Momo In The 6

HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOUSE SMELL LIKE CHRISTMAS

Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

YOU MAY REMEMBER last year when I shared this recipe for a Christmas pot simmer to make your house smell amazing. While I still do that regularly during this season, sometimes I want a quick fix to making my house smell amazing. I love having candles burning in the house since it makes it feel extra homey, but with our wild little Atticus I can only use them when the babies are in bed.

So this year these are on my list of my favourite ways to make your house smell like Christmas, with candles and oils to be able to have my house smell amazing while the babes are awake or not!

This essential oil smells like Christmas Cookies. Need I say more?

Use Peppermint Oils to make your house smell like a candy cane.

I also love to use Orange Essential oil at home to give a citrus boost to the house. It is invigorating and is really nice when mixed with Vanilla Essential Oil!

I love using Method Soap in our kitchen and this one smells particularly amazing (and its on sale!)

A few spritz' of this "Poo Pourri" before you go takes care of business AND makes your bathroom smell like Vanilla and Peppermint... A Spritzmas miracle! ha!

My favourite bar soap of all time is Carriage 44's citrus trio. Perfect to have year round in your bathroom but exceptional to have a citrus touch in your bathroom at Christmas. Handmade and all natural, what more could you want!? (Bonus: It's a Canadian company!)

Thymes Frasier Fir Candle. Smells amazing and is gorgeous.

This candle is beautiful and also smells incredible.


However, if things like candles and essential oils just aren't quite covering the smells in your house, check out this article on 20 Common Household Odors and How To Remove Them Fast.
 

MY NEW FAVE ACCESSORY + A GIVEAWAY

City Life, FamilyMomo in the 6Comment
To receive $25 off any JORD wood watch click the link at the bottom of the post!

ONE OF THE things you may or may not know about me is that as much as possible I like to be on time. Having kids has definitely made that a challenge for me, which is frustrating at times, but as much as it depends on me I try to be punctual, if not early, for things. Before kids I loved wearing a watch but then once I was lugging babies around the extra weight and clunk of heavy metal watches was annoying and I stopped wearing them. Until now that is. I love how light this watch is, you hardly feel it on your wrist and because of its unique look it definitely attracts attention!

As far as Christmas gifts go, watches make excellent holiday gifts since they are practical, timeless (see what I did there ;) ), and never go out of style. You can pair this one with other accessories or on it's own and it is a show stopper. They also feature some really beautiful men's watches which may help me cross off a number of items on my Christmas shopping list!

I went with the Zebrawood and Champage watch as I was drawn to the lighter wood and lighter colour of the face which you can see HERE or click HERE to browse the other women's watch styles!

BUT WAIT! The best part is that Jord has given me an exclusive discount code for $25 off all watches for my readers. CLICK HERE to redeem your code!

This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches, all opinions are my own. For collaborations click HERE.

BEEF AND BARLEY STEW

FoodMomo in the 6Comment

OH AUTUMN, I just love you. Every year, by the end of the summer I am always so excited for all the root vegetables and stews and crockpot type meals again. We try to take a cue from “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and eat local and what is in season, so in the summer that means all the salads and lighter meals. Come the fall we dive into the heartier meals that feel like home. Eating what is in season also makes me really excited for the colder weather, even though I don’t love winter, because there are so many amazing foods that come with the colder weather. Truth be told I normally hate stew, but that was before I learned how to make it like a pro! This stew is my adapted recipe from Michael Smith’s Beef Stew. There are a few tricks to make your stew next level.

The first is to cut all the meat and veg to roughly the same size. I find that 1/2 inch cubes are my perfect size, but do whatever size works best for you.

The second tip, which is A MUST, is to sear your beef on all sides before you begin. THIS is the trick to delicious and moist beef that falls apart and melts in your mouth.

The third is to cook the vegetables in two parts. Half goes in right at the beginning to dissolve into and flavour the stew, the other half goes in thirty minutes from the end to give a great colour, shape and texture to your stew.

INGREDIENTS

1lb stewing beef
Salt and pepper
Splash of vegetable oil
A couple of onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A couple of carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
A couple stalks of celery, roughly chopped
A couple potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
One sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup hearty red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves or a sprig of fresh rosemary

HOW TO

  • Pat the beef dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Place in a bowl and add a 1 tbsp flour, add salt and freshly ground pepper and toss together until the beef is evenly coated.
  • Add oil to pot, enough to create a thin film across the bottom, then add your beef to just cover the bottom without stacking on top of each other - even if this means doing it in batches.
  • Sear meat on all sides, taking the time to allow the beef to brown on all sides. It takes time but the caramelized flavours are the secret to fantastic stew! (If you’re doing it in batches take the meat out as it is done to avoid it burning).
  • Put the beef back in the pot, add half of your vegetables, the tomatoes, wine and beef stock. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is almost tender, then add the other half of the vegetables and the barley and continue to cook for another thirty minutes or so until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked through.
  • Season to taste and devour.

AN EVENING IN OTTO'S GARDEN

Motherhood, Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

A COUPLE WEEKS back we spent an evening at the home of my mom's new father in law, Otto. He is one of the most wonderful and interesting men I have ever met. My mom has spent the summer learning to garden from Otto, who has a large vegetable patch he has been gardening in for years. There is everything from basil and sage to rhubarb, tomatoes, swiss chard and eggplant! And they planted them all from seeds!

Since Finny loves food so much (eating it, pretending to cook it, actually cooking it with me...) it was such a thrill to take him back there and show him where all the fresh produce comes from and to have my mom teach him how it grows! He was in awe of the tomatoes on the vine and spent a good chunk of his time picking and eating the green beans, which he loves (he takes after his mama in that ;) ). He was a little nervous pulling the beets out of the ground, but he loved it once he realized what it was that he was pulling on!

I love fostering a love and appreciation for food in my littles, and it was so special to me to see how excited he was at seeing where it all comes from. I can't wait to have him out there planting seeds in the Spring!

^^ Trying to get a good family picture with a seven month old and a two year old looks a lot like this, ha!

LONELINESS + MOTHERHOOD

MotherhoodMomo in the 62 Comments

WHEN YOU BECOME a mother for the first time, you hear a lot about the fatigue, the physical changes, the joy, the fun and the love that you never imagined. One thing I hadn't heard much of before though was the loneliness that comes with being a stay-at-home-mom. I don't know if I didn't notice it for the first eight months of Finny's life because we were traveling back and forth between Montréal and Toronto so much, or because I had such tight friendships there with people who lived so close to us, but moving to Toronto has been a bit of an eye opener to me.

I've known for a long time that making friends after the university days takes longer to do. I noticed when I moved to Montréal as a newlywed, but I had all the time in the world to make new friends and spend endless hours with them getting to know them so it didn't really make that big of a difference to me. Now that I am two kids deep in a new city I am painfully aware of how long it takes to get really deep and close with people. Don't get me wrong, we are so grateful to have our family here to spend time with and to help with the kiddos, and I have met so many wonderful women here, friends who I know one day will feel like sisters. I wouldn't go back to a care-free life sans kiddos if I had the choice, I feel so privileged to be doing what I am doing. But having two kids with two different schedules and needs means that time with friends, old and new, means "mom conversation" is in full swing - where you spend one half of it talking to your friend, and the other half playing with, talking to and helping your kids. So those friendships are taking way longer to develop and grow.

Part of a great conversation I had with one of my closest friends, Emily, a few weeks back: "Some seasons are just better than others for making friends. Not every season will give you the opportunity to invest in relationships outside of your immediate family. Raising kids and moving cities and adding to your work load don't create ideal conditions for new friendships - and that is OK. But, press on, because they are worth it."

So here I am, coming to terms with the fact that it takes so much longer to become make best friends/soul sisters as you get older, and not every season brings best friends and that is OK.  Those friendships, the really deep friendships, are to be maintained, cultivated and cherished, as they become more and more rare as you get older. And as Emmy said, I am "praying for deep friendships in every season, even if that means praying for a miracle."

Photo by Kevin Lee @livekeen / livekeen.ca

 

 

A WEEK IN VERMONT

Travel, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

A FEW WEEKS ago we gathered up our troop for a six hour road trip out to Montreal then Lake Champlain in Vermont. Sam's family has a beautiful cottage on the lake that was the perfect escape for us. The weather was gorgeous, sunny but not too hot, and we got to spend time together as a family of four, as well as with Sam's Aunt and Grandmother who joined us.  Sam and I also managed to get lots of one on one time that is so rare for us which made the trip feel extra special.

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If you haven't noticed, we are normally the go-go-go type family and we love to jam pack our free time with lots of friends, family and adventures! This trip however we decided to not do the day trips we had planned and instead just lay low and take advantage of the opportunity to relax, savouring those last few moments of summer while we still can!

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We filled our days with time spent outside exploring, relaxing on the grass (this UV tent (similar here) for babies is such a lifesaver for letting Atticus join us without burning his fresh little skin!), throwing rocks into the water, playing in our makeshift pool (this raft filled with a bit of water, genius!), swinging on the old wooden swing, family time on the hammock, baking cakes, eating delicious snacks (mainly watermelon!), taking many naps *all the praise hands!* and talking. And once the boys were in bed for the night Sam and I had lots of time to reconnect and watch the sunset and talk. It was so wonderful.

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One thing I love in particular about Sam's time off is that both boys get some individual concentrated time with dad. Something about hanging with dad seems to help them grow and develop new skills at such a rapid rate - like this week Finny busted out numerous five or six word sentences. And Acey is now pushing himself into plank position on his knees (I think we'll have a crawler very soon!) Update: Since I wrote this post a month ago, Acey is officially crawling!

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We really feel so blessed to have so many places we can travel to for free, thanks to the generosity of our friends and family. It was such a perfect week away, the right amount of time for us to relax and spend loads of time bonding with our little family.

FINN | TWO YEARS

MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

TODAY MY SWEET Finny turns TWO!  "Two on your birthday! Two years!" as Finny says ;-)

I don't have enough words to express how much I love this little boy or the joy that he brings to us. Two years ago our lives changed in the best way imaginable. Arriving three weeks early and born bright eyed and curious, Phineas created another chamber in my heart that is just for me to love him. Cheesy? Perhaps. True? Absolutely.

He is one of the brightest kids I have ever known, who loves to eat, loves to laugh, loves to make other people laugh, loves inside jokes, colours, trains, his family and his bunny. Everyday with Finn is the best day and obviously I love him because he is my son, but I actually like him as a person and really enjoy getting to hang out everyday with him.

Being a mum to my boys is one of the greatest privileges of my life.

Happy birthday Finny bubba, I love you and I am SO proud of you.

Professional photos taken by Kevin Lee

FINNY'S FAVOURITE BOOKS

MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment

ONE OF FINNY'S favourite activities is reading. He likes to read with you, he likes to read on his own. He memorizes the books and will say the last word on every page before you can say it. I love this about him since Sam and I both love reading. We try to limit TV in our house to rainy days and desperate times where we all feel like we need a break, so reading is such a great way to teach him things and to spend time together. Also, I love hearing what kids of similar ages are reading, so if you have any recommendations please leave a comment below!!

Here are Finny's favourite books this month.

 

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Spot The Cat: This book has no words but is a picture book that I think has really helped him with spying things and with memorizing. It is beautiful and tells the story of a boy who loses his cat, Spot, who you see exploring all over town while his owner looks for him. Finny loves to be the first one to find the cat on the page and gets so excited saying "Cat! Spot, Cat!" when he finds him.

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A Bear's Year: A beautiful book that tells the story of a bear's year with her cubs. It talks about the seasons and has lots of things to look at. This is one of his and my favourite's to curl up on the couch and read!

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What Pet Should I Get: Finny LOVES animals, so Dr. Seuss's What Pet Should I Get was an immediate hit in our house. With the quick rhymes and bright pages he took to it immediately... here's hoping he doesn't get any ideas about getting a pet soon... ha! Finny loves this book since it rhymes so nicely and will run up to me on the couch and go "Pet book!"

Alphablock: This book is SO much fun. There are pop out letters and beautiful graphics to help teach kids their alphabet. Finny is really interested in letters lately and always wants us to spell things for him so this book has been really helpful in aiding us to teach him!

Pride and Prejudice BabyLit: Considering I come from a family of girls who would sit for hours and watch the BBC special of Pride and Prejudice (also where I developed a large crush on Colin Firth), I had to have this book once I saw it. Finny loves counting along with each page as he learns the basic story line of the book. A huge hit with boys and girls alike!

Pantone Colors: Finny has been working so hard at learning his colours lately. This book was a HUGE help with that!

ABC's of Canada: A really fun book that has taught Finn so much about our country! He likes to go along with each letter and tell you what they stand for... A is for "Arctic" in the icy cold north... brr!    Whenever we get to M (which is for Maple Syrup, obviously) there is a picture of a maple tree being tapped and he thinks its hilarious to insist that it's water while you insist it's maple syrup. This little guy loves his inside jokes!

TWO TO A ROOM

City Life, MotherhoodMomo in the 61 Comment

WE DID IT. We finally made the transition to both boys sharing a room! And what a blast it is! Truth be told, Atticus started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks old so technically this could have happened a long time ago, but I was savouring the days that Finny slept in until 8:30 or 9am for as long as I could.

I made the call to put them in the room together because I think the boys need to bond more. Since they both are on great nap schedules, and since their naps tended to cross over so one was awake while the other slept, they have only spent four hours a day together up until this point and about an hour of that Atticus was nursing so it wasn't time that they were interacting.

Now that Atticus is really active (would you believe he is almost crawling!? *insert sob face emoji*) he is getting a little bit more in Finn's space and into all the toys. Finny enjoys his brother and has been so good with him up to this point, helping fetch diapers, rocking Atticus in his bouncy chair, fetching Atticus toys that are baby friendly. But, I have noticed over the last few weeks that Finn has been getting progressively more frustrated with the fact that there is now a little person who he has to include and share everything with (and Atticus isn't just interested in baby toys anymore, he wants all the toys, ha!)

So what is my answer? Make them spend more time together. The idea here is that the more time they spend together the tighter they will get, especially time in the morning and at night when it's just the two of them in there. A little band of brothers, them against the world!

Would you believe that within two days of them sharing a room I have already seen a huge difference in Finny's disposition? He now says "Bring Acey!" or "Acey too!" which makes my mama heart burst with pride! I can see on our baby monitor when Finny wakes up in the morning and walks over to the crib and tries to roll it to rock it, or gives Ace his cherished Bunny (which he usually wants back within 1 minutes, causing a few tears when bunny is stuck inside the crib). Or when we go to the park and Finny wants to go on the swing and he goes "Acey swing too Mama!".

It has also made our bedtime routine a lot of fun. Now, rather than putting Finny down first and then nursing Atticus down, I sit on the bed and read them stories while Atticus nurses and then we say our family mantra, we pray, and then give kisses all around. Acey loves to roll around on the bed and Finny thinks its hilarious when Ace keeps rolling over to be closer to his big bro.

Oh these boys, they are such a delight and I can't wait to watch them grow in their love for one another!

A POWER WEEKEND IN MONTREAL

Travel, City LifeMomo in the 6Comment

OH MONTREAL, YOU feel like home. This past weekend we loaded the kids into the car and headed to Montreal for the weekend for a friends wedding. It was a whirlwind of a weekend and we jam packed it full of friends and family to make sure we made the most of it! Sorry for the long post, but you'd be surprised how much we fit into the weekend!

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We arrived Friday evening and first thing Saturday morning we were out the door bounding to The Plateau to go meet up with my best friend Emily (who writes over at Our Nest in the City) and her three kiddos. We met for coffees, breakfast sandwiches and doughnut balls at Larry's before heading to the park to let the kids roam free. Since Sam was there to hang with the kids and Atticus was sleeping in the stroller, I had the opportunity for an *almost* uninterrupted conversation, catching up with Emmy - practically unheard of with five kids around!

We spent probably an hour sitting on the park bench, sipping coffees and talking. She is one of my favourite people for a million reasons but one of the biggest ones is that all our biggest passions are mutual. Jesus, family, theology, passion for food, writing, style, coffee... All shared. And because of this our conversations are so fun, one minute we can be laughing hysterically over something ridiculous, the next we'll be talking food and new recipes, and the next we will be digging deep and challenging each other or crying with each other over a trial in our lives. It is so refreshing to be able to be so real with someone.

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Saturday evening we ventured out to the West Island to meet up with our friends Dwight and Jess to hang with their fam and meet their FOURTH little baby, Stella. It was so nice to catch up and eat bbq pizza and relax. Jess and I also managed to steal some time to catch up on life, family, ministry at their church, Church 21, and relax together which was so wonderful, not to mention getting to snuggle a sweet little two month old who has all the same rolls that Finny did!

Sunday morning our little family stopped by Dispatch coffee for pour overs, a babyccino and some avocado toast. Stealing away just the four of us doesn't happen too often so this was a real treat! We sat on the patio in the sun and took an hour to just be together and catch up.

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Sam went to get ready with the groom and I took the boys to Église du Plateau-Mont-Royal, the church that Emily and her husband, Brad, have planted in The Plateau. Although my French is far from perfect (I probably understood about 60-70%), it was so refreshing and encouraging to worship Jesus with people in another language, and to see what God is doing through their ministry in Montreal, I loved every minute of my time there. After the service we popped over to St. Viateur Bagels to stock up and grab bagels for lunch on our way home and when I got to my car I realized that not only did I leave my window open, but I had left the lights on and killed my car battery. Two kids, without my husband, on a hot day, at nap time, with a dead car battery. I was on the verge of tears. Thankfully I found someone to help who called a volunteer service that comes and jumps your car for free. When that white SUV pulled up and four men jumped out with their car battery jump box I nearly cried... They looked my knights in shining armor pulling up!

Sunday evening was the wedding of our dear friends Salva and Aaron. I cannot begin to tell you how fantastic this wedding was. It was at Entrepots Dominion by the Atwater Market, the ceremony took place outdoors with the perfect city backdrop for their pictures. The service was so beautiful and overflowed with love. The cocktail hour was incredible - the signature cocktails were a gin and ginger beer with apple slices, mango mojitos, and an old fashioned. There was the biggest table of cheese I have ever seen. There were mini burgers, tuna tartare, saffron and shittake mushroom risotto being passed by you every two minutes.

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The reception was stunning, set in an old warehouse there were balls of light everywhere, incredible flower arrangements (the bride and groom are passionate botanists!), the menu cards had the guests name and a personalized note written to each person. Don't get me started on the band! The St. Royals from Toronto came and played and, even though this gal typically goes to bed at 9:30, Sam was literally dragging me off the dance floor at 1am to get home to relieve our childcare. What can I say, I love to boogie ;-).  I love weddings, I love the reminder of the commitment Sam and I made to each other, I love meeting new people and learning about the passions and interests of people different from me. I love food and drinks. I love music and dancing. And I love getting a night alone with my man. If I could go to a wedding every weekend (and not be broke, ha!) I would.

Shameless bathroom selfie ;-)

Shameless bathroom selfie ;-)

Thankfully the boys decided to let their "dance until the wee hours of the morn" parents sleep in until 8am, which was desperately needed. Then, en route to the cottage in Vermont we made a quick breakfast pit stop in at our bffs Hannah and Oliver's house. Not only is spending time with Hannah and Oliver one of our favourite things, but Finn and their daughter Cotton have such a special bond so it's always great fun to get the two of them together. And their son Quinn was born on the same day as Atticus, only three hours before, so naturally, they had lots to catch up on :-)

Montreal is such a special place to us. I have been feeling quite nostalgic lately about that beautiful city... the place we learned to be married, where we found out we were expecting, where we had our first child. We went through many monumental things and had many joys and many hardships while we were there. It will always remain one of my favourite places and I love that its just a five hour drive down the 401. À bientôt, Montréal!

For those who have asked, you can find the dress I wore to the wedding HERE.