9.15.2017

Life These Days

Going back to work has been interesting so far. With Thomas going to daycare a few times a week it's really just been about finding a new routine. I'm fortunate to have a very flexible work schedule but with that comes the lack of daily consistency. Every morning is different so we've tried to create some routine each morning regardless of where the day takes us. There are some days now where a task like folding laundry isn't one that I make a priority but that's okay. We are only a month and a half into this new routine and schedule so we still have a lot to learn!


So how's daycare going you ask? (Ignores the fact that no one actually asked.) It's good. We were lucky enough to get Thomas into an amazing daycare program so I know he's in the best of hands while he's there. At the moment he's shy and loves being held so it's been a bit of a challenge getting him to adjust to being in a group of 3 other kids. His teachers hold him as much as they can but, with my full support, they are trying to teach him some independence.

They give me great updates when I pick him up so I know ways to help him gain independence at home as well. He also needs to learn more about interacting with other kids but I think that's been one of the biggest improvements in him so far. He loves watching other kids play but gets extremely shy when they try to interact with him so I'm excited to see him become a little more outgoing.


My biggest learning from Thomas starting daycare is germs. All the germs. I knew it was coming but in a month and a half we have had a flu virus, two colds and currently, something that is showing the signs of being viral bronchitis. Hopefully this just means his immune system will be really strong but yah, if there are germs around my child will lick them.

We have also had a lot of teething going on which always makes me a little sad because I know how much pain my little munchkin is in. He gets a full pass for any crankiness because teeth pain in an adult is terrible so I can't imagine the pain he is in. He is standing like a champ but still prefers crawling over walking because of how quickly he can crawl. He loves to walk with his little walker though so we bring that thing everywhere haha. I think my favourite thing right now is his reaction to hearing the word NO. It takes everything in me not to laugh. He will often close his eyes when I'm telling him No and I can only assume he thinks that not being able to see me means he's invisible to?

So that's life these days in the Cartier house. Figuring out routines, fighting off illnesses, learning independence and becoming invisible just by closing our eyes.


Thank you to Alicia for always capturing such lovely photos of me and Thomas!

9.05.2017

Easy No Bake Granola Bars

I posted on my instastories recently that I made a quick batch up granola bars and I received a handful of inquiries about the recipe. I also received a few more requests to post about it on my blog so here I am!

I have to confess that I don't use a formal recipe at this point. I've made a few different bar recipes over the year that I've loved and once I got familiar with the ingredients it became pretty easy to just throw granola bars together with what I have on hand. I love the Oh She Glows Glo Bars (you can find the mama version on her blog here) and back in 2011 I posted a recipe for some clean eating protein bars I loved. They aren't as simple to make but were really delicious so go take a look at that recipe here! I should probably give them a whirl again soon.

I have made this recipe a number of ways and they are all delicious. The granola bars shown here have a thin layer of chocolate on top and some chocolate chips inside because... sugar.  I cut them into squares to give them more of a dessert feel and they were delicious in the afternoon as a little pick me up. I've also made this recipe with no chocolate (so no added sugar) and they are just as delicious! I like to cut them up into more of a bar shape to give me that store bought granola bar feel.





Easy No Bake Granola Bars

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (runny)
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla

2 Cups Brown Rice Cereal
1 Cup of an Oat, Seed and Nut mix. In other words, combine some quick cook oats with your favourite seeds and nuts and then put 1 cup of it in your recipe. I don't use nuts because I'm allergic. 

Optional: Raisins and Chocolate Chips.

Directions

Mix the runny peanut butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla together in a large bowl. Once it's mixed, add the rice cereal and oat mix into the wet ingredients one cup at a time and mix it all together. You're looking for your dry ingredients to be fully covered in the wet ingredients. If you're worried about if you have the right consistency, add a little bit more peanut butter and/or brown rice syrup. It's safer to aim on the side of too much wet ingredients versus not enough.

Add your raisins and or chocolate chips if you feel so inclined. I have no measurements for those, it's up to you!

Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper. I like to make sure there is some over hang so it's easier to get your bars out. Pour your mixture in and spread out evenly. Press your mixture down and try to really pack it down so your bars hold together really well. Once your bar mixture is nice and flat on top put it in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. When your bars are nice and firm you can remove them from the pan and cut into 12 bars. I like to keep them cut up and in the freezer so they are easy to grab when I feel snacky... which is often. 

If you'd like your bars to be more decadent you can add a thin layer of chocolate on top before putting them into the freezer. Let me warn you though, as a gal with a sweet tooth, the chocolate on top made these very sweet.

That's it!

Let me know if you give these a try! They are honestly so easy and after making them a few times they are very quick. I also love that they just use one bowl because who likes to clean up?



7.18.2017

Thomas' First Birthday Party























Photos taken by Thomas' amazing Auntie Alicia.

I still can't believe Thomas is one! We had such a blast celebrating with his little friends and their families (who are luckily all our good friends). We feel so fortunate Thomas is so loved and we have a few more birthday celebrations planned with family this summer. 

I absolutely loved planning Thomas' birthday. I knew I would only get to plan his first birthday once so I really wanted to enjoy the entire process. I went back and forth on a few different themes but I decided to keep it simple. Different shades of blue did the trick and I just added a few elephant details within the decor because we love a good baby elephant toy.

I think one of my favourite parts of the decor was the banner hanging above the dessert table with Thomas' photos pinned to it. Seeing him grow from one month to twelve months just makes me so happy. I had seen something very similar on pinterest that I wanted to recreate and I'm so happy it turned out. 

I admittedly am not a huge fan of hosting events. I tend to overthink and stress about everything. I also spend the hours after the event second guessing everything and worrying that everyone hated it. So, I'm so so happy that I allowed myself to shut my mind off and just enjoy. I tried not to worry about anything once the party started (if any of my guests didn't have fun... I'm sorry but I'm not sorry, I had a really nice time haha) and I just enjoyed my time chatting with everyone and cuddling the birthday boy.

Although, I probably shut my mind off a little too much because for the first time ever I just forgot to pull my camera out. I took no photos. The heck? I'm so appreciative Alicia took photos because otherwise I wouldn't have any of these beautiful memories captured!


Details
Cake: IGA. I picked up a vanilla cake and a chocolate cake for $10 each from their bakery.
Fondant Elephant cake topper: Made by my mom but you can order fondant cake toppers on etsy.
Happy Birthday Banner, The large decorative fans, the silver candles and a few other details that weren't photographed: The Sweet Party Shop on Etsy
Candy Bar Vases and Scoops: Party City
Balloons, the ONE balloons, party hat and the small blue decorative fans: Party On in Walnut Grove

7.14.2017

12 Things I've Learned this Year





I can't believe Thomas is a year old. Seriously, time needs to slow down! Emotions have been high over the last couple months because so many changes are about to take place. My return to work means Thomas will be going to a daycare a few times a week. I know it'll be good for him because he's such a mama's boy but I'm actually more worried about me hahaha. No, but seriously, this transition will be a hard one. Until then I'm trying to just focus on enjoying every minute I get to spend with my little boy. I've also been doing a lot of reflecting on everything I've learned over this last year. So I thought I would share with you 12 of the (many) things I've learned over the past 12 months.

I've learned:

1. To wake up each morning with zero expectations for the day. Some days I tackle my to do list and some days I don't. Some mornings Thomas likes oatmeal and some mornings he doesn't. Some days he wants to play alone  and some days he's attached to me like a baby koala. It's just easier for all of us if I go with the flow.

2. That given a choice, a baby will always choose to poop in a freshly changed diaper.

3. That I'm actually really patient when I need to be. Who knew!?

 4. Not to buy something unless I'm okay with it getting ruined. Clothing, furniture, anything. At this point I assume it'll get stained and/or damaged.
 
5. That being a baby must be difficult, painful and scary. Learning life would be confusing and hard. Your brain is growing so quickly and every time you wake up things look different. Your body is always growing and uncomfortable. And on top of that you can't properly communicate what you are feeling? How frustrating.  I'd have little tantrums too. Oh, and teething is a biiiiitch.
 
6. There is nothing that a baby giggle can't fix.

7. That letting your baby learn how to tumble and fall is terrifying. But watching them finally learn how to balance is so much fun.

8. I will probably never get to go to the bathroom alone again.

9. That my parenting journey is uniquely mine. I can't compare myself to other moms and I can't care what other people think.

10. To be present and enjoy the small moments of every stage. Wishing away the difficult moments also mean wishing away the amazing ones.

11. There will always be crumbs on my floor no matter how often I sweep. Just when I think I've swept them all up, more crumbs magically appear.

12. That having a bad hour or a bad day doesn't make me a bad mom. We are raising tiny humans, of course there will be difficult moments. Having a rough day is normal and everyone has them, parent or not. For every difficult moment in my day there are a handful of moments that make me insanely happy. I've had to deal with some emotionally draining moments this year but I've also never laughed or smiled more in my entire life.

I know I have a long way to go in this parenting journey but so far I'm loving every second of it. What did you learn during your first year of parenthood?