What to do? Where to start?


image from Shop Bop

I kind of feel like this girl right now. I have all of these ideas and thoughts running around inside my head, but I don't know where to start on anything! I am absolutely loving reading all of these new blogs that I keep discovering, but it's also a little overwhelming. Should I focus more on baking? On the baby? On home projects? Instead of sitting on the couch reading all of these blogs, I need to actually DO some of them! My goals for the week-end are to cross off at least two things from my never ending to-do list. First up - eat a cupcake! I'm sure inspiration / motivation will strike after the sugar hits my bloodstream. Happy Friday!

Soren's Daily Adventures


 I pull myself up...

Falling down! (Don't worry... the tears are short-lived)

A peaceful morning


We had a lovely morning of coffee, cuddling, and cosiness. The baby is asleep. Laundry is in the wash, dishes are in the sink, soup is simmering on the stove, and all is calm. I am so thankful to be able to enjoy this time at home with my sweet little guy. 

Tasty Tuesdays - Turkey Dinner


Phew! What a busy day... which has been a change for me compared to the last few days. I have been having a lot of back pain, which has been driving me crazy! It hurts to sit, to stand, to lie down and especially to pick up the Littlest Linden. I've never had back pain before in my life, and I definitely feel for people who suffer from it regularly. It's terrible!  To make it harder on me, Soren has transformed into a very mobile baby who needs to be 'reset' every few minutes. As in, he crawls over to the dog food, I have to 'reset' him back to his play area. Then he pulls himself up onto the coffee table, but can't figure out how to sit back down when his legs get tired. 'Reset!' That baby of mine is a mover!

After an unsuccessful doctors appointment about my back, I decided to try a chiropractor. It seems like every one is skeptical of chiropractors, yet there are so many of them around (and they have to go to school for 7 years) that there must be some good things about them. Besides, who is 'everyone'? I should make the decision for myself, and my back wasn't getting any better. My first visit was great, and I really like my doctor. Even better, the clinic is a 5 minute walk to my house and I am completely covered under my insurance plan. After my second visit I am feeling a little better, and it is very reassuring to hear someone tell you that while there is something wrong with your back, a solution is possible. My doctor basically told me I was getting old...and to take an Advil. 

I decided to host a dinner for my family to thank them for taking Soren and I to Calgary last week. Around Christmas, we were given a 17lb free-range Turkey from Frigs Meats. I was a little intimidated about cooking a turkey... or maybe a lot intimidated. For some reason the removal of the neck and 'innards' creeped me out a lot, or thinking about it did. However, I was able to suck it up and remove them (not nearly as bad as I envisioned), and the turkey came out great! 

I had planned on making a soup to go along with my Tasty Tuesdays idea, but I didn't think soup really went well with the menu. I made Turkey, Gravy, Twice Baked Potatoes, Roasted Beet and Blue Cheese Salad, and Ginger Carrots. Sitting in my fridge right now are a ton of leftovers, which are going to transform themselves into a delicious soup tomorrow! Stay tuned for a 'Tasty Wednesday' soup tomorrow. 

My sister has celiac disease so she cannot eat flour, which makes dessert options somewhat limiting. A few years back I came across this recipe from Laura Calder for Craggy Chocolate Cake. It is so, so, so yummy! I've made it a couple times, and I have deviated from the recipe somewhat but the cake always turns out well. Today I tried to make two layers, a white chocolate layer on top of the dark chocolate layer, but the layers blended together in the oven. I served it with raspberry sorbet which was a perfect light accompaniment to the rich cake. It was so good I didn't even get any pictures before it was scarfed down, but here is how it basically looked. With only 4 ingredients, it's the perfect cake for both gluten frees and gluten lovers. 

A Wonderful Wedding


Yesterday I went to The Wonderful Wedding Show with a good friend who is getting married this summer. We ate some delicious cake, sipped a little pinot grigio, and watched the wedding fashion show (which was un-inspiring). We did get some great ideas - specifically to do with Burlap! I definitely want to try and incorporate burlap into decorating ideas around our house. I love weddings, even though the whole wedding industry is a little bit over the top. I couldn't help but reminisce about my wedding... which was over 2 years ago! Here are some pictures from a lovely day back on September 19, 2009.

My friends decorated the cake at the very last minute... and it turned out great!

At the eleventh hour we realized we didn't have table numbers (as in 11am on the actual wedding day). A quick trip to the drugstore gave me a burst of inspiration, and we used vintage cards to make the table numbers. Well, vintage inspired, as they were bought new!

For the favours, I made home-made chocolate chip cookies and packaged them in cute little card-board boxes. I had baked them in Winnipeg, and the wedding was 2000 kilometres away in BC. On the 3-day drive, I packaged the cookies in cooler bags and frequently re-packed the ice. At night, when we checked into hotels, I took them out and put them in the hotel fridge or bathtub filled with ice. I had a lot of complements on them, so I think the effort to transport them across the country was worth it! I had also wanted to fly out the wedding cake from my favourite bakery in Winnipeg, but the bakery said no. After a bit of searching I found a FABULOUS cake designer in Vancouver, and then only had to transport the cake on a ferry ride (as opposed to a plane). 

Cold as Ice


As I may have mentioned a couple days ago, it is beyond freezing here in Winnipeg! I have been hibernating for the past few days, but had to leave the house today for Soren to get his flu shot. Poor guy, shots are never fun. I took him to his playgroup afterwards and I think he forgot about it. Babies are so resilient! When I had the flu shot last month I complained about my sore arm for two days.

Here is a picture taken out my back window. It was too cold to actually venture outside to take a shot. Brr... it makes me shiver just looking at it!
While browsing through some blogs this afternoon, I stumbled on this image, which is pretty much the polar opposite to the one above. It made me think of spring, warm days, swimming, picnics, and sundresses.
Italian Soda
image from here
It looked so delicious I decided to make it! I didn't have any blood oranges on hand, so I used grapefruits. It's super easy to make - just mix simple syrup, fresh squeezed juice, and sparkling water together and pour over ice. (I didn't know how to make simple syrup, but all you do is boil 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar together until the sugar dissolves.) We contemplated adding some gin to make it a cocktail, but ended up drinking it as a mocktail. I will have to remember this if I am ever pregnant again, as it's very difficult to find non-alcoholic drinks that are not too sweet or over the top. Cheers to a summery cocktail in January!

Open or Closed?


We live in a 100 year old house, and 100 years ago people apparently did not require a lot of storage! While our house is definitely large enough for the three of us, storage in some areas is lacking. Our bathroom is literally about 25 square feet, which includes the shower/tub combo. Luckily, it was designed well and I love all of the 25 square feet, even though I wish there were a few more feet of storage.

We have a really large upstairs landing, which the bathroom opens off of. A few months back, I decided to move an old bookcase to landing, with the hope of creating some much needed storage. I think it was a move well made! The storage unit (which is supposed to be an entertainment unit) can be configured in a number of different ways so it's actually perfect for both bath stuff and linens.
Upstairs hallway
  • Note - I don't know anything about photography. Tyler knows way more than me, and he has been trying to teach me some basics. (He thinks I'll embarrass myself by posting bad pictures.) But... I am too impatient to listen to him. So I am failing one of my New Years Resolutions. Please excuse my bad pictures until I take the time to listen to my husband, and learn how to take a decent shot!

Which gets me to my point, do you prefer Open or Closed shelving? For the most part, I like open, although there are some areas where I would always like to have some closed doors. When you see magazine spreads with gorgeous open shelving, I always wonder where the ugly roasting pan is hiding. Here are some shelving inspirations!

image from The Marion House - here
image from Domestic Reflections - here
image from Pinterest

image from Apartment Therapy - here

Tasty Tuesdays!


It is FREEZING in Winnipeg right now, so I was definitely craving some soup. Then Tyler suggested / challenged me to make at least one new soup every week, and I started thinking... and I came up with:

Every Tuesday I will attempt to make something new, and I'll share the pictures, recipes, and our reviews. Since the Littlest Linden still doesn't eat much, for the most part Tyler and I will be the only tasters.

Tonight I made SouthWestern Sweet Potato Soup from Chef Michael Smith's 'The Best of Chef at Home'. It was really easy to make, and we both agreed that it was delicious. The recipe can be found here. My favourite part are the little tortilla croutons. They are simple to make, and the soup looks so much  more appetizing! I would definitely add these little croutons to other soups. I took a flax seed whole wheat tortilla (any would work for this), rolled it really tightly, sliced it thinly on a diagonal, placed the roll ups on a baking sheet, drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil, and popped them in the oven for about 12 minutes at 350ºF. Yum. A hearty soup for a cold winters night!

Speed Skating

Our whole reason for going to Calgary was to watch my brother Stefan speed-skate. He has been skating now for a really long time, probably about 15 years. After he finished high school he packed up his life and moved to Calgary, where he would be able to train full-time. I still can't believe that he trains for hours at a time, every day of the week, almost every day of the year. One of my New Years Resolutions was to go to the gym 3 times per week, which means that I actually go less than that! I definitely have no where near the dedication and determination that he has.

So, we were off to Calgary to watch the All-Round Continental Qualifiers. I find all of the different meets that he skates in very confusing, but basically this meet would (could) qualify him to go to the All-Round World Championships in Russia. This particular meet was gruelling - every skater had to race all four distances in only two days. On Saturday night the skaters would race the 500 metres and the 5000 metres, and then on Sunday night they would race the 1500 metres and the 10,000 metres. There were 14 skaters competing in the competition, and the top 8 would qualify for the World's in Russia.

We planned on getting to the Oval around 6pm on Saturday, even though the races didn't begin until 7:30. With a baby, taking the train, and navigating our way through Calgary we wanted to allow ourselves plenty of time to get there, take a seat, and relax before the races started. Good thing we gave ourselves the extra time!! We got to the Oval around 6:20, and the races had already started! Stefan's first race was coming up in only about 10 minutes!! Apparently the start time had been changed, but Speed Skate Canada neglected to update their website.
Soren did watch some races!
I guess my bag was more exciting at this point...

Stefan's first race went well - he placed 6th in the 500m which was great for him. Soren actually enjoyed watching! He was watching the skaters intently, you could see his eyes tracking them as they skated by. He was even waving his arms and 'cheering' (or more like shrieking). It was pretty cute. The next race, the 5000m, didn't go as well as Stefan wanted it to. He ended up in 8th which was ok, but his time was off from what he was hoping for.
Stefan is in red

For Day 2 of the races we arrived in plenty of time for the 6pm start, and took our seats. The first race was the 1500, and unfortunately Stefan didn't skate as well as he would have liked. He placed a disappointing 10th, which he thought virtually put him out of the running to wind up in the Top 8 (those who would qualify for Russia). We settled in to watch the 10,000m race, which was the final one of the competition. Now, watching men skate 10 KILOMETRES in 13 or 14 minutes is very impressive, but I must admit it is not my favourite race to watch. The skaters skate in pairs, so it takes about 15 minutes for each pair to skate. They skate a total of 25 laps, in what looks to me like the exact same position. Somehow, some of the skaters are so consistent that they post identical lap times for multiple laps in a row. i.e. 32.67 seconds, 32.67 seconds, 32.64 seconds, etc. It AMAZES me that an athlete could be so precise as to cover a distance of 400 metres in the exact same amount of time, down to the hundredth of a second. (Stefan pointed out that this is their full-time job... but still.) Stefan skated well, but still thought Russia was out of the question for him.

We chatted with him after the race, sitting with him as he stretched and cooled down. There were 3 pairs of skaters after him, but we were kind of done with watching. We were focused on more important things, like trying to think of a baby-friendly restaurant that would be open at 10pm on a Sunday night! The races finally ended, and Stefan's coach came around to find him. We couldn't believe it when he said 'Well, looks like you're going to Russia!' Another skater had raced a poor race, and as a result Stefan had overtook him in the overall points category. The final totals were up, Stefan was in 8th place, and he was going to Russia!!

Congratulations Stefan! We had a fun week-end watching you skate, and it turned out just the way you had hoped! We will be cheering (from afar) when you compete in Russia for the All-Round Championship!

Weekend in Calgary


We enjoyed a wonderful week-end in Calgary watching speed skating and visiting with family. We arrived on Friday afternoon, and were met at the airport by Soren's third cousins! I had not seen my cousin (2nd cousin) in years and years, and it was great to catch up. Her two boys are 23 months and 1 month. I can't believe she offered to pick us up... I have a hard enough time managing Soren on my own never mind two babies! The boys were all pretty well behaved considering they had been cooped up in planes and cars for a few hours. We went for lunch at a little coffee shop and likely scared out all of the other guests with our trio of 3 babies under 2 years old. We quickly stopped in for a visit with my brother Stefan, but had to cut it short due to overdue nap times. Finally, Soren and I arrived at my friend Carmen's house - or should I say 'Hondo'. She just purchased a beautiful new 'Hondo', which I am told is a cross between House and Condo (at least in Carmens world!). The 3 babies quickly accustomed themselves to the clean and sophisticated condo. The 2 older cousins even tried their hand at piano with a quick lesson from Carmen!
Then we lined the boys up on the couch for a photo. Someone was not too into it. Actually, he was not into anything that involved being separated from me! As is evident in the above photo... he was probably keeping a VERY close eye on me as I took the picture. I must say I will be looking forward to this 'making strange' stage to end, or at least calm down a little. As much as I love the little guy, it's tough having him burst into tears the second I am out of his eyesight. 
The cousins had to make the drive home, and Carmen and I ate a lovely dinner and enjoyed a glass of wine. Did I mention her house is beautiful?? She's a wonderful hostess, and it was really nice to catch up (and eat waaay too much.) On Saturday morning we went out for a quick walk around her area. It was a little chilly, but we decided to brave the cold.
Carmen dropped us off at the hotel, and when we pulled up there were a bunch of people hanging outside of a big tour bus. We asked the bellman what was going on, and it was the LA Kings, heading to their morning skate. They were staying in the Westin for their game against the Calgary Flames that night. Carmen and I wished we had taken the time to put on some make-up, or at least brushed our hair! 

Soren and I settled into the Westin and received a nice little 'kids package' which included a rubber ducky, plastic covers for electrical outlets, and an extensive list of all of the baby amenities available if we needed them. The room also had a crib set up for him, which he enjoyed more from the outside rather than in. Here he is with his aunts - showing off his standing skills.
We wandered over to the Eau Claire Market and ate lunch at Joeys Restaurant. 
Then we headed out for a walk around Prince Island. The weather had warmed up a lot by this point, and there were lots of people out skating, running and walking their dogs. We were wondering how they got the river to freeze well enough to build a skating rink, as the weather has been relatively warm this winter. The City of Calgary has a short video explaining what they've done here.  Soren missed it, as he was napping for one of the very few times during the whole week-end. 
 It was a very busy week-end before the Speed Skating had even begun! I will do a separate post on the Speed-Skating portion of our trip. 

7 Months


Today Soren is 7 months old! I can't believe how much has changed in those 7 months. He can do so many things these days... it's really amazing to think how fast babies learn. He was so helpless at first, and now he can sit up, eat, babble, crawl, and so many other things. He is such a happy baby!

To celebrate his 7-month birthday, Tyler and I ate a delicious cupcake from Sweet Impressions. Soren even managed to stick his little finger in the icing, but I quickly licked it up. I'm not sure how cupcakes and a 7 month birthday go together... but I never need convincing when it comes to eating cupcakes! I love that their bakery is nut-free, and also offers dairy and egg free baking. Their new location is a bit too close for comfort though, as I am often tempted to pull in and grab a cupcake on my way home. Yum! I think I will have to do some extra sit-ups to burn off all that sugar. Isn't the little cookie on the top the cutest?

Off to Calgary!


We have a last minute trip planned! The Littlest Linden and I are off to Calgary for the week-end to watch Speed-Skating! The last time I watched my brother skate was waaay back in 2009, in Quebec City. Hopefully we will prove to be his good luck charms! Good luck Stefan.

The Littlest Swimmer


Soren had his first swimming class today! Unfortunately, the kiddie pool was closed due to a 'pool fouling' so we had to go in the big, COLD, pool.

Soren practiced putting his face in the water...

But didn't like it when he accidentally inhaled a big gulp of water! 

At least it ended well! Soren's favourite part was all the singing, especially his best song 'The Grand Old Duke of York'. Speaking of songs, Soren started dancing today! I will have to post a video of the little guy busting some moves soon. At first we thought it was just a fluke, but it quickly became apparent that he was really trying to dance. I can only hope he doesn't inherit his dancing skills from me... (I think I was probably the kid who got moved to the back corner in my pre-school concerts.)

Simple Pleasures

Don't you wish breakfast was always this exciting?!

New Years Resolutions


I don't always make New Years Resolutions, but this year I thought I would give it a try. Here goes:

1) Live within my means. We are trying to pay off student loans and such, and I often get carried away with 'needing' a new pair of jeans or a trip somewhere. I need to remind myself the difference between 'wants' and 'needs' and live accordingly.

2) Be more patient. Not my finest quality... enough said.

3) Work out 3 times per week. While I often make it to the gym 3 times a week, there are definitely stretches when I get lazy and miss weeks at a time. In the end, I always end up feeling worse and it's harder to get back into the gym routine. I want to avoid 'falling off the wagon'. Three times a week should be manageable, and if I do more than that I will be thrilled!

4) Earn more money. I have a specific number in mind, and I want to work hard to achieve it. This will have to be on hold for a few months though as I am still on maternity leave.

That's it! Short and to the point. This is week one and I'm happy to say that I have made it to the gym 3 times. Yesterday I went to a 'Stroller Bootcamp' run by Fit 4 Two. It was a great work-out for me, but Soren didn't do very well. I think he is teething... and I sure hope it ends soon! The poor guy has had a rough couple days, and I feel badly that he is in pain.

Happy Birthday Tyler!


Wow. I can hardly believe that this is the seventh birthday we have celebrated together! Every year I learn more and more about you, and I can honestly say that the more I learn, the more I love! You are a wonderful husband and an amazing father. Happy Birthday Tyler!

I got up extra early this morning to whip up a batch of cinnamon buns. I used a no-knead recipie from a Cooks Illustrated magazine that I got in my stocking. This was the first time I have made cinnamon buns, and I think they turned out great! Unfortunately our camera was left behind at Tyler's parents during one of our Christmas Festivities, so I don't have an authentic picture. This is what they are supposed to look like, and in my biased opinion they look even better in real life!

This evening we are going out! As in, actually OUT of the house without the baby! And not to a family gathering, a birthday party, or some other 'must-do'. (Don't get me wrong, I really do love birthday parties and family dinners, but sometimes it's nice to go out on more of a date-y date.) So, tonight we are going to MTC to see a performance of Shirley Valentine! I don't know much about the story, but I love going to the theatre for any event. Tyler's parents have graciously given us their tickets and have agreed to baby-sit The Littlest Linden Thank you for the Birthday Evening Out! I will let you know how it goes.

Craving Yoga!


All I want to do is Yoga! I am so excited to try out Yoga Public but unfortunately it has yet to open. I was all excited to try and do a mini 'Yoga Boot-Camp' before heading to Palm Springs next month, but I think it will have to wait until I get back. I suppose I could do a little mini-bootcamp on my own... but somehow it doesn't seem quite as much fun. From what I have heard the new studio space is beautiful, and I can't wait to try out some new classes. 

The Littlest Linden

January 4 - First Blog Post!

Hello! Welcome to my very first Blog Post, a blog which will be devoted to...? Hmm, I don't think I've gotten that far yet. The truth is, I've only just begun to explore the world of blogging, and I still have a lot to learn. I figure the best way to do this is to jump right in, with both feet, so here goes! 

My name is Erika and I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker and probably a host of other titles on any given day. I live in Winnipeg, Canada with my wonderful husband, baby son, and two energetic terriers. 

My role of mother is relatively new, as I gave birth to my first child on June 12, 2011. So far the experience has been amazing, to say the least. Here in Canada we are blessed with a year-long maternity leave, which seemed like an eternity to me when I stopped working about 7 months ago. However, I can hardly believe that my maternity leave is already half over and in a few short months I will be returning to the office, where I work in Marketing. To help me keep track of where all these wonderful days have gone, I am creating this blog as a keepsake for myself and my family. I will post daily events, recipes, baby pics, shopping wish-lists, and anything else that strikes me as interesting. 

A word of warning - I have been told that I tend to be a bit 'all over the map' when it comes to writing. My thoughts jump around quickly and I usually blurt things out without thinking. Sometimes I get sidetracked. Or, really, really excited about something only to lose interest a few days later. So this blog may change. A lot. And you may find me talking about one thing, only to start rambling on about a totally different (but no less interesting) topic. Take it as you will, and I hope you enjoy reading about our lives!