Momo In The 6

CHRISTMAS CARDS 2016

City Life, Motherhood, Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

CHRISTMAS IS EASILY my favourite time of year. And with Christmas come Christmas cards! Before we had kids, I never felt motivated enough to take pictures of just Sam and me to send out to friends and family. But, as in so many other areas in life, having babies totally changed my view on things. Christmas cards... What a fun and beautiful way to memorialize every year and season in our lives and capture a snap shot of our family, right?!


At Christmas, time with family is plentiful, food is abundant, and people seem to really be focusing on some of the things that matter the most in life: faith, family, friends and making memories. Getting Christmas Cards was the perfect excuse to make some memories, put on our best and get out as a family and have some amazing pictures taken (by the talented Ryan Freeman). We ventured to the Distillery Christmas Market, which is the place to go in Toronto to get into the Christmas spirit!


One of the things that has overwhelmed me about Christmas cards in the past is that I never even knew where to begin looking to make one! But then I found Tiny Prints (who is the sister company of the "Wedding Paper Divas" that we used for both our wedding invitations and thank you cards!). Where it was a dream to quickly find cards and styles that we loved for our cards since there is this amazing feature that allows you to see all the cards with your photo in it. Genius and made it go really fast (which, is a necessity with two babies running around!). 

We are thrilled with how our cards turned out and I can't wait to send them to our friends and family, near and far!

If you are looking to send Christmas cards this year, definitely head on over to check out Tiny Prints Christmas Cards!  (If you hurry they are 40% off till Sunday!!) The selection is incredible, the shipping is quick,  and they make it really easy to personalize your cards to match your family's style perfectly!

 

 

TORONTO DISTILLERY CHRISTMAS MARKET

City Life, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment
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WITH THE HOLIDAYS upon us I am so excited about all the friends and family we get to see, the food we get to eat and how this beautiful city really comes alive in the Christmas spirit!

One of the best things to do in Toronto at this time of year is to hit up the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery district. There is something here for every age with tons of little boutiques, great hot chocolate (or spiked egg nog for those who fancy something a little stronger ;) ) a huge Christmas tree, a Santa Clause meet and greet and basically anything and everything else that will get you into the holiday spirit... There's even a merry go round! (Ps. If you are looking for a place to take Christmas photos this is IT.)

The Distillery District is an incredible place at any time of year, with great shops, coffee, food and even a microbrewery. But at Christmas it is the most festive place in the whole city and I can't get enough of it!

Thank you to the incredible Ryan Freeman for capturing these pictures of our family!

 

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!