the sights of winter.

four years ago we moved from mild vancouver {yes they do get a lot of rain!} to cold cold cold quebec.
to say it was a shock is an understatement. sometimes i miss the rain. some days i would rather the rain.
that being said we have tried hard to embrace all that comes with the changing seasons and that includes winter.

now we are not complete crazy people - we do stay inside all bundled up when it's around minus 25, although you would never guess it was that cold outside for those always happen to be the sunniest days and the most appealing for those looking from the inside out! but when the temperatures hit -12 there is a sense of it not being too bad and we are bundled and pushed out. the great thing about these temperatures is that tony has been able to create a backyard rink. he has a love for skating and this way he can easily share it with the kids and get their skills up as well. win win. they spend hours out there playing redbull ice crush, doing obstacle courses, learning basic hockey skills and how to do figure eights. there are becoming real Quebecois! haha.

now for me - i still need a bit of convincing. i shy away from the low temps and i'm not as eager to walk the dog at night but i am getting better {just don't consult my husband on this! ha!}. i'm just not used to it and still feel like that vancouver girl at my core. it just seems too cold sometimes when to others it might feel normal. i will get over it sooner or later. i better.

the exciting part is that we have, for the past two winter's now, discovered the local ski hills and that's where my focus lies. i'm so happy we live near some sort of ski hill. my best memories growing up involve being dropped at the hill {cypress always.} with my sister for the day and sometimes being fortunate enough to have a gang of us up there ruling the slopes until the lights come on and we are forced to leave. i stole the kids away on monday - they had a day off of school - and went to a local mountain for the afternoon. we pretty much had the place to ourselves and it was magic. they don't quite share my love of skiing now but i am sure they will come around. hopefully. the days we can go up are here and there - weather is too cold or prior commitments that already rule the day limit our play time - but when we can go it's heaven.

i can't wait for the day THEY beg me to go - instead of the other way around.
that day you will not be able to wipe the smile from my face.


as some of you may have noticed this space has been a little quite lately. there are a few reasons for that 1) although i have been cooking delicious food and i am dying to share the in's and out's with you i am, unfortunately, not cooking at 11am and photographing it at night in the winter is the pits!! and 2) i have taken a job outside of the house for now and 3) i am trying to decided what i am going to do when i grow up and that takes some planning. lots of planning. oh and we have decided to put our house up for sale. that's a big one there. that's makes it a lot harder for time for this space because all the little things of life are also taking over: laundry, homework, breakfast, lunch, dinner.....so my time to connect here and photograph/edit have been taken by those other tasks. that being said i am not closing down all together - i am just not being able to post three to five times a week like i once did, which actually does make me a little sad. i love this space so much and want to thank everyone who comes by and supports it. you can always see what we are up to via instagram {@jengronick} and if i ever post a food shot there that has you curious please drop me a line and i will fill you in - it would be my pleasure!!

talk soon! xx



in december cooper turned seven.
i can't believe we are there already. we now have an almost 9 year old and a seven year old!!
i remember 2006 like it was yesterday.....not like it was seven years ago!

i love parties. love them. love planning them. love throwing them.
they are my jam.
and especially i would do anything for this little guy. he is funny and charming and such a nice kid that waits patiently all year for his birthday AND christmas you can't help but want to spoil him a little. give him a little extra because of all the waiting.
but this one was.....a lot.
this year we took him and twelve friends bowling. glow-in-the-dark, laser-light show, disco bowling.
holy smokes that was a busy afternoon.
i completely under-estimated it.
i think maybe next year we are going to take him away for his bday. somewhere hot and fun.
{and somewhere brighter - trying to get 14 kids to stop moving to take a photo in a dark place sucks!!}

i don't know if i can do another.






as i sit here today - munching on a ham and cheese croissant watching the snow flakes fall and listening to the boys playing on the xbox - i am reflecting on our christmas this year and how it was NOTHING like how i had pictured it. this year i felt like we were in such a rush. other commitments came first and the real traditions of the holidays got pushed aside.
there was no baking.
there was no blogging.
there was no skating.
there were no gingerbread houses.
there was NO SANTA. {we never got to see him and get a photo. :( }

there were, however, snowstorms, work and colds/flu. lots of all three and they consumed all of our time. work took over our time. snow took away our visit with santa. the flu commanded it's presence on christmas day. we did still do some christmasey things this season but it was nothing like in years past.

i just hope we can navigate this new rhythm of our life, master the beat and dance our way through 2014 effortlessly.

that's my resolution.
what's yours?

all the best in 2014 - HAPPY NEW YEARS!!

these are all photo's from instagram. are you on instagram? i'm @jengronick if you want to follow along on our adventures!!


sometimes you win some....

okay so today i am going to open up to you.
i have been struggling with my weight. for a long time. i know a lot of you have as well.
mine stems from being pregnant. i gained so much with my daughter then got pregnant with my son so quick i never got back and it just seemed to stick.

but wait...it started sooner than that...i guess i should go back to the beginning.....

growing up i was a ballerina. have i said that here?
and i not talking i just took lessons.
i took lessons EVERY DAY. 4 - 5 hours a day about.
and on saturdays.
i was committed. it was my life. it was all i knew.

the year i turned 10 {technically i was 9} i auditioned for the royal winnepeg ballet and the toronto national ballet summer schools. usually you audition for both, hoping you get into one.
i got into both. i got to choose.
i was the only one from my school to do so. actually i was the only one from my year to get in anywhere that summer.
but that really didn't matter.
i was still put at the back of the class because i wasn't pretty enough or perfect enough. little things that yes - 8, 9 and 10 years old's - notice and absorb.
i ended up choosing the royal winnepeg, went for the summer, was asked to stay for the three year boarding school program - i declined the offer to stay...i was only 10 at the time.....

i loved my time as a ballerina - loved it! - but i think this is where my sense of i'm-never-good-enough stems from. i know it's where. and that stinks.

no one talked about bullying back then. about being nice no matter what. those days ballerinas were tough.
they were mean.
i never felt like i fit in but it was my passion.
and the teachers were too. i was told many times at the age of 12 that i was more over-weight than the others and to fix it. i really wasn't. i was taller and had broader shoulders, that's about it.

this stuck with me. i have carried it for a long time.
i realize now this is why i am SO hard on myself. i strive soooo hard for perfection because i feel anything less is failure. i have yo-yo'd with my weight and self image for a while now, falling into all the stereo-typical pot holes - striving to be sooo skinny to fit in {because all my friends were shorter than me and typically smaller but 16, 17 year old don't clue into that}, being in a relationship and letting yourself go, being almost out of the relationship so you go to extreme's again, trying fad diets, being so happy with one's situation that who cares, being pregnant and liberated {maybe a little too much! ha!} then being so exhausted that you don't care. that's when i woke up.

i decided this summer - enough was enough.
i decided that 36 was going to be a shinnier version of me.
i decided i really didn't like that number staring back at me.
i realized that problem all along was me. my decisions. my choices. no one else was to blame.
i am so glad i realized all this!
that was 3 months and 14 pounds ago.

that's the best part....i have seen results.
{i now really wished i had taken a before and after photo.}

i feel better. i look better. the changes in my choices have been minimal but rewarding.
do-able, not challenging.
i also feel better about myself. i feel like i have found my balance.
merry christmas to me.



we had a time.

a few weeks ago aydan and me attended the brownies mother/daughter sleepover and to quote angela chase "we had a time."

such a blast.
love these moments with my girl.



do you ever have one of those times where life takes over and you realize that maybe you haven't taken a photo of your life for about a week and a half? when you think - is there going to be a spread for project life this week or a big oops sign plastered in instead? that's what i thought.

then i looked in the iphone.....

got it covered.

{why do other people's iphone photo's look better than mine? gotta work on that!}



Halloween 2013.

Halloween this year was wet, wet, wet. Half the decorations didn't happen because of this but of well. we started the week off by getting pumpkins from a local farm - Roland Cloutier. awesome place up frasinere. then we rounded off the week with pumpkin carving, a party at brownies, a carnival at school, one fallen trick-or-treater that never got to go out, our usual hunting party who always visits our house first, visits from 8 other little ghouls {slow this year} and one little jeni-fire long who happily split her treats 50/50 with her sick brother who slept through the whole thing.

hope you and your family had a fun and safe halloween!!!

now on to christmas.....