Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Merry Christmas Season

I haven't written in a while...I didn't feel like I had much to share...I was hoping to maybe paint the bathroom before christmas, but that isn't likely to happen. However, I have been busy doing my christmas cleaning and decorating. Then to my joy and amazement, we actually got a beautiful, lush snowfall! Never a person to waste a perfect snowfall, that night we put up our tree...I mean, you can't ignore the backdrop of snowflakes falling while Ken & Dolly play in the background...(I play it to irritate my husband and in honour of my parents!)

The photo above of the beautiful Christmas cape cod house was made by my beautiful mother! She did a replica of my house, but in the colour scheme we might like to put on the house once it is finished...right down to the cranberry red door! It is so pretty and I love it so much because she made it for me! Somehow the gene for creating pretty things skipped me and only rested in my mother and sister....which isn't so bad because they take pity on me and make me pretty things!

My decorating ranges from au natural...which is my favourite, to a touch of tacky glitzy...retro 1970's nostalgia! How's that for a description! I love the memory of my sister Linda and I driving around her hometown admiring people's christmas decorations. She remarked at one house "how could anyone like coloured icicle lights!" I took great joy in responding that I do and that I had them all over my house! I was tired from the sea of white light perfection that was the rage back then, and I craved the tacky, but colourful joy of coloured christmas lights...though I can only handle the small twinkle lights and no blinking lights either...drives me crazy!

The kids and I made our gingerbread houses on December 1st! That is always fun and the house smells delicious! I love getting people to guess whose house is whose...and the houses actually are decorated much like their personalities!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Linda!!!

Linda with my mother & my little girl Ella.

This was a few years ago...just after Ella was born...

Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister! Without you I'd be lost...your my best friend and the one I trust with all my stuff! Your an amazing wife and always put your family first...your loving and kind....and as a sister and best can't be beat!

Your an amazing writer and decorater and you inspired me so much this past couple of years with your fearlessness in starting your own business and stepping out into new adventures! Sorry I couldn't be with you today, but I'll definitely be there for your 40th birthday bash!

Be sure to drop by her blog to say happy birthday!

Monday, November 05, 2007

My smelly house...

I just came back into the house and the delicious smells hit me....I have been making homemade chicken noodle soup for Jack's family birthday tomorrow. I just finished baking his chocolate cake and the smell is delicious! We had homemade bread for lunch and that always fills our house with the loveliest aroma.

I have been cooking so much lately...something about the fall and all the holidays gets me into full swing. I feel good when I make a meal that is economical and delicious! Tomorrow I'll make my homemade chili so that there is lots to eat tomorrow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Festive Fall....

October is such a great month...I love it because of Thanksgiving and Halloween, the crispness of the air, the blowing leaves and decorating for fall. However, I have to say, I am glad it is all over! I will be putting away the clutter to enjoy a nice bare look before I decorate for Christmas. This morning...November 1st, Ella wakes up and promptly tells me that Christmas is next!! Gotta love the anticipation that kids fill you with!

The night before Halloween I got together with my brother and his family for the first time to carve out pumpkins. I made homemade stew with dumplings, homemade rubhard crumble pie and a apple crumble pie. It was delicious! We had so much fun, and the kids except for one, really enjoyed my stew which had plenty of turnip, parsnips and cabbage mixed in with all the other delicious ingredients! I finished off the night by roasting lots of pumpkin seeds...yum!

I had a big pot of beef stew on the stove and I was preparing two pies.

Earlier in the day, I had to clean out four pumpkins with the help of the kids. How is it that after 15 years of carving pumpkins, I only now discover the little carving sets at the dollar store??? They work great!! I'm going to buy a few extra so that I can use them for squash throughout the year. Patricia my sil, brought quite a few pumpkins and she carved out some beauties! She inspired me to carve one out with lots of stars...and this is my favourite, even though my stars are wonky.

I was dreading cutting the tops off and cleaning out the pumpkins till I discovered the $ store kits for carving pumpkins.

I made up treat bags with the help of Ella for the trick or treaters and Ella enjoyed her first Halloween party at pre-school! She dressed up as a cheerleader and is not shy in showing you how to cheer!

The kids all dressed for Halloween were raring to go...well, maybe not Ben...but he had the excuse of taking his little sister around so he will get some candy without having to dress up beyond wearing an army jacket! We are waiting on some friends and cousins to show up to join us and then they are off!

All in all it was a great October, a great Halloween! The only sad thing was my nephew was insulted by a rude adult about his weight...nothing like making a young kid feel bad about himself in the hopes of guilting a kid out of a bag of candy! My brother and sister in-law were really hurt by this...and Patricia talks about it on her blog which you should check see, her son, my nephew has Aspergers and he hasn't gone trick or treating for years...he was so happy to go with his cousing Jack! Why can't people be more thoughtful in what they say?? That old saying of "stick and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me" a lie! Anyways, I hope that Mathew remembers how much he is loved and how we appreciate his unique take on things!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

For the Love of Crows....


I was just visiting my sisters amazing blog Restyled Home and she was singing the praises of crows once since it is the season, I figured I would feature an artist that I love and Pastor who is also an artist, David Hayward. He seems to have an appreciation for crows that I just don't share....but I love everything else he paints! If you love crows, or if you love great art, then you are about to discover a wonderful artist!

He has an ebay store that you can visit if you like the thrill of an auction or the ease of buy it now. Or, visit his etsy shop where he features large and small pieces and his prices are amazing! His art is featured in local art galleries and it resides in homes around the world. If you buy a piece, you'll discover that his art touches your soul, it speaks to you! So, if your looking for a unique holiday gift for friends and family or some beautiful art to grace your home....then look no further! He also has his blog where he discusses technique, can check it out here.


Stormy Sky Crow Calling

Early Winter Leaves Fall

Crows Evening Roost

Taking the Christmas Tree Home

Winter Treeline

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Little touches that mean a lot...

Since we moved into our home almost two years ago, we have kept ourselves busy doing interior renovations and saving up for the biggest job...the outside of the house. Because we have been concentrating on the inside of the house, the only big thing we have done outside is to replace the roof on our huge loft style garage.

The one thing I had planned to do was paint our front door and mudroom door...but with a busy schedule and a bit of a poor attitude thinking it wouldn't make any difference...I never got around to it! Well, I finally opened up the tin of paint I bought prior to moving into the is a butter yellow that was actually meant for a house we had planned to build until we lucked upon this house and our plans changed dramatically!

I can't say I love the colour..I really like it on the front door, but I'm not really fond of it for the mudroom door. I'm conflicted because I hate the mudroom door and I hate my old colour lock siding...I can't wait for it to be gone! I also painted our steps which will be replaced next spring a lovely sagey green, the garage door was painted white and I added handles, and I decorated for the fall with pumpkins, fall flowers and grasses.

Even when I felt my house looked scruffy...I loved pulling into our everytime I pull in I love our home even more...I see her now but I also see who she will become...and that is exciting!

The path to my front door.

This is a before photo of the front door almost finished. The wooden screen door is painted a crisp white and the door a butter yellow. I haven't painted the floor yet in this photo.

This is the front entrance finished!

My ugly mudroom entrance before touchups.

After picture...painted the steps, door and trim. Next year we will be replacing the steps with a large deck area so that you can sit outside and enjoy the shade!

My house in the shadow of trees!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds...Yummy

Don't throw out the seeds when making Jack-O-Lanterns or cooking fresh pumpkins, or flower arrangements using hollowed out pumpkins. They make great snacks that are rich in fiber as well as vitamins B and E. Kids especially love them. Purists will want only salt as a seasoning, or fussy kids like mine, but if you're feeling adventurous, experiment and have fun with seasoning blends.

1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)
salt to taste
Options To Taste:
garlic powder (my favourite)
cayenne pepper
seasoning salt
Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 300° F.

While it's O.K. to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

I like to use parchment paper so that they won't stick to the pan when cooking!

I used a small amount of seeds from a small pumpkin floral arrangement. Even though it only made a small amount, they were gone quickly! That bowl is one of my favourites...a great yard sale find this summer! It was a set of vintage 70's melamine bowls perfect for serving or for little kids!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Giving Thanks....


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

As another Thanksgiving rolls around I can't help but reflect on this past year...there is always much to be thankful for.

This year I celebrated Thanksgiving dinner with my brother and his family for the first time in years! They just returned from Alberta after many, many years awayThey offered to host our first dinner together and cooked the most amazing turkey to perfection! I helped John with the carving...mainly as a second set of hands only...but it was funny to see my brother in an apron! Ben helped to stir the gravy...and I think to snag some turkey skin.

Patricia my sil had set up two tables to hold everyone...and both tables fitted pretty effortlessly in their beautiful dining space...and they were decorated beautifully! The adult table was festive for the Thanksgiving holiday and the kids table was decorated to celebrate the coming Hallowee'n. I meant to take more pictures, but by the time you get the kids served, then eat...the kids had scattered. Thankfully, Patricia is letting me use many of her should check out her blog for more beautiful pictures.

The kids table decorated with twinkle lights, bottles of poison and bugs in bottles...yum!

Her diningroom is large with the most amazing view of the lake!

My father and youngest brother.

The cousins!

After washing up the first load of dishes and stacking the dishwasher....thankfully Patricia actually acknowledges that I do know how to load a dishwasher, I took off to hang out at their beautiful dock and soak in the amazing sunset with my nieces Kristen and Meaghan. Myt nieces are pretty amazing...and I loved sitting by the water and just hearing their thoughts...luv them!

Isn't this an amazing view....

Dinner was noisy, it was busy, but it was wonderful! To be with my large family, to celebrate the season together, I can't imagine ever wanting a quiet holiday. I love the chaos, laughter and even the squabbles that pop up between the was a typical large family gathering!

My contribution to the dinner was a homemade blueberry apple crisp. We picked the apples ourselves this week. The blueberries were local berries frozen from the fall. I also made my delicious candied squash plus honeyed carrots and mashed turnip. I always bake my squash...I don't care for a wet squash. However, that day I was worried because I was running the roads doing errands inbetween and taking my son to boxing.

I made Patricia a very pretty center piece for her table as a hostess gift to say thank you for hosting the dinner! I used a fresh pumpkin, carved it out, then added flowers, fall grasses and maple leaves from my garden...except for the sunflowers...I bought those! I thought it turned out very pretty! Oh, and I plan to roast the pumpkin seeds...yum!

I was lucky enough to snag the turkey carcass (doesn't that sound yummy) and right now it is bubbling away on the stove to be turned into delicious homemade stock for soups. Tomorrow we plan to make another smaller turkey since Andy once again worked thru a large family dinner. After you have just can't get enough of it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ta da...diningroom after many hours, many cans of paint....

I won't even bother to put in details about each picture until tomorrow as it takes long enough to just upload the photos....if you want to see what my diningroom looked like before, check here.

I love this vase...purchased at a yard sale!

This dining set was mahogany...i cringe even saying that...but it was in bad shape and I do love the white!

my $20 vintage china cabinet...see the before here.

my beautiful, most favourite abstract painting by David Hayward .

my $1 did all eight chairs.

This was the table I set for special company I was having!

Just threw these in. This dresser is in m kitchen. I have had it since I was a kid!