Holiday Happenings 2014

First of all, go and get a coffee and maybe one of those cookies you’ve been avoiding – you will need it to get through this post – it’s very long…to make up for  month or two of living it and not blogging or posting to Facebook… we have enjoyed this month long celebration to the fullest, hopefully you’ll enjoy reliving it a bit with me. Good luck!

Advent
Back in early December, we began our Advent celebrations. I love advent and taking the time to quietly reflect on the reason Christ came, and the reason we do all the work to prepare for the celebrations, it makes the work part of the celebration, for me anyways.
This year I refurbished our Advent Tree with new envelopes. I really liked the look of this,  Each envelope contained small activities to do together like caroling, calling a relative, writing a poem, etc. A fun way to do some “learning” stuff, since we finished school around the 12th. I am ready to get back at it, but not for the arguing that accompanies it.

Our advent activities basket, Miscellaneous games,
colouring books and such that I’ve collected through the years.
Each Sunday in advent we share a time around the advent wreath singing songs,
reading scriptures and talking about God’s Story. 

Tree Lighting with Caroling
Having a high schooler in the house brings us many new opportunities to get out and enjoy the community. Isabelle is a busy girl involved in many groups, but my favourite is her school choir. It’s very active and great fun to listen to. They had a tree lighting ceremony outside her school complete with hot chocolate and candle light. Loved it.

Elaina screamed out “IGABELLE!” which made Isabelle laugh
in the middle of a song, such great memories.

Stir Up Sunday – Plum Pudding
I tried my hand at making homemade plum pudding since it was $10 for a tiny one in the store. It does not cost close to that much to make, and was tasty. But next year I’ll make it MUCH smaller. My mom helped me by making the run sauce, and I have lot’s left over. I think maybe I’ll have a get-together for my Plum pudding loving friends.

Cookie Baking/ Decorating
In years past we’ve participated in baking exchanges, but this year, I decided to just have a baking day and make just our favs including sugar cookies to decorate. This worked perfectly as they all get eaten as they are favourites. We should be out of cookies by Jan 1st 🙂

Isabelle hard at “work”

The Boy’s Christmas Concert
The boys are in a choir this year, so their concert and potluck dinner was a must. It was enjoyable to see them participating in this this year.

Homeschool Christmas Party
Our local group of HS families had a Christmas party complete with games, craft, caroling, skits and of course cookies and hot chocolate~!

Decorate a mom for Christmas!

Relay races.

Isabelle’s Roadshow
Isabelle’s choir performed as part of the entire Music department – ensembles, rock band, jazz band, vocal groups, drum line, etc. A great festive (and loud) night!

Santa Claus Parade
We go to the Niagara on the Lake Santa Parade each year, Partly because it’s smaller, it’s a quaint little town, we go early enough to tail gate and partly because it’s one of the last ones in the region, so it’s in December and not November, smack in the middle of the holiday season.

2 year olds do not like being told they can’t run into traffic.

Our cozy set up! Next year we need another family to join us, it’s a fun activity to share with others.

Our hot chocolate and snack center.

My personal favourites are the marching bands.

It’s such a relief to know we can get ready to leave when we see Santa’s sleigh.
It’s fun, but after a few hours outside, it’s COLD.

  

Living Nativity
Each year I try to find some kind of activity to enjoy together. This year, the church around the corner hosted a living nativity/ visit Bethlehem event with live animals and activities, drama, etc. It was a well done event and a lot of fun.

We met up with some homeschooling friends who had the same idea as us to attend that day.
Here we are all squished into the hay ride.
Elaina loved the animals!

Getting water from a well.

Isabelle really enjoyed all the Christmas experiences.

Olive Oil Press. Smelly!

Christmas in the Village with Melissa Shriner
One of my personal highlights each year is Melissa’s concert. It never disappoints and always gets me ready for Christmas week. She sings a combo of jazz, classical and opera and more. I love hearing my friend sing and love seeing her succeed. This year was a sold out show jam packed with guests and holiday specials!

The church was all decked out this year and my friend Andrew Braun did the sound and lights.
His work really made her shine. Great job Andrew. 

Melissa and her sister Vanessa (who hosted the reception – cupcake goddess of Vanessa’s Cupcakery and Confections)
It always makes me happy to see friends who’ve known me since I was barely an adult 🙂

Annual Family Christmas Eve Day – Ice Skating
For the past I don’t know how many years, my sister and brother in law have rented an arena and hosted a family skate. It’s lot’s of fun to get out and enjoy some activity and fun before the week of feasting causes us to lie on the couch for endless hours and watch the kids play Just Dance…at least someone ends up burning those calories.

I have the cutest bunch of nephews around!

See what I mean.

Her early Christmas gift was a pair of skates.

I love seeing the aunts and uncles and cousins all having fun together!

Every Canadian boy probably has one of these photos, even if he doesn’t play hockey!

Mom stays in the picture.

Sisters! Elaina had fun sliding around, being carried around and snagging the rice crispy treats.

Christmas Eve Service
Our church had a lovely concert that we did manage to stay in throughout, despite having a wriggly 2 year old in our midst. The best part of the night – singing Silent Night of course.

The platform was just so lovely and cozy but elegant.

Christmas Eve Dinner
The first of the guests to arrive joined us for our traditional dinner of homemade soups, fresh bread and cheese.

In our dresses for church.

The menu…French Onion Soup & Seafood Chowder with fresh crusty bread,
various cheeses and veggies.

The kids did a gift exchange for the annual opening of one gift on Christmas Eve.

I did up a Christmas Eve box for everyone. It had our movie (A Christmas Carol); Slippers for all,
PJ’s, Popcorn, Candy, and a new bedtime book for Elaina.  

Before the movie, we completed our Advent Wreath lighting the Christ Candle and singing together.

Christmas socks.
  

After the movie, the kidlets went to bed, the socks got stuffed and we created the scavenger hunt for the boys’ gift.

Christmas Morning
It goes like this, we tell the boys they cannot leave their bed til 7:00 – since their stockings are on their bed, this usually isn’t a problem and we listen to their exclamations of joy from our bed. Then they all come in and open them all again, showing us what they got. Then we get the girls, and repeat it. The we go upstairs, get coffee (I throw in the baked french toast) and the put Christmas Pumpkin, Cranberry and carrot bread out, and repeat the socks with the grown ups who slept at the house. After that, more grandparents arrive in the midst of the chaos and we continue opening gifts and break out the Christmas Mimosas – yum! Then after all the gifts are opened, their was one last little unlabeled gift, which led the boys on hunt through the house for clues which led them to their gift (a laptop computer = wanted and needed). Then we have brunch, the baked french toast and overnight crock pot casserole…. then the various people retire to get dressed, play with gifts, play cards, ensure plenty of snacks and sweets are available throughout the house, prep for the dinner later, etc, etc…. and I basically don’t sit again until dinner.

 

Christmas Dinner
It sounds like a lot of work, but to me it’s really not. At the end of the day, I’m tired, but not exhausted. These kinds of things energize me. I’ve also got a pretty awesome family full of people who dig in and help each other so we all have fun. I start weeks before with planning what will be best for every guest – food wise, activity wise, etc… and then start pulling together all the details. Thankfully I can set the table days in advance and I cook as much food as I can ahead too, I also assign the side dishes and desserts to my guests who are able to bring something. 

Our place settings (it’s only practical to use plastic when 25 are sitting down to dinner)

Our “itinerary” I find when I write it down, it happens.
When I don’t, it doesn’t. So I do, write it down for everyone to see that is.
That way, it’s not just sitting down to eat, but we get to enjoy being together
 and having meaningful and fun elements too. 

The kids table.

Our giganticus table!

Naughty and Nice punch – was a hit. Thank you pinterest!

Group shot, next year, we’ll avoid the tacky chandelier.
Side note, Lucas , my 10 year old found me those red chairs on the side of the road. Score!

Cheers!

The toddler corner!

Jokes and poems and prayers…
It makes my heart happy to see people enjoying my hard work.
The newest nephew in good hands.

HOLIDAY FAMILY FEUD!

Yaya Rudolph!

Final answer ladies?

Survey says…

Take your places!

Three strikes for the steal…

The best Christmas gift…JUST DANCE!

After the games, we have dessert and more cards, visiting, gift opening, etc. until the wee hours, when we gratefully collapse to begin again in the morning. I actually have one personal tradition of sitting by myself by the light of the tree with a mug of cider and reflect on the day with gratitude. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Boxing Day
Every year I tell myself to pack the bags for boxing day in advance, and every year I forget, so we wake up in a stupor and then the flurry of packing and chaos to get out the door to drive to my hubby’s hometown for his step dad’s family Christmases. I actually love this day, because I have very little work to do – we always stop for coffee, we always bring a book or two, we always chit chat while the kids read or watch a video… I love the drive and I love the visiting, and the awesome food at the open house first, then more food and cards at the family dinner later. 

 
The boys love the cousin time. 7 boys under 10 = CAHRAZY!
This year, they actually got to play cards too. My babies are growing up!

The dinner is hosted by an aunt and uncle who live in this jaw dropping century home. I love her decorating style, and every year walk around snapping pics for inspiration for the next year.

Is this fairy door not the sweetest thing? Elaina kept knocking on it saying “hello?”
 

Love the details, mini white vintage tree…holiday tea set? LOVE!

Love this kitchen!

Formal sitting room, flocked tree (to die for)  the winding staircase (gasp, lovely!) and every year it’s a different decor…just like me – we are kindred decorators – I swear.

Afterward, we return to Grandpa and Nana’s house which is so cosy, the kids go to bed and we reflect on the days over a glass of wine. Then I read a book until late listening to their grandfather clock pass the time.

Max’s Birthday
The next day is middle boys bday, so we always go out to lunch and celebrate him. After the drive home, we try to muddle through the mess of the house in prep for the “leftover dinner” with friends the next day, we also have been known to ignore the mess and go to the movies (the final Hobbit movie is awesome by the way)

 


Best Christmas Present Ever…

Annual “leftover dinner”
Our good friends join us to demolish what’s left from Christmas and have a relaxing visit. This year, was a Just Dance marathon between the girls and boys!


The end is not here, not even close. After the left over dinner, the Christmas decor comes down. It takes two days… interrupted by an annual get together with my sisters and mom for our Old and New Night – reflecting on the past year and the one to come – over greek donuts, port and coffee. One of my favourite traditions in the days leading up to the final hurrah! Now off to put away the rest of  Christmas and prep the house for New Years, apparently we have company coming!

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog, have a Happy New Year!~
xoxo
Tammara

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Harvest Round Up

Always a lover of Autumn, we celebrated the season in very natural stages, and we are well into our holiday preparations, so I thought I’d include this post on a tiny bit of our Harvest Home Decor, and finish up with our Thanksgiving Table for the sake of the record. I’m in an inward thinking season right now, so blogging hasn’t been high on my radar as I know I’m needing to work through my thoughts and life, eventually they’ll make it onto print somewhere, somehow…
In September, after the summer clean up and getting our home school and student rooms ready, then getting the schedule happening, and finally the baby girls party finished (with post), in Canada, we were READY to embrace all things fall. I’ve been embracing my functional country chalet home, and letting the decor and seasonal decor reflect that, it’s working for me.

 This was my portable table centerpiece. Very eclectic but festive and cheap as I used all things I already had.

Again, re-locating older items, I created this “mantel” with items from around the house.

 putting out “harvesty” plates and bowls on the open shelves made for some “functional decor”.

 A thrift store basket filled with canning rings.

The vignette at the top of the stairs to the family room…

A cosy space to enjoy the final weeks of warmth and sunshine outdoors.

 Front entrance…

Formal Livingroom. There were other touches of fall throughout the house, these were my favs this year.
Thanksgiving 2014
In honour of the American Thanksgiving yesterday, here are the pics from our Canadian thanksgiving almost 6 weeks ago – lol!

 Table set for 12.

 Centerpiece from my flowerbeds this year.

Each place setting had a reading to share at the dinner.

Thrifty Turkey always finds a place on the table 🙂

 Conversation Starters from pinterest worked really well.

 When you’re feeding 20, there is no shame in plastics – loved my place cards though.

 I love guests who bring good wine 🙂

 The kids table…

My kinda sad attempt at a garland.

 Goodie Bags.

 Bountiful Dinner…

 My attempt at decorating the hideous light fixture.

 

 Setting up the tripod for the group pic.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tea for "Two"

After 10 years of Lego and Superhero birthday parties (all in the winter, mind you), yes I am so excited to host little girlie birthday parties in the fall (the most wonderful time of the year!) This year for E’s birthday we had a little tea party for her little friends, their moms and few big sisters, her brothers and aunties…

We put on our party dress…
 We decided to host the party in the back yard. The weather held and the sunroom and yard was still presentable enough to be enjoyed before the great fall clean up begins next week.
It was a perfect day, not too hot, not too cold…and some flowers were still in bloom.

The little girls’ table

We pulled out the heirloom teacups – this one was Great Aunt Fern’s – we found out we were expecting Elaina shortly after she passed away, but they shared the same birthday month.
The big girls table.

We mixed a bunch of heirloom stuff with paper plates, etc for ease of setting up, cleaning up and also to not get stressed over possible breakage outside.

I converted our old TV cabinet to a “dress up” center for the girlies. It added to over all pretty decor.

Red velvet with Cream cheese icing.

Our menu was simple, crab salad on croissants and vegetable cream cheese roll ups. We had veggies, fruit and cheese trays and of course coffee and tea. For dessert we had a variety of mini cakes and cookies, candies of course chocolates.

The “take home treats” were personalized dress up fairy outfits.

Bling for the littles… I figured this was nicer than sending them home with more candy. There were enough sweets to enjoy at the party, I hoped the moms appreciated not having more candy later at home.
 


The girlies! So so cute!

After lunch, the littles decorated tea party hats from the dollar store with silk flowers.

Yaya helping the birthday girl decorate her hat. 


One of the big sisters helping with hat decoration.

 Then we released them into the dress up cupboard.

DRESS UP TIME!!!


After much play time, we gathered for the present opening and cake.

Opening Presents…so thankful!

After all the birthday celebrating, she finally got the hang of “blowing out the candles”
Our cheeky two year old!

I hope you enjoyed this post, we certainly enjoyed our day, and love every day with our little princess.


The Beginning of the Gathering Together…

For man, autumn is a time of harvest and gathering together. Edwin Way Teale 

The end of our summer was marred by the loss of a beautiful soul, Robin Williams, this post is not about him – but I do think he was brilliant gift to humanity and I am thankful for the laughs and thoughtful art he left behind. This poem has stuck with me from the very first time I watched Dead Poet’s Society. Robin is quoting Virgil I think… To this day it’s one of my favourite films… and this little bit, one of my favourite parts of the film. While I was pulling together this blogpost, it kept floating thru my mind again…
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And, while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
I don’t know if it was way back then that the idea of “Making the Most of Time” began to take root in my soul, but I know that for most of my life I have endeavoured to do just that. Savour it, gather together my heart, my people, my thoughts and memories, and express love and gratitude in the moment. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, I find I have few regrets from that period of time. Sometimes it’s expressed in the events I plan, sometimes in decorating the house, often in my food, sometimes in intentionally giving a gift or direct communication… it manifests in many ways… and I’m always trying to listen to my heart and to the Spirit for direction for the present…

Since yesterday was technically the beginning of Autumn, this post is a “gathering” in of sorts for me… before sharing with you how we’re celebrating fall here, I need to share how we said goodbye to what honestly was an almost perfect summer. 

Farewell Thee Summer

The second half of our summer went out in a flurry of fun, work and memory making  for us… 

  
 

 

Our Chinese “daughter” Isabelle is with us for high school

They were days full of baseball tournaments, summer dresses, frozen treats, beach days, BBQ’s, canning, clearing the garden, drying herbs, prepping the school room, hosting guests from Korea, welcoming a daughter from China, bike rides, pool parties, campfires… late nights, sunny humid days… we relished every moment of our summer and then rode the gentle wave that changed the season and the rhythm of our days… but first, we had to say a proper goodbye…with a party of course!

The Heaslip Family Farewell Thee Summer Potluck and Campfire…

  

 My first attempt at a DIY  Banner

 Entertainment was simply the company of good friends – new and old, the trees, the play yard and the trampoline…and of course the fire.

 Lot’s of yummy food! Love potlucks!

 The decor was multi-coloured lights borrowed from the Christmas bin and flowers cut and gathered from the property in mason jars…

 
The Smores Station was a big hit!
 

 The “optimists board” – both summer and autumn had alot of great qualities… 

 We finished the night with a summer sparkler send off…baby girl loved it!


Back to School
We’re officially a family with kids in traditional school, and kids in school at home, so we celebrated the “first day” with relish.


Check out our special Ceremony here.

First Day Photos – The kids in traditional school

 

Grade 9

  

Grade 6 & 7

First Day Photos – The Home Schoolers




  

First Day Treat Bags


 


The Greek Festival

For me, the real sign that summer is over is the Niagara Greek Festival. In one way or another my sisters and I all end up there and share memories of our dad with amazing food, music and dancing. It reminds me of the times I travelled to Greece with him and the village always had some festival or another, the smells the sounds the laughter and the heady end of summer  heat and nostalgia really help me get centered on what really truly matters as we head into the busy and beautiful season of fall. 

mmm… Greek Donuts (loukoumades)…a treat we only indulge in twice a year, at the festival and on Christmas Eve.

Elaina and Yaya enjoying the traditional Greek Dancers

 Another farewell…We bid our Korean boys (Alex and Mark) a sad farewell just after the begnning of the school year. Our family loved every minute with these two – the 5 weeks flew by and were filled with many great laughs and precious memories.

All the best Alex and Mark! We’ll never forget you.

Transitioning to Fall…

In our home, the transition includes a deep cleaning of the house, clearing out the garden, canning the last of the tomatoes, putting away the summer decor. One day in the week after Labour Day I pull out my autumn books of poetry, cookbooks and magazines to get inspired (or I surf around Pinterest for a while) – while drinking spiced coffee or cider of course. Then the bins of decor come out (just like Christmas but smaller) and I slowly look for where I want to add the flavour in.

I walk around the yard and neighbourhood collecting hydrangea blooms, branches, pinecones and other interesting bits of nature to pull into the house and front step. I usually buy at least one mum (and there’s a super cheap place that sells amazing mums by hubby’s work for next to nothing – score!) and well, then we’re ready for a fall house tour. But that for later this week. So come on back for that and the rest of my gathered thoughts as I’ve fully embraced the fall… in both my heart and home.

XOXO 
Tammara

Holiday Home 2013

Hi there! I wasn’t sure if I would participate in a Holiday Home Tour this year, but then at the last minute decided I would, just in case I never get around to including this in a scrapbook, at least it’s recorded here. I’ve done my best to repeat some of the traditional decor I’ve used in the past, but also incorporated new ideas this year, hopefully you like them. We kinda do 🙂 
I also would like to apologize for the picture quality, the only camera I have right now is on my phone, and it’s pretty old, but it’ll do until I can afford a new one 🙂
Come on in! Did you notice the urns I pulled together from greenery I cut down on our property? I was pleased with how they turned out. I also put together the simple wreath on the door too from our own bushy cedar 🙂
 
I repeated the “heavenly peace” theme from last year using the feather boa’s as the garland throughout the entry and main floor. Lot’s of gold, sparkle and white lights.
  
DAYTIME
 NIGHTTIME

I added some pretty ornments to my plain old light fixtures. Voila! 

I grouped some old wreathes and traded out golds, white and sparkle on tabletops, etc.

Sidebar, daytime – angel collection.
  
Nighttime too.
 
 Formal living room tree.
Feather garlands everywhere, hung the feather wreath and kissing ball in the hall to the bedrooms. 

 
 Master bedroom, added the silver stockings, some greenery onto shelf tops, and the purple tree/ candles on the dresser.

 

Mini Trees in the boys room, the baby’s sparkly pink tree (not shown is the guest room – blue tree)

The baby’s holiday wardrobe is ready!
Bannister to family room (I’ve added to this since the pic was snapped)
Christmas village on hutch at top of stairs.
 

FAMILY ROOM – Red, Gold and Green
KITCHEN
Advent wreath
  
The Heart of our Home
Nativity Mantel

 
Practice for Christmas Brunch.

Kitchen Window 

 
Tried my hand at creating my own pine garland.
Our Jesse Tree

  

 NIGHTTIME KITCHEN
 

Bathroom, highlighted the GREENS and GOLDS.
Most of these pics were taken a couple weeks ago, so there’s been some tweaking since, they may or may not make it to the blog. Until the next post, I’m going to go and enjoy some of the baking from our baking exchange earlier this month, if I can manage to keep the kids out of the baking first!  
 Thanks for taking the time to tour our home and Happy Holidays!

Linking up to the Holiday Home Tour at the Nesting Place here.

Our Thanksgiving Table

Since it’s technically still October, I then believe I can still post this “Thanksgiving/ Harvesty” post on what my Thanksgiving table looked like. I was super happy with how it turned out, and it was a great celebration of the goodness of God and our many blessings!

Mini Thanksgiving List 2013

My hubby, he is the best.
My kiddos, and especially having a baby girl around.
Homeschooling – and our new Classical Conversations Curriculum! love it – thanks LJ for the referral.
My home, though it needs many a repair, I am thankful we have it, that we have the rooms to rent out and host guests in. It is our little haven, and I’m so thankful for it.
A fruitful garden this year, and friends with a shared passion for organic foods/ homesteading and canning/ preserving.
Authentic, fun, challenging, divinely given friends to share all the seasons of life with.
Peace in the midst of the storm.
A song to sing for every situation.
So many happy memories over the past year, and the last 20 too.
Soup.
Youtube and Netflix.
Yoga Pants and green smoothies.
New journals and empty idea books and a new pen.
New followers on my blog who leave comments 🙂

Our Table

I decided to do up a large “centerpiece” at one end of the long table and have it “trail down” the rest of the table. I used all florals and greenery from my yard (and possibly my neighbors yard!

The goal was a “free centerpiece” – it was acheived. I added in the pumpkins which had been pink, spray painted them gold – added real and fake fruit from around house to an old cornucopia basket and an elevated glass bowl and presto!…free fall beauty.
Additional View
I knew the grown ups would want candy too!

Place card was a leaf shaped sugar cookie with nutmeg and cinnamon.
I used cardstock with chalk and tied together with twine.
Changed out JT’s blinged branches with leaves for the pink birds which we used for the bday
party a few weeks before. Added in my turkey and voila, mantle done.
Kids table – personalized pie plates with goodies.
Plush Mr. Turkey had a couple of candy cornucopia’s for fun.
Mmmm…Dessert Table – pumpkin Pie!

Thumbs up means it was a success to me!
Thanks for reading today, how did/will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?

Fall Mantels

Autumn has arrived again!
I’ve been gradually nesting and making the house cozier with blankets, cushions and odds and ends. 
Since the changes in the kitchen this summer, it’s been fun changing up the mantel/shelf in the dining/homeschool area.
As seems to be the trend, I’ve tried to create my vignettes without purchasing anything. My hydrangeas were stunning this year, here’s some dried ones, and the herbs I hung to dry here, work in with the decor. 

The lighting here is terrible, but here’s a first glimpse of the vignette in the entryway. I have absolutely loved highlighting ORANGE in my decor again. As much as I appreciate the neutrals, I need the splashes of colour inside my house as well as outside in the changing landscape.
 

Here’s a small neutral toned vignette one that I used my dollar store owl in. Again, sorry for the picture quality, all I’ve got right now is my phone camera… ha!

I’ve decided that my family room will employ the “retro cottage” look – we’re employing a VERY multi-coloured palette (thanks to employing all the handmade afghans and quilts we’ve acquired through the years. This school year I’ve decided that our homeschool will be a part of our home rather then stuff we pull out and put away all the time, so my bookshelves in the living room are jam packed full of books and supplies we use all the time, so I’ve not used much fall decor in the room, but the cozier feel is definitely here because of the extra books and blankets – and the fact that we’re using them!

Anyways, I’m linking up to a fall linky party to keep my momentum going around the house and to savour each and every moment at home with my lovelies.

The Mantle – Then and Now….and In Between

I thought I’d do a fun little piece on the kitchen mantle since that area is about to undergo a change of sorts…

I wanted an area that I could change up seasonally just for fun, and to remind me to enjoy life, the changing seasons, etc. So I found this shelf at Goodwill a couple years ago and blogged about it here. Since then it’s undergone the seasonal shift, here’s a few samples…

FIRST MANTEL FALL 2011

 FALL 2012

 FIRST CHRISTMAS 2011

CHRISTMAS 2012

WINTER 2013

 
WINTER/ VALENTINES 2013

 WINTER/ VALENTINES 2012

SPRING/ EASTER 2013

 SPRING 2013 – removed the bunnies, etc.

 SPRING/EASTER 2012

RIGHT NOW – SUMMER 2013

As you can see, it constantly gets “tweeked” – sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. Some seasons, I just change out a few things, like this year, since Easter was way back in March, I switched the bunnies for garden stuff, then into summer I switched in my chicken, washboard, etc… I love having this little area to express myself artistically. Since it’s in my kitchen, I get to enjoy it ALOT.

LOOKING AHEAD… just for a hint, the space needs to be a been more functional for our school days, and I’d like my “mom central area” aka desk, etc to be more cohesive in the space, I got the idea of a chalkboard wall, first from Moni and then from Shannon

I think I’d like it to look a little like this…

 or this…

 or this…

I guess you’ll have to wait and see 🙂

Christmas 2012


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 🙂  

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year…2nd only to Autumn. This past Christmas was special because we were celebrating Elaina’s first Christmas. It was a lovely holiday celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

How we Decorated

I did up the urns, door wreathes and greenery on the antique sleigh
with cuttings from evergreens around our property.

In the foyer I did up this display with crystal covered trees, white lights and miscellaneous brown pieces.
It was so pretty to see this first thing every time we entered the house.
The formal living room had the white feather trimming with red, brown and gold accents. I borrowed the mirror from another room to hang behind the tree and it conveniently had hooks for the stockings.
I think next year I’ll do a different window treatment…
All I did was string these giant snowflakes together to hang on the hall mirror.
The snow theme definitely worked down here.

I was going to wait til boxing day sales to buy things for Elaina’s room, but found these bargains, and swiped one of the smaller trees from upstairs. Sparkly pink definitely was a fun change!
At the top of the stairs I did up our Nativity. I liked it here, it’s always fun finding the best place to display this wonderful reminder of what the season is all about.
Our family room was definitely festive in red and gold. I loved the lights in front of the TV and our advent tree was a hit again. I actually used the “need” for space for the tree as the perfect excuse to get rid of the
bulky furniture that just was past it’s usefulness.
This countertop tree was one of Aunt Fern’s I loved having the reminder of her in my kitchen.
I went for rustic Christmas in the kitchen.
My counter centerpiece – hurricane candle in the center of a rustic advent wreath.
Happenings…   
Elaina’s First Christmas
Her first Christmas dress for the beginning of the season.
Christmas Eve Outfit.
Christmas Sleeper
How we Celebrated The Season and the Saviour
Early in the season we participated in a baking exchange at my sisters. It was so much fun catching up with all the ladies and there were so many yummy treats that we came home with.
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Our Homeschool Co-op Christmas Party was alot of fun, food and merriment. The kids made gift tags and the moms socialized.


 Niagara On the Lake Christmas Parade – despite the rain, we braved it and had a great time.

Christmas Crafts and Activities


Large Homeschool Network Christmas Party – a great time for singing Christmas carols, sharing treats and doing games and crafts.

Dinner with the Taylors – I cooked Greek of course, and the best part of the night was hearing Elaina’s first real laugh!

Christmas Morning


Christmas Dinner – roast pork, holiday sweet rice, honey-glazed carrots and Fennel & Feta salad.

 
Christmas Games Night with the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins…
It was a great celebration that lasted into the wee hours, and then we went to visit Grandpa’s family on boxing day, celebrated Max’s birthday the following day, went out with friends the following 
day and celebrated right through the New Year! God has been so good to us.

Catching Up on 2012 since we’re well into 2013

Catching Up Part One


These next posts are the “catching up” that I mentioned over 2 months ago when I was on here last. Truth be told, I finally have a working computer, so blogging will be easier and faster and hopefully I will get caught up quickly because it feels like I’ve missed so much time. I’m doing these catch ups primarily for myself because I use this blog as a memory journal for myself and our family. If it happens to inspire/ bless others it is a wonderful bonus.

1.  Our Summer Wrap Up

I realized I pretty much covered our summer in the August 30th Post. Summer finished out in a whirl and the Koreans finally returned home 🙂 it was a challenge to have them, but looking back I probably still would have done it.    

Emma and Kate’s final Presentation host families.

We ended out the season with the annual Marconi Labour Day soiree and lots of visiting with friends, return trips to Zooz and Marineland and enjoying the outdoors as the heat and humidity gave way.

2.  Our Fall
We started the fall hesitantly as we were never sure when the baby would arrive. School and soccer continued until after she was born… 

Soccer Champs

I pretty much closed out the gardens in September… 

A small sampling of our harvest.

and started decorating inside the house…. 

2. The Baby 

I will be posting a very big post soon on the baby, her delivery and then her shower. I promise. Just waiting for a set of pics to finish it off. Until then, I’ll move on to finishing out the fall…
3. Our Fall
How we celebrated the fall…as early as the week Elaina arrived, we were out “hiking” with our homeschool group.  

We had our annual visit to the Pumpkin Patch.
I participated in a preserve exchange. So awesome.
 
Major events of the fall
Since the baby was born so close to Thanksgiving…we had a quiet celebration at home with some of the family. The Monday hubby and I took the boys to Safari Niagara one final time for the season, they FINALLY got to do the long awaited ropes course… and it was worth the wait, despite the rain 🙂
The boys went out with their dad for Halloween around our street. It was also low key and enjoyable. 
And Carter’s 5th Birthday

Stay tuned for the Christmas post…I know it’s sooo late, but maybe I can use it next year. teehee!
Phase one done!