Sunday, April 29, 2012

life lately

i have been so tired lately- just the usual over-flowing-plate and not enough hours in the day to do everything i want to do that needs to get done. i have been trying to prioritize a little better and that has seemed to help. things are definitely on the upswing, but its been a bit of a bumpy road getting there. anyways - i tell you all this as it coincides with my lack of blog posts in the last few weeks. its funny in life how when things get overwhelming, the first things we scale back are often the things we love (or need) most. trying to work on that...

a few photos of life lately:
(all photos are from my instagram - follow along! @paperbluejay)








our save the dates are ready!
 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the newest member of our family...

welcome POP! finn's BFF theo got him a betta fish for his birthday! the boys were SO excited- running around all morning pausing only to look at the fish and get excited all over again. they unanimously decided to name him pop (after a short stint of calling just calling him 'fishy') and now, pop has a cozy little home on our kitchen island.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

a new table

we have been hunting (and saving) for a new kitchen table for a while now and we finally made a decision! we really looked EVERY WHERE trying to find the perfect table for our space and surprising had a really hard time tracking one done - we actually picked the table we ended up getting mostly because we kind of liked it and it went on sale, which for an impatient me, ended up being the final push i needed to commit. it was the very first table we looked at, but now that its finally in our kitchen, we both completely LOVE IT! it's the perfect mix of rustic and modern and is made from reclaimed wood AND recycled metal and is naturally stained with VOC free stain. it definitely feels perfect in our little space- i cant wait to see finn sitting there working on his homework as the table grows along side all of us.

our old, well loved table

oldie

i found these pictures from finn's first birthday while ordering a few prints to finally finish his first year baby book. i cant even believe how tiny he was. and how long and dark my hair was.
oh my sweet little baby.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

little boy

my sweet little finn is 2 years old today. sigh. so bitter sweet watching my dearest dumpling grow up. incredible to see him learn, love, change - become his own unique person with ideas and curiosity bursting at every seam. but so sad (for lack of a better word) to see him leave babyhood behind. where once was this tiny little human so happily dependant on his mama, is now a little boy- fearlessly trying to do everything on his own and figuring out the ways of the world while i try to sit quietly and admire the amazingness taking place right before my eyes.

finn - you are busy, hilarious, stubborn, gentle, surprising, kind, and constantly full of humour and life.
right now you love baseball, trains, curious george, books, elephants, popcorn, skateboards, long walks, bananas, bare feet, bunny kisses and pretending to snore with papa. i love you with all my heart - more then i ever thought possible. every day i am so grateful to get to be a part of your life and in turn,  have you fulfill mine. happy birthday my darling.

xo mama

Finn is TWO!
Finn age one.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

hoppy easter

happy easter! we had a nice morning eating left over quiche from the party yesterday and having a glow in the dark easter egg hunt. i had found some (cheap plastic) duck eggs but wasn't keen on the idea of putting any kind of food inside them. i found the idea on pinterest to fill the eggs with glow sticks and thought it would be the perfect alternative- needless to say, it has been endless hours of fun at our house this morning!


we also made finn an easter basket complete with a trumpet, new crayons, a little bunny, capsules that turn into sponge bugs when you put them in water, and moustache glasses. finn has a favouirte book where a strawberry dresses up in moustache glasses as a disguise, so i thought he would love these, but he isn't quite as excited about them as i was.


Finn has a bunny he completely loves named little sebastian. when i saw a mini version of sebastian last week, i couldn't resist. i also figured as he grew older and wanted to take sebastian to school with him, it would be handy to have a mini version to tuck in his backpack :) thinking ahead! finn has been dragging both bunnies around all morning (and cried when i tried to take this picture of them - hence why its a touch blurry).

little sebastian and petit sebby junior



Saturday, April 7, 2012

bunny bread

i came across this cute recipe for bunny bread on the serious eats website and had to make it! finn LOVES bunnys right now - he has a few stuffed ones that he insists on taking everywhere with him, and always jumps around the house saying 'hop... hop... hop' - i knew he would love to see this cute little bunny on easter morning!



Bunny Bread
::  ingredients  ::
1 1/4 cups water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
13 1/2 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil

:: directions ::

Put the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir to combine then add the flour. Knead with the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add the salt and olive oil and continue kneading until the oil and salt are fully incorporated and the dough is smooth, shiny, and very elastic. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

When the dough has doubled, flour your work surface, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, position a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Turn out the dough and knead it briefly to knock out the air. Cut off about 2/3 of the dough, and form it into an egg-shaped ball. Place this piece on the parchment paper, seam-side down.

Cut the remaining piece of dough in half. Form one of those halves into a teardrop shape. This will become the bunny head and ears. Begin rolling so you end up with a ball about 3 inches in diameter. On the fat end pull two pieces to form ears (think of the shape of a Tootsie Pop) about 2 inches long. Using a pizza cutter, or sharp knife, slit the ears in half all the way up. Set this aside.

Cut about 1/3 of the dough off of the remaining piece of dough. Form this into a rope about 6 inches long. Form it into a U-shape and slide the U under the narrow end of the egg-shaped piece of dough on the parchment. Leave the loose ends sticking out about 2 inches. (This doesn't have to be exact - arrange it so it looks pleasing to you. The important thing is that the base of that U is anchored under the body.) Those loose ends will be the front paws.

Form the last piece into a rope about 9 inches long. As you roll, leave a fatter bit in the center then thin it out, and leave the ends fatter. Fold the dough in half and form that center fat bit into a ball. This will be the bunny's tail.

Position the tail at the back end of the bunny, then tuck the thin portion under the body, leaving the thicker parts - the bunny's back legs - sticking out on either side of the bunny.

On the narrow part of the egg-shaped body, press down just behind the edge of the dough to form an indentation where the head will rest. Put the head on the body, and adjust the front paws and ears as desired. Sprinkle the bunny with flour or white rice flour, and cover it with plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled in size - about 30 minutes.

Uncover the bunny. Using small, sharp scissors, snip the ends of the paws to form toes. Don't cut too deep - you want a hint of toes, not giant claws. Cut slits for the eyes, or if you prefer, make tiny cuts to form eyelashes. Pinch the front of the dough to form a nose. If you wish, gently adjust the paws and ears, because they've probably moved a bit during the rise.

Bake the bunny at 350°F until nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Let it cool completely on a rack before slicing. Mmmm.... baked Easter bunny!

turning two

today we had a small brunch party to celebrate finn's upcoming second birthday. it was really nice to have a few close friends over to share food, catch up and enjoy the morning together reminiscing about how much our sweet little boy has grown!

i made quiche (one with asparagus and cheddar, and one with spinach, mushroom and feta) along with my favourite potato casserole. We also had strawberry lemonade, watermelon, some delicious cinnamon buns brought over by my sweet friend holly, and of course, an amazing chocolate banana birthday cake made by my other sweet friend, stephanie! It was the perfect morning (besides finn dripping strawberries ALL down the front of his new sweater- obviously only a mama worry) and was so great to enjoy time with our dearest friends. thanks to all of you- we love each of you so much! xoxo

Quiche
ingredients:
- 1 frozen pie shell (I use vegetarian wholewheat shells found at Planet Organic)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 12 mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 big handfuls of spinach
- 1 cup goat feta, crumbled (more or less to taste- you can use cow or sheep feta, but my fav is goat)
- salt and pepper to taste
* to make the asparagus and cheddar quiche, simply substitute 1 bunch of asparagus for the mushrooms and spinach, and a generous grating of your favourite sharp cheddar for the goat feta.

directions:
move oven rack to the lower third of your over and preheat to 375 degrees
in a large fry pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat. once hot, add onion and cook until slightly translucent.
add mushrooms and continue to fry until almost fully cooked.
add spinach and cook until spinach is good and wilted (about 3-4 minutes), remove from heat.
whisk together three eggs, 1 cup of milk, and generous pinch of salt and pepper
sprinkle a bit of cheese in the bottom of the pie shell then dump the contents of the fry pan into the pie shell and spread evenly
cover with remaining cheese then add egg/ milk mixture
add a bit more salt and pepper if you would like (go easy on the salt if using feta as its pretty salty as is)
carefully put quiche into the oven (its not a bad idea to place a baking sheet underneath incase of any overflow)
bake for 45-55 minutes or until centre is cooked thoroughly.
enjoy! xo
i stole this recipe from my friend stacey and have made it so many times that i now claim its my own. :) it goes really well with cooked kale, roasted potatoes, or fresh bread. like i said, i make this quiche A LOT so we eat it any time of the day - it freezes well and keeps well in the fridge for several days - it also works really good as a meal to take to friends (which i have done many many time! my secret is up!)

and here are some pictures from today!










Friday, April 6, 2012

baby ruth

jeff recently found a baseball glove at the goodwill near our house and brought it home for finn. ever since, he has been completely obsessed with baseball. the movie 'the sandlot' has been playing on repeat for days, and every night finn now insists on going to bed with his glove on one hand and a ball in the other. i won't lie, i have been using this new love to my advantage - diffusing fights around getting dressed and eating by saying 'lets try on these baseball pants' or 'one more bite so you have extra energy to play baseball!' to which i get an enthusiastic 'OK!' It's pretty amazing to see things like this happen right before your eyes. I can't wait to see all the things he grows up loving.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

almost the birthday boy

ugh, finn is turning two on monday. i have no idea where these last few years have gone, but it actually feels like i blinked my eyes and suddenly a little boy appeared right in front of me. last year we had a bit of a bigger party, but opted to keep things mellow for birthday number two. we will be having a few people over for brunch on saturday morning, so i (of course) made a few party things in preparation.

last year i made finn a party hat, and thought it would be neat to make (and save) him a new hat for each birthday - finn LOVES the book 'where the wild things are', so we VERY loosely used this as a bit of inspiration for his invitations and, this birthday crown.

I bought some really cheap crape paper streamers that i was hoping to decorate with, but the quality of them ended up being so bad that they were literally tearing and falling apart in my hands. i thought it would be simple but still look nice to thread them on to some twine and hand it as one big garland. So far its coming together nicely - I will keep you posted with how it turns out!
Invite
Finn celebrating his first birthday.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

birthday

yesterday was my thirtieth (3-0! bah!) birthday. I have been continually flip-flopping between 30 just being another number, and having mini anxiety attacks around the stigma of this new chapter. I had a mellow day filled with lots of wonderful messages of love from all over the place. Birthdays have never really been a big production for me, so it was fitting (yet enjoyable) to spend my day sipping coffee, wandering around shops with my sweet friend Holly, and eating whatever struck me as sounding delicious (including far too many strawberry marshmallow cupcakes delivered by my evil evil bff, Stephanie!)

In November, I made a '30 before 30' list - 30 things I wanted to achieve before my 30th birthday. Here is how things ended up looking.

Green = Complete!
Red = Not so much.

1. visit my naturopath
I have an appointment for next Thursday (so I am counting this as a complete!)

2. find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe
While visiting New Brunswick in January, it dawned on me that Jeff's moms chocolate chip recipe is just that - PERFECT! And its been right under my nose this whole time!

3. plan a monthly potluck dinner with my bestest friends
This is my proudest accomplishment! We have literally gotten together EVERY month since I wrote this!

4. make jeff a new favourite mug in my pottery class
This might not be totally true. I made Jeff a mug, but haven't given it to him yet. It also may not actually end up being his favourite (but I'm sure he will tell me otherwise.)

5. spend 7 days without eating gluten, dairy or sugar (i know 7 days isn't very long, but i REALLY love cheese. and sugar.)
Made it 3. :(

6. have a night away, just jeff and I
Saint John was just lovely!  

7. send someone a surprise in the mail
I hope it actually made it... I was a little unsure about the address still being current, but fingers crossed!

8. hang out with my brother more- arrange a coffee date at least once per month.
I think I probably saw my brother even less than in months past - he spent a lot of time skiing over the winter which often lead to missed sunday dinners. This is one I will keep working on though.

9. list our condo
We decided to put this on hold until after the wedding. One thing at a time. :)

10. pack a lunch for work 3 days a week
managed this a few times. :)

11. organize, file, and print finn's baby photos - CLEAR my hard drive!
Blek! Still such a mess. VERY jealous of Carli's system!

12. take finn ice skating (or drag him behind me in his sled)
We just barely had winter here resulting in very few skating opportunities. i know - excuses excuses. 
 
13. watch all of the twilight movies
I tried SO hard to watch these but i just couldn't stay interested.

14. eat at notable and ox and angela
one but not the other.

15. get a tattoo (related to finn)
still something that will happen. Jeff is trying to convince me that the pink heart drawn on my hand should count as a last ditch effort, but i am trying to be honest here. :)

16. be more assertive, honest and forth coming
obviously this is a life long process, but i really think i have made a big effort to do these things. especially in my work life.

17. volunteer with a local community group or charity
Did some volunteer work (and will likely do some more) with our community garden project! 
Finn at the Community Garden Site tour

18. (finally) open my etsy shop
big boo for me.

19. buy myself something beautiful and totally impractical
Jeff and I decided to buy me a new engagement ring. my first ring was (of course) so beautiful and beyond perfect, however it ended up being quite fragile. So this week, we picked up my new (sturdier) ring! I didn't think I could love anything more than my first ring, but this is a very close second!

20. floss my teeth every day
check!

21. slow down, give thanks and express genuine gratitude for every blessing i am given in life
this one is tough... again, a life long process, and i would say i consciously gave more gratitude for many things, but EVERY blessing? I am pretty sure that didn't happen. orange = half points.

22. put plans into motion to start a 'random acts of community' project
Yes! this was super fun!

23. visit jeff's amazing family in new brunswick
such a wonderful trip!

24. do 30 consecutive push-ups
I am basically superman now.

25. sign up for a cob building class with dirt craft
happening June 6th with two of my favourite pals!

26. do a serious cleanse (without cheating!)
goes hand in hand with my sugar/ gluten/ dairy kick - zero willpower.

27. work on being more patient. try to pause and have more thoughtful reactions to things that can sometimes annoy me
more orange - I have definitely made a conscious effort in many scenarios, but I can also clearly recall moments where I was a little nuts.

28. make fresh pasta
SUCH a wonderful evening!!

29. finally make that dream board
Awww yes. another fun night!

30. learn to let go
This should definitely be orange, but I think I have done some MAJOR ground work to let go of a few big things in the coming months, so for today, I am giving this all green!