October 30, 2014

food is love

Today was Productive, capital P needed. I booked the day off work, and with the little one in daycare, I was able to dedicate the day to cooking for my mom. For breakfasts, I made fruit parfaits in mason jars layered with greek yogurt, blueberries, pomegranates, and gave her a separate jar of granola to mix later. I also made these easy sunshine muffins to go with the parfaits. For a lunch meal, I made this homemade tomato soup & these parmesan crackers. I'm just realizing as I write this that I forgot to add cream to mom's cream of tomato soup....oops....hopefully it'll still taste good. Healthy! For dinner I made these yummy chicken pot pies. To go with the chicken pot pies,  I bought some of those delicious bagged kale salads, as seen here.
Food is definitely love. I see it in the steady parade of meals that mom's friends deliver to her. I feel it in the thought process when I pack my daughter's school lunches or make our family dinners. When I first got home from the hospital after giving birth, I remember the steady stream of meals that our friends and parents brought over. It was the best gift new parents could get. Food is a means of giving us strength, of keeping us going, when we don't have the energy to cook anymore. Whenever my friends ask how they can help me in this tough time, I always just ask them to make some kind of food/snack/meal for my parents. I love seeing my mom eat, because I know it gives her that little bit of extra strength to keep up the good fight. xoxo

October 27, 2014

finding balance again....

Hello friends! It's funny, the very first thing my hubby asked me when we met was, "What's your sign?" For real. While neither of us are astrology buffs.....I do believe there's something to be said for my sign (Libra) being the scales. I crave balance in my life, and when it's out of whack, I do not feel like myself. Trying to balance busy days with a toddler, and spending as much time as I can with my cancer fighting mother, has taken all of my emotional and physical strength. The only free time I have is during her nap, and in that little window of time, I usually have to race around cleaning up the morning smack down that she has laid upon our humble abode.  We have a large piece of property too, that I eventually have surrendered to. But I'm happy to report I've located our dog and cat, who I thought had been lost in our knee deep grass. The squirrel search party has been called off. So please don't get me wrong, there's nothing I would rather be doing in this moment in time than caring for my mom in any way possible to make her life better right now, or caring for my toddler, who I love more than life itself. But somewhere in there, we have to, have to, make a sliver of time for ourselves or we end up becoming both incredibly whiny and embarrassingly winey.
So I've come up with a few simple ways to get my scales back in balance. Number one is exercise. I need it now more than ever, to re-energize for my busy days and to combat the grief that I've been enduring during mom's battle. I've found gyms that have childminding, so I can squeeze in an hour workout and know that she's having fun playing with kids. I have also tried DVDs and free online workouts at home while she naps. I'm pretty pumped that I might be able to sport a bikini whilst drinking egg nog by the christmas tree this year. It'll be quite the family photo. But seriously,  I am thankful for the immediate boost that increased fitness brings. The next thing to get back on track is more time with friends. Instead of giant dinner plans, it's nice to just meet up for a quick drink or walk with a coffee, just a little window of time that I can squeeze in, catch a break and re-connect. This weekend we had our crew over for appies/drinks &  to play Cards Against Humanity. It was the laugh riot that I needed. The other key to keeping life in check for me, is to make time for photography, for writing, and to dedicate time to this space again. It's my biggest passions (aside from my family) - and without any time to dedicate it, I have felt out of sorts. Do you feel like your life is in balance lately? If not, take time to come up with a few simple adjustments you can start ASAP to get your life back on track. xoxo

October 26, 2014

Hello there!!

Hi friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I just wanted to drop a little line to say hi, I've missed this space. Life has been incredibly busy, so I just wanted to take a moment to say hello. I'll write more tomorrow at length. I had taken a bunch of photos I was so excited to share with you this weekend, but then my memory card in my camera hadn't loaded up properly, which I didn't even know could occur(!?!)....and none of my photos saved. It was heartbreaking for the photographer in me (I may or may not have been the one you heard in the distance throwing a hissy fit).....because I know they are moments I can't recreate - parties and gatherings.....my husband, ever the sunny disposition said, "but at least you have all the memories!" He's right, but my eyes still did roll (possibly followed with an extra loud UGH). So I went out in the sun (with memory card firmly inserted) to shoot some photos of the leaves, and tossed some high into the air, creating this spontaneous selfie portrait. I like the moment of joy it represents....even though life is challenging as hell right now.....there are these sweet joyful moments to steal for ourselves. xoxo

October 19, 2014

pumpkin patch kids

Today we checked out the adorable Westham Island Herb Farm. It's our third pumpkin patch this month, but honestly, I can't get enough of them. The gorgeous autumn colours, the beautiful farm fields to run around, I definitely plan on visiting more patches before the season is up. I might need some kind of pumpkin patch support group come November.

forty two.

 cheers to 42.
 celebrating with my favourite girls in the world
 one of my girlfriends surprised me with a beautiful cake
 my hubby surprised me with these super comfy rainboots
 dinner out with two completely awesome women
 sharing = no calories. fact
 dinner date with my love at Vij's new restaurant: My Shanti. Absolute dining bliss.
 spoiled rotten by friends who know me so well. 
birthday flowers from my mom's best friend. 

What's your relationship with birthdays? Do you love them, hate them or are you a little nonchalant about them? This year I am tremendously grateful that I got to spend mine at my mom's side. I brought her dinner and flowers as a thank you. She has made every birthday special. She's the one who planned all my little parties growing up and never let a birthday go by un-noticed. Birthdays aren't just about you. They are about the people who love you, who want to celebrate how much you mean to them. This has been a tremendous week with so many faces I love, so if my birthday was a catalyst for all of these gatherings, then I am truly grateful for it. Cake week totally rocks. 

October 14, 2014


This is the first year I did "the meal" in its entirety. It seems a bit odd to be forty(ish) and cooking my first turkey, but when your mom is as an amazing cook as mine is, you don't even try to compete. But this year, I wanted to take over for her, to let her give me her tips, then go to bed to rest. I did a turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, pan roasted root vegetables and homemade cranberry orange sauce. A few favourite recipes can be found here: Ina Garten's Pan Roasted Root VegetablesCranberry Orange Sauce. The meal turned out really well, which I'm so grateful for because not only was it a confidence booster that I can do it, but it was a silent way of letting my mom know that I can do it for her. I can take over the reigns. This Thanksgiving I am incredibly thankful to be sitting at a dinner table beside my mom, I'm thankful for my husband and daughter and their tremendous support, I am thankful for my dad, and his quiet courage in all of this......and I am thankful for my spectacular circle of friends, who keep showing up, even though I've been lying low lately, they keep showing me their beautiful supportive selves. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving at a table full of faces that mean the world to you. xo

October 6, 2014

on a personal note....

Hello friends! I haven't written anything at length in quite awhile. The reason being is that I try to spend as much free time as I can seeing my mom. I felt the need to write today because I have found myself surrounded by some truly inspiring women lately.
At one point last week, my mom's best friend, wanted to chat with me in person about everything that's happening with my mom. We sat over a glass of wine, she held my hand, looked at me with teary eyes, and said, "Your mom and I have been the closest of friends since we were 15. I know how you feel, and I want you to know you aren't in this alone." It was in that moment, that I finally let the tears all fall. I needed to hear that someone completely understood what I was experiencing and that we were going to go through this together. She said we'll keep each other up to speed on mom's appointments, her pain levels and visits. I can't speak about my mom's friend Murley without crying because she is nothing short of an angel to me. She visits my mom almost daily.....brings her meals continuously, will swing by to pick up mom's laundry, she'll iron their clothes, dust their house, you name it, she just does it. She just keeps showing up. She doesn't ask, "what can I do?" She just does. She has been the single biggest inspiration to me in this regard. I used to ask what my parents needed, but now I just keep showing up with food. I just keep showing up with love and trying to make them laugh. I just keep showing up with their grandaughter, because I see how much it lifts their spirits. Whatever amount of time we have left isn't going unnoticed.
The biggest struggle I've had with her battle with Cancer, is the sense of helplessness. As many stars as I wished upon, as many dandelions I blew into the wind, as many angels I prayed too, as many green juices I made her, as many healthy meals I've prepared, I felt like this cancer keeps coming fast and furious and I can't slow it down. So, instead of trying to control things, I've realized, that all I can do is just keep showering her with love and support. I can't fix this. No matter how much, more than anything in this world, I'd like to. So I just have to make sure she's taken care of.
And now I am moving into a place of gratitude: gratitude that my mom and I have the relationship we do. I'm grateful ours is close, deep, supportive and most of all completely loving. I'm grateful that she is a woman who has truly lived with her years: I put together a slide show for her 50th wedding anniversary and it was extremely hard to edit down to a few songs because she has done so much living. This gives me tremendous comfort. She has accumulated an incredible family, a tremendous circle of friends, she has travelled a lot, and probably most importantly, has shown me through her continuous actions that she is, without a doubt, the most selfless woman I have ever witnessed. I can't tell you how proud I am that this amazing woman adopted me.
I have felt this groundswell of support from my friends, who keep showing up. Some of them have been dropping off food to my mom, some have been taking me out for hours of laughs - I can't begin to express how much that reprieve means to me.
This is all a day to day process, and as excruciating as it has been, there have been these rainbows along the way, where I get to see the best in people, and for that I feel so grateful.

Pumpkin Patchin

Okay, so I went to two pumpkin patches in two days. I wouldn't label it an addiction (yet). This time we met up with friends at the Richmond Country Farms pumpkin patch and had such a wonderful morning. The wagon rides are top notch, with great singers leading us along the ride to the patch, then there's hay bales to climb, a corn maze to wander, animals to see, free apples to eat, and soon, they are adding a miniature train......so, we'll likely be back to catch some of that sweet mini train action. Okay, before you think I'm patch-$&*% crazy.....it's a really fun cheap thing to do with toddlers. At these pumpkin patches, there's so much open space to run around, more entertainment than a local park, and they collapse into the best naps ever. So, it's a huge win-win situation. I hope you're enjoying these gorgeous Autumn days! xoxo

October 4, 2014

a pumpkin patching we go.....

This morning we hit up the Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch (The turkeys and piglet were at a nearby farm along the drive). At the pumpkin patch, there was a petting zoo, a corn maze, a firetruck to climb on, an old ship to play on, a snack truck, wagon rides to the pumpkins....I was blissed out!!.....(oh ya, the little one enjoyed it too. I think she had to drag me out of the petting zoo.)
I hope you're having a wonderful weekend! xo