3 EASY Festive (Non) Baking Ideas + Our Christmas Decor

It’s that time of year where all I want to do is eat all of the sweet treats and go to all the potlucks.  One day I would love the idea of being one of those mom’s that adores baking and cooking up a storm…buuuttt I already know that I am DEFINITELY one of those women who eats EVERYTHING on the dessert table so I really have to keep my sweet treat making in check!  Aaaannnd I am always nervous I’ll mess up the recipe so I love the idea of #Bakinghacks :)

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Stockings | Evergreen Garland | Floral Clip Ornaments

I do have some lunch and dinners planned with friends and family before Christmas, so I figured it would be a great option for me to flex my creative (non) baking muscle without worrying that I’ll eat everything on my own.  I found some awesome options for faux-baking/pre-made cookie decorating LOL.

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Fairy Lights | Garland | Frame

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Pom Pom Garland

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Elf on the Shelf

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Floating Shelf | Mini Wicker Baskets (Similar) | Frames | Mason Jar

Ok so on to the no-bake-treats and cookie decorating ideas.  I saw these and thought I would love to add a Christmas touch to our beloved peanut butter cookies.  We literally make these cookies all year round.  They are more or less guilt free and have no white sugar or flour. Just dip them in some melted dark chocolate and sprinkle some red, white and green sprinkles and they are a perfect holiday treat.

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The Hubz loves turtles so these would be for him (I am not a fan of caramel) these are super easy and take literally 10 minutes.  I can’t believe I’ve never made them before.  I am just not sure if I should used salted or unsalted pretzels?

Lastly I have to at least attempt to make these DIY thin mints.  I love girl guide cookies and being able to make these at Christmas (or even all year round would be brilliant).

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Check out our christmas decorations from last year!

Miss El’s eigth month update

Slowly my attention is returning to the other part of my life that hasn’t needed my focus in so long.  I am thinking about going back to work as well as everything that comes with that: schedules, pick ups, drop offs, commuting, budgets, meal preps and dinner on weeknights.  My mind is exploding with to do lists and calendar dates.  But for the next few minutes I am going to focus on 8 months of Lou-Lou

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Peplum Top & Leggings (Similar) | Headband (Multiple colours available)

Yep – she’s got a new nick name.  It’s funny, Miss S and I read this book a million and one times while Ellie was in my belly.  I was sad that our world wouldn’t have President Barack Obama in it any more and Miss S would constantly ask about LoLo (I started pronouncing it Low-Low – and I guess she was amused). Anyways – Miss S now calls her it affectionately and the grandparents do it to.  I guess that works because she only answers to that or Elora so now it’s stuck!!

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Christmas Tree | Fairy Lights | Area Rug 

She is talking up a storm!  Calling Ma’am Maam, Da-Dat, Eeeee, Ooaa.  She thinks she’s a big shot and we couldn’t agree more.  She’s started pulling herself up and experimenting with cruising and getting accustomed to being on her hands and knees.  Lots of bouncing, pushing backwards, scooting in circles while sitting or on tummy time but no actual crawling yet.

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Jacket (Similar) | Cold Weather Onesie (Similar)

She’s been exposing herself to TOOOONNNS of food, now eating 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day.  Although we do give her a lot of store bought baby food (our go-to brands are: Baby Gourmet, Love Child Organics and Earth’s Best) she’s tried my mother in laws black channe and her Pop’s weekly oven baked fish and was totally into it.  Right now her favourites are banana, scrambled eggs, coconut yogurt, 3 ingredient pancakes.

She claps and hurrays with her arms.  We are teaching her the basic baby sign language and she’s tried doing “more” lol.  She’s still really into her sister (but not her sister’s “smuhugs” aka smush-hugs), has started to play wrestle with her sis, as well tries to hide a toy in her hand if she sees Miss S running towards her LOL!!!.  Still into PDA and has even started giving us wet kisses 💋💋!!  She loves playing a game with her dad and I where she wants to go from my arms to his arms and back and forth – she obviously thinks it’s hilarious!  And we do too!

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Head band | Hair Clip | Cardigan (Similar)

Our Winter Bucket List 2017-2018

Man it’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks.  We travelled to the states for a wedding and have FINALLY celebrated my Mom’s surprise 60th birthday (and finally feel OK enough to talk about it well because it was a surprise LOL).

It’s been quite difficult to concentrate on blogging when I have to pack and plan for a road trip to attend an Indian wedding – which if you don’t know involves at minimum 3 outfits all with matching shoes, jewellery, purses, bindis and other accessories. Times all of that by 3 because well I was packing for my 8 month old, my 3.5 year old and myself!

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE dressing up – especially for Indian Weddings.  We had such a good time.   And then last weekend we successfully surprised my mom for her 60th birthday.  I didn’t take a single photo because I was running the show along with my sis but also taking care of the kids when they didn’t want to be with the grandparents.  But man it’s tough to stay focused.  But I love blogging, documenting, sharing and reminiscing. So here I am…

And here we are – almost at the end of the year.  Christmas is like 6 weekends away?  And  at first I was dreading it — but my siblings and our husbands have decided to do a Kris Kringle which takes away a lot of the stress of gifting.  And on top of that the Mister and I are not officially giving each other anything (there were lots of things we got done around the home so decided to take a break).  We also took advantage of black friday sales aaannnd have decided that the girls are only getting one main / big gift and then other stuff they need (clothes etc) and some fun little goodies in their stockings.

I’ve officially watched Office Christmas Party 4 times in the last week and plan to re-watch Home Alone I and II next week.  We are putting up the Christmas tree this weekend, although I started putting up some decor today with Deck Da Club on repeat and of course Ellie was into it :)

I’ll leave you with this years Winter Bucket list!

You can also check out last years winter bucket list here.

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Our Halloween 2017

I know this post is super late but I wanted to get it up for #MemoriesSake.  I am not a cool Instagram mom and there is waaayyy too much sass and last minuting in this house for a coordinated family costume idea but the fact that we ALL got into the spirit was good enough for me.

Both of my camera batteries were dead so I was only able to get a few quick shots of our costume’s with the Mister’s camera phone (which was incredibly fuzzy for some reason).

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Fidget Spinner Pops Dr. Fairy Lil Kaduu & *Takes a deep breath* Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, The Mother of Dragons

I did however get some action shots of our pumpkin carving.  It’s the hubz chance to get creative but this year we let Miss S choose the pumpkin face design.

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Side Note: we love our bumbo and have been using it even more the second time around.  Even though Ellie is pretty steady when she sits it often comes in handy when we feed her (as she’s still pretty petite for the high chair) and we also keep her in it when we give the girls a bath together as she’s outgrown the baby bath.

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Jeans | Choker | Sweater

And here is me pulling all the seeds out because we all wanted that salty-crunchy treat!

35 Favourite Things #HappyBirthdayToMe

The day before yesterday was my birthday  And if you can tell by the title, I turned 35!

Initially I didn’t give it a second thought, because ever since I turned 18 I realized I always have felt like I was 16 :)

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But I figured, I’d mark the moment with a little reminder to myself of 35 of my favourite things.

1. Hugs from Miss S and EliHaze
I am grateful for when my girls wrap their tiny arms tightly around my neck and lately when Miss S tries to reach all the way around my shoulders.  I completely agree with all parents who have ever told me that kid cuddles are the best.

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2. 1 second video app
I’ve been struggling with trying to capture the special moments but also stay present with the kids.  Buuut, I think I’ve found something that may be the solution.  I used this awesome app for about 6 months.  It’s so fun to watch how our life changed in those months.  Just doing some sound edits and will be posting it soon.

3. Day dates with the Hubs
Before kids, the mister and I went out almost every night. Living downtown, we took advantage of every scene possible. The ‘Liscious events, Nuit Blanche, Going to movies after work/dinner, even a late night (10pm) gym session was a luxury we enjoyed. However now, we take serious advantage of the “day date”. I know we may have a few more years ahead of us before we can truly enjoy a night out again so we are using daycare and a kiddo napping in the car seat whenever we can!

4. My DSLR
Mad love although I am in the market for a something new :) Like this and this or this.

5. My blog
I think anyone out there who has a blog agrees. And even though I’ve questioned parts of the blogging experience – my blog is a special place for my words, thoughts, art and photographs.

6. The Library
I love walking into a big room full of books, and then walking out with a stack of books for free (for appx 3 weeks) is even better.

7. Our kitchen chalkboard
I actually got the idea to paint a wall in our kitchen from a family member who also had it in her kitchen. Sometimes we use it for our grocery list, doodles, teach a lesson to Miss S, a seasonal message, a reminder, a to-do list. But it fosters our family’s cohesiveness and creativity – which is top of my list.

8.  Kiddo art work
Whether it’s stuff that gets sent home with her from preschool or things her and I create together when her pops is in school – I love it.  I really really really hope I am instilling some foundation of creativity in her.

9. Marketing/Social Media/Millennials/Hygge
I probably sound like a big nerd but I find the above topics so fascinating – especially how they interwine.

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10.  Gratitude
It’s a habit I picked up a few years ago, but it’s still my favourite mind recharging tool. (Now if only I can get into meditation)

11. Easy green smoothie
Handful or two of baby spinach, one chopped up pear, a few splashes of lime juice and teaspoon of maple syrup – the EASIEST greens smoothie eeevvaaaa!  Also quick add ons for my weekend smoothie: cinnamon, ginger (fresh with peals on), a banana, coconut water, hemp hearts, celery, cucumber #Slurp

12.  Moleskin planner
I’ve mentioned this a few times, I am kind of planner and journal obsessed.  But the Moleskin planner is my current fav.  It’s a a one or TWO year planner with a SOFT COVER!  It has lined pages beside a weekly page, tons of simple stickers, monthly calendars, free pages and a pocket.

13. The Social
Love this TV show.  Especially when I was using the gym on my work lunch break.  I can break up the work day to watch it lol

14. PodCasts
I know they’ve been around for a while, but I only got into them recently.  It’s such an EASY way to get information without having to look at something (i.e.: a screen).  I started this one recently after reading this book. Other favs include: Richroll, The Millennial and the Ted Talks.

15.  DIYing
Probably the coolest concept.  Growing up I didn’t really have anyone role model to me what a DIY was so when I started planning my wedding and realized it was thing I was hooked.  I do it a lot from party decor to house hold stuff.  Somethings I want to try in the next year: rope basket in different shapes and sizes (thinking small one for the front door key / phone spot and something larger for Miss S’s room)…aaanndd maybe this too.

16.  Fresh roses on our coffee table
The house can be a complete disaster (which it normally is) but when I see the fresh roses on the coffee table – I feel like I am in a hotel lobby or in someone who’s house is clean and spotless LOL

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17. Reading Blogs
I think I’ve said this before but blogs (currently and more specifically lifestyle blogs) are so inspiring and motivating.  I’ve been reading blogs for over 10 years now – The one blog I used to read/interact with is no longer around, but the writer was a sweetheart and so relatable. That said, with social media the past time of ACTUALLY reading the blog posts is now a long lost hobby I feel.

18.  My faux Marble table top
I saw a DIY for this in the summer and it was the coolest thing so I made one.  Theeennnn I realized I could probably just swap out a table top from an actual table (maybe something from Ikea or Target) and actually have a “marble table”.  In any case it’s perfect for clean background / flatlay shots that I love taking and it cost me less than 10 bucks!

tly_marble19.  Counting my steps
I think a few years ago when 10K steps a day became a thing I didn’t catch on.  But the older / wiser I get I feel like walking is a misunderstood form of physical activity.  I realized this by starting the BBG program (which I didn’t finish – twice now) I love the gym, I love weights and I love running but I am starting to fall in love with walking. I’ve been going back and forth between my phone and my husbands fitbit flex (which I gifted him but he doesn’t use lol).  And some days when I am feeling really motivated, I walk circles around my house just to “get my steps in

20. My Foam Roller
I first started using a foam roller in 2012, but it should have been sooner.

21. This photograph is by far my fav photograph from this year.  You can find it on my Etsy shop too!

22. Doing arts and craft projects with my daughter
I am legit that IT analyst corporette/Mat Leave mom by day and that wannabe DIY/Craft Mom all the other times of the day lol.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now just gotta find a way to do more DIYs and crafts in the day :P

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23. Going to the gym on my lunch break
I never thought I would be one of those people rushing to the gym to get a workout in during my lunch break – but it’s been the best decision for my lifestyle (as a working mom).

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I’ve been using it since 2012 on my personal account and since 2015 as an extension of this blog.  It is still by far my favourite social media site.  I always find motivating and intriguing people to follow and I love scrolling my own feed to see all the cool things I’ve been up to/pictures I’ve been able to capture.

25. Our neighbourhood
All the parks and green space – serious game changer.

26. Yoga / Sun Salutations
I don’t do it enough but it always makes me feel better.  Now next year I need to get into meditiation.

27. Facetime
I know this is super old technology but it’s major thing holding me back from getting anything other than apple products.  Plus – It’s an awesome way to talk to grandparents, cousins and friends who are not close by.

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28. Loaded Oatmeal
Although I haven’t had oatmeal in a few weeks I love love love personalizing it and making it into a hearty meal or very filling snack. Some of my fav toppings are: hemp hearts, hazelnut almond butter, cacao nibs/dark chocolate chips :)

29. Wholewheat toast with melty pb, banana and chia seeds
I would eat it everyday.

30. Intention/Minimalism
Being more aware of what I am doing/eating/thinking/saying has allowed me to be more conscious of my consumption.  And that awareness is only something a 35 year old can get :P

31. Giving up chicken (and bacon!)
I have never been so proud of myself then I have these past almost 4 months.

32. Journaling
Whatever form it is in, i.e.: this blog, bullet journaling or even in a folder of word documents.  The process and practice is very invigorating to me.

33. Red nail polish & Red lipstick
Honestly someone just perma-stain my nails red because it’s truly the only nail polish colour that I can keep on my nails for longer than 3 days :P

34. The words “I am”
Totally related to being intentional these words are really powerful.  I recently read that chanting the words “I am, I can, I will, I do” during meditation is probably more doable / powerful than focusing too hard on breathing.

35. Mind Maping
Getting all your thoughts out on a topic or project is so freeing!

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Not your typical kaurva chauth gift guide

This isn’t your typical Karva Chauth gift guide.  Well technically I’ve never even seen a gift guide for Karva Chauth on the internet before.  So this could even be the FIRST Karva Chauth gift guide – and quite honestly the only one you need ;)

Don’t know what Karva Chauth is?  Read about it here.

This is going to be my 5th or 6th Karva Chauth.  Yes we’ve been married 7 years now but between kids (aka being pregnant or exclusively breastfeeding) I’ve missed a few here and there.

Any whoo – on to the gift guide.

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I put this together to help my husband and the other fellas looking for something useful to give your wife.  I mean yes you could go the typical route (some type of 24k jewelry) or your could get her something(s) that she will actually use.

Bamboo Arc Handbag (find it here)
Yes the Cult Gaia was all the rage in summer but I think it would super cute with an indian outfit especially at a lower price point ;)

Vans Sk8 Lite (find them here)
Not actually sure when I went from being a can’t-feel-my-feet-because-I’m-always-in-stillettos to a mommy-sneaker-head but that is where I am at now.  I have purchased more  #athleteleasure shoes in the past 3 years than I have heels. #WhoAmI

Initial necklace and Heart Ring (find them here and here)
I am all about the ghetto love jewelry.  I have a bar necklace with the girls names on it but it wasn’t until after I started wearing it did I feel that it was too invasive (I mean I avoid even saying their names on this blog).  But I love the representation of wearing them in my jewelry.  This heart ring it something that I’ve been eye for a year and I am happy to have found a Canadian retailer who has it.

Passion Planner (find it here)
I am a planner addict (something the husband just doesn’t understand).  I even have a few planners that haven’t been used yet.  So technically I don’t really need/want this but I had to include the undated version in my gift guide.

Planet friendly make up (foundation is from here and nail polish can be found here)
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve stopped eating chicken and bacon – and its probably the most proud of myself I’ve been in a long time.  Doing this has also made me more conscious about the other aspects of my life that are no so planet friendly. I figure foundation powder and nail polish is a good start.

Rebel Mama Jersery (find it here)
I follow these ladies on instagram.  All of their posts have either got me nodding in agreement or laughing historically (also in agreement).  This is not your typical parenting advice site/mommy blog.   I love their blunt-unapologetic-straight up advice and account of motherhood.  I strive to be this kind of mom friend to my mom friends lol

Travel coffee cup (find it here)
Just because I always feel guilty getting coffee from mcds or stabies – hopefully having something like this will help.