Saturday 28 December 2019

NYE Outfit: New, Old, Rented or Borrowed

New Years Eve is just around the corner and I love, love, love the idea of dressing up and going out, but the truth is my NYE is going to be spent at the cabin this year so I am thinking a pretty top with jeans will be as dressed up as I get.  That being said, I do love to dress up a few times around the season so I got all dressed up, as did my gorgeous girls and handsome husband when we went out to a live theater performance of ELF.  I actually was stopped a couple of times by women saying the liked my dress and saying that they love to see people come dressed up to the theater.  

This whole outfit is borrowed from my closet 🙂

The question becomes then, do you buy a new fancy outfit for NYE or the holidays?!?  Well I've done it all before.  I will often buy one fancy outfit a year and wear it for EVERYTHING and then I donate or sell it on a buy and sell, as it's usually still in mint condition.  I've also purchased a new statement piece from a buy and sell or a consignment sale, rather than going new.  Check out Belong Lifestyle for an excellent selection of new and consignment items that ships within Canada and the US. I know many people in the states are using rental services, which I think is absolutely brilliant and though I've never tried this option, I am linking up a list of Canadian rental services for you to check out here. Another option is BORROW.  Borrow from your friends.  Borrow jewelry, outfits, shoes, etc.  I often borrow from my sisters closet, and this emerald teal dress is brought to you as a hand-me-down.  She may be done with it, but I am just thrilled to incorporate it into my closet.  You DO NOT have to spend a lot of $$$ to feel pretty, especially if it isn't something you are going to get a lot of use out of.  


Outfits from 2017, 2018 & 2019; notice all the same shoe 😉

So even though I may be going a little more casual this year, and likely will repeat this outfit from a few years ago, see here,  I do look for an occasion to get all dressed up.  I love feeling beautiful, feminine and elegant. Happy New Year, however you choose to spend it.  Thank you for supporting my blogging journey, for commenting and encouraging me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you and all the warmest wishes for 2020!

Saturday 21 December 2019

Double Digits for Anya!!!

And just like that I no longer have little people in my house.  Today, Anya turns 10.  Double digits!!!!   Today though I want to celebrate this milestone of Anya’s by sharing 10 things that I absolutely admire, adore and love about my youngest daughter.

1.     Her heart.  She literally has a heart of gold.  I know I am her mom, but she truly is  aware of other people feelings and is always striving to be a helper, a healer, and a good friend.  

2.     Adventurous.  She is willing to take risks even when they are scary, or to appease us.  From trying new activities such as camp, switching schools, trying wakeboarding/kneeboarding/water skiing, and even going on scary rides at DisneyWorld just to make the rest of the family happy. 

See her in the front row, holding on for dear life.  Hahahahaha.

3.     Her hugs fill my bucket.  She knows innately when someone needs a good.  When she hugs, she hugs tight.  She hugs so that she can transfer her love onto to you.

4.     She is SOOOO creative.  You guys this kid is an inventor.  My favorite of her inventions was the bike helmet with a built-in bug spray.  She has wild, innovative and unique ideas and she throws herself into them and makes them come to life.  Though this creativity does get her into trouble, and results in  many messes around the house, I also fully admire it.

5.     Extrovert.  Yep.  I see so much of myself in her.  Full of life.  Chatty.  Wants to be friends with everyone, not for popularity, but she truly wants to know them.  Doesn’t want to miss anything.  She just wants to soak it all up.


6.     Teacher in training.  She is sooo good with the little ones that come to our home. On more  than once occasion  her teachers over the years have mentioned how she can gently work alongside peers having trouble.  I can see her making an excellent caregiver whether it be in the role of a mom, a teacher, or  someone who cares about the elderly.

Bedtime songs and stories for her little cousin.

7.     Cultural.  Over the years she has become more and more interested in learning about not only my cultural back ground, and that of her grandparents, but also of Saskatchewan cultural history.  She truly seems to honor and respect this learning.

8.     Performer.  The creative side once again comes to life as she loves to preform for an audience and makes up dances, silly skits, challenges for the family, pulls pranks around the house, whatever will make you enjoy yourself.  She absolutely would love to be a YouTuber, hahahaha.

9.     Cooking/baking is quickly becoming a passion.  From dance, to guitar, science experiments to the kitchen.  She loves trying out new recipes and cooking for the family. Her favorite food is sushi, though she doesn't know how to make it YET.

10. Love Language =  Acts of Service & Physical.  Anya really loves to give hugs, says I Love You in a meaningful way.  She also communicates her love by willingly putting dishes always, picking up the dog poop in the backyard, makes little gifts for friends, helps us tidy up, cooks for us, etc..  She does it all because she wants to communicate to us, her grandparents, her friends, and people in the community, that she cares.  She is the first to give up a new birthday gift to donate to the school toy drive, or to approach us about helping the homeless in the community, or raising money for the polar bears.  

Raised $50 for the Polar Bears after learning they were endangered.

     She will always be my little girl.  You guys, I am so not ready for her to grow up.  It’s likeshe knows I am struggling so she gets me to lay in her bed occasionally, or she will sneakin for a cuddle on the couch or in our bed.  Gone are the days of her coming to our bed,which she did for years and years and years.  Lately I have become much more aware thateverything might be "the last time".  The last time she sleeps in our bed.  The last time shefully believes.  The last time she plays with her dolls, etc.  So today I am capturing asnippet of our life with her at this age so I will have it to look back on and hopefully it'llhelp me conjure up these memories of her for years to come.  To my littlest girl, 

I love you for ever.
I like you for always.
As long as I am living, 
my baby you'll be. 
         - Robert Munch

Love, Mama

Sunday 8 December 2019

Books of 2019

Hello world.  How is everyone getting along this December?  I am finding slices of time to just slow down and enjoy the little things in life.  I am looking forward to having a break from work, 10 more teaching days.  I love my job but as you have  probably noticed with my inconsistency on here, it's been taking a good chunk of my time and energy.  Anyway, today I am reflecting on my 2019 goal of reading one book a month.  I killed it in the first 8 months of the year and then this last while has been a struggle but I reached my goal.  I love reading.  It calms me.  It grounds me.  It allows my brain to rest and put my life on hold for just a little while.  I feel it's similar to what people describe yoga does for them.  

Here is  my quick review of the books I've read in 2019.  

 BOOK of the YEAR!!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Educated by Tara Westover  Hands down, without hesitation, my favorite book of 2019.  This book blew my mind.  I can’t believe what Tara went through as a child and my mind was blown to know that this type of lifestyle is still so prevalent in some parts of the country.  Tara is “home schooled” but really not until she is 18 at which point she enters college, having worked her butt off to pass the SAT’s.  She now has a PHD but no high school diploma.  READ this book!  It’ll test your outlook of families, your understanding of love, forgiveness and family bonds that are so strong even if other believe they aren’t what’s best for you.  Incredible and a story that has left a lifelong impact on me.


⭐⭐⭐⭐A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout  WOW!  Just wow!  This is a hard book to critique because it’s someones experience.  I can’t imagine anything like this happening to me and being able to survive it both physically and emotionally is difficult to imagine.  The book is about a young, aspiring journalist, Amanda, that after years of entering war-torn countries, ends up being kidnapped  and kept for over a year.  On the one hand I felt like, “what are you doing!!!!!  Everyone is telling you this is dangerous situtation to be put yourself in, especially not being affiliated with an actual newspaper or station.”  On the other hand she stays very honest and also takes responsibility for her actions throughout the story.  A hard but good read.  I would recommend it but it does move very slow at times.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ I, Witness by Niki Mackay  Mystery.  Suspense.  Murder or not?    This one had it all!  Super good and a quick read.  Also, my husband really liked it and that’s a WIN.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty  YES!  YES! YES!  Are you looking for an easy, I can’t put this book down, this is it.  I read it over the summer and it was the best.  The characters are all interesting, they are complex and the plot is a page turner.  I liked it so much that I immediately went to Netflix to watch it on their with a star studded cast with Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.

⭐⭐⭐ The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger  Another easy ready.  Follow a young tennis player as she figures out how to balance the love and determination of being the best, while having a real life and relationships that are based on more than the game.  Beach read.

⭐⭐⭐⭐Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery
  Another beach read to add to your list.  A lovely read about two sisters, their relationship with their each other, with their mother and with lovers.  I liked it and it was the perfect read on a beach in Mexico.  


⭐⭐ After You by Jojo Moyes  I wanted to like this book because  I loved Me Before You but it just didn't happen.  I don’t think I’ll end up picking up the last book in the installment to be honest.  Skip.

⭐⭐⭐Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis  I felt it was very similar to Girl Wash Your Face.  Good messages overall but I felt if you read the other one you can skip this one, or vice versa.

⭐⭐⭐ House of Sand and Fog by Andree Dubus III  I half read it, half listened to it.  Hmmmm.  It’s a story in which you don’t know who to root for.  All the characters are tragic, and the story ends in tragedy.  I don’t think I’d read it again, but it was one that I was conflicted during reading and it kept me reflecting. 

 ⭐⭐A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick  A strange novel.  I’ll leave it at that.

⭐⭐Inheritance by Dani Shapiro   I wanted to love it.  In fact I rallied for it with my book club group and then it was not that good.  The writing and the story just didn’t grab or sustain my interest, so I say SKIP it.

I am currently wrapping up 2019 with another easy, beach read, Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrant.  

Tell me, what should I read in 2020!

Friday 29 November 2019

Falling for Leopard Print

Happy Thanksgiving friends and neighbors.  Here in Canada we celebrate out Thanksgiving in October so it's long gone, but I want to wish all of you that  are celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday the very best.  

It's been a few weeks since I've posted an outfit inspired post but I've been busy being inspired by other prompts and I can't say no to something that inspires me and gets other creative juices flowing.  If you've missed my last few posts and are interested in reading something a little different you can find a delicious Country Stew Crockpot recipe here and some of my families rituals and traditions regarding the holiday season here.  Now, this outfit I've been saving for a while.  The leopard oversize knit I purchased from with a gift card that I won in a giveaway by the lovely Kallie over at the Flexman Flat, make sure you check her blog out.  It's MASSIVE you guys.  I am actually not sure that I love it.  I ordered a small and it could fit two of me.  Untucked it goes to my knees and looks like an over-sized bag.  The issue is that I live in Canada so I can't return it.  I do like it tucked it but it untucks easily.  Sigh.  I am also hoping to try it with a thick belt to see if I like it kind of like a sweater dress, I am still searching for a belt but haven't gone to the mall in ages.    I do love the print and the coziness it provides.  Anyway, what are your thoughts?

On another note, are OTK boots still in?  I am not sure but I know that I am not ready to say goodbye to these ones.  They are so comfy that I can wear them to work all day, chasing kids, and my feet feel perfectly fine at the end of the day.  In my books that's a keeper. And, faux leather leggings/pants.  LOVE!  I've had these now for three winters and scored them for $40. I've linked similar versions of both items below as both of these have been in my closet for a few seasons now.  


My bestie wanted to join me for the photos and he is so sweet that I couldn't say no.  My Tanner boy is 10+ years old and has a heart of gold.  He is an old soul and enjoys cuddling with us, and going for slow walks.  

Enjoy your weekend!  

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Thursday 21 November 2019

Our Family Holiday Bucket List & Link-Up

Holiday season bucket list.  Once again Leslie from over at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After, has me writing and showing up this week.  The topic made me pause to consider what are our families rituals and traditions have become.  Rituals are generally referred to an activity that is done at a specific time, while traditions are beliefs and behaviors mainly passed down, but not necessarily, from a previous generation.  That being said, I find that some rituals might become traditions in time, or traditions within your own family.  I would say that most of the items I've listen here on our holiday bucket list began as rituals, some inspired by our own upbringing and others just created by us along the way, but have helped shape our behaviors and beliefs around the holiday season; our desire to be together, to celebrate people around us, to be thankful for all that we have but mostly for this special time that we spend as a family unit. My girls are getting older, almost 10 and 13, and yet they still want to do these things, and it warms my heart.  This list was collaboratively created with them which was so special because it lets me know what makes this time of year special for them.

1.  The Enchanted Christmas Lights Tour:  We used to drive through the forest, but last year we decided to do the walking version of it and it was FREEZING COLD.  We actually ticked this one off, this past weekend and it was packed with people because the weather was so mild.  Record breaking number of people, with a total of 9, 200!

2.  The Santa Claus Parade:  We ticked this one off our list too this past weekend because it just happen to be on.  I was surprised that my girls still wanted to go and in fact when I asked them, there was not even a beat missed before they both said YES.

3.  Gingerbread houses & Sugar Cookie Decorating

4.  School Christmas Celebrations & Santa Pictures  -  Our years are very numbered.

Anya at her Christmas Concert in 2018.


5.  Holiday live theater show, play or movie -  This is fairly new to our family in the last 2 to 3 years as the girls have gotten older. We watch to see if we can take them to a special live performance, event or a special family Christmas movie.  We've seen Little Women, The Grinch (movie theater) and Scrooge.  This year we  bought tickets for Elf at our local theater.  

A couple of years ago we introduced the girls to Little Women.  It's now adding onto our Christmas movie watching list. 

6.  ELF on the SHELF - Ahhh!  We began this many years ago and he is coming back on Dec. 1st.  See ideas and a free letter printable HERE.  

6.  Watch our favorite movies - Elf, Christmas Vacation, The Grinch & Home Alone.  This also leads me into Christmas Eve = special family movie night.

7.  Calendars and Christmas Cards
- This is a big one for me.  I like to create family calendars for my sister, parents and my two grandmas.  Because it's two different sides of the family, different set of grandchildren, it means I have to create different versions.  It takes work and organization to get all the pictures in order and from all the right people but it's totally worth it.  It's like a year at a glance from each family and we can see how people have grown, changed and highlight the adventures they've had.   I also enjoy sending Christmas cards to families near and far.  I live in Canada so I order from Vista Print, they have great sales.

8.  Decorating the Tree

9.  Christmas Eve - Our preferred way to spend Christmas Eve and morning is at home.  We've done other versions of this over the years, but have come to understand that if possible we just want to be home, sometimes going out to look at the Christmas lights around the city, getting our favorite Christmas treats out for Santa, and snuggling in to watch a movie as a family.  We are generally busy, so this just feels soooooo special and we treasure it very much.

10.  Christmas Morning-  SANTA comes.  Okay so we do things  very differently from others.  Our tree if very bear in terms of gifts.  We have some gifts that we are giving to others, and the kids may have received, but overall, we have always hid ALL of the kids gifts.  WHY?  Because with so many gifts under the tree how is a young child to know Santa came?!?  So since they were little, our tree would go from bare to full of gifts overnight.  :)  It's just what we do.  It's not right, or wrong.  Better, or worse.  Its just the way we do things around here.  

So now it's your turn.  

What are you rituals right now?  

How have they changed? 

 I'd love to hear from you in the comments or link-up your own post below. 

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Monday 11 November 2019

Soup, Chili & Stew Blog Hop

Brrr it's chilly out there these days.  We have transitioned from fall into winter around these parts.  When the days get shorter and colder, we naturally just want to hibernate more and eat comfort food.  In order to avoid bringing on unhealthy comfort food, chips, Nutella and left over Halloween candy, I try to cook heartier options such as chili, stews and a variety of soups.  I don't consider my repertoire of comfort food cooking plentiful so when Leslie from Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After suggested a stew, soup and chili recipe exchange, I was all over it.  If you are coming from Michelle's at Out and Back, welcome, and be sure to check out Bri from What's Brewing with Bri next, along with all the other ladies linked up below.  

I've been wanting to use my slow cooker more this year to make meal prep more manageable during busy weeks, which is like every week, so I opened up my Company Comings Slow Cooker recipe book and just picked something to try.  I decided to start with this Country Chicken Stew.  It's packed full of veggies including onion, carrots, cabbage, celery and potatoes.  It calls for chicken thighs but all I had was frozen chicken breasts on hand so that's what I threw in.  

This was a HIT with the whole family, every single person loved it and there were no offers of suggestions of how I might make it better.  It's the perfect intersection between a broth and cream soup.  I paired it up with a french bread and it was a full meal, for two night in a row.
This recipe is a keeper for our family and will be going into our regular rotation and probably more frequently through the winter months as it's the perfect soup to send for lunch in a thermos for school.

Recipe from Company's Coming Slow Cooker Dinners 

1 Cup chopped onion
2 Cups chopped potato
2 Cups sliced carrots (I just used baby carrots)
2 Cups shredded cabbage (I used left over coleslaw)
1/2 C celery (I threw in way more)
3 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I did 4 large chicken breasts)
2 Cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth on hand)
10 oz cream of mushroom soup (I used cream of chicken instead)
1 tsp/ dried thyme
1. 1/2 tsp salt & pepper
2 Bay leaves

1/4 C Chicken broth
1/4 C Cornstarch
1 C    Frozen Peas

  1. Layer the first 6 ingredients into the slow cooker. 
  2. Combine the next 5 ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over chicken (do not mix).  Add your bay leaves and book on low for 9 to 10 hours or on high to 4 1/2 to 5 hours.  After cooking discard bay leaves.
  3. Mix the second amount of corn start into the chicken broth and then pour into the slow cooker.  Add peas.  Stir it all together.  Cook on high for 15 minutes or until peas are heated through and the sauce is thickened.  

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the vegetables (except potato) and prepare broth mixture.  Chill overnight and assemble and cook the next day.

Enjoy!  And remember to hop on over to What's Brewing with Bri next or visit any of the linked up blogs below.

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