Eastertide 2016

The last year or so I’ve been reading a lot on the Liturgical or Sacred Church Year. I am by no means leaning into becoming Catholic or Orthodox, but I have found that incorporating some of the rich aspects of traditional worship into my own observances has been so so beneficial.

An Enriched Lent

We began Lent on Ash Wednesday when I began this study on the the Prodigal Son, with Edie Wadsworth, from lifeingraceblog.com. She’s a Lutheran, and I’ve loved so much of her writing which reflects her deep faith and the highlights the Lutheran leanings toward the need for grace in our daily lives.

CandleI read somewhere about having 6 candles and lighting them all on Ash Wednesday, on each Sunday prior to Easter, eliminate one candle. Then on Good Friday extinguish them all. It’s like the reverse of Advent, to remind us of Christ conquering the darkness in the Resurrection. I don’t force anyone in the family to participate in this, I just take a moment to center my heart and mind on the season, and honestly, the entire process was just so powerful this year. By resurrection Sunday, I was full of this anticipation to celebrate!

A Beautiful Holy Week

Last year, we did a daily study of walking through the last days of Jesus’ life on earth leading up to the cross…and on Holy Saturday we made Resurrection Rolls.

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This year we changed it up according to our schedule. Each night of Holy Week we had our Family Time either after dinner or during Homeschool…

We did our main readings from this book by Vic KParker…It was very thorough (good for younger and older kids) and divided the week up perfectly…love the illustrations too.

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and added Easter Hymns to our binder we use for Morning Time/ Symposium most days…

Symposium Binder easter hymns

On Monday we read about Jesus clearing the Temple, on Tuesday we read about the Last Supper and had a “footwashing” of our own (we washed each others hands) and had communion.

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On Wednesday we read about Jesus’ praying in the the Garden and his betrayal. On Thursday we read about his false trials and the beatings he took for us. On Friday, the crucifixion. Saturday was a day of silent reflection.

And Sunday….we celebrated.

We joined with other saints at a service…which was beautiful. Full of dance, visual art, music, congregational singing and the gospel message…best of all, the expectation reflected on the faces of fellow believers.

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The kids got their baskets AFTER church (there was no way they were eating candy before church!)

groupThen the extended family came over for dinner. We all love to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – but according to my dad…holidays were a must for the family to get together.

Dinner was complete with our singing, conversations, jokes and of course delicious food.

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I try to make our celebrations a bit more meaningful by taking an hour to plan a little “outline” that includes poetry, or scripture reading, some songs/ hymns, games, etc. This is what this year’s looked like…we had a “progressive reading” of the Resurrection Story as napkin rings. I found them here.

 

 I try to set the table the night before. This year I was on a tight budget, so created a centerpiece with silk flowers from storage, my sister ended up giving me some fresh flowers that day, So I incorporated them happily.The rest were decor I already had from years past. Loved stuffing old plastic eggs with the conversation starters, they were like Easter “fortune cookies”.

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DSC_0370 The kids table had an Easter I-SPY Game I found here…

After dinner we headed outdoors for the Egg Hunt…

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DSC_0424And back indoors for dessert!

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Happy Easter – Christos Annestis!!

PS – I was super happy with my easter decor this year. I spent a whopping $3!

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My Favourite Blogs

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’m an avid reader. I will rip through scores of books on various topics. There is nothing quite like the experience of reading a great book. For me it’s like going on a new adventure, literally like I’ve taken a trip and come back to share about the journey.

Though I love actual books, I love to read blogs too. I’ve included a list of blogs that I would categorize as reading on a regular basis. I hope you’ll check them out and that you find something interesting, inspiring or encouraging, as I have.

For Reflection

A Holy Experience – Ann VosKamp… what can I say? She’s Canadian, she’s authentic in her delivery.Her books are great.  I appreciate her lifestyle. She lives on a farm, loves her family, embraces the rustic, has a huge world view, she homeschools… though I don’t embrace all of her theology, her thoughts on grace and gratitude (Eucharistia) are hands down paradigm shifting. If she’s got a new post, I take the time and read it.

Beyond Evangelical – Frank Viola… his writings on the New Testament church and God’s Eternal Purpose rocked my world. Literally, I think I systematically read everything he wrote on that subject. (maybe 15 books? I don’t remember specifics, but now when I refer in mind to one thing, I can’t remember which book it came from, they are all like one giant book mushed up in my brain. Good thing I own most of them so I can go back for reference) – I must note at this point that I also read through almost everything Gene Edwards wrote on the same subject, though his were written in semi-fictitious form. Good for left-right brain development. Anyways, back to the blog, I love that he is not afraid to ask many questions, but unlike Rob Bell, he at least points you to where to find the answers, if not attempting to share his own thoughts first. He’s also not afraid to take heat and to be controversial. I read his blog because it makes me think.

Disrupting Culture – The husband and I have only discovered Jonathon Welton recently, but we’ve been gobbling up his stuff on the blog and youtube and his books. As students of the New Covenant it’s refreshing to find resources that embrace a) sound doctrine  b) the supernatural  c) the grace of God and walking in our identity in Christ d) putting the great commission in action. Often you can find some of these things, but less often do you find them all in one.

Life In Grace – I don’t remember how I got connected to Edie’s blog. But shortly after following this blog, she and her family lost everything in a house fire a couple days before Christmas. I was moved by the outpouring of support from the internet and ultimately the depth of her writing following such devastation…I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s got a great style, posts awesome recipes (many I’ve tried and added to my repertoire), she’s a Lutheran and classical reader, former homeschooler and has that southern charm that draws you back again and again.

Shauna Niequist – My sister turned me on to Shauna. Love her blog, though it’s sporadic, her books are awesome and after you’ve read one of her books, you feel like she’s a friend, so you read her blog because it’s like catching up with a friend.

Homefries – I must clarify that this is not a blog, though you can link to blogs from this site. I love this site because it features several podcasts on a variety of subjects from a variety of people. I particularly love the interviews with Tsh Oxenreider. Podcasts are great for listening to while working in the kitchen.

For Fun

Pioneer Woman – Started reading Ree Drummond’s posts years ago after a friend recommended her. I guess  a lot of people like her food posts (which I admit are pretty awesome) – I do own one of her cookbooks and love it, but I honestly love her Confessions blog. It just makes me laugh. She’s got some great stories about her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. She’s had so many embarassing things happen to her, it seems impossible…but oh it’s funny.

Home with Boys – Honestly I just started reading her blogs because she has 3 boys and started homeschooling around the same time as me. I’ve since come to find her simple approach to life refreshing.

Martha Stewart – I honestly just read Martha’s blog to see how “the other side lives” – you know, the fabulously rich… Plus I get great tips on gardening, etc from her posts.

For the Heart & Home

AKA Design – this husband and wife team are Canadian. They live not far away, so they have the same harsh Canadian winters, the same weird summers, celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time, etc. etc.  They do a lot of DIY projects that are totally do-able for people like me, she’s got great style and is super organized. Plus she homeschools… that’s inspiring to me. There’s also a personal connection as I’m very good friends with her sister, so even though I don’t think I’ve ever met them in person, I feel like I know them.

Nesting Place – I’d followed this blog for a few years. I loved her philosophy and style…but then sort of drifted off for a bit. Then about a year and a bit ago they bought this run down old house on a great property with an even more run down barn. They shared their vision for it all, and slowly have been making it happen and I’m hooked with renewed interest.

The Inspired Room – to be honest, I just started following her because she seemed to love fall as much as me, and then I got hooked. I love her style and decorating philsophy. She’s has tremendous success in the world of home decor, and though I don’t aspire to have her home, I do appreciate the love she has for her home, and would like to continue to grow in that same kind of appreciation for my own.

New House New Home – Another Canadian not far from here. I love her gardening posts especially, but she shares some really great home projects too.

Living Well Spending Less – As the title implies, it has a plethora of tips on saving money while living well. The organizational resources are pretty awesome too.

For Food – I primarily go to pinterest for food recipes, but once in awhile I’ll find a blogger who I love to read their thoughts on food…as well as the recipes.

 Six Sisters – I was drawn to the name. They have very frequent posts and are adaptable.

Simple Bites – Another Canadian. I love her lifestyle, her passion is evident. The recipes are delish but not so crazy that you don’t want to try them. She’s got a great philosophy for bringing kids into the kitchen and they totally embrace the urban homesteading concept. Love!

Homeschooling – I peruse many other blogs on homeschooling, but most of them are very sporadic and don’t necessarily apply to what we’re doing at home. There are many many sites that I use often, but these are the top 3 for now. I will probably do a post on these resources and more on the Heaslip Homestead Academy soon.

Half a Hundred Acre Wood – I love this blog. She’s a classical homeschooler, and though we aspire to incorporate classical elements, we are not. I still find it inspiring and love their philosophy. Her organization is pretty great too.

 The Canadian Homeschooler – lot’s of great resources for homeschoolers in Canada. Frequent posts and current content.

The Unlikely Homeschool – for those who don’t homeschool. It’s super easy and at the same time the most difficult thing I’ve ever tackled. So I will find as many support resources as I can. For me, this site is one of them.

Decorating for Spring and Easter

Here’s a peek of how we changed things up around the house to welcome spring. Come on in~!
February and March 2015 210This is a DIY pussy willow wreath that cost me about $5 to make. It’s a great transition piece between February (post Valentines) to when I add a floral wreath. I could have put one up for easter, but really just loved the simplicity of this one. Instead the Easter wreathes stayed indoors this year. I will be on the lookout for a more “flowery” front door hanging this month though, now that things are definitely greening up.

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In our front foyer I kept it kind of neutral. The burlap bunny garland stayed up from mid march through Easter.. Basically after Easter I remove the bunnies from most decor and add in the other more subtle spring pieces I have. The bird cage, nest and birds came back this year, with the stacking suitcases and I added more pussy willows here to give continuity from the front door. The glass apothecary dishes have white lights in them and are great to light up the evenings in our entry.

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It’s simple, but pretty…and I hope warm and welcoming.

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Moving upstairs, the kitchen had touches through Easter. I used both silk and real lilies in the kitchen and family rooms. The mantel arrangement changed a few times to accommodate various table settings. Now that Easter is passed us – most of the “easter” books have been put away with all but the green moss bunny on the shelf. The Lent Candle stayed out and was used most days, what a great exercise we’ll be sure to repeat. It was also pretty.

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I loved having this crown and purple scarf out, to keep the focus on the king, more than the commercial aspect.

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Touches of colour and expecially green, really helped bring some beauty indoors.

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In the basement, which is where we hosted a few functions, primarily our large celebration dinner, we decorated the fireplace and the table. The mantel, silk flowers, a couple mirrors and old vases. The only new piece was the burlap bunny garland which was a dollar.

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From our Easter breakfast table.

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And from Easter dinner, in case you didn’t see last weeks posts.I’m not sure if I will get around to posting any other changes since winter. I did change out my curtains from red to a transparent turquoise colour in the kitchen, and a couple wall hangings have changed to lighten things up a bit…no pics, but as I’ve posted about before, I believe that when we make small adjustments in our homes, it helps us transition the seasons in our hearts as well… which helps with the harmony of the home.

What changes have you make around your home to welcome the new season?

Celebrating Everyday Life – The first Quarter

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In our house we try to make a big deal out of the little things, the moments that fill in the calendar, the things that make up a life together. I figured I could take quarterly snapshots to show you the “in between” times, since I usually document the standard holidays and seasons. Here’s my record of the first “Quarter” of 2015.

January – WINTER is in full swing. Yes, I put out the post Christmas “winter decor” to enjoy this month. The Hot Chocolate station is in full swing and the white stuff is enjoyed to the “Max”. 
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Yes – this is INSIDE my kitchen.

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This was our first official SNOW DAY. Pancake breakfast, lot’s of playing outside and inside and movies…the best part NO SCHOOL, for the home school and our student boarders (From Korea – short term and China – long term)

Many people ask us what we do for “church” – that subject probably requires a series of posts, but I’ll address it briefly here. We enjoy services at a local congregation in Niagara – but consider “real” church or Ecclesia to be what happens from home to home in the community of faith we find ourselves in. This is both intentional and casual. So far it’s working for us… here’s a post of one of our intentional lunches which we host once a month (at least), and then visit other homes at other times.

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Happy Birthday Igabelle!

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She requested breakfast for dinner.

We got to learn more about Korea when our students had a special cultural day and lunch for us. The food as always, was delish.

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February – WINTER is still in full swing, but we have many birthdays and many other reasons to celebrate! First, I change out some of the winter decor and add some red and pink for the month of LOVE. Yes we do celebrate Groundhog Day – it was fun explaining this to the students. Then the first birthday is my sisters, she had a huge and fun girls night in – our friend Julia did the food and I may or may not have eaten 5 mini creme brulees.

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Then we celebrated Valentines Day with Chocolate Fondue for the Kids… we also had a special meal together by candlelight, shared Valentines – the kids participated in a homeschool Valentines Party, then mom and dad had date night.

It was also my birthday – a big one, but I have blog post coming up all about that in a few days. Here’s a sneak peak at the party my girlfriends threw for me. Our motto – any reason for a party is a good one!
40th Party

Then it was time to begin Lent – with Pancake Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. More on Lent later. Here’s part of what we’ve done this year for Lent.February and March 2015 182

This year, the Chinese New Year was the day after Ash Wednesday – whew. I got some help from Isabelle’s mom in Hong Kong and we celebrated with style this year thanks to our Asian friends living with us.

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I found out that Red and Gold are the traditional colours to decorate with (more use for some Christmas/Valentines decor – yay!). Mondi & Frankie sent us some “Red Pockets” to share with the kids.

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Some traditional and “new” aka – making due when we couldn’t find specific ingredients- foods were on the menu. Poon Choi (the big bowl) and dumplings, etc. I was quite proud of myself.

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Some imported treats and some new fruits to try like Asian Pears, Dragon fruit and Star Fruit.

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One of my favs, was this Coconut New Years ‘cake’ I found on Pinterest. Isabelle said it was her favourite too.

The next week we said farewell to our Korean boys, and then it was this boys birthday – here we are on a date. He chose to go for a special lunch with dad and then went to spend a long weekend with his grandparents where he was spoiled.

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Yaya (my mom) treated the boys and I to dinner at Memphis for birthday celebrations – Yahummmm!

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This year the month ended for me with the big birthday party and a sleepover with the same two girl friends who slept over on my 20th birthday during our college years. Pretty cool…except that sleeping on the floor is much different now than it was back then!

March! The signs of Spring are everywhere. I gradually remove all signs of winter “inside” the house, and start adding in the “green”.

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I did up a new wreath to carry me over from February (a Valentine Door Wreath) to Easter (egg wreath) – I love this pussy willow wreath. I got the idea from this blog. So easy, so cute!

March for us as homeschoolers is a month of “Spring Breaks”.

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Dad and the younger two boys spent a weekend in South Carolina visiting some of our best friends, who are also homeschoolers.

While they were away, the rest of us celebrated my nephew’s birthday with the whole family bowling. It was Elaina and Isabelle’s first time – such fun!

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The next weekend the two younger sisters treated the February Bday Sisters to a Spa Day – so spoiled!

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My youngest sister is a RMT – massage therapist and she has magic hands… (notice the baby snoozing on the bed in the back ground? He was so good, so his mama got nice and relaxed)

Then it was the school Spring Break, so we took advantage of some fun activities – Tag Day Camp for the elder boy and VBS for the younger two. The girls and I enjoyed coffee dates and shopping most mornings. St. Patricks Day was at the beginning of Spring Break, so we celebrated with style, complete with Irish Toasting with Green Ginger “Beer”, Irish Reels and of course, cuisine – Corned Beef and Cabbage, rye toast and Shamrock Shakes.

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At the end of Spring Break, the boys were in the performances of the drama school they joined this year. It was such a good show and the teachers and kids worked so hard to make it a success.

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We finished up the month with getting ready for Holy Week, which for us begins tomorrow with Palm Sunday. I’ll close this post with a peak – but since I consider Easter to be a major Holiday – it will get it’s own post shortly. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how we celebrate life – it’s been a great year so far!

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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.
Outside
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.

 Bathroom

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.

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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.

Kitchen

Kitchy Christmas Photos…

One of our first nativity sets.

Mantel…
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.

Bathroom

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

My "Summer Kitchen"

We’ve been having a lot of fun around here, living over blogging. Though I love the writing, and I often think, oh, I’d like to blog about this or that topic that crosses my mind…but then we get on with living. I plan hope to write more this summer. The word wall above kind of says it all, some of them we’ve checked off the list, some we’ll do again and again, and some we’ve yet to do! 
Anyways, a fun-though sometimes hectic spring passed us by, and the HOT summer days are upon us and summer around here, is all about FUN. I have my summer reading list, my summer to do list, my summer playlist, summer movie list and now, a Summer Kitchen. What is that you may ask?  
The BackStory
We are very fortunate to have a house with 2 kitchens. Sometimes the basement is rented out to boarder so we haven’t really made use of the basement kitchen until now. I guess I need to explain, my house is unique in that our regular kitchen/family/school/etc rooms are on the second floor (and the bedrooms are on the ground floor with a sitting room) of our Chalet style house. I love, love, LOVE my unique house, but the drawback is that the summers are very HOT upstairs, even when it’s not hot outside – great for our COLD winters, not so much in summer. We have ceiling fans, but the vaulted ceilings just seem to hold the heat IN. 
So this year, my hubby convinced me to move our kitchen/living space to the basement. Since we’re all basically in one big room down here, it feels like we’re at a cottage. I’m actually loving it, because even though we’re not going away (except to visit my grandma for a few days up north) – it’s like we are away from home.
I call it my summer kitchen after a friend reminded me that in the old days (as in a couple generations ago) it was very common to have a second kitchen… I looked it up…

Cooking in an open fireplace in summer can cause the kitchen to become extremely hot, so in Early America it was common for people to build a separate building called a “Summer Kitchen” where much of the food would be prepared during the summer months. The summer kitchen would contain a large fireplace with an oven, and usually a large table which was used as a work surface.

The purpose of summer kitchens were to keep the main house cooler in the summer by putting the cooking and cleaning duties in a separate building.

It has been fun, we’ve basically “closed” the upper floor of the house (meaning we can turn the AC down or even OFF-yay! I have direct access to the backyard (aka my garden) from here, and canning down here is WAY better. Love to be able to use my home to it’s fullest potential.

Here we are, all cozy in our “cool” summer kitchen. Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are!

 

 

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.