Tuesday, June 25, 2013

week 17

the colours within the first half of the week's photos have a lots of orange/red and i think i should have probably gone with different paper colours...but the second half looks great!  you just can't see it behind my 3 vertical insert!

i had way too many pictures for the second half of the week so i wanted to  have an insert but that meant finding something to put in the front half!  i was trying to get some red/orange/blue tie in with the paper insert.  but definitely sparse.
doesn't the second half look better with blue?  :)
back of the insert.
i am always wanting to add captions to every photo in my PL but really, i need to remember that sometimes they can speak for themselves.  no captions on most of these beach pics.  it was a fun afternoon.  

week 16

this page layout really did not turn out great but sometimes you've just gotta leave it and move on.  the gray and turquoise didn't jazz together or something.  and then i wrote that huge journal card in red ink which doesn't work that well.  oh well.  

i got caught up on this project called Worldwide Culture Swap - i signed up to send a package to 4 others about Canada and they would send me a package about their country.  i put way too much work into it, it was so expensive overall (shipping to autralia and france?) and i was disappointed with the packages that we received.  oh well.  now i know!

and just when i thought i'd printed all the instagrams that i needed - i hadn't.  so a yellow sticky holds it's place for the next printing.  
i still have plans to journal on that half gray circle but this pic is to show that i have an extra pic behind the front one with a tab that says "pull" so that i could include a bonus photo.  i like having that option.

week 15

so i'm quite behind in posting my PL pages and i'm quite behind in CREATING my pages.  shoot.  the busy time of report cards arrived in May and i lost my PL making mojo.

the good news - i printed a bunch of instagrams to finally finish off some pages that have been finished for a long time but simply waiting for the final pics.  let's start there.

i bought a pack of jade card off of someone online and started using them this week and they are prominent in my pages for the next while.  they're such great colours and i love the font and quote cards.  i remembered how much easier it is to PL with kit cards so while my pages are simpler, they were faster.

again - haven't quite figured out how to take a good photo of my pages.  remember to click to make a bit larger.
i'd planned on journaling the TERRIBLE day that we had this week beside the pic of the kids holding hands but decided i'd rather not remember so i just used that great handwriting card.  
here's a close up of ben's clothing changes in one day - TEN different outfits!  hilarious.  i'll be glad that i documented this.
top left : can't forget to take pictures of the grumpy days, right?    i printed a couple pics off tim's phone from hockey to include.  a good reminder to incorporate his stuff as well even though i'm not there.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

blue skies and ice cream

this visit to Birchwood Dairy (for the most expensive ice cream in Abbotsford!) was a mommy response to a busy work week of babysitters.  i got home after another day of meetings and drove out to the dairy on a hot afternoon.  

an aside: my camera is on a weird setting where the pics are extra wide...i haven't taken the time to figure out how to change this yet...

it was my cone but A was determined that only she could hold it!

A was terrified of the animals and burst into tears in the cow barn!  i  guess we haven't visited the farm with her as often as i did with B!

Friday, June 07, 2013

too excited...

the last post was a fake out.  this morning was a 5:40am.  sigh.  one day, i won't be able to get her out of bed before noon, right?  i'll be blogging about how ridiculous it is.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

hellooo sleep!

two or three months ago, A started waking up earlier and earlier.  at the beginning, a 6:30am wake up was waay too early for me.  i just kept telling myself, "it's just a phase.  it'll change in a month or so."  but she kept waking up earlier and earlier.  and the weeks were dragging on and on.  the phase never seemed to be ending.  by the end of her early waking, 6:30am was a sleep in.  i was exhausted.  have you seen this commercial?  i burst into tears the first time i saw it.  it's me.

B's sleep always ebbed and flowed but this seemed like it might be the new normal.  i tried going to bed at 8:30 or 9pm to try to get more sleep but it's hard to get anything done when you're going to bed that early!  we tried letting A cry it out but this always woke B up.  we tried earlier bedtimes and later bedtimes.  we tried one nap and two naps.  we theorized about her not having enough to eat, about having allergies, about being too hot or too cold, and maybe too bright in the morning.  ugh.

and then...a few days ago, A woke up at 6:20am.  i was ecstatic!  a sleep in!  then the next day, 6:50am.  then today - 7:10am!!!  could this be it?  are we finally "flowing" back to sleeping a normal amount?  i'm afraid to even be this excited after only 3 days.  but after 3 days, that bear seems to be gone.  let's cross our fingers that it doesn't come back!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

robots in disguise

Me - "let's go to the library."

B - "can i wear this out to the library?"
Me - "no.  you can't wear your costume out of the house."

B - "why?"

Me - "everyone would see you and be afraid that transformers were here."

B - "no, people LOVE transformers!"

Me - "they do?"

B - "yeah!  people love little transformers that hug them!"

happy birthday, tim

the 19th was tim's birthday and after church, tim suggested that we drive (an hour) to Bridal Falls for a "hike".  it's really not a hike but more of a short walk to a big waterfall but this is the extent of our family hiking at this point!  so far, we've only had somewhat negative hiking experiences with B - he's a big complainer when he has to walk anywhere so even just walking home from the park brings moaning and groaning.  when tim made this suggestion, i thought, "it's rainy.  that's an hour drive with crazy avery who hates the car.  then we'll get there and B will moan and complain the whole walk.  let's not go."  BUT it was tim's birthday so my reply was, "sure.  let's do it." 

when we told B what we were going to do after A's nap, we got him all pumped to pack up his backpack for the hike.  he seemed excited.  while avery was a little grumpy on the drive as per usual, we got to Bridal Falls without many tears.  we tried putting her in our baby-carrying-backpack and she was having no part of that so we took her out, left the backpack in the truck, and set out on our "hike". 

 apparently, all you need to do to get B excited about hiking is have him bring a backpack!  he did great and there was not one complaint.  A was a little sketchier - she walked some parts and tim and i took turns carrying her.  she mostly just wanted to get in the water.
checking out the river

unpacking his backpack

that white light at the top is Bridal Falls - the camera couldn't adjust  to both  levels of light
see backpack contents: spiderman and an apple
A got her hands on the apple and B never got it back
that's Tim and B at the top by the falls in the "no climbing zone" that EVERYONE climbs -
A and i stayed in the safe zone.... 
family selfie

Saturday, May 04, 2013

the fresh 20

unlike the freshman 15, The Fresh 20 is not about weight gain.  it's an online meal plan that i recently heard about from alyssa.  she'd been following the plan for 3 weeks and was describing how she logs in each friday to get the next week's meal plan complete with shopping list and prep guide.  my first question was, "why would you pay for that when you could just create your own mealplan for free?"  well, it's $5 a month - $1.25 per week's meal plans essentially.  and the more she talked about the pros, the more i was intrigued.  because though i say, "why not do it for free yourself?", i've been TALKING about meal planning for about 2 years now and have not done it once.  well, that's not true - one time i sat down to do it and realized that i dislike most of the meals that i even make.

i signed up THAT night.  and our lives have completely changed for the better.

okay - that sounds so dramatic but i'm completely serious.  i make meals that have a only a handful of ingredients.  is there a spice in the recipe?  if it's not already in my pantry, i skip it.  onions and garlic?  i don't need to put those in since i don't like onions and that garlic smell stays with me for days.  fancy ingredients?  that recipe is not for me (see proof here).  and half the days of the week, i forget to thaw the meat so i don't want to make dinner.  or i let meat go bad in my fridge - a serious waste of food.  essentially, i hate making dinner but i do want to eat.

enter The Fresh 20. 20 is the number of ingredients that you need to buy for the week (though there are 20 pantry staples that they assume you have on hand).  they incorporate seasonal fruits and veggies so that you don't have to break the bank to buy asparagus in the middle of winter or something like that.  also, while there is always one fish recipe (good for your brain!), they give you an idea for a substitute if you're anti-fish.  (but we love fish and just didn't know how to cook it differently)  then, they give you a prep guide so that you can chop all the veggies or cook all the rice or quinoa that you'll need that week and store it til you're ready for it.  easy to do on a saturday or sunday afternoon.  the meal plans are enough for 4 which is great for us because that means leftovers for tim's lunch the next day.

  i got my first week's shopping list and it looked fairly straightforward.  it took me awhile in the store to find all the right ingredients but my shopping was done for the week!  meal #1, make bbq chicken (in the oven), then save half of it in a container for meal #3.  i probably used more spices this first week than in all my years of making dinner combined.  the first meal was bbq chicken with a warm corn orzo pasta salad.  it was awesome.  there was also salmon in there and there always seems to be one vegetarian meal on the last meal of the week (because how long is that meat going to stay good in your fridge, right?).

 then week 2 - kind of a mexican theme to the week (because if two of your 20 ingredients are black beans and tortillas, more than one meal needs to use those) and it looks a little harder.  in fact, the first meal had tomatillos in it.  i didn't even know what tomatillos were.   my initial feeling to this first recipe (chicken chili verde) was that i didn't want to make it BUT i needed half of the chili to add to my mexican lasagna on meal #3 so i googled a photo and went to find them at the grocery store.  for the chicken chili verde, i had to fry the whole tomatillos, chunks of onion, and garlic in olive oil then BLEND them in a BLENDER until smooth.  this is WAY too hard for the likes of me.  but i did it.  and it worked.  and it actually wasn't that hard at all.  a revelation!

week 3 was this past week.  an italian theme.  looking at the recipes, i was like, "i don't want to make any of these."  (creamy basil polenta with an italian sausage ragu, tilapia with red pepper, caper, and mushroom sauce with brown rice, turkey scallopini with ricotta and spinach linguini, etc)  Polenta?  that sounds awful.  red pepper, caper, and mushroom sauce?  yuck.  what is crazy is that i still went an bought the ingredients and made all the meals.  because The Fresh 20 had not yet let us down.  tim and i were loving the food and could not believe how good we'd been eating (the kids are a different story - after years of bland food, everything is too much flavour or strange looking).  AND while the polenta wasn't my favourite, it WAS edible with the ragu.  the tilapia with the pepper/caper/mushroom sauce was my favourite recipe that i have made so far.  The Frech 20 comes through again!

so yes - next week will be week 4 for me and i'm love love loving it.  that said, it's not as easy as i had first thought it to be.  the first week was easy enough but many recipes are very involved right before serving which is always hard with kids.  last night, i was boiling pasta, browning turkey cutlets, and trying to zest a lemon with avery hanging on my legs and ben rolling around on our teeny kitchen floor.  then i had to get the turkey off the pan, and cook red pepper, spinach, and garlic while making the ricotta sauce which was lots of measuring spices and squeezing lemon juice.  these things are definitely more difficult with the kids going squirely.  by the time i sat down to dinner, my pasta was cold and neither child would eat more than one bite.  so there's always those nights...HOWEVER, if i'm alone in the kitchen, most of the meals only take about 30 minutes to cook completely which is awesome.  it means that i can wait for tim to get home to hang out with the kids and still eat at a decent time.  we've been eating at 5:30pm most nights which gives us time for a walk to the park or to play with the kids before their bedtime at 7pm.  (and really, my kids didn't eat many of my old meals either.)

this week's menus includes Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Roasted asparagus in balsamic brown butter and Spicy Mango Shrimp with coconut sauce and brown rice.  who knows?  after years of categorizing myself as a non-foodie, one of these days, i could surprise myself!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

week 14

Please excuse the messy table around my book!  This is where my PL binder usually sits - at a skinny little table in our kitchen.  It makes for handy access when I want to work on it here and there throughout the week but it's often a big mess (much to tim's chagrin)!  

Don't forget to click on the pics to make them larger!  :)
 The floral date card has been a theme for the last couple weeks!  This week, I was aiming to try out a black and white theme but gray and pink snuck in there too.
A regular week.  I love that pic of the kids helping my mom make pizza in the top right.  Too cute.

All the black and white cards here are from the BH Seafoam edition - I bought a handful of cards from someone's kit.  I have instagram pics for both B&W cards but I have to wait until I have 25 instagrams before I can print them.  Those will be added later.  Some new black washi tape though - love that!

Again, waiting on an instagram for the black and white striped card but the floral will stay as is in an attempt to unify the layout!

On the bottom right photo, I worked and worked to make that photo work with some writing on it but it was such an unbelievably frustrating process getting to look "right" on ipiccy.com and then when I got it printed, it did not come out as expected.  I may change it but it's in there now to finish off the week!

That said, let's focus in on the bottom left picture of B doing sit ups.  There is a "work out" park right next to a playground at Mill Lake.  We went to the playground this day and all B wanted to do was "exercises" at the workout area.  I dragged A away from the swings so that I was close enough to watch B and A ended up loving running around in this area as well.  But seriously?  What 3 yr old wants to do exercises more than play at the playground?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

the pour-over

confession: we've slowly but surely developed into coffee snobs over here our house.

5 years ago, i didn't drink coffee and neither did tim.  when B was born, we didn't OWN a coffee maker so we took an old one from a friend to have in our house when my mom stayed with us to help us with B.  and so began drinking it in the morning but tim wasn't totally on board - didn't really like the taste.  

i can't even really remember how it start but in the last year or so, tim started drinking starbucks and he put less and less cream and sugar in.  Then he started refusing the coffee that i was making at home.  "it's not strong enough" he'd say.  i bought the starbucks beans.  "this doesn't taste the same."  i cleaned the coffee maker with vinegar 3 times.  "it didn't help."  i continued to drink my coffee alone.

i started hanging out with a new friend who also loves coffee and she had bought her husband a burr grinder for his birthday.  a burr grinder grinds the coffee more uniformly and makes better coffee.  i asked for one for christmas and we got it! "it's still not strong enough."  oh. my. goodness.  forget you, tim.  i'm going to stop trying to make a better cup of coffee.  haha.  but really, i didn't want to be alone in my addiction so i hadn't totally given up my quest.

but then, last week on a playdate at this same friend's house, she made me this stellar cup coffee.  it was so good. when i commented this, she described the pour-over.  of course, i know the pour over but she does it straight into her coffee maker and flicks the on switch to keep it hot.  how to do it?  grind your coffee, put it in the filter, but instead of measuring and pouring out the water into the coffee maker water area, pour it into your kettle.  bring to an almost boil then pour over the grinds in your coffee maker. turn on the on switch to keep hot.  

i started making coffee like this last week.  tim says, "you like this?  it's so strong!"  i put way less sugar in even though he says it's stronger.  and would you believe it?  he LIKES it!  he took a mug of it to work this morning.  YES!  addicted together.  what i've always wanted.  ;)
this is our coffee maker

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

week 13

 The whole first page is Monday's day at the park!  It was such a gorgeous day!

I reorganized all my PL papers and cards which makes it easier to pick out a colour theme and stick with it for the whole layout and I'm loving the way the cut photo in the bottom left works with the journaling around it!  We checked out another new park on Saturday so in the bottom right, I have a little "pull" tab and there's another pic behind the one displayed.

I find that I struggle with honest journaling with these albums because you have such a small space to write or you have too many pics to have a space for a 4x6 journal spot.  I don't figure out what I want to say before writing, I just start and hope I can fit it on the card!  I want to remember that the day to day can be hard sometimes and this week, B was especially cranky so I wrote a little about it on the cream card in the center.  When I'm keeping up with blogging, I can always print those and add them.

To be added later: I'm going to print my blog post about Dessert Night and insert the pic collage of the 4 of us plus a close up of Ben's face!

week 12/13 : easter weekend

Two pages with a 2-5x7 insert.  On weeks where I have so many photos, I tend to forget about the embellishments and just get the pics and stories documented!  
I tried out some overlays for this layout - AE word, hunt, in the top right and the picture frame in the bottom right is a little hard to see with the reflection but it says hello spring and describes our afternoon in Bellingham.
 Too many cute photos not to add an insert of the kids hunting for eggs!
On the reverse of the insert - Sunday's decorating eggs.  I think I'll add some words about Sunday to the egg dipping photo but I haven't done that yet.

There's still a blank as I need to check my mom's camera and see if she has a photo of dinner on Sunday.  I was sad that we didn't think to get a photo of our family dressed up for Easter Sunday's church service but on the pink card, I've included a quote from B at church.  :)

Monday, we spent the morning at a park and I took so many pics that I included most of them on the next week's layout!

week 12

 I covered the week from Sunday to Thursday and then did another layout for the Easter long weekend.
 Mostly Sunday pics - we were happy to have M, K, and baby L home from Mexico.  Gotta document when we see that girlie!
We checked out two "play place"s this week - we've never been to the Abbotsford one before because it sounded too expensive to be worth it when usually B doesn't like the noise that reverberates through these plastic tunnels and such.  BUT we met up with friends and B and his buddy had a GREAT time! (top two pics) I couldn't believe he was willing to go down the huge slides!  The toddler area was great too so Avery had fun and when she got tired, she sat on my lap for awhile with her soother and bunny.

In the bottom two pics, we went to our friends' son's 4th birthday party - they rented out the whole Captain Kid's in Langley!  Woah!  Fun!  The toddler area is way smaller than Abby so A kept daddy busy crawling through the tunnels and going down the HUGE slide.  The slide is so steep and fast that, at one point, I got to the top with A and wussied out!  Too scary for me!  :)

I used some new hot pink washi tape on 3 of the pics but it's not super cohesive with the floral.  Sometimes, you just can't spend forever trying to fix up the pages or I get stuck and never return!  Haha.