About Me

My photo
First of all, my name is Courtney and I am 29 years old. I am married to a handsome fella named Chris, 34. I am a Canadian Military wife, and a very lucky stay at home mom of 3 great kids. A 6 Year old Boy, a 4 Year old Girl, and a 1 year old girl. We have a 2 year old Golden Retriever named Luke. I am fairly creative. I Love crafting, baking & photography. For many years I've wanted to start blogging, so here I am! It will host topics such as favourite recipes, parenting tips, Craft ideas...etc. I hope you enjoy! <3

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Checkerboard Shortbread Cookies

Checkerboard Shortbread cookies

Ingredients...

FOR VANILLA SHORTBREAD
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla

FOR CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder

_______________________

Make one Vanilla dough, and one Chocolate dough following ingredients above. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30 mins.
_______________________


Remove from fridge and roll each into a rectangle.
(Measure so they the same size)
_______________________



Cut and Layer.


_______________________

*Tip: Use Egg White to 'paint' between layers
_______________________



_____________________________



_______________________


Stack each strip by alternating colours.
_______________________


Wrap each stack in plastic wrap and chill for (at least) 15 mins.
_______________________


Slice into squares.
_______________________


Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.



_______________________


Let cool on a cooling rack. 
______________________


Enjoy with a nice glass of cold milk.
_______________________

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24th, 2011.

Hi everybody, thanks for checking back.
I've been 'under the weather' lately, but I'm starting to feel better, so expect new blog updates this weekend!
~Courtney

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's New?

Hey everyone.

Thanks for checking out my blog! It's been alot of fun so far. Can't wait to share all of my new ideas with you all!

Stay tuned!

-Courtney

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PB & J 'Stack-wiches'

Just a fun way to enjoy a classic


One Jam - One PB


Put a lid on 'em.

Remove crusts, and cut each in half.

After that, stack the PB on top of the PB,
and the J on top of the J.
(using PB or J as the glue between)










-Courtney-

Quick Make up Routine



You wake up a little later than usual because you were up 3 times with a teething baby last night. You have about 7 minutes while the kids eat their breakfast to 'put on your face'. No problem. 7 minutes is plenty of time.

Some people go out without makeup on, and that's fine for them, but I can't imagine leaving the house like that. Perhaps that's vanity, or probably more like a self confidence issue... oh well, that's for another Blog entry.
So here goes.

*I'm adding photos of my personal faves right now*

Step 1: Wash your face, and apply a moisturizer.


Step 2: Apply your favourite concealer/foundation & powder.
Concealers come in stick, wand, tube or pots. Great for camouflaging under-eye circles and blemishes. Some women use foundation as their concealer—it’s really a matter of personal choice. Finish with powdered bronzer to blend in the concealer and foundation, and to control shine.



Step 3: Eyelids. Apply a pencil to your upper lash line, the outer corner only. If you are really short on time, at least apply a light coloured eyeshadow to brighten up the eye area. Apply to the inner corner of the eye, then dot on centre of eyelid and under eyebrow arch.




Step 4: Lashes. Curl those lashes, quick! Hold the eyelash curler for five seconds on each eye, then apply mascara. A very black mascara looks good on everyone. I think the eyelashes are the most important part of a makeup routine.


Step 5: Blush. Using a blush brush, smile and apply powder blush to the apples of the cheeks, keeping most of the product on the high part of the cheekbones. Blend up toward hairline, then down, swirling the brush to blend.



Step 6: Gloss. Throw on some of your favourite tinted gloss and that's it!


You really will feel a hundred times better if you take those few minutes to put on a bit of makeup. Believe me.
 
 -Courtney-

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Goodnight"



Husband says, "I'm going to bed"... quick kiss goodnight, bathroom break, and he's gone.

Wife says, "Ya, me too"...

you stand up, stretch, and walk to the bathroom. Pee, Wash hands, & brush your teeth.
On the way past the kitchen, you remember that the dishwasher needs to be turned on. You turn it on. You remember to turn off the outdoor light, wipe off the counter for the 43rd time that day. You check the fridge on the way past to make sure you've packed the lunches, yep ... you did.
Pick up a stray socks that someone must have kicked off earlier.
Double check to make sure the doors are locked.
Realize that that basket of laundry you brought up hasn't been folded yet. You fold it.


Figure you should check in on your old pal Facebook before night end...
I mean, it HAS been an hour. Might have some messages. Nope. Sign out.
Turn off all the lights... inhale. Stretch again. Start to walk up the stairs.
Walk past the bathroom. Decide you'd better pluck any stray eyebrow hairs now before you go to bed since you definately won't have time before you take the kids to school in the morning. Time for the pre-sleep pee.
Sneak down the hall so you don't (god forbid) wake up a kid.
Finally end up in your bedroom 45 minutes after you told the husband you were going to 'be right there', only to realize that your husband, who's been sleeping for a solid 30 minutes by now has rolled halfway onto your side. You slide into bed and hope to god everyone sleeps through the night.



No? Just me? Ok.

-Courtney

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mommies don't get sick!

This past weekend was fabulous. Great weather, everyone in a relatively good mood, the house was clean... then BAM! Monday morning I wake up and feel like I got hit by a Mack truck. It came from out of nowhere. Deep chest cough, sniffles, headache... the works.
I get the boy out the door to the bus stop, and take a deep breath... (the exhale nearly extracted my right lung by the way).

On to the to do list, get the dog outside, feed the 4 year old her breakfast, change the baby, feed the baby, clean up after breakfast, figure out an acceptable cartoon for the girls... the list goes on (I won't bore you)

After I manage to ingest a half a cup of coffee, I put my head back and admit to myself, outloud,

"Mama is sick"

The 4 year old just looked at me like I had ten heads and said,
"You can't get sick, your'e the Mommy!"
That summed it up right there.

I pushed through as much of the daily routine as I could and finally in walked Dad, and he said those magical words... "Why don't you go lay down?" Now, don't get me wrong. The huz offers up the afternoon nap when he feels I should have one, more often than not, but usually I laugh at the thought if taking a 2-3 hour timeout, but on this day... I was desperate. Still feeling awful I crawl into bed and catch about 3 hours of peace and quiet. Bliss. I get up and Superdad has supper cooked, kitchen cleaned up and the kids all had smiles on their faces. Amazing.
I actually felt like it was OK to take that time out. First time in a very long time.

Today husband came home from work saying he felt ill. Uh oh.

So the question is...
How do you take care of the littlest ones if both Mom and Dad get sick? Gather as many supplies as you can in one place, and plant yourself and your pillows and blankets on a comfy couch, with books and games and finger foods and sippy cups for the kids. Don't forget the tissues!



If you are lucky, like me, you'll have one kid sit at your feet and read you disney stories while the other one 'plays fetch' with the baby when she tosses her favourite toy across the room. I got plenty of forehead kisses and "I love yous" and I think I'm actually a smidge better. 

I think after the past two days my kids realize that sometimes I am actually human...

...and so is superdad.

-Courtney

Peanut Free Lunch Ideas


'Peanut free' is everywhere now.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate this 'new' rule.


My son likes the basics.
An Apple, a juice box, his refillable water container, a cheese sandwich (ham if he feels experimental), a granola bar, a pudding, and some crispers/crackers.
He's a very picky eater.

On the other hand, my daughter will eat just about everything. So when the time comes that I need
to pack HER lunchbag for school,
I've found some ideas and
thought I would share.

Just remember to TRY and get something
from every food group in there.

Happy Packing!



Jam & Cheese Roll Ups
Spread plain or flavored cream cheese on a soft tortilla and top with your favorite jam. Roll up.


Pita Crisps
Cut regular sized pitas into wedges and oven bake until crispy. For variety, brush first with oil, a little garlic powder and parmesan cheese or sprinkle on a little water, cinnamon and brown sugar. Serve with a favorite dip, yogurt or apple sauce.


Mini Subs
Another easy lunch for kid is to make a miniature submarine sandwich out of a hot dog bun. Use pepperoni slices and other favorite meats. Slice regular sized deli meat into thin strips. Add cheese and shredded lettuce.


Homemade Lunchables
Crackers, deli meat, and cheese. 8 of each (cut cheese and meat into the same size as the crackers) so they can build their own.


Veggies and dip
Your Child's favourite veggies and dip! Change up the usual salad dressing by offering hummus or tzatziki.


Leftover Pizza
Ask any kid how they feel about cold pizza and chances are they love it. You can beat the simplicity of this kid lunch recipe idea. Consider ordering or making extra and wrapping a slice or two in plastic for lunches the next day.

Cheese Quesadilla
2 whole wheat tortillas (small or medium)
¼  to ½ cup grated cheese (depending on size of tortillas)
Salsa

Cheese quesadillas are the ideal kid lunch recipe for cheese lovers. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top of one tortilla. Top with the second tortilla. For cooking you have two options - microwave on high for one minute or place in a non-stick frying pan and cook 2-3 minutes on medium high or until cheese is melted. Flip over once using a spatula. Let cool and cut into wedges using a pizza cutter. Pack with a container of salsa for dipping.

Hidden Shapes
Sometimes how something looks offers greater appeal than ordinary menu servings. When thinking of  a creative lunch recipe for young children consider some shape variations e.g. melon balls instead of melon slices, slicing grapes in half, cutting cucumbers into squares and offering up carrot circles instead of ordinary carrot sticks.
Then take this creative lunch recipe idea one step further and include a note that asks your child to count up the number of different shapes that were hidden in her lunch.
A creative lunch recipe is simply any recipe that’s fun. Use your imagination and come up with different combinations of food and unique ways to present it.



Don't forget the little note from time to time!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You know your'e a mom when:

I asked some other mom's on my facebook to finish this sentence:

"You know your'e a Mom When _______________________________"

Here were some responses...


"...your purse contains Goldfish crackers, a pacifier and wipes at all times"

"... you go out with lord knows what wiped on your clothes and it doesn't faze you!"

"...you sing, Dora Dora Dora the Explorer in the shower"

"...you don't know what tv shows to put on when the kids are in bed as all you watch is Treehouse/Nickelodeon"

"...words that make you sound like your mother fly out of your mouth"

"...you're waiting in the check out line with NO kids, yet you're still bouncing as if there's a child in your arms"

"...you've stopped carrying a purse and just put your wallet in the diaper bag"

"...you have diapers and wipes stashed in every room of the house"

"...you cant have an adult conversation anymore without talking to people using baby talk"

"...When you trade in your nice fitting jeans for track pants"

"...you cancel your nail appointments for the next year,so you can afford that $300 summer camp"

"...you drop your purse in a busy store & all that falls out of it are wipes,tissues,diaper cream,bandaids & maybe a clean diaper"

"...you finally get some alone time and miss your kids so much you have to go get them"

"...when you can juggle making dinner, the phone going off, one set having challenges with not listening to eachother, the toddler calling that he needs his bottom wiped and the lady on the other phone who is a telemarketer askes if she can call back because you are busy"




Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recipe - Easy Lasagna


Easy Pleasy Cheesy Lasagna


Ingredients:
1 Lb Ground Beef
2 Cups shredded Mozza cheese
9-12 lasagna noodles
Salt & Pepper
Italiano Seasoning
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 cans pasta sauce

Instructions:
Brown Ground Beef. Drain. Reduce heat to low.
Add dash of Salt, black pepper, & Italiano seasoning to meat.
Pour in pasta sauce.
Add 1 Tbsp Sugar to sauce.
Let simmer on low for at least a half an hr. Stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Boil Lasagna noodles according to package.
Drain noodles and rinse under cool water.
Get ready to assemble.
In a 9x13 baking dish, Put some sauce in the bottom.
layer noodles, meat sauce, then cheese ...
(in that order) ending with cheese on top.
Add a little s&p and Italiano seasoning to the top.
Cover with Aluminum Foil.
Bake in 350 oven for 45 mins.
Remove foil and Broil for 3-5 mins. (Keep a close eye)
Let sit to cool for at LEAST 10 mins before serving.


Once this Molten lava cools down, serve with a fresh salad,
and some garlic bread for a meal that even the kids will eat!

-Courtney

Postpartum Depression

I wanted to post some info pertaining to this topic.
I feel it is a very important message and I want to let other mom's know they are not alone... especially during a time when they feel completely helpless.
*Please read*

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery.


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Women commonly have mood changes during pregnancy, especially after delivery. These mood changes may be caused by changes in hormone levels. Many non-hormonal factors may also affect mood during this period:
  • Changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery
  • Changes in work and social relationships
  • Having less time and freedom for yourself
  • Lack of sleep
  • Worries about your ability as a mother
Feelings of anxiety, irritation, tearfulness, and restlessness are common in the week or two after pregnancy. These feelings are often called the postpartum or "baby blues." These symptoms almost always go away soon, without the need for treatment.
Postpartum depression may occur when the baby blues do not fade away or when signs of depression start 1 or more months after childbirth.
You may have a higher chance of postpartum depression if you:
  • Are under age 20
  • Currently abuse alcohol, take illegal substances, or smoke (these also cause serious medical health risks for the baby)
  • Did not plan the pregnancy, or had mixed feelings about the pregnancy
  • Had depression, bipolar disorder (for example, manic depression), or an anxiety disorder before your pregnancy, or with a previous pregnancy
  • Had a stressful event during the pregnancy or delivery, including personal illness, death or illness of a loved one, a difficult or emergency delivery, premature delivery, or illness or birth defect in the baby
  • Have a close family member who has had depression or anxiety
  • Have a poor relationship with your significant other or are single
  • Have financial problems (low income, inadequate housing)
  • Have little support from family, friends, or your significant other

Symptoms

The symptoms of postpartum depression are the same as the symptoms of depression that occurs at other times in life. Along with a sad or depressed mood, you may have some of the following symptoms:
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feeling withdrawn or unconnected
  • Lack of pleasure or interest in most or all activities
  • Loss of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Problems doing tasks at home or work
  • Negative feelings toward the baby
  • Significant anxiety
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping
A mother with postpartum depression may also:
  • Be unable to care for herself or her baby
  • Be afraid to be alone with her baby
  • Have negative feelings toward the baby or even think about harming the baby (Although these feelings are scary, they are almost never acted on. Still you should tell your doctor about them right away.)
  • Worry intensely about the baby, or have little interest in the baby

Treatment

A new mother who has any symptoms of postpartum depression should take steps right away to get help.
Here are some other helpful tips:
  • Ask your partner, family, and friends for help with the baby's needs and in the home.
  • Don't hide your feelings. Talk about them with your partner, family, and friends.
  • Don't make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth.
  • Don't try to do too much, or to be perfect.
  • Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner.
  • Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
  • Talk with other mothers or join a support group.
The treatment for depression after birth often includes medication, therapy, or both.
  • If you are diagnosed with depression, you may need to be followed closely for at least 6 months.
  • There are several types of antidepressant medications that may be given to breastfeeding mothers.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse for a referral to a mental health therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are types of talk therapy that have been found effective for postpartum depression.
If you are thinking of harming yourself or your infant, seek immediate medical help.

Complications

If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or years, and you may be at risk of harming yourself or your baby.
The potential long-term complications are the same as in major depression.

Calling your health care provider

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
  • Your baby blues don't go away after 2 weeks
  • Symptoms of depression get more intense
  • Symptoms of depression begin at any time after delivery, even many months later
  • It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home
  • You cannot care for yourself or your baby
  • You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • You develop thoughts that are not based in reality, or you start hearing or seeing things that other people cannot
Do not be afraid to seek help immediately if you feel overwhelmed and are afraid that you may hurt your baby.

Prevention

Having good social support from family, friends, and coworkers may help reduce the seriousness of postpartum depression, but may not prevent it.
Screening questionnaires may help detect depression or risks for depression early.
Women who had postpartum depression after past pregnancies may be less likely to develop postpartum depression again if they start taking antidepressant medications after they deliver.



References: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004481/ 

Christmas Cookie Exhange Party

This past year I hosted a Christmas 'cookie exchange party' for our neighbourhood. It was a first for all of us, so there were some minor hiccups... but now I know what to expect and correct for next time.


If you want to host your own cookie exchange party, here's the best way to go about it.
_______________________________________________

Set a date.
Choose a date far enough in advance so people can make plans and pencil the party onto their calendars. I gave people about 2 months notice since I know how fast the Christmas season calendar can get filled up. Sunday afternoons are best since "dad" can stay home with the kids while you get out and socialize with other grown-ups.
*Mine was held on Sunday December 19th, from 2pm - 4pm. since I did a bit of research and figured that was the best time for everyone who could attend. This way they could also have LOTS of cookies around for their own entertaining for the holidays.

Decide on a location.
Will you be hosting the party at your house or will you all be meeting at a different location?

Set your 'rules'.
For example... Girls only, no children, ugly Christmas sweater required, etc.
Mine was open to whoever wanted to show. Some people brought their kids.

Food.
Will you be having tea/coffee & cookies only? Will you make it a potluck? Buffet?  Appetizers? Totally up to you.

How Many Cookies?
Anywhere from 3-4 per guest to many dozens. Your call. 
This is how I did it:
*All cookies must be homemade
*Cookies need to be pre-packaged in 1 dozen quantities for each guest
*Please attach recipe to your cookie packages

*Please remember to bring a bag or box so you can easily
carry your cookie haul back home!
_____________________________________________________________

I found the easiest way to keep track of everything was to line them all up on the counter in my kitchen. Everyone went through by the end of the party and took one bag of each.


It was a nice reason to use my Christmas dishes more than once in the season too!


I made shortbread cookies and put them in freezer bags, then tied them with red and green ribbon.
I Attached the recipe onto the ribbon.


All in all I'm pretty sure all the Ladies had a nice afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and holiday stress for a couple of hours.

Here's my invitation:



I will be doing it again this year,
and I know now what changes to make.
I can't wait!

-Courtney

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Best "New Baby" tips

MY PERSONAL NEW PARENT TIPS!!!

*Sleep when your baby sleeps
Great advice, but this only works if you have one child, or happen to have an already amazing napper.

*Take Shifts when possible
One 3am feeding/change by Mama, the next night, it's Dad's turn. Sometimes this isn't possible (like when Chris used to work overnights, but as soon as he got home he'd take the baby for her first feeding of the day. Work it out to fit your own personal schedules.)

*Accept help!
I can't stress this enough. If the neighbour offers you a lasagna, take it. If a cousin offers to babysit the older kid(s), let them! Someone says they'll walk your dog, say thanks!
People only offer help when they think it will be 'cashed in'. Put yourselves in their shoes. Would YOU offer to help them and be sincere? Of course you would.
DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!

*Try and keep a diaper bag packed
You never know when you will need to grab baby and jump in the car for something. Try and keep a diaper bag packed and either in the car already, or at least... by the door ready to go. I found this very helpful.

*Frequent changes
Change your baby's diaper as often as you can. I don't mean every 30 minutes but the more often you change him/her the less likely a diaper rash.
No one likes a diaper rash. Believe me.

*Routine, Routine, Routine!
I know it's hard to set a perfect schedule, but if you can stick to a routine your life will be much easier in the long run. Ex: Pick a bedtime and go with it. Try not to stray too far from this time, or else you'll get a baby that calls the shots... yes, it's possible.
*This is usually after the 6 month mark*

*Trust your gut
If something just isn't right, it probably isn't. You are this baby's mother/father. You know what is best for him/her even when you are second guessing yourself. You are going to get a TON of advice, feedback and unwanted criticism. Let it roll off of your back. Even if it offends you, just remember MOST people mean well.
Read posts, blogs, groups, and emails. Then think how it pertains to YOU and YOUR baby. It's not a one size fits all kinda thing.

*Just ask
If you are second guessing yourself, or aren't sure what to do. Just ask. Anyone you trust. Your own mother, a sister, your friend... etc. People who have 'been there/done that' are MORE than happy to dole out advice and experience.


 

-Courtney-


Rain Rain Go Away!

"Mom, I'm BORRRRED!!!"
Sound familiar?


Here are some boredom buster ideas for the kids on those not so nice days.

1. Sock puppets

We all have those mis matched socks laying around just waiting for their twin brother to magically appear as if from no where. Guess what? It's probably long gone. Why not put that one sock to good use?
Gather up some yarn, buttons, a needle and thread and you have yourself a sock puppet!
After you've made your sock puppet, give him a name and put on a show. Don't forget to take a video of the show so you can watch it again later.

2. Paint your fingernails


What little girl doesn't love painting their nails? 'Nuff said.

3. Make a collage
Cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage onto some construction paper. This works really well just before birthdays and Christmas. Ask the child to point out the things they like most from the flyers. Might make it a little easier to shop for that special gift!

4. Lego!


Get out that lego that you are constantly picking up off of the floor and sit down with your kids and build something with them. You'll be amazed at all the cool things that they come up with... and you may even impress yourself! Try making your name out of lego.


5. Face Painting

Why wait til the sumemr festivals and fairs to get your face painted? It's always fun!

6. Bake cookies
Or if Cookies aren't your thing, just get them involved in something in the kitchen.

7. Play dress up!

Pretty self explanitory. Don't forget to take pics for the granparents!

8. Balloon game

As much as I despise balloons and all that they stand for, this game keeps kids busy forEVER! Blow up a balloon. Hit it back and forth betwen you without letting it touch the floor. Honestly, you'll get a solid 30 minutes of busy -or more, outta this one.

9. Colouring

I promise you that if you sit down WITH your kiddo and draw some pictures, you'll keep them busy. The minute you get up to turn on the kettle to make that MUCH needed coffee, they may stray. Be forewarned.
*Tip, for smaller kidlets, take some tape and stick a picture onto their high chair tray so it doesn't slide around ... and they don't try and eat it. :)

10. Build a Tent with blankets
...and have a picnic!

-Courtney-