Sleeping Babies

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is there anything as sweet?

Our New Laundry Room

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Do you want to see it? Go here!

My Superman

My husband is just the greatest. I have an idea, bring him a picture and the gets to work! I am so grateful for his love and his talents. He always exceeds my expectations. He spent Saturday building the laundry room unit I asked him for, and I just finished painting it. It turned out so cute. I love it. Thank you, Darren.
The system I discovered from Clover Lane is working so well! So I would also like to send a big huge thank you to the mom and author, Sarah, of the Clover Lane Blog, for helping me sort my laundry!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Blogging is very therapeutic for me. I am able to see with a clearer perspective when I express my thoughts through words. I also like to stay positive and I try really hard to not complain. It is very exhausting for those around us to have to listen to. Now having said that I need to vent. I really detest play dough. I know every child loves to play with it and I know it is such an iconic part of childhood, I even enjoy making homemade play dough with the kids, but I DO NOT like the aftermath. And as much as my kids try and clean it up the best they can, there is always more for me to do. The play dough in the carpet, on their clothes, in the cracks of the table, and all over the floor. Every time I want to pitch it in the garbage, but every time I stop myself thinking that it would be so mean of me. What kind of mom am I if I don't allow my children the enjoyment of play dough. Well today I did it. I can now be awarded the meanest mom in the world medal. But it is gone. How long it will remain gone?, I do not know. Will I soften over time and allow it back again?, maybe. We have in the past purchased modeling foam and sculpting clay, and although they are more expensive they are way less invasive. So, for now, that is what we will use. My kids will still get to sculpt and create and I will be free from PLAY DOUGH!

New Laundry System Requires Laundry Room Makeover

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ever Since we moved into this house I have been struggling in vain to figure out what I wanted to do with our laundry room to make it more useable. Every inch has to count as it is not a big room, and the one main wall houses a pocket door, so there can be no shelves or cupboards anchored to that wall. The first step was easy - rip out the closet and put a wall of cubbies in that space. We did this a couple of years ago - kids love them, I love them, they look great! Next we stacked the washer and dryer originally thinking that we could put in a standing deep freeze or maybe a sink, but what about a folding surface? This room will not fit all 3 of my wants, so I have been going over and over in my mind which option would work best for this space and our family. The sink, as much as I would love one, wasn't really necessary as I have a bathroom right beside the laundry room and if and when I need to rinse something out I can and do use that one. Next, a deep freeze. This was tough as we, being a family of 7, need extra food storage. So we held off making any plans for the rest of the room as I didn't know what I really wanted to do.....Until........I came across this blog and my creative mind started sketching and planning (or should I say idle, by this point I had been in bed for a week because of my foot surgery and to keep myself sane I was coming up with all sorts of new projects and drawing them out to show my husband. Can you guess how excited he was! Ya, about that much) But ever willing, he agreed, and this Saturday we are building my new storage system. I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally have figured this out. Laundry is not my most favorite thing to do, in fact it is my nemesis. Hand me a vacuum any day and I am one happy woman, but the laundry!? I think it is because not only is it never ending, but it is a 12 step process: Make sure everyone puts laundry in hamper, take hamper downstairs, sort, put in washer, wash, transfer to dryer, dry, transfer to baskets, carry upstairs, dump on bed, sort into everyone's individual baskets, call children to come and get their baskets, ask (a.k.a. nag) them to put clean laundry away, begin cycle again, and again, and then again. So although it may seem like I am beginning a new project when I should be finishing the ones I have already begun, really I am finishing one that began 2 years ago. And this project, I am hoping, will keep me a little more organized and free up some time and mental space to finish some of the other ones still waiting. now if only I could install a laundry shoot, humm? Oh, well maybe someday in my dream house!

What's Your Style?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Have you ever wondered how you would describe your decorating style? I have, and the best I could come up with was Shabby Chic. I never felt that it was totally accurate though, it was just the closest description I could make. As I was reading Our Suburban Cottage I came across something fun to do - has a quiz you can take that will help you identify your style. I did it. My results are posted below. I now have a name for my personal home decor style.....make that 3!
{which is interesting because in the above pictures provided by Sproost after the results of the quiz are given, I don't like everything in any one room, just bits and pieces from each. This could also explain why I like to switch things up so often - I have 3 different style needs to keep satisfied, after all! No wonder I can't make up my mind, sheesh}

33% Cottage Chic
33% French Eclectic
34% Nantucket Style

French Eclectic
Parlez-vous fran├žais? Even if the answer is no, you can confidently say your home does! French Country, like its name, somehow manages to both be formal and casual, classy and unassuming at the same time. You like your spaces to feel inviting from the moment you (or your guest) opens the front door and this feeling should continue even after you've entered your most formal room. Even though there are French antiques here and gold details there, the rustic elements provide a balance and warmth that seems to say, "come in, relax and stay a while." Your love of antiques leads you to flea markets, garage sales and hours of eBay hunting.

The materials and pieces you are drawn to play on the mix of formal and casual. Many of the pieces look like they were passed down from your great-great-aunt (even if they are brand new!) and you managed to upholster them in a way that made that piece both then and now. Much of the furniture is wood-framed and the wood is either left natural (hey there rustic!), painted white (hey there country!) or even gold (hello refinement!). And many times there is a strong mixture of all of these. If you find yourself leaning much more towards the "country" side of things and away from the Parisian side, drop the gold details and replace them with wrought iron.
When it comes to color, you are drawn to bright and airy options. Thoughts of the French countryside are key - warm colors such as yellows, reds and oranges hinting at fields of gold. But the nice thing about French Eclectic is you can just as easily go in the opposite direction: pale blues and greens hinting at acres of lavender fields and expansive blue skies.
Space Planning
When you think about laying out your French Eclectic room the key is to invite people in and encourage them to stay. So furniture should be grouped nicely to encourage intimate conversation and the main pieces should be comfortable in both look and feel. There should be plenty of places to set drinks, prop feet and lean back. And yet the functionality of these pieces doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't beautiful antiques or replicas.

Nantucket Style
Oh how you love the beach! Who doesn't, right? And so your dream home is either perched in your favorite beach town, or you've brought that favorite beach town into your house.

Your art and accessories speak directly to the activities that are found at the beach. Pieces of driftwood you found here, pictures or paintings of the amazing views there. Things that remind you of the coast - surf boards or fishing boats - are found throughout the house. The feeling of the seaside is both abstract and literal in the design of your space. The fabrics are natural, cottons and linens and are light in color and touch. Much of the furniture is wood or wood framed (the lighter the better, think driftwood!) and wicker, when done right, is a must.
And since your true inspiration is the sea, the colors and textures in your home are the same that you would find at your favorite beach: white, light beiges and grays of the sand and driftwood, a variety of blues for the ocean and sky, and greens and vibrant blues of the sea glass... but the key is white! Your space should feel light and airy and give off the mood one has when at the beach: laid back!
Space Planning
Your furniture is comfortable and the layout is cozy. The more it reminds you of actually sitting on the warm sand the better! And what do you do at the beach? Hang out with family and friends - and your home is just an extension of this play place... and though the space is filled with large white furniture, it somehow manages to feel both durable and casual.

Cottage Chic
Who says that cottages can't be modern and chic? Who says that they have to be floral and cheesy? Not you! You love the carefree spirit that the cottage interior inspires, but you are also serious about your appreciation for modern art and hip treasures. You love old and new alike, and love to highlight them all to expose the uniqueness of each. What better way to show off these treasures than with a light background?

You have a great sense of humor when it comes to design and even like to make fun of the style itself. Which means that you will throw in a toy boat or a vintage life preserver to keep the mood of the place just like the color: light! The fabrics are natural (cottons and linens) and are light in touch. Much of the furniture is wood or wood framed (the lighter the better, think driftwood!) and as long as it's used sparingly or with modern lines, you even throw in a wicker piece here and there.
Your true inspiration (whether you know it or not) is the sea... the colors found at your favorite beach: white and light beige of the sand, a variety of blues for the ocean and sky, and greens and pale grays of the sea glass... but the key is white! Your space should feel light and airy and give off the mood one has when at the beach: laid back! The key with Cottage Chic is balance; in one corner there could be a rustic wood table that looks like it could have been found rather than made, but it is offset with a modern vase while another corner is adorned with a modern Lucite piece.
Space Planning
The furniture is comfortable and the layout is cozy. The more it encourages intimate gatherings the better! Just watch out for the red wine spills on the new white sofa! The color throughout is light and airy - and though you love to accessorize with fun colors (the sky's the limit with a white background), the main color seen and felt throughout the house is white or very light versions of colors so that they feel almost white.

Self-schooling children

You have heard of self-cleaning ovens, but have you heard of self-schooling children!? I guess my kids are tired and bored of me still being limited to what I can do since my surgery - this morning I found them gathered around the table doing school work.....and testing themselves by seeing if they could beat the timer! So cool!

1 down, 11 to go

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I finished my 1st book on my summer reading list - Standing For Something by Gordon B. Hinckley.
Let me share with you how I read books - I have a highlighter in one hand and a pencil in the other. I wasn't always like this. In fact there was a day that I couldn't imagine marking up a book. It took time to get over that and realize that my books were for me - to use, to read, to learn, and it didn't matter if they looked brand new forever. Well I wore out my highlighter with this one. This book is for everybody. I am reading it to my children now and I hope that when they get older they will read it to themselves and then over and over again. I loved this book!
Among the many many quotes I love from this book one says, " Our lives are the only meaningful expression of what we believe and in Whom we believe. And the only real wealth, for any of us, lies in our faith." Gordon Hinckley describes us, women and parents, as keepers of the home and guardians of virtue! He also says, "Emerson was once asked which, of all the books he had read, had most affected his life. His response was that he could no more remember the books he had read than he could remember the meals he had eaten, but they had made him. All of us are the products of the elements to which we are exposed."
I have always wanted my home to look beautiful, but more importantly I have always wanted my home to FEEL beautiful, of this he says, "I believe that there is no adequate substitution for the practice of kneeling together, morning and evening, as a family in prayer. This, more than fine carpets or the latest in window coverings, will make for better and more beautiful homes. Can we make our homes more beautiful? Yes, through addressing ourselves, as families, to the Source of all true beauty."
We do kneel in prayer morning and night as a family, but from now on I will remember these words and never allow myself to get discouraged when someone is noisy or late in coming or uncooperative. I will always remember that I am beautifying my family, my home and myself as we kneel in unity and give thanks to our God and ask for His help, guidance and direction in our lives.
READ THIS BOOK! Mine is well marked, but it's here if you would like to read it. This is a family classic. I will refer to this book for the rest of my parenting years and beyond!

In the Works

Monday, June 21, 2010

The other night Darren brought home a surprise for me....all the supplies for the pergola! He spent Saturday working on it and it looks great. Hopefully it will be dry this Saturday and we will be able to paint it.

Father's Day

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Fathers have the basic and inescapable responsibility to stand as the head of the family. He becomes the provider, the defender, the counselor, the friend who will listen and give support when needed. That does not carry with it any implication of dictatorship or unrighteous dominion. It confers the mandate to provide for the needs of their families. Those needs are more than food, clothing, and shelter. Those needs include righteous direction and the teaching, by example as well as precept, of basic principles of honesty, integrity, service, respect for the rights of others, and an understanding that we are accountable, not only to one another but also to God, for that which we do in this life. He [the father] becomes the provider, the defender, the counselor, the friend who will listen and give support when needed. It is at home that we come to determine what we will stand for." Gordon B. Hinckley

We were able to spend father's day with my dad, Darren's dad and my Grandfather. My grandpa came all the way from Ontario to spend the summer with us. It is such a treat to have him here. I hope that everyone had a great father's day and that the father's in my life realize how important they are to us.

First, my dad - He is one of the hardest workers I know. He taught me so much simply by his example. Thank you dad for everything you have done for me and the example you continue to set for my children.

Second, my grandpa - I have the BEST childhood memories of visiting my grandparents. We went fishing, boating, camping, and they always had a fridge full of pop (one of those really cool vintage ones with the metal handle, the kind that scared every parent because of the possibility that you could get stuck inside..... but it was cool, and we never did) So thank you grandpa for the memories that I will have with me forever.

Next, my father-in-law - this is the man that, by example, taught my husband how to be a father and a marriage companion. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for his children, family and friends. Thank you for the influence you have had in all our lives.

Lastly, my husband - If you are lucky enough to know my husband well, you will know that he is the VERY best of men. He gives everything he has and more. He works tirelessly for his family. He follows the Savior's example in all he does. He never gives up, he never quits. He is always there when you need him. His name is Darren, the Irish meaning of which is great and he is, a mighty and great man. Thank you for sharing your life with me, for being the father of our 5 most precious children, for being my best friend. Happy Father's Day!

My Summer Reading List

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

12 books, 12 weeks of summer
goal - read 1 book a week

- Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home by Ron Hutchcraft
- Different Children, Different Needs by Charles F. Boyd
- How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen & How To Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
- A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison
- The Potentially Sane Mother's Guide to Raising Young Children by Tamara A. Fackrell
- The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell
- For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
- A Heart Like His by Virginia H. Pearce
- Standing For Something by Gordon B. Hinckley
- The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute
- A Joyful Mother of Children by Linda J. Eyre
- A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael S. Scheider

What are you reading this summer? I love a good book recommendation!

If You Want To Find Treasure, Sometimes You've Got To Dig

We have a thrift shop in town that I always drop off my donations at, but never go in to look. I am not a digger by nature. My mom on the other hand, can go into a shop like this and search out great finds.

One Saturday I decided to go in! I found a great bed for Noelle that I bought and have yet to transform (its been added to my list). I also spotted an old wooden door that I knew would be perfect for our office (which is also in the process of change) as a chalkboard. I didn't buy it though. I thought about it for a couple of weeks and then decided to go back and see if it was still there.... It was - so for a few dollars I took the old door home with me and wondered what I was going to tell Darren. He surprised me by not thinking it was weird at all. He lovingly sanded it down for me and I painted the inside panel with chalkboard paint. I love the way it turned out. Now I have a place to write down Darren's messages for him to see at the end of the day and I think it adds character to our pretty plain office.




Tate practicing his T's


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer is here and I am going to be spending part of mine preparing for next September -while the kids play, explore, create, get dirty and just be kids. First on the agenda is to finish the school room we started over 2 years ago and then, once and for all, organize it! I am even more excited about this coming year! I feel like I have learned so much last year that will help me this time around.

My Backyardigans

An Ordinary Miracle

Monday, June 14, 2010

If you look very carefully you will be able to see a humming bird sitting on her nest. Her nest is a tiny piece of moss in the tree. Her eggs are no bigger than breath mints. I cannot describe to you how small and incredibly beautiful she, her nest and her eggs are.

Our Next Project

When we first started our landscaping we reserved a space in our backyard that faces the pond for a pergola. It gets wonderful sun all day long. For 3 years now we have run out of summer and never had a chance to do it. This is the year!
Today Darren took me to Victoria General Hospital for my post opp. appointment and then he took the rest of the day off to be with me. On the way home he said that we should start planning the pergola and asked me what I wanted it to look like - I had idea's but not an exact picture, so when we got home, I googled! After a good number of pictures, I can across a photo and I knew immediately that it was the one! I am so excited, I can barely stand it.

This is our inspiration. I love the simple lines of it. I am the kind of person who could get very tired of something too fancy or ornate. I am a simple girl (some call it boring, I prefer classic) I love how it looks like a beamed ceiling.
I found a black hanging candelabra on eBay, kind of like the one below, that I will use as in the picture above.

And for a little interest and decoration, I will be on the look out for some old brackets to add to it.

Hopefully by the end of this month we will have at least begun this project and I will have my own pictures to share with you!