Saturday, December 31, 2011


What can I say about the last 365 days?

It was full of hope, love, growth, happiness, sadness, rallying, tears and loss....

My children grew another year older, 8, 7 and 3.... I've watched them change in some pretty amazing ways, and everyday they surprise me by what they say and do; their little personalities come shining through their every move.... Liam, the joker; he's taken on Mommy and Daddy's crazy sense of humour; he is the protector of his younger brother and sister.... and at times, the antagonist.... Marek, the creator; he is our lover of all things art; who's personal expressionism is evident in his tens of thousands of finished pictures that range in size from a regular 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper to a minuscule scrap of memo note pad and can be found in every nook and cranny of our house; he admires his older brother and loves his baby sister so much that she often feels smothered by him.... Camryn, the puzzle queen; she mastered the art of the puzzle before she was 2 and hasn't stopped, quite often every square inch of open floor space in my living room will be covered by in-progress and finished puzzles, she loves me 'more than cereal' and I have to say that I love her just as much and more....

My husband, Craig, and I both turned 40, on the same day, one month apart.... I'm happy to say that his birthday is before mine, and that when he was 40, I was still in my thirties (at least for one month, it's something to hang onto, right?).... We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary, and also saw 21 years together come and go.... We laughed a lot, we talked a lot, we held hands and stole kisses and squeezes whenever we could, which was also, a lot.... We love each other fully, and our children 'to the moon and back'....

We took our first family camping trip to Killbear Provincial Park.... and just as the name suggests, there were bears.... on our site.... every. single. night.   By the last night, I was a little more comfortable with there being just a thin layer of fabric between my family and the man eaters.... I can't wait to go back!  Seriously.

In September of 2010, I committed to walking the September 2011, 2-day, 60km walk to help find a cure for cancer.... I trained and trained, and walked more than 400km leading up to the weekend.  My inspiration for joining this amazing movement was my dear friend Becky, who's personal battle with cancer, sparked a fire inside me and compelled me to do something.  Myself and my teammates raised over $9,000 to support the cause; we collected bottles, we held a rummage sale, we hosted an amazing tea and silent auction and so much more.... and through it all, the amazing people we encountered were supportive and thankful of our journey.... and through it all, Becky was there, cheering us on and encouraging our efforts....

Sadly, her health took a turn for the worse, and on July 10, at home, with her husband at her side and her children nestled in their beds, she lost her 3 year battle....  Our worlds came crashing down around us, and lives were changed forever.... She was a stellar human being who's caring heart was open to everyone she knew.... She was an amazing mother and wife; a daughter to be proud of; a friend who made her friends feel like family....  Our lives will never be the same.... but we will carry her many admirable qualities with us and try to live as she did....

We celebrated the life of our Becky at an amazing get together masterminded by my amazingly talented friend, Kim.... The celebration saw Becky everywhere.... in pictures, in family, in friends, in tears, in laughter, in hope.... in her children; little mirror images of her....

The walk itself, was an AMAZING experience.... to see the hope, the tears, the togetherness.... To walk; and challenge my mind and body in a way that I never thought I could.... To know the pride that my friend would be feeling if she could have been there at the finish line.... And seeing my family there, cheering on the route and at the end.... And seeing Peter, Becky's dad, at the finish line, and hearing him say "Becky would be proud".... and walking with my amazingly strong teammates and kindred friends, Crystal and Louise.... it made the whole year worth all of the effort, all of the work, all of the stress....

Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas have all past.... and they were spent surrounded by the love of my little family and my wonderful circle of friends....

I pushed myself to limits I didn't know I could reach; my heart was torn by the loss of an admirable soul and mended by the joy that is my family, my children, my husband.... So, while it was a challenging year, with great sadness, there were also many, many blissful moments.... I cherish them all.  My view of this life has been changed.... I will never take for granted the time I have in this life.... If I learned anything from these last 365 days, it's this: live every single day with joy in your heart; tell those who are closest to you how much you love them and what they mean to you; don't sweat the small stuff because it's not worth it; and don't ever, ever hang onto the baggage....

So, tonight, I raise my glass to the year that passed; I raise my glass to Becky and the astounding woman she was; I raise my glass to living a life full of family, friends, love and joy.... Happy 2012 everyone....  I can't thank you enough for your friendship here in this space....

Cheers!  To the prospect of a fantastic and fruitful 2012.... all the best to you....

xxoo   ;)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Been and gone....

Christmas has come and gone for another year.... I'm happy to report, that this year's was one of THE most relaxing Christmas's we've ever enjoyed.

We stayed home ALL. CHRISTMAS. DAY.

The kids opened their gifts.... and love all of them.... and were able to stay in their jammies and play the day away.  Mommy and Daddy, and Gran and Gramps also had a lovely day just being with one another.

It's amazing how rejuvenating a day at home can be.  No expectations except for turkey dinner.  I'm up for this kinda Christmas every year.

I hope you all enjoyed or are still enjoying a little relaxing family time too....

We'll be getting back to our regular schedule on the blog sometime in the new year.  Until then, I'll be popping by sporadically to say 'hi!'....

If I don't hear from you, have a safe and happy new year's eve!

;)   xo

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Yes.... there is technically this last day to shop....

I'm hoping with all hopes that you've finished the day before and that today, you're mad dash will be used to do any last minute wrapping, baking, visiting or just plain old relaxing....

You deserve it.

Have a fantastically fun family-and-friends kinda day, full of hope, wonder, joy and peace.... take this time to make memories and be home with those you love the most....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Friday Night Video 2011

Here's a classic Canadian Christmas Song....
Bob and Doug Mackenzie's 12 Days of Christmas....

Merry Christmas, EH?!


Only one shopping day left!!!!

Ok.... I haven't lost it, I do know how to count, and I do realize that technically, there is still one more shopping day left after today.... we'll get to that tomorrow  :)

Please, just humour me for today....  Look at today like it is your last shopping day.  Use it wisely to do any last-minute store shopping; driving here, there and everywhere; and impatiently standing in line with others just like you....

I have no gift ideas for today, other than to give of yourself and maybe pay-it-forward.  Treat someone to a coffee, a perfect stranger.... give up your spot in line to someone who's arms are overflowing, because when it comes down to it, you've left everything to the last minute, it can't get any worse....  Keep your emotions in check, and remember what the season is all about....  Spread the holiday cheer by wearing a smile even if you don't feel like smiling; say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas to everyone you make eye contact with.... You'll be amazed at just how happy you'll be just by simply spreading the love....

For me, Christmas is not about the presents.... it's about time.

 The time we spend with our friends and family.  Times past that we reflect upon.


We think we have so much of it, but we do very little of actually enjoying it.  So, finish your shopping, as quick as possible with that cheer-filled smile plastered on your face.... then when all is said and done, go and be with the ones you love....  There's no greater gift you can give someone than the gift of your time....

Tomorrow is another day, but spend your time wisely.... stay tuned  ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011


TWO, 2, TWO shopping days left!

The malls are packed, wal-mart is something akin to apocalyptic.... you're in a frenzy now!

What will you do?

Give a card.  Card stores are filled with funny, creative, cute and heartfelt words.... already written for us!  Or, if you're feeling extra creative and verbose.... go for a blank card with a nice picture on the cover and write what you feel.... or, if you're extra crafty, make your own....

Words and feelings are things we tend to keep to ourselves, especially in times of hustle and bustle.  I love getting a card that was picked just for me.  I think about the time it took the person to open up just one, or several cards, to find that single sentiment that expresses exactly what feelings the giver has in their heart for you.

I have a box full of cards that I just can't seem to let go of.... and when I finally can part with them, I usually cut them in half and use the cover as a gift tag....

A hand written card is a very special gift to give to those you love.... give it a try.

Have a fun-tastic day  ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



3 shopping days left!

By now, you're really feeling the stress, maybe work is getting in the way of the finishing touches of that long list of people to buy for.... don't let it get you down.  You still have options.

Gift cards! 

Yes, I agree, they can seem not well thought out.... impersonal, even.  Not true.  Get creative.  Find your nearest centre that sells a variety of different gift cards for retail outlets or attractions that aren't in your area.  For us, around here, Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall are THE best places to find amazing gifts!

You can seriously pick up any retailer or major restaurant chain gift card at either of these drug stores.  And that's not it!

Last year, in a quest to find a great adventure trip for my husband, zip-lining (so. much. fun.), I came to find out that the place I wanted to take him had gift card adventure packages available for purchase at my local Shoppers Drug Mart.  SCORE!  It ended up being his main gift.  WIN-WIN!

So, in short, don't underestimate the power of a gift card  :P

Have a great day!  ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


4 shopping days left!!!!

We're getting down to the wire, and I am pleased to say that I am 99.9% complete.... just a couple of last minute stocking stuffers.... and of course, the groceries....

So, with just 4 shopping days left, what is an easy, do-it-yourself gift that's sure to please?

Homemade Foot Scrub! 

After being on your feet for those long and hectic shopping days, what could be more inviting than a warm soak and relaxing scrub?  Sounds like heaven to me!

Here's a recipe for a foot scrub that uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboards....

1/4 cup oatmeal (ground or not)
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar or course sea salt
a couple drops of essential oil (your choice)

Mix together all ingredients and place them into a nice jar or container.
Add a tag with instructions: add enough water to make a semi-thick paste, soak feet in warm water for 5 minutes then apply paste to feet and massage for 10 minutes each foot; rinse with warm water; dry feet then apply a thick lotion; wear socks to help with absorption of lotion.

A nice little treat for your feet!

Have a great day!  Happy Shopping  ;)

Monday, December 19, 2011


F-I-V-E, FIVE!  5 shopping days left!

The excitement is building, and the stress levels are rising.... oh no, oh no, you still have a few people to buy for, what will you do?

How about one of the easiest, most personalized gifts ever?  What could it be, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you....

Make personalized labels for a few of your recipients favourite things.  For example, if you were going to do an inexpensive bath and body basket, you would buy soap or body wash, some bath fizzies, a body puff (or if you're a man a soap activator, as my husband calls them), and maybe a bottle of lotion.

Remove all of the commercial labeling (if possible), take some pretty paper (or plain) and create your own labels that are personal to your recipient.... give the soap an update with a nice wrapper, slip the bath fizzies into a clear plastic treat bag and attach a matching hang tag, also use a hang tag to attach to the body puff, and create a new label to slip over the commercial lotion bottle label.

What could be easier?

It's personal.  You know the recipient already likes the products.  It can be relatively inexpensive.  A-and!  It was made by you.... sort of....

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a lovely day  ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2011


6 shopping days left!  You heard me, SIX!!

I love crocheting, betcha knew that though.... Aaaanyway, if you know a few basic crochet stitches, you can make some quick, easy, and useful gifts....

It's ba-ack!  The POT SCRUBBIE!  Yes, people, the pot scrubbie.

When you first look at it, you wonder, Is this thing really going to revolutionize my dish washing experience?  Honestly, no.  But, they are very eco friendly, they last for-ever, and can be made in some pretty fun and funky colours.... Doesn't everyone need a little colour to brighten up the mundane job of scrubbing pots?  I think so.

Anyhow, the basic pot scrubbie is simply two circular, single crocheted coasters sewn together.  That's it.  Revolutionary?... Again, no.

If you aren't into giving pot scrubbies as gifts, give them (single thickness) as coasters.  And, if you don't know how to crochet, you can make coasters using just about any kind of cloth you can get your hands on, hand stitch or use your sewing machine to sew together sandwiched fabrics; or use 4" x 4"  tiles and mod podge pretty scrapbook paper to them, then attach little cork or felt pads to the bottoms.... Super simple!

Give it a try!  Your gift recipient will love them!

Have a super day  ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Only 7 shopping da-ays left til Chri-istmas....  
Sorry, that's my attempt at singing in the tune of Twelve Day of Christmas  :P

Give the gift of memories in the form of a family photo....
but, not just any family photo....
How about a fantastic photo throwback?  What do I mean by throwback?

Well.... check out these fantastic retro-style photos....

The fifties family.... found on Pinterest

TOTALLY 80's.... Pinterest

60's couple found at My Retrospace

50's milkman and pregnant housewife, via Pinterest

Wouldn't it be so fun to do a hilarious retro-style family photo shoot?  
Dress up, snap some shots, print the pictures and pop them into vintage thrift store frames!
Then gift them to Grans and Gramps everywhere!

This is SO happening next year!

Have fun photo-shooting!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Only EIGHT.... count 'em, EIGHT, shopping days left! 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.... ummmm, 8!

For the young people in your life...  There's nothing better than rolling, squishing, and molding play dough.  It's a fantastic material that sparks creativity in children and adults alike.... AND!  Bonus.... is so very simple to make big batches yourself!

Another project pulled from 3 monkeys archives....

Snowflake Play Dough,
first posted here in winter 2009....

Sorry for the poor quality photo; but, it's hard to capture sparkles :P
In a large bowl combine:
2 cups white flour
1 cup table salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar (what else do you use this strange stuff for????)
1 tube of white, pink or light blue opalescent glitter (I used about a 1/4 of a cup, but certainly use your own discretion for this part)

In another bowl/measuring cup/or some sort of liquid holding vessel, combine:
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon of oil

Add liquid to dry ingredients and mix well. Depending on what it feels like after all of your ingredients are mixed, you may need to add more flour if too smushy or more oil of too dry. Once it has cooled enough to hold, kneed it together until it feels smooth. Then package it in freezer bags or wrap it in plastic wrap. VOILA! Pretty sparkly "Snowflake" Play Dough.

Alternatively; you can omit the glitter(or not) and add liquid food colouring (with the liquids, of course), or two packages of kool-aid (for colour) to the dry ingredients. I use neon liquid food colouring and it makes very vibrant coloured play dough (and hands while making it)... the kool-aid makes nice pastelly colours with a great smell. For very intense colours, you can try sourcing out powdered food colouring. If there is a cake decorator in your area, they may be able to hook you up with powdered/paste food colouring sources.

Package this together with a short, thick dowel that can be used as a rolling pin, a bunch of fun cookie cutters and wooden craft sticks to use as knives to cut the dough.

Super easy gift that is sure to please!

Have a lovely day....   ;)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Nine days left til Christmas!

Baking!  Baking!  Baking!

Bake your recipient their favourite treat.  It's personal.  It's delicious.  And you know it will be very much appreciated.

Here's a quick little recipe for shortbread.... quick little story:  I had never made shortbread before last week.  For some reason, I always thought it was too finicky to make.  But, in my pursuit to please my guy, I decided to dive in.... and now I'm left feeling rather silly for thinking it was so difficult.  Seriously, 5 ingredients and you have one of the lightest cookies with just the perfect hint of sweetness and buttery-ness (yeah... it's a word)....

You'll need:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup extra fine sugar (you can use regular granulated, you may just get a little crunch)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Whip the butter for 5-10 minutes, yes, that long... please use a hand blender or a stand mixer and save your arms....  Whip, whip, whip!

Add the sugar.... mix, mix, mix for 5-10 minutes more....

Add your yolk and extract.... whip for another 5-10.... oh, my aching arm!

Then do 3 to 4 additions of the flour, using your trusty hand blender for a few minutes between each addition.  By this time, your arm should feel like it's suffered some kind of ancient body stretching torture.... that's when you know you've beaten it enough!

No need to complicate things here, roll into 1 inch balls, throw them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and squish them down with a fork, bottom of a glass or anything close by.  You're looking to flatten them to about 1/4" thickness.... Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven til the edges are just getting lightly browned.  Again, people, I cannot give you an exact time as ALL ovens vary.... mine runs a little on the hot side, so my cookies are generally finished 4-6 minutes before suggested bake times.  For example, these cookies for me, are ready to take out around 8 to 9 minutes.  Use your judgement, and keep a close eye :)

When all is said and done.... package these little morsels of melt-y marvellous-ness in a unique way.... the thought and effort will be welcomed and enjoyed!

Have a fantastic Thursday folks!  ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Only ten shopping days left til the big man appears!

We'll be counting down from today until the 24th by sharing some simple, quick and heartfelt last-minute gift giving ideas....


From 3 monkeys archives, the I LOVE YOU JAR.

A super simple little gift that tells someone exactly how you feel about them.  A project that for me, takes the place of and is more doable than scrapbooking.  Whenever I see my children do something new, or funny, or we create another special family memory.... I jot it down and slip it into the jar.... easy-peasy!

All you need is a jar (I love vintage canning jars), pretty scrapbook papers, assorted markers, scissors and your favourite memories, feelings and thoughts about the recipient.

You could also adapt this to create smile jars (jokes), inspiration jars (uplifting quotes).... the possibilities are limitless.... give it a try.... a simple, from the heart gift that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Have a great day everyone.... HO-HO-HO!  ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

FAMILY DAYS: craft show

While daddy is working away keeping people safe, the monkeys and I will be going to a 'Giant Craft Show' in our little town. 

We've never been before, so it should be fun.... I have one monkey (the oldest) who really doesn't want to go; however, once he gets there I'm sure I'll be hearing a lot of "can you buy this for me?".... the middle monkey, is just like me, he loves anything crafty-artsy-handmade (that's how I know we were meant to be).... and well, the monkey-babe, she just tags along and will undoubtedly be 'hands-on' with EVERYTHING....

One thing's for sure, it will be an adventure - and one that I am happy to share with three out of four of the peeps I love most in this world....

Have a happy, happy family day my lovelies  ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: dryer balls

Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at making homemade dryer balls, there are numerous tutorials all over the Internet.... For those of you who don't know what they are, they are exactly what they say they are; balls that go into the dryer.... Oh, you mean WHATare they for... GOTCHA!

Homemade wool dryer balls are felted wool balls that you use in your dryer (with your laundry) to help eliminate static, speed up drying time (almost by half!) and soften your clothes without the use of chemicals.  I know, they sound too good to be true, don't they?

Well, they do in fact work!  And, AND!  You can make them yourself.... A-and!  I'm going to show you how!

Here's what you'll need to get started:
100% wool yarn
(scraps, new, coloured, non-coloured, but definitely cheap and NOT washable.... washable does not felt)
crochet hook or tapestry needle
socks or nylons
cotton or acrylic yarn or thread

Step one:   Start winding the core of your dryer ball around your fingers like so.... Oh, and I used the jar to keep my scrap yarn from rolling away from me, this also works great for when you're knitting or crocheting....

Step two:  Start winding the yarn across your first few strands, very tightly, like this....

Step three:  Wind, wind, wind.... keep winding....

Step four:  Keep winding, then tuck in your end, til you end up with a nice firm-ish inner core of wool.... Size, you ask?  Whatever size you like....  mine pictured below were about 2 inches across....

Step five:  Take your wool yarn (for the outer portion of this ball I used wool roving, it felts very quickly and easily) and start winding....  For this step, I try not to wind the outer wool quite as tight.... it's still tight, just not loose-y-goose-y....

Step six:  Wind, wind, wind, until you've reached your a little larger than your desired size, remember this ball will shrink.... then tuck in your end....

Step seven:  Here's where the socks or nylons come in.... I used some old baby socks, and slipped them over my yarn balls....

Step eight:  Then took my NON-WOOL, NON-FELTING yarn and tied them into cute little packages like so....  Threw them into the washer with my whites, which I washed using hot water.... then dried, still in the socks....

Step nine:  Finito!  Here are your felted dryer balls.... If you feel they need another wash, go right ahead, it doesn't hurt to run them through the wash more than once just to ensure you don't end up with a matted mess in your dryer....

Now, go enjoy drying your laundry in a very eco-friendly way!

These also make a fantastic housewarming gift to give with some great eco-friendly detergent.... or make them in a rainbow of colours and give them to some lucky baby to play with....

Have a great day folks  ;)

THRIFTY MONDAY: more pyrex love....

I found both of these little pretties at Value Village....  

This pattern is Spring Blossom, first introduced by Pyrex in 1972 to accompany Corelle's Spring Blossom dish set (1970).  Spring Blossom was also relaunched in 1979, no longer in avocado green; it featured a scaled down pattern size and available in lime green and dark green.  The dish in my collection (pictured above) is from the original introduction in 1972, and I'm happy to report that it has been lovingly cared for and shows virtually no signs of use... YAY me!

This pretty turquoise Butterprint dish, is quite possibly the oldest in my meager little collection.  This pattern (Butterprint) was introduced in 1957 and produced until 1968.  Orange and pink versions of this pattern were also printed but discontinued in the early 1960's.  You know I've talked previously about wanting (needing) pink Pyrex....  well, now that I know there are also orange pieces tucked away in someones cupboard, believe me, my want for this colour almost overshadows my need for pink :(    Aaaanyway, this pretty mixing bowl is beautiful on the printed side with one or two little (teeny-tiny, really) scratches; however, the inside looks like it's made a few cakes in it's time.... it's all good though, I still love it completely!

I've come to realize that finding Pyrex in pristine condition, like the first few pieces I purchased, is not so easy.  And I've also realized that since finding those few pristine pieces, that I cannot settle for pieces that are, well,  less than.... It's pretty clear when pieces are washed in a dishwasher, the pattern become etched and faded.... you can imagine just how sad this makes me.  I've found my coveted pink Pyrex, several times, in several locations; sadly, they've all been abused by the dreaded dishwasher one to many times.... I just can't bring myself to adding something so terribly cared for to my collection of gleaming superstars.... is that me just being prejudiced?

Anyhow, there's your Pyrex history lesson for today.  Have a happy, thrifty Monday  ;)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


The tree is up.... but still naked.... Arg!  The lights don't work!  Thankfully, I made sure to test them all before stringing them onto the tree.... So, first thing this morning, I'll be rushing out to Canadian Tire for some new ones.

The lights we have are the old, not-so-energy-efficient kind.  While I love saving energy where I can, I am not a lover of the new LED lights.... I really don't like the harsh glow of them.  My mother assures me that they've come a long way since they were first introduced.... She tells me there are softer glowing LED's that look similar to my old ones.  Nevertheless, I am stuck buying these new, less desirable type regardless of whether I like them or not.... there are no longer any other options in lighting.

I know they'll grow on me.... and I also know that what it really comes down to is this.... my tree will be getting dressed by my little family while we listen to Christmas songs and drink eggnog.... and make more wonderful family memories.... The colour and glow of the lights is really an insignificant thing when you look at the bigger picture....

my birdhouse all dressed for the season

We'll be together, and that's what matters most.... I'm very thankful for that....

Have a fantastic Sunday everyone  ;)


Truer words were never spoken  :D

Friday, December 2, 2011


Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness

Love this song....

RANDOMNESS: admiration

While sharing family pizza night with a friend and his three children, my friend told me how he wanted to make something extra special for his children to honour their mothers memory.... He wants to make memory quilts for each of them, made from her clothing....

I've seen these quilts before, they've been around for years.... I'm just so moved with emotion that he wants to do this himself.  What a beautiful way to work through the loss of someone who meant the world to you.... and what an equally amazing thing to gift to your children - something you made with your own two hands that represents the love you have for your wife and the love you both have for your children....

The admiration I have for her since I've known her extends to every single one of her family members.... I can't say how I would react if I were in his shoes - I can only hope that I could be one tenth as strong....

Reluctance by Robert Frost

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Yielding with grace, and holding on to memories.... could never be treasonous. It's admirable, and what's needed to move forward....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I know I've written about this before; but, it still amazes me how kids are thrilled by the simplest things....Sure the 'in' toys; the over-commercialized items that are thrown in our faces every time we turn on the tv or open up a flyer are what they desire, want and hope for.... these are what I like to call flash-in-the-pan objects.... they're liked and admired and played with for short periods then quickly forgotten and passed up for the tried and true.  You know the ones, the toys that force kids to use their imagination.... because when it comes down to it, kids love creating their own play.  It's inherent in a child's very make up.  That's what they do - it's how they first begin to learn about the world around them.  So why not nurture these sometimes forgotten forms of play?

I'm not saying that children shouldn't have some of the things they long for.... rather, they should be given a good mix of what they want and what they need to help foster their growing minds.

Aaaanyway.... I painted a set of wooden peg dolls for my daughter last year for Christmas.  One doll representing each person in our family.  A fun little project.... painting.  Painting.... my favourite artful thing to do.  Every time I pick up a paint brush to do a project, I remember just how much I love doing it.... My daughter loves her set.  She even found a little carry case for them.... And I'm certain she would have loved them and played with them just as much if they were left naked....

Anyhow, these little naked people beg me to dress them.... and I lovingly oblige.  I just love choosing the colour of clothes, the hair, the personality.... and my favourite thing - giving them life at the very end by adding their little dotted eyes.

These four little ladies are so pretty.... and finished with a little sparkle.... what little girl doesn't LOVE sparkle?  Every time I walk by them, they make me smile.  Something so simple - and it brightens my day.... I hope the little lady who these will be gifted to, will feel smiley when ever she glances their way too.

A good rule to follow at this time of year.... keep it simple.
Have a great day folks  ;)

p.s.  REFURB-RECON,-REPURPOSE will return.... eventually....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: rosemary butternut apple soup

It's the time of year when all I want to eat is soup.  Do you ever feel that way?

Here's a very simple recipe that tastes de-lish-us!  And also happens to be one of my very favourite fall recipes..... YUMMMMM!


You'll need:

7-8 cups of peeled and cubed butternut squash
2-3 apples cubed (peeled or not, your choice)
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
1 medium onion diced
4-5 cups chicken broth
1 tsp rosemary
fresh ground pepper

Here's the how-to: 
Throw everything into a large soup pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until squash is fork tender.  Here's where you choose how to finish the soup.  You can either mash with a potato masher and have a textured soup; or use an immersion blender and puree.  I like my soup a little chunkier, so I just use my potato masher.  You can also, at this point, add either cream, milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk or a neutral milk alternative (soy, almond, etc.) to give the soup a 'cream of' consistency.  Sometimes I add the milk, sometimes I don't.... I enjoy it either way.

This soup freezes very well.  However; here's a tip - freeze without the milk added, it tends to separate and look curdled when thawed and reheated.  Once thawed, heat the soup and add the milk at the end, warm it up, then serve.  Enjoy!

Have a fantastic Tuesday everyone  ;)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finished projects.... so far....

So, as I said in an earlier post.... I. AM. BUSY.

Not complaining.... on the contrary, I like to be busy with hat business at this time of year.... the little extra cash flow certainly helps out....

Anyhow, here's a peak at some of the great hats my lovely friends have ordered for their lucky littles....

I have to say, my very, very favourite this year, is the newborn stocking cap.  Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen?  I can't wait to see it on a fresh new baby.... I'm thinking to make a few more and list them in the shop, but doing a brown/pink and brown/blue combo....

AND!  I found this sweet little 'very hungry caterpillar' knitted infant photo set that I'm going to give a go in crochet when I've finished my Christmas orders.... cute, don't ya think?  This one is available from Sweet Love Creates for $110. (WOW!  maybe I should up my prices if people are paying those kind of prices, just kidding!)....

Have a good one people  ;)

THRIFTY MONDAY: signs.... ok, just one sign

My local consignment shop is one of my favourite places to browse for clothes for myself.   I tend to go there at least once every two weeks....  But, it's not just clothes.  They accept everything from clothes to living room sofas.... the shop is pretty small, but they know what moves....

The lady who owns the shop is one of the very sweetest people I have ever met.... and I admire the fact that she remembers every. single. person's. name..... that's pretty amazing, considering her shop clientele is HUGE!

Aaaanyway, for the looooongest time, she had a beautiful restaurant sign displayed above one of her clothing racks.... it's fairly large, about the wider than a king size bed and roughly 15-18 inches high.... I had admired it for such a long time and never ever asked about it.  I had actually assumed that it was just a really cool display piece she used in her store.

Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I inquired, she said it was definitely a consignment item and the price tag was $200.  A little more than I like to spend on a thrifted item; however, finding a sign this size for such a small price (as far as signs go), I just couldn't pass it up.... She agreed to sell for $175 cash.  NO PROBLEM.... I'll gladly take that baby off your hands....

Ho-ly buckets!  This things weighs a TON!  Thus, the reason for only the sneak peak you see here.... I just couldn't lift the thing on my own to get a better shot....

It looks like it's from the inside of a restaurant.  You know, the ones with all of the kitschy pictures and signs everywhere?  Aaaanyway, this big green beauty will find it's place in our future finished basement family room.... I am so looking forward to seeing it anchored to my wall.

Happy Monday peeps!  I hope you can find room in your hearts for some lovely thrifty-ness too  ;)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Much of our fall/winter family time revolves around hockey.... the boys play four, sometimes five, days a week.... we watch NHL hockey.... at least three times a week there's a mini sticks game going on between the girl and her boys.... and Daddy helps coach the middle man's team and plays pick-up with a bunch of guys on Tuesday nights himself....

Old Hockey Skates.  Art print by Danny Bailey
Where do I fit into all of this?  Well, I don't play.... I'd love to but there aren't any women's pick-up leagues around here, and if I'm being honest, I skate very, very poorly.  Yes, I said it.  I'm a Canadian and my skating skills are beginner at best.  I'd love to invest the money and buy all the equipment and just play.  I think it's the only way I'm going to gain any kind of hockey/skating skill.... but; as I said earlier, they just don't offer, a-hem, women of my age the opportunity near here.

Don't get me wrong.... my role in all of this hockey is very important too.  I wouldn't give up being the bus driver, the skate lacer, the #1 fan, and the after game high-fiver for anything in the world.  Anywhere that my family is involved in something (anything).... it's my job, responsibility, honour, absolute pleasure to be the side liner; watching, cheering, and beaming with pride.  I take this role very seriously.  Sometimes, maybe (always) I can get a little excited.... and maybe, sometimes (always) I make a little noise.... but; I'm sure, positive really, that my guys are very happy to hear Mommy encouraging them from the stands.... right?

Happy hockey season everyone  ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


It's true.... I know it.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison

Have a great Friday night people  ;)


Construction paper wreathVia.

Paper lantern d.i.y.  Via.

Felt ball garland, great tutorial.  Via.

Gingerbread reindeersVia.

Craft stick tree.  Via.

Be sure to check out Pinterest for other great crafty ideas you can do with your kids!

I know this is usually my Thursday post, but I couldn't resist sharing some little crafty bits I found.... hope you have fun with your littles creating some new decorations full of fond memories ;)

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stay tuned....

Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to write a quick note to say that I've been working away like a busy little bee filling my Christmas hat orders.... I haven't forgotten about my little place here, just temporarily put it on the back burner....  I'll be popping in and out for the next couple of weeks with a few tidbits here and there, so don't lose faith in me dear readers.... when the orders settle down, I'll be back at it! 

I'd love to hear from you.... what are you thinking about the new format?  Are there any things you would change, like to see more or less of?  Any ideas for topics?  Please give me your feedback so I can keep you, my faithful readers, well, reading....  Leave me a comment, I always love hearing from you!

Have a great day everyone  ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: homemade chocolate syrup

I don't buy milk through our school's milk program.... Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great program and fundraiser; but, with two kids (and next year three) to pay for.... it's an added expense that just doesn't fit into our budget.... I send cheese, yogurt or chocolate milk from home.... this is what works for us.

I also don't buy cartons of chocolate milk either.  It's not cost effective and it's just an invitation for the kids to drink it way too often, because once opened, it must be finished before it sours, right?  So, chocolate milk in our house comes from the plain skim milk we buy (which we always have an abundance of) and chocolate syrup.  I can control the amount of chocolate (sugar) that goes into every glass.... I like that. And, it's cost efficient.

Anyhow, if you're a baker, then you should have everything already in your cupboards to make this easy recipe....

Here's the how-to:

Whisk together in a pot,  1/2 cup cocoa, 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (or powdered sweetener of your choice), pinch of salt, and just over a 1/2 cup of water.   Bring to a boil then simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Let it cool, then pour it into a container and store in the fridge.  Should make just over a cup of syrup.  Use it just as you would commercially bought chocolate syrup.  Alternatively, you may also whisk this all together in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until the desired consistency is reached.  You can make this as thick or thin as you like.

The added bonus; YOU control the sugar and there are no added preservatives.... and if you ask my guys, they like it just as much as store bought.  WIN-WIN!

Have a fantastic Tuesday, folks   ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011


With three kids to clothe, this is one of the places where being thrifty is a necessity.... especially when the oldest and youngest are growing at a ridiculous rate - slow down, you two, what's the rush?  Now, that's not to say that the monkeys never get anything new, they do.... but, for clothes the boys just tear up at school, I can't justify spending crazy amounts on growing kids.... we save the new stuff for birthdays, Christmas, beginning of school and summer....

Anyhow, one of my favourite thrifty places, Value Village, is having another of their quarterly half price sales.... TODAY!  Bu-ut! If you apply online for a super saver card, you get to enjoy the sale a whole day earlier - WITHOUT having to fight the crowds and tear things out of other shopper's hands (ok, so I've never had to do that, but have secretly wanted to.... just sayin')....

I could have waited for today to go, but with Mr. Monkey working, and having to take the girl monkey, I thought an hour of shopping yesterday, ALONE, was waaaay more appealing.  Because, honestly, for us Mommy's, when does that ever happen.... like next to NEVER!

Aaaanyway, check out this haul....

12 pieces of clothing in GREAT condition.... perfect for two growing monkeys.... and a few things for the Momma, too!  All for the low-low price of.... wait for it.... $20.52!!!!  (applause.... maybe the wave.... but, definite applause)....  Not that we're much into labels, but; there's QuickSilver, DC, Children's Place, Gap, Old Navy and H&M.... pretty good for $20 and change, I say!

If you're into it, and you have the time today.... Value Village near us, is open from 7am-9pm.... you never know what you'll find!  Good luck hunting!

Have a great day  ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

FAMILY DAYS: yummy-ness = togetherness

It doesn't matter how busy our week was, or what conflicts we've had, Sunday mornings are always reserved for this....

On today's menu:  pumpkin spice, o.j. and earl grey.... cartoons and TONS of snuggles.... life is good.
Have a fantastic family day  ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

FRIDAY NIGHT VIDEO: retro rewind

I had a HUGE crush on Ian Astbury of the Cult in grade 9....

I guess I must have liked the long haired, bad boy, alternative music types back then....  I can honestly say that long hair on a man now, seems just silly to me.  Regardless, this is still one of my favourite Cult songs and takes me back to grade nine dances EVERY. TIME. 

She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult.... maybe I was attracted to the alliteration of the song title, being the word-nerd that I am....  Enjoy!

RANDOMNESS: keeping up with 'stuff'

I know everyone has days, weeks, months, when they feel like they've just let everything s-l-i-d-e.... I've felt that way since summer.... I KNOW!  Lazy or what?!

Well, I'm trying to get back on track now.... I've made up a house cleaning schedule for myself.  Something I should have done a very long time ago.  But, cleaning is one of those things where I always feel behind, and the nagging guilt I have over it some days is excruciatingly painful and paralyzing.  Can you relate?

Anyhow, I'm 2 weeks into the schedule, and I have to say that I feel much less stress about keeping house.  And, truth is, the schedule isn't really far off from what I was doing before; it's just that I've printed it off and posted it so that it's a BLAZING reminder of my daily tasks.  And, I guess that's what I needed.... ACCOUNTABILITY.

It's funny, I demand accountability in my children's actions and the actions of others; and myself, for that matter.... just not in the context of a clean house.  Why, I wonder?.... Is it because I know the house will never, ever be totally clean (untidy).... I'm not delusional.  I have kids who create messes, I create messes.... and I'm generally the type who 'shoves' things.... thinking I'll get to them later.... but, oftentimes, later never comes.  Please tell me you understand.... give me an agreeing head nod....

I have to say, that this pressure and stress I feel over house work, is pressure I put on myself.  Why do we do that?  If you ever find a reasonable answer to that question, please enlighten me; because all of the answers I have come up with are completely insane when you really think about them.

The world will not end if I don't put the dishes away before bed.... my children will not be forced to wear dirty clothes.... my friends and neighbours will not stop speaking to me because I haven't vacuumed in two days.  I know this.

So, here's the thing.  I make this schedule, and I'm not talking 3 hours of house cleaning a day.... just 15 minutes to half an hour on top of the daily pick-up and tidy..... do at least one load of washing and drying and putting away a day to keep on top of the mountains of fabric that pile up in my laundry room.... and most importantly, MOST IMPORTANTLY, putting things away, right away - NOT saving it for the later that never comes.  HA!

It's working for me.  I'm less stressed, I'm able to rationalize house cleaning better because I know I've accomplished my daily task, I have more quality time with my family and I'm satisfied that my family is not living in filth.... ok, so my house isn't filthy to begin with, just untidy at times really; but nonetheless, I find it somewhat stressful....

Aaaanyway.... In conclusion, I'm happier knowing I'm holding myself accountable for keeping a tidy home....  Have a great day, I'm off to clean the loo!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Easy lighting by Martha Stewart via pinterest

Fresh cranberries.  The Yellow Cape Cod via pinterest

As simple as writing on a mirror.
Better Homes and Garden via pinterest

From Thread Banger (I. LOVE. THREAD. BANGER!)  via pinterest

Super easy D.I.Y. from Eddie Ross via pinterest

Easter colours at Christmas by the Thompson Family via pinterest

Check out pinterest for more fantastic
Christmas decorating how-to's, D.I.Y.'s, and inspiration.... 
 'Tis the season.... 
Have a great day  ;)