christmas 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My new favourite photo is now this year's Christmas card. I just love it, there's a lot of love & joy in this picture.

Kyrani took the photos of the monkeys jumping of our bed, then we heading down to Jerhico Beach for some family photos. It was freezing, seriously cold.  For a west coast wimp like myself, I couldn't handle the -11 temperature.  Yes, it was a lovely day, perfect for photos but it wasn't long until the complaining started - we were barely out of the car! 

We were in the cold for about 25 minutes, there are lots of beautiful shots.  Poppy was the coldest and had a few tears but a warm bath and some hot chocolate when we got home fixed everything.  

santa 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some of my favourite photos of my brother and me are on Santa's lap, mostly because the Santa is crazy looking and it's hilarious. This Santa is sweet, we go back to Oakridge Mall every year to see Santa. Over the years we have had some tears but not this year.  The big guy was a hit.

hot chocolate for the holidays

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sometimes you just need to make some hot chocolate and get some cookies, my kids think its a good idea. I packed up the kids last weekend and took them over to photographer Kyrani from Kilk Photography's house. She has a lovely white kitchen, we thought we'd try for a family photo - clearly my husband is missing here so the plan failed.  We did get some fun shots though and no one complained about the large hot chocolate consumption.

My friend Shannon is opening her new bakery soon, Kat (amazing pastry chef) made these cookies - incredible and way too pretty to eat but we managed.  Watch for Liberty to reopen on Main Street soon, I can't wait to see what Shannon & Kat create!

The mugs, garland & glitter house are all local finds. I tend to start buying Christmas decorations early, then find myself with an overwhelming amount of treats that never seem to match. This is the problem when you don't have a plan and you just get what makes you happy. 

Happy is what I am, especially when I look at these pictures.  Happy Holidays. xx


Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's and love the men in your life. 

halloween 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!  

woodland picnic for glitter guide

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's been a while since I have posted, I promised myself I would post more often but life gets busy and my blog ideas pile up.  So here I am posting about a fun shoot I did three months ago - last August - for Glitter Guide.  A sweet woodland picnic...inspired by my love for all things Selina Lake
I thought it would be fun to head into the woods, just a few minutes from our home and set up a picnic using vintage finds, beautiful flowers and delicious food.  Cioffi's Meat Market & Deli supplied the charcuterie platter (it was amazing), Vancouver Pie Hole made the mini cherry pies (tiny & delicious), the flowers were from the Flower Factory (perfect as always) & that incredible cake was made by Coco Cake Land !
The kids were so excited to be in the forest (really just a wooded area near a busy park) felt magical, especially when we set up a hammock!  Beckett is playing Dave's childhood guitar.
We had a lot of sweet touches like the deer (I have a bit of a collection happening) from Heather Ross & the "Be Happy" banner was custom by Confetti & Sparkle (now hanging in Zoë's room).  I'm in love with the chair from The Cross - it's perfect - the pillows, birds, dishes and gold forks were also from The Cross.  My good friend Nikki Renshaw brought a carload of the baskets, vintage throws, books...her eye is incredible. 
This tiffin carrier is so good.  We filled it with berries, wouldn't it be fun to pack a lunch in? It's from The New Domestic.

It really was a lovely day...if only this was reality!  Ha!  Quite a lot of fun to put together...all made possible with help from my friends...Nikki, Linnea, Emily Jo & Olivia.  Kyrani Kanavaros photographed the entire afternoon....I could post a lot more photos!!
I'm a big fan of vintage wooden crates, we have them all over the house filled with toys - they are prefect for Beckett's HotWheels collection!  These ones are from Stepback
It's hard to believe we did this three months ago, feels like yesterday.  The great thing about picnics is they aren't just for could easily do this in fall...I better hurry before the rain really starts here in Vancouver!
I have decided that I need a hammock in my life...this one is from Target. The pillow is The Cross and the bedding (sigh) is St. Geneve and very dreamy.
Happy trails.  xx

cherry vanilla pie

Saturday, August 30, 2014

When I was planning my woodland picnic I really wanted to have mini cherry pies.  I called Jenell from The Pie Hole and she created these little beauties...they are so yummy. Jenell was kind enough to share the recipe - happy baking!

Crust Ingredients
2 cups of AP flour
1 tbsp of sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup of butter
1 tbsp white vinegar

1. Mix flour, sugar and salt together.
2. Cut frozen cube chunks of butter with pastry knife until butter is approximately pea size chunks.
3. Slowly add ice cold water infused with the white vinegar, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together. Chill until ready to roll.
4. Let dough cool in the fridge for at least 30 mins.
5. Roll chilled dough and place into pie plate.

Filling Ingredients
3 pounds sweet BC cherries, pitted
1 vanilla bean
3 tbsp arrowroot flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Wash cherries well. For smaller mini pies, cut cherries in half.
2. Slice the vanilla bean open using the tip of a pairing knife and gently scrape the vanilla bean seeds out.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cherries, vanilla, arrowroot, sugar and salt. Mix well with  large spoon gently pressing some of the cherries to release some delicious juice! Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes. 
4. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared pie shell leaving a 1" overhang. Cover with pastry, and pinch to create a decorative edge.
5. Whisk egg and brush the top of the pastry evenly covering all surface area. Sprinkle with sugar and cut several 1" slits for venting. Place in the oven for 10 minutes at 400F and then lover to 350 for an additional 35-40 minutes.

all photos by Kyrani at Kilk Photography
Cool, and enjoy!!!!

poppy's 4th birthday party

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Poppy loves My Little Pony, so thinking of a theme for her 4th birthday party was easy. Rarity is her favourite, with Pinkie Pie a close second - Twilight Sparkle is right in there too.  I can name all the ponies. True story. 

Where would we be without Auntie Denise? We actually start thinking of party ideas months in advance, this one was a lot of fu.  Denise made the cake and cupcakes....together we made all the other food.  The Whisk did the cookies, how sweet is the cutie mark on the number 4 cookie?  If you don't know what a cutie mark is you can read more here. Important stuff.


beckett's 7th birthday party

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's hard to believe that Beckett is seven!! When I was tossing around ideas for Beckett's party I realized that I had already thrown him a party for each of his favourite things. Thomas - check,  dinosaurs - check, cars - check, hot wheels - check. Dave suggested we just have a party to celebrate 7...a good old-fashioned, themeless party.  Perfect.

Once again my good friend Denise (or Auntie Denise) made the cake and food, she likes to remind me that she's a realtor not a baker. Her cakes are insanely delicious, if this realtor thing doesn't work out...right, she's an amazing realtor. Kyrani from Klik Photography took all the photos, best decision I ever made was to have someone capture all the moments. The cookies are from The Whisk, always amazing. 

We hired Bell E. Buttons to face paint and perform some magic tricks, the kids loved the show. He kept them entertained and laughing for a couple of hours, it was great. From these photos it looks like it's just us as the party but we had friends and family over! 

It was a great time, I love birthday parties and from the looks of it - so do my kids! 

zoë's 5th birthday party

Monday, April 21, 2014

While I'm on a roll of birthday party's Zoë's 5th birthday party - we went with a Fairy theme. The school year had just started and as much as Zoë wanted to invite everyone, I talked her into a small gathering at home.  I realize that hosting birthday parties at home is coming to an end...I really don't want it to - I love having them at home.
Auntie Denise made the cake...a masterpiece in all it's purple/lavender ombre glory. The cupcakes were from Sweet Bake Shop and the cookies were once again from Whisk. I bought the marshmallows at Butter Baked Goods, Denise made the squares and my mom made the tea sandwiches. It was a rainy day & surprisingly dark outside for late September. All of the photos are by Kyrani Kanavaros.
It was a great day and fun to look back on these photos. I'm already planning this year's birthday parties, just tossing the ideas around in my head...hoping I can squeeze in one more year at home! xx

poppy's 3rd birthday party

Aloha - it's about time I got around to posting Poppy's 3rd birthday party, it was only eight months ago! I'm not sure where the time goes but it sure goes fast. As you can probably gather from the above photos, we went with a Hawaiian theme - the party was in August so we felt pretty confident that we would have sunshine! As always, my good friend Denise made the cake - this time she did fondant (which non of the kids liked)...Denise always backs it up with cupcakes, so we were covered. My husband carved the watermelon (love it) and the cookies are from Whisk...the hula girls are too cute!
This was probably the easiest party to plan, it's colourful and fun. The food was pretty simple, we ordered sushi, prepared chicken skewers the night before and sprinkled the table with lots of sweet treats. All of the decorations, including the balloons are from The Party Bazaar. All of the Hawaiian birthday photos are by Joy Chen.

For Poppy's first birthday we invited the babies we knew that were born in her first year...we took a photo and have taken the same photo each year. They're getting tough to wrangle!

This is Poppy's first birthday....

Poppy's second birthday...
And Poppy's third birthday...

We had a great time, looking at these photos now reminds me how special the day was and how excited Poppy was to be turning three. They also make me long for summer again! Aloha.

happy world down syndrome day

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!  Just over six years ago I rarely thought about Down syndrome, I didn't know anyone with Down syndrome and if I did see someone, I never went out of my way to interact with them.  I was uninformed and scared.  Today it's different, I'm a new person and a little bit of an expert when it comes to Down syndrome!  Beckett has changed everything, in a good way.

I often wonder if some people think I'm full of it when I say that Beckett has changed our lives for the better. In my experience, I was told so many negative things about Down syndrome and constantly reminded of what Beckett wouldn't do...of course I was sad in those early days.  Actually, I was terrified, and why wouldn't I be?  I was bombarded with so much unnecessary garbage, all the photos I looked at of children with Down syndrome in pamphlets were outdated and unflattering. I get it, Beckett won't drive, have children, live on his own - blah, blah, blah.  When people heard of Beckett's birth most were inclined to say "sorry" instead of "congratulations"...there is nothing to be sorry for, we are the lucky ones. We really are.

I can't tell you how many new parents I have spoken to over the past six years, honestly I have lost count. I have talked to women in their hospital beds holding their hours old baby, women who have just found out they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome, women crying because their husbands had one foot out the name the situation - I have talked to them.  I tell them all the same's going to be okay - I promise.  

It will be okay and I really do promise. Down syndrome does not cross our minds on a daily basis, yes Beckett is a slower to develop when it comes to speech and toilet training and a few other things. We have had more appointments for this sweet boy than we ever imagined but we're used to it.  We know what it's like to be on a wait list, and I'm clear on what it means to be an advocate.  We can't imagine life without his bright smile (toothless right now), his hearty laugh and his charismatic glow.  Beckett is empathetic, smart and ambitious. We love him so much our hearts could seriously burst. 

Some may look at Beckett or another child with Down syndrome and think they are not perfect, they are flawed.  Here's a news flash, perfect doesn't exist and even if it did - how terribly boring.  If you are looking for perfect, you will be looking for a long time. What a shame to miss the real beauty in life, we are all unique - we all have a story to share.

It really would have been nice if in those early days someone told me all the wonderful things Beckett will do and what an amazing person he will become. I get why 90% of women who find out they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome terminate the pregnancy (this number is widely reported), there is so much negativity and fear. 

It's 2014 and we have come a long way. We don't throw a child with Down syndrome into an institution anymore (at least not where I live) - although it wasn't long ago in Canada that we did. A child that is loved and nurtured like their typical siblings thrives.  I find at times there is still a bit of negativity when meeting with some health care professionals, we have crossed paths with a few who are stuck in the sixties - the good news is, we just move on and find someone new.  We find someone who sees what we see, a beautiful, charming, bright boy....who happens to have an extra chromosome.   

Of course there are challenges, there always are - with every child.  I'll never forget our first meeting with our Geneticist, he said to me "Tamara, in the grand scheme of things Down syndrome is not a big deal" - it was to me and I was very confused by his comment.  I get it now, compared to the thousands of horrific diseases and challenges a person can have - Down syndrome is not so bad.  He was being kind and trying to let me know that we were going to be fine and we are. 

So today on March 21st (everyday for our family) we celebrate that extra chromosome with World Down Syndrome Day, a day to raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome and most importantly - how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.  Next time you see someone with Down syndrome say hello, I guarantee they will say hello back and smile. 

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day please click here.