Monday, January 23, 2017

Baby Number 2!





There's been a reason why I've been silent on this blog. Baby Novo # 2 is coming!

We announced on New Years Eve the only way we knew how, with H!

Currently I am 15 weeks into this pregnancy, and I have to say its a lot different than the first one.  

Mainly, I was sick the first 3 months. Not really morning sickness related (although I did throw up a few times- which was a completely new experience for me), but with the flu and the cold. Back and forth. It was fun. (high dose of sarcasm there).

This pregnancy I have to say that I am not as overly cautious over what I eat. Sure I avoid the big no's, but when momma craves a hot dog she is having one.  I also haven't been as active - as this time around I am more exhausted than I remembered being with H.  I also guess its because I have an active toddler to chase after and entertain all day.

Super excited for this next journey. Also a little bit nervous.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorFast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit? - goodreads





My first book review of 2017, I know I kind of slacked on them last year. Who knew a baby would take up so much time?  HAHA

Anyways, this book was a really good book to start the year off with. 4 stars for sure.

It is about a couple who went to a dinner party next door, and left their 6 month old baby at home; mainly because their neighbors don't like kids-  checking in on her every half an hour to make sure she was alright.  First as a mom, I'm not sure I could do this - I mean sure we hang out in the yard or in the cul-de-sac with the neighbours, while H was sleeping, with our monitor on and made a mad dash if we hear any whimpering. But we were also in eyesight of the door at all times, and we weren't getting shit faced (well not both of us at the same time)- so I can sympathize a bit, but seriously get better friends who like kids... But back to the storyline. The couple, at the end of the night comes home to find the door unlocked and their baby girl missing.

Enter Panic.

They call the cops and of course are both put on the suspect list.

The twists and turns, while some are pretty predictable, also keeps you guessing.

It is also a fast paced book. I wanted to keep reading it until I was done, so that makes it a winner in my book as it captivated me from the beginning.


If you like The Girl on The Train type books, then I think you will also enjoy this one as well and you should add it to your To Read pile.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Favourite Christmas books!

One of my favourite family Christmas traditions was reading Christmas books. Every evening leading up to Christmas, we all gathered on the couch, sipped on hot chocolate and picked from the basket of books and read a story together. 

Some of my favourite books included:

The Little Match Girl
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
The Snowman
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Polar Express
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore (the one with the pipe)
The Wild Christmas Reindeer
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
What are some of your favourite Christmas books?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

RECIPE: Cinnamon Buns!

Who doesn't love cinnamon buns?

We were at the mall the other day and smelt that sweet sweet smell of Cinnzeo, and G and I were both like, yup before we leave we have to pick one up.

Until you have a toddler needing a nap ASAP.

We didn't realize we forgot this precious treat until we were at home, and as the closet mall is 45 minutes away from us, G was like - didn't you make some that tasted exactly like them a while ago. And I was like- Yes, yes I did.


 The recipe I used was from Jo's Cook


The Goods:
Dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup  softened butter
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups  all purpose flour
Filling
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup softened butter
Cream cheese icing
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ½ tsp  vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp salt

The How To:
  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix well.
  3. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated.
  4. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. - This is the part that takes FOREVER!
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx ¼ inch thick.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  7. To make filling, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the butter first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1½ inch slices. You might find it easier if you use a piece of floss vs a knife.
  10. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! Mine took 24 minutes.
  12. While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients and beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.


*Note - I didn't actually make this icing, because 1) I did not have  cream cheese other than the herb and garlic kind and 2) I was lazy. So I used store bought canned vanilla icing and it was just as delicious.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Top 5 Christmas Tunes

I don't like the traditional hymn type Christmas carols. But, I do like throwing these Christmas tunes up on the good ol' speakers every once in a while.

So let me introduce you to my 5 Favorite Christmas tunes:






Bandaid - Do They Know It's Christmas.

This is the newest compilation of this song, and as always features Bono.


Coldplay - Christmas Lights


Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You... a classic


Trans Siberian Orchestra - Carol of the Bells.



Wham - Last Christmas


What are your favourite Christmas Tunes?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Triangles by Ellen Hopkins

Triangles THREE FEMALE FRIENDS FACE MIDLIFE CRISES IN A NO-HOLDS-BARRED EXPLORATION OF SEX, MARRIAGE, AND THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE.Holly: Filled with regret for being a stay-at home mom, she sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Will it bring the fulfillment she is searching for?Andrea: A single mom and avowed celibate, she watches her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly’s castaway husband?Marissa: She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay, rebellious teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts.As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner. Hopkins’s gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse perfectly captures the inner lives of her characters. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.Get lost in the world of Triangles, where the lives of three unforgettable women intersect, and where there are no easy answers -goodreads


Triangles was my first ‘adult’ Ellen Hopkins book. And I was not disappointed. Not that I thought I would.  I’m going to go all fangirl on you for a moment- I love Ellen Hopkins. Something about turning poetry into a novel just excites me. She writes beautifully, and maybe it is the poetry, but every time I read a book of hers I feel like I can relate to every single person in some way or another and I'm just drawn in, making it extremely hard to put down!
Anyways, back to the point...
Triangles is a novel that concentrates on three different women; Holly, Marissa and Andrea.

Holly: She is pushing 40 and was going through a mid-life crisis. Focused on working out and trying to start it up as an erotic novelist, Holly gets bored of her life. She has 3 kids, a loving husband, great house, everything anyone would ever want. However... sometimes once you have everything you get bored. Holly starts experimenting in the sexual realm of things, saying it's all research for her book. She basically is throwing away something for a little excitement, instead of just talking to her husband!!

Marissa: A mother of a gay son (who by the way is amazing portrayed in this book- strong, sometimes rebellious, independent and trying to help out whenever he can) and of a terminally ill daughter. Oh she is also wife to a husband who is never there, always focused on work and not helping out with their daughters rigorous health routine. Once she learns a very detrimental secret of her husband she has to figure out what's in her best interest.  Tears were shed during her story.

Andrea: Is the middle thread as mentioned before. Holly is her best friend and Marissa is her sister.  Andrea, she goes from one bad guy to the next, never catching a break. She sees how great Holly and her husbands relationship is (on the outside) and how barren her sisters relationship is, and she is stuck between the two. Her story seemed the most lack lustre of all three of them to me, while it wasn't boring it just wasn't memorable, definitely getting the sense that she was the anchor to hold the two other stories together.

Now that the main character descriptions are out of they way, they all go through some coming of age dilemma. And as always, Hopkins tackle difficult subjects, Triangles being no exception. The central theme though is cheating with other topics ranging from threesomes, to sex parties, to accepting a gay child, to name a few.

I totally enjoyed this book. It was hard to keep down and I wanted to know about each character getting mad that their section ended, but then excited to read on to the next one.  The erotic/sex scenes were also written very tastefully so that if your teenager picked this up you wouldn't have to explain anything to embarrassing.

You know how much I love Ellen Hopkin, so please go and read this, or any of her novels. You will not be disappointed!
“Spilling a Secret

What its size,
will have varying
consequences. It’s not
possible to predict
what will happen
if you
open the gunnysack,
let the cat escape.
A liberated feline
might purr on your lap,
or it might scratch
your eyes out. You can’t
tell
until you loosen the knot.
Do you chance losing
a friendship, if that
friend’s well-being
will
only be preserved
by betraying sworn-to
silence trust? Once
the seam is ripped, can
it be
mended again?
And if that proves
impossible, will you be
okay
when it all falls to pieces?”
Ellen Hopkins, Triangles

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hunting Jewelry - Twelve:TwentyThree



As most of you know my hubby is a big hunter. I am not. However, being around the sport all the time, I get inspired by it when I sit down and make jewelry.

Above are some of my favourites that I have created recently.  Head on over to my etsy shop to check out them and more :)


www.twelvetwentythree.etsy.com


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares

Check out my cool plate (from Home Sense)




These are delicious. I've made them twice so far. Which also means they are easy.


The Goods:

 - 2 cups of flour
- 1tbs pumpkin-pie spice
- 1tsp baking soda
- 3/4tsp salt
- 1 cup butter
- 11/4 cups of sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 package (or how many you want) of chocolate chips

The How To:

1) Preheat the oven to 350
2) Line with foil a 9x13 pan (although I am sure greasing a pan would work as well)
3) Cream butter and sugar together
4) Beat in egg and vanilla
5) Beat in pumpkin puree
6) Reduce to slow and add the rest of the dry ingredients
7) Fold in chocolate chips
8) Put in pan, spread out evenly
9) Bake for about 40 minutes
10) Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Light Between Oceans by R.L Stedman




The Light Between Oceans
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss. -goodreads


Would you do anything for the woman/man you love? And what would you do to get the one thing you want most in the world?

These are the two main questions presented in this book.

Tom is returning from war and doesn't want to be around anyone, so he enlists in a job to man a lighthouse on Janus Rock- which is off a little town in Australia.  He likes the routine and the meticulous nature of running it. On one of his breaks to the mainland, he meets Isabel. Eventually through letters, they are agree too marry. Then they move to the lighthouse. Here I have to give a standing ovation to Isabel. How hard would it be to move to a little lighthouse island, away from your friends and family all for your husbands work. I think after a few stints out there I would make my husband move back to socialization. Especially because she so desperately wants a baby.

However, that's not in her plans. Miscarriage after miscarriage, Isabel is devastated. And after a recent stillbirth, they happen upon a ship wreck, only to find a little baby girl. Isabel instantly switched to mother mood and started to nurse the infant and eventually claiming it as her own child. Tom being very honest, wasn't sure what to write in his ledgers, here his wife finally had what she wanted but it was wrong. But love prevailed and they 'adopted' the little girl.

Fast forward two years when they move back to the mainland. News of this shipwreck emerged and they realize this little girl who they took as their own, may have had another family looking,praying and grieving over her.   Enter guilt, resentment, love, hardship. What do you do know when the person you love the most risk losing the thing she loves?

This book, started slow. But it changed gears and instantly drew me in and I'm glad I stuck through to the end, as it is a very beautifully written novel. Those two questions I mentioned at the beginning prevailed throughout the entire book, and not only that the themes of forgiveness and learning from your mistakes and eventually accepting them runs through the book as well. I especially liked Tom's character. He faced such a moral dilemma and it was interesting to read and experience it.

All in all I rate this book 4 stars. It was written beautifully for a debut novel. The only downside was that it did start out slow.

“Perhaps when it comes to it, no one is just the worst thing they ever did.” 


(and now there is a movie adaptation of the book)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mugs.. Perfect for Fall

Mugs.. Perfect for Fall

Mugs.. Perfect for Fall by justaddchampagne featuring Sur La Table


One of my favourite parts of fall is curling up with a warm cup of coffee (or tea) on the couch with a good book (or movie).  And well for me it makes it so much more enjoyable when you have a fun mug to put it in.  Here is a collection of some that I am craving to add to my collection!