• Hello, friends. My name is Emory. I live on the Canadian prairies with my husband, daughter, and animals. Welcome!
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    Swiss Braided (Zopf) Bread:
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cup milk
1 egg
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted)
1. Warm the milk. In a bowl, combine the egg, milk, yeast, and butter. Stir. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, ensuring that the yeast completely dissolves.
2. In a separate large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Make a well.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the well. Mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a firm dough.
4. Move the dough onto a floured surface. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.
5. Brush a new large bowl with butter. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a dishcloth and put into the oven for 1.5 hours. It will double in size.
6. Remove from oven. Cut the dough in half and place on a floured surface. Taking one half, divide again into three equal pieces. Turn each piece into a long rope, 12” in length.
7. Lay all three ropes side by side. Pinch the end of three pieces together. Now braid. When you get to the end of the first loaf, fold the bottom under. Repeat with the second loaf.
8. Grease a baking sheet with butter. Place both loaves onto the sheet. Butter the loaves, then cover with a dishcloth and place in the oven for 1 hour. They will more than double in size.
9. Remove the loaves, and heat the oven to 400°F. Place them back in and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
10. Once the loaves are golden brown, remove them from the oven. Serve with a preserve or with any meal. "Kids are super easy. It’s being an adult that’s hard." @girlshbo @lenadunham
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top advice for moms to be when preparing for their bundle of joy

It’s a scary and exciting time when you find out you are expecting a baby. It can be an overwhelming experience with all the build-up to the birth. But it can be a lovely time as well, as you prepare for your newborn. Here is some top advice for moms to be when preparing for their new bundle of joy to arrive in their life.

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Pixabay

Meet up with other moms to share ideas

If you have never had a child before, you might feel a bit unsure about what you exactly need for your baby. It’s normal as you might not have been surrounded by children in your life. Therefore, the best way to get clued up on everything you need to know about your newborn is to talk to other moms. You might want to speak with your own mom for advice on your baby. Additionally, you can also meet new people by meeting up with other moms to share ideas. You can easily find baby groups you can attend where you can speak with other mommies. Also, meeting moms to be will allow you to all share ideas on what you should buy for your baby. They might grow into strong friendships, and your kids might be friends as they grow up.

Research online first before making any purchase

When you first enter the child section in Wal-mart, you might feel overwhelmed at everything they sell. After all, it’s hard to know what items you need for your baby. Therefore, before making any purchase, you need to research online first, so that you know it’s the right item for your baby. You don’t want to buy a pushchair and then wish you chose a more practical one for your newborn. When looking online, you can often find which items are trending for babies. For example, you may read about Britax travel system, the hottest travel system this year. Therefore, by researching online, you will have a good idea of what would be ideal for your baby.

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flickr

Don’t be afraid to ask the midwife questions

A lot of us have burning questions about our newborn and are unsure of who to turn to for help. After all, you can’t rely on sites online to give you information for your baby. Therefore, when your midwife comes to visit, you need to make sure you are asking her for help. She will be more than happy to advise you if you have questions. After all, she is there to ensure your pregnancy goes well, and the baby has a healthy upbringing.

Prepare for the birth of your newborn

Of course, every birth is different, and it’s hard to plan what will happen on the day. But you need to prepare a few things before the day arrives. For starters, you need to pack your hospital bag, so you are ready to go. You should also choose who you will want to attend the birth. Some women like their moms in the room, as well as their partner. Getting all these small details ready will ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. You can read about my birth story in this previous blog.

Remember to ensure you get stocked up on diapers and wipes before your newborn arrives.

** This was a contributed post.

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planning a home redesign? how to plan the process

When it comes to a dream home, you pretty much have two options; renovating an existing home or building a brand new one from scratch. It can be the time to create a home that is perfect just for you. It can function as you want it to and look just how you have always dreamt. There aren’t any rules, as such, when it comes to how you want your home to be. It is a big project, though. It can take lots of time, money, and preparation. So like with any big project, make sure that you take enough time to plan through it all. If it is planned and budgeted well, it will make the journey much less stressful. So here are some steps that you should take.

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Establish a Budget

First things are first; you need to know what amount you have to be able to plan the design. You might have the money up front to pay for everything. Even so, you want to make sure that it spreads as far as it can. If you will be borrowing from the bank, then they need to see a detailed plan of what you plan to do with the money. So make a plan in detail. Take into account the cost of the land or mortgage, designer fees, and legal fees. Then there are the costs of the materials used and the labor to make them. Using something like a spreadsheet will help a lot as it will be easy to adjust as you go along.

Recruit a Team

There may be a hefty amount of the work that you plan to do yourself. But unless you are a qualified architect, builder, and interior designer, then you might need some professionals to help. So getting a team on board to consult with is key. An architect or remodeler like Art Design Build would be the first person to talk to. You can share your ideas and any plans you initially have. They would be able to help you and let you know what can happen and what wouldn’t work. Then it would be time to consult a building and design team. Interiors can come when everything is a lot closer to being finished.

architect02

Plan, Plan, and Plan!

When it comes to designing your home, the plans need to be made in such intricate detail. You need to know what precisely is happening and when. Think about possibilities of things changing or going wrong. Thinking up some ‘what if’ scenarios is a great way to solve any issues. You don’t want to have to deal with them when they come up. So just have a plan in place, just in case. It is a good idea to ‘go big’ with some of your design ideas too. The sky can be the limit! If you wanted to live in a home like any other, then you could have just bought any other home. You will have a home that is one of a kind. So it is important to go wild a little with some of the ideas. Have some fun and you’ll end up with an amazing, unique home.

** This post has been contributed by Sarah Jones.

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get a beautiful home for less!

Having recently moved, I have noticed that there is so much gorgeous home decor stuff out there! But the problem is that if you bought it all, you’d have no money to pay for a place to put it in! So how can we get the look we want without bankrupting ourselves? Read on to find out.

Know your style

The first thing that is essential for getting a gorgeous home, without spending your life savings is to be clear on your style. You need to think carefully about the look that you want, the function of the room you are decorating, and who will be using it. It cannot be based on just aesthetics alone!  All of these three factors should combine to point you towards the style of decor that would be appropriate for that particular space.

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Use Trends as Accents

Home trends seem to move with the speed of light these days. There are new trends, retro trends, and eco trends to keep up with. The problem is that if you decorate your home with trend heavy items like wallpaper, it can look dated very quickly. Then you are stuck with something that is out of fashion or stuck with the cost of redecorating, so it is in fashion.

That is why is essential to cherry pick aspects of current trends that could work in your space, and use them as accents. For example, there is a current trend for brass, terrariums, and crystal geodes. These make great decorative accents to update a room, and can be bought separately from high street retailers at little cost.

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Keep A Plain Canvas

To allow the ‘trends as accents’ approach to work, it’s a good idea to keep the walls and carpets of your home relatively neutral. This means that they act as a blank canvas to compliment your accessories.

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It’s also the cheapest way of decorating your home. Plain white or cream walls are cheap and easy to repaint when they become dirty or scuffed. They also make a small room look bigger, as the reflect light well.

Have An Eye For A Bargain

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Anyone that is keen on staying up to date with their home decor choices will usually have a good eye for a bargain. Whether it’s searching the flea markets at the weekend, or looking for Kohl’s coupon codes, when you have your heart set on that one special piece. Remember there are discounts and bargain to be had if you look hard enough, and have enough bottle to haggle the price down!

Upcycle

Another way of getting a beautiful home without breaking the bank is to upcycle things. You’d be surprised how many people throw perfectly functional items out just because they no longer fit in with their home decor. What they don’t realize is through with a little elbow grease you can transform a broken down object into a gorgeous piece for your home. Ask your relatives and friends if they are throwing anything out before you scour the auction rooms.

** This post has been contributed by Sarah Jones.

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the benefits of an inflatable hot tub

homax2person-1024x404Inflatable hot tubs are a great investment, and there are a number of benefits of ownership. These are some of the benefits of an inflatable hot tub homeowners will realize, upon investing in one.

intexpurespaThey are large and movable –
Sure, you can have one installed. But, this limits where it can be used, the number of people, and when it can be used; plus they are far pricier than inflatable tubs. With inflatable hot tubs, you choose where to put them, they come in varying sizes which can seat many people, offer extreme levels of comfort, and you can enjoy them year round. You have more control, you choose where they go, and you can truly utilise the full outdoor area of the home with them.

hottubrunningcostsMany features and design –
More and more manufacturers are developing these inflatable tubs. So, you can find many shapes, sizes, design options, features (bubbles, jets, speeds, pillows, etc.) from which to choose. They come in so many varieties, that any homeowner is bound to find what works for their family and friends, when investing in these tubs.

hottubstepsThey are durable –
You may think they aren’t durable, but they are. The great quality exterior and interior finishes are not only capable of handling heavy weight amounts, but can take punctures, varying pressure levels, and are developed to withstand various forms of use and abuse. So, if you are weary of quality, do some research (to find top, well known brands) but you can be rest assured the right tub is built to last. One other major benefit is the cost; they are far cheaper than built in tubs for a homeowner, although there are still running costs of hot tubs that should be considered. With the right inflatable tubs, you can enjoy your outdoor space year round and truly take in the relaxing benefits of owning a hot tub for your personal enjoyment at home.

This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with! (Especially ones that are right in time for the summer months!)

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items i love (uncommongoods)

uncommongoods necklace gift

If you have been following my blog for awhile now, you will have noticed that I tend to stray away from cheaply made, overly trendy items. I much prefer all things that are unique and hold a certain meaning. UncommonGoods is one such company that sets itself apart from all other online markets. It is a place where those who are looking for truly memorable gifts can visit and find something special for everyone in their lives. Operating out of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, UncommonGoods offers mostly handcrafted items, each with its own story of why it was created. Several pieces are even made from recycled materials. Additionally, being a certified B Corporation ensures that they are also interested in resolving environmental and social issues. With sustainability and creativity being two of the company’s many goals, you can be sure that they offer only the best products.

With our anniversary and several family members’ birthdays being just around the corner, here are my favourite picks for some really exceptional gifts.

uncommongoods necklace

1. Links of Love Necklace.

About: “Artist Beth Lawrence created this stunning yet simple necklace, along with a bracelet and a pair of earrings, while she was pregnant with her first child. Thoroughly modern and extremely meaningful, her pieces subtly represents the ineffably strong connection a mother shares with her child. A gold filled ring adorned with twisted wire is permanently entwined with a smaller, sterling silver hoop and suspended from a sterling silver chain. A wonderful gift for new mothers, grandmothers, sisters, or best friends, the joined pieces are evocative of the infinite connection we possess with the special people in our lives and a reminder that they’re always there for us as we carry on through life’s struggles and successes. Handmade in Nashville, Tennessee.”

More jewelry can be seen here.

uncommongoods men's kit

2. Working Man’s Hygiene Kit.

About: “This all-natural set was created by a mechanic who let his dirty, damaged paws drive his inspiration to design products for dudes. The manly salves, scrubs and balms included are specially made to meet the needs of the working man. From soothing sore feet, to healing cracked lips and knuckles, to buffing the dickens out of dry skin, this kit goes beyond simple cleansers to get the job done. Handmade in the USA.”

More birthday gifts can be seen here.

uncommongoods diy gift

3. DIY Cinema Lightbox.

About: “Turn weddings, birthdays, and clever turns of phrase into feature film-worthy displays with this retro light box. Back-lit like a real marquee, this lightweight, battery-operated design offers three slotted lines to accommodate the included letters and symbols. Set up the portable piece at your wedding reception’s welcome table, in front of the birthday cake, or in your little one’s bedroom and let the creative messaging begin! Made in China.”

More wedding gifts can be seen here.

uncommongoods blog

You can learn more about UncommonGoods by visiting their blog here. They even offer tours of the studio! More importantly, every time an item is purchased, $1 is donated to a charity of your choosing. I can’t wait to order a little something from their website.  Talk about a favourable way to help change the world.

This was a sponsored post. I’m thankful for the brands and websites that I can partner with!

<3

Emory

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