Family Vacation

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One week in and I finally got around to posting our vacation photos.  We left for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, very early in the morning on November 7th.  The trip to our hotel was relatively easy, Magnus napped a bit, played, we ate snacks and walked around.

Once there it didn’t take long to realize that Johannes was in heaven.  He loved it all, the plane, the food, the flamingos by the pool, and most importantly, the water…all of it.  Pool or sea were loved and used indiscriminately.

Magnus was not quite as happy about the changes.  He had a pretty tough time adapting to the new routine, he developed heat rash and the dairy (which makes up quite a bit of his diet here) hurt his stomach pretty badly.  But he loved the pool and playing in the sand, the buns at meal times and pizza at lunch.  So all was not lost.  He was as good as you could probably expect from a curious one year old.

Having my parents with us was wonderful.  We got to spend time with them and the kids, but they also helped immensely with meal times and coordinating naps (for Magnus).

I still cannot believe we already went and came back.  Seven days passed much much too quickly, and I think we all felt like we could maybe have stayed a little extra there.

Later this week I’ll post a list of the “must have” products for a trip to the beach with kids, but for now, enjoy the photo explosion.

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Winter Boot Shopping for our Family

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No sooner had we touched down from our vacation that I checked the weather report for Toronto and saw that snow was on the horizon for next week.  Panic set in.  I had planned to do all our boot shopping before our trip, but it just wasn’t feasible. So just on the chance that maybe we would be experiencing the fluffy white stuff this week, we rushed out to The Shoe Company yesterday to get what we all needed.

Michael was skeptical that he would find anything but he scored himself a size 15 pair of Sorel boots!  Snow shovelling will be done with toasty warm feet now.  With Michael’s large shoe size we always have the hardest time finding him shoes that fit, so the fact that The Shoe Company has their Large Sizes program is so wonderful.

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This was also the first time we’d ever taken Magnus shopping for shoes because we wanted to be sure they really fit well as he is a new walker and Johannes took him under his wing to show him “how its done”.  We all had a great time and made a fun afternoon of it, ending off with grilled cheese sandwiches and a dance party when we got home.

Alright winter…we’re ready for you.  Come any time with your fluffy white snow and holiday cheer!

And now for our giveaway winner!  Birgit Rotermund-Fearon you’ve won our giveaway!! Congratulations!

This post was created in partnership with The Shoe Company. As always thank you for supporting our sponsors who make this blog possible.

A Saturday Night Out With Sesame Street Live

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Our family had an incredibly taxing week, I cannot go into all the details yet, as emotionally I am still trying to cope myself, but Saturday …Saturday was a little glimmer of hope and positivity.

Johannes is at this awesome age where he loves to sing and dance and all things Sesame Street, so when I heard Sesame Street Live was coming to play at the Sony Centre, I had to get us tickets.  Just us two, a mommy-Johannes date.  As an American Express member we had access to Front Of The Line tickets first, so we were able to sit close to the stage but still have an aisle seat (for emergency bathroom runs).

We arrived earlier for the meet-and-greet with Elmo and Grover!  I was worried Johannes would be scared to meet his favourite characters in person, but he was completely smitten.  We had our pictures taken, did some colouring then quickly left to get snacks for the show.

When the show started I don’t know who was more excited, him or me.  The whole experience brought back so many memories from my own childhood, singing along to the tunes and counting numbers.  At intermission Johannes was so sad thinking the show was over, and I was pretty excited to get a second act in with him.

We finished off the night with a late dinner out, watching the tail end of the Blue Jays game, and cabbed it home while we chatted about our night.  Hearing Johannes tell everyone he met the next day about how he had this amazing time watching Sesame Street Live was so wonderful.  I know its a memory he will have forever, and one I likely will too.

If you haven’t been to see Sesame Street Live, I would highly recommend it.  And with so many wonderful events out there I would definitely urge you to explore to learn more about the some of the hottest shows in town!

For the Love of Alfie

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night out legging: Hatch // alfie jacket: Hatch // shoes: old similar here // bag: old similar here // top old similar here

I have a major obsession with comfy clothes.  I ditched the heels, the too-tight jeans, skin tight tops a long time ago, partially from the baby weight, but mostly because I feel as though I’ve paid my dues in my younger life and now it is time to relish in comfort and acceptance of my body.  That’s not to say I don’t love clothing, because I do.  I love clothes that look great, feel great and can transcend my many many body shapes lately. Pregnant, breastfeeding, working mum, girls-girl for drinks, they’re all roles I play now and must be satisfied by the same clothing pieces time and time again.

Hatch is my ultimate indulgence.  Stylish, comfortable, gorgeous pieces for bumps and non-bumps. I’ve loved their clothes during both my pregnancies and for years to come afterward.  Now they’re available in Toronto, which is ultimately good and bad for me.  I think my favourite thing about the line is that I can wear any piece at any time and it just works.  Work to playground and drinks in the evening wearing the same thing maybe just changing up my shoes and a lipstick.  Its the best.

Current Hatch obsession is this Alfie tweed jacket and night out leggings (they’re so so so comfy you have no idea).  I love it so much I’m wearing it on the plane on our way to the Dominican this weekend layered over a loose tee.

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Its Boot Season & a $250 Giveaway

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the mess that was my mud room!

Halloween is over.  Thanksgiving is long behind us.  The trees have begun to bare their branches, so its just a matter of time before we see our very first snowfall, and then many many more to follow.  The past few years it starts snowing in late November here in Toronto, although it doesn’t usually stick around for long, it makes for a slushy watery cold mess.  The kids love it!

I’ve been so focused on getting through Thanksgiving and Halloween that I sort of forgot all about snow and the fact that none of us have boots this year!  Johannes has outgrown his.  Magnus never had any, since he spent last winter in his bucket seat.  Michael wore a hole in his, and mine have started to come undone at the seams from so much wear.  I realized this while cleaning out our mudroom from the summer and bringing up our winter gear from storage.  We sent our winter coats to the dry-cleaners and  organized our hats, mitts and scarves.  However, the boot situation is lacking for the messy cold icy weather we are sure to get very very soon. So the hunt is on and fast for all four of us, because next weekend we leave for the Dominican and I have a feeling we may return home to find the frosty white stuff on the ground!  Especially since we’ve had several days this past week where it was close to zero degrees out in the morning.

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We had such a wonderful experience with The Shoe Company when we searched for Johannes’ uniform shoes, that we are going to head back there this week.  This time around Michael will be our biggest challenge, at 6’11 tall and size 15 shoe, he is by far the hardest person to shop for.  Most stores in Canada do not carry his size which makes it really difficult to find any shoes for him.  However The Shoe Company not only carries some size 15 men’s shoes, but they can also order special sizes for us direct from the store and have them shipped to our home!

To help get you and your families ready for the snowy walks ahead, we are also giving away a $250 gift certificate to The Shoe Company!  The contest is open to Canadian residents only this time and runs from now until November 15th (end of day).  For complete Rules & Regulations please read this.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post was created in partnership with The Shoe Company. As always thank you for supporting our sponsors who make this blog possible.

The Best One-Pot Chili…no really, its the best


There are many many days in Toronto that are worthy of making chili, between winter and fall I would guess about 6 months worth or more.  So I’ve perfected this one-pot chili recipe and finally felt like it was good enough to share.  Plus I actually took the time to write down all the measurements and ingredients.

Here’s one thing about me and my cooking and baking process.  I never use recipes, measuring cups, spoons or timers.  I write them down because I have to for sharing with friends, family and here on the blog, but I would never do it for myself.  I cook with what I have. I use normal spoons to doll out measurements and eyeball when its “done”.

Ok back to the best chili, here’s what you need and how to make it!  I’d love to hear your thoughts once you give it a try.

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3 carrots, coarsely cubed

3 celery stalks, also cubed

1 medium spanish onion chopped

1 package of ground lean meat (I always use ground turkey…ALWAYS, but beef could work too)

1 can red kidney beans, rinsed (500g)

1 can pinto beans, rinsed (250g)

1 can beans in maple syrup (250g) – if you can’t find this get a large can of pinto beans (500g) and add 3 tbsp of maple syrup to the ingredient list

500 mL crushed tomato juice (usually comes in a bottle)

250g can diced tomatoes

1 small jar of mild salsa (medium or hot if you don’t have kids to feed) (500mL tops)

1/3 cup smokey BBQ sauce

6 tbsp chili powder (more if you prefer a stronger chili taste and a little kick)

3 tbsp olive oil

salt to taste

On med to high heat burner, bring heat the olive oil in a large pot (usually the biggest one that comes in a pot set).  Toss in onions, when they’re translucent, add the meat and salt and cook until white (if its turkey) or brown (if its beef).  Add in the celery and carrots and stir together with meat and onions for about 2 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, BBQ sauce and chili powder.  Heat and stir until the chili starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.  The chili is cooked when you can pierce the carrots easily with a fork.

Serve with fresh crusty bread and butter, topped with avocado or just with plain old nacho chips.  Or all three for that matter.

I’d imagine this would also cook well in a crock pot, so if you have one of those you should give this a try and let me know how it turns out.  I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a crockpot!