Monday, December 31, 2012

Blast from the craft cards

If you are a regular reader, you know that my favourite thrift shopping is free. I call it "thrifting at mom's house." On one excursion into my parents' basement, I found these cool vintage family craft cards. I'm not much of a crafter, but a person can change, right? I'm trying.

You could do a whole blog just with crafts from these cards. Not that I'm going to do that. But I can do a few crafts at least.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Enjoying our toys

Our little family of four has been enjoying just hanging out in our pajamas, tidying up the house and recovering from the sniffles.

We all have new toys to play with. My son is big into technology and is busy using his new iPod. Thankfully, my little girl still likes regular toys. I had the most fun watching her open all her cool girl toys this Christmas.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life...with Frida Kahlo

Happy Insta-Friday! I hope you are all recovering nicely from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

I am sharing a look at our family cell phone photos from the past week, beginning with our "date" last Saturday. As I mentioned before, my parents were staying with us, so we took the opportunity to have them babysit. We saw the Frida and Diego show at the Art Gallery of Ontario and then went for dinner in Kensington Market.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gilmore Girls and a $50 gift card giveaway

I was lucky enough to get a few special treats for Christmas this year. I always ask for chocolate, organic body wash, a scented candle and a chick flick. This year, I mentioned to my husband that I would like to re-watch Gilmore Girls. I started watching that particular TV show a few years in, so I am eager to go back and start from the beginning. My husband got me three of the seven seasons for Christmas, but he wasn’t able to find the first season.

Enter CardSwap credited my account with $75 to review their online gift card buying and selling service.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, Christmas edition

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Hard to believe it's over. So much work leading up to Christmas, and then it goes by in a flash.

Here's a What I Ate Wednesday look at some of the food I enjoyed this past week, including on Christmas.

For our Christmas Eve Open House, I made these nuts and bolts, above. If you use the right cereals and pretzels, you can make this gluten-free. I served it in individual Dixie cups.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas! All the best from my family to yours!

The cookies have been made (and eaten), the presents bought, wrapped and unwrapped. Our faux turkey is in the oven with my Mom's chicken and we are enjoying a leisurely day in pajamas just helping the kids with their new toys.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Scenes

Our Christmas Eve Open House is tomorrow and I still have lots to do, but I couldn't help snapping a few photos around the house this weekend. I love Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Insta-Friday...pre-Christmas edition

It's Friday. And we're alive. I don't pay too much attention to end-of-the-world stuff, but I'm happy it wasn't true. You know what's bad? When people are disappointed that it's not the end of the world, because now they have to finish the stuff on their holiday to-do lists. I ran into a neighbour while walking the dog this morning and that's how she felt. She's kidding, of course, but it just goes to show you the stress that Christmas expectations can cause.

On to Insta-Friday, now, and sharing simple cell phone photos from our week. I bought myself an early Christmas present. These two owl mugs. They were like five bucks for both at Winners. Unfortunately, I broke the handle off my favourite owl mug. I dropped a bowl on it. It's now on my husband's work bench with the many other odds and ends requiring repair. So, for the next couple of weeks, I'm using these puppies. Not that the mug will be fixed in a couple of's just that these mugs are for Christmas and I figure I gotta stop using them some time in January.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Tree the rain

We got our Christmas tree a couple of weeks ago, and I am just getting around to sharing the photos. I didn't want to skip it, because I love the tree farm we go to so much. It's Horton's Home Farm in Stouffville, Ontario. What I love about it is the restored log cabin on site.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, with a greenish smoothie

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! So far I haven't made any Christmas cookies. If I had, I would be forced to show you lots of photos of all the cookies I nibbled on while I was baking. That's still to come.

In the meantime, a look at some of the stuff I ate this week. 

I like my smoothies to be a little (or a lot) sweet. So, rather than going totally green, I added a bit of veg and a lot of fruit to my breakfast smoothie today. The result is this delicious yet healthy green-ish smoothie.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Memories...and a game of tag

Christmas Eve is a week away and, to me, that means time for cookies...lots of 'em! I always make a bunch of cookies and display them on this pretty blue and white tiered stand that my mom gave me. More about our holiday cookie tradition below.

On the bottom of this lovely dish it says: Hand Engraving, Old Foley, Chrysanthemum, James Kent, Staffordshire, England.

The dish is all I just have to get started making those cookies!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday in real life...and a contest to win $500

It's Friday. Have a good one. And don't worry too much about your Christmas shopping. It will get done. It always does. (By the way, that little encouragement was just as much for me as for you -- I have barely bought a single present.)

Normally I would call this Insta-Friday, with the "insta" representing cell phone photos. But I am mixing cell phone and camera photos, because I am tired of the quality of my cell phone photos. Nope. No iPhone 5 over here. Not that I'm jealous.

I am including this photo of fruit to illustrate a story about kids. I sent pears and apples in their lunches yesterday. Mostly they came back untouched. So, I cut them up after school and put them out like this. They ate it all. Apparently they are too lazy to bite into a whole fruit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday, with a delicious stew

I don't have a whole lot to report this What I Ate Wednesday. Our weekend schedule was completely based on my son's basketball tournament. Five games. Out of town. Equals few food pics.

I did have this one fabulous lunch this week. I love vegetables. Not that I want to go to a restaurant and only eat salad, just so you know. No vegetarian does, by the way. I like to have other stuff on my plate. On this particular day, I had leftovers from two dinners to use up...cauliflower and rapini from one meal and roasted veggies, beets and breaded tofu from another. I ate all this for lunch and I was stuffed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homemade Hostess Gift: Chocolate Macaroons

I promised I would share a homemade hostess gift idea with you. My daughter and I made these vegan chocolate macaroons recently to bring to a Christmas party. Actually, I measured out the ingredients, but she was able to do most of the work. So, if you are looking for a way to bring your kids into the kitchen without too much fuss, this is it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vintage Green Glass

My sister-in-law (and her hubby too!) gave us these lovely vintage green glass wine goblets. Perfect for enjoying the bottle of homemade wine my father-in-law sent along with us that day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Popcorn Party

We had our own little family popcorn party recently, and it reminded me of this great gift I got from my sister last year at Christmas. If you are looking for something to give to a family, this is it!

She got us this Nostalgia popcorn maker, a couple of plastic popcorn buckets and a bunch of cardboard popcorn boxes. Add to that some popcorn kernels (hopefully organic -- GMO corn freaks me out), and you are set for your own popcorn party. I melted some vegan margarine on the stove and poured it on. Plus a little salt on top. Yummy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Insta-Friday in real life, with a chocolate fountain

It's Friday...and I'm about to share a bunch of seemingly random photos. They are united under the "Insta-Friday" theme...sharing simple family cell phone photos from the past week.

Last weekend, I went to get my hair cut. I hadn't been to the salon for, oh, something like 10 months. My hair was ragged. Here's my little gal all decked out for a cold day in the city of Toronto.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rustic Advent Calendar DIY

While Santa Claus and Frosty decorations have their place, especially in a child-friendly home, I am going for a more subtle, natural look overall this Christmas. My decorations started with this rustic DIY Advent calendar, which I finally got up on the wall just yesterday.

I was inspired by a similar piece that I saw in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I don't have a lot of experience with crafts, but I thought this project looked pretty darn simple, even for a relative beginner like me.

And this rustic Advent calendar diy would have been simple...if I could find the little muslin drawstring bags. I confidently headed to my local crafts superstore. I found the number stamps no problem, although they were a bit smaller than I would have liked, and a lot more expensive. Luckily, I had a 50% off one item coupon. I got a couple of green and red stamp pads too. But no muslin bags. I checked the dollar store too. No bags. With December 1st quickly approaching I decided I would have to stop my store searches and head online.

I eventually ordered the bags from a soap making supply company. Because the shipping cost more than the bags, I decided to throw in a lip balm kit too for $19.99. Same shipping costs. How's that for logic?

The bags arrived within a few days. In the meantime, I found some cut tree branches that a neighbour had sent to the curb. My husband fished some twine out of the basement. I bought some inexpensive Christmas toys to fill the bags with, including pencil sharpeners, rings and stamps. I used leftover Halloween candy for the rest. The kids would be disappointed if some candy didn't come from those bags. By the way, each bag has two identical avoid fights!

I used one of my vintage Christmas stamps to stamp "Merry Christmas" on the December 25th bag.

Here is my Advent calendar project up on the wall. We had only one spot of blank wall space big enough to fit it. Also, we had to hang it a little high, because Jolene the sniffer dog can smell food a mile away. She could use that couch arm to pull down a few bags. Don't think she wouldn't. I caught her chewing on one of the empty bags. (The bags arrived in a box stuffed with packing peanuts that smelled like they were made from cereal.)

First a homemade doll dress, and now this? What's happening to me? It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I am actually having a great time, and I will have a homemade hostess gift idea for you soon too!

What do you think? How is your decorating going? Do you have an Advent calendar?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Noodles. Yum. Probably my favourite food in the world. Well, except maybe chocolate.

Wednesday has rolled around once again, and it's time to share food highlights from the past week.

My husband made garlic noodles, breaded tofu and broccoli one night. Here's what was left for my lunch the next day. Nice to see that the family ate most of the broccoli.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Vintage Fabric Doll Dress

Remember a few weeks ago when I went thrift "shopping" in my mom's basement? I came away with some vintage fabric, featuring a lovely dancing couple. I told you then that I planned to make dresses for my daughter's Maplelea (Canadian Girl) dolls.

I have never sewed more than one crooked line my whole life. I wasn't sure I could do it, to be honest.

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