Author: Marie Wulfram

Accommodating Our Newborn

Accommodating Our Newborn

Life accommodating a newborn is a whole new game.

Our life was no exception. Though we tried to plan and be ready as much as possible, you can never be completely ready for that bundle of joy to arrive. And even now, two months in, we’re still not ready.

Every day brings new experiences, new questions, new worries. But we’re figuring it out, together.

One of those things being trying to find a rhythm, a schedule that works for everyone. Something that will give me time in my day to do what needs to be done around the house and have a little me time, but also be able to give our son all the love and affection (and feedings) that he needs. It all boils down to compromise.

How to Accommodate a Newborn

As I sit here typing the first post I’ve written in I don’t even know how long, he’s napping here beside me. Close enough that I can tend to him if he starts to fuss, but in his own space so he can nap comfortably and in peace.

When it’s time to do laundry (which is a real chore since we have a shared laundry facility downstairs and not an in unit washer and dryer), I strap him into our Infantino baby carrier and we do it together. That way I can still get the clothes washed, but I don’t have to worry about leaving him in the apartment alone. Plus, he loves going for walks while strapped close to one of us.

If I’ve had a particularly rough day, my husband will strap him into the carrier and take care of the dishes I couldn’t get to, or bounce him in his little bouncy seat until he falls asleep.

It’s all about working together

My husband and I are a team. I take care of our son during the nighttime feedings so my husband can get plenty of rest for work. Then while he’s at work, I continue to take care of our son, while managing to do a little around the house during the day or get a grocery shop in. Once my husband is home from work, he takes over most of the care so that I can get a little break and they can have some bonding time.

It takes two people to make a baby, and it should be two people that take care of it. Find a way to split the care between each other. It’s not only going to be so important for you to get plenty of rest and much needed breaks, but it’s good for the baby, too, so that he will always be getting the best of you both.

The housework isn’t going anywhere

There were days when I would feel so upset if I couldn’t get the dishes done or the laundry washed before my husband was off work. Like I somehow failed as a stay at home mom for the day.

That’s not what’s important!

Your child is now (or should be) the most important thing needing your attention. The dishes will be there. The laundry will be there. Get to them as you can. If your baby is being super fussy for a couple days, then spend the time with him and don’t worry about the housework. It’ll be there when you have a chance to get to them.

There are no “perfect” parents

Some stay at home parents can manage to take care of multiple kids, keep the house spotless, have dinner on the table by 6 o’clock, and the kids in bed by 9 o’clock every single day of the week. And somehow they manage to do it with a smile all day.

I’m definitely not one of those parents.

There are days when the laundry basket is overflowing, the kitchen is full of only dirty dishes, and the trash is just begging to be taken out. And I’m stuck holding a screaming baby while trying not to scream myself.

And that’s perfectly okay.

Everyone parents differently. What works for one family might not work for another. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to that golden ideal of parenthood. Have goals, definitely. But as long as your baby is well cared for, that’s all that should matter.

Accommodating a newborn into your life can be tough. It’s taken a lot of trial and error before we’ve gotten to a place where I felt like I could sit down to start writing this out. But we’re finally getting into the swing of things (sort of) and I’m excited to say that I’ll be able to write more.

There’s been a lot of ideas brewing that I’ve been dying to share with you. Pregnancy stories and advice. My journey into motherhood. Cosplay. Spirituality and how I plan to share it with my son. And so much more.

Join me on my adventure as my story continues.

Where HAVE I been??

Where HAVE I been??

I honestly can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been on here. Especially right after making posts about blogging more and being a lot more active on here. *facepalm* It’s been a very long and exhausting year and it’s kept me away for far too long. But I always seem to find my way back. So what have I been up to all this time?

My husband Thom and I finally got our own apartment at the end of April and we LOVE it here. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s our own little slice of home.

I started up a photography business for a while before I decided I was NOT a business woman. Not that kind of business anyway (there will be another post on this later).

We bought our first car together, and it’s my absolute dream car!

On the fall equinox, we finally held our handfasting. It was the most magical moment in my life.

And the biggest news of all, and the thing that has probably pushed me the most to want to reconnect here; I’m pregnant! I’m only 12 weeks along, but it’s been a rough couple months. I’ll be sharing my experiences on that as well.

So as you can see, a lot has happened this year! My goal to finish up the year is to get this blog back into shape and start investing myself in it a bit more. I have some ideas that I’m cooking up and some posts that are in the works to finish up the year and get a good start on 2017. Thank you to all of my wonderful followers who are still here with me. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park

Once again life has a way of taking us places we don’t expect to be. We set out on this sunny Sunday to hike a nearby mountain that had reports of clear roads and snowy trails which was perfect because we’ve been wanting to go play in the snow but I don’t have tire chains or a snow-ready car. But when it came time to actually get to the trailhead, I was at a loss. Google maps was taking me down all the wrong roads, and of course I couldn’t get a signal otherwise so I could look up the actual directions to the trail head.

I know, I know. I should have been more well prepared. But we also left the apartment around 1 in the afternoon. It was a very spontaneous hike haha.

With that plan out the window, I remembered passing some signs to a nearby state park that I’d never even heard of before. So we doubled back and decided to try our hand at finding that instead. Which we did in no time at all. The Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is a nice and small park, with a couple miles of camping area, equipped with RV hookups and picnic areas. There’s about a mile or so of trails leading to and around the Green River where we saw a couple families with kids, and even some fisherman trying their luck in the river.
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At first we spent some time climbing around on the rocks and were even lucky enough to find some good walking stick material. Thom was constantly stopping to test out branches, picking which ones he wanted to keep and which ones to toss. I got a new one that should do very nicely once we have the tools and space to really style them up. My car is full of future walking sticks, we have way more than we need, but perhaps we’ll sell some in the future? (Let me know if you’re interested! The more interest, the more likely it’ll happen!)

After playing with sticks on the rocks for a while, we headed towards the trails along the riverside. It was so quiet and peaceful. There was no one on these trails with us and we took our time as we made our way alongside the river. The trail marker said it was about 0.3 miles along the trail, but it took us a good while to walk. We stopped to take pictures here and there, and there were many little turn offs where you could move back to the river bank. Once or twice we came upon more fisherman and just kept going so we wouldn’t scare the fish away.

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Overall it was a very calm and peaceful walk. Short, but relaxing. The sun was starting to fall behind the trees as we were making our way back to the car, though we still had plenty of daylight left. It may not have been the hike I had planned on, but it was definitely still a good one to go on. I don’t know if I’d ever want to camp there as it didn’t seem like there was much around other than fishing. But a nice place to go for a visit for sure.

Any recommendations where we should go next? Send me an email at TheAuthor@TheWhimsikalWolf.com or visit the Contact page and let me know where we should head next. We’re always open to new ideas. Till next time!

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Frost & Fog of January

Frost & Fog of January

Since the start of the new year, it seems winter has really started to settle in. Days and nights are growing much colder, frost lasts most of the day in some places, and that eerie cold fog is sometimes so thick you can’t see more than a couple dozen yards in front of you. The frost & fog together really brings the winter feel back, and just reminds us that it’s time to stay indoors around the fire drinking hot chocolate and cuddling up with our loved ones, human and furry alike. Even my cats seem to be more cuddly and cute.

The other day was one such foggy and frosty day, but it was also really sunny out. So we decided to take advantage of the sun and go for a nice walk. But boy was it cold! Even with multiple layers, gloves and scarves it was still quite chilly. Luckily there was no wind or else we would not have lasted as long as we did. There were few other people out in the cold, not that we could see very far with all the fog. It was quiet and calm all around. Peaceful. It had been a little while since we’d been able to really get out in the sun, and this little walk around the neighborhood was just what we needed. Some fresh air and sunshine does a body good, especially in the wintertime when there’s not much sun and many days are spent indoors.

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Once we got to the small lake not far from the apartment, we spent some time with the ducks who seemed to be skating across the frozen surface. I felt bad for them and their poor feet, but Thom told me a little fun fact that I wasn’t aware of: Duck’s feet don’t have any nerves or blood vessels, so they don’t feel the cold on them. I thought that was pretty interesting and made me feel better about them walking around on the ice. Their little webbed feet slipping and sliding around as they walked. They were surprisingly mean to each other, a few of them kept biting at some of the other’s tail feathers, making them slip as they tried to quickly get away. Poor ducks.

There were some kids and families all around the lake, skipping rocks along the frozen surface, making the ice ring with an eerie sound as the rocks bounced along. If you’ve never done it, you should try skipping rocks along a frozen lake if you get the chance this winter. It’s a very interesting sound, echoing and reverberating around. You can also get a similar result if you take a long, whip of a branch and whack it against the surface, as we noticed from another little kid across the lake doing just that.

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These images are interesting. I was taking one of the other fence photos above while Thom was messing with the ice on the fence. If you look straight on at the fence, you can’t see the design (except if you cross your eyes you can kinda see the image). But if you look at the section of fence at an angle, you can see the design he drew. I love my husband. 🙂

All in all, it was a really nice walk that we took. The fog and sun really set an enchanting atmosphere that we both really enjoyed, and it was nice to just get out of the house and enjoy a walk. There’s not a lot of times during the winter when that happens, weather that’s not too cold or wet to just have a simple walk. It was welcomed.

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Goals for 2016

Goals for 2016

With 2015 behind us, we start to look towards the new year and what it’s going to have in store for us. Many people have started on their New Year’s Resolutions list. I personally am not a fan of the whole “new year, new me” thing. I prefer to think of it in terms of it’s a new year to start fresh on making myself a better person. Another year to try and make life better than the year before, and the year before that one. Rather than throw out the person I was last year in order to make room for a “newer model” me, I’d much rather remember the good things about myself and help nurture those things that make me, me.

So to start the year off on a positive foot, I put together a list of goals that I would like to accomplish by the end of the year that I think will not only nurture my life and help it to flourish in a positive way, but it will help enrich my life and make it feel worth living to the fullest. Not to mention, help me love myself more and more.

Take 10,000 photos ~ Photography is one thing that I’m growing more and more passionate about. The one thing my photography skills are still faltering in is actually using manual settings. I feel that I take really good photos on the many settings that my camera has available to me, but I’d really love to be able to naturally use the manual settings to get the perfect shots. This goal is more one of practice and not just taking as many pictures as possible. Achieving this goal means taking my camera out more and actually using it. And to make this goal a bit more challenging, I’ve added take at least 10 amazing photos a month to this goal. Those pictures with the amazing lighting or just the right composure that just makes a photo better than average. Hopefully by the end of the year, those photos will be a lot more common.

Build the blog more ~ Last year, I finally achieved my goal of moving to my own self-hosted blog. Something I’ve wanted for a couple of years. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to really make this blog everything I hoped it would be and more. This includes nailing down the design to exactly how I want it and becoming more consistent in putting up new posts. This year I hope to put up at least 120 new posts on the blog. That’s only 10 posts a month on average, but I know sometimes I fall behind. Hopefully with this goal pushing me to keep going, I won’t fall behind and I’ll get better at posting more often and consistently on the blog.

Lose 50 lbs. by October ~ This one has a little bit more of a time limit because October is when Thom and I have our spiritual wedding ceremony. If you remember, we got legally married in a court last November, but that was not by any means our actual wedding. With the visa being what it is, we didn’t want to plan the actual wedding until we were together and able to plan it right. Well, that’s happening in October of this year and I’ve got some weight to lose before that happens. Losing the weight is just going to be the result of many other goals I have, including eating more consciously, exercising more, and being “more natural”. I want to be more aware of the things I’m putting in my body and also cooking home cooked meals rather than processed, store bought foods. Exercising is a must, and this is one that Thom is more than willing to help me out with because he wants to exercise more as well. Yay workout buddies! And lastly, being “more natural” which is sort of like being all natural, but not quite there. Pintrest has instilled this one in me and it’s a good thing. I’d love to get farther and farther away from chemicals and processed everythings. This year I want to really make the move in the right direction to becoming all natural, but I do not expect myself to do it all in one year. So this year, I want to become “more natural” and maybe next year’s goal will be to finish it up and go completely all natural.

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Read at least 6 new books ~ I am a typical bookworm in the fact that I have a LOT of books, many of which I haven’t read yet. I’ll be reading one book when I go out and buy a couple more, and then a couple more after that. I used to read all the time, but this past year I’ve really fallen away from reading. So this year, I want to at least make a dent in all the unread books I have and start reading again. Most likely it’ll be nightly reading before bed, which is a great way to wind down from the day and avoid electronics before bed.

Take at least one awesome roadtrip ~ A road trip needs to happen. It just has to. Other than my trips to see Thom in Ireland, I haven’t done any big trips and I don’t even remember the last time I went camping, which NEEDS to change this year. I have a couple of trips in mind already, and since my new job has paid vacation, I’m sure traveling won’t be a problem this year. I’m very excited for this year and all the adventures that are sure to happen.

Explore 10 new places/hikes ~ Washington has some amazing hidden gems all over just waiting to be discovered. Last year I found places like the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge and the Sesqualitchew Creek Trail. This year I hope to travel around the state more and find plenty of new favorite places to share with everyone.

2016 is sure to be an amazing year. Looking back on last year and all that has been accomplished, I’m excited to look ahead at what may be coming our way and how life may shift and change through the year. These goals will be a steady reminder of personal things I want to accomplish and to make sure that I take time from my sometimes hectic life to focus on myself and the person I want to be.

What are some goals you have for the year ahead?

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2015 ~ A Year in Review

2015 ~ A Year in Review

A lot has happened in 2015. So many big events, so many big changes. I could easily say that 2015 has been one of the most eventful years that I can remember having. That’s not to say there weren’t some low events throughout the year, and things I will miss that have moved on from my life. But there’s so much that has come from this year, and taking a moment to look back through it all and remember just how far I have come as a person, and how far this blog has come, is just astounding. Here’s a look at what’s happened.

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I got engaged AND married in the same year!

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I found a new hobby that I love!

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I’ve started exploring the state I live in more, and found a new favorite place to hike and relax.

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Little Owyn made his debut on the blog!

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I left my old job of 3 years and am now working for Trupanion, which I really enjoy.

What. A. Year! And that’s not all!

☮ I’ve started playing Magic the Gathering again (thank gods!)
☮ St. Patrick’s day was actually spent in Ireland this year.
☮ This blog FINALLY became self hosted (which I’m still very much learning the ropes with).
☮ I’ve reconnected with old friends that I never thought I’d see again, as well as made new awesome friends.
☮ I’m baking, cooking, and creating more. Not to mention my photography has really improved.
☮ Thom is living with me. ACTUALLY living with me, not just visiting!

It still amazes me how much has happened and all the things that have changed and are still changing. It’s always good to take a moment to reflect and see where things have lead you. This year, I’m pretty happy with. Next year, I have high hopes for. Big goals and plans, big events expected to happen, and I’m sure big things that I’m not even aware of yet.

It’s gonna be a big, amazing year. I can feel it.

How was your 2015?

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Holiday Enrichments at NW Trek

Holiday Enrichments at NW Trek

The Sunday following Christmas, Thom and I decided to head to a wildlife park about an hour away called Northwest Trek. This weekend, they were celebrating the holidays in the park by giving the animals their holiday enrichments. Every day, animals in zoos and wildlife parks get what’s called enrichments – treats or toys that allow them to act or play as they would in the wild. Sometimes the keepers hide treats to be sniffed out and dug up, or hang things in trees so the animals can climb to get them, or occasionally it’s just a special themed treat to celebrate something. In this case, they were celebrating the holidays.

I must admit, the main reason I wanted to go was to see the wolves with their holiday treats. Of course. This wouldn’t be the whimsikal wolf if I only went to see the elk! And of course, seeing the wolves playing and enjoying their treats made me a little trigger happy with my camera. Overall during our visit in the park I took over 700 photos, more than 400 of which were just with the wolves! Now of course, I did take photos of some of the other animals, but the wolves were definitely where we spent most of our time. Trying to decide which photos to share with all of you was difficult to say the least, but here’s a few that I absolutely love.

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It was so hard to narrow down the photos so I didn’t flood this post with hundreds of pictures of the wolves. They were being so adorable with their treats. We went to a couple of keeper talks where they had the skunk and the opossum out enjoying mini christmas trees with carrots dangling like ornaments and marshmallow tipped branches, and little stars made out of pineapple! These animals sure do get spoiled for the holidays. There were many more animals that got treats that I attempted to get photos of, but alas, my photography skills are still on the uphill and many of those photos came out way too blurry to be “artistic” haha. However, I am very happy with how the wolf photos came out.

Overall we had a really great time. It was a little cold, but at least the rain held off the whole time we were there. Luckily for us, it wasn’t that busy either. A few families and couples, but nothing like the crowds can normally get on the weekends. We even had a nice encounter with a couple who was asking about my photos! I wrote down the blog URL for them and told them to check in a couple days. ( Hello ^_^ ) The guy had an awesome Tardis hat that reminded me we hadn’t watched the Christmas episode yet! Which Thom and I watched a couple nights ago (it was so good!).

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If you live in the area, I definitely recommend checking out Northwest Trek at some point, especially with the family. The park is huge, and includes a free roaming area for a lot of the herbivores where you can ride on a slow moving tram through the area to see the animals in their natural habitat. How cool is that?! Thom isn’t much of a fan of zoos, but he even enjoys coming here. It’s definitely a must see stop for those of you in the western Washington area.

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures. I greatly enjoyed taking them. Only one post left for the rest of 2015 before we head straight into 2016. I have high hopes and goals for the coming year, especially in growing and developing my blog. See you guys again tomorrow!

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Point Defiance Zoolights

Point Defiance Zoolights

On Christmas eve eve, Thom and I decided to visit the Point Defiance Zoolights in Tacoma. It’s an attraction I like to go to every year, and as part of the first holidays we got to spend together, it’s somewhere I wanted to take Thom. Not being a fan of zoos, it wasn’t something he was really interested in doing, but he could tell how much I wanted to see them with him and reluctantly came along. After which, he was glad for.

It was a little bit on the rainy side, as is the norm for Washington, but we had plenty of dry breaks where I could bring my camera out of hiding and take some shots. The lights all around were an amazing sight to see, with all the colors and the different shapes, many of them even moving. It’s always nice to see what’s changed from year to year. They’re always moving things around and adding new displays, so it’s never the same.

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These jellyfish were so fun to watch! All the tiny jellies swimming around. They seemed to love having that candy cane in there. It was always swarmed with tons of the little guys. Floating around and bumping into it. The one thing I really wanted to see that night was the scuba diving Santa! But yet again, I missed him. The Point Defiance Zoolights have been doing the scuba Santa for a few years now, but I have never once gotten to see him in action. It seems we were too late in the evening and he’d already done his show. One of these years I’ll see him, but not this year.

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Overall, I love going to the Zoolights here in Tacoma. And after seeing what it’s all about, Thom loved it too. It will definitely continue to be on the list of must see visits during the holidays, and even more so when we have little pups of our own to bring with us. If you haven’t seen the Zoolights and you’re in the area, they are still running this week until January 3rd so go check them out! For more info, here’s their website.There’s minor hills around the place, but overall very kid and stroller friendly. So bring the family out to see some of the animals and enjoy all of the lights!

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Yule ~ The Start to Our Holidays

Yule ~ The Start to Our Holidays

Today officially marks the start to the full holiday cheer for me. Unlike many people these days, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas. It’s nice to spend time with the family, and sure, who doesn’t love getting gifts? However, there’s a holiday this time of year that is much more suited to me. That holiday is Yule, the Winter Solstice.

The winter solstice is a time of reflection, a time to stop and take a look at the year that’s gone past and to think ahead to the year rapidly coming up. It marks the return of the sun, as tonight is the longest night and from here on days will be getting longer and the darkness lessening. The Goddess becoming the Great Mother once again and giving birth to the Sun King, bringing back the light.

In all truth, this will be the first year I officially celebrate Yule. A lot of that I owe to my husband. I’ve always wanted to celebrate, but never had the spirits to or felt confidant enough to. The last couple of years, I’ve spent the holidays alone. Truth be told, that was probably when I should have started to celebrate the most! But I just wasn’t in the spirits. But this year, Thom has encouraged me and given me the motivation I’ve been lacking. And today, on this our first Yule together and married, we give birth to new family traditions that we’ll (hopefully) continue on for years and years to come, passing them on to our children and their children.

Yule log

I’ve done quite a bit of reading the past couple weeks to prepare myself for today. Having never celebrated Yule, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to actually celebrate the solstice. So here’s a few things I came up with.

~ Make a Yule Log, or Bûche de Noël as it’s called by its original French name. I really wanted to make my first ever yule log this year. That was the one thing I knew for sure I wanted to make to celebrate the holidays. Though, the one pictured above isn’t actually my first one. It’s the second… The first one I made did not turn out at all. I got really upset and Thom had to come into the kitchen to get me to relax and decide on how to move forward. I decided to change recipes to this one and try again. The result is that gorgeous cake above. It was so hard not to dig right into it yesterday after all the work I put in. But I wanted to save it for tonight.

~ Turn off the electricity and have dinner by the fire. That’s right. Shut off the phone, computers, tablets, lights, everything. Get away from all that un-natural light and humm of the world and relax by a fire while enjoying a meal with loved ones. Even better if you cook with the fire.

~ After dinner, try a fire releasing ceremony. Take a moment to reflect on the year and any thoughts or feelings that you may have held on to that weren’t good for you. Things that you want to release from you. Once you have it, write it down on a piece of paper. Hold that paper in your hand and imagine what you wrote, imagine that piece of paper is that thing that you want to release. When you’re ready, throw it in the fire.

~ For couples, you can sit together thinking about the year ahead and plan out dates that you’d like to have. Maybe just a simple night out at a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try or something a bit more adventurous like a cruise or small vacation. Whatever they may be, have fun with it. Take note of the things you come up with together as you’re thinking about the year ahead and save them.

~ Take a moment to give a blessing to the earth below the frost and snow. Acknowledge that it’s still there, celebrating the return of the sun just like us and waiting for that warm sunshine to melt the cold and bring spring back to the earth.

~ Make birdseed ornaments! This one I can’t do since my apartments won’t allow us to hang things in the surrounding trees, but I will definitely be doing it once we have our own place. Mix up a batch of birdseed like this recipe here and create different shapes using cookie cutters. When they’re all finished, hang them in the trees outside as an offering to the birds who are still around.

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These are just a few things I came up with while reading some of the many traditions around the Winter Solstice. We’ll be celebrating Christmas as well since that’s what my family celebrates, but today is all about Yule and the earth.

How will you be celebrating the holidays?

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Owyn’s Adventures ~ Candy Mountain

Owyn’s Adventures ~ Candy Mountain

Owyn is getting in the holiday spirit! We decided to make a bunch of holiday goodies last weekend, and little Owyn wanted to lend a helping trunk. (Don’t worry, he was thoroughly washed before he went stomping around!) Most things he wasn’t able to help me with, but when it came to rolling up the little balls of dough, he did great! They all needed to be almost as big as he was, but little Owyn was very much up to the task. In the end, we made some amazing little cookie dough truffles, which I’m sure I’ll be sharing with you in another post.

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