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!


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,


Tuesday’s Thoughts

I was over at Katharine’s Blog today and thought I’d copy her idea for today’s post, just to get myself writing again.

For Today…

Outside my window… 

            I can enjoy the flowers, herbs and veggies I planted in urns/ boxes on our back deck.

I am thinking…  
           I should pull out my day timer in case I’m forgetting somewhere I’m supposed to go today  
I am thankful…  
           for the great visit and dinner with friends and their kids last night. mmmm homemade perogies~!

In the kitchen… 

            a plate of muffins is calling my name.

I am wearing…   
             yoga pants and a blue t-shirt, standard home school mom attire.
I am going…  
             to my midwives appointment tomorrow. I’m 21 weeks!
I am wondering… 
            when I should schedule the boys’ haircuts? Buzzed for the summer!
I am reading… 
            The Well Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer – it’s challenging but awesome!

I am hoping… 

            The dirt I ordered comes on Thursday so I can finish planting the raised veggie gardens. 
            It was supposed to arrive yesterday.
I am looking forward to…   
           Chris’ cousins wedding on Saturday. I love a good wedding!
Around the house…  
           I need to get the office cleaned and organized, but I’m very afraid…  
                                                                                             maybe we’ll go to the zoo today instead!
I am pondering… how to celebrate our anniversary next week – 14 years 

One of my favorite things…  a good cup of coffee with a great friend.
Here’s one of the better shots I took from the fireworks at the Virgil Stampede on Victoria Day – Happy Summer everyone~!

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)

the itch

I’ve got the itch to be in my garden. It’s rather overwhelming at times. I honestly could do away with all other necessary activities today and just get out there to have my hands in the dirt. I bought my seed plants yesterday (tomatos, rosemary, basil, cucumbers and peppers).
They are calling to me to plant them.
Unfortunately, the location where I’m going to plant them is currently occupied by two flowering shrubs that we wintered in my vegetable garden (we planted the entire plastic pot and plant into the ground) and since it requires massive muscle strength to remove them, I must be satisfied to thin out the perennials and do some weeding until the weekend when hubby is home and can remove said pots.
Unless I plant the yellow pansies I also bought on sale, in the front…
I’m pretty happy with the progress we’ve been making outside. We finally demolished the eyesore of a fire oven that we had (it did not work and was dead center in the yard).
We created a new fire pit in the back corner (well, we started to dig the hole and cut down two plum trees that were in the way – and for you tree lovers out there, rest assured, we Heaslips always plant more trees than we cut down).
I weeded 75% of the veggie garden and beds, and prepped the baskets and flower boxes (even though the May 24 weekend is still weeks away). We cut down a dead tree in front of our shed (we’re undecided what kind of tree to replace it with – peabush? flowering pear? lilac standard? – too many choices) I’ve also bought some dirt (not nearly all of it), and replaced some worn gardening tools.
“Geepa Jim” was a big help and installed my hose hook. He also started the boys sandbox last weekend (this I’m rejoicing over as they kept wanting to “dig like mommy” and would pull up all my plants.
current sandbox “aka” – my raised garden; future sandbox
… I also moved a bunch of misplaced plants and rocks to better locations. Chris gave the yard it’s first cut. (as an aside, this led to the cleaning of the garage and the checking and restocking of the camping gear) – I definately must blog about camping in the future.
In the landscaping beds, I get unusually happy looking at the fruits of my labours last fall – the tulips and daffodils are out in full, and the crabapple we planted is just about ready to blossom, and i can see my lilac budding.
Last SummerApril 2010
The sumac, hydrangeas and rosebushes wintered really well too. The perennials need some love – some are skinny, some are monsters (peonies, mums, hostas).

These are both peonies, the green one I planted, thinking it was dead but what the heck, and it came back – the purple one showed up this spring, after I cut down another bush in its place last fall (weird). The raspberry, strawberries and blue berries seem to be doing well too. Probably by next week the ground will be warm enough to plant some more – even though i just read that I can plant my spinach and lettuce now (and every two weeks until the fall – land sakes!)

There is something about being out there that just meets a need that I didn’t even know was there – like deep inside of me. I am very relaxed in the garden – it’s very calming for me, and I feel very fulfilled when i can cook or can the harvest I grow. Maybe it’s because I have a “farming gene” – my Papoo (grandpa) was a farmer in Greece. My dad, he was an avid gardener too. I hadn’t discovered just how much joy and pleasure it brings until the last 2 years in having a veggie garden…too bad I discovered it so late, I’m sure we would have shared many talks about it.
Now that I think about it, Chris and I were always happiest working on our gardens at the other two houses too. Not veggies but the flowers and landscaping. Maybe it has to do with his getting so many awesome plants from work for pennies or free. A definite perk of the job…
Anyways, as much as I’ve gotten done, there is so much more to do and since I’m sure there will be posts to come on the subject of my garden, i should really get out there and do some more! 🙂

Getting it Together

If you want to peek my interest, or get me excited in any way – mention the word ORGANIZATION and then begin to talk about something that helps you stay or get organized, and I am hooked.

I think that the more organized one is, the more they can do and enjoy in a day. I actually schedule rest times in my day – time outs so to speak to just have tea, chat with a friend, play with my kids, etc. You know, those moments that just seem to pass us by? I think they pass us by because we don’t PLAN.
I also believe that being organized does not look the same in every house, or every life, but the fruit is the same. A truly organized person is generally content and at peace most of the time – better yet, it rubs off on those around them. They will have peaceful homes and pretty balanced kids most of the time. I must re-iterate that no one is perfect and everyone experiences “dis”organization at times – at the hands of someone else, or their own folly. 🙂 However, I find for organized people, this is not as often.
I also believe that how we do anything is how we do everything. If you organize your time (daily schedule/calendar), it will be effected by how you organize your home, your office, your family, your meals, your holidays, etc. which in turn effects how much you enjoy your life.

I also believe that to stay organized, one must have two non-negotiable skills – flexibility and discernment. Flexibility is a necessity because in life – things are CONSTANTLY changing, and we have to be able to go with the flow – and keep organized. Discernment is needed to be able to know when to stick with something, and when to adjust. Furthermore – knowing how to adjust to the change. The kicker is, that usually just as you’ve gotten something in order… life throws some change at you, to challenge that order. We all have choices, we can progressively get angrier and angrier and develop health issues, or we can complain and fall down and cry all the time – thereby alienating our friends (aka support system) or we can roll with the punches, adjust and later, laugh about it over coffee.
So at the risk of sounding to “preachy” – I am just so very very passionate about organization – it’s almost an obsession… there’s just something so amazing about making sense of chaos… there i go again… anyways, I’m sure that there will be more blogs on this to come…
Some of my favourite organizing tools? Here you go:
IKEA Home Organizing Systems
Though I still don’t own one in entirety, I love these systems and drool over the catalogue as well as take my time in this department of the store.
Mabel’s Label’s are a must for keeping track of “Stuff” everything from your bins, spices, tubs in the kitchen or laundry room, wires behind the tv, clothes, kids stuff, etc.

Polestar Planners – for planning your life out, this is the best agenda I’ve come across. My personal favourite is the version simply titled Polestar Planner. Though I like the Family Planner Format, I find that I like the smaller size, and the content versatility because I also work part time and own a business.
For organizing the “extras” is a great resource, and this book by a similar title, but not the same author was something I picked up years ago and have used repeatedly. I just created my own forms on the computer that I print out:
For Family-Traditions/ Holidays Organizing – I love Emilie Barnes Books and Website:
I also love Sarah Ban Breathnach – Simple Abundance – for scheduling moments to enjoy life, the seasons and the people in it.
Specifically for Christmas, I purchased this book last year, and LOVE IT. Simplify the Holidays
Finally, to organize the kids: Accountable Kids – it pretty much speaks for itself.