Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kids Books We're Loving

Two books that we have been reaching for time and again this summer are Our Great Big Backyard  and Larry Loves Seattle.  
For obvious reasons, we have been loving the Seattle related book as it has given us a great way to discuss our move with James Robert and get him excited. We have read other books in the series that are just as fun (especially the Chicago one) and would definitely recommend them for the toddler age reader. 

The other book in heavy rotation is perfect for summer, Our Great Big Backyard, is all about our National Parks and the adventures a family takes over summer vacation.  At this age, James Robert loves to look at the map and trace their trip.  He also gets a kick out of the characters pretending to be cowboys and pirates.  It's a fun book with lots to teach.  
My sister is in town this week, so we took the boys for a picnic by the lake and found a shady spot to enjoy lunch and these books.  We've read them time and again, but this time was especially fun.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seattle

In the fall we will be moving to Seattle, WA!  
Back in March we took a quick trip to the PNW to check out the city before I was too pregnant to travel.  It was the first time I've been in that area and the plentiful beauty of Seattle surpassed my expectations.  

We had a great weekend taking in a few sights while also trying to get a lay of the land.  

snoqualmie falls


the cutest lunch spot, Odfellows Cafe + Bar

I have so many emotions about this move.  I'm excited because Seattle seems to have a lot to offer and so much to explore.  But I'm also wary;  I have moved so many times in last decade that I know how hard it can be to start all over again.  Moving with 2 kids (Thomas will be only 3 months old) certainly ads complexity since we are moving to a city with no family or friends.

When we moved to Canada, we knew that it wasn't going to be our permanent home, but it certainly has become a place that we'll always treasure. This summer is bittersweet as we enjoy the most beautiful season in Ontario.

Over the next couple of moths we will be gearing up for the move.  We are still trying to determine what area we'd like to live in and learn about all Seattle has to offer. So much to do! Please be in touch if you're in the area, I'd love to connect!  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Snapshot Vol 1

Oh July, how we love you.  The past few weeks have been filled with gorgeous weather, hydrangeas, good food and we snuck in a 4th of July trip to Northern Michigan.
I have sat down to write this post no less than five times without being able to complete it.  Such is life these days! I think of a million posts I want to write, but have so little time to execute them.  Today is what I hope to be the inaugural post in a series I'll call Snapshot.  It's a quick capture of life lately.  I love reading other bloggers posts like this and hope you will too.

Reading:  I have taken over Mat’s kindle as the best way to read while nursing late at night.  I’m half-way through The Nest which is an easy, light-hearted summer read. 

Listening: While on our road trip last week, we tried a children’s audible book, Journey to the River Sea and all enjoyed listening to it!  

Eating:  Quick and easy is the name of the game as I adjust to squeezing in cooking with 2 kids (so much harder than I thought).  Overnight oats have continued to be a wonderful way to prepare a healthy breakfast the night before.  I recently leaned a new trick of adding kiefer as a substitute or in addition to the almond milk.  It’s a great way to add flavor and provide probiotics! 

Playing:  We can’t get enough of the splash pads this time of year.  But when at home, I’m trying to provide James Robert ways to be entertained while I nurse Thomas.  One of the board games we really like it Count Your Chickens which teaches cooperation and counting in a fun way.

Coveting: Everything from Jewels & Aces collection of everyday essential jewelry. 

Watching: After binge watching the second season of Bloodline, we're catching up on Homeland (OMG!)


Loving:  I'm enamoured with all things baby... Donsgje booties,  Petits Genoux, Yoli & Otis are a few new-to-me brands with wonderful collections.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant


I have tried countless natural deodorants over the years with disappointment.  So after a month of rigorous testing (giving birth and nursing a baby in the summer qualifies as rigorous in my book) I’m excited that Schmidts works beautifully.  

When you have but a few precious moments to get ready in the morning, every product counts. And while deodorant may be the most pedestrian of beauty products, this one is worthy of a quick post. 


The ylang-ylang scent is lovely but not overpowering in the way that some can be. And because it’s aluminum free and natural I feel good about using it and having a baby be so close.  So while I may not have enough time to put on makeup, at least I’ve found something to help me feel fresh! 

P.S. Some of my other favorite natural beauty products are here or here.
*this post was not sponsored

Friday, July 8, 2016

One Month of Thomas


And just like that, Thomas is one month old!  What a wonderful, chaotic and endlessly tender month it has been.  I didn’t anticipate how overpowering becoming a Mother again would be. Unwittingly, I took the last month to be as present as possible in life.  I didn’t want to miss a thing. 

Thomas sleeps on my chest most comfortably and I’ve surrendered to the inability to multitask while enjoying his company.  Because I just love every baby noise and the feel of his breathing. My hands feel continually full these days; if I’m not holding Thomas, I’m trying to dote on James Robert or sneak in a shower.  But my heart feels even fuller. 

Perhaps it is my ability to be more relaxed as a Mother the second time around or that Thomas’ birth was calm not traumatic, but I’ve experienced more elation in this month that I can remember in my life.  

Holding Thomas for the first time, watching James Robert become a big brother, falling in love with my husband all over again while watching him hold our sleeping baby, the tremendous appreciation for our family and friends who have taken care of us are the memories I’ll hold dear forever.  

It’s not to say these days haven’t been challenging, they are!  Despite my desire to document life, it has often been too chaotic to do so.  Mat was out of town for a week, James Robert has thrown us a few curve balls as he adjusts and we decided to drive to Michigan for the 4th of July weekend… 11 hours in the car with a 3 year old and 3 week old was a bold move! But the blessing of welcoming a baby who was so prayed for has been worth every challenge and then some. 


These are a few of the pictures I did manage to capture this past month.  And because I’m learning to celebrate the little victories (doing the laundry, making dinner, getting out of the house alone with 2 kids) I’m going to consider this blog post a banner achievement to send us into the weekend.  Wishing you all a great one! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies (aka what to bring a new Mama)

We aren't quite settled into a new routine yet, but have been savouring this newborn phase as much as possible. I am loving all of Thomas' snuggles and new baby sounds; he's just so little! Besides recovering from delivery, the most challenging part of being a new Mom again is breastfeeding around the clock.  It certainly is easier the second time around, but it still surprises me how all-encompassing and worrisome it can be to make sure that everything is going well. That's why these lactation cookies are my favorite little treat.

When James Robert was born, my sister in law lovingly made me a tin of these cookies and I remember them fondly.  The best part about lactation cookies is not having to share-- having a little dessert all to myself is an indulgence that I look forward to each day!

These lactation cookies are made with brewers yeast and oats to help support your milk supply.  I supplemented the original recipe by adding dried cherries and chocolate chips (feel free to omit if you dare).  A week or so before my due date, I made a batch of this dough and portioned it out into balls and froze them.

Now I can just pull out a few and pop them in the oven in order to have fresh cookies everyday.  Lactation cookies are the perfect treat to gift yourself or a new mama!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons of flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashion oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons brewers yeast
1/2 cup- 1 cup of dried cherries, cranberries and/or nuts

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix the flax seed meal and water and let sit for 5 minutes.
3) Beat butter and both sugars until fluffy then add eggs and beat.
4) Add flaxseed and vanilla and mix well.
5) Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and brewers yeast together.
6) Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, once well mixed add in oats and chips + dried fruit or nuts.
7) Scoop onto baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Introducing TCL

We're overjoyed to introduce Thomas Charles Leanderson!  He was born on Friday morning weighing 8lbs 6oz and our hearts expanded in ways I couldn't have imagined since then.  Big Brother, James Robert, is taking to his new role with abundant sweetness.  We're all home and busy adjusting to life as a family of four.  I hope to be back soon with more updates and pictures.  xx 

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