‘Tis the Season

It’s no secret, Christmas is my favourite time of the year! Iย mean,ย I actually like the mall at Christmas time when most people are complaining (this is also the only time of year Mike likes the mall, too! A match made in chaotic Christmas heaven ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Vienna is showing strong signs of following my Christmas lead, and I love it! She’s been gasping and awing at any little light display we see. #agirlaftermyownheart

We are all about taking in Christmas festivities over here … I only hope that one day my children appreciate my crazy love for anything holiday-themed. I’m excited to be sharing our holiday bucket list today, since its definitely time to get in the Christmas spirit with only ONE MONTH until Christmas. How did that happen?

We love supporting local charities; one we support every year is Be a Santa to a Senior, where we purchase gifts for a senior who may not have any familyย at Christmas. We also love decorating cookies and gingerbread houses– it should come as no surprise that V took it upon herself to lick every gumdrop before it went on the house last year. And of course, anything that involves Christmas jammies, Christmas music, or Christmas coffee…. Ok, the whole list is our favourite.

We plan to kick things off tonight by attending an annual festival of lights,ย that we go to every year! What are your favourite holiday activities? Comment below to share!

Here’s to a fun, festive Christmas season! xo
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Family First

Last weekend we visited our family in Alberta to celebrate the life of my Uncle Len. He was like another grandparent to us, especially given his own grandchildren came along many years later than my sister and I. It was a busy, emotional weekend. Bittersweet in that all of my crazy family got together (think the stereotypical ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ crew… except we aren’t Greek, and there’s no wedding), yet it was over the loss of one of our “greats.” It’s pretty amazing that my girls get to know all of our big extended family, and their Great, Great relatives.

My Uncle Len always told one of my favourite stories of me as a child. He loved it and would share it any chance he got. He even told it at my wedding in his toast to the bride. The story goes…

When I was about three my Uncle took my sister and I to visit our Grandparents who lived about four hours away. As we traveled we started playing I spy. My turn to choose was up and I left my sister and him guessing forever, until finally they gave in. “It was that brown horse back there you guys!” I exclaimed, to the annoyance of my sister. We continued on and he said out of nowhere I screamed (anyone with a three year old right now knows how loud that is) from the back seat. He pulled over in a panic thinking that at I probably needed to use the bathroom or was sick. He said he raced to get me out of the car, concerned and flustered that something was wrong, stood me up on the road next to him, only to have me adjust my three-year-old-little-tights and say, “ok, we can go now.”

He told that story so. many. times. We were so blessed to have him visit us for the girls’ birthday just a few short weeks ago and to meet baby Aria, something he always talked about doing. He loved his family so much.

I didn’t intend to blog about this, but this week I’ve been wanting to share some family photos, and this family story just came out as I typed. Part of my reason to blog is to create a memory for my girls, and now this story that I loved to hear him tell is written for the first (and yes, likely ย only, time).

All this goes to say that I love my family and I am lucky to have them. And it’s pretty cool to see Mike and my own little family grow and change. Below I’m sharing photos of our little family of four.

Over the past five years we have had many family photos done, given that we have had so many of those “big” life events: engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, maternity, newborn. I think I’m addicted. We have had all of our photos done by Jennifer Harwood with Blink Photography. Jen, what are we going to do when we run out of life events to celebrate!? And how cool is it that one photographer has our entire story?!

I truly love the way Jen captures exactly who our family is. She is amazing with kids– all of our sessions have been fun and relaxing, and it shows in the final product. This last session is my favourite, I think because of the beautiful fall colours. Fall just might becoming my favourite season (sorry, summer). I can’t wait to put these on my gallery wall (read: project coming soon!)

Thank you again Jen for these amazing photos! Here’s a small sample of some of my favourites! xo

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Following up on this weeks Double Birthday Bash post I wanted to share my go-to frosting recipe. I’ve used a couple different ones over the years, but this latest one has stuck with me. It has the right consistency for piping decorations, and it is easy enough to adjust the consistency by changing the icing sugar amount. I also like that this one doesn’t call for vegetable shortening, which I find throws the taste off a bit.

Enjoy! P.S. If you’ve got a soccer fan in the house, check out these cute soccer cupcakes!

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Double Birthday Bash

It’s a double birthday! Given the girls’ birthdays are just one day apart we took advantage of having one big family party for their first and third birthdays. Or so I thought… I say “took advantage of,” but I really didn’t think through baking andย icing cakes and cupcakes for an entire evening and morning. But, it’s so nice for the girls to share their day together and to have one big gathering.

We had a great day! We ate snacks, had cake, and enjoyed visiting with so many family and friends. The kids are young enough that we didn’t do a kids party and there are enough kids in our closeย friends and family circle to make it pass as a kids party anyways. I did a fun activity table that was SO easy and all of the kids loved it. I’m going to recycle this idea for all future kid events! All it entailed was a roll of white craft paper, a few mason jars of markers and crayons, some stickers,ย a couple of easy Halloween “crafts” and a jar full of play dough containers. The kids had a blast! And it involved zero adult participation. That’s a win in my books! I didn’t do goody bags, we just sent each child home with the play dough of their choice and some stickers.

As for decor I went with pink and gold, of course, because that’s what we already have on hand. And for the record, my decorating mainly consists of baked goods– that’s my strength ๐Ÿ˜‰ Each of the girls had a two-tier rose cake piped with different shades of pink frosting, and I made large and small pink frosted cupcakes too. I truly love making their birthday cakes, along with cakes for my sweet nieces and nephews. I’m no pro, and sometimes my perfectionism makes it a bit crazy in the kitchen, but I love seeing them so happy with their cakes. Vienna blew out her candles at the start of happy birthday, and quietly watched us all sing to her. And Aria had zero interest in “smashing” her cake.

Besides baking my other favourite decoration to include is a photo line, where I string up photos of the girls from the past year. I’ve done this for each of Vienna’s birthdays already, and it’s one of the few times (some) of my massive amounts of photos get printed. I take the photos and put them in a mini album and tuck them away in a box for her. One of my favourite things as I grew up was looking through old photos from my childhood. We never seem to print photos these days and I want the girls to have some to look back on down the road.

I’ve done blogs celebrating each of the girls ages here ย (Vienna) and hereย (Aria), since catching them sitting still at their birthday party is next to impossible! Here’s a quick photoย recap on the details of the day, enjoy! AND how cute is that family pic with the girls in their birthday outfits by the talented Jennifer Harwood @ย Blink Photography!?

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