Monday, 21 July 2014

An organized moving day

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As I sit here typing this I'm surrounded by a disaster.
A house that is being packed up.
Boxes shoved into every corner, and random new house stuff scattered throughout our dining room.

Don't we all have a new vanity and four new toilets sitting in our dining room?
Don't we???

Right now we have 4 beautifully ugly bathrooms, straight out of the 80's, waiting for us at our new house--but once we get our hands on them...I'm picturing marble, granite, sparkly lights, beautiful tile. In the meantime though, I'm unfortunately so used to our new vanity and toilets staring at me in our dining room that it somehow feels normal to me. It's normal that Carter's highchair is tucked up against the side of a ginormous double sink vanity box and it's normal for me to sit down to eat dinner and kick empty cardboard boxes out of the way as I sit all cozy up against four huge boxes of new toilets.

It's now normal for me to go digging through our Tupperware cardboard box for whatever container I need and it's normal for me to go downstairs and grab pasta out of our cardboard food boxes that we've been eating out of since we packed up our pantry and cupboards the other day.  

Because the move is a comin'.
And it feels like we're just barely surviving it.

From packing an entire house with a 1 and 3 year old underfoot, to planning renovations that are happening the day after we move in, to picking out hardwood flooring, organizing home visits, negotiating prices, getting permits (thanks mom and dad!), picking out trim and baseboards and paint colours and lighting, to reading a 3 page document on how to take care of a pool (because Lord knows we have no idea!)--we're a bit overwhelmed.

Oh, and if anyone is super excited about helping us pull up carpet the second weekend of August and/or put together the kids playset and gazebo outside, please let me know--we need help!

I must have looked a little weathered the other day, because Terry came up to me as I was pulling things out of my closet and throwing things into boxes.

"You okay?" he said.

"Okay? Yea." I said. "My mind is just spinning. Actually spinning. My closet is a disaster, I have too many clothes..I can't find anything that I need because everything is stacked into a pile of boxes somewhere, our house is a disaster, my health card is about to expire, I don't know if I took a shower today and I was up all night trying to plan out the exact shade of white paint that is going to go on our new baseboards...and have you checked the calendar? 'Cause don't forget we're trying to make a baby along with all of this!"

He paused for a moment--as he always does when I'm being a little too dramatic.
"Come give me a hug", he said with a little laugh. "We'll be fine. We're all organized, the house just looks chaotic because guess what?..we're moving in 2 weeks. Everything will come together, don't worry".

And so...

he's probably right.

But in the meantime, I knew that I wanted to bring a little organization to what could be a very chaotic, disorganized experience. So hence, the sticky note solution.

If you're moving and want a quick and easy way to stay organized especially on the actual day of your move, this might just be your ticket to success.

All you need is a ton of different coloured sticky notes (or pieces of paper), a marker and some tape. We had tons kicking around which we used, but you can always buy different colours at the dollarstore.

Anyways, the system is simple...but (I think) it will be incredibly effective on moving day.

All you do is give each room in your house a different colour. So Mya's room gets the pink sticky notes, the kitchen gets dark blue, the dining room gets white, the kids playroom gets yellow, the basement gets light blue, the garage gets red..etc etc.

Write it all out on a piece of paper so you know which room gets which colour (so you can reference it when you're packing up different things)...and then on the moving day, stick the appropriate coloured sticky notes on the doors (or walls) of each room. So on Mya's new bedroom door I'll have a pink sticky note that says Mya's bedroom and on the main wall in the playroom I'll have a yellow sticky note taped up saying playroom. This way, the movers (and others who are helping) don't have to take extra time finding and reading what each box says--they just have to follow the colours. And Terry and I know which room in the house is going to be Mya's room or Carter's room--but the movers don' having the rooms labeled once we get to the new house will hopefully speed up the process as well and avoid everyone asking us which room belongs to who or which room we'll be using as the living room, playroom, etc.

And when it comes to clothes? Well, we opted out of the expense of renting or buying those fancy boxes with the clothes hanger on them (since we've already spent a fortune on buying other big boxes), and we're going back to my University moving days of poking a little hole through the end of a garbage bag and feeding a few hangers through it...with each labelled of course, just with masking tape. This way the clothes stay clean during the move and you can easily pick them up and throw them in a car, then directly into a closet at the new house, with very little fuss.

Our plan is to move our clothes ourselves the night before the movers I'm hoping that my tried-and-true cheap University days garbage bag moving system will still hold up.

 So with that said...empty boxes are staring at me right now, which means that I need to get off of this computer.

Wish me luck...I think we're going to need it.

Erica xo

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Reese peanut butter cup fudge

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with anything peanut butter/chocolate. Actually my sister and I are both a little obsessed. 

So when I decided to bake up a little something tonight after getting home today with sun-kissed kids, bathing suits hanging over our deck and sand tracked all over our house, I decided that chocolate/peanut butter Reese fudge was in order. 

Seriously. If you like chocolate and peanut butter you just might not be able to even handle these. You need a plan and a  follow-through person (a plan to give most of them away and a follow-through person to make sure that you actually do it)...or you just might end up in a chocolate/peanut butter coma on the floor from eating the whole batch in one sitting.

Because they're THAT good.

So my plan is to give them to Terry to take in to share with his co-workers tomorrow, and my follow through is my hubby who won't let his foot leave the doorway tomorrow without these delicious babies in his hands. 

So here you have it. The EASIEST fudge you'll ever make. And (as an expert in anything chocolate peanut butter)...I'd say the BEST fudge you'll ever eat. Hands down. 

I always thought that fudge was hard to make, so I never even tried it--because as much as I love to bake up yummy treats, I'm always looking for the easy road---so if there are a million ingredients and too many directions, I flip to the next one. So, if you're not a baker and think that making fudge is hard---please try this recipe. Or if you bake all the time and want a 10minute quick treat, this one is for you. 

I found a recipe online, but decided to switch it up a bit and change a few here is how I made them myself:
There are only 4 ingredients (my kind of recipe!).

2 cups chocolate chips (or chocolate wafers, as I used)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (FYI: cheapest place to buy it that I've found is Walmart--otherwise it costs a fortune)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
8 Reese peanut butter cups (or more---because, really can there ever be too many? Nope).

Start by cutting up your Reese cups, (so they're ready to go when you need to throw them in quickly before the chocolate hardens later on) and throw a few of them onto an 8" square pan lined with parchment paper --leave the rest to the side. *My pan is larger since I doubled the recipe

Put your chocolate chips/wafers in a microwave safe bowl and put them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, checking it frequently and stirring (making sure that it doesn't burn).

Once melted, quickly put chocolate into large mixing bowl and add condensed milk and mix together fully.

Quickly add peanut butter (you don't want your chocolate to start to harden, so get that peanut butter in there!). Mix only slightly, so that you end up with actual strips/chunks of peanut butter in your fudge...don't over-mix.

Then throw in a hand full (or so) of peanut butter cups and carefully stir a few times.

Pour mixture into your pan, over top of the peanut butter cups that are already laying on the parchment paper.

Throw some of the rest of your Reese cups on top and push them down a bit so that they stay put.

Then put in fridge for at least 2hrs so that it can harden. Then ENJOY!!

"Don't eat too many mommy. You'll throw up" -Mya. 

Have a great night everyone, 
Erica xo

Monday, 7 July 2014

Summertime loves

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It's officially summer vacation in this house--got my kids back.
No more daycare. No more work. Just the three of us all day long, trying to soak up summer, get ready for cottage fun, keep ourselves entertained and pack up this house for our move in a few weeks.

The kids are asleep right now, which means that I should really be upstairs packing as much as I can--because if anyone has ever tried to pack with little people before they will tell you that it's pretty much impossible. Anything that's put into the box by an adult somehow magically gets taken out of the box by a little person. So we pack when they sleep, and play around boxes when they're awake.

So a few things I'm loving these days...then I'm off to pack.

1) My kids reminding me how much fun the simplicity of a box is.

So glad that at least two people in this house think that it's fun to pack up an entire house--because Terry and I are over it. OVER it. But I've discovered a simple way to make packing and moving a super organized experience--will tell you all about it soon.

2) Ice cream cones on a hot day. There's nothing better.

3) Two snugglers on the couch. I walked into the living room and found them like this.

4) Blowing kisses and waving to their daddy at the window as he goes off to work every morning. They don't miss this moment ever. It's pretty cute.

5) TV shows that sing and dance and ask her to follow along with their actions. Although I'm not a huge fan of a lot of TV throughout the day, sometimes it's my life saver and the only way that I can get dinner made or save my sanity on the crazy days.

She's pretty serious about her actions. 

6) Spontaneous drop-by pick ups.
Jen was given this bike trailer from a friend who wasn't using it anymore, so she'll drop by randomly, pick up a kid or two and take them on a fun ride around the neighbourhood. Mya is now working on us to get our own bike trailer. No better way to ride than one of these things.

7) Two blondies reading together early in the morning.

She walks him through each page, describing each picture--really believing that she is reading. So of course I love that.

8) Lunch outside. Because convincing kids to come inside to eat on a warm summer day is virtually impossible. So we picnic outside a lot. And keep the mess outside too. Win/win.

9) Sandbox fun in our backyard. They'd spend forever in this thing if they could.

Enjoy your summer days ahead, even if you get to spend your days at work like Terry. It's still all good.
Erica xo

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The reality of strawberry fields

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Phew. We made it. Summer has officially begun. 

These past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at school (hence, not having an ounce of time to sit and write in this lil' blog o' mine in forever)...but we're here, summer has arrived, and school is officially out until September. 

So with the sun shining and strawberry season in full swing, we decided to tag along with Jen and Jeff and go strawberry picking with the kids this weekend.   

They tasted just as good as they look.

But it's funny...because as I took a look through all of our pictures from that day, I realized that the pictures told a different kind of story than what really happened that day.

And it made me realize that we never usually take pictures of certain parts of our lives--and maybe we sometimes should.

In many ways, strawberry picking with the kids was exactly as the pictures show--a beautiful sunny day with kids in sun hats, slathered with sunscreen, excitedly holding their plastic buckets as they pulled deliciously ripe strawberries right off of the vine. Red fingers and juicy strawberry juice dripped from chins as they giggled to each other and ran through the strawberry fields. In so many ways it was exactly what the pictures show.

But what you don't see is the exhausted mom and dad...both of us so tired from being up all night, all week long with a sick baby (who was thankfully feeling better--but anyone who has ever looked after a sick baby before knows that the residual exhaustion takes days and days to be cured).

What you don't see is how we chased toddlers through our exhaustion, smiled when we felt miserable and picked sometimes only one strawberry at a time since one year old's like to you can never really do anything in one place for longer than a few seconds.
So you see that picture above? That's Carter in the orange shirt, just about to take off--getting his little legs ready to wear his tired mama out. That picture makes me laugh just looking at it--because years from now I might look at this picture and really believe that strawberry picking was so calm and relaxing...because there are no pictures of me chasing him down the fields, picking him up as he squirms and cries, redirecting him away from other people's perfectly picked strawberry buckets.

There were no pictures taken of the discussion with little people sitting on daddy's knee on the edge of our van in the parking lot, talking about the importance of changing their tone of voice (because when you're three years old there is still a lot of learning to do).

And there were certainly no pictures (thank goodness!) taken of me trying to convince my one yr old to PLEASE come out from the back of the van when I went back to get some wipes for sticky fingers. And if there were pictures taken, you would have seen a tired mom, sweating hot, climbing over huge car seats and picking up a squirming little boy who thought that with all of the fun right in front of him at the strawberry fields that it was even more fun to play in a sweltering hot van (because one year old's are funny like that).

So the strawberries? They were delicious. They were insanely delicious.
And the memories? We still made a ton.
But the reality? Well, I kinda wish now that I had said to Terry "Hey! Make sure you get a shot of my derrier as I'm climbing over car seats, sweating hot, okay? That'll be a good one for the baby book!".
I wish that I had thought to throw someone the camera as we ran exhausted through the fields after a little boy who thought that the strawberry fields were his playground. And I really wish that I now had a picture of a little 3yr old sitting on her daddy's knee in the parking lot of a strawberry field, getting some life lesson advice. Because that's really how it is.

And the real reality is that it won't always be this way.

I might one day actually have to wake up a sleepy teenage boy and drag him out of bed in the morning, because he's lost his 1yr old never-ending energy. And I might have to sit on the corner of a teenage girl's bed and give her a different kind of advice or just a shoulder to cry on...because one day she will unfortunately likely face more than what we can just solve on her daddy's knee in the parking lot of a strawberry field.

And when all else fails? ...Well, you let your parents take you out to dinner after strawberry picking when they offer--braving four little ones under the age of four at a fancy restaurant--and you come away feeling happy, fulfilled and inspired to pull out the camera more often, so you can capture all of your realities...because it will one day tell the story of your entire life.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Erica xo

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