routine and just get through each day!  

 Norah is also a good napper. During the day, she was doing at least two long naps (1.5-2hrs) and one little catnap. Was. Now, she seems to be shortening her sleeping during the day and it will only get shorter as she gets older.  

  This means my free time has shortened- the quiet time in which i spend the first half hour trying to decide on what I should do with this free time. I never knew how much “time to myself” I had, until I had a Norah. Now I have a list (I’m a list person) of daily tasks and I pick some items from the list to accomplish during nap time. Some days, we have a great routine and I get a lot done around the house at the same time! Other days, I have ‘nap’ or ‘shower’ written down, to feel like I’ve completed at least one thing on the list that day.  

 Amongst these ups and downs of change, there are tiny little constants to keep me going and make me smile. When she’s cuddled up to me in her adorable pjs as we read “GoodNight Moon” before bed every night, when she giggles while her daddy dances around the room with her, when she is lying in her crib every morning with a giant smile on her face. Those precious moments help connect each change and make it all worth it!  

 ……….still to come: walking, talking, and terrible twos. 

stay tuned and God Bless xx

  

Gift Guide: For Her

Makeup: For the makeup lovers out there-Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette  Sephora

Blanket Scarf: I love these so much! There are so many ways to wear them!  Zara

Pandora Charm: There are some really cute Christmas charms out this year! 

 Pandora

Kate Spade New York Planner: I need this entire office collection in my life!

 Indigo

Purse: This Michael Kors large leather tote is at the top of my list for purses!  

 Michael Kors

Shoes: A woman can never have too many shoes! Check out these fringe booties: 

 Chinese Laundry

Hat: Walking in a Canadian winter wonderland requires some warm gear! I love this toque from Roots: 

 Roots

Colouring Book: There is nothing like a glass of wine, some Netflix, and a colouring book to unwind after a long day! I love this collection: 

 Amazon 

Bose Earbuds: Bose products provide the best quality. These earbuds are great for working out or jogging- not just for the sound, but they are a perfect fit too! 

 Best Buy

Skin Care Products: My sister introduced me to Paula’s Choice Products and though I am very skeptical of new skin products due to my sensitive skin, these products are absolutely amazing!  My favourite is this hydrating mask- especially during these winter months!  

 Paula’s Choice

Duvet/Quilt: Who needs a fresh facelift for your bedroom? This Rosette Quilt from Anthropologie is simply beautiful! 

 Anthropologie

Fur Vest: I love this look- so neat and classic!  

 Dynamite

Midi Rings: These are so cute – wear just one or a set!  

 Forever21

Pyjamas: So cozy- pair with some warm slippers while curled up by the fire during these winter months!  I absolutely love Victoria Secrets’ entire PJ collection!  

 Victoria’s Secret
Happy Shopping! ~

God Bless xx

Fa la la la la!

It’s now December, and if you haven’t pulled the Christmas music out yet, it is time to press play!  
My absolute favourite festive album that is always on repeat is Once Upon A Christmas- Dolly Parton & Kenny Rodgers. 

  
Once Upon A Christmas Album

  However, I like throwing a few classics into the mix to add to that Christmas spirit! This music is perfect for dancing, cooking, baking, decorating, or just sitting by the fire sipping something warm. 

A Few of My Christmas Favourites:

1. There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays- Perry Como

2. The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole

3. Jingle Bells- Diana Krall & the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

4. Merry Christmas, Baby- Lou Rawls

5. Winter Wonderland- Louis Armstrong

6. Silver Bells- Elvis Presley

7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree- Brenda Lee

8. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! – Dean Martin

9. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day- Johnny Cash

10. White Christmas- Bing Crosby

11. Angels We Have Heard On High- Jewel

12. It Snowed- Meaghan Smith

13. O Holy Night- Céline Dion

14. When A Child Is Born- Boney M

15. Baby, It’s Cold Outside- Ray Charles & Betty Carter

16. It’s Beginning to Look A lot like Christmas- Michael Bublé

17. Christmas time is here- Vince Guaraldi Trio

  
These are just a few timeless classics blended with songs from my childhood. The list could go on! 

Enjoy and God Bless! xx 




*all music can be purchased on itunes by clicking on the song links*