Our Thanksgiving Table

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

Mini Thanksgiving List 2013

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

Our Table

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

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

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

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

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
Dedication
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
Cupcake!

Presents!

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 ūüôā

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 Garden in August 2013

¬†Reflections on the Garden…
This is a super long post (mostly pics again). I could have broken it up into several smaller posts, but honestly then it wouldn’t get done at all. I’m more likely to be out in the garden¬†than at my computer, and with the kids and summer in full swing, I’m fortunate to actually be posting at all ūüôā¬†
I have LOVED¬†working in my garden this year. It’s been a great growing year, and I’ve loved watching the plants thrive throughout our property. Last week we spent about 4 solid days outside ripping out dying trees, transplanting, planting new ones, weeding, trimming, etc. We’re quite happy with our work and hope that all the new trees “take” in their new home. Thankfully, we can get replacements at very low cost quite easily.
Here’s the garden back in June/July…
Front Beds…
¬†The Yarrow needs a friend… any suggestions?¬†
I’ve wondered about Russian Sage, or another perennial?
The Knock Out Rose is delish – we decided to plant a Yellow Knock Out in the back this summer.

¬†Sunroom…

¬†Water Feature in Sunroom…all the hydrangeas are thriving.¬†
Endless Summers (Blue and Pink), Limelghts (giant teardrop Green-Whites) and Annabelles.
The Rose in here may need to find a new home. 
We’ve not done much in here as we have long term plans¬†
to re-do this whole room as part of a deck project.
Here’s an example of the Endless Summer’s before they all were picked for centerpieces…

Rose Garden…

The giant pinks roses are Memorial Days, the Fuscia Standard are knock Outs and the one in the yellow pot is our Yellow Knock Out to be planted. The Perennials are Heucheria, Poppies, Daisies and some ground covers I forget the name of. The front standard is a flowering crabapple.

Perennial Bed

Love the yellows Рdaylilies, primrose, and I forget the others right now. 
Yet to bloom are Purple Phlox and Daisies. 
They always look nice nestled in amongst the 
Japanese Maple/ Blue Spruce and Lavender Twist.

Lovers Garden (see the anniversary bench)

Next Spring a bunch of these perennials will need to be divided.

¬†Veggie Garden…
               (Look at the size of that burn pile in the back!)

I’m excited to be growing potatoes for the first time this year!

 Herb Garden

I have enough mint to last til Kingdom Come! 
Peppermint, 2 kinds of oregano, sage, 2 kinds of thyme, lavender, chives, 
rosemary, lemon balm & sorrel

A couple of surprises…

I thought we lost this rosebush last year.
When we trimmed the lilac earlier this summer, it gave these guys room to grow.

And now in August…
Front Porch…

I must remember what these yellow plants are in the boxes, I love them. 
I also LOVE my geraniums. The potato plants did well as expected. 

Front Bed

I had been given Cana Lilies and put them in behind the yarrow for now. 
They’ll find a new home next year where I can really highlight them.¬†

Upstairs Balcony Boxes

 
Had to show these because they are doing so well!

Looking down on Rose Garden and Perennial Beds

Post edging, multching, trimming, etc. This was in between the Memorial Days blooms. 
All our roses give consecutive blooms straight through til early November.

 Looking Down on Veggie and Herb Gardens

The big plum tree by the sandbox is now gone. We’ll be planting 2 apple trees on that side of the yard. Look at that crazy herb garden!

Up close…

¬†the mint is going CRAZY and the lemon balm… ugh.

 The Creeping Jenny is doing nicely

 Beans РBush and Pole

¬†Zucchinim – we’ve already harvested 3 good sized ones.

Potatoes Рlove! I will be doing these again. 
We’ve already harvested 2 basket fulls and there’s lot’s more.

 Cucumbers (almost lost them, but they came back) and broccoli

Kale, romaine, Chard, Beets, Cabbage – we lost our spinach ūüė¶

Another view…

 Onions

Sunflowers and Corn for Decor.
 
And happiness – PUMPKINS!

  

 

We planted an English Oak tree back here at the corner of the garden.

 We added gravel to the walkways

Lover’s Garden

The clematis flowered this year. I put up the trellis late, so hopefully next year it’ll grow taller.¬†
Love my phlox and daisies! The cold snap made the tips of our burning bush turn red.

¬†Back of House Before the trimming…

¬†and after…

Rose of Sharon
I have a love-hate relationship with these beauties. They are gorgeous and bloom when so little else does, they thrive pretty much anywhere, but they also reseed – EVERYWHERE. So I’ve become selective where they can be planted.

 Side of House

The Iris did nicely this year, In fact, I was quite happy with this little hidden gem of a garden.

 New Planting in front in shared dividing bed with neighbour РCedars and Hydrangea Standard.

Now for mulch or some kind of ground cover to keep the weeds under control.
That’s all for now. You may or may not hear about the garden again this year ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 Рthe 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 ūüôā¬†
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…

FIRST MANTEL FALL 2011

 FALL 2012

 FIRST CHRISTMAS 2011

CHRISTMAS 2012

WINTER 2013

 
WINTER/ VALENTINES 2013

 WINTER/ VALENTINES 2012

SPRING/ EASTER 2013

 SPRING 2013 Рremoved the bunnies, etc.

 SPRING/EASTER 2012

RIGHT NOW – SUMMER 2013

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

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

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

¬†or this…

¬†or this…

I guess you’ll have to wait and see ūüôā

My Garden in May 2013

Garden in May 2013 – Part 1 – Veggie Garden
It’s that time of year again. After about a month of working in the yards we see the end in sight. We still need to plant some shrubs and finish a few areas here and there, but overall, we’re happy with the progress this year. The veggies seem to be starting out well, but we’ll see how potatoes grow ( our first try) and the pumpkins (we’ve tried 5 years now and only suceeded 2 times to harvest a pumpkin). We still have seedling that need to eventually find a growing home,¬†
but I’m not worried – everything always works out.
First we got 3 yards of triple mix to work into the beds that had been weeded.
The quince Tree in Bloom
Rhubarb Patch got thinned and the darned horseradish grew back!
It’s basically all planted, just waiting for the sprouts so we can set up the stakes, etc.

Good old Herb’s patch is abounding… Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Mint, Peppermint, Sage, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Sorrel and tonnes of chives…and creeping rosemary.

New Potatoes, Zucchini and Beans (raspberries and strawberries in background)
I plan on having the beans and zucchini grow “up” – it worked wonderfully well last year. Next year I think we need to rethink our strawberry patch location.

Cucumbers, Ground Cherries, Kale, Swiss Chard, Cabbage, Beets, Romaine & Spinach

Multiplier Onions and Spanish Onions (corn in back ground)

Pumpkins
Garden in May 2013 – Part 2 – Flower Gardens
This year we changed our multch colour to black and LOVE it.
Rose & Perennial Gardens Before the Multch 
After – so nice and tidy now
we plan on adding a few shrubs in here and replacing one of the rose bushes that died with a yellow knockout rose. Also the ninebark from last year will be replaced.

Before Рthe flowering crabapple standard Рperfection. 
Poppies, Heuchera and Memorial Day Roses look kind of sad on the multch free beds.
The Peonies in this bed may need to be relocated, they are hidden by the giant rose bush…
After – everything pops.

Before – the Lavender Twist looked amazing! Also, a burning bush, phlox, daylilies, forget-me-nots, primrose, sweet william and a few i can’t remember in front of the jap maple and daisies.
After 
Before Рthat little shot of yellow is a climbing impatient(?) 
After
After – lots of hostsas, yarrow, poppies, grasses, ground covers around our anniversary bench and rhododendron under the mulberry tree.
The Sunroom Cleaned Up – we “forgot” to trim up the hydrangea’s last fall and they are now GIGANTIC – woopsie!
Back of House Before
Jap Maple, Holly (we’ll move these in the fall); Dogwood, Sedum…
After – we’re replacing this overgrown Daphne, you can glimpse the azalea (red) here too.

Side Yard – burning bush standard, climbing boxwood, a rose bush that’s coming out (never ever flowers); peonies, lilac, snowball hydrangea, iris (purple, yellow and dwarf blues) also a few lilies, Another rose, a rose of sharon, more peonies and a wisteria that also won’t die. I think we may have lost our hollyhocks too.¬†
Back After Ariel View
Front Yard & Step – Before
We still have a lot of work up here. We removed the sumac (it was too fast a grower) and so the yarrow got huge. I planted some Canalilies here too – we may move the hollys here in the fall. Mums will fill in here too and a couple sedums and the knockout rose. In the distance is our weeping lilac standard.

Before
After 
After 
After – moved some more indoor plants out and added another geranium. This will get more tweeking throughout the summer.
After
  
Balcony – I moved the sitting area furniture up here, and planted our heirloom tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers and tender herbs (rosemary, parsley, dill and basil) and flowers (geraniums, gerberas and annuals). We also have the seedlings for cauliflower, broccoli, boston lettuce and leeks up here.
Found these 2 metal shelves at a garage sale. Looks nice up here I think.

That’s it folks. Loving my gardens – still have lots of planting to do (mostly replacing trees and shrubs though – update to follow) and then it’s just ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY ūüôā How is your garden growing?

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 ūüôā ¬†

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

How we Decorated

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

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

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


 Niagara On the Lake Christmas Parade Рdespite 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 ūüôā

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!