Friday, December 8, 2017

oh christmas tree


It's the 8th of December, and I've had our Christmas tree for nearly two weeks, and I'm finally getting around to showing you what it looks like.

It's perfect.
However, I'm going to be honest. Right now I have two boys home from school, snuggled by the fireplace - one sleeping, the other reading (the littlest napping upstairs) - and I would much rather curl up with them and enjoy a quiet afternoon than go into lengthy detail of my tree.

Instead, I'll share lots of photos and keep my comments to a few.


This year, we visited the farm of a family friend (neighbors of my grandparents), who has been reforesting some of his land. However, he's running into overcrowding and in order to keep the trees growing healthy, he needs to thin them out to give them room. We decided they would make the perfect old fashioned Christmas trees. So into the woods we went.
 

While I add a new decoration or two, I've settled into a collection of ornaments that I love, so the look hasn't changed much. I didn't put as many on this year as the tree was quite a bit more sparse.


I added a new tree skirt, something I've been looking to buy for a while. This one is from Oliver and Rust and it's burlap with a cream lace fringe. (The pillows on the couch are also made by her.)




My ornaments are almost entirely mercury glass, most of which are from Pottery Barn or Homesense.



And while we have another tree in our family room, filled with the boys' handmade ornaments, a few special ones do get put on the living room tree. Like this snowflake Hudson made, or the thumbprint heart Willen made (note how they've decorated them - or not decorated them - to suit my taste!).

 

It really is my favourite tree. The only thing it's missing is the real tree scent. For some reason it doesn't smell as strong as a real tree from a tree farm, but there are plenty of other greens in the house to make up for it.


Next up is the fireplace!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

gingerbread recipe


I spent more time today than I care to admit making Gingerbread. That being said, they're the prettiest Gingerbread I've ever made, so I thought I would share them here.

The recipe I used for the Gingerbread was for Gingerbread Snowflakes by Martha Stewart Living, and I used Jenny Steffens' Royal Icing recipe for the decorating.

*note - I added an extra 1/4 cup of icing sugar to the Royal Icing recipe, just so it was firm enough to hold a nice line, but soft enough to pipe easily.

They were a little time consuming, but actually fairly easy. Just don't skimp out on the chilling!
Happy baking.

Ps. Follow along on Instagram if you aren't already!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

a second thanksgiving



While we already celebrated Thanksgiving at the beginning of October, I couldn't help but join all my American friends and celebrate again! We were away at the cottage and it was relaxing and gorgeous, but I didn't get to spend the day preparing a meal or setting a beautiful table. And to be honest, even though the leaves were beautiful way up North, it still felt like summer back home.

And while Thanksgiving is long gone, at least it seems that way, and we're all in full Christmas spirit, I still wanted to share a couple photos from the day.


As it was only the five of us, I stuffed a turkey breast instead of doing a whole turkey, and served it with stuffing with leeks, roasted carrots and Brussel sprouts, maple Buttercup squash and an apple pie for dessert. I would have made pumpkin pie, but was outnumbered by every other family member (and the last thing I need is a whole pumpkin pie).


I love setting the table. I like how cozy it feels to eat with candlelight. And I love taking my time, tweaking it until it's just the way I want it. It was all worth it when Hudson leaned over and said "I always love it when we have fancy dinners together".


I took out my calligraphy set to make some place settings.
(Did I mention how much I love my chargers?)

And the grand finale, apple pie.

I hope you and enjoyed your Thanksgiving celebrations as much as I did. We spent the day as a family, and before we sat down to eat, we went out and cut down out Christmas tree. More on that soon!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Fall in Niagara on the Lake - Part One

 

My sister got married this past weekend in one of my favourite towns - historic Niagara on the Lake. As it was a morning wedding, I had later in the afternoon to walk around town with the boys. It's not far from where we live, which means I often find myself wandering it's streets. It's quite a tourist destination, so I don't usually do much more than window shop and admire the historic old homes.

Fall and Christmas suit this town perfectly, and this particular Autumn day couldn't have been more perfect. It was cool, but the sun was warm, and the leaves are in full color.



My first stop is usually to pick up a coffee to walk around with, and a perfect Fall day like this meant finally enjoying a Pumpkin Spice latte. The town's Starbucks is in one of the homes built in 1830. It's beyond charming.




From there I just take my time browsing up one side, and then back down the other. I never tire looking in the windows and admiring the beautiful storefronts.


These front planters are simply en point! In fact, next to Stratford, Ontario, Niagara on the Lake has the most beautiful gardens and planters.





The touring ended at the iconic Prince of Wales Hotel. Across the road is a park, and we spent the rest of the daylight swinging on the swings and going up and down the slide.



This is the courthouse where she got married. You can rent out a large ball room and theatre for events. It was a gorgeous venue, but really, the whole town is just the perfect town.

 Tomorrow we will head back and tour the historic homes all dressed for Fall. There was just too much to see and not enough time!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Bachelorette Party


My younger sister is getting married in two days and this past weekend, we got to throw her a bachelorette party!

Now, while there may have been lacy underwear hanging from the mantel, and Rose all around, we kept things classy, but still fun.





As favours we packaged pink and cream macarons, bath bombs and rose clay bath salts.



We also made sugar cookies and decorated them in different frilly lingerie. This was a Pinterest win!

(While making this, my five year old son came in and asked what we were doing. When I said "What do they look like to you?", he replied "Bridges." So we went with that.)


We kept the drinks fun and girly, with Sangria and Rose, and also a pink punch and Italian Sodas.


The panties on a line is something I've done for both of my sister's bachelorettes. It's a fun decoration that doubles as a gift. Plus you can coordinate the colours with the decor.



This Bride to Be banner was found at Homesense.


My sister Becki (left), organized go-karting for us before the party. It was a huge success!



Here's the bride, in a hot pink go-kart to boot!


Starbucks followed and then back to my place for appetizers and chocolate fondue, and the most ridiculous game that involved saying phrases with a crazy plastic mouthpiece. Lots of laughter ensued.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving


For the first time, we spent our Thanksgiving long weekend up at the cottage.

The weather was perfect - sunny, and still fairly cool. And the leaves had started changing, and continued to be more vibrant as the week went on.


We spent all day walking the shoreline, lying in the hammocks, reading in the sun room - just enjoying time as a family. My mother in law cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner for us. I made pumpkin and apple pie, which was enjoyed with coffee, every day following.











One of my many, many things to be thankful for are these times when we get away. The cottage is our home away from home. We slow down. We talk. We giggle. We make memories together, forgetting the world beyond the trees and lake. For a few days it's just us. 


I hope your Thanksgiving was just as wonderful.