Be Grateful

Fall always seems nostalgic and important and melancholy and beautiful to me. Maybe that’s overwrought but it’s true. Especially right now, with M’s birthday in two months, and our anniversary in a few days.

I keep thinking back to this time last year. What we planned for and hoped for and desired and how the year has played out. Some things have been awful and some, wonderful. We’ve still got a roof over our heads and a sense of love and joy.

What will this winter hold? I don’t know. Already we are better prepared than last year and I’m grateful to everyone who has helped make that possible.

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For whatever reason — one I can’t really place — I feel like we are on the cusp of something. I’m not sure what it is. It could just be the changing season. But there is no way to know what life has in store for us, and all I can do is ride out this feeling.

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Second Anniversary Gift Ideas – Under $60

We’re closing in on our second anniversary, and are attempting to stick with traditional gifts again this year. Cotton is really friggin’ hard to gift, you guys. Last year was simple — how can you go wrong with paper? I framed the artwork I bought Matt for our wedding (okay, so that was a stretch, but it’s still paper-y) and he made me homemade artwork, a paper message in a bottle, and a card. Cotton is a tricky bastard.

Why? I guess because you’re either buying something painfully practical — new underwear? — or you’re looking at gift guides that say things like, “Buy a cotton robe and stuff a zillion dollars in the pocket!” I do not have a zillion dollars. I read somewhere that the second anniversary is cotton because it signifies a couple becoming more comfortable with one another. We are comfy and we are also not rolling in cash. But $60, I can swing.

2nd Anniversary Gifts

#1 – [COTTON SCARF] Okay, so this one from Indigo is actually modal but whatever. It has hearts on it, which is good for an anniversary, right? Cotton scarves aren’t hard to find. I wouldn’t buy one for my husband but if your particular spouse is into scarves, have at it.

#2 – [A MUG] Did you know the modern 2nd anniversary gift material is china? Stoneware isn’t china but it’s close enough if you ask me. We play loose with the anniversary rules! Cute mugs are aplenty online, or you can buy a plain one and jazz it up with a Sharpie a la Pinterest. Bonus points if you find a cotton mug warmer to add on to it.

#3 – [HANDKERCHIEF] This one’s for the fellas (or the hankie-toting ladies). I normally try to keep these gift guides Canada-friendly so FYI, if you are Canadian, it’s really not economical to shop at Izola but their stuff is fun to drool over. This hankie says “It’s written in the stars” which is anniversary appropriate. If you’re Canadian I’d check out the Bay or Etsy.

#4 – [HAMMOCK CHAIR] You aren’t gonna find a hand crafted hammock for under $60 but you can probably find a hammock chair! This Costco deal rings in at $59.99 making it the most expensive item on this list. I almost bought it but decided it was impractical given that it’s going to snow any minute now.

$5 – [COTTON PJs & SPECIAL TREATMENT] Okay, go ahead and buy the cotton robe or cotton pajamas (PJs are way cheaper and psst, these Aerie pants come in long lengths OMG) BUT do your spouse a favour and add a bit more onto the gift than just loungewear. Give them a promise of special treatment to go with their pants — I would be thrilled if I got comfy new sweats plus a swanky bath plus a day off of making dinner.

#6 [DIY COTTON ART] I mean, you could buy art, too, but DIYing it is the way to go if you’re looking to save money. I would have done this but have zero time this year. Pinterest is full of neat ideas, and canvas = cotton. You could also buy cotton paper and write a love letter. Aww.

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Home Harvest: Carrots

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Carrots were one of the easiest things I grew this year! I planted Little Finger baby carrots, three squares worth. I totally failed to thin them out so I think they grew a bit smaller than they would have, properly spaced, but they’re baby carrots anyway so I figured it was okay for them to be small. So far I’ve only pulled up one square, but apparently carrots keep in the ground for quite some time. I think I’ll grab the rest of them sometime this week.

I have never grown carrots before and I was impressed with how simple they are. They really seemed like they barely required care. I can understand why carrots are great for kids to grow! I have a ton of seeds leftover and will be planting them next year for sure. I think I’d also like to grow some full-sized carrots just for the variety!

We roasted our baby carrots, along with the green beans. I vaguely recall Matt making some too — I think he steamed them. Either way we ate them quite plainly, with just butter and salt and pepper. Yum, yum.

This series is wrapping up soon because my garden is wrapping up! I have an overdue report on broccoli, plus our tomato harvest and meager pepper harvest to write about. If the cucumbers manage to make it before the frost really sets in, that’ll be it!

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Navigating Winter Worry

Last night we had a frost warning in effect, and based on our indoor/outdoor thermometer’s stored readings, that warning was needed. I picked all of the largest, green tomatoes off of the plants yesterday, snagged our tiny crop of mini bell peppers, and waved goodbye to everything else on my way back inside. Matt went out before bed and brought in all of the container plants, then covered up my cucumbers with a sheet. Winter is coming.

Fall doesn’t seem to last long, here, which is a shame because it used to be my favourite season. Back to school! Tights and boots! Apple cider! I’m stuck in this sad grownup mindset where now, when I think fall, my brain starts churning in an unpleasant way — Need firewood. Snowblower. Winter tires. Must clean chimney. The baby doesn’t have boots this year. Does last year’s snowsuit fit? We don’t have a roof rake. All of the gardens need to be winterized. So on and so forth. There is no time for tights and boots and apple cider because one minute I’m looking out the door realizing the temperature hasn’t cracked double digits and then all of a sudden it’s a snowpocalypse.

Aside from the month or so left until we really need to be fully winterized, I am going back to work at the end of October. I need to set up M’s trial day at daycare and I feel really anxious about that whole transition in general. I need to think about pumping and how much milk to send, and figuring out our cloth diaper + daycare system, and how we’re going to make it all work as a one-vehicle family. I have a driving test scheduled for October (yes, I am in my mid-twenties and have yet to complete my license, but the government forced my hand this time so I have to test out) and I know how to drive, I’ve been doing it for ages, but I’m tumbling down the rabbit hole in which I fail and can’t drive and have to be chauffeured around. I wake up every morning and think about parallel parking and feel vaguely ill. I’m trying to keep up with housework and getting out of the house and hobbies but I feel uninspired to do things like blogging and laundry when my brain is like HIBERNATE OR RUN AWAY.

I’m exaggerating, of course. But I do feel this sense of foreboding doom and dread. Not all the time, but it’s creeping in, in the quiet moments. I’m trying to remind myself to be present and live now because worrying won’t get me anywhere. We have made some headway on our Giant List of Winter Things. There are benefits to me going back to work and M being in daycare. I have a month to practice all of the fiddly bits of driving so that I will pass. If I don’t pass I will be able to try again before my license expires.

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Mostly, I’m just telling myself to breathe. It’s something that requires a reminder, sometimes.

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Live Clean Baby Calming Bedtime Collection

I was recently given the opportunity to test out some products from the Live Clean Baby line. Well, to be specific, I was given the products but M was really the lucky recipient!

Live Clean products

Images from Live Clean

I have a huge collection of baby bath and body products, and have yet to actually buy any myself, but any time we have something promising all natural ingredients I find myself reaching for it first. I’m familiar with Live Clean because I love their shampoos and conditioners for myself. The brand uses “plant sourced, renewable, sustainable ingredients and non-petrochemical based ingredients” and is committed to cruelty free, organic products, which I can appreciate, especially when it comes to what’s going on my daughter’s skin.

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