All posts by Raina

Go the F to Sleep (Or: A Visit to the Lavender Farm)

The other day I took Vienna on a little day date with Mom. She hadn’t been acting like herself, and, well, Mom guilt. So I took her for a one-on-one morning. She may be playing me, but oh well. #momstruggles. We headed to the Farmer’s Market, one of our favourite regular stops, and the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Truth be told, I had an ulterior motive (hence the title here– anyone else read that book?). Sure I wanted to visit the Lavender Farm and spend time with my girl, but more importantly, V “not acting like herself” included a bout of huge bedtime melt downs and I intended to purchase lavender oil and pump that shit discretely diffuse Lavender all over the house. Sweet, sweet bliss! (I’m starting to have an emoji addiction- I desperately want to put that cry/laughing face here).

We had a great time! They have already harvested the Lavender for the season, so it wasn’t the beautiful purple lavender fields that one would imagine, but when your audience is an almost three-year old, they don’t know the difference. It’s actually set up fairly well to accommodate kids: they provide a scavenger hunt in their garden trails (kids are rewarded with a freezie for completing!), there is a hedge maze to get lost in, a fish pond, a wishing tree to hang ‘wish ribbons’ on (although the aesthetics of the actual wishing tree are kind of, well, weird to me), and really just an all-around beautiful atmosphere.

V loved running through the garden trails and picking which path we would go on next. This may be in part due to the fact that she is obsessed with paths lately. There is a small museum on the property painted in bright colours, which Vienna was certain was an ice cream shop. So funny! “Mom, that has to be where they keep the ice cream!” She thinks every Okanagan tourist attraction sells Gelato (and she’s actually right).

At Christmas time they decorate the gardens with thousands of little lights for families to visit. Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am a sucker for Christmas anything…. so we’ll be back. Worth the visit, and yes, I purchased Lavender. 😉

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I’m Yours

This weekend we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. 5 years! Where did the time go? Well, mostly to two babies and two cruise boats in our case, but really, it feels like not that long ago and yet so long ago at the same time. We took a night away at Sparkling Hill Resort to celebrate (thanks to the grandparents for keeping the kiddos)– our first time away from both girls!

We got married on 09-10-11. Our wedding day is still one of my favourite days…

After searching the Okanagan exhaustively trying to find a lakefront (and not spend a million) venue, we got married on the perfect dock at a tiny lakefront hotel (thanks to my savvy co-worker–no really, she has the answer to everything). Sadly the site was torn down and turned into a development last year. It was one of those hidden gems that seemed “too good to be true”. One site. All of our crazy family and friends in one small hotel. 33 degree September weather. The most stunning backdrop. The most amazing dress.  And the groom wasn’t too bad either 😉

Wedding Details Recap:

  • Colour Scheme: Black and White with a hit of hot pink
  • Wedding Party: 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaids, two flower girls and a ring bearer
  • Ceremony: On the dock
  • Reception: White event tents behind the hotel
  • Dinner: Catered buffet
  • Dessert: Candy Bar and homemade cookies dipped in dark and white chocolate
  • Songs: Walking down the aisle- I’m Yours, Jason Mraz (acoustic); First Dance- Everything, Michael Buble

I’m not sure what else to put on this list, as I’m so far out of the wedding planning world and so thick into the baby-toddler-mama world. Thankfully (?) Pinterest became popular pretty much right after our wedding, so I feel my inner event planner enthusiast was relatively limited reasonable at the time.

I looked through our wedding album again the other day and I love these photos so much. We are lucky to have so many stunning images thanks to Blink Photography, who also happens to have done all of our family and baby pictures! Here’s a few favourites.

(I still LOVE that dress and a small part of me hopes that one of my girls will wear it one day).

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Preschool for V!

It’s back to school week and I can’t believe Miss V started Preschool this week! V doesn’t turn 3 until October, so it seems so young (well really, it is, isn’t it?!). She has been so excited about school, mostly because of her older buddies (she calls it ‘Isla school’ after her friend Isla, who went there last year). It’s the sweetest little school and V came out beaming today that she made new friends! Emphasis on new– I think perhaps she expected Isla to be there 😉 I’m curious as to whether her going to preschool will result in a more detailed/accurate game of “school”, which she always wants to play. One can hope– right now I spend an awful lot of time being a teacher at the whim of a bossy student.

Vienna picked out her own outfit out at the mall with me yesterday– adorable! It turns out if you wait for the week of back to school to hit the mall, you run a high risk of ending up with nothing at all or a very Christmas-appropriate dress. Luckily V set her eye on this right away, I think because she was excited to pick something out….or maybe because she wanted to go and get a bouncy ball, haha.

I asked V a few questions to get a snapshot of what she’s like these days. So cute!

  • How old are you? Two and a half
  • What is your favourite food? Chocolate!
  • What is your favourite toy? Elsa
  • What do you like to do for fun? Books
  • What is your favourite colour? Yellow
  • What do you love the most? YOU! (And jumps at me with open arms, going straight for Mama’s heart this girl)
  • Where is your favourite place to go? School
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? I going to drive one of Daddy’s boats! A little boat.

V isn’t really in to sitting still for pictures, so this mostly involved her pulling leaves and flowers off the trees and plants and me attempting to persuade/threaten her for a nice picture (our neighbours probably think I’m crazy). The expressions here are oh-so Vienna. This makes me laugh as I can’t imagine my Mom ever making this big of an ordeal out of three year old preschool. I blame Pinterest and Instagram.

In any case, happy first day of preschool, sweet girl!
V’s outfit: Shirt, Denim Jumper Dress and Backpack (last year)- The Gap; Riding Boots– Gymboree

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And That’s a Wrap

If Labour Day celebrates the achievements of workers, then there’s no better guy to celebrate it with than Mike at the end of a busy boat season! This is the only holiday in the summer that we get to take in some family time. And really, it’s one of the only (relatively) uninterrupted family days we have all summer long.

The weather in Kelowna is changing, and fast. Fall is here earlier than we’d like, but at the same time we are craving some of that routine-laden, jeans-and-boots kinda weather. So, we took in one last summer day and went to Bertram Creek Park for a picnic and to Carmelis Goat Cheese Farm, for Gelato, of course. Bertram is beautiful! It’s probably the furthest park in town from our house, but I’m glad we made the trip. With barely anyone there, it was the perfect picnic spot. And no play equipment needed– V was squealing from the time we arrived and literally ran around in the grass and trees the entire time we were there. The large trees proved the perfect spot to play hide and seek with Daddy– so flippin’ cute they were!

Next stop Carmelis. Sadly we didn’t even do the goat cheese tasting: when there are two lines– one for Gelato and one for Cheese– and you have small children in tow, naturally you end up in the Gelato line. The Gelato was tasty, although not as refreshing as it would be if summer weather had stuck around longer.

We ended the day with a long overdue BBQ with good friends. All in all a day well spent. And it seems that’s a wrap on summer! Sad to see it end but definitely looking forward to more family time this Fall.

Happy Fall everyone! xo

P.S. I can’t get enough of Aria’s scrunchy face smile and V’s little top knot. These girls though!
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Friday (Flat Lay!) Favourites

What better way to wrap up the week than a few beauty find favourites! Truth– I have never been an expert in make-up. Or beauty products for that matter. In fact I was stuck at the MAC counter for the last 10 years (nothing wrong with MAC, I just wasn’t exploring anything else). I also used to take a long time to get ready in the morning (say, an hour). And not because I was doing anything amazing, but because I had the time so I used the time. I washed, dried and styled my hair daily– say what? And I followed the same make-up application routine For. Years. But it’s ok, keep reading.

My skin was average, sometimes good, sometimes bad. For the last 3 years I’ve either being pregnant, nursing, or briefly recovering in between kids. It’s left my skin on a bit of a rollercoaster. This summer I made some changes and here are some beauty faves I picked up!

First, I switched all of my products to an organic skin care line. This is costly and something that I actually avoided doing for some time. I’ve been getting an organic facial for the last few years at Illuminate Skin Care and Aesthetics  and the products are amazing. And the owner, Meredith, is lovely. I finally started purchasing the products and 6 weeks later my skin felt the benefits. You can read more about Eminence Organic Skin Care products here.

Second, I swapped out my regular powder for one without Talc. I didn’t know much about this bad boy, but Meredith set me straight. I think it was along the lines of “we can clear up your skin… but if you keep clogging it up the second you leave, you aren’t going to get anywhere.” Right. So I swapped that out for talc-free powder- not easy to find.

New truth– this week I slept in and literally woke up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on a few dabs of very minimal make-up and walked out the door in FIVE MINUTES. Not with children, of course. I’m not an Olympian. But seriously! This makes such a difference for my mornings with two kids. Here’s the details on my “five minute face”:

Happy Friday! I hope something in here saves someone else’s morning too 😉

*These product recommendations are all just my personal opinions. Take it or leave it!

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Summer Staycation 2016

Nothing better than a little family time to wrap up summer! Mike’s business keeps him busy all summer long, which means no vacationing for this crew. Each year we’ve been taking a few nights to staycation, and it’s the best! It’s the perfect “reset” our family needs after a long few months of crazy schedules. Last year we ventured to Summerland, which was great, but if/when Mike needed to get to the boats it just meant less family time with him having to commute from Summerland. So this year we stayed a 5 min walk from the Marina at the Royal Private Residence Club at the Delta Grand. One word- amazing! Our unit was a waterfront 3 bedroom condo- the perfect place to watch our boats come and go and really appreciate how much our crazy business has grown in 5 years!

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Miss V’s Nursery

I’ve been wanting to capture Vienna’s nursery space in a blog post forever. There’s no time like the present- she’s outgrown her daybed (crib conversion) and her new bed is on order, so if I wanted it done it had to be now. I’m still learning how to get decent photos and these ones = no bueno. I ended up using my iphone for fear of driving myself crazy with my Canon. Our bedrooms also don’t have great natural light. Pair that with an awkward space to move around and I was getting no where fast- no wonder I put it off! I considered editing all the photos, but #aintnomamagottimeforthat. Now that I look at them on a desktop– eep. Maybe I’ll have someone help me redo this! 😉 (The walls in her room are white and the one behind her bed is a light grey). So, bear with me on the photos.

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Banana Pancakes

Sundays around here are meant for pancakes. Banana pancakes. We make them almost every Sunday. I love whipping up a batch of these and V loves to help, too. Sometimes it seems she randomly knows it is Sunday and will ask for pancakes! They are so easy I even make them the odd weekday if we are planning on being home for the morning. They also freeze really great– I stack them with parchment paper between them and pop them in a ziploc freezer bag to take out for easy breakfasts during the week. Win. And, the entire family loves them, right down to baby A– pictured below enjoying one.

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Soccer Cupcakes!

We’ve been busy around here lately, especially in the kitchen! It’s been a busy few weeks for Mike and the weather has gone from crazy hot to crazy rain, meaning the girls and I have spent a fair amount of time inside lately. On Friday it poured rain and we baked up some cupcakes for my friend’s daughter Kadence, who is like a niece to me. I love that I’ve been making her cakes since she was 5! I’m no professional, but I love trying my hand at decorating cakes and cupcakes, and the kids love them perfect or not 🙂

I wanted to do this post because I always look to Pinterest for decorating ideas after I get a theme from the kids. But, it’s annoying when you can’t find good sources for info on what to use to make them. These Soccer cupcakes were easy (although piping grass on 24 cupcakes is time consuming!) and the best part is the grass is meant to be messy, so for a perfectionist like me there is a bit of leeway where I won’t drive myself completely insane trying to perfect them– although I’ll confess that I did test out what it would take to make very even turf grass. Moving on…

Here’s the details:

  • Icing tint: Wilton’s Kelly Green concentrated paste- these paste’s work really great for colours.
  • Decorating tip: Wilton #233 Flower Center/ Grass
  • Soccer balls: This one is tricky (and what I searched all over Pinterest for how to make) They are edible sugar decorations. They are here on amazon, which will work for anyone who starts planning their projects sooner than 3 days before the event. Note to future self. Or, check with your local cake store, you might get lucky, I did!

Happy Birthday to the sweetest 11 year old we know! xo

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Family Dinner- Whole Bowls!

I am always looking on Pinterest for easy and good recipes. V seems to have boycotted all meat that isn’t a hot dog recently, and I am trying to find dinners that are healthy and appealing. This recipe is one that works for the entire family: Vienna, Mike and I all like this dinner- and even baby A can enjoy it too!

The base is brown rice. I usually throw it in the rice cooker when we are heading outside or for a walk before dinner so it’s good to go when we get home. For meat I cook 6 chicken breasts in the slow cooker and usually get two dinners worth– the second one being whole bowls/rice bowls. The slow cooker works best for whole bowl chicken because it can be chopped very fine and blends (ah-hem– hides) easily with the brown rice. I’ve also made them with ham for V which seems to go over good too. I usually mix in a small amount of sour cream to give it a bit of a creamy texture, especially because V is huge fan of “dip” these days.

Next I chop up a selection of toppings and put them all in smaller bowls and everyone adds their own toppings. This presentation and participation might even be the reason why V likes them so much! Topping ideas: shredded carrots, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, black beans, salsa, cheese, and a few tortilla chips for texture!

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