Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Birthday Celebration

This weekend I got together with my precious group of Dunbar Mommas to celebrate my 39th birthday which is coming up in a couple of days.  I had put in a special request to head out to a lovely Langley winery, Domaine de Chaberton, for a birthday lunch so we all piled into Christina's car and headed out to Langley for the most beautiful afternoon together.

The winery was beautiful, leaves changing colour and beautiful vines to overlook from the dining room.  We enjoyed a beautiful meal paired with glasses of wine from the winery and had a lovely visit together for the first time in what seemed like forever.

The ladies gave me a very special gift this year, a recipe box filled with all of their favourite recipes hand written on beautiful cards along with a hand written card from each of them expressing how much they each loved me.  It was so precious!  In the bottom of the box was a gift certificate for Etsy, one of my favourite online shops, I can't wait to spend it!

What a beautiful time together celebrating my birthday.  I felt so special and loved.

After lunch we headed to the wine shop for a wine tasting and came home with a few bottles each of our favourite wine.  It was delightful!

Sydney decided that she was going to paint my new recipe box this morning, she did the most amazing job!!

When I arrived home from lunch Sydney came running to the front door with a gift bag that she had put together all on her own with a card and a little gift for me.  She and Daddy had popped to the Body Shop together while I was out so that she could buy me a little something, a super yummy smelling strawberry bath set.  It was so sweet to see how she had put it all together!

Sydney is obsessed with leaves these days, she collects them by the bag fulls and is enjoying making many new fall crafts.

I took a few moments out this week to head to a shop I rarely get to, Pier 1 Imports, to spend the birthday money that my Mom and Dad sent me in the mail.

I had such fun looking around the shop at all of the gorgeous things and came away with four beautiful things for myself, a new bumble bee mug for my tea, a gorgeous turquoise scarf and earrings to match and a new journal.

This week we so enjoyed celebrating Rosh Hashanah together with Paul's family and friends at the synagogue.  We had dinner at Danny and Heidi's home and lunch at Elaine's house both days after services.  It was meaningful to spend time with family this year.

Syd's school had their very own Terry Fox run this week at school.  Syd loved that she could wear her exercise clothes to school instead of her uniform and had great fun practicing her running in the back yard.

This weekend has been about rest and recovery after a long and busy week with another one ahead! 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A New Year

Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  As with any new beginning, I often take some time to take stock of the past year and think about what's to come.  This month has been a hard one between losing Paul's Mom, Sydney starting Kindergarten and having to work full days at Paul's office, it has taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally.  I'm hoping that all of our bad luck is behind us and that the year ahead is filled with many blessings.

Here's a few happy moments from the past week:

Little Chef

Sydney still loves creating her own dishes in the kitchen alongside me while I'm making dinner.  Her latest creations all seem to be salad dressings of some sort or another.  This one in particular had almond milk, dill, peanuts, dried apricots, coconut and a Pocky just for good measure!

Fruit Basket

At the end of a long week at Paul's office last week we got the nicest surprise on Friday afternoon, a lovely box of fresh fruit delivered to us from one of Paul's colleagues.  What a treat to have fresh pears, nectarines, peaches and more to munch on throughout the weekend!

Art Class

Sydney is settling into a new season of art classes at 4 Cats again this fall.  She is doing the artist of the month series and this month they are learning about the Japanese artist Hokusai.  He used to dip the feet of chickens into paint and have them walk across his canvas to create art so the kids made a clay chicken in class this week.  It was pretty cute!

Dunbar Harvest Festival

Paul, Syd and I spent an afternoon wandering through our hood on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday taking in this year's Dunbar Harvest Festival.  We enjoyed the car show and Sydney had a great time playing games at different store fronts and collecting freebies along the way!

Riding Lessons

We had yet another sunny Saturday riding lesson, Sydney rode an old favourite pony this week, Becca Bear. 

Fall Collections

Syd is loving collecting all things fall these days.  She came home from a Sunday morning walk with Daddy with the best collection of things from outdoors.

Fall Crafts

We took some time to enjoy a nature walk on Sunday and collected leaves to make some beautiful fall crafts.  Our house is looking festive and ready to welcome autumn!

Shana Tova, may the year ahead be filled with health, happiness and love for you all!

Thursday, 18 September 2014


This week has been about a lot of transitioning for Sydney as she adjusts to going to full days of school.  I had envisioned the week being a quiet one where we got into bed early, had lots of leisurely time together before and after school and found our groove with this new schedule.  The best laid wasn't exactly that way.  There were three events that I had to attend at the school, plus workouts that I had to make up from the beginning of the month, a friend in town that I wanted to connect with, the start of Syd's swimming lessons and still working full days at Paul's office while we search for a new staff member.

My head is spinning with all that I've had to accomplish this week.  And as luck would have it, Sydney caught her first cold of the season too.  She is tired both from not feeling 100% and the long days at school.  It's been a full week that has left me wondering, is this going to be my life going forward with a school aged child, or are we just finding our footing?  Time will tell.

Last night I attended a session at Sydney's school with her teachers where they explained their curriculum and showed us what a day in her classroom looks like.  They weaved photos of the school day into the entire presentation and I was so happy to see Syd in so many of them, content and engaged and busily working away on projects and with her classmates.  It warms my heart to know that she is somewhere where she is happy and nurtured.

Syd came home with this note from school the other day that she had written:

"To Mommy + Daddy + Zach

 I love you Mommy + Daddy
Miss U Mommy
Love You Mommy
Love Sydney"

Sweet girl, she's thinking about me as much as I'm thinking about her throughout the day while we're apart!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

No Bake Energy Bites

With Sydney starting full days of Kindergarten I've been spending some time thinking about things that I can include in her lunch that are healthy and will keep her full and going for the six hours while she's at school.

Sydney is such a grazer.  She rarely eats a full meal, instead loves to snack on a different variety of food throughout the day.  She'll have a bowl of strawberries, then a few pieces of chicken, a slice of cheese a few minutes later, a handful of crackers and a yogurt tube over a period of about an hour and a half.  At the end of the day she's definitely getting something from every food group but it's hard to keep her grazing when she's in a classroom environment all day!

So I hit up the internet in search of new and interesting things that I could give her to eat and came across this great recipe for No-Bake Energy Bites.

These super simple treats are made from simple yet healthy ingredients and combined make a yummy treat that Syd can eat at any given point in the day.

Next time I make them I'm using WOW Butter instead of real peanut butter so that I can actually send them to school, the nut-free zone!

Here's the link to the recipe if you want to try them yourself, they are pretty delicious!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

First Week of Kindergarten

Well it's official, Sydney is a school girl!  We just finished up her first week of Kindergarten and I couldn't be more proud of her.  In five short days she has adjusted so beautifully to her new school and space.

This week was gradual entry, meaning Sydney was in school from 8:30 until 1:00 instead of the usual 8:30 to 3:00 that she will be next week.  The teachers asked for the parents to stay for the first half hour of each day this week to help the girls transition into class before ringing a bell to signal that the girls were meant to gather on the carpet for their morning meeting.

Every morning when we arrived at school there would be a little station set up on a placemat with each child's name with an activity to work on together.  Sydney loved roaming around the classroom to find her name and even took some time to decorate her name tag!

I loved watching how adeptly Sydney completed each of the assignments with little to no help from me!  She is going to rock this year, I can feel it now!

The first few goodbyes this week were hard for her, there were tears and a hundred hugs and some stressful moments, but by day number three she bravely sat next to her teacher in the circle and watched as I waved goodbye.  She is feeling more comfortable by the day, I can feel it!

Syd came home at the end of the week with a giant ziploc mail bag filled with her work from the week, some beautiful artwork and her PS Book, a poem and story book, that she is meant to share with us once a week.  Inside the book this week was a beautiful poem about the start of Kindergarten.

I am loving too how I can already feel myself starting to foster some great relationships with a few of the moms from her class as well.  It's slowly starting to feel like home.  It feels good!

A few other great moments from this week:

Fall has arrived!

We spent a bunch of time last week setting up some fall decorations around the house and doing a few fall crafts together.

Fall is, hands down, my favourite season of the year and I love bringing a bit of it into our living space!

A Gondola Ride

This morning Sydney and I took a ride up to Squamish to meet up with my cousin Melanie and ride the brand new Sea to Sky gondola.  This very cool ride takes you thousands of feet up to the summit of a mountain where there is the most amazing view, restaurant, gift shop, suspension bridge and trails.

We had lunch together basking in the sun on the patio before braving the suspension bridge and wandering along a few of the trails.

Melanie's fiance, Randy, works at the gondola so I had the chance to meet him for the first time too.  It was a very special day spending time with Melanie and catching up together.

Riding Lessons

Sydney has started another round of riding lessons for the fall on Saturday afternoons along with her friend Emma.  She was so thrilled to be back in the saddle and that Daddy could come along to watch her ride!

Noa's Birthday

Last Sunday we had the pleasure of celebrating Sydney's buddy Noa's 5th birthday with her at a party at her home.  The kids played games and had pizza and snacks in Noa's treehouse before having cupcakes and opening presents together.  What a fun time celebrating a precious friend!

Flowers from Jenny

My sweet friend Jennifer gave me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers this week out of the blue when Sydney came over to play with Julia.  Totally brightened my day!

Art Class

Sydney's fall art classes have started up again, this morning was her first one in the artist of the month series.  They are learning about the Japanese artist Hokusai and started their canvas inspired by his art today. 

I am feeling weary after a long week working full days at Paul's office covering for his receptionist who has just left to return to school.  Between working, transitioning Syd into Kindergarten, interviewing new candidates and keeping up with things at home there has hardly been a moment to myself and I am feeling it.  I am in awe of my own Mom and the many other working Mommas out there who swiftly manage working full time and balancing a home.  I felt like I failed at both this week, a ball was dropping at any given point as I madly tried to keep them all in the air.

Praying for easier days ahead and a wonderful new replacement at Paul's office so that I can get back into my usual rhythm and routine.

What a big week!