Friday, 9 September 2016

Autumn is here!

Fall is in the air and with that came a huge milestone. Aubrey started grade 1; our baby girl is growing up.

She did so well. We are proud of our girl.

Another highlight of our week was Jeff's birthday. The kids were so excited. Liam woke up singing happy birthday daddy.
One of our family favourites is the breakfast sandwich. Grilled ham, melted cheese, a runny egg and a perfectly toasted English muffin; yum! We also love the addition of thinly  sliced tomato and spinach leaves.
We celebrated Jeff's birthday at the breakfast hour; including "cupcakes" also known as banana muffins. This is what you do with shift work; improvise! 

Tonight started out a little quieter than usual; just me and Liam. I was cleaning up from our dinner and when I came around the corner I found him like this! He was flipping the pages and giggling to himself. What a sweet heart.
After dinner I whipped up my favourite fall treat; chocolate zucchini muffins.  I went on my own blog to get the recipe; I found that humorous!  I ended up having only 1 cup of shredded zucchini so I added a bit of shredded carrot too.
I baked these at 350F for 40 minutes. 

This is the best recipe I've ever found for chocolate zucchini muffins. I couldn't of even told you there was carrot either. I used one cup of zucchini and 1/2 cup of carrot.

Now to relax; what a week it has been. I am so grateful as I sit and reflect on all the amazing things; some would seem big and some may seem small but I choose to see the miracles in the middle of it all. 
Night!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Perspective!

So life has been a little chaotic for our household; sickness galore.  But perspective is a beautiful thing.  There is always someone who will step up and take your worst day and exchange it for their best day.  I try to keep that in mind when going through tough things.  I try to get my mind off of myself and be a blessing to others especially when times are tough.
Monday started with Liam waking up with a full blown rash after a few days of fever.  Poor little man.  After a few hours I wasn't sure at this point what was wrong with him so I took him to Emerge with an under-the-weather Aubrey in tow.  Before I left the house I put biscuit dough in the fridge and got the crock pot on; with help from Jeff.
 
We were nicely scooted into a holding room of sorts for quarantine.  Not knowing how long we would be there, an hour and forty-five minutes seemed rather quick when the Dr. walked in and looked at Liam.  Within one minute we were told he has hand, foot and mouth. 
With no medicine required but a perscritpion of time, time and more time to heal,  we headed home. Even still I was so thankful for the little things.  A room all to our selves which seemed to be sound-proof;  I don't think people would of enjoyed our sing-a-long as much as we did.  I was also thankful for the parking spot right outside the Emerge door and the parking guy who made sure I wasn't in a "secret" towing zone.   When I got outside with the kids ready to leave, my parents were waiting at my vehicle ready to plug the meter if it needed it.  I felt very blessed and oh so loved.
I walked into a chili smelling house and got the chilled biscuits out of the fridge and into the oven. It was awesome!  WIN!
 
Fast forward to yesterday and I took an incognito Liam to the pharmacy to see what I could do to soothe his rash.  Nothing!  But the pharmacist was oh so sympathetic, compassionate and helpful.  We couldn't just go home empty handed so we picked up some essentials like tart shells and whipping cream!
He seemed to be on the mend momentarily; smiles, rash and all!
Aubrey got home from daycare and she was feeling great so we made home-made pizza (only touch your own please!).
 
While the kids were eating I baked off some tart shells, whipped the cream and added it to some lemon curd I had leftover from my friends wedding cupcakes.  I couldn't possibly throw that out!
After the tart shells cooled I piped them full of lemony cream. 
 
I thought of the bright idea to buckle Liam into his car seat and show him a movie while we drove around the West End giving away tarts.  
Aubrey loves when we go on these deliveries, her smile tells it all. 
 
We got home just in time for bedtime and the kids went down amazing.  Everything was looking up and I went to bed feeling positive.  At 5AM Aubrey woke up with "bumps".  Feeling rather defeated I tucked her into bed with Jeff and headed to my spot as I do most mornings.  I wrote in my journal; "You are good, you are good to me, and you are good at being God....your ways are higher than mine, Thy will be done".  I then opened my First5 App and this was today's devotional.  
 
It was so encouraging and such a confirmation but I was so glad that I didn't let my feelings win and I had already given it to the One that can do something about my anxieties.  It's an amazing thought; He loves my kids even more than I do.
 
 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Wedding cupcakes; lemon meringue cupcakes


So the wedding cupcake process started a few weeks ago. I wanted to do something special for my friend lauras wedding 2.0.  I made cupcakes for her  original wedding back in December when her and Cory had a rather quick wedding to include her ailing father. Since his passing Laura and Cory decided to have a second wedding of sorts to include additional family and friends. 

I decided a few weeks ago I should test out the new recipe I found online before I attempt to make to make 90 cupcakes for the actual reception!
 http://comfortablefood.com/lemon-meringue-cupcakes/

This lemon curd was the easiest curd I've ever made and it was oh so delicious; perfectly tart! Jeff couldn't believe the process and that it didn't require a double boiler. He also couldn't believe I used "real lemon" from the bottle (just to see how it would work). He was dumb-founded thinking his palate had betrayed him since he couldn't tell the curd wasn't made from fresh lemon juice.  For the wedding cupcakes I did end up using juice from fresh lemons but going forward I wouldn't hesitate to use "real lemon" if lemons are $1.29 a piece!
Moment of truth!

Eaten cold or room temperature they sure were delicious. Perfect balance of tart and sweet and the cake had a pound-cake quality about it. I also loved the flavour from the torched meringue. 
I was so excited to make these for the wedding. I made a few adjustments to the recipe from the comments I saw on the website and they were right on point.
I added 1 egg yolk to the lemon curd and followed the directions as stated. I also baked the cupcakes for 30 minutes at 325F. In my muffin tins each recipe made 15 cupcakes and I had leftover curd; which is never a bad thing....trifle anyone?!

So here we were yesterday, the bridesmaids. We had such a fun time together. Once the day actually arrived it was very clear that our friend was having a torn sense of things. Of course she'd give up the whole party just to have her dad back. So we did the only thing we could do and rallied around our friend. We were all there for one reason, to be with our friend. There are some things in life you'll never understand but with compassion and love you can do the "Jesus-thing" and just "be there".

This was the tribute Laura's mom added to her bouquet in honour of her dad. Such a beautiful reminder.
So wedding cupcakes 2.0 turned out great. I would most definitly make these again. I also would use that cake recipe again if I needed a "white" cake recipe. The lemon zest and vanilla added great flavour and the pound cake-like texture is always enjoyable.
Congratulations again Laura and Cory; we love you!
It was so nice that Jeff and I could be at a wedding together (well sort of; I waved to him from the head table!).

This morning this was my view for a good hour and then I headed upstairs for a two hour nap at around 8:30am. I am so thankful for vacation days!

Monday, 8 August 2016

A time saver; cold oatmeal parfait

So a last minute decision to sent this no-so-little girl of mine up to camp for the week with my entire family has this mom using a whole bunch of crying emoticons! Is it wrong to be jealous of your five year old?! But seriously  I am thrilled she gets the opportunity to spend time with the cousins she sees once a year. Here she is at dinner last night; I will live through the pictures I'm sent.
Before bed last night I was skimming through a magazine my mother in law had dropped off and this caught my eye.
Overnight oatmeal.
In a mason jar you put 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup milk. Top that with fruit and any topping you like. I topped it with frozen berry blend, a heaping tablespoon of Greek yogurt and a splash of maple syrup.

I put the lids on and put them in the fridge. 
Fast forward to this morning. We were getting Liam ready for daycare and we had a relaxing spa day planned to  celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary. 
I opened the oatmeal and felt like I was already at the spa! This tasted like spa food for sure. Jeff opted out of eating his; but I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and I will enjoy his portion for breakfast tomorrow.
I will definitly make this again. It would be so nice for a brunch option. You could use any "dairy" and topping you'd like. Such a great idea that I never knew was possible with oats.
Now as I sit and have a moment to myself I'm enjoying a good book and a coffee. I am so grateful for this time.