Monday, 27 February 2012

Baking With Children

I don't like to do it.  It always seems like a fun activity, but in the end I find it's almost more frustrating than it's worth.  Still, every now and then I attempt it because I know my kids will have fun and we all enjoy the goodies that come out of it.

I used to enjoy baking before I had kids.  Not so much since becoming a mom.  But I do love baked goods!  And I do like to try and make them myself instead of buying store bought stuff.  I figure that even if I make goodies that are full of sugar, they're at least not full of chemicals and preservatives like the stuff you buy at the grocery store.

When Tristan was younger, a little older than two, I could set him up with two bowls, a few cups and spoons, and some flour and he would scoop the flour from one bowl to the next for hours while I baked.  It was messy, but he loved it.  Finn is not quite that age yet and so it doesn't occupy him quite the same way, and Tristan is older now and so he wants to be more involved.

My problem is I'm too much of a control and a clean freak to let him do that much.  I can set him up with stuff to mix and try not to cringe too much when I see it spilling all over the place.  That part is easy.  But the constant sticking his hands in the bowl, trying to eat it when I told him not to because of the raw eggs, and requests for the goodies to be done so he can eat them really starts to get to me.  He's 3.5 now and so patience is a little hard to come by (for both of us!).

Nope, I'm not really cut out to bake with small children.

Nevertheless, we attempted to make some muffins today and it was fun for the boys.  Finn scooped some flour for about 5mins before getting bored and wandering off, and Tristan helped mix the filling for the muffins as well as all the dry ingredients.  And of course, he was VERY proud of himself when they were done and when Daddy got home proudly exclaimed that he had helped make them.  So that in itself does make it worth it.

So what did we make today?  I decided to try this recipe I found on Pinterest for Strawberries and Cream Muffins.  They were a fair bit of work (or maybe they just seemed that way with two little people trying to 'help'), but they were very very yummy.  Of course I opted to use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, and because Tristan wanted 'sprinkle cupcakes' instead of muffins we sprinkled some red sugar sprinkles on top of them before popping them in the oven.

I'm feeling rather ambitious this week so I'm thinking after we've polished off all the strawberries and cream muffins we'll bake some banana ones.  At least those ones are a little easier to make.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Life on the Bay These Days

You know, when I first started this blog I used to write a lot about random things that happened here, which was the point of starting it in the first place.  I still kind of do that, but I realized that there are often a lot of things going on that I would have written about before, but don't bother to anymore.  Which is kind of sad, afterall this is supposed to be about our life here.  Guess I've just gotten lazy.  I've also diverted a lot of that stuff to my other two more specific blogs.  Stuff about the boys gets put on my Dear Children, Love Mommy blog because I just found it easier to record everything about them in one spot, and also to write directly to them.  Stuff about this latest pregnancy gets put on my Doula Ambition blog.  I started that one as a place to keep all my pregnancy and childbirth thoughts, since I am very much into that kind of stuff, but since getting pregnant have also been journalling about my pregnancy there since it seemed appropriate.  So now I often feel like this blog is missing out on a lot of stuff that gets put elsewhere. 

Time for a little update on how Life on the Bay has been treating us.

It's still pretty awesome.

Is good.  We have had a mild winter which has allowed us to stay active and not feel too cooped up in the house.  Tristan goes to school in the mornings and is doing very well there.  Finley enjoys his time with me in the mornings and we busy ourselves with trips to the YMCA or the Early Years Centre.  Rarely are we at home in the mornings and that's how we like it.  The afternoons are sometimes filled with classes for Tristan like skiing (which are now over) and junior chefs, but often we like to just stay in since the mornings are so busy.  I do look forward to the spring and summer though when we can just go play in the backyard or go for walks without having to worry about snowsuits, hats, mitts, and boots.  The boys are good, Tyler is good, I am good, the pregnancy is good.  I feel great and really can't complain about much.

Friends are the best
I'm still hanging out with the same wonderful group of ladies I met over the summer, and we've formed some great friendships.  Some of them have returned to work, and we don't see each other during the week for playdates as often since winter arrived but we make a point of getting together as much as we can otherwise.  We have been meeting for coffee every few weeks, and also planning girls' nights once a month or so as well.  Last time we went glow in the dark bowling which was fun.  This weekend we're having dinner and going dancing afterwards to celebrate one lady's birthday.  Well, not sure how keen I will be to go bar hopping at almost 5mos pregnant, but we'll see.  We also still plan playdates on the weekends, often meeting up for gymnastics, skating, or tobogganing with the kids.  In addition to the great close friends I've made, I'm also making new friends all the time.  When I first moved here and started looking for friends, I was always looking for people to connect with and hoping that it would turn into the kind of friendships where we hung out a lot.  I have been lucky to find that with my group of friends, but am also learning that I can be friends with a lot of different people, and those friendships can all mean different things.  Some women are other moms that I see at the same places every week, and we get a chance to talk there but don't necessarily plan anything outside of that.  Other people I've just become familiar with from running into around town.  It's been a really great feeling to know that I've met and connected with so many different people on so many different levels.

This has been a big topic for me over the past year as I have strived to become more active, and I am still keeping up with it and going strong.  I always feel there is room for improvement in this department but then I also have to think about time constraints and that my family comes first, and also the physical restraints of pregnancy.  But there are times where I think I just want to spend hours in the gym working out and getting in shape.  Maybe one day.  I do manage to go to the gym about 5 times a week.  These days all I want to do is hoop and have been doing that as much as possible, but I have been doing spinning once a week still as well as some prenatal fitness and working out on the machines in the gym.  A friend of mine just sent me several great prenatal workout dvds in the mail as well so I am going to start incorporating those into my day as well at home while the boys are napping.  I think my hard work is paying off as I have been feeling great and I think I look fairly fit even for 20wks pregnant.  I do hope that I can stay in better shape for this pregnancy than I did for my last two, and also that I can snap back into shape quickly afterwards.

Down on the Farm
Progress on the hops farm has been great.  The mild winter has really been a blessing in that department because it allowed Tyler and John to get a lot of work done.  When I look back over the past few months I cannot believe how much they have accomplished together.  They have installed all the poles for the front 6 acres to be planted, built a barn, made a road, and built a bridge from the ground up.  Not just any bridge either, a proper bridge that will have to carry vehicles over the river.  A lot of time, planning, and money went into the design and construction of the bridge, and now it is almost complete.  It has been very exciting for Tyler to design and build it, and see it come to life.  I know he is very proud, and he should be.  I have gone through the seed catalogues and placed the order for all of our vegetable seeds, which should be arriving this week.  In the next few weeks our hoop houses will be built, and then we can begin starting our seedlings inside to get a head start on the growing season.  There is no way to describe how amazing everything is going on the farm, and we are excited to see what the next few months have in store as well.

Other Events
What other things have we been up to this year so far?  In January I participated in the Romp to Stomp out breast cancer 5km snowshoe walk with one of my new friends.  The weather was perfect and we had a wonderful day walking and raising money for breast cancer research.  That same weekend Tyler took Tristan on his very first overnight ice fishing adventure.  He had a great time, but it was still too much for him and by the end of it he was very tired and got a little sick.  Still, he loves to talk about the trip and how much fun he had.  In February Tyler's sister Rachael got married to her fiancee Scott.  The whole wedding was just lovely and we were happy to be a part of it.

That pretty much sums up how our winter has been, and it's only been less than 2 months!  Needless to say life is busy, but it's a good busy.  We are always optimistic, always looking forward.  It feels good to be happy and to have a good attitude about life.  Onwards and upwards from here! 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Pregnant Hula Hooping


I don't look like this.  I wish I did, but not even close.  First of all, I'm not that cute when I'm pregnant.  I'm short and round and funny-shaped.  And second, I'm not even a fraction as good a hooper as this woman. 

But actually, I'm doing pretty good so far!  I've only been hooping for a month or so and am surprising even myself at the ease with which I am picking it up.  Ok, I don't have much finesse yet, but I can do a few tricks that are pretty cool.  In addition to basic hip and waist hooping, I am just getting the hang of chest hooping and leg hooping.  I can bring the hoop up from my waist over my head and back down again in several different fashions.  And I can 'walk' the hoop up my arms and shoulders and onto my neck, then back down again.  Not too bad for an amateur!  It's not usually pretty to watch as I'm sure I often look like a flailing chicken or a crazy penguin, but I can work on being pretty later.  For now I just need to learn the moves.  There are other little things I work on too like arm hooping and isolations. 

But it's SO much fun and SO addictive, and I'm SO glad I am able to do this while pregnant and seeing videos like the one above give me hope that this is something I can do right throughout this whole pregnancy.

So here are some pictures taken at last week's workshop.  I'm 19wks pregnant.

I've been getting to the Y to practice almost every day, because I really want to get good at this hooping stuff!

Single Serving Chocolate Cake in 5 Minutes

And from the too good to be true category....

I found this on Pinterest (which I am starting to get addicted too though still not as much as some people I know).  Last night I saw it, checked out the recipe, realized I had all the ingredients, and decided to give it a shot.

What is it you might ask?  Well, it's a single serving of decadent chocolate cake that is not unhealthy and that you can make in 5mins.  I know, I know, how is this possible?  Well, it is.  The recipe works, it's relatively healthy, and it's easy.

And so, I share it with you here (though it's taken from the blog Chocolate Covered Katie, so I cannot take any credit for this brilliant invention).

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (or white, or even peanut or coconut flour)
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or veg oil 3 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine dry ingredients and mix very, very well. Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin, or even a coffee mug. Microwave 45-50 seconds (or more, depending on how powerful your microwave is). If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for the cake to cool before trying to remove it).

So fast, so easy, so yummy.  So much so that I made it again today.  And maybe later tonight.  Oh dear.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Off the Wagon

Yeah, I've kind of officially stopped doing the 52 Week Challenge stuff.  Just been a bit preoccupied!  But still so very happy that I started the first few challenges as they've helped me identify values and goals that are important to me and have given us direction!  So I'll keep my eyes on future challenges even though right now I don't think I'll be doing any.  It might end up being one of those off and on things that I do when motivation strikes.  I find a lot of things in life are like that for me.  Like I'll be all about keeping up with my housework rota for awhile and then suddenly fall off the wagon and just do the bare minimum to get by.  I am the same with blogging too.  I'll go through stages where I keep up with my blogs religiously, then ages will go by where I'm not interested in writing a thing.  Such is life, and that's ok!