Celebrating Everyday Life – The first Quarter

20150101_154907

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

January – WINTER is in full swing. Yes, I put out the post Christmas “winter decor” to enjoy this month. The Hot Chocolate station is in full swing and the white stuff is enjoyed to the “Max”. 
max snow
 20150202_101854

20150215_101402

Yes – this is INSIDE my kitchen.

20150202_093837  20150202_093900

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

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

20150125_121418 20150125_122500

Happy Birthday Igabelle!

20150124_183401

She requested breakfast for dinner.

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

Feb 2015 009     Feb 2015 018

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

20150214_153831

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

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

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

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

20150219_190525

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

20150219_190535

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

20150219_191105

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

20150219_194117

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

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

20150216_154518

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

20150313_203113 20150313_203059

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

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

February and March 2015 210

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

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

February and March 2015 034

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

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

February and March 2015 063 February and March 2015 067 February and March 2015 088 February and March 2015 118

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

February and March 2015 223

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

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

February and March 2015 270 February and March 2015 273 February and March 2015 275 February and March 2015 277 February and March 2015 281 February and March 2015 284 February and March 2015 287 February and March 2015 295 February and March 2015 297 February and March 2015 286

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

February and March 2015 382 February and March 2015 372

February and March 2015 364

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

DSC_0403 February and March 2015 201 February and March 2015 190 February and March 2015 187

Holiday Happenings 2014

First of all, go and get a coffee and maybe one of those cookies you’ve been avoiding – you will need it to get through this post – it’s very long…to make up for  month or two of living it and not blogging or posting to Facebook… we have enjoyed this month long celebration to the fullest, hopefully you’ll enjoy reliving it a bit with me. Good luck!

Advent
Back in early December, we began our Advent celebrations. I love advent and taking the time to quietly reflect on the reason Christ came, and the reason we do all the work to prepare for the celebrations, it makes the work part of the celebration, for me anyways.
This year I refurbished our Advent Tree with new envelopes. I really liked the look of this,  Each envelope contained small activities to do together like caroling, calling a relative, writing a poem, etc. A fun way to do some “learning” stuff, since we finished school around the 12th. I am ready to get back at it, but not for the arguing that accompanies it.

Our advent activities basket, Miscellaneous games,
colouring books and such that I’ve collected through the years.
Each Sunday in advent we share a time around the advent wreath singing songs,
reading scriptures and talking about God’s Story. 

Tree Lighting with Caroling
Having a high schooler in the house brings us many new opportunities to get out and enjoy the community. Isabelle is a busy girl involved in many groups, but my favourite is her school choir. It’s very active and great fun to listen to. They had a tree lighting ceremony outside her school complete with hot chocolate and candle light. Loved it.

Elaina screamed out “IGABELLE!” which made Isabelle laugh
in the middle of a song, such great memories.

Stir Up Sunday – Plum Pudding
I tried my hand at making homemade plum pudding since it was $10 for a tiny one in the store. It does not cost close to that much to make, and was tasty. But next year I’ll make it MUCH smaller. My mom helped me by making the run sauce, and I have lot’s left over. I think maybe I’ll have a get-together for my Plum pudding loving friends.

Cookie Baking/ Decorating
In years past we’ve participated in baking exchanges, but this year, I decided to just have a baking day and make just our favs including sugar cookies to decorate. This worked perfectly as they all get eaten as they are favourites. We should be out of cookies by Jan 1st 🙂

Isabelle hard at “work”

The Boy’s Christmas Concert
The boys are in a choir this year, so their concert and potluck dinner was a must. It was enjoyable to see them participating in this this year.

Homeschool Christmas Party
Our local group of HS families had a Christmas party complete with games, craft, caroling, skits and of course cookies and hot chocolate~!

Decorate a mom for Christmas!

Relay races.

Isabelle’s Roadshow
Isabelle’s choir performed as part of the entire Music department – ensembles, rock band, jazz band, vocal groups, drum line, etc. A great festive (and loud) night!

Santa Claus Parade
We go to the Niagara on the Lake Santa Parade each year, Partly because it’s smaller, it’s a quaint little town, we go early enough to tail gate and partly because it’s one of the last ones in the region, so it’s in December and not November, smack in the middle of the holiday season.

2 year olds do not like being told they can’t run into traffic.

Our cozy set up! Next year we need another family to join us, it’s a fun activity to share with others.

Our hot chocolate and snack center.

My personal favourites are the marching bands.

It’s such a relief to know we can get ready to leave when we see Santa’s sleigh.
It’s fun, but after a few hours outside, it’s COLD.

  

Living Nativity
Each year I try to find some kind of activity to enjoy together. This year, the church around the corner hosted a living nativity/ visit Bethlehem event with live animals and activities, drama, etc. It was a well done event and a lot of fun.

We met up with some homeschooling friends who had the same idea as us to attend that day.
Here we are all squished into the hay ride.
Elaina loved the animals!

Getting water from a well.

Isabelle really enjoyed all the Christmas experiences.

Olive Oil Press. Smelly!

Christmas in the Village with Melissa Shriner
One of my personal highlights each year is Melissa’s concert. It never disappoints and always gets me ready for Christmas week. She sings a combo of jazz, classical and opera and more. I love hearing my friend sing and love seeing her succeed. This year was a sold out show jam packed with guests and holiday specials!

The church was all decked out this year and my friend Andrew Braun did the sound and lights.
His work really made her shine. Great job Andrew. 

Melissa and her sister Vanessa (who hosted the reception – cupcake goddess of Vanessa’s Cupcakery and Confections)
It always makes me happy to see friends who’ve known me since I was barely an adult 🙂

Annual Family Christmas Eve Day – Ice Skating
For the past I don’t know how many years, my sister and brother in law have rented an arena and hosted a family skate. It’s lot’s of fun to get out and enjoy some activity and fun before the week of feasting causes us to lie on the couch for endless hours and watch the kids play Just Dance…at least someone ends up burning those calories.

I have the cutest bunch of nephews around!

See what I mean.

Her early Christmas gift was a pair of skates.

I love seeing the aunts and uncles and cousins all having fun together!

Every Canadian boy probably has one of these photos, even if he doesn’t play hockey!

Mom stays in the picture.

Sisters! Elaina had fun sliding around, being carried around and snagging the rice crispy treats.

Christmas Eve Service
Our church had a lovely concert that we did manage to stay in throughout, despite having a wriggly 2 year old in our midst. The best part of the night – singing Silent Night of course.

The platform was just so lovely and cozy but elegant.

Christmas Eve Dinner
The first of the guests to arrive joined us for our traditional dinner of homemade soups, fresh bread and cheese.

In our dresses for church.

The menu…French Onion Soup & Seafood Chowder with fresh crusty bread,
various cheeses and veggies.

The kids did a gift exchange for the annual opening of one gift on Christmas Eve.

I did up a Christmas Eve box for everyone. It had our movie (A Christmas Carol); Slippers for all,
PJ’s, Popcorn, Candy, and a new bedtime book for Elaina.  

Before the movie, we completed our Advent Wreath lighting the Christ Candle and singing together.

Christmas socks.
  

After the movie, the kidlets went to bed, the socks got stuffed and we created the scavenger hunt for the boys’ gift.

Christmas Morning
It goes like this, we tell the boys they cannot leave their bed til 7:00 – since their stockings are on their bed, this usually isn’t a problem and we listen to their exclamations of joy from our bed. Then they all come in and open them all again, showing us what they got. Then we get the girls, and repeat it. The we go upstairs, get coffee (I throw in the baked french toast) and the put Christmas Pumpkin, Cranberry and carrot bread out, and repeat the socks with the grown ups who slept at the house. After that, more grandparents arrive in the midst of the chaos and we continue opening gifts and break out the Christmas Mimosas – yum! Then after all the gifts are opened, their was one last little unlabeled gift, which led the boys on hunt through the house for clues which led them to their gift (a laptop computer = wanted and needed). Then we have brunch, the baked french toast and overnight crock pot casserole…. then the various people retire to get dressed, play with gifts, play cards, ensure plenty of snacks and sweets are available throughout the house, prep for the dinner later, etc, etc…. and I basically don’t sit again until dinner.

 

Christmas Dinner
It sounds like a lot of work, but to me it’s really not. At the end of the day, I’m tired, but not exhausted. These kinds of things energize me. I’ve also got a pretty awesome family full of people who dig in and help each other so we all have fun. I start weeks before with planning what will be best for every guest – food wise, activity wise, etc… and then start pulling together all the details. Thankfully I can set the table days in advance and I cook as much food as I can ahead too, I also assign the side dishes and desserts to my guests who are able to bring something. 

Our place settings (it’s only practical to use plastic when 25 are sitting down to dinner)

Our “itinerary” I find when I write it down, it happens.
When I don’t, it doesn’t. So I do, write it down for everyone to see that is.
That way, it’s not just sitting down to eat, but we get to enjoy being together
 and having meaningful and fun elements too. 

The kids table.

Our giganticus table!

Naughty and Nice punch – was a hit. Thank you pinterest!

Group shot, next year, we’ll avoid the tacky chandelier.
Side note, Lucas , my 10 year old found me those red chairs on the side of the road. Score!

Cheers!

The toddler corner!

Jokes and poems and prayers…
It makes my heart happy to see people enjoying my hard work.
The newest nephew in good hands.

HOLIDAY FAMILY FEUD!

Yaya Rudolph!

Final answer ladies?

Survey says…

Take your places!

Three strikes for the steal…

The best Christmas gift…JUST DANCE!

After the games, we have dessert and more cards, visiting, gift opening, etc. until the wee hours, when we gratefully collapse to begin again in the morning. I actually have one personal tradition of sitting by myself by the light of the tree with a mug of cider and reflect on the day with gratitude. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

Boxing Day
Every year I tell myself to pack the bags for boxing day in advance, and every year I forget, so we wake up in a stupor and then the flurry of packing and chaos to get out the door to drive to my hubby’s hometown for his step dad’s family Christmases. I actually love this day, because I have very little work to do – we always stop for coffee, we always bring a book or two, we always chit chat while the kids read or watch a video… I love the drive and I love the visiting, and the awesome food at the open house first, then more food and cards at the family dinner later. 

 
The boys love the cousin time. 7 boys under 10 = CAHRAZY!
This year, they actually got to play cards too. My babies are growing up!

The dinner is hosted by an aunt and uncle who live in this jaw dropping century home. I love her decorating style, and every year walk around snapping pics for inspiration for the next year.

Is this fairy door not the sweetest thing? Elaina kept knocking on it saying “hello?”
 

Love the details, mini white vintage tree…holiday tea set? LOVE!

Love this kitchen!

Formal sitting room, flocked tree (to die for)  the winding staircase (gasp, lovely!) and every year it’s a different decor…just like me – we are kindred decorators – I swear.

Afterward, we return to Grandpa and Nana’s house which is so cosy, the kids go to bed and we reflect on the days over a glass of wine. Then I read a book until late listening to their grandfather clock pass the time.

Max’s Birthday
The next day is middle boys bday, so we always go out to lunch and celebrate him. After the drive home, we try to muddle through the mess of the house in prep for the “leftover dinner” with friends the next day, we also have been known to ignore the mess and go to the movies (the final Hobbit movie is awesome by the way)

 


Best Christmas Present Ever…

Annual “leftover dinner”
Our good friends join us to demolish what’s left from Christmas and have a relaxing visit. This year, was a Just Dance marathon between the girls and boys!


The end is not here, not even close. After the left over dinner, the Christmas decor comes down. It takes two days… interrupted by an annual get together with my sisters and mom for our Old and New Night – reflecting on the past year and the one to come – over greek donuts, port and coffee. One of my favourite traditions in the days leading up to the final hurrah! Now off to put away the rest of  Christmas and prep the house for New Years, apparently we have company coming!

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog, have a Happy New Year!~
xoxo
Tammara

Holiday Home Tour 2014

Well, it’s better late than never to post about our holiday home, especially since it starts to come down tomorrow… loved celebrating the Lord’s birth this year, loved all the special moments and loved being in my home, and enjoying the coziness and togetherness. My style is definitely my own, part woodsy cabin, part country, part eclectic/classical. It’s not perfect and certainly can look cluttered, but it’s very much LIVED in and LOVED. Hope you enjoy a tour of our holiday home and tomorrow I’ll post about all the Holiday happenings that took place. Happy Holidays everyone.
Outside
I added real greenery to faux garlands, and it looked great! Plus later some red mesh ribbon. I was happy with the outside decor. Will post pics of finished product if I remember to take some.

Same with the wreath and  a giant red matching bow.
Main Floor Entrance
Right by the front door is this little display and underneath is a basket full of slippers for guests.

Entry way

Entryway with view of living room – flash

Close up, no flash

Past the tree is my angel collection on the sideboard.

I eventually removed the lower feathers, Here’s a closeup.

View from hallway.

In this pic you can really see the dried hydrangeas I painted gold.
Hallway to bedrooms. I forgot to take pics of the kids rooms
 – they each have mini trees we use as night lights through the holidays.

 Master Bedroom

I carried the feather theme through this room I apologize for the messy bed.

 Bathroom

This thrift store find is a great lamp to use through Jan.6th.
Another view of the tree.

Another thrift store find (mother and child)

Poinsettia’s really add some drama.

Grouping of cone trees in window.

A little DIY sign.

Loved this countdown snowman.
The Basement – AKA Party Room
Nativity set on stairway shelf.

At the bottom of the stairs.
Another thrift store find. It tells the Christmas story with songs.
View of sitting area.

The 6 foot tree sat on a dining room table with the village underneath.
I loved the look of the hydrangeas painted red on this tree.

Full room view

Before adding lights.
I actually really enjoyed the multi-coloured lights.
Stuffy tree

Revamped chandelier.

Friends on top of the fridge

From pinterest.

The Loft – Main Living Area
Hangs in the hall going upstairs.
Loved the look of my pinecone garland.
Did not love the look of this wall hanging over the stairs.
Will try again next year.

I didn’t mind these mini versions,…
But preferred them without the greenery.
Vignette at top of stairs. The blue sign got plopped there, and then never moved. Woops

Another DIY candle arrangement.
My Nativity Set.

Top of Woodland Tree.

`
My nutcracker collection moved a few times, til it found a home in the curio cabinet.

Family Room

 

Loved the querky look of the antler on the wall.

Kitchen

Kitchy Christmas Photos…

One of our first nativity sets.

Mantel…
Christmas cards on the message board.
Mistletoe over the table.
Wine cart.

Hot Chocolate Bar

Kitchen Window

Guest Room
Tin garland.

So cute, the boys kept asking if they could sleep in here.

Bathroom

Holiday Home 2013

Hi there! I wasn’t sure if I would participate in a Holiday Home Tour this year, but then at the last minute decided I would, just in case I never get around to including this in a scrapbook, at least it’s recorded here. I’ve done my best to repeat some of the traditional decor I’ve used in the past, but also incorporated new ideas this year, hopefully you like them. We kinda do 🙂 
I also would like to apologize for the picture quality, the only camera I have right now is on my phone, and it’s pretty old, but it’ll do until I can afford a new one 🙂
Come on in! Did you notice the urns I pulled together from greenery I cut down on our property? I was pleased with how they turned out. I also put together the simple wreath on the door too from our own bushy cedar 🙂
 
I repeated the “heavenly peace” theme from last year using the feather boa’s as the garland throughout the entry and main floor. Lot’s of gold, sparkle and white lights.
  
DAYTIME
 NIGHTTIME

I added some pretty ornments to my plain old light fixtures. Voila! 

I grouped some old wreathes and traded out golds, white and sparkle on tabletops, etc.

Sidebar, daytime – angel collection.
  
Nighttime too.
 
 Formal living room tree.
Feather garlands everywhere, hung the feather wreath and kissing ball in the hall to the bedrooms. 

 
 Master bedroom, added the silver stockings, some greenery onto shelf tops, and the purple tree/ candles on the dresser.

 

Mini Trees in the boys room, the baby’s sparkly pink tree (not shown is the guest room – blue tree)

The baby’s holiday wardrobe is ready!
Bannister to family room (I’ve added to this since the pic was snapped)
Christmas village on hutch at top of stairs.
 

FAMILY ROOM – Red, Gold and Green
KITCHEN
Advent wreath
  
The Heart of our Home
Nativity Mantel

 
Practice for Christmas Brunch.

Kitchen Window 

 
Tried my hand at creating my own pine garland.
Our Jesse Tree

  

 NIGHTTIME KITCHEN
 

Bathroom, highlighted the GREENS and GOLDS.
Most of these pics were taken a couple weeks ago, so there’s been some tweaking since, they may or may not make it to the blog. Until the next post, I’m going to go and enjoy some of the baking from our baking exchange earlier this month, if I can manage to keep the kids out of the baking first!  
 Thanks for taking the time to tour our home and Happy Holidays!

Linking up to the Holiday Home Tour at the Nesting Place here.

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 🙂

Taking a Day Off

Yesterday I took a day off…from almost everything. Once the boys were done their school work, I sat down and read, and read, and read. They played and played, and for a few hours only interrupted by lunch and a load of laundry,. I escaped into my imagination thanks to Lucy Maude.

Yes, yesterday I dove into the dream world that awaits whenever I  pick up a book by L. M. Montgomery. 

I love her. I love her books.

I love the Canadian content.

It’s been almost 20 years since I read this little treasure but it was such a great little break from my daily realities.  It’s the last in the 8 book series that begins with the classic Anne of Green Gables and I just love falling in love with the unique characters (again) and it’s portrayal of a simpler, slower time.

This book takes as World War 1 breaks out in Europe and really gives an idea of Canada’s spectacular involvement. The reader also gets a glimpse of the beginning of many changes in North American society, not all of them good. 
Ah! it was such a lovely day off.
Then I tried not to feel guilty about the nasty floors, dirty dishes, dirty laundry and untended gardens and the fact that I hadn’t showered or planned dinner. I got caught up on all but the floors and garden before dinner any ways, so the break was well worth it I guess 🙂
Then I picked up this book before bed.

It’s my second reading of  The Bonsai Conspiracy by Paul Anderson Walsh. What a challenging new perspective on the Gospel and Christianity. I was particularly moved by his take on the story of the Prodigal Son.

Anyways, back to the grind. I got some boys who need attention behind me!

Have a great day, maybe you should take a reading break too 🙂

lots of Love,

Tammara

Seasonal Home – Welcoming Winter

It’s been a productive (yet oddly still very relaxing) few days at the Heaslip Homestead. I’ve been changing out the seasonal decor (Christmas is put away and organized); cleaning both my home and my heart and mind – writing, making lists, reading… It’s been great! I love this season of my life where I have a singular focus. It’s been so many years of having a gazillion things on my plate… I almost get giddy realizing this season at home is at the 9 month mark. Yay!

Crazy thing, I still feel like I’m playing hooky or on a surreal vacation and am enjoying every day far too much for it to be OK.
We’ve been so relaxed we’ve done all that, as well as our grocery shop yesterday, had a 5 hour visit with friends (at their place) went to the mechanic, went to a meeting Monday night and even managed to “waste” a number of hours in front to the tv – and my baby boy fell asleep on me… twice! Oh, and I blogged too 🙂
Back to the point of today’s post…

I am a firm supporter in having my home reflect the season we are in, literally as in what’s happening outside, as well as figuratively – where’s we’re at as a family. So, to battle the January “downer” that naturally comes as a result of packing up the Christmas decor… I purposefully have a bin of “winter” items that only come out after the holidays (this has a lot of snowy stuff and snowmen)
After the festivities and busyness of December, as the “freeze” that naturally accompanies January, I love to do a CLEAN sweep of the entire house. I re-organize as much as possible, pantries, shelves, bins, drawers, closets, under sinks, garbage/recycling areas, etc.

The first area is usually the kitchen cupboards (since I have to switch out the Christmas dishes again). This year I decided to only put in the white dishes as well as a few necessary coloured ones, but our big black plates can wait a few more months. I also update all the family photos that are sent to us from friends and relations over Christmas. I have kept them on the insides of my cupboard doors for years. I like to be able to see them without them cluttering up my fridge even more, or getting damaged from the constant traffic there. This way I can be mindful of them and lift them up in prayer as I think of them 🙂

New calendar, red candle holder (Michael’s clearance), the snow man cookie jar is a beloved favourite goodwill find.

I also clear up the counters and set out some simple, fresh decor. Lots of warmers and candles to help with the smells of boys and the dog (and help create more coziness and light for the longer nights).

Here’s my kitchen mantel for Winter. Most of it is made up of gifts through the years. Trio of pillar candles – gift from sister, Silver-white star – had it, assorted red candle holders – had em, snowy white wreath – Dollarama, Topiary – gift and new H – gift this year. Hanging pillows – gift from Jodi.

I’ve incorporated one of my fav Christmas gifts from Crackerbarrel. It pretty much sums up our family. H for Heaslip and Home. Our story begins…love love it.


This hurricane was another gift this year.
I even give the bathrooms a good overhaul.

This year I asked my dear hubster if we should leave the red decor up Fall/Winter and change to the blue tones for Spring/Summer. He said yes, it’s warmer. So we kept the red in the family room/ kitchen.
Red books and misc. items collected from around the house…


snowmen were a gift years ago, and were in the winter bin…

Moved some furniture in closer to each other, moved around some faux greenery and dusted and plumped a lot.

Here’s a couple views of the area leading to our formal living room/ entrance area which is downstairs.

I kept it pretty natural. Changed out the red accents (on my homemade wreath with gold/ cream) and in the shadow box with a ball I already had…

Here’s our formal living room. After the tree is put away, it seems so open and I putter for a few days putting things into the “best” arrangement. I bring the trees back in by the window, rearrange the shelves with whites and silvers and replace the hints of red with brown and earthy items.
This tiered shelf tries to hide the plethora of wires needed for the internet/ cable/ phone etc.


I left these “mutlicoloured” light pieces on the top of the TV “mantel” because I like the glow at night and the sparkle of the crystal during the day 🙂

This sign went up by the entrance this year, it still needs something, just not sure what yet.

This is my antique dresser. I like to keep using the fresh greens from outside, the white branches have little birds nestled in them and I added the warmer and the antique lamp.

Areas I still haven’t done are…
OUTSIDE, because it’s nasty out there. -10 the past couple days and WINDY.

Am idea I’m toying with, is creating a different area for coming and going from the house in our BREEZEWAY. This will require some work, and I will leave until spring I think, but it’s occupying a portion of my mind.

Another thought I’ve had is to get on top of the situation with my photos, etc after losing them to at virus last summer. I have various things I need to do with this. It will become a priority I think.

Also, I need to get into my calendar and organize it BEFORE life gets back into swing with basketball, birthdays, outings, travel, schooling, skating and hopefully swimming… yeah. I should wrap this up, and go get started with that. Or I could just have my tea and waste another hour in front of the TV… hmmm. I’ll let you know what happened 🙂

Tammara