Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas

When I was a little girl I had lopsided pigtails, haphazard bangs, gappy teeth, bruised knees, a slip that never hid beneath the dresses I had to wear and a mother who only saw beauty and who loved me fully and entirely.

She was the mother who woke up before her six children. She would pray for us in the early hours of the morning, make our lunches, lay out our clothing and rub our backs awake. She was the kind of mom who hand made gifts for our school friends birthdays, the one who baked bread and sweets and the one who was always home. She was a staple at our bustling house. 

To me, home meant Mom and mom meant home.

She was the one who brushed out hair tangles, orchestrated bath times, the one who volunteered at school, the one who sewed new clothing, the one who listened to bed time worries and dreams and the one that got the brunt of the teenage years. 

I clearly recall my mother waiting on our front porch for me to come home when I tried my feeble hand at being a rebellious teenager. She was the one that checked to make sure empty beds were filled before retiring to sleep, the one that eavesdropped for the betterment of her children and the one who rarely had to speak her disappointment or her disapproval. All she had to do was give me a look of dismay and I knew. I KNEW, in that one look that if I had disappointed her, the one that loved unconditionally and wholly, then I would soon disappoint myself. 

On the other hand, she was always the first to cheer her children on, the one who sang the biggest praises and the one who could make a little girl with a bad haircut and a love for dirt under her fingernails feel like a million bucks.
Ultimately, the Mom I had growing up, is the kind of Mother I want to be for my future teenagers and my own children, now.

The one with the heart and the arms wide open.

I also want to be the one that makes every birthday cake - no matter what the request, the one who decorates on birthday mornings with streamers and balloons, the one who sneaks love notes into crammed lunch boxes, who kisses goodbye, who laughs with abandon, who slaves over stoves, who encourages continually and who offers a wink or a hug which makes the world suddenly a better place.

My mother is one of the greatest people I have ever known and is by far the most patient and loving human I have ever been given the opportunity of loving. She is sugary sweet, unwaveringly kind, deeply creative, a Jill of all trades and the woman I most admire. And I am reminded daily that knowing her has enriched my life in countless, unmeasurable ways.

Today I hoped to mention her just a little bit - here. Today I hoped sharing a few lines about her would encourage all of the tired Mamas out there. Today, on Mothers Day, we celebrate mothers everywhere; the ones who have been, the ones that hope to be and the ones that raised us with sweat, tears and beautiful stamina. Today is for her and for YOU.

Today I will squeeze my mother and I will tell her that I love her and yet I will never be able to adequately explain how much her love and life have changed me. I only hope that as my face changes and mirrors her own that my actions and love for others will slowly transform and emulate her constant selfless love as well.

"Here is to all the strong women
May we know them,
May we be them,
May we raise them."

 May everyone who has ever had a mother, feel loved by her in your heart, today and always. May all of us who are Mothers love and care for the children in our lives the way that we always hoped to care. May all of us who have loved and lost feel a special love today and may all of us who are waiting to become Mothers feel enormous peace for the things that are to come. 

Happy Mothers Day to all of the Mamas out there. Many blessings to you on your special day.

Photos used in this post courtesy of Red Suitcase Photography

Friday, May 01, 2015

Shiplap Obsessed {Modern panelling for the wood enthusiast.}

I began to fall in love with all things wood paneling when I was a small child and my family and I lived in what looked like a cottage in the heart of our city.

Picture rough barn wood bedroom doors, wood beamed ceilings, barn board chair rail, board and batten and pretty wood overload. It was scratchy and gorgeous and I have never forgotten how warm and cozy a room feels when it is filled with natural wood elements.

Fast forward to 2014 and to the first time I caught a glimpse of the farmhouse chic designs by Joanna Gains. 

My full out wood paneling obsession was blown out of control because of her.

Check it out for yourself..

Shabby Chic Living Room by Waco Design-Build Firms Magnolia Homes

Here is her farmhouse living room. I just love the painted shiplap on her walls!


I don't think I am the only one smitten with planking and wood paneling though.

 So many in the design world love the trending wall treatments and since it is Friday and I like to celebrate end of the week with pretty things, (since I am a Mom and Friday means nothing) If you are going to be along with me and in your pajamas by 7pm tonight, I thought I would offer you some pretty eye candy in the form of all different types of shiplap. Feel free to oogle over this prettiness while you watch netflix tonight and indulge in a deserved glass of wine.

Farmhouse Living Room by Boise Interior Designers & Decorators Judith Balis Interiors

Left natural, painted white or painted dark and moody, on the walls, on the ceiling, on every square inch, whatever the case, whatever the style, I love the addition of shiplap! I cant wait to show you our dining room and to share with you our very own version of shiplap. 

Until then....
Check out the hashtag #shiplap and fall head over in heals with all things awesome-sauce and feel free to comment on these inquiries so we can get to know each other better:

Which of these pretty rooms is your favorite? Would you paint shiplap or leave it bare? Do you prefer is glossy white or cozy dark? Would you ever install this kind of wood treatment in your home? Do share, I would love to hear what YOU love!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Closet Reno Update {and a family moving in.}

Remember how I told you three months ago that we were busy working on our master closet makeover? 

Yeah, well....this little lady had other plans.

Meet, Chelsea.

After a family discussion, we decided to name her so that we could stop referring to the little vermin as "the little vermin" "that pesky raccoon"and, my personal favorite, "the evil-sounding-garbage-rooting-attic-destroying-nest-making fugitive."

You see, a few weeks ago we heard a commotion that sounded much like a three year old doing gymnastics in our attic. It turns out that Chelsea, large with child/children, had been strolling by our home one evening, minding her own business until she suddenly went into labor. She must have looked left and right and decided that we were the family whose lives she wanted to make exciting, whose sleep she wanted to disturb, whose attic she wanted to destroy, and whose closet reno she wanted to put on hold. 

So, she did what all nocturnal pregnant fugitives do and she scaled our brick home with ease and simply busted out the metal flashing of our roof and then climbed in safe and sound. She wasted no time making a huge commotion/ building herself a nest and then loudly birthed, what sounds like, half a dozen little hissing baby raccoons.

What does this have to do with our closet reno you ask??

Well, let me explain.

We have attic access through our master closet and through a weird little opening on our daughters bedroom wall. (See above) This unsightly access point is typically disguised with a giant painted canvas, by the way. 'Cause we are sly like that.

Since we took pity on the new Mama, we wanted to give her a few days to recover from her loud and seemingly traumatic birth experience, so we let her rest up for a bit.

But then, Chelsea started leaving her babies unattended in our house and going out on the town in the evenings. 

Now, Im not one to judge a new mother, but I mean, between you and me, she is only making messes around here and keeping everyone up at night, so it was quickly decided that we needed to give Chelsea some eviction papers. 

We believe in treating animals with love and respect so first we decided to try to catch Chelsea with dog treats inside an enticing cage we borrowed from friends. But, Chelsea and her squealing babies have a developed pallet and she prefers to pick up dinner when she goes out on the town each night, from our wet garbage can that lives at the side of our house. 

Im assuming she loved those pizza crusts from the weekend and that quinoa salad my children refused to eat.  

Chelsea is cool like that. 

She doesn't discriminate against the food I make. She simply climbs into the city authorized bins (our city of Guelph has a bin garbage system where we separate our waste products from our recyclables and our other garbage.) and fetches whatever deliciousness she can carry back to her hissing sweethearts.

Since our closet reno is completely destroyed due to the shelving coming down to make our raccoon sighting, attic access and cage checking easier....I have no pretty closet pictures to show you.

Though that pic above I am pretty proud of. ;) 

I read that racoons dont like loud music and lighting, they prefer darkness and quiet since it allows them to sleep during the day time, but, you know what they say about payback, right? It can be bad. Today Chelsea and her sweet hissing hooligans are getting payback for keeping me up for a week straight. Nothing crazy, except for some bright lights and  some slipped in speakers that are currently blaring house music so loudly that I guarantee we may get noise complaints.

Your mat leave is up little lady. 

It is time to pack it up and out and leave as swiftly as possible. 

Im crossing my fingers that she will get the hint that she is not welcome anymore. If not, we are going to be the unfortunate family that has to pay the big bucks for a racoons maternity stay in their unsuspecting attic. 

Which for some reason has me remembering these lyrics:

"If there's something strange
in your neighborhood

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters! Racoon-busters!
If there's something weird
and it don't look good

Who you gonna call?
Ghostbusters! Racoon-busters!"

Since our closet reno isn't happening for awhile and because this loud music really puts a kick in ones step, I have decided to beautify our dining room while we wait for pest control to call us back.

If you follow me on Pinterest then you know I am obsessed with all things molding. After we added trim work to our upstairs family room, I have been itching to add molding in other parts of our home. 

Well now we have the chance!!


I cant wait to show you what we are up to!  

And this poor baby dog cant wait for animal control to call us back as she is as restless as Chelsea and her babies.

In the mean time, we will be working in our dining room, but if you have any advice on how to politely remove creatures from ones attic, PLEASE dont hesitate to pass on your advice in the comments.

I will love you forever and ever and ever and ever and ever....

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Too easy slowcooker lasagna recipe {Now a believer!}

Once upon a time I fell in love with my crock pot slowcooker and all seemed right with the world. 

We were happy and in love and our relationship was perfect in every way. We both would give and take appropriately and we were mindful to keep our expectations reasonable for eachother and above all we had an undeniable bond.

I knew that if my family wanted a nice moist roast or a lovely soup, all I had to do was give my beloved crockpot the ingredients and it would in turn love us back by connecting flavors together and serving up hot and delicious meals.

Everything was right in the world, until, one fateful day, I discovered that my crock pot was actually not living up to its full potential. Potentially, it was ripping us off from Italian cuisine and when I found out, I was not very pleased.

You see, I discovered that other ordinary crockpots were creating complicated Italian meals with minimal work and maximum flavor.  

But, mine was not.

My lasagna loving heart could not believe it. 

How could I have been so blind???

I was certain, after hearing about this crock pot recipe that every full fledged Italian everywhere was disgusted with the thought of giving a crock pot the complicated responsibility of cooking up Sunday dinner. I know I was at first too, but along with being astounded and perplexed I was also very very INTERESTED.

If all these other crockpots and slowcookers could create delectable Sunday dinners then I was certain mine could learn to as well. I knew our relationship would grow stronger because of it, but I still was not convinced.

As with any good relationship, I realized I had to trust my beloved crockpot and give it opportunities to prove its depth and care for us. So, as any devils advocate would do, I set out to prove that a classic, beloved Italian dish could in fact, not be cooked correctly in a crock pot and that all the braggers and doers were in fact fibbing.

BUT, I turned out to be more then pleasantly surprised. 

Here is the quick story on how my bond with my crock pot grew deeper and stronger and overflowing with trust by combining a few ingredients and walking away for four+ hours.

First gather your ingredients. You will need ready to cook lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, one egg, ricotta cheese, a clove of garlic and approximately five cups of baby spinach.

I used these delicious brands:
To make your easy slow cooker lasagna, do this:

 Pour pasta sauce on the bottom of your slow cooker
Place ready to cook lasagna noodles on top. Break accordingly so they make a good fit.
Pour more sauce on
Layer noodles
Mix one egg in with your ricotta cheese and add a clove of smashed garlic to your 
mixture and spread on top

Pour more sauce on
Layer noodle
Pour more sauce on and add your five cups of baby spinach

Layer noodle
Pour more sauce on
Layer noodle and add sauce and mozzarella cheese on top to finish it off.

 It will look like this when it is done.

Keep covered and cook on high for four hours.

When a knife can easily cut through your lasagna uncover and cook on high for one more hour (If you prefer your lasagna more al dente then cook for less time. Slow cookers vary in strength.

All your excess moisture will evaportate during that last hour of cooking. Also, your home is going to smell divine.

Serve your lasagna but first make sure to give your reliable crock pot a big fat smooch.

If you're Italian, or wish to be, try giving it a big smooch on either side of its adorable little self and remember not to tell Nona how it was cooked so effortlessly.

 Sit back and enjoy a million compliments from your family and friends and pretend you slaved for hours over a hot stove.

Just don't tell your beloved slowcooker that you didn't give it full credit.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Happy Easter 2015 {A tablescape to remember}

Because my little girl has a creativity that I admire and I want to forever grow. Because she loves a good table scape as much as her Mama. Because my own Mother let me pick and choose and set tables for dinner parties and honed my own creativity. 

Because she so sweetly stood in front of the closed glass doors of our curial cabinet, biting her lower lips, deciding carefully.

And because, after all, it was Easter.


Because she finally decided on the pretty blue dishes.


Blue dishes and letters.
Because she chose to add layers of fruit, "Since fruit comes in the summer and summer is after spring and Easter means that spring is finally here."


Because she stacked blue plates on top of white plates with careful hands and climbed the counters to choose cups.

Because her smile didn't leave her little sweet face the whole time; while her dimple played hide and seek with my watchful eye.

Because she decided we needed candles and thought of every way to incorporate our mismatched blue to accommodate them on to our table.


Because she has been carefully watering this pretty tulip plant for a week straight and still hasn't killed it.



Because she placed pears on each plate and washed each berry carefully.

Because we only pull out the English ironstone for special occasions -- like when little girls choose them above all the others.


Because life is too short not to use real antique linen.

 Because this blue print bowl was my Grandmas' and it had lived too long behind the doors of our hutch.

 Because she cautiously chopped fruit and poured water and made lemonade.

 Because we boiled eggs and never got around to painting them.


And because I always want to remember the first time she set the table all by herself. 

When she carefully washed it off and turned the floral dishes until they were perfectly put. The way she had to reach and strain across the table, the way she proudly stepped back and smiled after an hour of fiddling and tweaking. 

And because I always want to hold close to my heart the day when her creativity ran wild and she learned to trust her creative instinct.


And because what better way to celebrate Easter then with our family all huddled around our table enjoying good food, good company and the knowledge that we have eternal hope in Him.

  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galations 2:20 

“The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.” ~ A. W. Tozer
Hoping that you and your loved ones enjoyed a blessed weekend. Sending you thoughts of sunshine since we are experiencing SNOW in April here. ;)

Happy Easter Weekend lovelies.

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