It’s been awhile…

There’s a few reasons why you haven’t heard from me in quite awhile.

Numero 1. We had a baby. It’s our fourth. It’s been 5 years. I’m nursing…you understand. I know this and appreciate it.

2. My computer has been dumb, dumb, dumb. The fact that this blog post is getting written is almost miraculous.

That’s the gist of it.

That being said, I have SO MUCH to catch you up on, and so much I really really want to blog about…

So here’s how I will approach the enormity of the task, I will make a list of the topics I need to blog about, and then one by one, attack the list.

Here’s my list (and if you have anything you’d like to add to it, feel free to leave your requests/suggestions in the comments section).

1. Our Summer Wrap Up  

2. The Baby (with the following sub posts)
                              Her Delivery (I even have pics…well I’m waiting on those, but will have some)
                              How I feel about having a GIRL after my 3 boys, and all that jazz.
                              A perfect baby shower (with pics)

3. Our Fall
                              How we celebrated the fall
                              Major events of the fall

4. Our Christmas Decorating

5. What I’ve been  reading – the last 6 months

…and for the Homeschooling Blog

1. Our Summer Wrap Up

2. Curriculum Choices for 2012-13

3. Our Little Homeschool Group

4. Field Trips and the Like From Sept. Oct and Nov.

That should keep me pretty busy, as well as keeping up with the present, but I’m looking forward to it 🙂

Anyways, baby’s crying… I’ll be back!

Why I haven’t Posted much in June…

I know this.

Several times this past month, I would sit down to write a post, and nothing, absolutely nothing would come to mind.

Now here we are at the end of this month, and I uploaded the June pics from my camera. I figured out why nothing came to mind….

I was pooped.  Just plain pooped!

There were 250 pics of things we did, from just the month of June. Whew!

Here’s the gist of it…

We finished our first year of home schooling! Yay!
To see more details on what that included, check out my blog at the Heaslip Homestead.

Here’s a pic of the flowers in one of the boxes on my balcony. 
I will post more about our gardens soon.
On Father’s Day, daddy took Lucas to his first MLB game. The Toronto Blue Jays. He was especially excited since they took the go train to get to Toronto. The younger two boys cannot wait until they turn 8 to go to their first game!

While they were there, the younger two boys and I celebrated Father’s Day with their grandpa Jim by going to Safari Niagara and getting ice cream at the Dairy Bar. 


They were pretty pumped about trying out the bungee-trampoline ride.
We were all excited to spend a whole weekend with grandpa to ourselves.

Then  we had a bunch of random outings…

 Here’s a pic of Carter and his best bud at Port Dalhousie.

 We went to a couple BBQ’s at my sisters – where of course we had water balloon fights.

We hosted a bonfire for a bunch of friends.

mmm, smores!

Christy, our student from China had her prom. Jodi took the pics, and then her family stayed for a yummy Paella Dinner and we laughed well into the night!

We went to the Drive In with friends to see Madagascar 3 and Snow White and the Huntsman.

I hosted a giant baby shower with my other sisters for my sister Stephanie. A post all about that will be coming soon too.

 I took the boys to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they enjoyed the giant fountain.

We watched Nick Wallenda’s historic walk over the falls on TV, it was way too crowded to brave going the 15 minutes up the road. But my BFF Jodi however had a press pass and got these amazing shots!

Then, Christy had her graduation from highschool. We are trying to work up our courage to say goodbye to her after having her live with us for 10 months. Our gift to her was a memory album of our year. She cried. I cried. That was 2 days ago. She leaves tomorrow… I feel waterworks a coming.


Add to that:
+ a bunch of swims and visits with friends 
+ a funeral
+ birthday, poker and summer parties
+ a charity event called Raid my Closet
+ Midwives appointments 
+ veterinarian appointments
+ pickups at the Organic Farm
+ fruit picking 
+ home renos
+ hosting a dinner for Christy’s parents visiting from Macau
+ maintaining the homestead

=  ONE TIRED MAMA!!! (no wonder my feet are swollen)

If you don’t see another post for awhile…. now you know why 

Lot’s of love,


Valentine’s Dinner Recap

Here’s a quick recap of our Valentine’s Dinner. First we make the table very festive.

Then, since it always includes the kids, I need for it to be something they will think is special and yummy. Pasta and chicken is always a winner…

so when we found these heart shaped pasta’s again, we scooped em up.

Add some vodka sauce – yummy for both adults and kids…

Finished product…voila!

Then we created our chicken dish, chicken breasts roasted with root veggies and red peppers. Add some broccoli with cheese sauce and fresh spinach salad…


Side by side…

for dessert we had creme brulee (which I almost forgot to take a pic of)

Valentine/Birthday surprises and sparkling grape juice…

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Just another day?

In our house, Valentines is not just another day. We spend days before planning our special meal and preparing the surprises for each other. It’s a family thing, not just for the hubster and I.

It was also my birthday, which is another reason we go all out to celebrate. I see it like this, “If God saw fit to have me born on this day, I should celebrate it extra-specially, otherwise it would have been just any other day…

I truly go all out adding decorative touches throughout the house, but I thought i’d spare you photos. (besides most of them are already put away and I forgot to take pics)

Here’s my kitchen mantel all decked out. I just love red and pink and think
Valentine’s is a great opportunity to pull it out and show it off.

All the stuffies collected over the years find little nooks through the house.

Sparkly hearts and valentines.

Makeshift centrepiece.
In my world the celebrating started with a sisters lunch a couple weeks ago at our fav. Greek Restaurant on Steph’s bday, but we doubled up…
Then a week later, 2 days before the bday, my little sis Andrea set up a spa in her home and gave me a pedi-manicure.
It’s hard to picture without the foot spa which was being filled with water at picture taking time. But it was set up all pretty with candlelight, a fire glowing, treats and drinks and general pampering. She is awesome at this.
That night a bunch of my girlfriends came over to conclude our Anne of Green Gables Marathon and surprised me with cake, balloons and presents – I felt very special indeed ♥.

On the actual day, my boys woke me up with bday kisses and valentines ♥ and then we celebrated Valentine’s with our home schooling friends at a special lunch. It was so nice to catch up with everyone!

Every year we plan a special dinner and decorate the table “romantic” and have a special menu. Everybody loves it. Then we hand out our “valentines” to each other. The boys picked there’s out for mom and dad and Christy so it was fun seeing the expression on their faces when we opened them.

Finally, to keep the celebration going, my Jodi took me out for dinner and we gorged ourselves at Johnny Rocco’s. The next day, my baby sister Becca gave me a mega massage before taking the boys for the night

In our house, Valentines is definitely NOT just another day, it’s a reason to celebrate!!!
I am so blessed

Seasonal Home – Welcoming Winter

It’s been a productive (yet oddly still very relaxing) few days at the Heaslip Homestead. I’ve been changing out the seasonal decor (Christmas is put away and organized); cleaning both my home and my heart and mind – writing, making lists, reading… It’s been great! I love this season of my life where I have a singular focus. It’s been so many years of having a gazillion things on my plate… I almost get giddy realizing this season at home is at the 9 month mark. Yay!

Crazy thing, I still feel like I’m playing hooky or on a surreal vacation and am enjoying every day far too much for it to be OK.
We’ve been so relaxed we’ve done all that, as well as our grocery shop yesterday, had a 5 hour visit with friends (at their place) went to the mechanic, went to a meeting Monday night and even managed to “waste” a number of hours in front to the tv – and my baby boy fell asleep on me… twice! Oh, and I blogged too 🙂
Back to the point of today’s post…

I am a firm supporter in having my home reflect the season we are in, literally as in what’s happening outside, as well as figuratively – where’s we’re at as a family. So, to battle the January “downer” that naturally comes as a result of packing up the Christmas decor… I purposefully have a bin of “winter” items that only come out after the holidays (this has a lot of snowy stuff and snowmen)
After the festivities and busyness of December, as the “freeze” that naturally accompanies January, I love to do a CLEAN sweep of the entire house. I re-organize as much as possible, pantries, shelves, bins, drawers, closets, under sinks, garbage/recycling areas, etc.

The first area is usually the kitchen cupboards (since I have to switch out the Christmas dishes again). This year I decided to only put in the white dishes as well as a few necessary coloured ones, but our big black plates can wait a few more months. I also update all the family photos that are sent to us from friends and relations over Christmas. I have kept them on the insides of my cupboard doors for years. I like to be able to see them without them cluttering up my fridge even more, or getting damaged from the constant traffic there. This way I can be mindful of them and lift them up in prayer as I think of them 🙂

New calendar, red candle holder (Michael’s clearance), the snow man cookie jar is a beloved favourite goodwill find.

I also clear up the counters and set out some simple, fresh decor. Lots of warmers and candles to help with the smells of boys and the dog (and help create more coziness and light for the longer nights).

Here’s my kitchen mantel for Winter. Most of it is made up of gifts through the years. Trio of pillar candles – gift from sister, Silver-white star – had it, assorted red candle holders – had em, snowy white wreath – Dollarama, Topiary – gift and new H – gift this year. Hanging pillows – gift from Jodi.

I’ve incorporated one of my fav Christmas gifts from Crackerbarrel. It pretty much sums up our family. H for Heaslip and Home. Our story begins…love love it.

This hurricane was another gift this year.
I even give the bathrooms a good overhaul.

This year I asked my dear hubster if we should leave the red decor up Fall/Winter and change to the blue tones for Spring/Summer. He said yes, it’s warmer. So we kept the red in the family room/ kitchen.
Red books and misc. items collected from around the house…

snowmen were a gift years ago, and were in the winter bin…

Moved some furniture in closer to each other, moved around some faux greenery and dusted and plumped a lot.

Here’s a couple views of the area leading to our formal living room/ entrance area which is downstairs.

I kept it pretty natural. Changed out the red accents (on my homemade wreath with gold/ cream) and in the shadow box with a ball I already had…

Here’s our formal living room. After the tree is put away, it seems so open and I putter for a few days putting things into the “best” arrangement. I bring the trees back in by the window, rearrange the shelves with whites and silvers and replace the hints of red with brown and earthy items.
This tiered shelf tries to hide the plethora of wires needed for the internet/ cable/ phone etc.

I left these “mutlicoloured” light pieces on the top of the TV “mantel” because I like the glow at night and the sparkle of the crystal during the day 🙂

This sign went up by the entrance this year, it still needs something, just not sure what yet.

This is my antique dresser. I like to keep using the fresh greens from outside, the white branches have little birds nestled in them and I added the warmer and the antique lamp.

Areas I still haven’t done are…
OUTSIDE, because it’s nasty out there. -10 the past couple days and WINDY.

Am idea I’m toying with, is creating a different area for coming and going from the house in our BREEZEWAY. This will require some work, and I will leave until spring I think, but it’s occupying a portion of my mind.

Another thought I’ve had is to get on top of the situation with my photos, etc after losing them to at virus last summer. I have various things I need to do with this. It will become a priority I think.

Also, I need to get into my calendar and organize it BEFORE life gets back into swing with basketball, birthdays, outings, travel, schooling, skating and hopefully swimming… yeah. I should wrap this up, and go get started with that. Or I could just have my tea and waste another hour in front of the TV… hmmm. I’ll let you know what happened 🙂


Glimpses of Christmas

a Christmas concert in a little country church that moved me and help to heal my music starved soul…

an inspiring church service that my sister helped write the script for…

family time eating way too much…
excitement of boys who still believe in Santa…

shining eyes sharing at the Advent circle just before bed on Christmas Eve…

mistletoe moments…

smiling chocolate covered faces waiting for the digital clock to turn 7:30 after ripping through their stockings at 4:00 am

Christmas morning at home and making French Toast with eggnog…yum

all the brothers in law toasting my dad over ouzo shots in the kitchen (its our 4th year without him)…

Not having anything planned for centerpieces and pulling this off without spending money from stuff around the house…

squishing 12 adults and 5 kids into my kitchen/dining room and sadly realizing it’s probably time we looked for another place to celebrate Christmas dinner 🙂
our “Bolovinos” family candle sharing time and seeing how remarkably God is working through each of our families in similar but completely different ways…
the squealing joy of my little nephews when we finally let the dog into the busy family room…

playing cards and laughing well into the night…

sitting quietly by the lit tree with a full and happy heart…
Merry Christmas to all and to all it was a Good Night!
with love,

A Home for the Holidays

Thanks to my dear “frister” (friend who is more like a sister) Jodi, I have photos for today’s post that do the decor justice, yay! She is an amazing photographer and an even more amazing friend. After a busy last couple of months (which I will blog about next week, I knew I’d get the decorating done, but doubted a blog on it would get done on time. Enter Jodi, having missed our regular coffee date and having a random Friday night open up for both of us (unheard of) I bribed her with Christmas cake and coffee to bring her camera with her for a visit. I love her and I love how our home turned out this year.

Before we get started, I asked my boys what their favourite parts of the decor were, which is so rewarding because they all picked something different, which makes the effort in decorating throughout the house so worthwhile…
Family Favs
Hubster Chris – The tree in the Family Room
Lucas – Garlands over the doors and Windows
Max – their bedroom tree
Carter – the outside lights

Tammara – The Nativity Vignette/ Family Room
Welcome, here’s the front porch, because life got so crazy for a bit there, I have not really had a chance to “tweak this” – I meant to have more on the wire shelf and to add some ornaments to the trees, but I love the lanterns. At one time the windows on the doors where decorated with snow designs, but they mysteriously were “cleaned off” by some “helpers” from Carters 4th birthday and I haven’t had a chance to redo them. it’s funny too, the angle of this pic really highlights the fact that my urns are two different sizes, they don’t look so different in reality – but here they do – hmmm. Will reassess after posting today….

Here’s my first attempt at making a wreath. I love how it turned out. Much thanks to Rose Bartel for the fun workshop at Bartel’s farm where we buy our organics.
Here’s our entrance. I decided to stick with one colour scheme for the whole house (except our bedroom) – Red, Green and White with Gold & Silver. I love it. I do wish I had painted the front door red as planned, but I guess it’ll happen in the spring now and be red for next year!
Anyways, I threw this super sparkly vignette together with things I already had. I love the effect of the white lights under the feather boa, and the way it shimmers all day and night.
Jodi really is amazing. Love this one.

Next we come our our “formal” living room. It’s not really formal, we just don’t use it as much because it’s not close to the kitchen, school room or TV. But you do see it as soon as you walk into the house and walk through it to get to the bedrooms/ second bathroom.
She really is an amazing photographer – the dirt, dust bunnies and general messiness of the house disappeared with the click of her camera!
This is the 3rd year now. that I’ve used these feather boa’s on the tree, I can’t help myself. Plus this is an old and very spindly tree, so the feathers really fill it out and you can’t tell. I do love how the red pops…but it was almost painful to not use the lovely brown things I had bought last year – but it was way too neutral for this year.
I love how the garland turned out with the red socks, the wood stars and fancy bulbs.

More red butterflies, I just love them too.

On the TV cabinet/ mantel I clustered various conical trees, bunch white lights in them, added the “gift light” and threw a boa on top. Glorious!

Now on to the rest of this floor…
Our guest room (mostly gold accents added to the existing decor)
(update on mess in wall – treated the walls to prevent spread and safely contain. Keep the room semi-useable until we can overhaul in the spring).

Here’s the boys room. Yes, the photo was taken while they were sleeping, no they didn’t wake up (I am truly blessed they sleep through anything). Thank you for ignoring the broken drawer that I should have fixed last summer. Thank you for ignoring the obvious need to redo this space in our home. The boys would have been disappointed if there tree was not in this tour.
The Family Bathroom. Once again, magically clean and shiny with a click! There is no red in here because I tied in a bit of the bedroom colour scheme with the purple wreath.
The Master Bedroom. I am not ready to part with the purple in this room, so we pretty much left it be.

but added sparkle.
A little here and there.
A photo op of Jodi’s favourite chair could not be passed up.
Then we move on the main living space upstairs (yes our house is a bit backward but we’re ok with that) Here’s the garland along the stairs.
My fav. area – our nativity which has the last of the boa’s used to create “snow”. I still smile, because I rescued this nativity set from a garbage bin! So awesome.
Do you like my DIY wreath made with fun fur? Me too 🙂
The sofa table creates the “hallway” through this space.
Close up of the arrangement. We have more “birds” added to this decor, as well as the butterflies, et al.

Garland over doors – love the giant butterfly.
“Mantel” on TV cabinet.

The tree in our family room. So warm and cozy!
Random Ornaments (every year I try to find photo ornaments, and have pics of the boys on the tree from over the years)

Full Room Shots

On the way into the kitchen you pass our advent tree – I found this at goodwill for $5 and made the labels for the mini socks – put treats and activities in each of them and the boys are having a riot with it!

The balcony doors garland in the kitchen. I just wish my curtain rod had proper finials.

My “mantel” shelf in the kitchen has our family socks – the ones we actually use with some antique bells, family portrait, real holly from our garden, and candles.

Our advent wreath has since been moved to the island as I made the Christmas center piece for the table at another class at the organic farm yesterday.
and one of the boys “advent tree” treasures.
The window over my sink. (these were the snow designs are what were on my front door windows at one time)
My little cart has the cookie jars (from goodwill), my sleigh ornament that I got when I was 8 or 9, and some favourite Christmas cookbooks. I love the magnet nativity set on the fridge which was also an advent tree surprise.
After all the pics were taken (we missed the upstairs bathroom – more red, green and white with gold) we sat down to our dessert and watched DVR segments of The Sing Off Christmas Special.
Please note – if you happen to stop in for a visit in the next couple weeks (and you are more than welcome) I have lots of sweest like this because I just finished up our baking and participated in my sisters baking exchange. So awesome!

So there you have it our holiday home this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we do and I promise, the craziness of my life has a dealine, Dec. 20th, after that, more posts will be coming – lots to share. See you again soon!
PS – I don’t have pics of the outdoor lights this year, but they look better than they have in years (because we didn’t have them for the past few years)
PSS – I’m linking up to this holiday home tour at The Inspired Room if you want to see some amazing homes. I’m always inspired when I take a tour here.

I finally got a "mantel"

No, it’s not a real mantel I know. Still no fireplace for Mimi. Someday, sigh.

Until then…

I found this beauty at Goodwill for $7.00 Yippee. It sat in the corner of my kitchen for 2 months because I thought I needed a man to help me put it up. Turns out I didn’t need a man for this afterall.

Here’s the before of this spot on the wall.

And the after (hearts)

It’s not taking much for me to imagine what to do with it for the Holidays… (smile)
Linking up to this party now that I can join in 🙂


Fall Nesting at My Place

My favourite linky party is this one over at the INSPIRED ROOM …so I wrote this post, just to be able to join in J

Every year I stir up the nest at my place in the late days of Aug or early days of Sept depending on the weather. When that first cool snap happens, I get started.
I clean and clean and clean.
I purge and purge and purge.
(the difference from the spring is that the stuff I purge ends up in the garage with the intent to garage sale – whereas in the spring I usually send it all off the goodwill)
Then I pull down all the “summery” stuff; the white curtains, the seashells and the turquoise cushions, etc.
Then I nest.
It usually starts with moving the furniture around (I am limited in this because of a lack of available walls); then I pull out the Autumn decor boxes from the garage…
In the spring, the decor is designed in my head to freshen things up, to keep things airy and open so the air and sunlight (and people) can pass through easily.
In the fall, I want cozy and inviting. I want people to want to snuggle in and stay awhile.
I want my home to smell yummy and spicy and soft.
I want to see rich colours and fabrics.
I want people to be able to fall asleep on the couch.
Still, I like to leave the windows open.
I like to feel the crisp breezes and hear the cry of the Canadian geese passing by.
This year I was very inspired by the colours i saw here and here.

And from this piece that was a thrifted gift from Jodi T.
So I added some new tones to the reds I’ve used for the past couple years. I love my reds and saw no reason to get rid of them, and they so easily are incorporated into Christmas. It’s much more colourful, but not over the top. I’m inspired by them, and now that I’m home all day everyday, inspiration like that is even more important to me. Some purple, orange and green tones – they were easy to pull in.
Let me take you on a tour…
First -the main entrance (no I have not really finished the front door/step…I will later)

I’m a big fan of subtle changes, but distinct ones. I feel like when its subtle, peace continues…
My antique dresser in this area always gets dressed up. This area I keep soft and neutral with the brown and earthy tones. This year I really love birds (my “kind of” new fav) so I added some to the branches. The wreath I made in the summer, but the colour works with the fall decor, added some potpourri and my scentsy burner…

…around the corner I carry over the neutral and earthy tones but added my living plants that were in the sunroom til the dropping temps threatened their continued existence with updating
The Formal Living Room. I think this is the happiest I’ve been with this room. I’d still really love a fireplace in here and think it would get more use if it had one. But ahh, budget constraints…

Then we move up to The Kitchen.

This is a very busy area, so I just pull out the colour punches…

Tray with ceramic Pumpkin cookie jar; dishes and pie plate on table (easy to remove for meals)
I love this pitcher I thrifted. I’m adding hydrangea’s from the garden to it.

Leftover ceramic pumpkins under the cake plate along with my new pumpkin patch cake tin from friend Jodi T and the Give Thanks scentsy burner from sister Andrea…

I put the thrifted pumpkin garland on the wall until my fairy shelf installer comes to put up said wooden shelf (thrifted) on wall instead 🙂

Even the bathrooms got a touch up…
New Scentsy plug in. Steel blue shower curtain and metal leaf art gifted from Jodi T.


Installed hanger for purple plant from sunroom and added pumpkin display, orange fingertip towel added to green stuff already there.
However, the room that gets the most attention is our Family Room…this is where the real punches of colour show up…
We spend the most time in here, and it’s where everyone congregates to visit, eat, sleep, study, watch TV/Movies, read, play, snuggle…etc. So of course it got the most attention.
The room is a bit dark (esp at night like in these picks) so I…

1. Used purple shears with the red curtains I already had (they let more sunlight in. The orange shiny fabric on the small table was a gift from my friend Davina and her recent trip to India. I love fabric from far away places! green blanket (costco) and purple throw pillow (Ikea 2 years ago)

2. I added some lamps behind the couch (thrifted bases, purple shades from IKEA)

In moving the furniture I created a sofa table and vignette…
are these stuffed pumpkins not awesome?! (THRIFTED!)……and they have all the colours….!!!!
Plus my fav. fall inspirational books and some red and yellow mums – delish.

Grandpa’s chair was updated with a table, lamp, throw and beaded cushion.All things I had or thrifted.

The bookshelves got some attention too.
Mostly decorative pumpkins.

Not sure where to put these metal rust coloured butterflies….but I’ll figure something out. Love them!
Got this new red Scentsy from my sister…
This corner display was updated with orange butterfly clip from Dollar Tree and pumpkin bowl. Painteing gifted from Becky L.
Well, there you have it. I will probably tweak until the week before I take it all down to set up for the Holidays which is very far away but coming quickly… until then, I hope you’ve been inspired even a little by my compulsive nesting and if not, you’ll have to wait for a more thought-provoking blog post, they’re on their way J

So I had a good little cry yesterday…

So I had an emotional week… do you blame me?

These children of mine despite frequent requests from me to stop…
They keep growing up.
It all started with this.

What is my 7 year old doing going to an amusement park (and on rides) without me? sigh.

Then it got worse…
My second born graduated kindergarten.

he got his diploma and everything…

see how happy he was – arms raised!
bless her heart, she survived 2 out of 3 Heaslip boys 🙂

and then, the icing on the cake…

My baby moved out of his crib.


the sobbing could not be contained. Yes… I know, he’s three, he really should’ve been in a bed long ago, but it worked – and it was one of those convertible ones, so it really was a toddler bed… i know, stop making excuses, I was keeping him my baby as long as I could… do you blame me?

Look at those cheeks!

Not only that, but he moved into a “Bunt bed” mommy… he’s so excited.

and now his old room is ready for one of our 2 Korean boys to move in for part of July.
So we’re officially into the next season, my heart is full. It was very bittersweet to finish up at a school we love, but we are ready for the next chapters. One being homeschooling and the other being hosting international students in our home.
…and I’m sure once I’ve used up the box of kleenex on my tears, I’ll be emotionally ready for it 🙂
oh, and by the way – HAPPY CANADA DAY!!!

Pool Party, BBQ and Fireworks, here we come! (that’ll cheer me up fo sho)