There’s nothing that I love more than waking up on a Sunday putting the kids in the car and going to brunch. Something about this ritual feels luxurious. Especially as a parent. You don’t have to mess up your house no cracked eggs on my floor or badly measured coffee and it’s a nice way to end off the weekend. One of our favourite places to go is Kerr Street Cafe in Oakville. Despite feeling like you’re in downtown Toronto on Queen Street this place is very kid friendly and we bring them here all the time. I documented our most recent visit with some images I love. I recommend highly the avocado toast with sweet potato and poached egg (with a side of smoked salmon)! My son particularly love what they call the “fluffy” which is a kid sized hot chocolate. The serve it in a ceramic little mug (brave!). I think it makes him feel really grown up like he’s drinking coffee with mom and dad. If you are in Oakville and need a place which serves the highest quality coffee and delicious and well thought out menu items but also has high chairs you won’t be disappointed. Hot Tip: I bring clients to meetings here when I want to impress them! Happy Brunching xo Dana
An impromptu dinner potluck style was a nice change to our busy weekend a few weeks back. Everything just looked so good that I had to photograph them and share. Some things just work out when you “wing” them I think and this was one of those times. I happened to have some great fresh ingredients on hand to throw together and it was so yum and summery. Our kind neighbours brought over homemade turkey burgers and sliders with roasted potatoes and carrots for the kids and we made some sides to go with.
On The Menu:
Home made turkey burgers ( neighbour's secret recipe)
Simple Oven Roasted Veggies with olive oil and salt (leeks, multi color peppers, fennel, asparagus)
Dana's Special Arugala salad (with feta, pumpkin seeds, avocado, dried cranberries, crispy won tons) dressing (3 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp white wine vinegar, 3 tbsp honey)
Instant Pot Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs. Recipe from: https://www.copymethat.com/r/U74YkIp/instant-pot-teriyaki-turkey-meatballs/
Fresh Summer Corn Done in the Instant Pot (a family fave)
Cherry Tomato, Cucumbers (from our garden) and Saputo Bocconcini salad tossed in olive oil with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Gorgeous Ace Hill can brought over by guest! It just looked so sweaty and summery with our meal.
We decided to host a fun midsummer bash in our backyard with friends and neighbors. The theme was tie dye and the ask was simple. Bring clothing (stained items for double points) and dye away! The kids had fun but I think the adults really did too as we did the creative parts for them and picked the style we would dye. I'll admit I am usually a planner but sort of winged this one day of and it was casual and fun. I used Tulip Brand Dyes that I purchased at Michaels Craft Store and they worked well and inside was a handy instruction sheet to give us some ideas as some of us had never attempted to tie dye before. I also bought extra gloves just in case and we really did need them so that's a hot tip that you heard here. What was even more fun was the anticipation of waiting to wash the tie dye out to reveal the final design and then sharing the photos with each other online. I was really happy with mine! We will be rocking them this summer.
For the food, i grabbed some colourful snacks like Skittles, Tie Dye Fruit Roll Ups and a wickedly on point multi rainbow cake from Walmart Canada which couldn't have been more perfect.
You will need: A plastic sheet for table, 3 buckets (or one bucket and 2 basins), tie dye kits, elastic bands, paper towel, water, zip lock bags, a sharpie, a garbage bag.
Tips: Make sure your dying surface is covered well with plastic sheet or table cloth. DO TIE DYE OUTSIDE!
Have extra gloves and some paper towels on hand just in case. Have a water bucket filled for soaking shirts, and 2 additional tubs or basins to be the dying stations to catch the liquid and keep things as mess free as possible.
This is what we did.....Step One: Soak shirt in water Step Two: wrap, twist or swirl your shirt until you have your pattern Step Three: place elastic bands around them Step Four: Put on gloves and go to dying basin, choose colors and apply them generously to the shirt in your style or pattern. Step Five: Place soaked shirt gently into a ziplock bag, close tight and label. Step Six: Wait 6-8 Hours or overnight and rinse out thoroughly till water is clear and then put ALONE in the wash and then dry normally and TA DA!
Dear Mat Leave,
You have treated me so well and allowed me to grow more in this one year than I have in my 34 years on earth thus far. I learned so many things but mostly that I CAN. I CAN find a rainbow at the end of a storm. I CAN deliver a baby in a different way and format and with a different empowerment than before. I CAN feed and love and nurture 2 young boys and love them the same amount (something I was so nervous about). I CAN take them on airplanes, out to dinner, and in and out of any store with mostly ease. How I CAN not let having 2 kids change my ability to be a wife and care and work on my marriage when it needs it. How I CAN pursue passions and start a business and continue to be creative. How I CAN accept my body for what it is right now, buy clothes that fit right now and own it. How I CAN feel ready to go back to work and also ugly cry about leaving them behind and I CAN be ok with both. How I CAN find another great group of women who are smart and empathetic and relatable and give great advice and how this tribe CAN and will take you through this year and make it a lot easier to do so together. How I CAN handle so much more than I give myself credit for. I leave this year behind, the most fulfilling one of my life and move forward not with these CANS but as a stronger, more powerful and enlightened woman who has so much more to offer her kids and herself and others as she embarks back to work.
Our youngest son is now ONE! I can't believe it and as cliche as it sounds I don't know where the time has gone. It's been such a wonderful year with an incredible kid and I can't wait to watch him grow further. He was born with a little mane of hair and so we call him Leo the Lion affectionately at home. This seemed like a great theme for the party. Being a June baby, this was all supposed to be outdoors but of course it rained and we were all packed inside and bouncy castle had to wait until the rain cleared. It was a little squished but we had a great time. I decided to take the pressure off myself this year and just get all of our food from Costco. I was super impressed with their sandwich trays, they were hearty and easy to serve and then I just paired them with a bunch of their cold salads and made a quick vegetable and fruit tray and voila, food done. I realized that in years past I have done too much and this year was so much more relaxed and social, I think Costco is now my go to for party catering. I also was able to relax because I have extremely talented family members, in particular 2 aunts that are unbelievably crafty and creative that made Leo's showstopping Lion Head Cake and Zebra cupcakes and amazing party favors for the kiddies to take home including hand made Lion stuffies with hilarious tails and tiger tail chocolate pretzels and not to forget the mason jars with animal toppers filled with animal cookies. He's a lucky little boy and we are lucky to have him in our lives.
Wanted to share a very yum and fast lunch I whipped up this week. It was sheer luck but it turned out great and I have to share. I did my usual obligatory stare in the fridge for inspiration. I had some baked salmon, whole wheat rotini and some tomatoes. I sliced up the fresh tomatoes, put some olive oil salt and pepper on a frying pan and got those going until they were just softened, threw in the pasta and salmon and tossed and served. It was really delish!