Showing posts from 2011

Frame of Mind

In between my crazy packing blitz, I've been brainstorming for a number of projects I've been asked for input on. One project invovles some empty frames and an office - what can be done without adding more of the same-old photos or prints to the wall? These are some of the ideas I've had and of course, between Google & Pinterest, I've seen once again that there truly is no such thing as a new idea!


Skeleton keys are really big in home decor right now. These framed rustic keys on burlap from Bella Home Fashions are delightful in their simplicity, which makes a knock-off easy to reproduce if you can find some keys you love.  

I've seen some similar ideas with keys grouped and framed, or instead of being mounted on burlap, being mounted on textured wall paper scraps. I've also seen other curios (bats for halloween, interesting knobs, etc) displayed similarly. These make a charming home-decor piece that I might just have to try for myself!

The Post-Christmas Box-Up

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas celebrating an occasion of joy, hope & love!   We scaled waaaaay back this year and we spent the day quietly, enjoying family time and no stress with the monkeys! (Santa is bringing me keys to our new place in a week, along with a shopping spree for appliances.  No pretty bows - but hey, I'm a grown up, I'll deal!)   For family, I tried to give heartfelt and handmade and stick to a budget for our guys!  I'll go more into detail once the dust has settled, been wiped away and the furniture has found a new resting place.

Boxing Day took on a whole new meaning for us this year.  The trees (yes, trees... the boys decorated our litttle porch trees - one on either side of the fireplace) came down, pictures came off the wall and boxes started travelling up the basement stairs.   There is no doubt in my mind that anyone coming to our front door will wonder if we're still moving.   Even though I feel like I seriously decluttered prio…

Stocking Stuffers: The {Crazy} Monkeys

Here are some of my favourite, regularly go-to small gifts for imaginative, crazy, energetic boys.  Easy to tuck into stockings (or use as bribery, should the need arise), they don't cost a fortune and they're always a hit!  Side note, the monkeys in our household are 4 & 6 - the recommended ages don't always coincide, but hey, whatever works.

1) Lego Surprise Minifigures, $3.49;

Every year, Lego releases another series of these minifigures.  We love them!   The kids are never sure what's inside until they open it, but they know it will have a character and accessories.  Also, as it's not part of any "themed" Lego set, it easily adds to their collection.   You can find them everywhere - toy stores, Chapters, department stores and I even snagged a couple at Shoppers Drug Mart.

2) Crayola Color-Filz Activity Kit, $6.48

Whether you choose a brandname kit (like Crayola) or hit your local craft, department or dollar store, activity kits are a great little …

Stocking Stuffers: The Book Worm

There are only 5 days left until Christmas, 4 shopping days, and a whole lotta last minute shopping procrastinators!   I would like to say that I'm done, but unfortunately, I have to exchange one item, pick up something for my grandparents who have no room for anything else (suggestions?!) and a quick trip to the dollar store for tool boxes, screws and nails for the monkeys who have requested their very own tools for Christmas after participating in a Home Depot kids' workshop. 

I don't want to shop - I'd rather stay home and read.  I am a self-professed word-nerd bookworm. I love nothing better than a yummy drink, great book, comfy blanket, some quite time and a little chance to escape the chaos of modern-day existance.   It's a cheap form of entertainment and I don't have to look pretty to enjoy it.    Everyone knows a bookworm, an occasional reader,  or perhaps someone who should just give a book a try to exercise their brain a little!   Here are some sugges…

Egg Free Double Chocolate Cookies

My monkeys have been asking me to bake cookies for days, but I haven't had any eggs in the fridge.  A simple solution would have been to run to Shoppers or hit a grocery store any number of times I've been out since the weekend, but in between tying up the last of the orders before Christmas, packing, and trying to keep my house clean, little details (like remembering I need eggs) seem to keep slipping my mind.
Today, Kaleb is home *sick* again.  This is the third time in the last week and a half.  He just can't shake his cough and has a fever when he wakes up in the morning.  On top of that, none of us are getting much sleep (and by us, I mean me.)  He just coughs, and coughs, and coughs... and even though it's just a typical run-of-the-mill cold, my mommy heart breaks because beyond giving him regular doses of medicine, there's not much I can do for that annoying, scratchy cough.    So he's home because he's tired and well, that cough is probably drivin…

Stocking Stuffers: For The World Changer

My kids are spoiled.  Even this year, though in general we have all cut back due to budgetary restrictions, they were spoiled.  We have had 2 family Christmases already and with a house that needs packing, I'm shocked  at the amount of "stuff" they have and I remind them that they are blessed and fortunate to have so many toys, food on the table, comfy beds to sleep in, and their healthy growing bodies. 

In an effort to remind them to see beyond their own little worlds, we try to use various community and charitable programs over the holidays that they can participate in.  We donate food to food drives, drop our dimes in the Salvation Army kettles, pick out toys for police-sponsored toy drives for local shelters, and load up shoe boxes to send overseas - all in a hopefully successful attempt to get the monkeys to think beyond themselves.   There are so many opportunities to give beyond our families, our friends, beyond the material and just-for-the-sake-of gifts.   This …

Stocking Stuffers: The Typical Man

I find choosing the perfect stocking stuffers for the guys on my list to be a big pain in the butt (which is not the word I would usually choose but I don't want to offend anyone's delicate sensibilities.)  Most of the guys on my stocking stuffing list are pretty average.  Oh, don't get me wrong, they're extraordinary men, but realistically, they're as excited about the contents of their stockings as they would be about oh, say, doing a load of laundry.  Yeah, no big excitement factor there, which makes picking a non-typical gift more than difficult.   So what can you toss in the sock that says "you might be typical... but I think you're great?"  (For demonstration purposes, we'll pretend that they *deserve* more than a lump of coal...) 

Here is a collection of stocking stuffers and small gifts for The Typical Man - someone who has a little bit of everything, has well rounded interests, and would enjoy a nice cold brew rather than a copy of "…

Stocking Stuffers: The Fun & Flirty Girl

We all know her and wish we could be just a little more like her.  She can charm the world with her smile, she's always pulled together and she's not afraid to accessorize.  She's girly, she's charismatic, and her laughter is infectious.  She's always ready for a good time and you can't help but find her bubbly existance inspiring.   This collection of budget-friendly stocking stuffers or small gifts that sparkle & shine at less than $15 each were chosen with the Fun & Flirty Girl in mind.
1)  Essie Nail Polish: Turquoise & Caicos is called "a flirty and pretty tropical aqua."  $8, MSRP.  DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde free (available at Shoppers Drug Mart).  

2) Curved Filigree Stretch Bracelet, Rickis, $14.99;  The best part about Ricki's jewellery is that it's always buy one, get one half off - so you can pick up something pretty for a friend and add some sparkle to your own wardrobe at the same time!

3) Grosgain Belt, Jacob, $…

Super Savings & Stocking Stuffers: The Crafty Mama

Today I went to Shoppers Drug Mart... twice!  I racked up enough Optimum points to take advantage of their "biggest redemption event of the year" at two different reward levels.  I got some groceries, some stocking stuffers, and some me-gifts because a girl deserves to be pampered.   My first bill came to $287 and change including taxes and I paid a little over $37.  Wow!   Our second time through, our bill came to $66 and change but we paid only $6.58... so we got more than $318 worth of stuff (more actually, as a lot of what we chose was on sale)... for about $44 out of pocket.   What a deal!!!!   (Now, I would just like to point out that I realise it takes alot of spending to earn the top tier reward level multiple times throughout the year... I'm not a compulsive SDM customer, I just take advantage of the 20x reward days and buy all my diabetic supplies - instant crazy points!)

Next... after wandering aisles of a drugstore for far too long searching for the almost pe…

Another Day, Another Dollar

Yesterday, we had a (rare) opportunity to enjoy a non-fast-food, kid-free-meal at the Keg.  Delicious!  It was an enjoyable evening celebrating my not-so-little sister's birthday with family and friends.   Conversation did not consist of arguments about which superhero is faster or who's toy is whose... but involved topics about government, health care, hobbies and *gasp* budgets. 

With the change in career path I've taken (from a small but regular income to a sporadic income helping to cover my craft addiction) and the purchase of our new home, budget (which hasn't ever had a lot of stretch) is now rubber-band-about-to-snap tight.  I do well with my grocery budget and always feel guilty for those occasional meals I just don't want to cook.  However, I'm feeling a lot less guilty about those sometimes escapes from the kitchen - particularly after our bill (and babysitting costs) last night.

My sister-in-law put things in perspective when she looked at their bi…

Forgotten But Not Forsaken

I realise it's been a little more than 2 months since my last post.  Most already know that life has just been super, crazy busy here and we're just rolling with the changes.     I'm no longer doing daycare and it was a fabulous decision because it means I've managed to squeeze in extra hours crafting and developing a little hobby business called "Wisdom & Whimsy".   For now, I've got a Facebook page showcasing cards, gifts & home decor items I've crafted with some power-tool help from Kevin.   Lots of custom orders rolling in... aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I've been using the chop saw all by myself.  Scary, I know, but so far I've managed to keep all 10 fingers!

Also in recent changes, our house was on the market, and we put an offer in on a cabin-y cozy bungalow on 2 acres about 30 minutes north of where we are now.  The last day of our offer on the new place, we tied up all the loose strings on the sale of our house and all is good - in the f…

Summer's End & A Need For Change

I'm finding after a very busy summer and seven years in the same home that I'm craving change!   The small changes come with the stealthy approach of autumn weather, the start of a new school year (with both boys in school at least part of the time!) and little projects around the house.

It's not feeding the need, though - I want bigger, better changes, not just normal routine-of-life-blink-and-you-miss-it change.  I want to move.  Very badly.  Soooooo... we're on the property hunt!  And after walking through one house after another, we've come to the realisation that small budget means it's hard to find everything on our checklist - nevermind the wishlist!   So we keep looking.  No rush.  At least we're headed in that direction.

Anticipating a move also means my daycare days are coming to an end.   I can't say I'll miss it (although I'll miss the somewhat reliable income!)   My families have all been made aware that we're getting antsy and…

Family Is... A Knockoff

My Mom turned 50 last week (gasp!) - which, on a side note, means I'm no longer in my 20s (*sigh*).  I had no idea what to get her that was a little more special than a GC to the mall - 50's an important milestone!  What to do, what to do....

Lightbulb moment - let's check Pinterest!  I remember that my mom pinned a picture of these wooden block decor things that said "Family Is Everything", originally featured on   So I stole borrowed the idea, and because I'm a last minute kinda girl, printed off a picture, tucked into an envelope and presented it with flowers and made it an IOU.

This weekend, I was in the mood for crafting - worked on some baby monograms for my sister-in-law, who is presenting them as a gift - sorry no pictures this time (yet)!  I also got Kevin to "help" me with some sawing? cutting?  What's the proper term?  As well as drilling... yah, he doesn't let me near the power tools!  We created this work of art:

The original bl…

Where I'm From

I'm getting older.  I'm thinking more about family, roots, and where we came from.  I'm remembering more and looking back at childhood - mostly fondly.  I've always found history engaging (in a let's read some intriguing and possibly romanticized historical fiction or listening to old family stories kind of way.)  I think family history is intriguing - but never sit long enough to ask the right questions or retain the memory of those conversation enough to recount the stories accurately.  I've always been a little introspective, a little retrospective so when I  found an example of this completed poem template while doing some random blogger exploration, it really struck a chord.    (Side note,  see the link at the top that says  "Next Blog >>>"?  Just click it to jump to a new random blog.) 

Where I'm From

I am from a swing hanging in my grandparents yard, from Kraft dinner and fresh jam made from plump strawberries we picked ourselves.


There's something special about the little black dress (lbd).  Every girl should have one in her closet that she can pull on and just know she looks good.   Not overly sexy.  Not a bit frumpy.  Just a dress that fits her perfect and makes her feel good.  (Some girls might even have more than one.)  It's versatile and perfect for so many occasions....

I have so many little black dresses.  They're wonderful.  Different cuts, different fabrics.  And everytime I pull one on, I feel like I've still got it.   Sure I'm curvier.  And, yes, I'm still short.   My hair hasn't miraculously grown longer or thicker or wavier.  But I feel good.  Throw on some strappy sandals, black pumps or a pair of red heels for a pop of colour.   I feel confident, flirty, feminine.  Some days I even try them on just because I see them hanging there!   Now if only I had more places to wear them - aside from the closet.

Anatomy of A(n Almost) Perfect Weekend

This weekend was one of those weekends that just called for enjoyment instead of productivity.  Here is a breakdown of our not-quite perfect weekend:

1) Make it a long one.   I had Friday off.  Kevin did not so we were all up and ready before 6:45 so we could make use of the car.   I took advantage of having Friday off to do some running around and starting some projects (or mis-starting some projects) and we went out for dinner & ice cream (not on the meal plan -gasp!) after picking up Kevin after work. 

2)  Make it fun!  Okay, so my definition of fun and the boys definition of fun greatly differs.  I was quite happy browsing Michaels and looking at paint in Home Depot.  The boys were not.  After dropping off Kevin, we had an early breakfast at McDonalds complete with playtime.  Then mommy did her running around and we stopped by the Farmers' Market (woohoo fresh Ontario produce!)  We all agree that the Farmers Market is fun but to make up for the errand-running we also stopp…


Once, when I was much, much younger (how long ago 15 seems!), my friends and I were walking home from somewhere and decided to take a shortcut... through a field, over a fence, around a reservoir (or maybe just a pond).  We made it through the field no problem but I got stuck on the fence...and ripped my favourite jeans.  By the time we walked around the water and made it to the street again, it probably would have been much faster to just use the sidewalk.

We also experience these snafus trying to navigate around traffic by taking unfamiliar backroads.  Different experience, same result.  You would think I would learn the lesson but sadly, no, I am forever trying to take shortcuts and then I'm left dealing with the frustration and annoyance of a plan gone awry.   The "proper" way is usually the best way.

I recently had this experience creating my "Family Rules" project (woohoo!  It's done!)

I failed to plan properly and it was one headache after another...…

Busy Bees

So I'd just like to say that arranging photos in my blog is a big pain in the butt!  Seriously, they're not going where I want and the formatting options of this entire entry just sucks.  Insert sigh of frustration, groan of impatience and a little foot stomping *here*.   Now on to the post...

I thought with the arrival of summer, things would slow down just a wee little bit!  Apparently, that was just wishful think as it seems we've been going full throttle just having fun!   I've been doing really well sticking to our meal plan and avoiding the fall back of PizzaPizza or other fast food options (which we usually ended up doing once a week) and most of the new recipes we've tried have been HUGE hits.   I'll share them... but it will have to keep for another day.  

Today, I'm going to show off some of the projects I've finished lately. Most were done this weekend - Kev took on the task of keeping kids happy and entertained while I stole some alone …