8.27.2015

Claire's Birthday

This is about a month over due!
I can't believe Claire is
officially 4 years old.
Tonight I was filling out her preschool forms
and I couldn't help the tears from springing forward.
Where does the time go?
Can someone please figure that out for me?

For Claire's birthday
she had decided months before
that she wanted to go camping with her friend Maddie.
So that's what we did!

We booked a site at Cultus Lake,
the same campground I went to when I was a kid.
What a beautiful part of the world.

My uncle and aunt have a cabin
about a two minute walk from our camp site.
It was so nice to spend the weekend with them.
It reminded me how important family is.
We spent time with them at their cabin,
and they would walk their dogs to our campsite.
We participated in the regatta weekend events
with their neighbours, including a parade. 
We went out on their boat a couple of times
and Claire and Spencer even went tubing.
Our little adventure seeker absolutely loved tubing.

We had my grandparents, my mom,
my brother, sister-in-law and nephew come one
day for a beach day and wiener roast.
The next day Spencer's parents came 
as well as some of our friends, including Maddie!
We spent the day at the beach and on the water.
Had a pot luck dinner and some sparklers to complete the birthday weekend.

Claire had such a great weekend,
I am so glad.
She declared she wants to do this for her
birthday every year and I am fine with that plan.





Starting the day with cupcakes at Super Pake and G.G.'s house.



A birthday song and sundae from Red Robin.




 A water fight with her new water gun from great grandma and great grandpa.












  ( next 3 photos from Diane)



8.24.2015

Mommy Mondays: Baby Essentials

Welcome to Mommy Mondays,
my newest addition
to the Just An Ordinary Family blog.
Here I am hoping to shed light
on some mommy topics,
give some mommy tips and 
just talk about mommy stuff in general.

Today I am starting with items that
I believe are pretty essential
when it comes to having a baby.
Beside the obvious items
such as a change table, 
crib, etc.
I am talking about the little things
 I couldn't live without.
Not that I am in anyway claiming to be an expert,
but after having two kids I feel I have firm grasp on
what items I would want when/if I do it all again.

Okay here we go!

#1: Sudocream
This diaper rash cream can be found at any drugstore.
I bought one jar after I ran out the Burt's Bees stuff I was gifted 
and only just bought my second jar now when my second is 10 months old.
You read that right! 
I used one jar from the time my now 4 year old was an infant 
until my second at 10 months old.
This stuff is amazing.
I have never been afraid of using too much
diaper cream,
and with Sudocream I have never needed to use it more than a day or two.
It clears up the rash so quickly!
Along with using diaper cream I also aide it with lots 
of bare bum time and also an oatmeal and lavender bath.

#2: Essential Oils
This wasn't something I used much of with my first.
I didn't know much about it then.
You may remember me blogging this past winter
about our never ending colds.
It felt like for months we were just passing it back and forth between us.
A cold, sometimes a flu, but we were always sick it felt like.
Finally after Jane and I had been nursing a cough and runny nose
for almost two months I broke down 
and bought the Essential Collection Kit from doTERRA®.

Now I am totally hooked
and my collection and knowledge of 
essential oils is growing!
It has given me the freedom
to try a variety of home remedies first,
before running to the doctor for a prescription.
I feel like I can take charge of my family's health. 
If you are interested in essential oils,
I became a distributor with doTERRA®
and would love to help you get started on 
your journey with essential oil use.
Click here to visit my doTERRA® website.


When I was nursing my oldest I had one of these but rarely used it.
I completely wrecked my upper back and shoulders.
My shoulders curled forward to accommodate the weight of holding
the baby up high enough. 
This made my muscles in my upper back overstretched 
and my pectoral muscles tight.
It has taken me months, even years,
 of trying to correct this posture.

With my second I made sure to always make sure the baby was
high enough up and supported below.
It saved me so much pain this time around!

The pillow also comes in handy for tummy time
and when they are learning to sit up on their own.
I bought mine second hand and made my own cover to go over top
in a fabric that I liked.
You can also purchase covers in different fabrics
that you can take off and wash.

(image from kinderfluence.com) 

#4: a carrier

Whether it is a wrap or a pack, a baby carrier is a must.
Especially if you have other kids.
We had an Ergo that we used with Claire that we loved.
There were a few things about the Ergo that didn't suit me,
so we traded it in and got a Boba.
I am in love with the Boba.
It is so incredibly comfortable and can carry 
a newborn to a toddler 
without having to purchase any extra accessories.
Plus, it is affordable and ergonomic.

Spencer wearing the Boba.
I also enjoy wrapping my babies.
I had a DIYjersey wrap with Claire,
and this time around I used a Moby wrap.
This time I also used a wrap made from a special kind of cotton.
It wasn't stretchy, but allowed me to try some new carries.
Having the baby on me and my hands free
was a huge must this time around. 
It was also very enjoyable for Jane and I.

Claire in my DIY wrap.


Jane in the Moby wrap with a fabric panel.
When she was little, I would put her in the wrap 
and she would fall asleep within minutes.
I don't know how I would have managed without
a baby wearing device.
I had a few!

Jane nursing in the wrap.
So easy, so soothing, so handy!

#5: Hazel wood/Amber teething necklace

These are necklaces that the babies wear.
Please use common sense with this one.
Don't let the babies sleep with it on!
Don't have it too tight, or too loose.
Buy the appropriate size for your child. 
A good idea is to place the top snap of the sleeper
over the necklace.
This way the necklace is looped through
and will help any kind of choking hazard you fear may happen.

It is advised to use real Baltic amber.
With real Baltic amber you can't get it wet
(or let your baby chew on it).
I have seen in several photos on Facebook and
Instagram of babies in the tub or water with their amber necklaces on.
This will actually ruin the effect the necklace has.

With both types of necklaces,
the hazel wood and amber,
it helps alleviate teething symptoms.
With Claire, the amber necklace worked well.
I would see a noticeable difference in her temperament 
when she wore it, and also she hardly drooled when she wore it.
With Jane, the Amber didn't seem to make a difference for her at all,
but the hazel wood necklace did. 
I even tried a different amber necklace
and it had little to no effect on her.

#6: muslin swaddling blankets

Those big, lighty swaddling blankets come in handy for so many things!
My favourite brands are JJCole and Aden and Anais.
There is another one my girlfriend gave me with a beautiful pattern,
but I can't remember the name and the blanket has since been packed away.

Anyway,
they can be used as a swaddling blanket (shocker!)
They can be used as a nursing cover,
a blanket to play on,
a burp cloth and even a towel at the spray park!

#7 - Dishwasher/Washer/Dryer

It seems kind of obvious
to have this on a list.
But if these things ever failed me
during these early years as a parent
I think I would cry for days.
I have a shameless love affair with each of these.

#8: Nose Frida

This was something we discovered the second time around.
Those bulbs you use to suck snot 
(to those who are grossed out, I'm sorry)
are hard to clean. 
Even when you boil the snot out of them
(ha ha)
they can become moldy and gross inside.
They don't always work well, either.

The Nose Frida is bizarre,
not gonna lie. 
The first time I realized what it was,
I was freaked right out.
But I promise you,
even though you are sucking snot through
a hose using your mouth,
you will not get snot in your mouth.
There is a filter to block all the gunk.
It is extremely effective and the filters are replaceable.

(Image from presidentmommy.com)

#9: A really good stroller

This one my husband added because it is so important.
Strollers range incredibly in price.
You can spend as little or as much as you want.
Let me remind you:
You are not buying a car.
There is no need (in my humble opinion) to 
spend ridiculous amounts of money on it.
However, that being said,
don't cheap out either.
You can buy one stroller that
is okay, and replace it two or three times 
depending how many kids you have.
Or you can spend a bit of money
and get a stroller that will last for all your kids.

There are so many varieties as well,
and it really depends on what your families lifestyle is.
Are you a city family who want style?
Or do you want to be able to run with it?
What about using it on rough terrain?
Some things you will want to consider 
are whether you want three wheels and the front wheel
to swivel and lock?
Or four wheels and have the ability to
switch a bassinet for a seat?
Do you want your stroller
to convert to a double,
or purchase a double stroller separately? 

We decided on the Phil and Teds Classic.
We love it.
We have taken it on some good hikes,
the beach and the city.
I love that it is narrow enough to wheel through shops
and arrow narrow corners on a hiking trail.
We can add a second seat on top or underneath without
adding width to the stroller. 

#10: Amazon Prime

Honestly, this has been a lifesaver for me in so many ways.
Amazon.ca has some amazing prices and
they have everything you can think of.
Best prices for diapers, hands down.
Plus, free two day shipping.

What else is there to say? 
Diapers delivered to my door at great prices?
Yes please!
They even carry the brand of cloth diapers we use now.


Runners up:
 baby swing (we loved the Mamaroo),
a great baby bath (we loved the Puj tub),
and a breast pump (Medela is a common favourite.)

Each individual will have their own must haves.
This list represents the things we couldn't live without!

What are your must-haves for baby? 








8.21.2015

Summer Corn Chowder

This past weekend 
the girls in our family had a terrible stomach flu.
It was just awful,
and what made it worse
was that we had to cancel plans 
with our friends who we had been so looking 
forward to having over.

So, come Sunday we had 12 ears of corn
to consume before it went too starchy.
There is nothing worse than starchy corn.
Okay, there are lots of things worse than that.
But wasting 12 beautiful cobs of corn isn't fun.

When the weather became slightly cooler
I jumped at the chance to make a soup.
Especially since we had weak tummies,
I knew a bowl of soup would be the perfect remedy.
And what better soup to make that particular day
than Summer Corn Chowder? 

I grew up in Abbotsford
which prides itself,
almost as much as Chilliwack does,
on how delicious Chilliwack corn is.
However, since moving to Delta
I now know the true goodness of corn,
thanks to Ladner corn! 
Corn from the Guichon farms is simply the best. 
I purchased my corn from the Guichon sisters at 
Part of my reason for choosing to purchase 
Ladner corn for our family dinner with friends
is because they are from Chilliwack
and I wanted to show them how delicious our corn is, too!

One of my favourite ways to make 
a chowder is with a smokey flavour. 
This leads me to
two key ingredients in the soup;
corn (obviously) that has been charred on the grill
and a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
in the Mexican foods aisle at your grocery store.

My kids don't love spicey food 
as much as my husband and I do,
so I add the chipotle pepper just while cooking 
and then take it out with the bay leaf.
If you like the extra kick,
simple chop it up and add it right to the soup.
A little trick my friend taught me
is to freeze the extra chipotle peppers in some of the sauce
in little freezer bags for future use.
This way you aren't purchasing and 
wasting a can each time you need one pepper.

You will need

  • 6-8 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1-14oz can of evaporated milk (cream works fine, too)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped into pieces
  • 3 russet potatoes, scrubbed. Chopped into bite size pieces.
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp of white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
Directions:

1. Once you have shucked your corn, place it on the heated grill and let it sit a minute or so on each side. Long enough that there are some grill marks and black spots on it, but not burned. Then using a large sharp knife, cut off the kernels of all the corn cobs. 



2. Heat your dutch oven on medium heat and add the butter. Once it has melted add your onion, once it has softened add your garlic, don't let it burn. Once fragrant, add your bacon pieces. Adjust cooking temperature as needed. Once your bacon has cooked, drain the fat. 


3. Turn the heat to medium-high and add your broth. Using your wooden spoon, work quickly to scrape the bottom of the dutch oven. This gives your soup some depth of flavour and adds a beautiful colour. Remove all the bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Then add your water. Add the corn, potatoes, bay leaf, the chipotle pepper (either whole to remove later, or chopped if you are leaving it in) and other spices. Bring to a low boil. Put the lid on and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes. 

4. Remove the bay leaf and the chipotle pepper. Taste your soup and adjust your seasonings as you desire. Bring the temperature to low. Once the soup has cooled slightly, very slowly add your evaporated milk. Serve and enjoy. 




8.12.2015

My Ipsy Bag and the Perfect Polish



Back in the winter I was feeling frustrated
with my constant purchasing of make up.
It seemed like something was always running out,
and I was always having to make a new decision
on which product was the best.

Buying make up is something I am not into.
I couldn't find a liquid foundation that would stay on my face.
My eyeliner was running under my eyes.
I am to timid to branch out and explore
different lip and eye colours.
There are too many choices
and I don't like spending money on something that
I am not certain is a good purchase.

Every day I have the same make up routine.
It rarely varies, unless I am going out for a special occasion.
In the summer, I generally skip putting anything on my face
besides a daily moisturizer with SPF.
I keep it my make up routine pretty basic and straight forward.
Eyebrows, eyes and cheeks.

Once I found out about Ipsy,
I knew it would be something I would be interested in.
It completely took away the annoyance of
deciding on which product to choose.
Plus, I get to look forward to a fun
bright pink package in my mailbox once a month
filled with make up goodies.

When you sign up online
you choose which products and brands
interest you.
You also choose a style and what your tones and colours are.
For instance,
I chose a more natural style,
told them that I am a brunette with blue eyes and an olive skin tone.
Each month the products they send me
 are the shades which would compliment me best.

I have been subscribing to Ipsy for the last 6 months,
and in that time I have received only two, maybe three,
products I haven't been fond of.
Sometimes the product is a full size item,
and sometimes they are sample size.
My favourite items have been a sample of perfume,
a gel nail polish that lasts a seriously long time
and an eyebrow pencil.




If you are a lover of make up,
or like me enjoy wearing make up and don't like picking it out,
I would highly recommend subscribing to Ipsy.
The cost is $10 per month in the United States
and $15 a month in Canada.

If you are interested,
just click here to get started!

(images from ipsy.com)

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8.07.2015

Links For Your Weekend

This past week 
was a bit crazy and a lot of fun.
We returned home from camping
with enough laundry to keep me busy for the rest of the week.
Camping is fun,
but oh the laundry.


Tuesday the girls and I headed out to Vancouver.
one of my favourite children's clothing shops,
was having a pop up shop in Vancouver.
My friend Danielle,
who introduced me to Wheat,
met me there with her girls. 
We shopped for back to school clothes
and each of the girls picked out an outfit that they wore out of the store.


It was really fun to meet Katherine and her husband in person.
Then we went for lunch at Bestie.
Danielle and I each tried the Chinese 5 Spice Duck bratwurst. 
They ventured on with their day and us with ours.

It was so fun to kind of go about our day with no real agenda.
Vancouver is one of my favourite places to be on a gorgeous sunny day.
We went to Emery Barnes Park,
then made our way to Kitsilano Beach.
We walked from the beach to West 4th and back to the beach
where we played, splashed and built sand castles.
Then we went back to East Van to make a loop
and had dinner at Tacofino
Such a fun day with my girls.
They were both so easy going and happy.







I had a moment standing on the beach,
breeze blowing my hair, sun on my face;
I felt so blessed.
I don't want to sound cliche,
but I really did.
My girls were playing in the water,
the sun was shining and I was standing with my feet in the sea
 feeling so grateful for this life. 
It was a perfect day.

Wednesday was a quiet day at home,
a perfect balance.
Jane woke up with a yukky green snot-nose and
we just parked it indoors catching up on cartoons and laundry.
The weather was cool and rainy.
Thursday Claire and I both had dentist appointments.
It has been a great week.

What did you guys do this week? 
How did you unwind after the long weekend?
Was it back to work,
or did you try and stretch the extra Monday 
into an extra Tuesday too?

Here are some fun links for you from around the web! 

- Our guest post over at Thinking Outside the Pot

- This lipstick shade by melted is one of the top colours for summer

- Loving the look of this Kate Spade planner for 2016 

- Adding Earnest Ice Cream to my summer list. London Fog intrigues me! 

- Starting to think about planning a first birthday party for Jane. (Where did that year go?) 

- Celebrating with Codi Lynn over at Creative Wife & Joyful Worker as she relaunches her blog! 

- Have you been to the Fairy Forest? If weather permits we are heading there today! 

Happy Friday everyone!
Hope your weekend is great.
Hip hip hooray for a short week!