Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Fun Day!

What a day we had yesterday! We decided to hit the city, Toronto that is, to check out the One of a Kind Christmas Show. We have never been before, and with all the craftiness going on around here, it seemed like the perfect year to check it out.
So we packed ourselves up early and hit the road. The One of a Kind Show was just amazing! The people, the artists, their work and the atmosphere were lovely and inspiring. We took a couple of hours to walk around taking in everything the artists had to share.  Reece was super happy to find himself a new friend...a frog, who he has been named Finn, and Justin and I were happy to enjoy the show and talk with some of the artists.

After the show, Reece was mesmerized by a wall of water in the lobby of the Direct Energy Center, so we had to stop so he could see it up close, touch it and feel the water. And yes it was a huge hit!

As we headed outside to the car, we were amazed at what a lovely day it was, so our plans of heading home changed. Instead we headed to the Eaton Center for a little walk and to check out the Christmas decorations. And it didn’t disappoint. From large trees decorated with Swarkorski crystals to giant reindeer's decked out in lights, Reece was amazed, as were Justin and I.  We had a great time walking around; acting like tourists in a city we don’t visit to often.

With a quick check of the watch, we knew it was time to head home. As we drove, Reece slept soundly in the back seat and I began reading Beyond the Rainbow Bridge out loud, so Justin could share in this lovely book.

A wonderful, fun and inspiring day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Family Day

I may be showing my age a bit, but I remember a time as a kid when everything was closed on Sundays. Nothing was open, except the corner store. Sunday was a day for spending time with family, visiting and enjoying some down time.  I would have to say in our society today, Sunday is the exact opposite. Stores are open, parents are working, extracurricular activities are the norm and down time...what exactly is that?
As a family, we have been on the road to simplification for quite a few years, finding ways to lead a simpler, more meaningful life. And one of the things we do is treat Sunday as a family day. We tend to laze around on Sunday mornings, enjoy a pancake or French toast breakfast and head out for a family walk with the dog. We often meet up with my parents for a cup of tea at some point and then spend the rest of the day chillin. On occasion we may head up to visit my in-laws, or hit the park for some play time and a picnic in the summer. Basically, it is a day for us to have some fun, spend time together and reconnect as a family. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We all love our Sunday’s together and even though the world around is still busy and moving at warp speed, we love slowing down, taking a breath and just enjoying the day as it unfolds.
Spring 2011

Summer 2011

Summer 2011 - Just Chillin

Summer 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

How does your family slow down and reconnect?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Our Weekend

Arts and Craft Sale

Lunch with friends



Quiet dinners

Early bedtimes

Lazy mornings

Fun with nana and papa

Quiet afternoon at home




Helper in the kitchen



Time together

Our weekend

Friday, November 25, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Tree for Reece

We are in the middle of redefining spaces in our home. Recently we moved our bedroom up to the loft, which was meant to be Reece’s bedroom. Since we have a family bed, his bedroom was not getting used. It was annoying me that we were not using all the space in our little home, so I came up with a plan. We moved our bedroom upstairs and Reece’s future bedroom is our old bedroom.  Now you say this really doesn’t do much for the space not being used, as Reece is still not going to be sleeping in his bedroom, but it does. You see our bedroom was really two rooms, we took a wall down when we moved in to create a larger room. A few weeks ago, once we had moved our bedroom up to the loft, Justin put up a divider wall in the space which has made it possible for us to create a bedroom for Reece as well as a home school/play/arts and crafts room.  It has actually created some much needed space in our home, which I love.
When Justin created the wall, he used a tree, yes a tree as the post for the wall. It is pretty amazing and Reece loves it. When he says he has “a tree” in his bedroom most people think he is teasing them.

Today, we put another tree in Reece’s room, a small Christmas tree. Reece was pretty excited to be getting another tree in his room and when he found out we were putting lights and decorations on it...well, let’s just say it made his day.
Take a look at the fun we had this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Handmade Homemade Christmas

I really can’t remember the last Christmas Justin and I exchanged “gifts” has been quite a few years. It all started years ago with my need to simplify. Justin and I had everything we needed and we didn’t really want for anything (yes, Justin would love to have a Porsche, but that just isn’t in the cards...ever), so we decided to try something different for Christmas.
Over the years we have done the $20.00 Christmas where we can only spend $20.00 on each other – you have no idea how much fun this can be. We have done the make something for each other Christmas. We have skipped it all together and just enjoyed being together. We have enjoyed each Christmas since we started being more creative with our “gifts” and most importantly we have enjoyed our time together.
Over the years we have also seen our gift giving to others change. First of all, we have really limited who is on our Christmas list, this is both for monetary reasons and because we know “we” all have too much stuff. Second, when gift giving we really take time to think about what each person we are giving to would really appreciate.
A few years ago I gave the gift of meals and time. Reece’s godmother was commuting to work and finding her days long. She would prepare meals on the weekend for the week ahead. So I decided to cook her up a week’s worth of meals. She came for a lunch one Sunday just before Christmas and I sent her home with meals for the week for her and her family. It gave her the weekend free of cooking (I told her in advance what I was doing so she had the weekend free to enjoy it) and warmed her heart to know meals were waiting each night for her when she got home.
This year, we have decided to have a handmade, homemade Christmas. Handmade means I have been doing a lot of knitting, sewing and beading, and Justin has been doing some creative artsy stuff in the garage with different mediums. Homemade means I have also been in the kitchen creating two delicious recipes to share with those I love.
Today, I will share with you one of those recipes...a healthy, sweet, delicious treat.

Chocolate Covered Dates
Medjool dates
Pecans (2 to 3 per date)
Dark chocolate
Sea salt (optional)
***I have not included amounts. The first time I made them, I made ten to try them out. When I make them again, I will be making about forty, for Christmas presents. So use as many dates as you need to for your needs.
Gently open the dates and remove the pits. You will be closing the date up again, so be very gentle.
Gently place 2 to 3 pecans inside each date, where the pits use to be.
Close the date and set aside.
You now need to melt the chocolate. I do this by bringing a pot of water to a boil and then reducing it to a simmer. Put chocolate in a glass bowl and put the bowl in the pot. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Gently stir the chocolate as it melts.
Once melted, removed from heat, and dip one half of the pecan stuffed dates in the chocolate.
Place on baking tray covered with wax paper.
When finished dipping all the dates, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes.
And that is it, super easy and really delicious. In fact, my inspiration for these came from Justin’s favourite holiday treat – Turtles...chocolate, pecans and caramel, I just switched out the caramel for dates, and believe it or not, it works!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Beauty Around Us

We are very lucky, fifteen years ago when we were looking for our first home, we found my dream – an old schoolhouse.  I don’t know why, but I had always thought living in an old schoolhouse or church would be amazing, and after fifteen years, I can definitely say it is.
What makes our home so wonderful though is also where it is located. We have four conservation areas within a 15 minute drive from our home. Our neighbours (not like neighbours in the city, they live about a half a kilometre up the road) own 75 forested acres across the road from us and have cut out trails throughout and welcome us to use it. We also have some very quiet country roads on which to walk and run. 
Why is this so wonderful? Simply because I love nature. It grounds me. It reminds me just how amazing our earth and Mother Nature are. It helps me think. It helps me clear my mind. It is there for me every day. I need nature, and if a few days go by and I have not hit the trails for a walk or run, I feel it pull me, it calls me to come...and those days are usually the days I need it most.
Today I thought I would share some of the beauty we experience daily as we go about our lives. It continues to amaze me and reminds me each and every day why we live where we do.

We can't go on a walk without Shelby :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Our Bedtime Rhythm

We have many rhythms in our day, and bedtime is no different.  Each night, once the dinner dishes are put away, Justin and Reece head into the bathroom. The door is closed and all I hear is a lot of laughing, splashing and the odd “not that much water”. I have tried on a number of occasions to sneak a peek at the fun the two of them have during bath time, but it seems as soon as they hear my footsteps coming towards the door, the fun stops. I have gotten the hint...mama is just not welcome at bath time.
Once the bath is done, I usually hear “mama, me done” from the bathroom and off I go to get my little man from the bath. Daddy’s part is done, now mama takes over. I get Reece into his pyjamas and then we head upstairs for a book, cuddles, nursing and finally, sleep.

Lately, we have two bedtime books on the go. It’s Time to Sleep My Love by Nancy Tillman and Zzzzz A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na.  We usually read one, sometimes both, depending on how tired Reece is.  We cuddled for a bit and then Reece nurses. Most evenings it doesn’t take long for my little man to doze off into dreamland.
What does your bedtime rhythm with your little ones look like?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Weekend

Day with daddy
Movie night
Pancake breakfast
Visit from family
Bow making
Outdoor decorating
Christmas carols
Making Christmas treats
Fresh popped pop corn on a Sunday afternoon
Our weekend

Friday, November 18, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Inspired by Soulemama.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Making Decorations

For the past few years our Christmas tree has been adorned with red and white lights, some beaded garland and beautiful ribbon, and that is it, nothing else. And believe it or not, it is the most beautiful yet simple tree and we love it!
This year, as Reece gets craftier, we have decided to make some decorations for the tree to add to last year’s beauty and simplicity. 
I had been gathering the things we needed for the decorations for a couple of days, knowing we had a quiet Thursday afternoon coming up and I planned to fill it with making decorations.
Justin headed into the forest to find some fallen branches. He cut them on a slight diagonal, creating beautiful wood discs.  He then drilled some holes in the top.
I gathered some snowflake and snowman stamps, some new ink pads and green and red ribbon.

And from there it was simple and a ton of fun. Reece and I got stamping...a snowflake here and a snowman there and before you know it we had created a ton of decorations.

Reece and I then took some time to add the ribbon and I tied the ribbon in knots, ready to  be hung on our tree. Reece had a great time with this project and although we have told him what we will do with them, I don’t think he quite understands.  We will have to wait until we bring the tree home and then it will all come together for him.

On a side note, while we were stamping away, I decided to see if I could write on the wood, and yes I can.  I have been working to find a “green” alternative to gift wrapping and gift tags this year and these will work perfectly. I plan to stamp a snowflake on one side and address the gift on the other...perfect idea to go with my homemade cloth gift bags.

Have you been making decorations in your home?