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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Make it: Advent wreath

So, I'm officially fed up with the crazed commercialization of Christmas. My kids are on complete overdrive! It seems like the second that Hallowe'en was over, Christmas advertising started.

Recently, we asked our boys why we have Christmas - their responses were expected: Santa! Presents! Christmas Tree!

Boy oh boy - we have some work to do.

I asked them if they knew WHY we celebrate Christmas? Nope. I asked them if they knew what Advent was? No clue.

We decided that this year, as a family, we would work on what Advent means to us, as Christians in today's world. It's a time of preparation, of anticipation, and rejoicing. To help remember these lessons I made an advent candle wreath for our home, which we will light with the boys each Sunday evening of Advent before they go to bed. That, along with the advent calendar of books I'm preparing (another post) we're hoping to have some real, honest, open discussions with our boys about why we celebrate Christmas, what we believe, and how to make that a part of our everyday lives.

Onto the project!
I started by gathering supplies:
  - Grapevine wreath (Michael's $4.99)
 - votive candles (Walmart, $1 ea)
 - White pillar candle (Walmart $2)
 - Christmas decorative sprigs (Michael's $1.69 ea)
 - side cutters
 - scissors
 - LED light pack (Michael's $7.50)
 - labels
 - twine or leather stringing

Step 1
 Cut apart the decorative sprigs using the side cutters and weave them into the top of the wreath for some colour
 Note the quality control inspector ^

Step 2
 Weave the LED light string into the wreath from the bottom

Step 3
 Using hot glue, glue the four votive candle holders evenly spaced around the wreath.
Step 4
 Create Hope, Peace, Joy & Love labels for each of the four votive candles. The Joy candle is the pink candle
Step 5
 Using leather stringing or twine place a dot of glue on the back of the candle holder to start to attach the string, wrap a couple of times around the votive, slide on the label, and then keep wrapping until the end of the string. Secure with hot glue.

Place somewhere in your house and put the white Christmas/Christ candle in the centre.

 Voila! Family advent wreath. :)

Here's a couple of resources for Advent and kids that I have been using to help me prepare for this season with my kids:


How are you celebrating the season of Advent with your kids? Do you have any go-to resources?
Here's to the season of waiting, anticipating, and preparing.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Back in the thick of things

Hello dear Readers,

Sorry I've been away for so long - the summer was insanely busy and having both the kiddos with me at all times makes it pretty difficult to keep up with the blogging as well as everything else.

Crazy things happening over the summer - aside from our regular back and forth between home and cottage - we finally managed to hire a new minister at our church (Yay!) and he and his family were getting settled. Then with September we kicked back into high gear with the big'un in SK and me and the little one settling into our regular day to day.

On a sour note: we had a flood at our house. :( Literally came home and the hubs said "It's raining in the basement!" Not even joking. Ceiling came down, floor is ripped up, our downstairs bathroom is going to have to be gutted, replacing the electrical panel and all kinds of other joyous little things. Ugh.

On an up note: The cake business with my lil' sis has been swinging merrily along, and I'm going to share some of our creations with you - let us know what you think!
Animal cake we made for our HeyOl'man for his birthday...

Our first ever topsy-turvy cake!

A special cake for my gorgeous Mama-in-law's 60th birthday. :)

A fall wedding cake with our first try at handmade gumpaste tiger lilies!
 My little pony cake!

Nana nana nana nana, Nana nana nana nana - BATCAKE!

I promise I'll be more with the updating now that we're sort of settled back into life


Sunday, 21 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Coral Lace

I love all the lace that's in stores lately. Though, admittedly, I have a hard time finding a way to wear lace without looking too much like a doily.
I mean, seriously. Cream coloured lace on me makes it look like I'm waiting for someone to put a bowl of pot-pourri down on me.

Then I found this sweet little coral lace dress at Dressbarn this past weekend and thought - well, that ain't your Grandma's doily!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Links and Stripes - Pin to Real LIfe #6 -

I love these two pieces separately, but was always concerned that putting them together looked a little... well..  HEEEEY Sailor! ;)

Y'know what I mean.

But after seeing these few pins like this one, this one, and especially this one with the big links necklace I was convinced to give it a try. I actually quite like how this outfit came out!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sometimes Moms shout...

An Open Letter to the woman who shouted at me in the Michael's parking lot for shouting to admonish my 5 year old.

Hi there,

Thanks for shouting at me across the parking lot while I struggled to get my two boys out of the car and into the store this morning. It was especially helpful for you to berate and admonish me for shouting at my five year old after he quite literally slammed his door open into the fancy SUV we were parked beside. Especially since, just moments before, I said to him "Buddy, these parking spaces are small, make sure you open your door carefully, okay?"

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Pin to Real LIfe: Breaking the rules

Another Pin to Real life instalment!

So, just recently I refashioned a skater style dress into a hi-low peplum top (here), and I was initially going to style it the way I usually style a peplum, according to my rule that something with fullness on top should go with something trim and sleek like a black pencil skirt or cropped pants... but then I saw this pin and then this one (which I absolutely LOVED) and I thought - forget it! Mama's breaking the rules!

I paired this newly refashioned top with a previously refashioned tablecloth into circle skirt and a white belt, shoes and funky pearl necklace.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Make it! Skater dress to Hi/Low Peplum refashion

This Mama LURVES peplums. We've talked about this before. If you're a curvy gal like me, a peplum can be your best dang friend I tell ya. I admit, when they first came about I wasn't hopping on the peplum train right away, but once I tried one on, my eyes were opened. I had a peplum conversion... a peplumversion if you will.

Another trend I wasn't about to jump on right away was the whole hi-low thing. A lot of the dresses and such that I see out there are super short (think 60s minis) in the front and practically train length in the back. Uh... no thanks. But recently I've seen a few much more subtle hi to low options and I thought I would try it out with this refashion.

Monday, 8 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Ikat stop thinking about this skirt

Ikat stop thinking about this skirt. See what I did there? Ha!
Okay, all joking aside. I got this skirt from Walmart for a whole $5. Yeah. Five. Bucks. Baby.
Sweet. It's the simplest skirt in the entire world given that it's basically a tube with a waistband, but hey - it was $5, you get what you pay for. But, it's actually a decent weight fabric, it's stretchy as all get-out, and it has the ever so popular Ikat/Tribal print on it without being, how do you say, obnoxious, as a lot of the coloured versions of this print are.

See? Kind of obnoxious.

Anywho - normally I would pair this skirt with a peplum type top or a tailored blouse or something of that nature, but I wanted a slightly more comfortable, almost boho feel for this outfit. I went with a blouse that I normally wear OVER other items, never alone, never buttoned up, and a skinny belt (to show that I still, in fact, have a waist under all that fabric). A lot of times I see a pencil skirt styled with a loose blousey top, but as a busty gal if I don't belt the waist I look like I'm walking around wearing the big top ifyaknowwhatImean....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

What Mama Wears: A Shorts Story - Pin to Real Life Style Challenge #4

My goal is to do a round 10 posts of the P2RL style challenge issued by Sarah of Sarah's Real Life. So I'm almost half way there!

I got these sailboat print shorts at Old Navy last summer and they got a LOT of wear - I expect it'll be the same this summer. And I love them, and I love most print shorts I see... but here's the issue I have pinterest.
Why... WHY are all these women wearing HEELS with SHORTS?
I'm sorry - I tried, I mean, I put them on, I looked in the mirror, I walked around my house... and I felt... ridiculous. I mean, RI-DIC-U-LOUS.

I just can't do it. Shorts go with flats in my little world, and these super cute navy boat shoes that I got at Walmart for a whopping $9.00 sure do the trick.

I did love the sleeveless button down and printed short combination in this pin - and it inspired me to pair this high-low sleeveless button down I have in my wardrobe with these print shorts - instead of my go-to white tee-shirt.


So here's my version:

Saturday, 6 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Flowy Prints - Pin to Real Life #3

I got this beautiful skirt as a gift from my parents for my 29th birthday. I haven't worn it too often for a few reasons - 1) it's made of silk, which while making it super breathable and light and flowy, also makes it SILK - I'm so darned afraid of dropping some food or something on it and staining it beyond recognition... cause that HAPPENS...  2) it's a wrap skirt and I never feel like I've got it wrapped correctly, however, adding the belt seems to make a huge difference

I was inspired by this simple outfit that I saw while searching "street style" on pinterest.

She looks comfy and chic in her swingy flowy skirt and t-shirt. Adding a little cardi over top makes it totally wearable if you're going from indoor A/C to outdoor heat and back again. And while I don't have sandals that are quite as cute as hers, I'd be looking to add some to my shoe wardrobe sometime soon!

I've also added some accessories because... well, I love jewellery, what can I say.

Friday, 5 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Pinspired - Pin to Real Life #2

Another instalment of Pin to Real Life! I'm absolutely loving this challenge so far! I've actually started searching on pinterest using some of my wardrobe pieces as a search term and have come across some great outfits that I never would have come up with on my own. I have a tendency to just stick with the same outfit combinations over and over again... it's very easy to get stuck in a rut, putting the same pieces together over and over again just because we know that it works. This is a great way to get some new ideas of how to put together the pieces already in your wardrobe.

This time I was totally inspired by this look on Jessica Alba:

I love her combo of bright denim and a loose blousey button down in a print. She, of course, looks effortlessly put together, and fresh... I figured, at best, I could look dressed. I knew I already had these items in my wardrobe and they made a great, easy summer outfit. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What Mama Wears: Pinspired! Pin to Real Life #1

I have blogged before about one of my fave fashion bloggers, Sarah from Sarah's Real Life. Recently she started a challenge called Pin to Real Life (click for details) and while I don't generally blog about an outfit every day, I thought I might jump on this one for a few installments of WMW since I often find myself pinspired when I'm getting dressed in the am.

*Click the "Pin to Real Life Style Challenge" label at the bottom of this post to see all the P2RL outfits - or click What Mama Wears to see all the Mama fashion posts!
Sarah is a total inspiration to me because she's uber fashionable while still having a very real life. She's not a Mama like me, but she lives a full, busy life and still manages to look put together on a regular basis. Talk about a real-life style icon!

For my first pin-spired outfit I was drawn to the colour combo of this outfit: http://pinterest.com/pin/149604018844642768/

And I liked the shaping of this outfit: http://pinterest.com/pin/149604018844642770/

With a few mama-ified  changes to make this work for my regular day of cleaning my house, baking a cake and prepping for a family birthday party I came up with this! (Try not to be blinded by the pasty whiteness of my arms and legs - what can I say, I'm Canadian and I'm a WASP, it is what it is. I don't tan, people.)

tank: Walmart / skirt: Old Navy / Wedges: Sears / Earrings: Designs...by Patricia / 
Bracelet and Necklace: gifts

Blue and yellow feel really bright and summery. I probably wouldn't have combined these two pieces on my own, but with my pinspiration I thought I couldn't go wrong!

What do you think? Are you ever pin-spired when getting ready?


Monday, 10 June 2013

A Painful Anniversary

Today is a painful anniversary. One I've, honestly, been trying not to think about all day. It helped (ha!) that our water heater broke this morning and our laundry room was flooded and I spent a good chunk of the morning thinking about that instead... but every time I get a spare moment to myself... it creeps in.

A year ago today - my whole life got turned upside down. Stood right on its head. I lost absolute control over everything about myself. A year ago today I learned that I had lost our baby. It was a true death for me. I grieved it as one. I still grieve our baby's loss. I may, likely, do so for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

What Mama Wears: Colour Pop - Colour Block

I first saw this dress when the Target opened up here in our hometown. While lots of people were a little disappointed with the Target here in Canada, I was excited to see so many new designers coming our way. We already had Mossimo, but so many others were not available here beforehand.

I love the colourblocking look that's been so popular over the past couple of years, however, most of the pieces I've found tend to have blocks placed in... awkward positions. This simple sheath with one simple block of colour between the yoke of the dress and the body was a simple way for me to incorporate this trend without having an awkwardly placed chunk of colour over my chest or stomach or anything of the like.

I paired it with my new mother's day gift shoes from my boys and a fascinator from my own collection.

Do you wear colour blocking? What do you think of it as a trend?


Saturday, 25 May 2013

The Organizing Bug: Episode 1: Kitchen

A couple of times a year it hits me. The organizing bug. I start to get a little more antsy in our house. The amount of "stuff" we have around irritates me. I feel like I can't FIND things... and if I let it come to a head, I start to want to just pitch everything. Usually it's about this time of year that I start letting the organizing bug take over - and this time around I thought I would chronicle this little bit of wackiness and share it with you.

I started with our kitchen. Our kitchen is.... irritating. When we bought our house I thought - this is awesome, it's big enough for a kitchen table, has a big window over the sink... fabulous!

Then we moved in and it started to sink in that I only had 2 drawers in the whole kitchen. 2. Drawers. That the corner had a cupboard that was basically completely blind and in order to get at anything in those corners you'd  have to take practically everything out and then perform some kind of contortionism to get the things from the corner out. That the floor was SO not level and that the tile that I actually kind of liked wasn't actually marbled... it was really dirty - and had a TONNE of little nicks, nooks, crannies and such that just were magnetised for dirt.

There didn't seem to be a way that made sense for putting things away... and as such, every now and again, when I let the bug take over, I go "deep clean" mode. It started with emptying out all the cupboards and the 2 drawers. Absolutely EVERYTHING came out. I cleared off our counters completely, and then with a bleach/dish soap solution every counter top, bit of molding, cupboard, shelf, etc got scrubbed and wiped down. Then the purge.

At this point I need the hubs to come in and slow me down. Left to my own devices we'd have 2 plates, cups, bowls, and set of cutlery each ... and that'd be it. Honestly, I'd just started throwing everything out. The rule that I abide by is: if it hasn't been used in a year OR we have more than 1 of an item, it can probably go. There are exceptions of course. I only kept 1 peeler, but I kept 2 pizza cutters.

Now - I apologise, I don't have any before pictures... I was honestly far too embarrassed by the state of our kitchen to even consider taking any. I DO, however, have after pictures to share with you. Yay!

Monday, 13 May 2013

What Mama Wears: on Mother's Day

So, this outfit was inspired by my Mother's Day gift from my boys - these rockin' shoes!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

My Mother, My Friend.

I keep reading these articles and blogs and books and such that say "You are not your child's friend. You are their parent. You can love them unconditionally, you can support and encourage them, you can laugh and play with them, but you are not their friend." and I think... wow. My Mom sure did it wrong.

Now, obviously I'm being a bit sarcastic here. My mother has always been my mother... and while I certainly wasn't your typical teenager (I left the screaming and such to my younger sisters) I certainly had my teenage moments... but having lived at home throughout school, and even university, and now I'm grown and have kiddos of my own, I can honestly say that I am proud to call her both my Mom and my friend.

We do a lot together. We dance together in our church's liturgical dance group, we chat regularly, drop by each other's houses, drink tea, email practically daily... she is definitely my Mom. There are times in all of our lives when we just need to talk to our mothers... but she is also definitely my friend.

She taught me to be strong, and she supports me when I'm not. She taught me to be confident, and she built me up so that I could be. She taught me to laugh at myself, by never being afraid to show her silly, goofy side. She taught me to try new things, because you never know what your next passion might be. She taught me the value of good food, good friends, family and that time is the most precious gift you can give anyone.

She has also helped me through this dark time this past year, by not being afraid to share her own journey through the darkness of depression and loss. She is a powerfully vulnerable, beautifully confident, and an amazingly wonderful woman. My mother, my friend.

Happy Mother's Day Mama. Thank you for being the mother I'm striving to be.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

What Mama Wears: Purple and Red

So,  have you heard of the Red Hat Society? It's a society for women, that's fun and open and all kinds of wonderful... but they all wear red and purple together, and I'll admit that every time I combine those colours (EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.) I can't help but think about them... so it's not often that I do it, but this dress just had such lovely bright red/orange flowers that were screaming out to be paired up with some red accessories - how could I say no?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

What Mama Wears: Chambray and Chiffon

Sometimes I love combining two seemingly unrelated fabrics. I wore this outfit to a church service, the chambray is light and comfortable and I decided to pair it with this knife pleated chiffon skirt. This outfit was easy to wear and fun.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

What Mama Wears: Animal Print

I always love when I see someone in animal print. It's all over pinterest, leopard print, zebra print... and then I go into a store, fall in love with a piece... try it on - and look like I'm in a hallowe'en costume. I don't know what it is about animal prints, but half the time it just doesn't look right on me. So a couple of years ago when I found this giraffe-esque print sheath dress, I loved it, and for once, actually loved how it looked on me.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What Mama Wears: Comfy Boho? Or An outfit in progress...

Generally I tend to share with you the outfits that I think I look decent in. But today, the hubs actually said "Hey, you look nice!" and I thought, huh - well, I guess I'd better put this on the blog. Usually, the outfits I share are for a specific purpose, like going to church, performing, outings with people who aren't my family (I mean, if you can wear sweatpants around anyone, it's your fam) but this is more of a "hey, it's Tuesday and this is clean" kind of outfit... that picked up accessories as the day went on.

For example: this morning I knew I wanted to wear this skirt - sometimes I just feel like wearing a skirt, and I LOVE this one because a)I got it at V-V Boutique for less than $5 and b) it has pockets. Yeah... pockets!
I had it on with a white long sleeve tee, which lasted about 20 minutes until I was putting juice in a drink cup for the big'un's lunchbag, had a random hand spasm and ended up wearing most of it. So... the white tee went the way of the dodo and I put this pinky-purplish henley on instead... which I actually like better. Then as I was putting shoes away in the closet I found this belt on the floor which I bought at the Ex like a billion years ago (or like 6 years, whatever), so I put it on. Then I took it off and put it on backwards because I love the beads. Then I noticed I had left these earrings and necklace in the bathroom the last time I wore them, so instead of putting them away, I put them on... and well, here we are.

So - I'm questioning whether or not this qualifies as "boho"? The belt and the jewellery feel a little boho to me... but I don't know about the skirt and henley. In any case, it's comfy and it was clean. So - this is what Mama wears on days like that.

Emotional rollercoaster

So, when I was young, we did a youth musical at our church (actually, we did a bunch of them, but this one sticks out right now) and one had a song that went like this "This rollercoaster ride of life, lifts you up and lets you down. This rollercoaster ride of life, spins you round and round and round. Heaven knows, wherever you go, He will be there by your side. On this rollercoaster ride, of life."

Now, obviously, as teens,  we all totally related to this. I mean, when in your life are your more on an emotional rollercoaster than when you're a teenager. But this past year has been as much of an emotional rollercoaster as any time in my life.

Right now, I'm in the process of switching to a new medication. Fun, wow - right? ugh.

Friday, 5 April 2013

What Mama Wears: Easter Morning

Easter Morning! I sing in the praise team at our church, and on Easter Sunday we were asked to wear "dark coloured bottoms, light tops, and a splash of spring colour"... well, I would say technically this Mama stuck to the dress code ;) Plus it was exciting to get a chance to wear these great shoes again. They're so fun and springy!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bauble Desire - What Mama would wear

So part 2 of Mama's window(s) shopping is accessories. I love spring and summer, all the stores start to embrace bright bold colours and prints and fun patterns... I get so down in the winter when apparently we're all supposed to wear pastels and neutrals... I mean honestly, it should be switched, when do we need colour more? When it's drab and cold and dreary? Or when it's warm and bright? Okay, I need colour year round, or Mama gets grouchy... but I digress.

Back to window shopping. Here are the shoes and accessories that I would love to add to my wardrobe this fashion season.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Mama's Wardrobe Wishlist

Confession time: I'm kind of a cheapskate.

Well, to be fair, I'm willing to spend cash on things if I think they're a good deal, truly, but most of the time, paying full price for something just makes me a little crazy. I love shopping at second hand stores, discount department stores, clearance racks often call my name... usually I end up buying something from "V-V boutique" (aka Value Village) and refashioning it into something similar to what I'm longing for in stores.

To that end, I am a prolific window shopper... and thanks to the internet, when I say window, I mean windows... I love looking through clothing websites, copying pics of items that I like and then looking for things to re-create at home for a fraction of the price. Yay cheapskates!

So I thought I'd share my current wardrobe wishlist with you, and tell you why I'm looking for these items.

Monday, 1 April 2013

What Mama Wears... to a weddin'!

As mentioned in a previous post, my sister-in-law recently got married. She was a beautiful bride and the day was lovely, everything we could have hoped for. I was not in the wedding party, however, I did read scripture at the ceremony, and the boys were her ring-bearers. Too cute! The hubs played trumpet with his brother as their sister came down the aisle, and it was a beautiful ceremony. This means that my outfit needed to be slightly more than "average wedding guest" and slightly less than "in the bridal party". I think I found my happy medium.

I wore a great dress that I picked up when shopping in Buffalo with my Mom and sisters. Some funky accessories and it was a lovely springy outfit perfect for a day of celebrating. Let me know what you think!

I'll start by sharing a pic of my gorgeous sister-in-law... see?

Sunday, 31 March 2013

What Mama Wears: Pin-up Style Mama

Hello Bloggies! Mama's been away for a while because we had some MAJOR family events going on - the most recent big one being that the Hubs' sister got married! It was a gorgeous day, we had a blast, and I thought I would start by sharing the outfit I wore for the rehearsal and dinner that followed.

I have always LOVED pin-up style. Now, I'll be honest, for most aspects of my life there's not much that are pin-up style worthy, but occasionally I get a chance to dress up and have a little fun. What I think I've always enjoyed about pin-up style is that it can be sexy while not being seriously revealing. It's a little vintage, a little fun!

Shirt: Ricki's / Belt: Ricki's / Capri's: Ricki's / Necklace: Designs ...By Patricia 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

What Mama Wears: Ankle Boot love

Do you have a shoe-wish-list? I can't be the only one. I will willingly admit to regularly "window shopping" shoe websites and dreaming about owning different pairs of shoes. The hubs will attest to the fact that when we got married and moved into our first apartment together he insisted on counting as we unpacked the boxes I had labelled "shoes". I tried to insist that flip-flops do NOT count as pairs of shoes, nor do slippers, and I even tried to slip moccasins into that non-count list as well. He disagreed and counted every single pair of footwear that I owned... over 200 pairs later, he tried to make me admit that I had a problem. I did not. I said: "The only one with a problem here - is you. Obviously."

After being pregnant, my feet widened out and I had to reluctantly give up several of my beloved pairs of shoes and I'm now down to a much more manageable no. of pairs of footwear though I'm slowly trying to build up my collection... I figure if I go slow enough, the hubs won't notice.

Back to this post: the reasoning behind this little back story is: 1) I desperately wanted these boots the moment I saw them but they were $25 and I rarely if ever pay that much for shoes and 2) When I finally bought them they were on sale for $9. Yeah, $9. NINE. The hubs could not refuse me - ha ha!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Make it! T-shirt Refashion

Don't you love the comfort of a great t-shirt? I know I do. But I can't stand to wear a big, shapeless sack of a t-shirt. I picked up a couple of shirts and refashioned one into a semi-peplum style top. It's so easy, you could do it too!
So, I've included a random paint tutorial, and I'll intersperse real pics where I can, though the paint pics do a better job of showing how to do this.