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  ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You say it's your birthday....

Today, my husband turns 40. 

First off.... have you ever noticed how men don't age the same way as women?  I swear, he looks more like early thirties.... so. un. fair.

Aaaanyway.... What can I say about the guy who took a chance on the new girl in high school home room?  I guess, technically, I sought (stalked) him out.... but, once he responded, my shyness took over.  I was so insecure in thinking that he wouldn't really want to date me....  Remember those days back in high school?  The days when you were finding your way....

I'm not meaning for this to be a trip down memory lane.... I just still sometimes can't believe that he picked me.... 

He's my best friend.... my confidante.... the father of my children.... and the person I can trust with my life....  He's funny (like crazy funny, and I love that)....

Happy birthday, hunny.... I love you so much.... we love you so much....  I hope your day is full of happiness and great memories; and that you can see this milestone as the beginning of a great new chapter in the book of YOU....

xo  ;)

RE-FURB, RE-CON, RE-PURPOSE: hood removal

I can't say that I love the look of a hoodie or hooded sweater; but, last year I was enticed by the quarterly half price sale at one of my favourite thrifty shops....  I was coaxed into purchasing this sweater for the low-low price of $3.00....

A great deal, I know.... But, was it?  Really?  I hate wearing it....  It's the hood.  It screams teenager to me.... and we all know, a teenager I. am. not.

Anyhow, I've been meaning to remove the hood for a loooooong time, and have finally gotten around to doing it.  So, here's what I did....

I took the thrifty, hooded sweater.... Trimmed off part of the hood, being sure to leave the ribbed band intact....

Re-pinned it back into place, starting from the centre out....

Being sure to mitre the corners....

Sewed it into place with a straight stitch, then went over it with a zig-zag to hold down any unfurling edges....


I like it so. much. better.

Have a great day  ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HOW-TO-TUESDAY: marshmallow pops

Just wanted to share a super easy and super fun little treat that can be dressed up in so many different ways.... The Marshmallow Pop.

Here's what you'll need:
- marshmallows
- skewers, popsicle sticks or treat sticks
- melting chocolate
- decorating sugar, sprinkles or other candies

First, skewer marshmallows.

Melt chocolate.  I generally use my microwave for this.  Heat melting chocolate at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each increment.

For the next step, I like to remove the stick from the marshmallow and dip it into the chocolate, then replace it into the marshmallow.  It will harden into place helping to keep the pop intact.  Then dip the marshmallow into the chocolate.

Decorate as desired.

Allow to cool.  Pour rice or dry beans into a container and insert the pop sticks into it to keep them upright to dry.

If you're giving the pops away as a treat for a birthday party or class party, wrap in sucker bags and tie with a nice ribbon.  These are the ones I made for my little lady's birthday party last Sunday.... I had fun making them, and I can't wait to make more for other holidays, birthdays or a special treat any day!

Think of all the possibilities!  Check out these fun and tasty treats!

Have a super fun day  ;)

I'll return....

Hi folks!

I will be back later today for this week's installment of HOW-TO-TUESDAY.... Just trying to get back on track from a very busy weekend....



Monday, November 14, 2011

Baby no more....

My baby girl turned 3 at 12:05 this morning.

She is my little ray of sunshine.... and now she's 3.  A bit difficult to take because I know she's my last.  Tough to swallow because she's no longer a babe or toddler.... she's school aged.  Yes, school for my little lady begins at the ripe old age of 3.

I thought that being the Mommy to my two boys was the best thing I had ever done in my life....  but, being a Mommy to two boys and one fiery little girl, well, it's even better than the best feeling I've ever had.

She brings so much to our family....

She's funny,

She's beautiful,

She's my companion when everyone else is away.... she is one of four people in this world who I care for more than life itself....

Some people think that winning the lottery will solve their problems and bring them the happiness that they seek.... my husband and I feel otherwise - we're already rich.  We have the love of our three children, we have our love for one another, and we truly cherish the time we have together....

Strip away everything else, and you'll find it's the relationships you form that enrich your life in the most important ways....

From the moment the pediatrician said, "It's a girl!"  I knew that our lives were forever changed....  we had the girl that we never knew we wanted so bad.... both our boys from that moment on were older brothers and protectors.... and a whole new world of emotion melted our hearts and flooded our home.

Hammy-girl, I hope this day brings you all the happiness you deserve.  Mommy and Daddy are so proud you, and are so fortunate to be able to snuggle you tight every. single. day.  We love you, Bug.... to the moon  xo  ;)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

FAMILY DAYS: sprouting up

At 12:05 Monday morning,  this little monkey will turn 3 years old....

Yeah, I know!  Where does the time go?

Aaaanyway, today we will be hosting a perfectly pink and pretty purple princess party!  I always said, that if I had a daughter, there would be no way she would be the foofy type.... WOW! Was I ever WRONG!

Ok, so she's not all the way pinkalicious, but she does show some love for the girlie things; while at the same time, thanks to two older brothers, she loves this too....

YAY!  Yay for me, I'm so NOT the girlie-type.... and YAY for Daddy who wants nothing more than to see his little princess play hockey....

Anyhow.... I'll post some pictures of the party later (maybe today, maybe another day)....

Have a great family day  ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


If you lay a wooden spoon across the top of a boiling pot,
it won't bubble over.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Foo Fighters, Best of You.

Have a great Friday night everyone  ;)

RANDOMNESS: love for a friend

The other day, I had the pleasure of spending some time with a friend, a father, a very kind man who has lost one of the most important people in his life.... his devoted daughter, and our loving friend, Becky.

It's not possible to put into words, the love and admiration I have for this man and his beautiful wife.  Two people who united and gave us an equally beautiful soul, gifted to us, Becky.... Getting to know Peter and Dorothy over the past few years has given me a glimpse into how Becky became the amazing woman she was.... still is in our hearts and memories.

Coming to terms with the loss of someone so special is no easy task.... one that will likely never find resolution.  So what's left for those of us who are here?  Memories of warm hugs, happy times, togetherness.... time.... time for remembering and reflecting....  It doesn't even remotely fill the space where she lived; but, we have to hold onto every. little. bit. of what we have....

I know that you can't mark the calendar and say, "Ok, I'll be done with the grieving onnnnn, hmmmm,  this date."  But, we still try, don't we?  The hurt is sometimes so gnawing that we want to see the end of it.... But; what can we do?

We can talk.

We can talk together.... talk about how we're feeling, talk about the what's next, talk about her and how she helped us light up....

Though being with Peter sometimes, always, ends in tears, I come away feeling very close to both him and Becky.  I have amazing reminders of the love I have for my friend, in Peter and Dorothy....  And I also have two more beautiful souls to cherish....

Today, I am grateful for the love and strength of Peter and Dorothy, two adoring parents who have endured immeasurable loss yet still smile their warmth upon us.... I am grateful for sitting in a coffee shop next to someone I consider a kindred friend and father figure.... and I am grateful for everything she gave, for she made me feel truly loved by a friend....

Today I'm remembering you, our friend.... always with us, Becky, like a warm, comforting hug  ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011