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

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 🙂

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 🙂

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.

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 – removed 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 🙂

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!

 

It’s been awhile…

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

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

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

That’s the gist of it.

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

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

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

1. Our Summer Wrap Up  

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

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

4. Our Christmas Decorating

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

…and for the Homeschooling Blog

1. Our Summer Wrap Up

2. Curriculum Choices for 2012-13

3. Our Little Homeschool Group

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

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

Anyways, baby’s crying… I’ll be back!