Inspiration 01

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Easy Stencil Hack to Create Second Breakfast (or any saying) on a Chalkboard

Alright project lovers gather ’round…

  1. Board (We used a chalkboard bought at Michael’s)
  2. Your Saying – computer with a cool font you like (We love Hobbits)
  3. Pencil (a softer lead if you can) and a Pen
  4. Paint Markers

I am a fantasy nerd and helped my Mom create the Second Breakfast idea for her kitchen..

STEP 1: Measure out your board and print out the correct sizing you need from your computer. (Word may work but I used an art program called Illustrator.)

STEP 2: Rub your pencil on the back of the print out. Then TAPE the paper down and trace the front with some fairly good pressure with a pen. This will create the letter outline for you to trace with the paint. (I forgot this on the first word and ended up having to redo it. You are welcome that I made that mistake so you don’t have to.) The photo has the pencil tracings but it is really hard to see. 😦

Step 1  Step 1a   Step 3

This create the stencil so you look like a pro.

STEP 3: To finish up the stencil, whip out the paint marker. Do a few test drives on a random piece of paper so you are comfortable with the flow. Note: it takes a while for the paint to come out so shake, shake, shake it and be patient.

Step 4: Trace the outlines, fill in, chose a different color if that is your jam and enjoy your beautiful piece of art.

Now time to have Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, or Supper!

STEP 4   Step 5   Step 6

 

Want a stencil? Here you go!

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The Best and Healthiest 3 Ingredient Pancake Recipe Ever

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I dare you to make these. Please. Everyone is on a health kick these days but the taste component seems to fall flat. I rediscovered these visiting my Mom. She used to make these for me when I was a kid. I didn’t have time for a gourmet photo, my 9 month old was too busy gobbling them up and I was busy helping her. They are great cold as well.

Into the whole baby lead weaning deal? These pancakes are great to add to your growing list of “holy crap my baby loves this” list. Usually my kiddo does NOT take food from me, but she was so excited she wouldn’t hold the pancake (see photo for proof.) It has such a light and fluffy texture and has that extra hit of protein you wouldn’t expect from a pancake with the eggs and cottage cheese.

The Best & Healthiest 3 Ingredient Pancake Recipe
3 Eggs
1/2 carton of cottage cheese (so about a cup)
3 tablespoons of flour

Additionally you could add a splash of vanilla and a squeeze of lemon or cinnamon or top with berries.

Mix well, fry in pan or griddle with butter or whatever sort of butter substitute that blows your skirt up.

Flying with a Baby – Tips & Such

Baby Flying Tips


So my kiddo is currently 9 months and she previously just hit her 18th flight, booking over 30,000 miles. Now unfortunately not all kids are built the same but here is my experience with a baby.

I was pretty terrified on our first flight but wanted to let you know it’s not as deadly or terrible as everyone emphasizes. First off, this is a temporary state, so even if you have a bad flight, and bad stuff does happens, it will be over soon.  It may feel like forever but it won’t last.

Okay, let’s see if I can summarize in bullet points because we all have nano second attention spans these days.

YOU CAN NEVER PACK ENOUGH DIAPERS
Now unless you have a direct flight and the weather is fabulous then maybe you can pass on this tip, but with canceled and delayed flights you NEVER want to be in a situation where you are staring at your last diaper in your bag. Pack more than you think, then pack a few more.

YOU CAN’T OVER PACK
I lug a full diaper bag and have my Boppy zipped in its plastic holder as a second carry on (which I shove extra diapers and blankets in with.) Then she goes in her stroller and we gate check the stroller. Isn’t all this manipulating a pain though? Not really. You have your arsenal with you for just-in-case incidents. Everything fits and I can carry everything easily. She sits in her stroller and the bags loop on the stroller. You will all be happier and more comfortable knowing it’s there if you need it. Trust. Me.

Why a Boppy? Can’t you just hold her? When you hold a sleeping child for 1-3 hours while she is snoozing, your body parts will fall asleep (arms, legs, fingers). The Boppy is like a little traveling/sleeping bed which allows both of you to chill more comfortably. Evie fell asleep once for 4 hours. The Boppy helped save my sanity and made both of us more comfortable. Other Mamas have told me that they just use the neck pillows but being in the 100th percentile for her size, that isn’t going to happen for us.

CHECKING ITEMS – WHAT FLYS FREE
Baby paraphernalia flies free. Stroller, Baby Car Seat, Baby Car Seat Base. You can check the carseat and car base *TIP (with most infant carseats you don’t need a base, you can just use a seat buckle to secure the carseat when traveling). These baby items don’t count as any of your checked bags.

CHANGING BABY ON AIRPLANE
Most airplanes actually have folding tables in the bathrooms. (Which I was made to believe by other people and online blogs that they don’t exist.) They are typically in the back of the plane but sometimes they will have the fold down tables in the front bathrooms as well. I’ve even changed her on our seat (with a diaper changing pad under her and my husband next to me. This was when she was about 3 months old during a 5 hour flight, sometimes you just don’t want to get up for the 7th time to change a wet diaper.

DURING THE FLIGHT
Sorry, bottle Mama’s, I’m not sure how to help because I didn’t have that experience. I support anyones decision on how they feed their baby, but I happened to go the nursing route. I LOVED it because for the first 7 months before she was truly mobile there wasn’t anything that a boob in the mouth couldn’t fix. Tired? Hungry? Need Comfort? Have a boob, fall asleep for a while. Boom. I always thought all kids had an issue with altitude but Evie never did. So there is hope for you yet. I always thought she would be a terror on each flight according to what others told me, but guess what? She’s good on the plane! She loves looking at people and making new friends.

FLIGHT ATTENDANTS
They are nice! They want to help you. It’s true.

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?
I always dress Evie in zipper PJ’s. Bring one or two backup depending on how messy your baby gets. It’s easy to change and her feet don’t get dirty. It also keeps her warm when sleeping.

It used to be a lot less but since she’s older this is what we currently roll with. I have found that toys don’ t really work. It’s the non-toys that do it. Since we do baby led weaning she’s a bit more into spoons and straws. Evie LOVES gnawing on a straw. LOVES IT.

Diapers, wipes (get the kind that can double as hand wipes and wipe your area down), PJ’s as an easy change of clothes, changing pad, teething toys, Baby Tylenol (never go on a plane without it), snacks, small water cup, back up bottle with some of Mom’s milk, a cardboard book to read, or chew on. Water bottle for you and scarf for you that can double as a blanket for baby.

Oh, yes, then you have your wallet, water bottle, phone, phone charger, earbuds (for incase she falls asleep) passports, documents

SNACKS
String cheese can last a while, chopped up oranges in a tupperware, blueberries, rice cake type snacks for something more to do than eat, those squeeze fruit/veggie bags are fantastic for traveling. She also loves hummus and most planes serve that with pretzels. I use the pretzel as a “spoon” and she’s eaten over half at times. We’ve packed fresh made pizza crust, since it takes a while to gnaw on and helps her gums when she teethes.

Evie likes ice from my complimentary drink and plays around with the cup as well.

Well, if I can think of anything else down the road I’m sure I’ll add it. What works for you?

American Expat Moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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I have recently found helpful blogs from other expats and decided to create a St. John’s, Newfoundland overview for future Americans to help give them a better overview of what you are coming into and what to expect. I am writing from my past experience and point of view and do not mean to offend anyone, but an honest opinion on my side is coming.

My husband moves every couple of years due to his job (it happens to many of us I know). We all know there are ups and downs in moving but I’d like to pass along my experience to make living up here more fun and finding fun a little easier to do, as well as give you feedback on what you are getting into.

St. John’s is a beautiful old town, but you’ve probably never heard of it. It is heavier on the Irish charm than the Canadian – accents, pubs, music etc. It’s right on the Atlantic Ocean and is considered one of the top eleven most colorful cities in the world. It also boasts of being the oldest city in North America. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and in the smack middle of nowhere. I used to think Kansas or Wyoming was in the middle of nowhere until I moved 800 miles ish north of Maine on an island. It’s all on your perspective and experience. It is definitely quirky and if you can brave the winters and have a bit of an adventuring spirit and curiosity, you’ll be just fine.

VIEWS
The views are breathtaking and we’ve heard a lot that “This here is God’s Country” from many locals. That’s something I can’t really argue if by God’s Country you mean an unending view of water, hills, forests, waterfalls, light houses, ocean, lakes, and a natural beauty that you don’t often see in other places. Being able to hike along a cliff overlooking the Atlantic is something spectacular. If you are a lover of the outdoors you are in for a spectacular treat. Summer is short, so get out while you can.

THE PEOPLE
There is an overall friendliness to this island. Checkout clerks will call you “love” and strangers are perfectly comfortable with striking up a conversation or asking if you need help. (An older gent was walking one day asked me if I wanted help shoveling my driveway in the winter.) Though I have found everyone to be quite pleasant, it was harder to me to make friends due to a feeling of everyone had their “group” they were used to. Which is understandable. Don’t give up! It does take a while to meet friends – tips on how to is yet to come. Their sayings are great. Check out Newfinese here.

FOOD
You are moving to Canada on an island up north so expect everything to be more expensive. Certain items will not be available over winter as well (mainly in the fruit and vegetable area.) I was floored in September when cherries were $9.00 lb and lobster was $7.00 lb. To add salt on the wound there is a 13% tax on everything. Winters can miss certain foods and a lot of items can be moldy or rotten in the rougher months. It. Is. Pricey.

SUPERMARKETS
There are of plenty of grocery stores here. Sobeys & Dominion are the main contenders. In my opinion, Dominion is a bit better and cheaper. I found my favorite place for produce to by Costco. The best Dominion location is across from Costco, they tend to have more sales. A few times they have “no tax” weekend (and at 13% sales tax that was a bargain.)  There are two great farmer’s markets that have the freshest produce at solid local prices. Ask a local, they are more than happy to tell you where to go.

HOMES
Garages are a rarity and many downtown are 50+ years old. There has been a boom since the oil industry has brought it back to life. (There was an over fishing crash and shut down in the 90’s.) New homes and new apartment complexes are rampant, so there may be an easier time of finding a rental if that is what you are looking for. There is no gas on the island (no forced heating) you will see mainly electrical base board heaters. Even if you do find a home outside of downtown don’t expect to get more than a one car garage.

MAIL
The postman won’t pick up your outgoing mail. You have to drop it off at the “Post”.

DOWNTOWN
George Street is the famous street here that is all bars (no cars are allowed to drive on this street.) It’s more of a college crowd and overpriced, but most things are overpriced in my view. $8 for a beer or the shots are measured out exactly, drinks are extremely weak. I’d avoid it and go elsewhere downtown. There is a plethora of local Irish music and live bands everywhere. There are art galleries to browse and small local shops good for window shopping.  The charm is thick since it’s the oldest city in North America, definitely not cookie cutter!

RESTAURANTS
Restaurants and pubs I’d recommend to  check out:
Gypsy Tea Room
Basho (sushi)
Grapevine (bar)
By the Beach on Portugal Cove has the best fish & chips
Jack Astors & Kelseys are chains and kid friendly
I never found the food to be all that great anywhere unless you pay a high amount downtown

SHOPPING / SHIPPING
You guessed it, limited and expensive. Most of my favorite U.S. sites won’t ship up by us.

Check out this very helpful link to just about everything.
http://www.stjohns.ca/living-st-johns/newcomers

I had more, but perhaps later gator.

 

What’s for Dinner?

We all have our favorite dishes. Maybe one day I’ll throw up a template to help you out, but for now here’s just an idea. Write or print off your favorite dishes and put them in a note card format. When you are stuck on WTF to buy at the grocery store or what to cook next, your little cards can save the week.

Throw them on a weekly calendar if you are feeling extra organized.

 

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