Sunday, 23 November 2014

family portraits

I don't know why I've never done this before. Probably because nobody has ever asked me to..
But my latest project has been so fulfilling and rewarding that I just have to share it with the world. {That would be you, blog reader. Ps, thank you for visiting my little blog.. }

I also want to share the name of the family that was used in the making of this wee project because the momma is an uber talented woman and maker of fine caffeinated bevvies at one of my fave coffee shops but I do not want to spoil her surprise for family and friends .. But she did say I could post it on here . Eeeeee!

Seriously the cutest family... in real life and illustrated. 

So, if you are seeing this and thinking you'd be a pretty nifty illustrated version of a family and want one of your very own.. head on over to my etsy shop (click on the picture below) and send me a message... It is custom work so prices do vary. 

Note: All artwork and illustrations displayed on this blog are original and created by me. Out of kindness and in good karma , please do not copy any of my artwork nor blog posts from this blog. Should you wish to use any of my content , please contact me for permission. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

War of the Toddlerhood

Everyday is a day I step on the battlefield of toddlerhood. I'm sure many of you understand where I'm coming from. This battlefield is like fighting a war that I'm not sure is going to end. Somedays I'm really lucky and Baby C calls a truce and let's me get him out of a stinky diaper without getting shit on my hand or allows me to finish a grocery shop without having to turn it into a half marathon just to grab the essentials and get home and realize I forgot lemon juice for the 3rd time this week. Seriously.    Somedays I am not so lucky and I am amazed that I muster up enough energy to brush my teeth because my day has started with a two year old screaming at me to get him God knows what and to not change his bed time diaper that is sagging down his butt because he thinks it's going to keep his little arse warm in this god forsaken -20 degree weather. ( truth be told , I don't mind -20 weather... When I'm inside.. Ha) and then I've managed to get him into his snow suit and boots so we can walk his older bro to the bus stop  but ,  I can forget the mitts and toque because I really don't need to be squawked at in gibberish about how he doesn't like his hands covered up or anything on his head.

Now, I'm not going to tell you that after a really long day of duking it out with the temper tantrums and dodging  the bombs that fall at nap time that I stop to look at how precious my toddler child is. He's precious.. Yes , he's precious alrite. Sweet , funny, independant and oh so loveable . But if I'm going to be honest with you, at the end of the day .. I just want to raise my little white flag and climb into the white trench of porcelain and soak in hot water until I'm wrinkly and the reminiscent sounds of whining no longer ring in my ears and nerve endings return to their normal state of whatever they do.

But what I am going to tell you, is that just when I feel like I am all alone in the battlefield .. I get a call from one of my closest friends. She reminds me I'm not in that battlefield alone, I just can't see her for the smoke and play dough mortar that she is dodging.. And then when my reinforcement brings in the big guns  ( that made me laugh out loud.. ) and takes over to give me a reprieve, I make a call into my parents... The veterans. Change it up they say, experiment, but remember : routine routine, routine, structure,structure,structure. They know, they've seen it all and dealt with it all. 3 kids later. Then I think of my sister and her four kids.. 4 talented, smart , hilarious and respectful kids that are hardworking and are reaching amazing heights in their lives at such young ages... She got through the war of toddlerhood , albeit she's moved into the teen years now  but she did it with 4..and they weren't all easy, I know.  And just when you think hubbies never know the right thing to say, they come up with a gem.. "Stop thinking its you, this is his deal and we have to learn to deal with it. Don't think of yesterday or tomorrow , think of the moment and how to get through it." Surely I can manage this ..

This parent thing is not easy for some and not hard for others. I've experienced the easy, for sure and now I'm doing battle with the hard bits of what's in front of me. Some days you don't want advice , you don't want the help, you don't want people to see that you aren't a supermom or Superdad that day or week. But, regardless of how lonely and long that battlefield feels..When the smoke clears and you wipe the spaghetti sauce from your cheek and pull the play dough off the bottom of your sock, there's another parent doing the same thing.. Checking to see if anyone can see what they are dealing with or trying to hide what they can't handle.

And for all the new mommies and mommies to be, its a fantastic journey to be on raising children.. But it's hard, difficult, rough, emotional and draining and that's not for lack of love or effort. This is just the way it is, no matter how easy your baby is or going to be.

Thank you Ry, Mom,Dad and D, your advice made today a victory and it's only half past noon. But I still need to get that damn lemon juice..

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Millions of Peaches

  A week ago, the baby's and I drove out to Kimberley B.C. to spend a couple nights in one of our favourite places and to meet Baba for Ellis' two week vacay at the lake, Camp Baba and Papa's. 

On the way back from Creston, our meeting point, and to make me feel not so sad for not being able to join my big boy on his special vacation .. I stopped at one of my favourite fruit stands. Everything ripened early this year and thank goodness for me, the peaches were available and calling my name. So, like any normal person would do.. I bought 20lbs of fresh, juicy, sweet, succulent, fuzzy peaches! And Charlie got some raspberries, because bubba loves to make a mess of raspberries. 

I knew they weren't going to make it much longer than a week, so my plan with 20lbs of peaches was to bring them back home with me and freeze them . We drink a lot of smoothies and sweet peaches are always a great addition. 

So this is how you do it, in case you decide to purchase 20lbs of peaches…

And let it be known that I will be purchasing another 20lbs on our return trip from picking up our big boy…  yay!! 

1.Prep an ice bath & throw a stock pot on the stove, bring to boil.

2. Admire your beautiful pile of peaches. Juicy and sweet! 
3. With a sharp knife, score an X on the top of the peach. This will allow for easy peeling . Unless you prefer the skin on your peaches when freezing, then head straight to the chopping board and omit the rest of these instructions. 

4. Find your peach cradle. Or a soup ladle will do the trick , I guess.
Immerse about 5 peaches in the boiling water, let them bob around for about 2 minutes. No more! 

5. Grab your peach cradle and gently scoop up the peaches, one at a time and place in  your ice bath. For those that need to know, this stops the cooking process so you do not end up with mushy peaches. 

6. Using your hands, gently peel off the skin and discard. Basically, the skins will roll off in small pieces , so do this over a bowl to contain the mess.

7. Once you have prepped 10 or so peaches.. it's time to prepare them for the freezer.

8. To remove the pit, you want to use your knife and cut through to the pit , hold it there and press your knife to the side and the pit and peach should separate. Do this slowly and carefully , you don't want to end up with mush. 
9. Arrange on a parchment lined tray and place in freezer to flash freeze for 30 minutes. Flash freezing will allow you to transfer your peach pieces individually to a zip closing bag without having them freeze into one big pile of peaches.
20lbs of peaches will fill 3 large freezer zip closing bags. Doesn't seem like much, but they are tastier , fresher and you know exactly where your fruit came from! And I love knowing where my food comes from.

And there , you've just made yourself a batch of blanched frozen peach pieces, perfect for adding to smoothies , crumbles, cobblers, pie or to tame teething toddlers. Easy peasy. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

Big Hill/Big Change

It's no surprise that we have moved. We've been talking about this move for almost 3 years now and the opportunity has presented itself time and again.

The timing wasn't always there. At one point, we found out my parents were moving to our town (in which case, i was not going anywhere!), then our house was still under renovation; and then at one point, we just weren't ready for the change. 

moving made me go crazy! 

Moving to a new town with children is a tough decision to make. Ellis had enough prep time to understand what it meant and we had talked about it long enough that I think he was just relieved that we finally did something about it. He never cried about it, not about leaving his house or his friends. Until, one day, we were driving home from a trip to Kimberley and he was looking through photos on my phone and said "mommy, I miss our old house". Tears that broke my heart emerged and I had to remind him we can always visit. Occasionally , he will ask if we can go meet the new people that live in his old house and I remind him that we will, soon . 

But, with change comes new adventures. We've made it our mission to try and do as much as we can to make this new town feel like our new home. It's becoming rapidly apparent that we were meant to live this close to the mountains and amongst so many diverse natural havens. 

For example…  Big Hill Springs Provincial Park.. AMAZING! 

Above is a photo of the boys on the walking path at Big Hill Springs. This place is comprised of so many paths that , from what I hear, you need to be a repeat visitor to get the full effect . Not a problem! Though Charlie's little legs only lasted so long and the pathway is not stroller friendly for the most part. But, it was a safe and beautiful place to let our little Prince Charles walk on his own and discover rocks and leaves. The only disappointment I had was that Daddy Hodge couldn't join us; somebody has to make the big bucks. Ha. 

At the beginning of the park there are beautiful pools of cool water and streams gently flowing through. It truly is a place that nature created for our little ones. Picnic tables for those who are fast enough to snag one ; but, I actually enjoyed sitting on the grass/sand on a towel with Ellis munching away on our lunch. We had three hours there but you could very easily spend the entire day . I look forward to seeing this place in the fall. It will be gorgeous with all the frost and a skiff of snow. 

I know, hush on the S word. 

So, to sum up, life has been a bit hectic but the idea of moving to a new place is to immerse yourself in the lifestyle and this lifestyle was meant for us. Mountains to look at everyday, to remind you of the skiing that's to come this winter. A plethora of parks and pathway systems to urge you outside and to connect with nature. Downtown Cochrane, small town feel with enough amenities to keep you out of the big city for months. This town has a light hum to it; there's just enough going on that you have multiple choices within town to pick from or skip it all and go for a walk through a beautiful preserved park where your children can discover natures amazing scenery 15minutes from your front door. 

Good move, I say.