We threw my son’s 1st Birthday party a few weeks before he actually turned one. I promised my husband I would keep it simple this year… (Apparently I have a tendency to go overboard… lol!) Both my boys are summer babies which is fantastic because it makes it easy to have a pool or beach party and keep the chaos outside! This post is for the parents like myself that cannot necessarily afford to purchase lavish cakes, decorations and catering for their parties. Absolutely no offence to anyone who does, it is just not in my budget! Trust me, I love reading about and seeing pictures of the extravagant parties! I just wanted to share some pictures from his birthday to show that you can throw a cute Do It Yourself party without spending a fortune. The kids had a blast which is really the most important part right?!
We call him our little Beast, so I decided to go with a Monster theme this year:
Disclaimer: this wasn’t how I originally planned the cake to look, however icing the cake in 30 degree weather proved a little difficult and it started to melt a bit… lol!
Crafts for the kids… Build a monster! Free printable from somewhat simple.
Photo booth props that I ordered from Etsy (also used these to decorate the monster punch & anything else that needed eyes or a scary mouth!
Mini monster jello. Plastic cups & eye stickers from the Dollar Store
I made this Monster ONE sign with some crafts from the Dollar Store & Michaels
Happy Monday everyone! We made this plum cake a few weeks back (twice actually because it got inhaled the first time… lol!) It is just too good not to share 🙂 Let me know if you have a chance to try it!
My husbands German plum-cake recipe, just like Oma and Opa used to make!
Start with the simple dough recipe:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup of butter (3/4 a stick)
a pinch of salt (1/16 teaspoon)
Mix the above ingredients into a bowl, cutting the butter into small chunks.
Milk (read below)
In a small measuring cup, crack the egg, and then fill to 1/2 cup with milk. As the size of eggs can vary, it works out roughly to 3 oz of milk. Beat the egg and milk together.
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mixed together to make your dough.
18 – 20 plums (late summer, fall fresh picked Italian Plums) cut into quarters, pit removed.
Spread the dough over a thin cookie sheet. The dough is supposed to be thin, similar to a thick crust pizza. Layer the plum quarters on top, overlapping each row cut side up.
Bake at 350 to 360 degrees for an hour, edges should be golden brown
Remove from oven, and let sit for 5 minutes, you’ll notice the plums will start sweating, at that point sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of sugar on top. This adds a nice contrast to the tart of the plums with some sweetness!
This is a really delicious cake and it definitely does not last very long in our house!! Hope you enjoy 🙂
I love summer so much but one of the things I enjoy about the beginning of Fall is taking the kids apple picking 🙂 We are lucky enough to have a couple local farms to choose from. Our first trip this year was to Willow View Farms. We actually managed to get there on opening day for apples and plums. It is such a fun place to visit. There is the cutest little general store where you can get delicious apple cider slushies, pies, syrups, fresh corn, potatoes, adorable crocheted toques and so on! Later into the fall there is a petting zoo, hayrides and a pumpkin patch that opens so you can guarantee this won’t be our last trip of the season. We usually visit quite a few times as the kids love running around, picking their own fruit (and later choosing their pumpkins), feeding the chickens and petting all the animals! It is a great place for a family outing, you can easily make a day of it. There is a covered picnic area where you can bring lunch and a big climb on play area for kids. I love this farm because it is family run and you do not have to pay any sore of admission to get in, you just pay for the fruit you pick.
*Update: Since I wrote this post, Willow View Farms actually had a devastating fire that destroyed their country store and cooler building!! They have managed to reopen for U-pick, but if you are thinking about visiting I would recommend checking out their website for updates! Wishing them a speedy rebuild! They can probably use local support now more than ever 🙂
We threw my son’s first birthday party a couple of weekends ago. I felt that I needed to make my girlfriends something yummy to drink to thank them for coming to celebrate with us on a beautiful, sunny Summer Saturday so I whipped up a big batch of pink sangria. Being as it was a huge bowl that we were not able to get through, there was a bit leftover so I decided to turn it into “adult popsicles!”
Bottle of Wine
3 cups of Vodka
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
4 cups of water (to cut some of the sweetness)
2 cans of lemon Sanpellegrino- I like it to have a bit of fizz
1 frozen can of juice (I used Strawberry Fruitpoia because that is what I had in my freezer!)
(Please remember this made a GIANT punchbowl full of Sangria!)
Place all of your berries in a bowl & pour vodka overtop (I like to leave my fruit to soak overnight in the fridge)
In a large punch bowl (or pitcher) pour in the wine
Add fruit mixture & vodka to your bowl
Pour in frozen juice, water & sanpellegrino
Stir to mix all the yumminess together & enjoy over ice!
I’ve found that sangria will usually keep for up to 48 hours in the fridge, but in this case I had just enough to pour it into 6 popsicle molds…. They were delicious and super simple to make! The only tricky part was explaining to my children why they couldn’t eat “Mommy’s popsicles”… lol!
What better thing to do on a beautiful Friday afternoon then have a delicious lunch with a couple of my best girlfriends at one of our local wineries?! Maybe follow that lunch up with a wine tasting? Sounds like a plan! That is exactly what I was fortunate enough to do a few weeks back and it was fabulous. My two girlfriends and I met up at the Bacchus Bistro at the Chaberton Estate Winery. We sat out on their lovely little back patio in the sunshine with a glass of wine and a light lunch. When we finished up our meals we unanimously decided that we were not finished visiting yet and should probably stroll over to the wine shop and do a quick tasting ;))
For the wine tasting you get to choose from 4 of their available offered monthly selections for a fee of $5.00. Upon purchase of a bottle, the fee is waived. I am a fan of sweeter white wines and their Reserve Siegerrebe is one of my favourites! Quite honestly, I enjoy most of their wines. Let’s just say I have yet to pay the tasting fee on any of my visits as I tend to leave with a few bottles in hand! Chaberton is one of my favourite local spots to go.
I have a couple more wineries close to home that I plan to visit before the summer is over… Stay tuned!
If you have any favourite sweeter whites or Rosés to suggest to me, I am always looking for new favourite wines!
My husband recently returned from a work trip. When I asked what the best part of his trip was, he told me that it was being introduced to the Kentucky Mule… not exactly the response I was expecting! I thought he might actually mention something work related… lol! Neither of us had heard of this drink before. A Kentucky Mule is a take on the popular and delicious Moscow Mule which I was already well acquainted with ;)) It is a super refreshing drink that consists of ginger beer, lime, mint and vodka. To switch it from a Moscow to a Kentucky, all you have to do is substitute Bourbon for Vodka.
Fresh mint leaves
Bourbon (it’s a Kentucky Mule after all)
Throw some mint leaves and 1/2 of a lime into a shaker and muddle together
Add ice, along with 1 oz to 1 1/2 oz of bourbon, then give a good shake to mix all those flavours together
Pour into a copper mug
Add 4 to 5 oz of your favourite chilled ginger beer
Garnish with a few mint leaves and a lime wedge
Hopefully you have a chance to enjoy this delicious & refreshing drink this summer!
My girlfriends and I are always looking for fun restaurants and activities for when we get to steal a couple of hours away from our beloved children. A few weeks ago one of them suggested we should go cider tasting sometime. I didn’t even realize that there was a local cidery where we could do that… I love cider, so imagine my excitement! Turns out that I am not super out of the loop…. the Cidery only opened their doors in May 2016 and I have been pretty tied up the last few years having babies… lol. Well wouldn’t you know, the stars aligned for us and we were able to both have a few hours free on a beautiful Sunday morning. We decided this would be the perfect opportunity to make a trip to the Fraser Valley Cider Company! The moment we walked in I knew that I was in love. The tasting room was full of rustic charm and so many cute details. The tasting was a good deal as well… only $4.00 or waived if you purchased a bottle (which obviously we did!) The staff was so lovely and knowledgeable and the ciders were seriously delicious. We decided to order a charcuterie plate and a bottle of the Rosy (a raspberry infused cider) and sat outside in the picnic area to enjoy it. An added bonus is that everything they offer to eat and drink is locally sourced… as I love to shop local & support small businesses!
We both loved the ciders we tasted and had such an awesome time there. If you are looking for something fun to do one weekend (they are currently only open Friday, Saturday, Sunday) I definitely recommend a trip to the Fraser Valley Cider Company! My husband had asked me to bring him home a bottle of my favourite… I couldn’t decide so I had to buy one of each… lol. With the exception of the sold out Elderflower Cider… they were just in the middle of brewing a new batch. Guess I will have to make another trip back soon….. ;))
Once in a while you come across a recipe that is so delicious that you cannot believe it is low fat…. this is NOT that recipe… lol! That being said, it is sinfully delicious and worth every decadent calorie I promise! You have to indulge on occasion right?! It is a simple recipe (only 3 ingredients & 4 steps) to make Nutella Ice Cream and you can do it without an ice cream maker. My children (and hubby!) seriously go crazy for it. It is easy enough that the oldest two kids love helping me make it.
2 cups whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup Nutella
Whip the cream
Mix / whisk the condensed milk & Nutella together
Fold the Nutella mixture into the whip cream until it forms a smooth consistency
Scoop your mix into a freezer safe container, and place in your freezer for at least 7 hours
(See what I mean? My husband snuck a spoonful before I could even take the picture!!!)
This mixture could also be placed into the fridge and served as a chilled mousse, however frozen it is an incredibly smooth ice cream.
If you like a little texture in your ice cream, feel free to add a few chopped peanuts, or hazelnuts when folding in the Nutella with the whip cream.
One of our favourite Spring/ Summer activities to do as a family is to go strawberry picking. We are pretty lucky where we live, in that we have a few local fields to choose from. So far this year we have only made it to Krause Berry Farms as the U-Pick fields were delayed due to the extended cold and wet weather we were having earlier here in the lower mainland. My oldest son LOVES berries and digging in the dirt, so it is literally one of the perfect activities for him. It is a great way to get the kids outside and they love knowing that they are eating the strawberries they picked themselves!
I seriously love these overalls & I own this tank in almost every colour… :))
Another great thing about most U-Picks is they have expanded beyond just berry picking. Krause for instance, has a winery and restaurant, market (if you prefer to buy already picked berries) bakery and playground for the kids. We can easily spend a few hours there! I am looking forward to whipping up all sorts of yummy things with all of our fresh berries, stay tuned!
I would love to hear what some of your favourite family friendly activities are if you want to leave me a note in the comments.
Last summer while I was pregnant with my second baby, it felt like all of my girlfriends spent the sunny nights sitting on patios drinking delicious, boozy cocktails right in front of me! OK, they weren’t actually that cruel to do it intentionally, but flipping through Instagram while I was 8 months along taking solace next to my air conditioner at home it sure felt like it… lol! So you know what I am going to be doing on the hot summer nights this year? Drink delicious, boozy cocktails on patios… yippee!!!!!! This being said, I am still a mother to three young children, so I most likely will not be out drinking these delicious concoctions on restaurant patios, but on my own deck at home after my precious babes are in bed. This is where my new favourite cocktail comes into play… Frosé! (also knows as Frozen Rosé.) This yummy drink is super easy to make and requires very few ingredients. It does require a bit of pre planning in that you have to freeze your wine the night before.. or at least the morning of. I am a rosé lover so this particular cocktail is right up my alley! I have seen a few different recommended ways to make this beautiful, pink adult slushy and have experimented and tweaked it to my personal preference below…
1 750 ml bottle of Rosé wine (remember, the colour will lighten during the freezing process so I prefer to choose a bottle that is a darker pink to start)
1 oz of Vodka
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of strawberries
1 oz of lemon juice
Pour rosé into ice cube trays (I have also seen it frozen in a ziplock bag, I personally prefer the ice cube route) & place in the freezer overnight (or for at least 8 hours)
Combine water & sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil & stir until sugar has dissolved
Add strawberries to the water/ sugar mix & place in fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes
Once cooled, strain the strawberry mixture to make your strawberry simple syrup
Place frozen rosé, vodka & 6-8 tablespoons of your simple syrup & lemon juice into a blender & mix until smooth
Ta-da! Now it’s time to enjoy your pretty pink, delicious adult slushy! This drink is seriously so yummy & surprisingly, not overly sweet :)) Pour into your favourite cocktail glasses & if you feel like jazzing them up, garnish with some strawberries, a mint leaf or a sparkly sugared rim!
While I was experimenting with this recipe I also had raspberries on hand so I tried a simple syrup made with them instead of strawberries, it was also delicious. I plan to play around with other fruit combinations this summer so I will keep you posted :))
I would love suggestions for other yummy summer cocktails if you want to leave me a note below!