Thursday 2 July 2015

Five Reasons Why Being a Mom Made Me a Morning Person

Before my son was born I was the farthest thing from a morning person. My husband and I would spend most of Sunday in bed, only managing to get ourselves dressed and ready to go by 2:00pm. Having a baby totally changed this. I thought that having children would force me to wake-up early; I figured that’s what made parents get to the grocery store or park so early on weekends. I was wrong. Having children made me a “morning mama.” I now enjoy the morning more than any other time of the day and these are five reasons why:

     1. Baby Cuddles

My son is happiest and loves to cuddle in the morning, he stares at us from inside the mesh sides of his bassinet each day until one of us picks him up and brings him into the bed. As soon as we pick him up he lights up with a smile and snuggles in. This is by far the best part of my day.

2. The Idea of a New Start

I've been waking up for 28 years and I don't think I ever really understood the idea of  “a new day” until I became a mom. Each morning brings the possibility of something great! Even if I didn't have a chance to really close my eyes the previous night; because teething, constant feedings and continuous crying didn't allow me to; I am still so hopeful that this new start will be a good one. My son’s morning smiles are always uplifting and a suggestion that he might not turn into a mini-monster when darkness falls upon us the next night.

3.     Bathroom Bliss

I'm learning a lot about the world as a new mother. For example, I now understand why people want to create a bathroom oasis, or retreat. I always considered the bathroom a place to get things done and get out. Now I fully understand the whole “spa-like bathroom” idea. This part of my morning really is an escape, who am I kidding, I retreat into my “spa” a few times a day for a bit of bathroom bliss. It’s sad to say that I find a hideaway in my own home, but sometimes we all need to breathe even if the air quality is not the best.

     4.     Coffee

Before I was pregnant I loved the idea of coffee because the smell of it reminded me of people I love and parts of my childhood. My mother loves coffee so much she begins and ends each day with a cup, my grandmother’s house in the morning always smelled like coffee and Fruit Loops and I don't think my husband can function before a cup. During my pregnancy my love for coffee changed from an idea to an obsession. Knowing I wasn't allowed to have too much caffeine while pregnant, I decided that quality over quantity was the best way to conquer my cravings. So I began my search for the best coffee I could find, leading me to become a collector of coffees, or a “coffee connoisseur”. I began to fill our kitchen cupboards with coffee beans, most of which were saved for Sunday pots, an idea that I came up with to make sure we savoured the “good stuff.” Now, coffee is not just a delicacy it has become a part of parenthood survival, morning fuel and something to look forward to after a sleepless night.

     5.     Savouring the Silence

If I manage peel myself out of bed before baby and daddy there is a special kind of silence in the morning that I never experienced before motherhood. When this happens, I pour myself a cup of coffee, grab a seat by the window and savour the silence.

Has becoming a parent changed your view on mornings, afternoons or nighttime? What's the best part of your day? Would love to hear your stories. Please share in the comment box below.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Josephine’s Patchwork Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

After a few more farmers’ market trips this month, the abundance of rhubarb I've collected is beginning to take over my refrigerator. While I want to keep my kitchen creative and come up with more new and innovative ways to use the rhubarb, my craving for a tasty traditional dish was winning me over; like waking me up at 6:00am on a Sunday morning to make a pie kind of winning.

As I began looking over a few great recipes, I decided to try a little mix-and-match when developing my own take on the pie. I chose an adapted version of Chatelaine’s Very Berry Galette for the crust and reviewed a series of recipes to help me decide on the ratios for the strawberry rhubarb filling.  When it comes to baking I'm usually very diligent about following a specific recipe, but I love Chatelaine’s crust so much that I was determined to use it for this pie. In the end, I learned that patching together different recipes isn't as scary as I thought it would be, especially when you are careful with your ratios and consider that pie crusts are fairly universal.




2 ½ cups             all purpose flour  
2 tbsp                 granulated sugar
½ tsp                   salt
1 cup                   soft butter
8 tsp                     ice water
2 tbsp                    lemon juice


2 cups                   strawberries (sliced)
2 cups                   rhubarb (cleaned and chopped – trim ends)
½ cup                    granulated sugar                       
3tbsp                      cornstarch
1tsp                        coarse sugar
1/8 tsp                    salt           


1.     Crust: preheat oven to 375F. Mix flour, sugar and salt using electric mixer. Add butter and continue to mix until the pastry looks like little crumbs. Keep mixing as you add ice water and lemon juice until the ingredients form dough. Using lightly floured hands form pastry into a ball and then cut in half. Lightly coat rolling pin and cutting-board with flour. Roll pastries into two circles, each slightly wider than your pie dish (use one circle to line the bottom of the pie dish and the other to cover the pie).

2.     Filling: combine granulated sugar, cornstarch and 1/8 tsp of salt in a bowl. Stir in berries until coated.

3.     Line the bottom of pie dish with one pastry and add filling. Cover the pie filling with the second pastry circle. Pinch the edges of the pastry together and use a fork to crimp them. Brush the top of the pie with water or egg whites, cut small slits in the centre with a knife (to allow steam to escape) and sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.

4.     Bake for 40-45 minutes (or until the crust is golden).  Remove from oven and let stand for 15 min. Serve warm.

*Mommy-life tip: pastry can be made ahead of time, wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge for a maximum of three days. Before rolling, let stand until it’s back to room temperature (approximately 20-30 min).

The make-ahead tip is perfect if you're planning a dinner party or in case this becomes a two-nap process. 


Trying to bake during nap-time can be crazy. Do you have any mommy-life tips for baking? Would love to hear them. Please leave a comment below :)

Friday 19 June 2015

My Husband's Haven: A Canadian Cottage Inspired Father’s Day

When my husband and I first started dating he was thrilled to show me his favourite place, the family cottage. 

While I wouldn't call myself an outdoorsy girl, as the years went on I too began to fall in love with my husband’s haven. 

This year we've already been on two amazing escapes with our little one to the family cottage and after a visit this past weekend; I couldn't help but notice just how happy my husband is when he’s there. It’s going to be amazing to watch him teach our little guy to fish, drive the boat and build fires as he grows up on the lake. This Father’s Day, I am planning a Canadian cottage inspired gift that reflects my husband’s love for campfires and dock-time. I'm also going share some theme-based ideas for dads based on a few beloved daddy destinations.

The Dockside Daddy (aka my husband)

For my husband, dock-time is his favourite time, whether he’s prepping the boat for a sunset cruise or hunting for kindling to build the biggest campfire possible, these comfy classics from Roots Canada are perfect for those cool cottage nights.

Roots Tracksuit (matching with my son’s … this is part of the surprise)

Canadian Pure Maple Syrup (another farmers' market find)
After the delicious breakfast in bed I had on Mother's Day, I think that we've started a new tradition. While I'm still deciding what to make for breakfast this Father's Day, I know it will involve some good old-fashioned Maple Syrup. Found this one at the Annette Village Farmers' Market and it came with a few fabulous recipes. I've literally been putting this stuff on everything lately. Stay tuned for a Maple Madness post coming-up on the blog. I'll share some fun ways to use Maple Syrup, adding a touch of sweetness to your everyday meals. 

The Daytona Dad

My dad loves the beach so much that if he could live in a beach shack, he probably would. This Beach Blanket from Old Navy is perfect for that waterside day-trip you've been planning with dad this summer.

The Backpacking Papa

If the dad in your life loves a good getaway, whether it’s hiking the Bruce Trail or backpacking through Europe, here is a fabulous find that will satisfy his taste for travel.

RCAF Travel Bag
 (from Chapters)

This is the perfect travel bag for all of the shower and shaving essentials that dad will need to take along on his travels. Check out the Red Canoe collection at Chapters/Indigo for more great travel accessories for dad.

When searching for that perfect gift I'm always trying to find something thoughtful, but also practical, and this Father's day I was inspired by the some of dad's favourite places and spaces.  

What inspires you when searching for a gift? Would love to hear some creative gift giving ideas.