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Love. Create. Celebrate. : October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brain Blood Clot Hallowe'en Cupcakes

How does that cupcake look?!?
Frightfully delicious? It should! 

We were challenged to bring a "spooky snack" to our work potluck on Hallowe'en and I was very tempted by this spooky looking recipe.
Brain cupcakes with blood clots on the inside :) 

Here's some pics of the baking process: 

Each cupcake was baked with jam in the middle, and then topped with homemade buttercream icing. 
I tinted the icing so that it was a nice pinkish colour using red and brown gel food colouring. 
Next time I would use a jam that's a bit runnier... bloodier when the cupcakes open up! 

All ready for work :) They were well received! 

And here are some pics of the other creative treats brought to work! 
Witches hat cheese ball, pumpkin puking spinach dip, cheesy spider chip dip, spooky chocolate chip cookies, mummy cupcakes, & more! 


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

For your viewing pleasure... 
here are the lovely jack-o'-lanterns that the husband and I made :) 


His Dodge Ram:

My Daisy the Rottweiler:

 Both pumpkins in their dark glory :)

Hope you have a frightfully wonderful Hallowe-en! 


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

New Tabs!


For those of you that didn't notice.... which is probably all of you, lol... I added a couple of tabs! 

If you look at the top you will see the Blog tab, and the About Me tabs which have always been there. 

 I recently added two new tabs. A Why Love, Create, Celebrate? tab, which is meant to tell new followers why I named my blog what I named it. 

And a Close to My Heart tab to highlight some of the great scrapbooking materials I use and sell regularly.
Check them out! 


Remember when I set my 13 of 13 goal list.... 
...and thought that it would be a feat to write 100 blog posts in a year....

...and thought I had done the impossible!

And now we are at 200! 
How did I accomplish that?? 
I guess that I enjoy this blogging world a lot more than I thought I would :)


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Garden Carrot Spiced Muffins

Still have garden carrots waiting to be used?
We did! So I made muffins :) 
Delicious muffins with some whole wheat flour, oats, and a hint of spice.


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (plus a bit more for topping)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup milk
3/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease 12 cup muffin pan (or use cupcake wrappers).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk until all ingredients are mixed. Stir in the carrots. 
  5. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups. Cups should be filled almost to the top. top with a sprinkle of oats.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffin tops spring back when poked and a toothpick comes out clean. 


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Friday, October 25, 2013

To Doula or Not to Doula

... that is the question... 


28 weeks.
I'm starting to panic realize that there are only a couple months left of this pregnancy.
Only a couple months to think about births. Complications. Breastfeeding. Family. Support.
 Am I ready? I don't feel ready! I don't feel prepared at all!
I'm ok with the motherhood part, but as a first time mother, the birthing part remains a huge mystery.
Then I went to a Mommy themed trade show in Grande Prairie and found out that there are doula's that practice in Alberta, and better yet in Grande Prairie!
I knew of many women who used Doulas when I lived in Ontario, and raved about the results, but I was under the impression that they didn't exist here. Although I was correct in assuming that there are no Midwives here (AB is faaaar behind Ontario!), I was wrong about the doulas.
Thinking that this may calm my nerves, I contacted the Doula Collective in Grande Prairie and I'm on my way to meeting a few Doulas and learning if the process is right for me or not.

Why a Doula?
For me it comes down to two main reasons: 1) Knowledge and 2) Support.
Firstly, maybe it's just because I'm a first time mama, but I feel a bit lost. Am I thinking about everything? Researching the right things? Finding the right sources? Am I an informed mama? Do I know my birthing options? Choices? Do I even know what all these things mean?!?
From what I'm heard...  Doulas can and will equip you with this type of information - yay!
Secondly, I start to freak out a bit when I think about the fact that my mama doesn't live here, and my best friends don't live here, and people that I want to call and ask questions to have real lives that don't revolve around me... who do I have to support me when this baby is coming?
Enter doula. Apparently these ladies can help provide the support that I'm looking for. They support you before, during, and after birth. Comfort me the way a close friend would. Give my husband a break. Ease my anxiety by explaining new concepts, etc. to me.

So far it all sounds great!
We are still on the fence though... there is a cost involved, and the cheap/stubborn side of me thinks "Lots of other ladies did this on their own - I should be able to do it too!"

So this is where I'm stuck: to doula or not to doula.
Hopefully my meetings and my husband will point me in the right direction :)


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall DIY Crafts

Just wanted to highlight a couple of the crafts I made this year to celebrate the fall season :) 
Each of these was done on a very limited budget and/or used items that I already had in my cupboard/craft storage! 

Fall Popcorn Candles

Crafts actually don't get easier than this! All I did was put popcorn kernels around some orange candles. Added the perfect touch to my mantle!

Fall Cinnamon Candles

This one is a bit more complex, but still very easy!

Tools: mason jars, cinnamon sticks, glue gun, unscented candles. (and anything you want to embellish with)

Instructions: Use the hot glue gun to adhere cinnamon sticks to outside of jars. Add candles inside. Decorate as you wish!

I chose to use a thick ribbon, and jute string to decorate them. BONUS: when you light them, you get a faint cinnamon smell wafting through your home :)

Mason Jar Lid Pumpkin

Again... super easy and self explanatory! 

Tools: mason jar lids. Felt (or anything for leaves), Cinnamon sticks. String to attach lids. 

Instructions: Gather old mason jar lids in a row so they fit neatly into one another. Tie them all together at the centre using string (I used jute string). Cut felt to resemble leaves. Put felt leaves and cinnamon sticks into centre to resemble the prefect stem! (you can hot glue them on if you wish).

Ta-Da! Simple fall crafts!


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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mama Update

This mama-to-be is now a whopping 28 weeks pregnant. 
Where has that time gone?! I feel like it's FLOWN by! 

The nursery is starting to take shape, and soon will be ready for my favourite part - decorating!
I can't wait to arrange furniture, and design picture frames, and make crafts, and rearrange furniture.

As the days go on, my discomfort is definitely starting to increase. I still haven't experienced any nausea or sickness, but this baby belly is starting to get inconvenient, lol. 
Walking for half an hour (which I do almost daily!) is becoming more effortful - my lungs may actually be getting smaller.... Bending down to put on shoes or dog leashes is less easy.... Going to the washroom every 30 minutes is definitely not convenient (especially if you're mid-walk!)... and the twinge of heartburn here and there is not enjoyable either (I've only had it a couple of times, but that was enough for me to have many sympathies for those that have it their whole pregnancy!) I feel like I can't win. If I sit too long, stand too long, walk to long, etc. I'm starting to feel the effects on my body. Those effects are mostly limited to feeling like I need to stretch out my lower back somehow (insert baby-friendly cat and cow yoga moves!), but I anticipate more changes in the next couple months.

It's not all bad though!
My belly is big enough now that people for sure know that I am pregnant (not just gaining weight...), and I love the comments about my "cute" baby belly :)
And little baby V is moving Every. Single. Day. All day long. It's unbelievable every time I feel the baby move. Mr. A has been able to feel movements for a couple of weeks now too, making it more real for him. I think he may be getting annoyed by me constantly asking him to put his hand on my belly, lol. But these experiences will only last for a couple more months, and I don't want him to ever say he doesn't remember feeling the kicks - it's so unbelievable! 

Doctor says my baby is growing well. Perfect belly size. Good weight gain. Good blood pressure. No gestational diabetes (although I still had to endure that glucose test.. ugh.).
I am happily enjoying this pregnant period of my life :)


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Warm Tomato Soup Weekend

This past weekend was the exact kind of weekend where you want to make a big bowl of warm tomato soup :) Soup that's even more glorious because the fresh tomatoes were straight from our own garden! 
It was a weekend that made me want to cozy up inside in the evenings and take nice strolls during the day. Baking. Reading. Watching movies. Popcorn and wine with (de-alcoholized of course!). Things that allow me to zone out the rest of the world for a bit and just plain relax.

Now this didn't mean I totally dropped any agenda. Still met with some friends for tea. Still had lunch with our small group. Still visited with family.
But I didn't have an agenda. Having a weekend without any "To-Do" lists floating around my head or any goals that are getting finished is unheard of for me!
I love having goals and agendas most of the time, but every once in a while I would just like to sit down with some warm home-made tomato soup and relax :)

The puppies clearly took the hint from me that this was a weekend to relax.
They had no trouble joining in :)

Now that my relaxing is done, it's time to start my weekly "to-do" list! 


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumn Musings

Up in northern Alberta we can already tell that our Autumn days are numbered. 
Is there any place on Earth that has Fall for 6 months a year instead of Winter??
If such a place exists I would like to move there... 

I just l-o-v-e this season.
I will soak up a nice walk in this weather whenever I get the chance... although my current circumstances (i.e. being pregnant) seem to limit the amount of walking time I can handle... especially when you stop at Starbucks first! 

I also determined that this is Joop's favourite season. That little dog kicks leaves up every chance he gets! Although I will say that he's equally excited to go for a walk at any other time of the year.

Sunny skies. Warm drinks. Energetic puppies. Beautiful scenery. Handsome husband. Gorgeous colours. No wind. Plenty to be thankful for on these Autumn days. 
Here are some pictures of what we happily soaked up during our fall stroll:


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