My baby flew across the country without me!


Yesterday, Soren flew to Vancouver "on his own". As he is only five, he couldn't quite travel independently - although I'm pretty sure he would have if it were an option. Instead, he got to fly with my brother-in-laws girlfriend, who is the sweetest person on the planet and whom Soren adores. Needless to say, there were no tears when he said his good-byes.

Tomorrow the rest of us will head west to spend some time in Vancouver as well as on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. It's a joint work trip/vacation, which doesn't happen often, so we are taking advantage of it.

Looking at these photos seems kind of surreal. How is this person - this guy who can pull his own suitcase, wear a backpack with ease, and call us on the phone - a five-year-old? Wasn't he JUST a baby? A tiny newborn who couldn't even hold his head up...? In a couple weeks he will start kindergarten, and that has always seemed like a big milestone to me. In fact, I can vividly recall crying/sobbing when Soren was about five days old, because I thought time was moving too quickly. In my postpartum state I could envision this tiny baby sitting up, walking, and then going off to kindergarten. Tyler tried to reassure me that those things were a long ways off, and I suppose in some respects he was right, five years is a long time. This little independent guy grows more self-assured by the day, and is growing into a polite, respectful, and thoughtful little boy. I can't wait to see him soon!

Lake Winnipeg / Hiking with kids


I really like walking, and in fact recently got a fitbit! It's fun to track how many steps I can take during the day, and challenge myself to do more. Hiking seems like a natural extension of walking, and is something we enjoy doing as a family, especially as the kids are getting a little older. Mind you - miss Poppy is a bit of a princess, and pretty much demands to be carried after five or ten minutes. Luckily, she is still within the weight limit for her carrier (an ergo), and she LOVES to ride in it. It's a little tough for me, but I look at it as extra exercise... all the more reason to 'deserve' a glass of wine at the end of the day:)

Last month while camping at Hecla, we went on a bit of a hike one morning. I find the key is to make it interesting for the kids, so we plan several 'destinations' along our hikes. In this case, we hiked to a look-out tower first, and gazed out over the expansive Lake Winnipeg. Next, we headed to an old lighthouse - one of the first of it's kind in Manitoba. Soren was disappointed that we couldn't actually go into the lighthouse, but it was fun to look at none-the-less.

The beaches surrounding the lighthouse were rocky, which provided for plenty of rock throwing. It was also a nice spot for a snack, so we sat down and looked for sailboats, while munching on apple slices and goldfish crackers. 

Summer activities seem so easy... especially when compared to all the prep that goes into winter things. Hats, boots, snowsuits... I'm not looking forward to it. We are taking full advantage of these long summer days, and enjoying the heat while we can. Three more weeks till school starts!

Market Finds - Reduced Sugar Zucchini Muffins


As per usual, we spent our saturday morning at the St. Norbert Farmers market. The produce this time of year is delicious and super affordable. Once we get back home, I like to wash as much as I can and put it away - so it's ready to use and doesn't spoil.

Zucchini is one of those foods that always catches my eye - yet sometimes it's a little too eye-catching, and I end up with 3 or 4 in my fridge with no inspiration as to what to use it for. That is, until this fabulous zucchini muffin recipe entered our lives! Most zucchini breads and muffins are LOADED with sugar and oil, sometimes two whole cups of white sugar per recipe. Now, I'm not against sugar... but pouring two heaping cups of it into my mixing bowl just feels like it's doing damage to my body.

I've made this recipe three times in the past few weeks, and each time it is just as good as the last. I also reduce the sugar each time - I'm now down to half a cup.

Zucchini chocolate chip muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk (almond milk works well)
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in a smaller bowl. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Portion into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the muffin tops spring back when you touch them lightly. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

And also - Pop has a tutu. She is signed up for ballet classes starting in September, so we went to a dance store to buy her uniform. The uniform is a very classic pink leotard, pink tights, and pink ballet shoes. However, as she was trying on the shoes her eyes caught sight of the ballet dresses. 'MAMA! Can I PLEASE try on one of those dresses?!' she begged. How could I possibly say no... and so we walked out with one ballet uniform, accompanied by one pretty pink ballet dress that she has worn for pretty much the whole weekend.