Hope

This post was originally published on my old blog: Mama’s Baby Steps, but in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought I would share it here.

Posted May 4, 2016

HOPE

I have backspaced the first sentence of this post at least ten times. Struggling to find the perfect  right way to begin…

My Mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer about a year ago. Those of you who have been following me along, know that she also battles Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget when she called me to tell me the news, that they had found a lump, and it was cancer. My first reaction: “Are you f****** kidding me?!” As if she hadn’t been through enough… What stage? How bad is this? Is it curable? Will you need a mastectomy? Will  you need chemotherapy? What is the prognosis? All questions we didn’t have answers to.

I remember going to her first appointment to meet with the surgeon and watching my Mom process the information. Trying to hold myself together to be strong for her, but falling apart as I watched her fall apart. Helpless. That’s how I felt.

Everything moved fairly quickly, and she was scheduled for a lumpectomy in June. Ultimately it was her decision as to whether she wanted a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, and the surgeon was confident that her prognosis would be the same if she chose to have the lumpectomy.

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She was such a trooper and my sisters and I were so proud of her.

Soon after, we received the results from the lumpectomy and the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. They had found a second lump during the surgery and the samples taken from nearby lymph nodes revealed the cancer had spread. This meant she would require both chemotherapy and radiation. This was sort of a worst case scenario in a sense. The doctors ,including the oncologist didn’t know how chemotherapy would affect her MS or how her MS would impact the chemotherapy. The oncologist actually said she had never come across a patient requiring chemotherapy who also had active MS. My reaction to this, yet again, “Are you f****** kidding me?!” So we just wing it, cross our fingers and hope for the best? This is what I wanted to shout at the oncologist as she told my Mom this, but I bit my tongue and listened to what she DID know.

My Mom started chemotherapy in September. Over the course of six months, she would receive two different types of chemotherapy. The first: AC (doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide), would be once every three weeks and the second: Paclitaxel, once a week. She lost her hair almost immediately. I think that was harder than she thought it would be. She told me she wanted to shave it, she didn’t want to see it fall out in clumps anymore. That night I went and bought a buzzer and went and shaved her head myself. To this day I am glad I did this for her.

The chemo was hard on her. She was quite ill, extremely exhausted, and her immune system was severely compromised. She didn’t leave the house for six months, unless it was to go to the hospital. Even something as simple as me bringing the kids by for a visit was limited, as the winter months brought many illnesses our way. Even the common cold could pose a real danger to her.

After six long months, she finally rang the bell at the cancer centre, signifying she had received her last chemotherapy treatment. I will never forget that sound…

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She started her radiation almost immediately and we knew she was in the home stretch. All scans came back clear indicating the cancer was gone and she was in remission. We all breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.

Last Friday, my Mom completed her last session of radiation (the treatment lasted 6 weeks, 5 days a week). I cannot begin to imagine the relief she felt walking out of the hospital that day. A fight that lasted almost a year, and a fight that will last a lifetime.

A hero is defined as “a person admired for courage”. My Mom is my hero. There is no stronger person than her, and I have never been more proud of her, than I am today.

To all of those out there fighting the battle, stay strong and never give up hope, you’re not alone.

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H. xo

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The Best Apple Crisp Recipe

One of my favourite desserts to make in the Fall is apple crisp. I take the kids apple picking every year and apple crisp is always a staple in our home from Thanksgiving until Christmas baking starts (Thanksgiving is the beginning of October, here in Canada).

This recipe is definitely one you will want to add to your Favourites! The juicy sweet filling and crisp oat topping will have you going back for seconds! Don’t forget to add a dollop of your favourite vanilla ice cream.

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Ingredients

Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter , diced into cubes

Filling

1.5 lbs sliced cortland apples
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish or deep dish pie plate.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all dry topping ingredients.
  3. Add the diced butter and mix together with your fingertips. Place in the fridge until needed.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and flour until well combined.  Add in lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk in brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well combined.
  5. Pour mixture over sliced apples and toss lightly. Place apples into the baking dish.
  6. Removing topping mixture from the fridge and sprinkle crumble evenly over apple mixture.
  7. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and allow 5 minutes to cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

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Maxton’s Bedroom Update Part 1

When we moved into this house last summer; it was a brand new build and everything was the typical “builder’s beige”. I knew we would only be here a couple of years so I didn’t want to go crazy decorating the bedrooms. Maxton and Everly both had twin size beds in our old house so I kept their beds the same. Everly’s headboard and footboard were an oak colour (which I got from my Mom) and I spray painted it white before assembling her bed.

Recently I had been thinking about switching the kids over to double beds. Mainly because it would give me more space when I am laying in bed with them; and specifically for Everly because with the amount of stuffies she has in her bed now, there isn’t much room left for her.

My Mom had a fairly new double mattress she was going to get rid of and she asked me if I wanted it. I said absolutely and started hunting on Wayfair for a double bed frame for Maxton. I found the perfect one and it was on sale! There were some issues with it getting to me, but when all the pieces finally arrived, it was perfect. I was so excited for him to see it.

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I wanted bedding that would grow with him; and then I could add items throughout his room that would match his current interests. I found his comforter at Home Sense along with the hockey sheets (which he loves).

The body pillow I also found at Home Sense and the Toronto Maple Leafs blanket I purchased from Walmart.

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It took me a while to find the perfect nightstand for him. I finally found one I liked at Walmart and it was under $80. I decided to only get one for now, for the one side of his bed. He has so many little lego tables and toy bins around his room; and right now he has a storage ottoman in the other corner of the bedroom.

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His name sign I am still debating where to place (I will share about its final home when I share the second part of this post). It was made by a local handmade business that I have shared a few times on Instagram; and I actually really like the piece sitting on his nightstand right now.

I will share the rest of his room once I finish up the dresser remodel (which has been ongoing for over two years).

Sources:

Bed Frame: Wayfair
Bedding: Home Sense
Sheets: Home Sense
Toronto Maple Leafs Blanket: Walmart
Body Pillow: Home Sense
You Will Move Mountains & All Good Things Are Wild And Free Frames: Home Sense
Super Hero Picture: Home Sense
Night Stand: Walmart
Lamp: Home Sense
Picture Frame: Walmart
Basket: Walmart
Carpet: Home Sense
Name Sign: The Squirrelly Scroller

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DIY Fall Wreath

A few years back, on my old blog, I shared a Fall DIY wreath that ended up being featured on Michael’s Pinterest page; so I was pretty proud of myself at the time.This year, I decided I would make two new wreaths, because my hunt for ones I loved, left me empty-handed.

I actually took off all the decor from my old wreath so I could reuse it, and then just picked up another one from Michaels.

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They are just basic 18” wreaths and are under $8.

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The faux flowers and greenery I used for the wreaths were all purchased from Michaels. They can be expensive so watch for sales or use their weekly coupons. I lucked out and got all of mine when they had a “buy one get one free” sale on all of their faux fall arrangements.

I also find it easier to shop if you have a colour palette in mind. For me, I wanted to stick with green, white and peachy tones with some subtle hues of burgundy or deep purple. Pinterest is a great place to start to get some inspiration if you’re unsure. So, with that palette in mind I grabbed different types of flowers, some individual and a couple bouquets. I always purchase more than I need so I can play around, and then return what I don’t use afterwards.

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I brought everything home and laid everything out, so I could get a clear visual of what I had to work with, and just started to play around. It took me about a half an hour of re-arranging and adding/removing flowers before my vision came to life.

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Depending on the type of flowers you chose, and the length of the stems, you can weave them through the wreath itself, without having to glue anything. If you have smaller flowers or blossoms that don’t have stems, you can just use a glue gun and glue them on. For these wreaths, I was able to just weave everything through without having to use a glue gun.

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That’s all there is to it! It’s much more affordable to make your own and you get exactly what you’re looking for. You can also change it up, or add to it year to year if your taste changes.

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I hope this brought you a little fall inspiration!

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Summer to Fall Transition Outfits: Instalment Four

We have all heard that you’re not supposed to wear white after labour day. I’m not sure who came up with this “rule” but I don’t follow it. I love a good ol’ pair of white distressed denim jeans with a nice big cardi and cute pair of booties in the fall.

So for this week’s instalment? You guessed it. How to transition white pants into your fall wardrobe; and I’m showing you how with my favourite distressed denim pair.

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I love the look of brown on white. Pairing them with this rust coloured waffle henley and a cute pair of booties is a great look for fall.

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Who says white can only be a summer colour?  You can shop this look here:

One of my favourite things to pair with distressed white denim pants is a big soft cardi. This luxe tank I wore all through the summer and this cardi I purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

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You can pair this outfit with a bootie or your favourite pair or flats or mules.

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You can shop this look here:

I recently picked up this ruffle sleeve tee for fall and it comes in so many colour options. I love this striped colour with white pants and a light grey bootie.

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This look is simple and casual and you can throw on a light jacket or cardigan on a cooler day.

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You can shop this look here:

So don’t be so quick to toss your white pants to the back of your closet until next Spring/Summer. Incorporate them into your fall wardrobe!

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Back to School with Mabel’s Labels

Where did the summer go?! I can’t believe the kids are back to school tomorrow.

Today is all about getting everything ready to go: backpacks, shoes, school supplies… which means labelling all of these items too.

I have been using Mabel’s Labels since Maxton started daycare. A friend gifted me some on his first birthday and I loved them! I have continued ordering them ever since.

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They have so many different options and designs it’s so hard to choose! They have labels for all ages and you can shop what you’re looking for by their suggested categories:  school, daycare, camp, university, new baby or travel.

I love their Ultimate Back-to-School Combo because it has everything I need to label all of their items for school. The combo pack includes

  • 40 Mini Custom Name Stickers: 38mm x 8mm (1-1/2″ x 5/16″)
  • 70 Tag Mates™ Stick On Clothing Labels: 21mm x 10mm (13/16″ x 3/8″)
  • 16 Custom Shoe Stickers (8 pairs): 33mm (1.3″)
  • 2 Personalized Mini Tags: 30mm x 20mm (1-1/4″ x 3/4″)

This combo is $42 which is such a great price considering what is included, and how long the pack will last.

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All labels are dishwasher safe, microwave safe and waterproof. The clothing labels have never peeled, no matter how many times they have gone through the washer and dryer. I love that I can label their school containers and not have to worry about the labels lifting at the corners after going through the dishwasher.

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They have so many designs, styles and fonts to choose from. I chose the hockey design for Maxton, and the mermaid design for Everly.

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I get a little label happy this time of year, but how can you not with all of their labeling options? They even introduced a new Custom Clothing Stamp that lasts approximately 50 washes and the stamp lasts approximately 1000 applications. I love this idea!

You can shop for your Mabel’s Labels here, and use coupon code PINKANDBLUE for 10% off of your order!

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Summer to Fall Transition Outfits: Instalment Three

This is probably my favourite instalment in this series thus far! I looove sweatshirts! I found three lightweight sweatshirts that are perfect for transitioning your wardrobe from summer to fall. None of them are heavy, material wise and they all look super cute with a pair or shorts or pants!

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These outfits are great for cooler nights or when you still aren’t ready to pack away your favourite shorts.

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My favourite sweatshirt out of the three has to be this camo one. It comes in seven other colours and it’s currently on sale for 40% off. I love it paired with a pair of distressed denim shorts and cute sneakers; but it would also look great with a pair of leggings too.

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I will definitely have to grab it in another colour or two.

Shop it here:

I have shared with you before how I have been loving red lately, so when I saw this sweatshirt I knew I had to have it.

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It does come in other colours and is super soft. Again, it looks cute with a pair of denim shorts, but would also look great with a pair of jeans on a chillier day.

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It’s sold out in red because the sweatshirt is currently on sale for $13! So hurry and grab one in another colour before they are all sold out!

Shop this look here:

I purchased this sweater in the spring and I wore it until the weather was too warm for long sleeves. I love how lightweight it is and the length is perfect.

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I like the raw cut edging of it and it reminds me of sweatshirts I wore as a kid. I have worn it with both shorts and leggings. It washes really well and doesn’t pill, and it’s currently on sale for under $24.

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It comes in four other colours including olive which is a perfect colour for fall.

Shop this look here:

Happy Shopping!

Follow me on Instagram @pinkandblueblog

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