10.2.16

a day in HER life - Megan


Hi there! My name is Megan and I am a stay-at-home wife and mama in Portland, Oregon. My husband, Adam, divides his work-days between Seminary and our church. We have three littles (three and under); Elliot (3) Haddon (2) and Annie (1). As I thought about what day I would choose to share and what I wanted to convey from our life I felt overwhelmingly that I should share the mundane, ordinary, messy, boring and the simple beauty that makes up so much of our days. So, I chose a dreary, rainy Monday and I went with it.

6:00AM
Annie usually wakes up around this time to be nursed. Adam gets up, grabs her and brings her back to me before he starts getting ready for work. The goal here is to put her back in her crib and get up for the day. Ideally, shower, get some coffee, spend time with Adam and in God’s word…that didn't happen today. Adam put her back in her crib and I slept in a little longer.

7:15AM
It’s clockwork. The boys wake up at 7:15AM every day. Sometimes I’ll sit and watch the clock turn and I am amazed at how they start to stir as it reaches 7:15. And, sure enough, I am woken by their sweet and crazy little voices. I quickly jump out of bed because if I’m lucky, I can get them out of the room before they wake Annie. (Like Em, my three also all share a room!) I successfully take both boys into the living room, grab some coffee and we spend a little time snuggling and waking up while the boys tell me the dreams they had during the night.

The coffee (finally) kicks in and I muster up the strength to get into the kitchen and start breakfast. We almost always have a heaping bowl of oatmeal and a banana; today we did. As breakfast cooks and the boys play, I get ready for the day. Annie usually wakes up around this time and I bring her to the table and we all sit together and share our meal. Once we’re all done, the boys clear their places and head to their room to get dressed (Haddon still mostly needs help with this task, so he’ll usually brings me his clothes) as I do the dishes from breakfast and start our first load of laundry (including every child’s oatmeal-crusted pajamas).


Our Monday’s are almost always the same; it’s our catch-up day. I spend most of the day doing the family’s laundry, cleaning from the weekend, and planning out our week. As soon as the dishes are done and the first load of laundry is going, I go to get Annie dressed for the day. All three of the kids spend some time playing while I make beds, gather thrown-about clothes and open the blinds and curtains. Today, as I am doing these things, I am reminded of what a sweet blessing my children are as I hear them all laughing and playing together… and inevitably, someone got hit in the face with a wooden train track.


9:00-11:00AM
While Annie takes her morning nap, I start another load of laundry, the boys do some quiet reading time, do a few little chores, play with Lego, do some puzzles and I start to get lunch going. Today I decided to make quesadillas and around 11:30 we all sit down together to share our meal. Lunch-time is really sweet for me; the kids are getting to an age where they engage in real conversations with each other and with me.


12:00-1:00PM
I wash the dishes from lunch, fold the fresh laundry, move wet clothes into the dryer and start, yet another, load. The kids play during this time, I pick up any loose ends around our 800 square foot home and start to have them wind down for their naps.

1:00-2:45PM
During this time all three kids take a nap. I spend this time working on my weekly Bible study homework that I didn’t get to earlier in the morning, I listen to a sermon, read my book, check emails and call my mom. I am pretty intentional to keep this time free from housework - I really feel refreshed when the kids get up if I have spent their nap time resting myself.


4:00-6:30PM
Around 4:00PM we all started to get a little stir-crazy waiting for Adam to come home, so, we put on our rain jackets and go for a walk around our little neighborhood. We made stops at our local consignment shop and the neighborhood grocery store to grab a few things I had forgotten the week before.


By 5:00PM Adam is home, homemade pizza is in the oven and the kids are all at their loudest and highest octaves of the day. Monday night dinners are always a little bit earlier and a little bit more rushed; Adam has a 6:30PM meeting so we try to eat more quickly so we have time to do family devotions.


7:30-10:30PM
All of the kids are ready for bed and I sit on the floor and nurse Annie as I read a story to the boys (right now we are reading through The Book of Virtues and tonight we read about Genghis Kahn and his hawk… again). Once the kids are asleep, I fold all the remaining laundry (sometimes there’s a load that still needs to dry, today there wasn’t) and do the dinner dishes while I wait for Adam to come home.

Adam is home by 8:30. We spend some time talking and debriefing from our day, reading our separate books (right now he’s reading Side by Side by Ed Welch and I am reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas). We don’t last very long before we decide to get ready for bed and go watch an episode of Parks and Rec.

By 10:30PM, we decide we’ve had enough and turn the lights out and go to sleep.

And this is another day in our life!

To some, our life may seem boring and ordinary. There isn’t a lot of glitz and it is hard-work. I didn’t write down all the times I felt tempted to yell at my children, to throw all of the laundry into a pile on the bed and ignore it, to call my husband and ask him to come home early or to order take-out for dinner (that one happens pretty frequently). It can be tempting when I look at the lives of other women and think, “Wow, my life is so dull compared to hers.” But I am often reminded that there is so much joy to be had in learning contentment in whatever season or calling the Lord has brought us to. I am learning how to find my strength in the joy of the Lord, to be slow to speak and quick to listen and slow to wrath with my family. To seek to walk humbly as I confess my constant need for Jesus. He lived a life of giving himself away and by his death I am empowered to do the same.

And, hey! - I am doing what I have always dreamt of doing, but it is not without its challenges. I am thankful for this ordinary, simple and sweet little life with these ordinary and wonderful people. Thanks for reading along!

8.2.16

let's make pop tarts!

There are some things that take you right back in time, within an instant of hearing/seeing/smelling/tasting them.
Whenever I smell the cologne my husband used to wear when we were dating, I'm a 20 year-old with butterflies and uncertainty, crushing hard. Whenever I hear the European emergency sirens in a movie, I'm back in Paris exploring the cobblestone streets, with a pastry in hand. Whenever I see Pop Tarts, I'm ten years old sneaking one after school, hoping my sister doesn't notice I ate the last one.

Food, especially, has the power to take us places, doesn't it?


Pop tarts were one of those rare treats we'd get as kids. How they were considered a breakfast food, I'll never understand, but they were delicious! On my recent trip to Toronto, I was hoping to try the home made Pop Tarts that have been popping up at third wave cafes there (Montreal isn't on to this trend yet, but we do have the best donuts!). Of course, the cafes that boast Pop Tarts were all closed on my one full day in The Six (not surprising - it was a Monday), so I sadly missed out. Or maybe, happily, because it inspired me to attempt my own at home.

I've always been a fan of gourmet junk food (my lemon rose donuts are proof, if any is needed), and Pop Tarts seemed like the natural next step. When I made these babies last week and posted a pic on Instagram, I figured out pretty quickly (1,000 likes later!) that you guys might be into Pop Tarts too. Full disclosure, this recipe is time consuming and only yields 6-8 Pop Tarts, but it's not difficult and they are SO FREAKING GOOD. Up for it?


GOURMET POP TARTS

dough
I start with the best pastry dough recipe I have ever come across, the one found in the Smitten Kitchen cook book. Deb Perelman knows her stuff. I had tried countless recipes for basic pie dough before coming across hers, and it has been perfect every.single.time. I will be teaching my grandchildren this dough recipe, I swear. So go ahead and make that first. You can use any dough recipe (or even use store bought dough), but that's my strong suggestion!

filling
Most recipes I found on Pinterest use jam as the filling, which wasn't really doin' it for me. I wanted to make the classic strawberry Pop Tart, so I used real strawberries (6 large ones), and blended them. Right away it was very liquid-y (is that a word? let's say yes!), so I added 1 table spoon each of flour and chia seeds to thicken. Chia seeds are awesome at thickening, and are really good for you too! Because I know if you're making Pop Tarts, health concerns you. Ha. I also added 1 Table spoon of sugar to sweeten, but you could add more or omit if you like.

Basically you make the filling by blending real fruit, thickening with flour and chia seeds, and sweetening with sugar, if desired. Different strawberries will be different sizes, and other fruits will be sweeter or less so, so go by taste and texture. You want the texture of jam and the taste of awesome, FYI.

icing
I mixed icing sugar with 35% whipping cream, because I'm a baller. No. I would have used milk, but somebody (name rhymes with rad, and he is) didn't buy milk and we were out. But cream is insanely rich and tasty so I say, make the icing with 35% cream always! But really, milk is fine. Combine the two ingredients until you get a thick but still runny liquid. Again, texture and flavor can be determined by you.

let's make 'em!
So, roll out your dough and with a long sharp knife (or any straight edge, really), cut large rectangles or squares. You need two similarly sized pieces of pastry for one Pop Tart.
Depending on size, put 1-3 table spoons in the very middle of one rectangle, and then place the other rectangle on top gently. Using a fork, pinch together the edges all the way around your Pop Tart, and put steam holes in the very top/center.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes (this works great with the Smitten Kitchen dough, but I know the Pillsbury dough you can buy everywhere would probably burn at this temperature for this length of time, so you kind of need to follow the instructions of your dough/recipe)


Some of the fruit filling might sneak out. No biggie! You are not a machine, you are a person. Things made by your hands are infinitely better, if a bit less perfect looking. Once cooled, top with icing, and of course, sprinkles.

These babies are definitely a lot of work, so probably not a weekly thing, but they are my new favorite celebration treat and I will be making these for years to come! I surprised Lily with this mega-snack after school the other day to celebrate how far her French has come in the last few months. We did a Pop Tarts cheers and then all five of us were collectively silent for at least five minutes. The power of a Pop Tart, made with love.

Now the question is, what flavor to try out next?

6.2.16

for the love of food blogs!

I have a thing for cookbooks. If they weren't so expensive, I would have every one ever written. But since they're usually over $25, I try to limit myself to one new cookbook per year. Have I tried every recipe in every cookbook I own? Heck no. But they inspire me to cook, to try new recipes; they remind me why I love food and that's something.

www.ourfoodstories.com
/\/\ this gorgeous photo is from OUR FOOD STORIES, one of my new fav blogs! /\/\

Sometimes it's as simple as flipping through the pages. Other times I try a few recipes, and when I find that one flawless recipe, I make it again and again instead of continuing to try others. I have an Italian cookbook called Franny's filled with glorious pasta and pizza recipes. I tried a few, liked them all, but then landed on the mother of all red sauce recipes. It uses way more olive oil than you'd think, mixes things up with mint, and sneaks in two kinds of cheese. It's my go-to pasta now, such that we call it Franny's pasta, instead of it's actual name. As is my custom, I haven't tried a different recipe from Franny's since coming across this show stopper. Oops.

Brad, not surprisingly, is not a fan of this approach. Every time I tell him I want a new cookbook, he protests that I haven't tried half the recipes in the books I have. And of course, he's right. So while I still have at least five cookbooks, at any given time, on my mind to buy, I've taken to food blogs more and more. They're free, and beautifully photographed, and they do for me what cookbooks do, albeit on a smaller scale.

Here are my favourite food blogs at the moment, in no particular order:

3.2.16

the kid's shared bedroom!

A couple of weeks ago, Apartment Therapy featured our children's shared bedroom! If you missed it, here's the article:


Years ago, we shared Lily and Oli’s shared room here on Apartment Therapy. Since then, we’ve added our third child, our daughter ChloĆ© to the room. Now that we are officially crib-free, and still happily using one bedroom for our three little ones, I thought it was time to share the many changes we’ve made.


We are passionate about raising our little ones in the city, and have no plans to move from our beloved neighborhood Le Plateau-Mont-Royal any time soon. But raising a family of five in a two-bedroom condo has it’s challenges! To make it work, we sleep all three children in the foot print of one twin sized bed with the help of bunk beds and a trundle bed beneath. This way there’s still tons of space to play, and I dare say each child even has their own personal space. The children all share a very organized closet which houses the majority of their out of season clothing, toys, Lego, linens, and their capsule wardrobes. Minimalist living is absolutely the only way we pull this off!


Having both genders sharing a small space also means everything is neutral, which complements the rest of our home’s style easily. In the mornings, I bring little bowls of dry cereal and water bottles into their room and the kids enjoy at their table, while I enjoy some extra minutes of solitude before we start the day. To make sleeping arrangements easier, we put our youngest to bed earlier than the older two. She falls asleep and then shortly after, the big kids join her. Their bedroom is right off our kitchen, so we employ a sound machine and black out curtains to help keep things peaceful.


Eventually we will probably find a slightly larger condo in the neighborhood, and our son will have his own room, but we are in no hurry. Our children have such a tight bond and I attribute that in large part to their sharing a room and living in a small space together. They're forced to serve one another, forgive quickly, and have fun alongside their siblings. I think it's character building and makes for life long friendship! Just one of the ways city living has changed my parenting style :)

A few must haves I always recommend for kid’s rooms, shared or not:
  • High shelves! I need a spot in their room where I can have things they can’t reach, but that I use frequently enough to want in their room. Thermometers, sound machines, essential oils, diapers – these are all stored on our high floating shelf.
  • Art display! Preferably up high where younger siblings can't rip down. We swap out their creations almost daily, so everyone gets a chance to showcase their creativity. Plus it adds color to the room. 
  • Cute storage! We have baskets and bins all over our house. It doesn’t feel like there are toys and books everywhere, but trust me, it’s an illusion :)
  • Stations! These are little spots around the room (usually in corners) where the kid’s can do certain activities like reading, playing Lego, where the play kitchen lives, etc. 



Sources:

  • Pine bunk bed - IKEA, stained with a white wash tint.
  • Small table and chairs - IKEA, stained with a grey tint.
  • Grey rug and white stool - IKEA.
  • Play kitchen - Hape
  • Rocking chairs - vintage
  • Floating shelf and city print - IKEA
  • Montreal ABC print - local artist, Lili Graffiti
  • Needle point art - vintage
  • Floor baskets - Target
  • White lamp - IKEA
  • Reading corner - an old oval-shaped ottoman covered with a sheet, pillows are IKEA
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+ Older posts on their room