Saturday, May 26, 2012

happy happy happy

yippy! the weekend! jeff's parents are coming to visit on tuesday and i couldnt be more excited! i love spending time with them and its wonderful to see how happy finn is when he gets to be around nana and grampy. it will be so great to visit and catch up, but i am also looking forward to a few dates with the love of my life. its been a while!

in other news, i resigned from my job! eeeeep! it was really a tough decision to leave such a meaningful organization (and some truly amazing people that i have been fortunate to work with), but when push came to shove, i was feeling spread too thin and my time with finn was suffering as a result. jeff and i talked about it A LOT and we agreed that it would be best for all of us for me to be able to spend more time being a mama and less time being away and stressed. i feel SO good about this and am really looking forward to having more time to reconnect with finn and just be around more. as crazy as it sounds, im excited to clean out cupboards, organize our closets, cook, bake and make things and vacuum more than once a month. its going to be great!

image via carolyn gavin

Monday, May 21, 2012

weekends

i feel like i live for weekends. those few days of perfect sweetness that continue to pass much too quickly (even more so now that summer is sneaking in to kiss our cheeks when we aren't looking). i love lazing about in slippers and cozy blankets, sipping coffee and nibbling on pastries, being with my little family and smiling at the all the cuteness that abundantly surrounds us. i love having time to tidy up, organize and purge, time to plan errands that often don't end up happening, but i sometimes love that even more. time to think, reflect, daydream and not read a single email. time to ride bikes, plan gardens, and soak up rays of sun. time to just breath.

photo by jeff thorburn

Sunday, May 20, 2012

sparkle pony

a while back, i came across a woman who took toy animals and covered them in monochromatic glitter - i LOVED the look but could never afford the hefty price tag. When i stumbled upon a big bag of (super cheap) plastic animals on a recent shopping trip, i knew a can of metallic gold spray paint and a sunny afternoon would create the perfect addition to our wedding tablescape.

note: jeff's brother kyle will shudder at how terrible my spray painting skills are - i can hear the scolding already :) BUT we now have a little army of golden animals!

all lined up and ready to get sparkled 
after!


Friday, May 18, 2012

this moment - 2012-05-18

{this moment} - a friday ritual. a photo (or two) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. a simple, special, extraordinary moment. a moment I want to pause, savor and remember. (inspired by soulemama)

Monday, May 14, 2012

hail to the kale salad

my girlfriend kristen just gave birth (naturally! at home! nice work mama!) to her second beautiful little daughter named eden last week (eeep!!), so naturally, when she invited finn and i over for a little visit on friday, i was over-the-moon excited! and HAD to bring food!

one of my favourite fresh (and super easy) salad recipes is planet organics hail to the kale salad. its loaded with delicious (and nutritious) kale, cabbage, carrots and roasted seeds, and topped with a simple dressing that complements it all perfectly. its SO easy to make and keeps in the fridge (crisp!) for up to 4 days, so its perfect to have on hand and grab in a pinch.


:: ingredients ::
1 bunch Kale, chopped 1 bunch
3 cups Carrots, grated
1/2 head Red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Tamari pumpkin seeds (see method below)
1/2 cup Tamari sunflower seeds (see method below)
1/2 cup Flax or hemp oil (any oil will work, but flax or hemp bump up the  nutrition and yum factor!)
1/3 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos (you can always substitute tamari or even soy sauce if you don't have braggs, but i highly recommend trying to find it! i love it on just about everything!)
5 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Oregano, dried

:: directions ::
Wash kale and chop. Be careful to rinse the leaves to remove dirt and grit.
In a cast iron skillet over medium to high heat, stir sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Remove from heat when they’re toasted golden brown. While the skillet is hot, add in a few drops of tamari, which will sear onto the seeds. Remove and let cool.
In a large bowl combine chopped kale, carrots, cabbage and seeds. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together oil, Bragg Liquid Aminos, vinegar and oregano and pour over kale mixture. Toss until evenly coated and chill 2 hours before serving. This salad keeps well refrigerated 2-4 days.


if you interested, you can see some pictures i took of Kristen and her family last fall (when eden was just a tiny little bean growing in mama's belly). yippy for babies!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

mama

i can't even seem to express how graciously humbled i feel to be mama to the most amazing little boy. my life is so much fuller, gratifying and continually rewarding because every day i get to wake up to a loving smile and look into those sweet blue eyes and feel my heart melt a little bit more. 


today especially, i am also so grateful to my THREE mama's and my incredible grandmother for their love, support and guidance over the years.

of course, my own mother - you have been there through everything and i attribute so much of the woman i have become to the life you worked so hard to give us. you are such a strong woman and so genuine and passionate- i hope you always know how much i love and appreciate you and everything and oppotunity you have provided for me.

to my step-mother, terry - you have always been so kind, loving and supportive. you have a wonderful demeanour and i will always appreciate your warm heartedness and our wonderful late night talks more than you will ever know.

to jeff's mom, anne - i honestly couldn't have dreamt of a more wonderful mother-in-law. you are always so warm, thoughtful, supportive of EVERYHING and wonderfully loving. i value so much the way you raised jeff and kyle and draw inspiration from your mothering style regularly.

to my grandmother - grammy, you are such a wonderful woman - i have endless happy memories throughout my entire life that i will forever cherish. thank you for being so loving, caring and understanding through out my lifetime. you have a beautiful spirit!

and lastly, to all the wonderful mothers out there - my dear sisters, aunts, cousins, friends - everyone who puts their darling children ahead of all else - may this day be filled with all the happiness in the world. sending love to each and every inspiring one of of you! xo

me and my mama - 1983
me and my mama - mothers day 2007
Terry with finn and my dad
anne and jeff 
anne with jeff and kyle 
grammy and finn
finn mothers day 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

home runs

finn spent today with my brother nathan as i had to work today and jeff is still in vancouver. he took finn out for frozen yogurt and then to toys r us and (feeding off his current love of  baseball) got him a t-ball set. needless to say, my entire afternoon and early evening has revolved around t-ball - tears filled the house when we HAD to come inside for dinner, and even now while we snack on berries and bananas, i have two plastic t-ball balls wedged between finn and i. i think its fair to say he loves it.

video



Friday, May 11, 2012

where to start (or when to end)

something i have been wanting to write about but haven't really been sure what to say is around finn and breast feeding. over the last few weeks, my (no longer little) baby boy has weaned himself completely. its an entirely bitter sweet feeling for me. bitter as he is growing and getting so big, we no longer have those few moments of one on one, quite bonding time, and emotionally, we are both a little on edge as our hormones and systems change and adapt. sweet because i have my body back - its all mine! no more sharing or being on demand for my mini human, finn is growing up and becoming such a sweet little person with every day that passes, and i feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that i made it past his second birthday and let him completely lead the process. grateful that we never ever had to use formula and he has grown into this monster child in part because of the nourishment i was able to provide for him. i really thought i would be breast feeding him until he was 8. mostly i kid, but he was always such an attached baby - he loved breast feeding more than most the other babes we know and (for the most part) i was happy to supply/ comfort/ give in to his every demand. so really, i did think there would come a day when i would (gently) have to start cutting him off, but - he surprised me and called it quits all on his own. anyways - i think this new change in our routine is largely responsible for my last few posts feeling a little melodramatic - obviously there are hormonal changes that take time to work them selves out and emotionally, its taken me a bit to get used to all of this. it does make me smile and choke up all at the same time on a lazy sunday afternoon when finn is laying in my lap and he looks up at me and signs the word 'milk', but fortunately, these requests are now quickly side-tracked with a proposed game of hide and seek or going to get peau a treat from his cupboard.

oh my littlest dumpling - how you have changed my life and every feeling or notion i once had about motherhood so drastically in your short time on this earth. i am so grateful to be able to learn and grow in so many areas of my life simply by being part of yours. i love you too much! xo - mama.

minutes old

Thursday, May 10, 2012

wedding blog

i started a little blog to record and share some of the details around our upcoming wedding. i struggled with whether to just use this site and post it all here, or have something separate as not everyone really cares about some of things i wanted to post about. so i decided this - anything that i'm REALLY stoked about and think everyone will love, i will post on BOTH blogs, but things more specific to the actual event will just be kept over there.

feel free to have a peek - jeffheartsjessblog.blogspot.ca - there are a few posts up there now with lots more to come.

(the other night i shared some beautiful images captured by our wedding photographers, eden lang and maria lang -  too much talent those women have!)
L: Maria Lang      ||         R: Eden Lang

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

today

today. well, it was a ... day. i had horrible dreams last night (stress-filled, anxious, all about work dreams- kind of nightmares, actually) and could not get motivated to peel myself away from snuggle bug finn and actually make it to work on time. i yelled (like actually- raised my voice - loudly and angrily- not something i normally do) at one of my co-worked in our managers meeting (he deserved it) but then spent all day feeling guilty and avoiding him (knowing i must eventually apologize). i was panicked to wrap a bunch of stuff up and leave early in order to drive jeff to the airport (he is headed to vancouver until sunday). then spent over an hour stuck in traffic trying to get home. i finally settled on drive-thru onion rings and french fries for finn and my dinner (shhhhhh, it will be our little secret) and am now sitting on the couch with an onion ring tummy ache watching the clouds roll in and the rain begin to trickle down. but the good part of all this bummer sounding day? I get to spend the next four days (not working) alone with my sweet little boy!! i have really been feeling overwhelmed lately (i know, i have been talking about it a lot. thanks for listening) and have had a bit of a tough time copping with missing so much time with finn - i will admit openly that being the one that works full-time is actually pretty emotionally challenging for me. its always been that way - from the first day i went back to work after my maternity leave and every week after, i get a little choked up (usually daily) about being away from finn so much. don't get me wrong, i can not even express how TRULY grateful i am that jeff is able to be home with him - they have such an incredible relationship, finn is sooooo well-rounded being so comfortable and balanced with both of us, and jeff is beyond amazing with him, but, naturally, my heart aches from time to time that i miss so much. BUT not right now! the next four days... oh my!! just finn and i - reconnecting, bonding, snuggling, forgetting about everything else, and going on some seriously fun adventures - just the two of us! of course we will miss jeff dearly, but a little one on one time couldn't have come at a better time.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the best birthday cake with lavender butte cream icing


for finn's first birthday, i made a delicious yellow cake from a recipe I found on smitten kitchen. (if you have never checked out her website, you absolutely MUST! it is beyond amazing!!) appropriately named "the best birthday cake", this yellow cake is by far one of the most delicious i have ever made. its dense but still perfectly fluffy, sweet but well rounded, and (best of all) it will make you look like you are a master cake baker. it has a somewhat lengthy list of (not super low fat) ingredients, but for special occasions or days when you just NEED a cake, it will not disappoint! (read: worth every calorie!)

a couple of weekends ago, we met for our monthly women's circle/ craft night - one of our 'members', jenna, is soon due to have her first baby (eeeep!) coupled with the celebration of another member, heather's birthday, AND a special visit from our recent Ontario transplant, ami! i dont think there has ever been a better excuse for this perfect cake!

I wanted to fancy this other wise simple cake up a bit, so when i opened my cupboard and found lavender that i had bought on our last trip to fredericton, i knew i had my, perfect spring-like addition!


Best Yellow Layer Cake from 'The Best Birthday Cake' archive on Smitten Kitchen
Yields: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers (*I used a single 9-inch round by 3-inch tall cake pan to make one single extra thick cake) or, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes

:: ingredients ::
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (I used regular flour as I did not have cake flour)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken


:: method ::
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour. * With a single 9-inch cake pan, I baked the cake for a little over 55 minutes.


Aunt Rose's Special Buttercream Icing (with infused lavender milk)

:: ingredients ::
1/2 lb of butter, softened (*you can also use half butter/ half shortening like the original recipe calls for, but i LOVE butter and never have shortening, so I usually just use all butter. It is a bit harder to work with for icing though - mostly when piping as it melts, where as the shortening will add more staying power)
4 cups icing sugar
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp lavender buds


:: method ::
Place ½ cup milk into a small saucepan with lavender and bring to a boil. Remove from heat once bubbling. Cover the pan and let it sit for 15 minutes so that the lavender infuses with the milk. Pour lavender milk into a cup and place in the refrigerator for a further 30 minutes to cool. Remove milk from refrigerator and strain to remove lavender buds. Set milk aside. Beat butter and sugar together until light and airy and fluffy (around 10 minutes). Add HALF of the lavender milk and mix to combine. Taste frosting; add more lavender milk if needed (i did not).

* I forgot to get a picture of the completed cake, but i think its fair to say it looked almost exactly the same as this one (slightly different flags were used) -
(the really funny thing about this style of cake is that i have taken several cake decorating classes in my life time, and have the tools and skill to make far prettier cakes than these, but whenever i commit to making a cake, i for some reason just love the look (and ease) of piling a bunch of icing all over it without any real design, plan or tools other than a butter knife. definitely money well spent on those classes!)

Monday, May 7, 2012

riding bikes with boys

yesterday, we got out on our first family bike ride of the season! it felt so good once we finally got moving. i will fully admit that after i spent all day saturday outside, soaking wet and freezing in a snowy blizzard (selling rain barrels and composters for work) followed by an evening of baths, spicy soup, and layers and layers of scarves, sweaters and blankets trying to get warm - that the idea of being outside in the semi-crisp spring air while exerting ANY amount of energy was not in the least bit appealing. but jeff convinced me (re: sulked until i agreed) and we had a really wonderful day. finn loves bike rides- jeff takes him quite regularly. he sits in the chariot and reads books, snacks on treats, chats to himself and soaks up every minutes of out-doorsie goodness. yesterdays adventure took us to a really great yard sale - they had TONS of old window frames, vintage tin cans and CHAIRS! it was a little bit like chair heaven for me, but given we were on bike and literally do not have a single place to but another chair, i was (somehow) able to muster up a bit of self control and walk away empty handed. afterward, we biked over to a nearby park and finn had a great time playing and running around (he insisted on keeping his helmet on, so we looked like those parents). It was such a nice afternoon spent with my boys and the perfect kick-off to warmer, sunny days. oh summer - how we have truly missed you!

xo
what i woke up to saturday - it only got worse.
stoked to be bringing his baseball glove and ball! 


loved the teeter tooter!



afterward, we stopped by to visit our new friends, the walkers! finn and faith had WAY too much fun chasing each other around, throwing crayons our the patio door and colouring with sidewalk chalk. superfun afternoon!
(i will soon share the beautiful reclaimed wood signs faith's dad made for our wedding! they are amazing!! - both the walkers and the signs! :) )



Friday, May 4, 2012

vintage stamps

i have always loved the look of vintage stamps - they are cool and different and filled with lovely memories of a different time. when i found doug - a guy on kijiji that had not only inherited a GIANT stamp collection but was also selling his duplicates at discounted face value, i was beyond stoked! stephanie and i took a leisurely sunday afternoon drive across town to pick out beautiful and unique postage for each and every wedding invite. i cant wait to get these onto envelopes and into the mail! they will be totally perfect and everything i had hoped for!