Apple Cider Sippin’ – Recipe

apple cider ingredients

WELCOME! to THE best apple cider you will ever make. I honestly cannot believe how YUMMY this was! I am also not one to declare to the world that something is THE BEST, unless it really is. so here you go!

Now this was the one that intimidated me. When I first set out to put this post together of my favourites for the fall, one staple for me is apple cider, and yes, the powdered ones. This time though, I wanted to try and actually MAKE the cider. So here we are!

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I am embarrassed to admit this, but I am quite the snob when it comes to apple and orange juices. I love the raw, pulpy, hand squeezed taste. My absolute favourites are ‘Simply Brand – Apple Juice’ and ‘Tropicana , Some pulp, Orange Juice” LOL! If you love cider as much as I do well then this will be a treat! Here is the full recipe to this delicious Apple Cider, Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

Serves 10-12

• 1 orange

• 1 lemon

• 10 apples (a mixture is good — we used Jazz apples and Granny Smiths)

• 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

•  1 small piece ginger, peeled and sliced

• 1 teaspoon all spice

• 12 cloves

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•  3/4 cup brown sugar

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Instructions:

1. Peel the zest off the orange and lemon, being careful not to peel off the white pith (as this is very bitter). Cut all of the white pith off and discard, then cut the orange and lemon into slices (don’t worry about the seeds — they’ll be sieved out later).

2. Cut the apples into quarters.

3. Place the orange and lemon slices and peels into the slow-cooker pot along with the apples, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, cloves, vanilla extract and sugar. Pour in enough cold water to cover everything.

4. Turn the slow cooker to high, place the lid on and cook for three hours.

5. After three hours, use a potato masher to mash the fruit into the water, then place the lid back on and cook for a further 30-60 minutes.

6. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a large jug and serve immediately.

7. Alternatively you can cool, cover and refrigerate until needed. Simply reheat in a pan when ready to serve.

Have a recipe you’d like to share? or maybe your very own spin on Apple Cider? I would love to hear about it and add to my recipe book!

XOX

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1-2-3 – Roll! Your easiest pie crust yet!

Homemade Pie Crust? WHO has time for that?! Why you do of corse. With this simple recipe, you’ll be making this pie crust in your sleep, especially after you bite in to it! When I first started thinking about making my first pie a few years back I assumed I would just pick up a ready made pie crust from the grocery store. Nope. Apparently I married in to a connoisseur of all things baked/cooked from scratch.

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To get started here, always remember to wash your hands and take off your rings! Does any one else have a small trinket dish that they use when baking/washing hands/doing chores that they use to keep their treasures? Below you will see my place of choice. It is called the ‘Trinket Dish” from Three Corners Artisan.

Trinket Dish - Three Corners Artisan

You can find the Trinket Dish HERE.

Having a husband who avidly searches to cook new things is definitely not a problem for me! My husband is constantly showing and teaching me new ways to cook things, how to tell if something is done (or overdone, whoops!) and that sometimes it really is easier to just make it from scratch! Hence, this simple 3 step pie crust recipe. Don’t be intimidated! If I can do this, you can do this!

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4 Step Homemade Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons), cut into slices
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp ice water

1) Mix flour and sugar in bowl.

2) Add about half of the butter.  Add the rest of the butter. Blend until the mixture turns into coarse crumbs (small pea size).

3) Slowly add the ice water and pulse until the dough gathers up into a ball.  If it doesn’t after a few seconds, add a few more drops of ice water until it does.

4) Take the dough and flatten it into a disc and place it on a sheet of floured plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before rolling. Remember to use the plastic wrap trick from below!

If you’ve got any tricks up your sleeves on how to make pie crust, different designs or just want to share your experience with this recipe, let me know below in the comments! I would love to hear from you, and get new ideas! 

Happy Baking!

XOX – Cass

(Check out my 3 extra tips below to easier pie dough making!)

Pie Crust 101

3 Tips to the easiest pie crust!

Tip #1 : One thing that I did see online, that I did not have but would love to try one day, is someone suggested using a food processor to mix and blend the butter into your flour mixture. I took the rustic path of the pastry blender. 

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Tip #2 : When rolling out the dough to get it ready for the pan, place a piece of saran wrap overtop and underneath of the dough before pressing the rolling pin down. This will make your life, and washing time, so much easier! The dough will not stick to the rolling pin and will be a nice quick wrap up and toss when done.

Tip #3 : Once you have refrigerated and rolled out your pie crust, you can decide how you would like to form it. I always love the classic look of pinched edges and a lattice crust, but you can be creative! Remember, rustic is okay here: you want your pie to look homemade!

 

LEGO of your DIY fears!

Here are 3 DIY’s that will make sure, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, at your Lego party!

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A few weeks back, I had the privilege of working along side Chalie from Gold’n’Grasses for a very special birthday party for her son. Being an avid lego collector and enthusiast, he wanted to have nothing more than a party that was completely ENGULFED in the LEGO world!

Now, having a small flash back to when I was a child, my brother, sister and I loved and adored all things Lego, we would want nothing more, for any occasion, than to sit and build, create and imagine for hours on end. When I was first approached for this project,  my 6-year-old-Cassandra-heart was jumping for joy and waiting in anticipation for the day this party would come! Just listening to Chalie talk about all she had planned made my heart pitter patter, dreaming alongside her and envisioning what she was about to achieve! And boy, oh boy did his mama deliver!

Continue reading on for FREE printable’s, created by yours truly, and more DIY projects to make your very own LEGO party for your little (or grown up) super fan. I absolutely LOVED being apart of this event with Chalie and being able to help bring her vision to life. I am always looking to collaborate for my next event, whether it be creating or partnering with creators, so don’t be shy! Let’s Chat.

DIY #1 – Lego Building Activity Cards (FREE Printable)

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Get some creativity going and start the spark of imagination with these fun and customizable Lego Activity Cards. These cards were super simple to make and to create a set that was completely unique to Tristan! (ex: Create a number 5 out of Lego, Create a letter ‘T’ out of Lego, etc.) You can move on to creating favourite things of the birthday girl or boy or even just another item that falls into the theme of the party, ex: Police Station. Enjoy!

Below is a link to your very own set of Lego Activity Cards to use at your next party or even just around the house!! I would love to hear what you come up with for your own set that is unique and customized for your little ones! 

[Click here for LEGO Activity Cards]

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DIY #2 City Line Photo Booth Backdrop

This DIY was a 3-part task, now I chose to paint the pieces after I had measured and cut them. I also decided to use spray paint so that made it a lot easier as well! Here is a rough break down of how I made these beautiful, simple but dramatic party decor come to life!

Step 1 : Materials

Find what you are going to use as your base for this project. My hubs went to Costco and grabbed a couple of the pieces of cardboard that sit in-between the giant pallets and brought them home to cut up!  (I used 3 pieces of 3ft x 5ft) You can also use cardboard boxes, diaper boxes, or even head over to Michaels or Staples and pick up black poster board.

Step 2: Trace/Sketch

Sketch out the exact shapes that you would like to cut out – here it is not really a big deal if you mess up or have pencil everywhere. You are going to be painting over it soon, but if you are really unsure, take a sharpie or marker and trace the exact lines so you dont make a mistake while cutting!

Step 3: Cutting

This was the most grueling task for this whole project. I used a cutting board underneath while I used my exacto knife and then later on realized that using scissors would be much easier. Just make sure it’s not the cheap-o version!

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Step 4: Painting

The paint I found the easiest and quickest to use was spray paint, I placed a large piece of plastic on the ground and did 2 coats of black matte spray paint. You could totally do this with a paint brush, I just imagine it taking 5 times longer!

Step 5: Dry & Set up!

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DIY #3 Gift Bag Tags (FREE Printable)

Don’t forget to tag the bag and to say thanks for celebrating the girl/boy of the hour! I designed these awesome tags for Chalie & Tristan to attach to their iconic ‘Money Bag’ goody bags. What an awesome idea, because, well, a bag full of money is a pretty awesome goodie! lol. Follow a long and grab your very own gift tags to use for your next Lego party!

Below is a link to your FREE PRINTABLE for your own gift tags the next time you throw a Lego Party!

[Click here for Lego Favor Bag Tags]

Even MORE Lego DIY’s to keep the party going! 

Lego Twister – Created & Crafted by Chalie at GOLDNgrasses
Diamond Pinata – Created & Crafted by Chalie at GOLDNgrasses

If you haven’t had a chance yet, head on over to Gold’n’Grasses and get the FULL layout and run down here of all the shops involved, other DIY’s you won’t want to miss and photos of her big 5 year old boy!! It was such an enormous joy to not only celebrate Tristan in turning 5, but to work alongside someone who is just as passionate and goal driven to see their dream come to fruition. Chalie my girl, you are a true Gem! And not just because you made an awesome Diamond Pinata! ❤

Happy Birthday Tristan, I hope it was a blast and that EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME!!

Xo Cass

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If there was anything that Chalie had or used in this party and are worried about finding out where she found the perfect pieces for this Lego theme, look no further! Below are all the links you will need to find the local and creative community that poured in to this event.

Styled & Curated by : Chalie at GoldnGrasses

Photographer  :  Creative Wife & Joyful Worker

​Photo editing: GOLDNgrasses

Venue :  High Street Community Room
Food :  Memphis Blues BBQ
Custom cake & macarons :   Super Sweet Sheep
​Mini mango cheesecakes & white chocolate ganache pudding: The Wooden Whisk
Night out sprinkle mix : Dainty Sprinkle co.
Sugar cookies : Sweeter with a Cookie
Popsicles : Tubify
Cake toppers : Glitter Paper Scissors
Lego printables : Swirl Creative
​Lego head printables : Creative Wife and Joyful Worker (link coming soon)
​Lego activity cards & cityscape & gift tags : Stumbling Grace
Art school speckle large plate & tissue diamonds: Bash Party Goods
Canapé grid plate paper ware :  Heather & Gem
Paper straws & candles :Joonie and Joe
Cups & napkins :EZ party
​Confetti & small ballons : Oh Happy Day! Party Shop
Customized wooden pendant banner :Sprig West
Lego cutlery & party favors : Oriental trading
High five shirt :Lucky Bum Clothing
​Kids tables and chairs :Turkey Party Makers Ltd.
Lego twister DIY : GOLDNgrasses
Diamond piñata DIY : GOLDNgrasses
Lego cop printable : GOLDNgrasses

 

 

Creeks, Lakes & Rivers, OH MY! 5 places to stop for a quick bite or mountain dip.

This summer we packed up our teeny tiny KIA Spectra and went on a two and a half week road trip through the interior and made some pre-planned stops and some impromptu stops at some amazing lakes, waterfalls and creeks. Here are my top five that we visited and hope you one day have a chance to experience these same beautiful spots!

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1. Cayoosh Creek – the perfect picnic spot with an amazing view!

When we stopped off at this beautiful spot, we were travelling from Kelowna to Pemberton. We decided to drive through the Pemberton Canyon, merely for site-seeing and having a little bit of change in scenery on this long drive. While we were going down a long windy road I yelled STOP! Kenz was quite confused, but I just said turn around and away we went. We had passed this beautiful opening of the forest with the mountains and the bridge, it was perfect. (When I was going through my photos, I realized the two middle photos matched up completely – how could I not use them? lol)

Tofino Towel – Lightweight – Flores

Ez’ Dress – Geema Sews

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2. Lilooet Lake – Light walk, Family friendly, Camping available

This was the most eery/creepy/horror movie scene lake I have ever been to! Because of the smoke it created a very different look then what I was expecting to see. Either way it was so cool and we will definitely be going back. My poor husband was so excited and kept telling me, ‘If it was cleared you’d be able to see this. this, and this.’ We made the most of it and Ezra tried out her water shoes for the very first time – she is definitely a water baby!

Tofino Towel – Long Beach – Volume 2

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3. Joffre Lake – Family/Dog friendly, hiking/rock climbing, Camping available

A dream come true! and a HUGE parent bucket list checked off! I have always wanted to go to this lake and do the hike, visit all the stops and for some reason it was always in my head that it just wouldn’t happen, or that it would be a HUGE trip to do it. Alas, when we were planning our route and the stops we’d be taking, Kenz turns to me and says, “You know where we can stop?” with a big goofy grin on his face, “Joffre Lake” OH MAN. was I seeing stars I was so excited!! This big blue beautiful lake did not disappoint! Nor did Mackenzie, as we passed other hikers along the way, they almost all cheered him on for carrying Ezra and saying hello to her. Meanwhile Ezra was yelling at every single ‘DOE-DOE’ (Dog) she saw; there was a lot. She was such a champ, she was so happy the whole way up (all 3 Lakes) and then slept the whole way down, all in the hiking carrier! I am very proud to announce that we did the entire three lakes in 1.5 Hours. I couldn’t believe the sense of accomplishment and empowerment I felt as we stood a the bottom of the glacier. We did it. Having a baby does NOT mean you scale back your passions and adventure, it means you adjust your mind and plans to make it work and thrive in parenthood! We will definitely be returning.

Side note: in the first picture below, yes, that is Ez pointing to the sky because we asked her where the birds were. I love her.

Ez Bonnet – Fawn&Lace

Ez Dress – Geema Sews

Ez Mocs – Wild Ones Mocs

Ez Stripped Shortie – Jax&Lennon

Ez long sleeve ‘Mountain Baby’ – LiveLoveNorth

Tofino Towel – The Flores

 

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4. Nairn Falls – Light walk & Family friendly

This has to be one of the coolest waterfalls I’ve been to. The size, the power, the closeness of the viewing landing, it was all so good. It’s a small hike up to the falls and I would suggest wearing closed toed and hiking shoes as there was a lot of debris that would not be good for sandals. There is also a large rock face that you have to climb up to get to the viewing spot, you can definitely walk up it – it is no rock climbing by any means, just be prepared with the proper footwear. (The last picture in the group below is what Ez looked like on every hike! She was so curious and full of wonder, holding tight to her bear and sousou, my brave little bean!)

Ez Bonnet – Fawn&Lace

Ez Dress – Geema Sews

Ez Mocs – Wild Ones Mocs

Ez Teal Shortie – Jax&Lennon

Chew Accessory – Baby Bear Design

Tofino Towel – The Flores

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5. Okanagan Lake – Family Friendly/Boat friendly

This lake has to be the one that we spent the most time at, it is the lake that the camp we worked at visits every year a couple times during the week. Unfortunately, the smoke was very thick so I think we only ended up going once so that we could try and keep Ez indoors. While we were there though, Ez had some fun in the water with daddy and they took out her little flamingo floatie and had some time around the corner on the shore where it was a bit more toddler-friendly.

Ez Bathing Suit – Mosie’s Cozies

Tofino Towel – The Flores

I hope you have a chance to visit each of these refreshing spots and enjoy the views, and the work out it takes to get to some of them!

XO – Cass

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BEACH READY – From Head to Tote.

Now that the sun is out in full bloom and is not showing any signs of going away (*happy dance*) I’ve gathered together my favorite pieces that are tried&true to enjoy the rays with and would love to share them with you! To start things off, here is my go-to, large-enough-to-carry-your-baby-in, spacious and beautiful, BeachBag.

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Beach Bag

H&M – It is always essential to have a generously large beach bag to keep all your essentials in one place. I found this one at H&M and am in love!

Sunscreen

K’Pure Naturals – Protect your skin! Make sure you’re lathering up with sun screen half an hour before you’re heading out in to the sun. K’Pure Naturals has recently changed the name of their miracle-screen, so when you’re looking to put it in your cart, make sure to search for ‘Beach Babe.’

 

this one

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Lip Balm

EOS – When I spend a day in the sun, I find that your lips tend to dry out, even if I’m staying hydrated! So I make sure that I’ve always got lip balm on hand.

Sunglasses

Bluenotes – Usually when I am heading out on any roadtrip, day trip or beach day, I always bring my sunnies. Even in the thick of winter you can find me wearing a crown of shades lol! That white snow is bright! Check here for these heart shaped beauties. HeadtoTote08

 

West Coast Round Towel

Tofino Towel Co. – This beauty will be my summer go to for sure. The classic Tofino towel has a nice weight to it that it’s not going to flip over the second you walk on it, this is a BIG plus. The wide circular shape of their towels allows additional space for magazines, snacks and large sun hats but ALSO large enough to cuddle under the stars for those dreamy summer nights.

Wide-Brim Sunhat

Even though you are most likely already lathered up in sunscreen or tanning oils, a big hat is always a good idea. Whether it be to hide your crazy beach hair, cover your shoulders or provide shade for a snooze, go big or go home!

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Water Bottle – Stay hydrated!

Free Reign Campaign – There are so many bottles out there that have different lids, textures and prints to fit anyone’s style. One of my favourites is this one from Melanie at Free Reign Campaign. The JOURNEY style bottle has a narrow top, therefore minimizing the amount of sand that may find its way in while at the beach.

Hand Sanitizer

Bed Bath & Bodyworks – Even though we swim and lounge in the river and sea, I find that when I come back to the towel for a snack I always give my hands a quick clean. Have you tried the relax-eucalyptuses line they have? Omigoodness!! Go now.

Snacks

Craisins & Granola Bars – Everyone can always use a little snack here and there, especially if you’re spending some time in the sun. Here are some ideas for quick snacks on the go that don’t need to be prepped or refrigerated; Craisins, Granola bars, fishies (yes, the little crackers), trail mix, apples, grapes, you get the idea!

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Trinket Pouch

Essence – I found this little treasure at Shoppers Drugmart- Make sure you’ve got a pouch that zips to place your jewelry, watch or phone in to make sure that they aren’t buried in the sand, misplaced or drenched in salt water!

Hair Ties

Plum Polka Dot – One of my most frustrating things about having long hair is the summer time sweat that it brings. Keep that hair off the back of your neck by tying it up with one of these adorable knotted ties from Plum Polka Dot.

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Hair Care

Bumble & Bumble Hairdressers Invisible Oil Protective Primer – This is another thing I have recently made sure I have on hand, leave in conditioner ‘Hairdressers Invisible Oil Protective Primer’ or ‘Surf Spray’ from Bumble & Bumble. These have been my saving grace on crazy beach days that turn in to summer night BBQ’s. You spray it in your hair when its damp and let is air dry or you can add a little to dry hair get that texturized beach babe look.

Head phones / Wireless Adapter

Outdoor Tech/ Bose Speaker & Portable Charger – When I go to the beach, or at least used to go without child, I would spend some time basking in the sun, heating up and then plunging in to the water. I have recently discovered this AMAZing product from Outdoor Tech. It is a small device that makes anything wireless. Yup, you heard me, anything. You could go the route of wearing headphones and that’s cool, but you could also go the route of plugging in your OT piece to wireless speakers and having your phone tucked away safe from water and sand in your bag. Genius if you ask me.

Also – don’t forget that portable charger if you’re planning on doing an all day trip or your waterproof zip for electronics!

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Notebook/Calendar

Chapters Indigo – Obviously something I love to do and am always thinking of is my blog. Jotting down ideas, inspirations and people I want to partner with on this journey! I go nowhere without it. I tend to find my most inspirational moments when I am out of the house, whether it be a walk in the park, laying on the beach, or coffee with friends (this last one if a big one, you guys inspire me so much!). If this isn’t your jam, no big deal, bring one of your favourite books along for a good read and some sun time.

Swim Suit

Nettles Tale – I cannot say enough good things and happy vibes about this company. This suit specifically carried me through the fourth trimester. When I was only a couple months postpartum this suit allowed me to still sun bath in July and have my little one close in a PeaPod up at camp. It is versatile, hugs and loves every body type, and is reversible. My favourite part about these suits is the bottoms though, their magic bottoms. Pulled those panels all the way up after just having Ez and it was like suddenly I was comfortable and confident to be in a bikini.

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Flip Flops

American Eagle – I now have two pairs of flip flops from American Eagle and I am obsessed with them both! The pair I’ve chose for this haul are my beautiful nude flip flops. I just love how neutral and dainty they are. The other pair I have that I hardcore love are a criss-cross leather style (I have bought two of these pairs and will continue to do so lol). Come to think of it, I actually bought the nude flip flops when Payless was having a sale – great deals!

I hope you have found this post helpful and maybe even discovered some new items to add to your beach bag this summer! I would love to hear from YOU and what your never-leave-behind items are on beach days. This year with having a little one I don’t plan anything to go as expected and I’m okay with that. We’re summer ready and I’m excited about beach bums, sandy toes and summer nights.

Take care lovelies & enjoy the sun ❤

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Ezra’s First Flamingo

Flamingo Kisses

Olivia Ann Photography

Well, we did it! My little bean is one. How an entire year has gone by I don’t know, but at the same time I look back and remember all of these little moments, adventures and triumphs. The moments that seem so short, the days that are long and all the in-between warm fuzzies, and think to myself, it’s ONLY been a year? How is that so? I cannot recall what life was like before I met you, had you in my arms, snuggling me and kissing me. Watching me, tracking me to make sure I didn’t leave the room. So much time passes in the blink of an eye and you don’t realize it until a milestone like a first birthday comes along. And when that milestone presented itself, you best believe we celebrated in style.

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Natalia Reardon Photography

Ezra’s First Flamingo Highlights:

  • Pineapple/Watermelon pops
  • Jumbo sized palm leaves
  • Free Printable Pineapple toppers
  • 6 DIY Party Décor Ideas
  • Large Flamingo Balloons
  • Rice Crispie pops
  • Homemade Flamingo Cookies
  • Patio party lights
  • Oreo pineapples
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Olivia Ann Photography

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Olivia Ann Photgraphy

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Olivia Ann Photgraphy

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Natalia Reardon Photography

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Natalia Reardon Photography

There was pink, there were feathers, there was sweet corn, pop corn and cake pops. There were pineapples, giant balloons, sunscreen, bouncy castle and lots and lots of laughs. This day couldn’t have gone any better. Yes we were scrambling until the last minute while the birthday girl played with bubbles in her playpen, but man did she have a blast. Leading up to Ezra’s first birthday I thought to myself, yeah for her first birthday I think I’ll do a party, something fun and flashy but not huge. Then it started. Ezra turned 6 months and one of my close girlfriend’s son turned one. Then the other two littles in our group turned one. After months of planning and preparation I was drawn in, sucked in to the ‘first birthday fiasco’ and there was no telling where the end point would be. I had created a vision in my head and nothing would get in my way until the day of completion. This party was going to be big. Real big.

Ezra's First Flamingo

I planned, I prepped, I snipped and snapped, glued and taped. Our home was constantly in a changing form, one day our living room had different shaped ferns covering the couch and floor, the next day we had 4 giant helium flamingos hovering in the corner. Slowly our living space became quite tropical and there was no denying Ez was about to turn one. I was very fortunate to have a couple local shops come alongside me in celebrating with décor. Little Sprout Creations (Ezra’s First Flamingo Banner) and Glitter and Spice (Flamingo Teether).

The only way I got through the couple months leading up to her birthday was three words:

PLAN//PREP//PREVENT

After planning and writing everything down on paper, I went through the stores I would need to go to, compared prices and made a ‘To buy’ list, ‘To do’ list and a ‘To make’ list. Having it all jumbled on to one piece of paper would’ve driven me crazy. Having separated each task into three lists gave me some sanity in picking and choosing what I wanted to do that day and not be overwhelmed with a list 30 items long. I looked through the things I needed to make and chose to start on the most daunting task first. The one that would take me the longest: The ferns. Even though these took the longest, they really made the event and brought all the décor together.

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/donutshoot

Décor:

Here some step by step decor ideas, planning and pictures to help guide you in throwing your very own First Flamingo!

|| Flamingo Balloons:

I was looking online for where I could purchase some of thesewonderful pink breasted birds other than party city and I found them! For CHEAP. I ended up purchasing them from BargainBalloons.com ($4.50 each!). I received them in the mail within 2 weeks and went to go and fill them the day before and NO WHERE would fill them unless they were purchased from their store. I called what felt like every store around but I got word from a friend that a dollar store up the hill would do it!

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|| Pineapple Donut Toppers:

I gathered these adorable little pop on prints from CreativeWife & Joyful Worker. Codi had posted these for a tropical party that she had recently done and used these toppers for donuts with a yellow icing zigzagged on top (SO cute!). If you haven’t had a chance to view her gorgeous set up with Dearlovesblog check it here

I printed these toppers off (large and small sizes) on to card stock, cut them out and then hot glued them on to toothpicks for easy attachment with the treats!IMG_6923

Go to Creative Wife & Joyful Workers Summer Party post for your own Cookie & Donut Pineapple Toppers Free Printable

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|| Banner for Photo booth:

Little Sprout Creations provided a custom made banner for our photo booth, ‘EZRAS FIRST FLAMINGO’ If you are in need of any party décor or custom made banners, seriously, check Jen out @littlesproutcreations. She is the bomb! And such a joy to work with. (If you were wondering, yes she also did our banners for our DONUT GROW UP shoot we did a few weeks ago.

You may also like ‘Donut Grow Up styled shoot’.

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DIY Projects

Below are a few of the DIY projects I took on months before the party and boy am I glad I did! I wouldn’t have gotten them done otherwise.

1. Tissue Tassels (Light pink, white, gold, hot pink)

One of my girlfriends was planning her little ones birthday party a couple months before Ezra’s and was creating these beautiful tasseled garlands. I couldn’t help but jump on board because 1, they were super simple and 2, cost efficient! (and 3, the perfect thing to do while you’re watching survivor)

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2. Photo booth

This would have been the second photo booth that hubby and I have put together, the first of which being the one we made for our wedding Reception. After doing a bit of research we found it to be quite simple to do and cost effective if you can find your supplies at a thrift store or in the discount bin. For our wedding we had used thin pieces of plywood and thought that it would be better and lighter to use was the wood with holes . Turns out we were wrong, it really curled and bent in the sun and now it is in a heap in our storage room because it couldn’t hold it’s shape. If you get the thin plywood, it is a bit heavier but worth it for either resale or reuse after the initial event!

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Wallpaper > Value Village : If you know Mackenzie and I, then you know that we are diehard thrifter’s and on a date night, babysitting covered and a couple hours to spare, you can find us at the thrift shops. One of these times we just happened to be wondering through the home décor section and low and behold, tropical palm wallpaper. Obviously when I saw this, I knew that the stars had aligned and we were going to have a photo-booth at Ezra’s birthday. The entire roll (that we still have leftovers) was $7! HELLO!

Other materials we picked up along the way to make our photo booth a success:

Wallpaper Paste (RONA – $12)

Wallpaper tray (RONA – $3)

Plywood (RONA – $12)

3. Photo booth Props

I ended up purchasing the prints online and then printing on to card stock, cutting and gluing to small dowels and it worked lovely! A little bit time consuming but also very cost efficient, I paid a total of $10 for the set and dowels (Dollarama) and everyone had a blast using them!

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Olivia Ann Photography

4. Paper Ferns

These big floppy ferns took me the longest! I bought 8 green poster boards, sketched 4 different kinds and sizes of leaves that I wanted to create, cut them out and retraced each one. This was an evening project that probably took about two weeks. But keep in mind, the only time I really buckled down to do this was when The Voice or HGTV was on.

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5. ‘One Year of Ez’ Frame (12 x 5×10 monthly milestone photos)

Throughout Ezra’s first year of life, She had this great big golden frame (5ft x 3ft) hanging on the wall in her nursery. This frame was passed down from Mackenzie’s grandmother and is a very special piece of memorabilia for our home. Every month I would go back to it and fill it up with current photos, family and friends in her life and milestone moments. When her birthday came around it only seemed necessary that I fill it with larger versions of her monthly floral milestone photos. Above her present table we hung the frame for all to see, out of reach from littles but perfect height for viewing pleasure!

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6. Floral ‘1’ Decor (Large size)

As some of you reading this may know, I have a few side jobs where I create certain home, birthday and wedding decor. One of which are these beautiful blooming 1’s for first birthdays. (If you or someone you know if interested in these pieces, please send me an email! I create letters, numbers, Canvas Calligraphy and Macrame wall art)

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Olivia Ann Photography

SNACKS

|| Flamingo Cookies

These rockin’ pink feathered beauties were handmade by Ezra’s lovely and very talented Auntie Shannon.

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Olivia Ann Photography

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|| Pineapple Toppers & Watermelon Toppers

I thought that instead of having larger pieces of fruit out for little hands, I would put bite-sized pieces on sticks. They were such a hit! I think they were the snack that I refilled most. (They were a little time consuming, but they looked adorable and I they were easier to hold for tiny hands!)

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Olivia Ann Photography

ONE Snack Table

Donuts: Tim Hortons

Lemonade/Pink Lemonade & Sangria bar – lemonade, sliced lemons and strawberries

Cotton Candy – Safeway

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|| Rice Crispie cake pops w/ icing and sprinkles: 

Now this one was a doozy. Something I thought would be so simple and easy, obviously, turned chaotic quite quickly. I cut and stacked the squares and put the straws in the ends (Gold&White swirl straws: Party City) and dipped them into the homemade icing and placed them on the baking sheet. ALL the icing poured off on to the baking sheet, dripped down and pooled on the bottom. I was at a loss trying to think of ideas of what to do to save my beautiful melting creations. I quickly placed the tray in the freezer, then each time I dipped the squares, I sprinkled them and placed them in the freezer. The next day when I brought them out for the party, they were all beautiful iced and sprinkled and if they melted in the sun that was A.O.K. with me. They were beautiful and they were done.

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Olivia Ann Photography

Set Up/ Décor

We started early in the morning, but we all know that even that isn’t enough time! It really IS tricky to set up and really zone in to your project when you’ve got your one year old crawling around and pulling everything you place within arms reach. Luckily I had my amazing in laws and hubby to make this creation come to life! All up to 5 minutes before guests arrived and papa ran out to get ice and beers. Thank you papa.

FLOW: When setting up an event you want to make sure you’re envisioning the day with everyone there, not just empty and pretty looking! When I was looking for a spot to put the photo booth, I needed to put it somewhere where A) no one would constantly be walking in front of, B) somewhere that was inviting, and C) a spot that wasn’t in the blaring sun. In the end of it, I had to opt out and put it in the sun, but it worked and people took pictures! So PHEWF.

The rest of the area fell in to place naturally. In the yard, the bouncy castle would be positioned in the sun in the back corner, the play house in the other corner and the small turtle pool in the shade beside the rocker under the tree. The food/treats table would be set up just beside where the BBQ was, drinks and ice in the stand alone cooler, and condiments/plates/napkins were on the ledge of the BBQ cover. On the deck we had a large umbrella where the comfy seats were and this is where our grandparents and parents would sit. Beside them was a gifts table, if anyone brought a special treat for Ezra I wanted to make sure I had a spot that was for that instead of trying to organize where things went during the party. (On a side note, we chose not to do an ‘opening gifts’ time because there was a large amount people and I feel Ez would’ve been overwhelmed. She was so blessed that day in receiving a mountain of treasures from all who attended! After everyone had left we had her cousins help her with unwrapping.)

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That little piano was our gift to Ezra. 6AM is her favourite time to channel her inner Mozart.

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Touching on the concept of ‘flow’ in the party and proper roll out, I made sure EVERYTHING was prepped. If we needed more napkins/plates/bowls/cups, I had them in a bin under the snack table for easy access. I had any extra food just inside the door for quick refills and I did not bring the cake out until it was time to sing. This ensured the cake wouldn’t melt in the blazing sun or little fingers wouldn’t get to taste test before the big sing along began.

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Yes, yes. The cake is homemade. Please feel free to boost my baking ego! Because dannnng did that cake have a mad lean and 12 skewers holding it up before it came out!

After the song had been sang, hugs and kisses had been exchanged and well wishes were given, it was time for the GREAT FLAMINGO CLEANUP. Naturally, we plunked all the kids in the turtle tub and carried on our way! I hope you enjoyed Ezra’s First Flamingo as much as we did!! We were blessed beyond compare with the love of family and sunny weather on this day. Now let’s hope this carries on throughout the rest of the summer! No more rain!

Scroll down to enjoy the last few minutes of our big day, take care & see you later lovelies,

XO Cass

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Olivia Ann Photography

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Olivia Ann Photography

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Olivia Ann Photography

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Father’s Day Gift Guide 2017

I’m going to start this post off with a few favourite photos of my love with our little.

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Father’s day round two. I love my Mackenzie, not only is he the most supportive and loving husband, he is an amazing father to our little Ez. His compassion and patience shines through as a father. He was made to be called ‘DaDa’ and deserves way more than one day to be celebrated! For all the work he does day & night, and yet, still has a smile on his face and constantly asks, “how can I help you?” Isn’t he the sweetest? Along with Kenz, I’ve had my father and father-in-law who have been beyond supportive and their willingness to always help astounds me. I’ve got some amazing men in my life and I’ve put together a gift guide that will hopefully help you with your most loved and cherished ones as well.

These gifts are the perfect way to celebrate every type of dad. From the outdoor adventurer, the bearded brewer, the city commuter or the big kid that will never grow up. I’ve got you covered! So sit back, scroll down and pick your poison!

1. The ‘Homebody’ Dad

Enough with all the vanilla and lavender smells filling up your house (and mine!) and give the gift of scent with a more masculine approach. A little bit more of an indulgence then a ‘need’. Using traditional methods, these candles are handmade from premium soy wax, perfume-grade fragrance oils and 100% cotton wicks. They’ve got tons of different scents from around Vancouver and the Toronto area, if you’re guy has a favourite hot spot area in Vancouver, Vancouver Candle Co. may just have a candle that has embraced and captured that scent to enjoy at home! Click here to browse.

FATHERS DAY VANCOUVER CANDLES_Fotor

Pictured above are Gastown – Tobacco, Amber & Black Pepper and North Shore – Spruce, Mandarin & Coriander

2. The ‘Hat’ Dad

A couple weeks back we did a photoshoot with Beluga Baby and I wore a hat from a company called Nine O’Clock Gun,  being the hat-conesure that he is, my husband looked up their shop. He instantly grew fond of one of their designs and so I got it for him for his Birthday. GUYS. I ordered it and it was at my door within two days. They are a Vancouver based company, but I was so impressed on how quick I received the product. The quality and design is really nice and well done. I will definitely be ordering from them again. Click here to browse.

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PS: They also have toddler/children’s hats with adjustable snapbacks if you’re wanting to gift a ‘Daddy&Me’ set! Check it out >> Kids Snapbacks

3. The ‘DIY’ Dad

Here are a couple of my favorite crafts that I’ve found online when I was scouring what to do last year. They are precious, keepsake for their teeny tiny hands and feet and a great story at the end. (You know, the part where you wrapped their whole body except for their foot in a towel so they wouldn’t eat the paint?)

|Footprints – When Ezra was born, it was just over two weeks away from Father’s Day. Luckily, I was on maternity leave and had TONS(not) of time to decide what I was going to do for the perfect gift. I searched and searched for something I could do for a brand new newborn and what types of DIY things were okay for baby’s skin. Because, in the end, all that I really could do was a footprint/handprint of some kind! I opted to do the feet because Ezra always had teeny tiny clenched fists and I didn’t want to get in to that fiasco of cleaning and the possibility of it getting in her eyes or face. It’s so funny as I look back now thinking of myself in that moment. Mackenzie had just started back at work, I was still finding my bearings, both as a mother and a human being, and little Ez just slept, like the little angel she is. We had one of those bouncy chairs with the fold back metal piece that I would plop her in when I wanted to do something, and wouldn’t ya know, it was the perfect spot for a footprint painting. I waited until she was sleeping, wrapped her whole little leg up with an entire towel, and got to work. I used wipes at that moment to clean off her feet and then when she was awake I gave her a bath – do not leave evidence of your work for dad to see!! I then remembered that he was a huge toy story fan so I recreated the ‘ANDY’ on one of the feet and wrote ‘DADDY’. After it dried, I found a frame at Winners and wrote a note on the back for him. To say the least, I think he may have loved it. (This can be recreated with any age too! Not just newborns!)

Supplies

1 x bottle of acrylic paint (whatever colour you’d like)

1 x sponge brush

1 x frame

3 x piece of cardstock paper (I would have multiples in case something goes wrong)

                  **canvas, stone, tile, apron, whatever surface you would like to create

Directions

  1. Prep paint, brush, towel and wipes by wherever you’ll be painting
  2. Wrap babe’s whole leg in towel – if they’re little this will actually hold their leg up and all you have to do is paint the foot and press the paper!
  3. Hold foot by ankle and paint with sponge brush (dabbing foot in paint won’t work with newborn, too squirmy and delicate!)
  4. Hold up cardstock and ankle with one hand each and press firmly. Remember to put a little pressure on the heel and toes to make sure you get the whole print.
  5. Wipe foot down
  6. Repeat same with other foot (If your child isn’t loving this craft for dad, you can always pack up and come back to it! Luckily it’s not very demanding in terms of set up)
  7. Set aside to dry (if you are doing a tile or canvas I would suggest doing a top layer of Mod Podge to protect the print for years to come!)
  8. Wrap and gift!

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||‘BUGS & KISSES’ coaster

This DIY again, is super simple, you just need to have everything prepped either while babe is awake or quickly when they fall asleep. For this craft I did it at the same time I did the footprints – she is a pretty heavy sleeper. Here are some ideas for different bugs, supply list and directions to make your own unique coaster!

Bug ideas – these are just a couple suggestions but get creative! Have fun! Maybe you’ll even end up with a squished bug on your coaster (if you’ve got a super squirmy little one!)

Blue – Beetle // Purple – Butterfly // Pink – Butterfly // Red – Ladybugs // Orange – Butterfly/Beetle/Worm // Yellow – Firefly / Bumblebee //Green – Caterpillar / Grasshopper (add long bent legs)

Supplies

1 x Bottle of yellow (bumblebees) acrylic paint

1 x Bottle of red (ladybugs) acrylic paint

1 x Black Sharpie

1 x Colored sharpie

1 x White 3” x 3” tile

1 x Spray Mod Podge (matte or gloss) – I usually go in to Michaels for this with a 40% off coupon from their website! Then it makes it the cheapest place to buy it!

Directions:

  1. Write ‘Bugs & Kisses’ on your tile
  2. Wrap babe in towel & prep paint on dish
  3. Make child’s hand into a fist (if they are newborn or else every finger gets in the paint) and have pointer finger out
  4. Dab finger into paint and position wherever you choose on the tile (leave a little bit of space because you will be adding legs and wings afterwards)
  5. Put tile aside to dry (24 hours to be safe)
  6. Add eyes, smiles, wings and legs to your bugs
  7. Spray Mod Podge to entire surface and let dry (you will want to use spray just in case you smudge the prints with the sponge brush)

*You can also add small felt pieces on the bottom four corners – you know those ones you buy for cupboards etc? I would recommend this if coaster is going on hardwood it wont scratch)

  1. Wrap and Gift!

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4. The ‘Burly Bearded’ Dad

Moustache Mugs || What’s that? You’ve never heard of these. WELL let me enlighten you of these miraculous porcelain beauties! Mackenzie and I actually found these both while we were out thrifting in Victoria and Tofino a couple years back. Luckily for those of you who may not be in to thrifting or the time it may take to find one of your own, there’s places like beardoholic.com who can cut a few corners for you!

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“Nothing can be more frustrating for a guy than to have his moustache downloaddipping into his coffee in the morning. All that work to keep your facial hair clean and manicured, and now it is full of a hot beverage and dripping on your clothing. Luckily for guys with an abundance of facial hair, a cool little gadget will eliminate the soaking of the moustache when you enjoy your favourite morning beverage.” – Beardoholic.com


5. The ‘Outdoor Adventurer’ Dad

|Alchemy Goods Recycled Bike Tire Wallet

FATHERS DAY wallet

A couple years ago I purchase this wallet for my husband from the MAKE shop on Granville Island for his birthday. He is quite a minimalist when it comes to carrying things around (wallet, keys, change) and this wallet is nice and slim, he loved it! He is an avid biker and is a ‘recycled material’ enthusiast, if that’s even a thing. Well, let’s just make that a thing. I found this wallet at the MAKE Shop on Granville Island. It wasn’t that expensive and what a unique gift! (They’ve actually got their AG Money Clip wallet on sale for $16 right now here.)

||MEC Backpack Cover

FATHERS DAY backpack cover

This compact little number has come in handy so many times when on the go and we LOVE it. You can find these backpack rain covers at MEC. The one pictured here is their smallest size and if you pull the cord all the way it fits over a regular backpack, but when fully extended it is large enough to fit over a suitcase or a hiking backpack. We have used this cover when walking and biking to and from work and also when we were in Ecuador for a mission trip. With weather that never really decides on where it wants to go, having this compact cover is a must! The one I have is blue, but they also carry an orange and a black. Pick one up here.

6. The ‘Brew Bro’ Dad

If you haven’t had a chance to walk down Brewery Row across the way from Rocky Point park, you’re missing out! There are tons of locally brewed & bottled companies there, equipped with different craft beers, apparel and growlers for take home Father’s Day gifts. An idea for our ‘Brew Bro’ was maybe a $10 gift card from each brewery, maybe even gift this to a few dads that are friends, and take an afternoon to enjoy a taste of each brewery! If your guy has a favourite brewery you could also gift him a shirt, glass or growler crate.brewery

Rocky Point
Brewery Row
Yellow Dog Brewing 

Parkside Brewery 

Twin Sails Brewing 

Moody Ales 

7. The ‘Beachcomber’ Dad

Have you seen these hats before? The perfect hat for that dad that is so busy loving on his littles, making sure they are safe and protected for the sun, he often forgets about himself. Well, not only will he love this hat, his face and shoulders will be covered by the shade it provides! Trendy AND useful. My husband lives in his each summer for the past couple years. Whether it be summer camps, at the beach or even playing soccer (yah, try and picture that).In our family, we each have a sunhat; they’re awesome.

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Here’s where I picked up my husband’s.

8. The ‘Capture-every-moment’ Dad

|New camera lens

This one goes out to the dads who are either, photographers for a fact and those aspiring to be, or just those who have a DSLR and love to capture each moment. A little bit more on the pricey end but a fun and thoughtful gift (that also pays back with the beautiful photos they take) is a new lens! Is there one that they’ve had their eye on? A favourite of my husband’s is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. Most of my photos are now taken with this lens, it’s bright, crisp and just a beautiful thing. Check it here.

FATHERS DAY camera lens and adapter

||SD Card Camera Reader

This is the perfect gift for the dad on the go, when you just can’t wait to get those photos on to your computer or want to send them to family right away, this is what they need. This tiny little adapter plugs right in to your phone, you pop the memory card in and away you go. Uploading whatever you would like from the photos you just took! Nifty little thing! Grab one here or Best Buy by you.

9. The ‘City Commuter’ Dad

Part of living in the city and fast pace lifestyle these days involves a lot more travel time. Whether you’re stuck in rush hour for 2 hours or on the long route home riding the bus and sky train, you may find these beneficial. If you have a hard working, commuting man in your life then this is ideal for him. Here are two items that will make that commute just that much more comfortable.

|Wireless Headphones (Outdoor Tech)

These headphones are great for someone on the go who loves their music. Drown out the work day commute with these Portable Bluetooth Outdoor Tech Headphones. Compact, light AND you can keep your phone in your pocket while listening to them, no more annoying cord in the way! You can grab them here.

FATHERS DAY headphones and charger

||Portable Battery Charger

This may be one of those bonus double gifts, you know, the ones you buy for your husband or significant other but really, you just want it. Like that time you bought him that really cool mug, that you just so happen to use every morning now, or that rain cover for his back pack you bring with you when you walk to work. No worries, lol, no judging here! At the end of the day though, this is a very good thing to have, especially for long hikes, camping, or even a day touring the town! (TBH: My phone is usually dead because I take a million photos).

10. The ‘Gardening’ Dad

For Mother’s Day we get big floral bouquets, hanging baskets and plants for the garden. So why not get our guys a little something green? Not all floral and greenery needs to be feminine, look for a nice grouping of herbs together in a planter for when he’s barbecuing or an arrangement(again, not feminine!) with succulents and rocks and dirt. If the dad you’re buying for has an office space with a desk or even a window ledge, this will liven up that space with a little pop of colour!

FATHERS DAY succulents

Hopefully you’ve been able to pick up something from here that your father, father in law, grandpa or husband may like! Enjoy your day with your loved ones and remember, if all else fails, you know they’ll always take a hug.

Other ideas not photographed:

  • Whitecaps tickets
  • Beer tour @ Granville Island
  • Hot blade shave
  • Watch/FitBit
  • Patterned socks – Old Navy is great for this!
  • Wireless Adapter (This little loonie sized bit makes whatever you plug it in to; wireless)
Have a suggestion of your own? Drop me a line in the comments, I’d love to know what you’re gifting!

Take care loves!

xox

Cass

Donut Grow Up – Donut Smash!

 

When people started to ask me if I would be doing a cake smash for Ezra’s birthday I thought, ‘uhm obviously.’ Like they even had to ask. Then I started to think about different ways or themes I could do for it, what really screamed EZRA and what would she enjoy? (other than Paw Patrol). I then remembered another theme I had wanted for her birthday party but was unable to do, because, well, Flamingos.

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My second choice for her birthday theme was ‘Donut Grow up’. Super cute, playful and full of hot pink messiness! The adventure began. I started to jot down ideas, placement and who I would love to be involved in this shoot and came across four mompreneurs who joined in celebrating Ez turning one.

  • Glitter&Spice
  • LittleSproutCreations
  • Natalia Reardon Photography
  • Always and Foreverly

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Then came the donuts. YUM. I picked up some plain glazed donuts from Safeway and made my own hot pink royal icing. Yah, you could probably already guess, it didn’t really go as planned. My sister came over to help prep for the shoot and we made do with what we had and they were sloppy and oozing on the sides with color and sprinkles. Homer Simpson would’ve been proud.

Here comes the fun part.

Enter Ezra.

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Obviously, any parent anywhere knows that you dress your child in white when you WANT them to get messy. So here she is, poofy sleeves and pink tutu, ready for 6 stacked, hot pink donuts.

 

Most people I have talked to about their cake smash said their little one wouldn’t even touch the thing. That they had to put their hands in it and get messy, then, almost like being given the go ahead, they dive in!

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the shoot Ez kept going back to the cake pops and was a huge teething fan of the sticks that were attached. We kept turning them around so she could have some cake, but she would take one bite and then off we go again, bottoms up.

 

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I am so lucky to have Natalia Reardon Photography partnering with me on this journey of blogging and styled shoots. We had a blast with this shoot and we’ve got some pretty rad things coming your way this summer! Keep your eyes peeled!

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Can you spot some details that may be giving you a sneak-peek of the theme of Ezra’s birthday party?

(Hint: Think feathered&pink)

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LET’S COLLABORATE! >> If you are looking to put together a styled shoot, head on over to my contact page and send me a note! I (and Ezra) would love to chat and be apart of your next creative adventure!

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Donut Grow Up Banner – Little Sprout Creations

Tutu – Cousin Hand-me-down

Hot Pink Donut Wall Decor – Little Sprout Creations

Pink/Gold/White Bunting – DIY

Flamingo Teether – Glitter and Spice

Photographer – Natalia Reardon Photography

Donuts: Safeway & DIY

Flamingo Bow – Always and Foreverly

Saying NO to the “Mom-Bod”

How I chose to say NO to the mom bod.

This is not a work out post, a pity-post or a ‘I’ll make do with what I have’ post. This is an empowering, influencing and inspiring post. I chose not to give in to the ‘mom-bod’ and choose to love my baby-bearing body. 

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From time to time I do feel that tug of insecurity, self-doubt and I do see the marks left from that pull&stretch. But these are our love lines, our war wounds, our life long hopes and dreams. The sign of a mother. 

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Olivia Ann Photography

Though some may be more scarred than others, more discrete than others or even only inwardly marked; we have all joined on this journey and the trials of pregnancy, labour and the fourth trimester together. 

Received our badges of courage, of comfort and became a safe place for our littles.

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How in the WORLD can I look past my beautiful baby girl and focus solely on the body I was left with after her birth. 

It’s hard to move forward, to feel back to normal when you know you’re not. That before-baby-BABE-bod feels so far away. It’s hard to feel glamorous, beautiful or even mediocre sometimes. To have the pure essence and freedom to think or even feel; I am beautiful. 

The rawness of it all; is that we all think this.

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Who’s better? Who’s thinner? Who has the best workout?

STOP. Take a second and stare into your child’s eyes.

There’s your all in all; you’re beauty and your pride. 

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There lays your heart and your reflection in their eyes, staring right back at you telling you, you are enough. 

You will ALWAYS be enough. 

This is why I am saying no to the ever-so-daunting “mom-bod.” I do not fall short, I will not give in to this lie that I am sub-par, I will stand tall.

I am Ezra’s mom. I take this journey and glorify it. The good, the bad, the discomfort and the beauty in the middle. I am blessed to be her mother and am honoured to rock this ‘MOMBOD.’

-Xox

me and ez

Breastfed to Finger fed – easing the transition to solid foods

Breastfed to Finger fed – transitioning to solid foods and supporting your child in this whole new world of taste buds!

     I am so eager to get this post out that I write to you from the car! My husband is driving us to our second-in-laws for a BBQ and some pool time. This post has been on my mind for about six months now and I’ve finally buckled down and put in the ground work to bring it to you, so I hope you get lots out of it!

     Over the past few weeks we’ve been discovering new recipes and recreating old ones to adapt to Ezra’s little taste buds. (Nothing too high class – ex: Ez loves bananas, so when we discovered she wasn’t allergic to PB, we made her PB & banana sandwiches!)  The transition from breastfed to finger fed hasn’t been a struggle and Ez LOVES food, but she does have her moments where we just need to revisit a few foods after her first encounter. Example: banana at 6 months; not a fan. Banana at 8 months; has eaten it everyday since.

     Friends and family have both shared with me that babies take up to 5 times to actually like something. If you are trying to transition your babe to solids or even just purees, keep trying, it may just be the texture or even the sweetness/tartness. This is one thing that I’ve kept in mind when trying out new and different tastes/textures with Ez. At first when we started to give Ezra solids, we started with banana and rice cereal (I know, not so much a solid as it is a puree). As I wrote above, she was not a fan of banana and frankly, I was terrified to give her anything that wasn’t smooth sailin’ like water or milk.

     Slowly we moved forward in the solids department and have now made our way to fully finger-fed, no more boobie for baby. I’ve gathered up some of our tried & true favourites, both in my opinion and Ezra’s. Most of these are easy to make and can be put together with the ingredients you already have!

weee

Let’s get started!

 

1. Raspberry, Coconut & Rolled Oats (NO BAKE)

     Don’t worry my dears, these delicious looking treats come with a recipe and take less than 15 minutes to muster up! All you need are four ingredients, but make sure to keep these puppies refrigerated or in the freezer until you want to eat them!

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Raspberry, Coconut & Oat Balls (&& a little flour)

Ingredients:

1Cup Rolled OatsRaspberry Coconut Balls

1/2Cup Flour (add more as needed if they’re too moist!)

1/3Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1/2Cup defrosted and crushed frozen raspberries

Directions: Add all ingredients into bowl, mix with spoon or hands & roll into loonie sized balls, place on baking sheet or plate to store in fridge/freezer.

That’s it! You’re done!

2. PB & Banana rice cakes

     One of Ez’s, and many babies, favourite foods is banana. It’s easy to hold on to, you can chop it up or slice it down the middle. squishy, but holds shape, that is, if it’s not too ripe! I usually just buy the plain rice cakes, don’t really need to add any extra taste to these delicious snacks. (Sometimes when I am at restaurants I sneak a couple PB’s into my diaper bag – the perfect extra little protein on the go! shhhhh!)

Banana PB rice cake_Fotor

 

3. Gnocchi

     These little guys have a texture of somewhere in-between a banana and a noodle. Perfect sizing for the fist of a little one who’s just started discovering how to eat! Prep time? Boil the water, throw them in the pot, 2 minutes later, take em’ out and serve. Super simple and your little one will love being able to have independence in feeding themselves one teeny bite of potato at a time. (If you’re not making them from scratch, I am not this ambitious, I would suggest the Oliveri brand. I bought mine at Save on Foods in the deli section)

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4. Fruit, Fruit, & More Fruit!

     My little bean just loves fruit. Any kind and all the time. I have been giving her everything under the sun and she just makes it disappear! Some fun ones to cut in to sticks/slices are the ones pictures below. Grapefruit not so much a stick but the pieces are small and squishy, kind of makes them work for the sweetness of the fruit! Just make sure you are checking your fruits for seeds/rinds.

Fruits

5. PIZZA – the remix.

     As much fun as pizza is to give to a toddler, I find the dough to be a bit too much for them and they more than often dont get enough of the good stuff on the top! I opted out for doing a ham and cheese pizza for Ez with flat bread and some left overs in my fridge. I took some left over pasta sauce, deli ham and shredded cheese from a pizza soup hubby had made earlier in the week (YUM! – check that out here, super yummy!). I prepared the oven at 350, put my toppings on and placed the flat breaded pizza straight on to the rack, let cook for 10 minutes and then sit for 5 minutes on the counter to let it cool. I made it a little bit easier for Ez to eat by cutting the pizza into strips so she could hold on to it and munch away.

IMG_5742pizza two

6. EGG – just egg.

     Holy guacamole does this little girl love egg! Scrambled, hard boiled, fried, she’ll take it all. My most recent and creative way to give her egg is on an individual cast iron skillet. This is GENIOUS. We went out for sushi a couple months ago and we had ordered a huge variation and assortment of dishes. One of which showed up and was a huge hunk of egg on rice. I wasn’t about to eat it but I knew someone who may just love it; lil’ Ez. It took her awhile but after about 20 minutes, the egg and rice underneath was gone. So when I found a cast iron skillet to re create the style and texture of egg, you know I was on board right away. And so was she!

     For the eggs on the skillet, I usually will scramble two in a small bowl with a fork and then pour hem in the skillet. Wait a couple minutes until the top of the egg starts to firm. I then place the whole skillet into the over at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes. This ensures the egg is cooked fully, but also the perfect texture to cut in to strips for easy finger feeding!

eggs

       I would also like to add here that if you’re having a tough time getting your little to try eggs, let alone even like them, one of my girlfriend’s, Sam, mashes banana and egg together to create pancakes. You may also find you can use sweet potato as well and her little one just eats it up!!

7. Pizza Pretzel. That is it. One love baby.

Pizza Pretzel_Fotor

8. Pancakes & Berries

     Last weekend I had the utmost pleasure of helping host a bridal shower for my beautiful friend Dianne. She makes my heart sing, she is such a beautiful soul, so naturally when she asked for a PANCAKES&PANTIES BRIDAL SHOWER (how stinkin’ cute is that? This will definitely be up on the blog) I couldn’t say no. Naturally, after the day had passed, there was some mini pancakes left over. Hmm I wonder who would love these mini pancakes? EZ. Finger fed, hand held, teeny tiny pancakes. This little miss was on cloud nine that morning! I put the pancakes on her tray with an assortment of berries, she loved it!

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9. Steamed Veggies

     Part of your little ones teething experience and being introduced to solids is the sensation of teeth taring through their gums. Not a very nice feeling AMIRIGHT? Hot and cold foods help with soothing this sensation. Brocolli and carrots have been a go to for these past few weeks. Here are my the two time frames I find work best for self-fed babies. Leaving the vegetables firm enough that they dont squish right in to their fingers as soon as they pick them up! (&& maybe a little bit of cheese is delicious too!)

Broccoli – Boil 4min

Carrots – Boil 7 min

steamed veggies

Adorable Mountain Dinner Plate by Timber Child

10. Leftovers

     What better meal prep than leftovers? Not only are you keeping your sanity, but baby is fed and enjoy their cold macaroni, pasta or even tuna helper! I just noticed all of those are pastas… Baby loves pasta! Ez also loves to eat whole tiny pickles, here’s a photo below of an average snack time at our house hold!

BONUS Extras:

Some of the ones I haven’t posted above are:

  • Grilled Cheese (cut in to slices)
  • Dill Pickles
  • Veggieballs – IKEA (seriously!)
  • Tomato pasta
  • Cheese stick

Let me know what you’ve found easiest/hardest in your own adventure going through the transition of breastfed to finger fed. I would love to hear your own ideas and answer any questions you may have for me!

Take care && Happy feeding!

xox Cass