Sooo…I turned 40…awhile ago…

Disclaimer~~~ I’m late in posting this. My birthday was February 14th. That’s right, February. I’m not posting now because I have a problem with turning 40 ~ but rather because today I finished writing my thank you cards. Yes, it’s taken me that long. I’m a terrible person. But I read somewhere that you have up to 3 months and I’m holding to that as truth. They go in the mail on Monday. So finally, I can share how I was celebrated, with you.

First things first,

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to celebrate turning 40. After a turbulent bunch of years in my early to mid 30’s (there were even a few years I didn’t celebrate my birthday…because I just didn’t want to), however, I felt like I turned a corner in my late 30’s in many areas of my life so I’ve come to feel like life is good, it’s beautiful, right now…and therefore 40 is beautiful and good too. Totally worth celebrating. Still, I didn’t know what I wanted. Small and intimate or a big rip roaring party? The problem small and intimate was, where do I cut off the guest list? Impossible… The idea was, since my hubby turns 40 this year too, we talked about celebrating both of our birthdays in the summer… Jodi, decided however that a girls night was in order. I still feel like I want that big party, so maybe we’ll still make it happen…at least for him maybe?

Anyways, back to my party. So Jodi told me she wanted to host a soiree, and asked for me for names, and I was thinking small. I knew I was going out for sushi with my mom and sisters in the beginning of the month, so I thought I’d keep it to non-family and keep it small since I wasn’t hosting, I didn’t want o presume to invite a truckload of people. Jodi then took my list and added to it herself, family and etc… I also knew that I had no need to worry about the details. This lady has a gift for details, and shines in it. She recruited Laura, who knows how to throw a party, and how to really bless someone best, and…

The result was a beautiful night with a lovely group of ladies that really just touched my heart. There were friends I’d made in the last couple years, and also friends who’ve been around for more than 20. How richly blessed I am.

How stylish and beautiful the decor. The Audrey Hepburn-esque, black, white and pink details….delicious food, a signature cocktail, the perfect gift, great memories, being able to tell each friends in person how much they mean to me…yep. A Perfect Night.

40th Party

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Even the vase was detailed…the signature drink Laura made up. Yum.

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Thank you Jodi, and Laura and all the rest of the ladies for celebrating this  milestone with me. I am truly blessed. Relationships are so vitally important to me and I will always have this night as a lovely memory, reminding me that I am blessed, so very very blessed.

Holiday Home Tour 2014

Well, it’s better late than never to post about our holiday home, especially since it starts to come down tomorrow… loved celebrating the Lord’s birth this year, loved all the special moments and loved being in my home, and enjoying the coziness and togetherness. My style is definitely my own, part woodsy cabin, part country, part eclectic/classical. It’s not perfect and certainly can look cluttered, but it’s very much LIVED in and LOVED. Hope you enjoy a tour of our holiday home and tomorrow I’ll post about all the Holiday happenings that took place. Happy Holidays everyone.
I added real greenery to faux garlands, and it looked great! Plus later some red mesh ribbon. I was happy with the outside decor. Will post pics of finished product if I remember to take some.

Same with the wreath and  a giant red matching bow.
Main Floor Entrance
Right by the front door is this little display and underneath is a basket full of slippers for guests.

Entry way

Entryway with view of living room – flash

Close up, no flash

Past the tree is my angel collection on the sideboard.

I eventually removed the lower feathers, Here’s a closeup.

View from hallway.

In this pic you can really see the dried hydrangeas I painted gold.
Hallway to bedrooms. I forgot to take pics of the kids rooms
 – they each have mini trees we use as night lights through the holidays.

 Master Bedroom

I carried the feather theme through this room I apologize for the messy bed.


This thrift store find is a great lamp to use through Jan.6th.
Another view of the tree.

Another thrift store find (mother and child)

Poinsettia’s really add some drama.

Grouping of cone trees in window.

A little DIY sign.

Loved this countdown snowman.
The Basement – AKA Party Room
Nativity set on stairway shelf.

At the bottom of the stairs.
Another thrift store find. It tells the Christmas story with songs.
View of sitting area.

The 6 foot tree sat on a dining room table with the village underneath.
I loved the look of the hydrangeas painted red on this tree.

Full room view

Before adding lights.
I actually really enjoyed the multi-coloured lights.
Stuffy tree

Revamped chandelier.

Friends on top of the fridge

From pinterest.

The Loft – Main Living Area
Hangs in the hall going upstairs.
Loved the look of my pinecone garland.
Did not love the look of this wall hanging over the stairs.
Will try again next year.

I didn’t mind these mini versions,…
But preferred them without the greenery.
Vignette at top of stairs. The blue sign got plopped there, and then never moved. Woops

Another DIY candle arrangement.
My Nativity Set.

Top of Woodland Tree.

My nutcracker collection moved a few times, til it found a home in the curio cabinet.

Family Room


Loved the querky look of the antler on the wall.


Kitchy Christmas Photos…

One of our first nativity sets.

Christmas cards on the message board.
Mistletoe over the table.
Wine cart.

Hot Chocolate Bar

Kitchen Window

Guest Room
Tin garland.

So cute, the boys kept asking if they could sleep in here.


A perfectly pink baby shower…

These posts are obviously “catch ups” and are posted months after the fact. It’s for my records and for posterity’s sake. The events of the past few months are too important to not have posts up for 🙂

Back in October …a couple weeks after our lovely Elaina was born my dearest Jodi and sister Steph hosted a baby shower for us. 
It was perfectly pink and pretty and sweet.  Jodi has a thing for details it was everything you could imagine. We were blessed with so many gifts and everyone took turns holding her sweetness.She met her Great Grandma Baker and so many of our friends and relatives. The food was amazing and the company great of course. We are so blessed!
prettiest pink decor and food – in the back ground Stephy is setting up…her home is so picture perfect and pretty.

details like the No. 4 are Jodi’s specialties

My sister Andrea did up the favours.

The cupcakes were from my dear friend Vanessa of Vanessa’s Cupcakery and Confections.

My mom and grandma holding Baby Telis – Stephy’s babe and Elaina’s first cousin.

My Jodi – party planner extraordinaire!

Favourite Things – Some New Reads

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my reading habits, I read ALOT, I read FAST and I MIX it up between fiction, non-fiction and classics – at random. I usually have between 3 and 7 books on the go at the same time…and yes, I usually finish them (unless I’m bored or find it is not delivering what it promised content-wise). I tend to read as much fiction as anything else because it has helped me learn to read faster (which is a must for a mom), and if I’m just not digging the book, I can quit it guilt free. I can also buy fiction for cheap at thrift stores, and will borrow – whereas most reference or non-fiction books I like to have my own copy as I will write in them, underline, highlight, refer back to and yes, re-read as needed.
People ask WHEN do I have time to read… my answer…how can you NOT prioritize reading? I read in the van while waiting for the bell to ring. I have a stack of books by the toilet (out of flushing range of course) so whenever I’m in there; I read before bed; I read often when I should be cleaning, and I read while sitting in the living room while the boys are watching there fav shows, i usually have a book in my purse, and one in the van… I make it very easy for myself to find time to read.
OK, so here’s the skinny on what I’ve just finished, am reading or about to read (as in, it’s in possession)

Loved Power Down – it was fast paced, required learning some new vocab and despite some foul language it was a great read. Since I love Vince Flynn and his recommendation was so high, it was an obvious pick.
Recommended by a random guy at Value Village – I really enjoyed this novel – though it was at times quite lurid and used a lot of profanity… I liked the characters and it moved quick, plus it takes place in Europe so of course I liked it.

I love Sarah. I think I’ve read all of her books. Simple Abundance was life-changing for me, and since the topic of this one is particularly applicable in this season of my life, I just had to get it. It has very SHORT chapters, which I love for books that are meant to get you thinking about your life… I’m about 5 chapters in and loving it.
I also love Emilie. She is a seasoned mom, wife and Christian. I picked up one of her books on organizing years ago at the airport in Minneapolis and found in her a kindred spirit regarding family and home. I found this on a clearance rack in South Carolina last week, so I picked it up. It’s great.
My current re-read. Read this years ago, just after I’d had Lucas. Have been feeling I needed a refresher (especially since I’m exploring Homeschooling and Dr. Dobson talks about boys and school in the book – chapter 13)
Found this at The Book Depot (side note – is not this one of the BEST places in the Niagara region?!) oh my gosh, the hours I have spent in the bargain sections – racks and racks of new books for $1-5.00… anyways, in my research I thought I’d check out what was available for homeschoolers at The Book Depot – and well, there’s a TON!

My current food reference thanks to Jodi who gave me this terrific find for my bday last month. I’m loving it (even just to look at the pics and be inspired)

I was looking for this book Click to see a larger image of WEIRD by Craig Groeschel by Craig Groeschel while in South Carolina – but alas they did not have it yet – so I got this one

instead, and I’m stuck on chapter one (because it gives you homework, and well, that requires serious comittment to sit down and “think” about my life, my vision, rather God’s vision, etc. and since I’m yet again in ANOTHER season of change (I know, you who have been with me awhile, are thinking what the heck!? – yeah, explanations to follow in future post)
I’ve been using this guide with my gardening for the past year, and I love it. It’s the coolest, it is more of a journal/text book, so not a sit down read all at once type book, but one that stays on my desk and I return to it again and again. Since I’ve been purchasing seeds and planning my summer plantings, I pulled it out again this past week.
Finally, here’s the latest fiction I’m reading. Wicked – The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. for some reason the title did not transfer over when the image did – weird.
It’s pretty self explanatory J
So, that’s it for now. t

Favourite Things – FOTF

I have another favourite that I just had to mention today. It’s the Focus on the Family Organization. When I was a kid my mom used to listen to Dr. Dobson – and we got the kids magazines that they produced. It was very useful and meaningful information for us as a Christian family – especially with one parent who was not serving God.

Since getting married and starting my own family, I cannot count how many times i have been blessed by the materials and services offered by Focus on the Family In the early years of marriage we attended marriage seminars hosted by them, and I read several books on relationships – one that was extremely helpful was Dr. Dobsons book “101 Questions and Answers on Sex”. I’ve also read the 101 questions about parenting as well as countless others. I often reference many of the marriage references time and again as I continue to learn how to love my husband unconditionally and meet his needs. Shortly after having our first son, I attended a bible study with some moms on Bringing Up Boys, and then later, after reading about it in the monthly magazine/newsletter – Dr. Kimmel’s Books – Grace Based Parenting and Raising Kids for True Greatness – both of them life changing.
Last December they launched a new bi-monthly magazine called Thriving Family and I have devoured each issue. I’ve loved each issue, each testimony, helpful hint, etc. It’s such a good magazine. I believe that every believer who is endeavoring to have a healthy family really needs to avail themselves of everything this organization has to offer, I’d go as far as to say, I believe that its necessary.
Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation. ~Margaret Mead

God has provided us with this incredible group of people whose passion is for families to thrive, they have been and continue to be a real support and blessing to me and my family and I believe to everyone who opens their hearts and homes to them.

More favs

Feeling down today, have drafted a few blog posts tonight and deleted them, mostly cause I’m tired, and have alot of scattered things on my mind and no one with whom I feel safe enough to discuss them with (this is not a criticsm, just referring to the nature of the subjects). Anyway, more favs:

I love trees.
Yep, they fascinate me. Saplings, Mature, Old, Dead, doesn’t matter. Just love them.
I love them in bud and feel the promise of spring and new life. I love them in summer, listening to the leaves rustle in the breeze, being kissed by the sun while sitting in their shade. I love seeing them when they are in radiant colour, branches touching the ground and while the leaves fall, and playing under their branches, that seem to be reaching out to protect me… but i think my most fav is in the winter, when they are bare (unless they are evergreens which of course are radiant in winter) – but those bare branches…man… love them – they remind me of structural beams – the foundation on which all the beauty of the earth is hung upon.
It’s also fascinating to me that our journey to redemption started with the sin of eating the fruit of a tree and was fulfilled when Christ died upon another tree….

Another fav.

Here’s another favourite, Brooke Fraser. There’s something about her singing and songwriting. This is my favourite song she’s done so far (that’s on youtube).

I really like Shadowfeet too (but not really the video). What’s not to like about a song that was inspired by C.S. Lewis?

Favourite Things

In order to keep myself writing I will revert back to this topic of favourite things.

Tea. I love drinking tea. I like coffee too, but tea is quietly becoming the dominant drink in my day. Love them all, regular tea (Tetley of course) Chai, green, herbal, etc. Not too excited over the fruity ones, prefer spicy teas for sure. Love that i can drink tons and tons of it all year round, and never feel like it’s quietly killing me… plus I can eat fruit with it, as well as baked goods, or plain toast and it’s always a nice compliment, always. I can curl up in my reading chair with a blanket and a cup of tea, and I am happy, content and peaceful, if only for a moment (or until my tea needs to be refilled 🙂

My all time favourite tea is Bengal Spice Tea (by Celestial Seasonings) – my sister introduced me to it and I am officially an addict. I love love love it.
It is hard to find in Niagara Falls, but lucky for me, the Bulk Barn (another one of my favs) carries it. So I make a trip there every other week to stock up. Try it, it’s spicy but not overpowering and the warmth lasts long after the last sip… 🙂

Healing Balm

Over the past few months Kari Jobe’s self-titled album has been very healing and theraputic for me. Every single song on the CD is very peaceful and I just thought I’d share that with you. It’s one of those albums you can put on repeat and it’s refreshing. Her website is really cool too, lot’s of testimonies. Love it.

A Good Book

I love books. It’s almost problematic, my husband thinks we have too many, and he’s right. But part of me thinks we don’t have enough. (Even though all the bookshelves are full and overflowing and I’ve got boxes of them still to find a bookshelf). But I really do read them, and many of them I’ve read more than once. A good book can make me feel like a better, stronger person. Finding the right book in the right season of life is like finding the perfect pair of mittens the day before a snowstorm.

I love getting lost in a good fiction novel, historical or mystery. It’s a surefire way that I’ll relax, and I never feel guilty spending hours in a book the way I would watching tv. Plus I read fast, so I can read alot. I think the ability started when I was about 11 – I could read a whole Nancy Drew book in a day and by the end of highschool it was Mary Higgins Clarke books. So the challenge continues to this day, finding a book that requires something of me in reading it. I’ve found I love going back to some of the classics – Charles Dickens, Thoreau, L.M. Montgomery, Jane Austin, C.S. Lewis… over and over, but then some of the contemporary ones are just as worth it – Cormac McCarthy, Ken Follet…

Of course, this is not discounting subjects that matter to me like family (Dobson, Eldredge); Business (Kyosaki, Hansen, Allen, Covey); Leadership (Maxwell). And then there are the biographies (we’ll leave that to a later time)

Anyways, books are my friends – they’ve been faithful throughout the years and the seasons. They are low maintenance and I know that no matter how long we’ve been apart, when we meet again, we always just pick up right where we left off!