walking with aden

I have this awesome little guy I want you to meet:DSC_0882 copyAden! He’s one of my favourites! No doubt.

Aden loves his family and the drums and he is sure to say hello to you in the most friendliest way whenever you see him. Aden just turned five and in a few weeks he’s helping to host a walk to raise awareness about Williams Syndrome.

Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic condition that is present at birth and can affect anyone.  It is characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.  These often occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.logo

I’ve known Aden since the day he was born and have been lucky to spend time with him on family vacations to Florida and camping. We’ve had a lot of fun watching him grow and become such a great kid.

As I mentioned, Aden and his family are hosting a walk for the CAWS (Canadian Association of Williams Syndrome) on June 11 in Bedford, at the Dewolf Park, to raise awareness about Williams Syndrome. There will be live music, face painting and food. Please come join us! 
2013-2015 copy DSC_0711 copyCheck him and his mom out on the morning news, what a rock star:

CTV News Atlantic – Williams Syndrome

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For more information about the walk and Williams Syndrome, please visit here.

The Canadian Association of Williams Syndrome (CAWS) provides support to Williams syndrome individuals and their families. To advance and assist education, research and knowledge of Williams Syndrome and to participate in research projects and efforts. CAWS assist those with WS in achieving their full potential through advocacy, education, scholarships and a sense of community. CAWS support families as they move through the stages of initial diagnosis, through the school system and as they enter adult life and new experiences like finding employment and housing.

Their goals are:

  • To support research into the educational, behavioural, social and medical aspects of Williams syndrome.
  • To increase awareness of Williams syndrome and the CAWS organization so individuals with Williams syndrome and their families don’t feel alone as they endeavour to help the individual reach his or her potential.
  • To become visible to the medical scientific, educational and professional communities by providing information on Williams syndrome.

CAWS is a registered non-profit organization in Canada.

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baby, baby, baby oooh

Last weekend my sister Erin and I (+ mom) hosted a baby shower for our little sister, Jill.

Newsflash: Jill and Alex are having a baby and I am finally getting a local niece or nephew!!! Thanks guys.

As you may know, I love planning a party so I got to it early on… so early, that I may of leaked the big news to some of her friends accidentally. Busted.

* * *

First up, the invite: And because I truly believe in mailing out invites – I am including a sample of the envelope too. The invitees has custom address labels. Tip: I like to purchase somewhat-related stamps when sending invites! 
Argyle-Baby-Shower Invite Argyle-Baby-Shower Invite2 Argyle-Baby-Shower Invite3Decor: I made a few banners for the party room and the front window. I bought some flowers and pulled out that springy table clothes. Easy! We also had some balloons and raindrop banners outside but again, I forgot to take a pictures. Tip: Buy a cute crib sheet (last photo) and use as a table covering – then give it to the mom when the party is over!Argyle-Baby-Shower BannersArgyle-Baby-Shower3Argyle-Baby-Shower6Argyle-Baby-Shower11Argyle-Baby-Shower13Argyle-Baby-Shower15Favours: This is when Pinterest makes you do things you don’t need to do… like favours for a baby shower. Simple but cute although Mike’s comment was that the popcorn has already popped and I should of filled the bags with kernels. Um, no – not pretty. Tip: Avoid Pinterest and ignore your husband. Argyle-Baby-Shower4 Argyle-Baby-Shower POPcardGames: Erin planned a few games – one being Trivia because Jill is a trivia nut. It’s a fun addition to a party and no one in my house was forced to smell diapers with random brown stuff in them. Tip: Have paper and pens ready to go so your games look legit.

Erin’s Ten Trivia Questions

Q: How many children did Queen Victoria have? Bonus point if you can name one.
A: Nine – Victoria, Edward, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, Beatrice

Q: Name one of the top three baby girls name in 1916?
A: Mary, Helen, Dorothy

Q: Originally Pampers diapers used pins. In what decade was the pin replaced with Tape?
A: 1970s

Q: What percentage of babies are born on their due date?
A: 5%

Q: In 1928 the Gerber company introduced its first line of strained foods. Name one the first varieties.
A: peas, prunes, carrots, spinach and beef vegetable soup

Q: How much did the heaviest baby born on record weigh?
A: 22 pounds, 8 ounces (Italy, 1955) (Somebody sure  carb loaded!)

Q: In what year did Uncle Jessie and Aunt Becky (from Full House) give birth to twins. Bonus points if you can name them.
A: 1991 – Nicky and Alex

Q: What is a baby owl called?
A: Owlet of Fledging

Q: What Michael Jackson song topped the charts the month Jill was born (May 1983)?
A: Beat It! 

Q: Jill’s baby is due in July. What is the birthstone of this month?
A: Ruby

Food: We had 32 guests from the age of 7 months to 91 years-young! All female, except the dog. We served mimosas, perrier, tea and juice packs for drinks and all of the food was utensil-free. The spread included chocolate and carrot cupcakes made by mom, lemon poppy seed loaf, homemade sprinkle fortune cookies, cheese and charcuterie boards, traditional devilled eggs, beet-pickled devilled eggs, a cheese ball with maple syrup, guacamole, artichoke dip, veggies, a baguette and skewers (feta + watermelon + mint) (bocconcini + tomato + basil) (an idea I got from another baby shower I attended). Tip: If you decided to make homemade sprinkle fortune cookies, be sure to let your guests know you put fortunes in them!Argyle-Baby-Shower1 Argyle-Baby-Shower2 Argyle-Baby-Shower7 Argyle-Baby-Shower8 Argyle-Baby-Shower9 Argyle-Baby-Shower10 Argyle-Baby-Shower14 Argyle-Baby-Shower16So that’s it. Another party over. I said I’d host 12 parties in 2016 and this is party #3. I have to step it up!

My apologies – I got so caught up in serving mimosas and catching up with all the lovely ladies that I didn’t take any pictures at the event BUT as a dedicated blogger / designer / party planner – I got lots of detail shots! Hah. 

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uuni fan

My sister Jill bought a Uuni wood-fire pizza oven. I am pretty sure it was one of those impulsive online purchases but, after Saturday night, I am sure glad she did.

This thing can cook pizza!

Here are the specs from the website – Note: Jill has the first generation Uuni but below is for the Uuni 2S… similar but with a few upgrades including a stone base. Also, Jill ordered her’s from the States and our other sister sherpa’d it across the border:

Extreme 900°F heat
Uuni 2S gets up to 900°F which enables you to cook things really fast. You can make a stone-baked, wood-fired pizza in just 90 seconds! It’s also not just for pizza; you can cook flatbreads, fish, vegetables, steaks or really anything that enjoys short cooking times.

Wood-fired
Uuni is powered by wood pellets which are very energy-dense and inexpensive; they’re like regular wood except compressed. No additives, no hidden extras, just wood. The pellets ignite easily & Uuni 2S takes just 10 minutes to heat up, from cold up to 900°F.

Lasts a lifetime
Uuni 2S is made of beautiful brushed stainless steel. It weathers and ages as you use it, but it doesn’t rust and it just keeps on performing. It’ll make for a key feature in your outdoor kitchen or barbecue area.

Entertainment
Because of the ease and speed of use, Uuni 2S is fantastic for entertaining friends or family. Get the gang together to make their own pizzas and then wood-fire them to perfection in front of their eyes.

We spent the weekend in Pugwash – perfect spring weather and a great opportunity to finally test the Uuni out. It’s easy, fast, portable and fun. The pizzas are amazing – especially the crust.

Here are some pics. It made me want one. How about you?IMG_5319 IMG_5325 Above: Prepping caramelized onions and roasted medallion cut potatoesIMG_5326 Above: The Uuni is table-top friendlyIMG_5328 IMG_5329 IMG_5330 IMG_5331Above: Pierogi Pizza! Sour cream base, thinly sliced roasted potatoes, cheese, chives and a dollop more sour cream on top. IMG_5332 IMG_5333
Above: Nanny came over for pizza too!
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IMG_5337 IMG_5338Above: Simply slide in, close the door, count to 30, open and rotate, count to 30, open and rotate, count to 30 and remove!
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Feedback from the toughest critic, 7-year-old David, who has a very specific pizza palate: “This is better than Salvatores… Next time I want pizza, I am ordering from Jill!”

Oh, and I this is not a sponsor post. I don’t even own a Uuni but it sure is on my wish list! #fangirl

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little hiker, big hills : good idea?

Oh man. It is coming… S U M M E R

Time to figure out David’s schedule-of-fun.

Top priority: GET OUTSIDE

We are looking at doing almost the same thing as last year… because why rock the boat when it was smooth sailing?

There are 9 weeks to cover. NINE WEEKS! Why am I not a teacher?!?  Why did I grow up? 

Weeks 1 / 2 / 5 / 6 / 8 : Micmac Aquatic Club Camp: I am from Waverley. Meaning, once a Cheema girl, always a Cheema girl but the club is a bit out of the way so last year, we discovered the day camp at Micmac Aquatic Club where you drop your child off in the morning and they get to swim, kayak, war canoe and play all day (supervised)! That’s how I spent every summer as a child (minus the supervised part) and I was convinced it was the best plan for my child. Obviously, he loved it. Bonus, it is an easy drop off location for Mike on his way to work and quite possibly one of my favourite places to run in the city.

Weeks 3 / 4 : Canada Games Centre Swim Program Camp: Winter, Spring and Fall we sign David up for 9-week swim lessons but in the Summer we can cram a session into a 2-week camp. The camp costs more than 2 weeks at Micmac but you get a full lesson out of the deal. Unfortunately it means I have to drive him there… and as a work-at-homer, I do not like driving during rush hour… even when it is against traffic.

Week 7 : Nana and David in Pugwash: My mom has graciously offered to take David for a week. Pugwash is paradise in the Summer and she has a few fun plans up her sleeve including the beach, the river, camping and a trip to the Fundy Geological Museum!

Week 9 : …TBD… Years ago (we’re talking 2000-2001), Mike and I hiked Cape Chignecto twice. The first time we went in and out of Refugee Cove… which is no joke (especially when you neglect to bring a stove and end up surviving off a few cinnamon buns and cold oatmeal)! The following year, we invested in a stove and hiked the loop in three days (two nights). At the time, the last section of the trail was not complete so we did about 40 out of the full 50 km loop – and even had a moose visit our tent! It has always been our plan to go back and complete it. Is 2016 the year? Can a 7-year-old handle it? We never take time off in the summer – mostly because I get extra hours covering other people’s holidays – but I’d like to try a family back country hike. As much as I love making memories with friends, Mike and I are not car campers – our gear is not for car camping and we’d like to give this a try. David may hate us. We may not make it. It may be the worst idea ever but at least we will be outside!CC.OverviewWhat about you – What are your Summer plans?
Have you hiked Cape Chignecto? How many nights? Where did you camp?
Can a 7-year-old handle it?

Here we were… way be then. Babies. IMG_5249IMG_5251IMG_5250IMG_5248

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holiday snaps

I hope everyone is enjoying a bit of holiday cheer. I am taking a bit of a break from my home-office and computer but wanted to share a few photos from December. Two of David’s cousins are in town from New York so it has been fun to see the kids together. I will be back with some Friday Finds and my 2016 bucket list … but until then, have a good one!

1The great tree hunt of 2015. Unlike Clark Griswold, we have no problem going to the local lot. David got his own tree this year.2We made a heck of a lot of shortbread cookies
3.1My favourite view in December
3.2An early Christmas at the Ackerman’s. Your eyes are not playing tricks, that is half-a-tree!
3.3David squeezed in a morning at soccer camp session. He loved it.
4I may only go once a year but when I do, I make sure to find the cutest church out there.
5What’s Christmas without matching PJs?
6David and Margaret are adding raisin buttons to the cookies for Santa.
7 8A little quality control.
9Christmas Eve. Erin, Jill (and Sam) played some beautiful holiday songs on the piano for us.
10If I can’t have a white Christmas, I’ll happily take +15 degrees and sunshine. Perfect weather for an 8km run with Alex and Allie.
11Jill’s friend made a plate of amazing sweets for our Christmas dessert.
12Boxing day hike in Wentworth.
13Rocks do not work as great tripods. You get the picture – a big family walk.
14Better late than never. David and I drove around looking at the Christmas lights in Halifax. Photos by David.
15Dinner with the Hulk and Darth Vader.
16Turns out suitcases with wheels were a big hit for all three kids this year. They all loved them.
17 18 19And finally, the three sisters had a pasta night at Jill’s house. Margaret and David helped.

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