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.

book inside book

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.

easter program

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!


Happy Easter – Christos Annestis!!

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

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.

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
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



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.

Ist Birthday and Dedication

I love to throw a good party… you know, with a theme and lot’s of details. Beautiful decor and really really good food. For a long time I felt like I needed a reason to do this for others, for bridal or wedding showers, for work or church events. I felt like I needed to justify all the effort, not just for myself or my little family. However in the most recent years, not having a specific church or work family to party plan for and I also realized that if I can’t put that effort into celebrating my own little family, I really shouldn’t be doing it for others…
So we pulled out all the stops to celebrate our Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday and dedication ceremony.
Scrumptious dessert table…all sorts of decor was borrowed from bestie JT of course (keeps the costs down) and the heirloom quilt was dear hubby’s grandma’s – perfect for the pink baby girl party.
Mason Jar Ring Pumpkin
Pink Harvest Theme with Diamonds and Bird Houses
Perfect opportunity to display the baby books and a year of photos. 
Painted pink pumpkins and pearls…
The birthday girl checking out her balloons in her pj’s with Grandma before the party starts.

Menu: Harvest Soup, Split Pea Soup and Beef Stew
Pretty in her party dress.
With Grandpa and Nana
Great grandma reading a scripture verse
Everyone shared a verse
Including big brother
And Geema
Mom and Dad read a letter written for your first birthday.
Surrounded in prayer
Great Grandma, Aunties and Mama in front of the Photo Wall


Baby Jar Jelly Bean Favours

Thank you to all the friends and family who were able to celebrate with us! A birthday on September 30th is the perfect way to kick off celebrating Fall each year, looking forward to it 🙂

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.

My "New Kitchen"

I love it when you can totally change up the look of a room with very little cost because of the goodness of God and the kindness of friends 🙂

Going into our 3rd year of homeschooling and having another body (and highchair) at the table, I knew our kitchen needed re-working. I had admired my friend Moni’s chalkboard wall in her old house – but I didn’t know how to make it work in our house. She’s so stylish with a quiet European flare and her home reflects her and her family so nicely, but I knew we are nothing like that. We are a tad messy (though I didn’t want to feel like I was in a constant mess because I LOVE organization), we are constantly curious and getting into new things, leaving other things unfinished but wanting to get back to them too. Plus I love my shelf that I can change out seasonally and we are surrounded by books too. I searched around on pinterest and found some inspiration in these pics…


I came up with this…

 The table we had inherited from Chris’ Aunt had taken a beating and was not only getting too small for us, but was also pretty wobbly. It is now in the basement in our common room which will be used for a homeschool co-op. 

When we agreed to take in 3 Korean adults acting as chaperones for the the program we usually host children from, we knew it was time for a new table. But the $ for it was not present…

Enter my BFF Jodi. She decided to upgrade and offered to bless us with hers (which had been a blessing to her from another friend) It seats 8 comfortably – YAY!

At the same time, we did the chalkboard wall, it was surprisingly easy actually…

 We cleared the space, painted it on and then after 3 days we cured it – the boys loved helping cover it with chalk.

 After wiping it off, it was ready to go, I added the decor (which will obviously be tweaked often).

I repurposed an old beat up hutch that had been in the sunroom collecting dust, and scaled back on the china, etc that was inside the old hutch – which found a new home at another friends house. I’m still considering painting it some fun colours (like burnt orange and tealy blue) with distressing… Suggestions anyone?

I still needed my Mom Central station (desk, calendar, bulletin board, etc) to be in the kitchen so I can monitor computer usage) We switched it to the side so we have more room to write on.

So there you have it. A new kitchen that only cost us $50 – for the chalkboard paint 🙂 
What do you think? What changes have you made to your house this summer?

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…


 FALL 2012







 SPRING 2013 – removed the bunnies, etc.



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.
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.

A perfectly pink baby shower…

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

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

details like the No. 4 are Jodi’s specialties

My sister Andrea did up the favours.

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

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

My Jodi – party planner extraordinaire!

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!


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.