Well friends, I officially dropped the ball with Valentine’s this year. Normally I’m completely prepared by at least the week before, but with everything going on lately, our house isn’t  sporting a single heart (gasp!) and I really only started giving thought to what the kids are going to hand out at school yesterday (#truth). If you’re finding yourself in the same position, fear not, I have the cutest DIY Valentines that take no time to whip up and your kids will be thrilled to share them with their friends. I actually made these for both of the boy’s classes last year. Normally I wouldn’t be able to get away with repeating the same thing two years in a row, but Loic’s preschool class doesn’t have any of the same children and so I’m going for it! Hudson seems quite pleased with his box of Star Wars Valentines and I’ve reconciled myself to accept that sometimes you just can’t be crafty with everything. So, enough preamble… here are details!

I absolutely don’t get the credit for this idea. I found this free printable through Pinterest and all props go to the very creative, Danyelle from Dandee Designs.

What I love so much about this Valentine is that you can add gummy worms for a sweet treat or go with something a little less sugary, and attach a toy bug or two.


Download the printable by clicking here.

To redeem myself from this festive fail, I’m going to promptly start planning for Easter!

meal plan
I can’t chat about the week to come without touching on the week that was… what. a. week! If you read last Sunday’s blog post, you know I had a lot on the go. While my planner was definitely packed, I thought I had it all choreographed perfectly, and I did, until we had two snow storms! Now that I’m on the other side of things, I can chuckle over the chaos, but while in the thick of it, it was rough going. The hardest challenge that I’m currently dealing with is juggling between my online content and KonMari business while still being a full-time stay at home mom. I’m in the process of trying to establish childcare for at least a couple of days a week, but until that gets sorted… coffee (and prayer)! Having two storm days really threw everything for a loop, but was also a good wake up call in terms of scheduling and really planning ahead.

Despite the nuttiness, we still managed to have some fun, too! There is something exciting and cozy about snow days and I swear I get as giddy as Hudson when we receive notice of no school. The kids spent lots of time in the new snow, watching movies and enjoying some crafting. Hudson had his first piano lesson and thoroughly enjoyed it!

This week, while busy, isn’t nearly as hectic as the last. Valentine’s Day is only a few days away and I haven’t done a single thing! I’m hoping to be able to square away the kid’s school goodies and decorate a little on Sunday (I’ll share, of course). On the project front, I’m looking forward to Mairi’s new bed arriving so we can finish updating her bedroom. My other task of organizing and decorating my office is taking much longer than I anticipated, but there’s really no deadline, so I’m simply working on it when I find I have the time. I’d like to look at doing something fun next weekend with the family, suggestions are welcome!

Meal plan is another simple one this week. With some messy weather heading our way, I’m hesitant to plan for anything too complicated.

Weekly Meal Plan – February 12-18
Sunday – Slow-cooker chicken and stuffing, potatoes and root veggies
Monday – Baked mac & cheese, spinach salad
Tuesday – Turkey Ranch wraps and veggie sticks
Wednesday – Breakfast for supper
Thursday – Baked salmon, wild rice, roasted veggies
Friday – Tacos
Saturday – Chilli

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing week ahead!

Well friends, it is official… while the baby of the family will always be just that, Miss Mairi is officially a toddler. I’m sure what defines the transition from baby to toddler varies by parent, but for me, it is packing away the crib. This was done without my input a few weeks ago while I had the boys out at a birthday party. Rob felt she was ready (I’ll refrain from sharing my thoughts – ha!) and so I came home to Mairi screeching and jumping on her “big girl bed”. Clearly, there was no going back. I have to say, despite my initial freak out, Mairi has handled her new level of freedom quite well and there have only been a couple of 2am visits from her. Now that the crib is out and potty training is underway, which means soon the changing pad and supplies will be gone too, I’ve started brainstorming for ideas on how to update her bedroom to reflect toddlerhood.




I love the existing colour palette (see below), the little tchotchkes, furniture and overall “vintage” styling of her room; these are definitely the anchors to the updates I am planning.

 

In truth, there isn’t really a huge amount I want or need to do. The major change is a more appropriate sized bed than the one she is currently in. My parents, thankfully, kept my 3/4 size bed that I had growing up. It has a pretty metal frame that’s sturdy and feminine, but presently it’s far too big for her and the room (which is pathetically small). So, the plan is to return the bed back to the utility room until she’s older and buy something smaller. I had a few criteria in mind while I Googled away “small, cute, sturdy beds” and kept finding my way to Ikea’s Minnen bed. The price point is reasonable, it’s dainty and expands! A solid win on all fronts.

Now that the bed has been determined, I’ve more or less been poking around the internet for accessories and some other smaller things to create a bit of a change. Target’s Pillowfort line is my current obsession. I fell in love with the whole line while in Florida last year. I managed to squeeze one pillow into our luggage, but have since regretted not sending my parents home with more. Since my parents are back in Florida this year and thankfully the same Pillowfort line is still stocked, I’m not holding back! I’ve been sending my Mum pictures and she’s on the hunt.

I promise to provide a proper before and after tour, but for now, here is an idea of what I’ve been looking at:
toddler girl bedroom
1. Ikea Minnen Bed – A classic look that I know will match well with the existing eclectic furniture. We will also be purchasing an Ikea mattress to fit perfectly.
2. Target Pillowfort Wall-mounted Unicorn – Wall-mounted stuffed unicorn… need I say more?!
3. Ikea Smila Blomma Wall Lamp – I have Ikea star wall lamps for each of the boys and I love them. Given their young ages, it’s nice knowing for safety reasons that I don’t have to worry about lamps being knocked over and they’re really convenient for the kids to be able to turn on/off while in bed. I’m leaning towards the flower one for Mairi as I think it will be a nice contrast to her wall colour, but I’m also debating if this new cloud one wouldn’t be cuter… decisions, decisions.
4. Charlton Home Glasgow Pink Rug Ideally, a yellow rug would be an option, but unfortunately with the colour tones in our floor it’ll clash too much. The next choice would be white… but kids, so no. I found this rug and really liked the shade and that it’s low pile, it’ll work well in front of her bed.
5. Pillowfort Fetching Florals (pictured as single bed) and Xhiliration Multi Floral (double) Major toss up! I like both of these floral prints because they’re equally cheerful, patterned and in the colour scheme I’m working with. I’m leaning more towards the Pillowfort set only because the shades are more muted.. but then again, maybe something more vibrant would be a better contrast? Thoughts?!
6. 3 pack Arrows I love the colours and think it would make a nice, dimensional piece on the main wall. However of all the ideas shown above, these are low on the list of things to buy.
7. Super Girl Pillow Is Etsy not the best?! I love this sweet pillow. It’s peppy and totally matches Mairi’s fun personality.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!



meal plan week at a glance

Lots on the docket this week, so I’ll jump right into sharing what the plans are!

On the home front, I am pushing through with the remaining organization projects. My main focus areas are the back entryway closet, my new office area, laundry/utility room and craft closet. The list is only a tad overwhelming when I think of how much work this will involve, but one. task. at. a. time! Knowing I won’t be able to check everything off this week, I’m going to focus first on the back entryway and office. Anything in addition to that will be a huge bonus. Hudson starts his first piano lesson on Monday and he’s thrilled. I’m so excited that he’s interested in music. I took lessons as a child and really enjoyed them (we won’t discuss my lack of talent – ha!). Unlike his poor Mum, Hudson has a natural musical ability and it’ll be a blessing to see this develop. I also have a friend’s baby shower to attend on Friday evening and am looking forward to being able to catchup with friends and do something social (it has been far too long)! Oh, and then at some point I’m going to need to decorate for Valentine’s Day and sort out something sweet for the kid’s to take to school.

Work wise, February’s Virtual Group Tidying program started today and I’m thrilled with being able to lead another group through the process! I’m also finishing up the last of the program material for my KonMari Kids Group Tidying program that will start at the end of February. There are a few more things I’m working on and I’ll share in the coming weeks!
On my channel I’m looking forward to showing some of my favourite inexpensive ways to organize toys, a Daily to Do video and I’d like to do a brainstorming video and/or post sharing my ideas for Mairi’s bedroom makeover. Gosh, just writing that all out has me exhausted 😛

Let’s talk meals! We did well last week with changing up our menu to accommodate some new recipes and the plan is to do the same again. The line up can be found below and as always, click the titles for the direct recipe links:

Weekly Meal Plan – February 5-11
(brought to you by my love for Ree Drummond and Mexican food)
Sunday – Baked Chicken, Roasted Vegetables
MondayBaked Spaghetti 
TuesdayVeggie Stir-fry
Wednesday – Grilled Ham & Cheese Panini Sandwiches & Veggie sticks
Thursday – Simple Perfect Enchiladas
Friday – Loaded Nachos (because, yum and it’s Friday)
Saturday – Oven stew

monthly favourites, shopping haul

PRODUCTS
(click on titles for Amazon links*)

1. Rimmel 9 in 1 Hydrating BB Cream (shade light)
2. Essence Eyeshadow Primer
3. Almay Smart Shade Lip Butter Pink Light/Medium
4. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter
5. Upper Canada Soap Salon Dry Hair Towel *similar product
6. J.R Watkins Vapor Rub
7. Danskin Lifewear Cami
8. Calin’s Starry Starlite Hoops (use promo: GIMMETEN for 10% off)
9. Orb Factory Morph



 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Please note that I do receive a small commission based on purchases made through Amazon Affiliate links. This does not cost you anything and helps to support being able to publish my blog. I appreciate your support!

week at a glance

Look at me go… two weeks in a row posting my week at a glance and this week I’m adding a video! I won’t make any commitment that I’ll be doing a video every Sunday, but at the least I’ll be sharing our weekly meal plans.

I chatted a lot in the video I posted, so I’ll keep things short & sweet on the blog for this week. Check out the video below for details on what’s going on this week and a look at my two Happy Planners.

Weekly Meal Plan – Jan 29-Feb 4
Sunday – Fish, steamed veggies, potatoes
Monday – Marinara (Kirkland brand) sauce & pasta, salad, rolls
Tuesday – Tuna melts & veggie sticks
Wednesday – Frozen Pulled Chicken over rice
Thursday – Mexican Bake
Friday – Homemade pizza
Saturday – Oven stew
(Rob’s own recipe which he knows by memory, but will take notes of so I can share)

I wish you a wonderful start to February!

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been nearly a year since I last posted to my blog and just carry on, okay?…

My Week at a Glance videos have always been pretty popular on my channel, but like my blog, I dropped the ball (whoops!). For 2017 I’d like to pick it back up, but keep things simple by primary posting here. If I’m able to swing it on our busy Sundays, I’ll also do a video sharing my planner spread.

I’m really looking forward to this week. On the home front, it’s a relatively easy one and I’m always thankful for those! Today Rob installed a floating shelf above my office desk and now I feel more inspired than ever to focus on creating a space of my own to reserve for work. I’ll be sharing the decor and organization in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! I’m also finishing up organizing my jewelry and will be hopefully filming and posting that video in the coming days.

We’ve been in a real rut as of late with seemingly having the same meals over and over. So for this week’s meal plan, I went straight to Pinterest for recipe inspiration and found what I hope will be a couple winners to add to the mix.

 

Weekly Meal Plan – Jan 22-28
Sunday – Marinara (Kirkland brand) sauce & pasta, salad, rolls
Monday – Shepherd’s Pie (my own recipes, which I promise I will do a post on soon)
Tuesday – Veggie Stir-fry
Wednesday – Easy Alfredo Casserole
Thursday – Pan fried haddock, potato, steamed veggies
Friday – Chicken Burrito Bowls

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

marie kondo spark joy tips
I haven’t exactly been quiet about my love for Marie Kondo’s latest book, “spark joy”. Quite the opposite. I’ve been bragging up “spark joy” every opportunity I get (you’d honestly think Ms. Kondo pays me… I assure you she does not -ha!).
I really wanted to spend time going through the book several times before sharing the key points that resonated the most with me. “spark joy” is very dense with information, so it took me a bit to really narrow it down (again why I recommend purchasing the book for yourself, because what speaks to me may not necessarily with you).

1. Purge by Category and Not by Room: Since sharing my KonMari journey, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people going through their own home purge/organization process. Most were following the KonMari method, but some were opting to do their own thing. For those that weren’t going with Ms Kondo’s method, they all seemed to prefer purging by room or area in their home, rather than by category as Marie suggests. In “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” it is made clear that the method involves purging by category, but no real reason for this is provided. “spark joy” confirms the reason, by making it clear that only when we really look at the volume of each particular category is it made obvious how much we should discard. A ha!

2. Purge First, Organize Later: If you’ve followed by journey, you know that this was a very vague area within “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and actually caused me a considerable amount of grief. Marie unfortunately didn’t make it clear whether purging should be done first, followed by organizing or if the two could be done simultaneously. In “spark joy” however Ms Kondo puts the debate to rest, confirming that purging is to be done first, and organizing second. Her reasoning is simply that if your home isn’t entirely purged first, you won’t know how things will be best stored and organized. Having only what you know you will being keeping with a lot more free space in your home, will make organizing a much easier task that you’ll only have to do once.




3. “For essential things that don’t bring joy, look at what they do for you”: The only hangup I’ve had when it comes to using the KonMari question of “does it spark joy?” as a measure of whether I should keep something, is when I was faced with tools and home cleaning supplies. Of course my broom doesn’t spark joy… but, what would I do without it? The reality that my broom aids in my housework and makes it easier to keep my floors clean, does spark joy.

4. Don’t Confuse Clutter for Rebound: Life is busy and sometimes we simply don’t have the time to keep our home clutter free; things build up and suddenly we find our house looks like a still shot from the show Hoarders. Fear not says Ms. Kondo if you’ve purged and gone through the home organization process then it’s simply a matter of putting back the things left out to their designated places and with a bit of effort everything is tidy again.

5. Grey Items: When it comes to purging, there are only two options: chuck it or keep it. However, sometimes it’s not that black and white and we’re undecided on what to do about  certain items. If you feel like you’re undecided, then don’t hide the item – display it and reflect on the ever important question of whether it “sparks joy” and then do what speaks to you. Hiding the idea away will delay the decision process.

6. Make Your Own Power Spot: Create an area in your home that is your mini sanctuary. If space allows, designate a room or a corner area for this purpose. If you find yourself unable to make a larger power spot, opt for something smaller like a corner on your kitchen counter. The purpose is to have an area for yourself that is strictly for enjoyment and will give you a “joyful” feeling every time you spend time in the space or look at the spot you’ve designed.

7. Keep Like Feeling and Similar Material Items Together: Materials create a feeling: metal for example feels industrial and sterile, while wood and fabric feel warm and inviting. Keeping this in mind, organize in likeness for the feeling you want to create in the space you’re organizing.

8. Marie Kondo’s 4 Storage Principals: 
1. Fold it
2. Stand it upright
3. Store it
4. Divide storage into square compartments




monthly goals february

Some months I really have to work to come up with my five goals, while months like this one, it’s very apparent to me what they should be. February’s five goals were made obvious through the month of January as I started the year off very focused on establishing my work and family life balance. I’m creating more content than every before and couldn’t be happier doing so; but with this comes more of a time commitment. The investment of both my time, resources, and the support of others deserves my full acknowledgement of being “work”. This is the focus on the first half of my goals. The second half, is concentrated on gratitude and acknowledging the beauty in those I’m blessed to have in my life. Oh, and water… always with the water.

Monthly Goals for February

1. Own What I Do: I naturally shy away completely avoid telling people what I do. I find it almost impossible to give myself the title of, “content creator” for a number of reasons. I worry people aren’t familiar with my line of work and it will require a lot of explanation. It causes me anxiety to think people will judge me and I always find myself justifying or convincing. It should be noted that no one has ever made me feel like what I do isn’t significant, it’s purely my own insecurities that hold me back from being able to confidently name my job. However, I recognize that I am far too committed and passionate about what I do to not fully embrace it. I will work this month on being much more vocal on naming my job.

2. Stop Making Excuses: Being a content creator takes far more time than I ever would have imagined. As I mentioned in my first goal, being able to produce content requires a large commitment of time that I will no longer apologize for. Again, this is my own hang up, but definitely one I need to get over (like yesterday).

3. Write Down a Simple Gratitude Everyday: A sunny day. My reliable vehicle. Healthy children. A strong community of supportive friends and family. A phone call from my Mum. My third goal this month is to give a moment of reflection at the end of each day in which I will pen down one thing I’m grateful for.

4. Recognize the Attributes in Others. My fourth goal involves letting others know the wonderful traits and qualities I see in them. It is so easy to think there is time, or worse, that others already know their strong suites, when neither is the case. Pointing out the attributes I admire in others will be made a priority.

5. Increase my Water Intake… I know, I know. Someday, friends.

konmari kitchen organization
I’ve only just recently recovered from how much work purging our kitchen was (seriously, how can such a seemingly small space hold so much stuff?!). Knowing I had to face the same space again and reorganize it all, had me stalling. If you find yourself feeling the way I was, fear not friends, I got through it and not only did I survive, I promise it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, having a strategy and keeping things simple made it almost fun (yes, really) to work through our home’s busiest space.

Using Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy as inspiration, and going with her key point of having your kitchen serve the purpose of encouraging you to want to cook, and having things stored in such a way that it’s easy to maintain tidiness, this is what I’ve come up with for an easy strategy for achieving an organized kitchen:

Step One: Get a Game Plan!
Spend time in your kitchen and really look at the way things are currently set up:
1. Take a good look at the different areas of space in your kitchen.
A. Are you making the best use of the “prime real-estate” storage spaces? Keep your most frequently used items in the most accessible spaces, while storing your infrequent things in the lesser preferred areas.
B. Is your kitchen set up in the most practical and efficient way? Look at the way you use your kitchen, where you prepare your food and drink and evaluate how you currently have things stored in relation this.
C. What can you change to make your kitchen work better? Play around with different ideas, until you come up with a solution that “clicks” and makes the most amount of sense.
2. If you’re struggling with establishing what changes need to be made, seek out help from someone else!

Step Two: Plan
Once you’ve determined what changes need to be made, it’s time to plan:
1. Measure (and measure again) all the different drawers and cupboards – include measurements for different configurations of how you can organize each space (buying ideal sized containers isn’t always possible, you may need to play around with layouts)
2. Take an inventory of all your staple food products and make a list of all the containers/jars you need to purchase
3. Bring container list and measuring tape to the store (Dollar stores are wonderful places to buy containers and storage solutions)
4. Buy containers in one colour to keep things looking uniform.

Step Three: Get to Work!
Now that you’ve planned and prepared, it’s time to organize!
1. Work in sections to avoid your whole kitchen being a disaster zone!
A. Pull everything out of the space you’re working in, clean the drawer/cupboard, insert organizational aids, and put food in storage containers.
B. Don’t be afraid to put like products in the same container to conserve storage space
C. Label jars/containers if necessary.
D. If needed, implement secondary kitchen storage (closet, hutch, etc.)




sparkjaymariekondo
Not to be too dramatic, but I have counted down the days in my planner to the circled January 5th release date of Marie’s Kondo, “spark joy”, for well over the last month. I had questions that only Ms. Kondo could answer and I hoped this companion book would finally shed some light on what I felt was vague or completely omitted in her first book, “The life changing magic of tidying up”. And friends, Marie Kondo, delivered.

Before I get into things, a disclaimer is only fair, I have not finished the book… yet. I wanted to share with you my first impression of “spark joy” because I’ve been asked my opinion of it, and specifically whether it’s worth purchasing. So, a full review is coming, but for now this is what I can share.

Buy the book! If you’ve started the KonMari method, I truly suggest purchasing this book now and when questions arise (as they likely will), refer to ‘Part One: KonMari Master Tips” as you’ll likely have your issues addressed in this section. Take it from someone who didn’t have this new book while going through the process, it will really help. If you’ve completed the purging portion of the method and are in what I call phase two of organizing, this book is going to sort out all the storage potential your home has to offer… with visual aids, hurrah! See, you need the book.

Though I haven’t read cover to cover yet, I have finished ‘Part One’ and flipped through the book enough times to confidently say, Marie Kondo has really revamped her delivery and overall writing style. Compared to the first book, which introduced the method, “spark joy” is much easier to follow; it’s detailed and specific, the drawings provide the perfect accompaniment to her descriptions which doesn’t leave room for confusion, and I love her  breakdown for home organization into almost every area of the house and category of items imaginable.

If you’ve had a chance to dive into “spark joy”, I’d love to know your thoughts please feel free to share!




 

great village nova scotia

 

Every once in awhile I find myself in a place that is exactly where I was meant to be. This was the case in early November when I packed up our two youngest children, met up with my Mum, and went for a gorgeous road trip to a place in Nova Scotia that is one of my favourites, Great Village.

Great Village is known for its quaint antique shops that make you feel as though you’ve truly been transported back in time. It’s intimate and a treasure trove for finding the most unique pieces (at reasonable prices!).

Though I love all the shops, Nesting Antiques has my heart. It’s owned by Rhenore Collins (whom you’ll hear the voice of towards the end of my video) and it’s one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. I could take everything in her shop home with me. From small pieces of coral, to old photographs, jewelry, Victorian clothing, and large furniture pieces Nesting Antiques is a time capsule of beautiful things time has been kind to.

So you can imagine how disappointed I was to find her store closed when we arrived. I knew she was inside, because a gentlemen told me he was speaking with her, but that she wasn’t opened for business. It was my Mum (thanks, Mum) who gave me the nudge to still knock on the door, and in the least, say hello to her and ask if there was another time I could come back. Rhenore graciously welcomed me into her shop and instantly I felt like I knew her forever (some people just have that way). She chatted about her love of treasures, living in a barn as a child and watching the barn swallows fly above her head as she fell asleep, she shared that as a little girl she carried little bits of things she found in a cigar box because it always made her feel like home to look at them… she touched my heart. Rhenore also afforded me as much time as I wanted to explore and film her shop so I could share it with you. My footage conveys my experience better than my words ever could, so please take a look:





nuts and bolts mix recipe I was SO looking forward to including this recipe with you all as part of my Christmas series, but things played out a bit differently this month (you can read about it here), and it just wasn’t possible to get this up… until now. Though I prepared this as Christmas gifts, the mix would still work wonderfully for New Years (or let’s be serious, any time of year)!
Before I jump into the goods, I have to give a big shoutout to a friend who kindly shared this recipe with me. After receiving this mix for a couple Christmases (and secretly hiding it in the back of the fridge from the rest of my family… totally serious), I just had to ask her if she wouldn’t mind sharing and she didn’t at all (woo hoo)!

Here it is:
CHRISTMAS NUTS & BOLTS

DRY INGREDIENTS:
-1 Box Chex cereal (equivalent to 4 cups or as desired)
-1 Box Cheerios (… 4 cups or as desired)
-1 Pkg Cheddar Cheese Bits n Bites mix
-1 Pkg Cheddar Goldfish crackers
-1 pkg Bugles
-Nuts as desired

SEASONING:
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup melted butter
-1/2 tsp chives
-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 tsp garlic
-1.5 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp Greek seasoning
-1/2 tsp celery salt
-1 tsp lemon pepper
-2 tbsp dill weed

DIRECTIONS:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Combine dry ingredients in large roast pan
-Mix seasoning ingredients together
-Add seasoning mix to dry ingredients, combining until dry ingredients are covered
-Bake for 1.5 hours, stirring mixture every 15 minutes

ENJOY!
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback!