Blog Archives

Things I Love

I haven’t written a post in a while as I lost a dear friend earlier in October. My faithful and loyal dog moved on the doggie heaven and I miss her dearly. Her passing has made me refocus my energies on those closest to me and I hug my hubby and kids tight – a lot. You never know when life will change in an instant.

But it’s a new month. I’m ready to be inspired and awestruck by the world around me again. So to get back into the blogging mode again I thought I would share with you some of the things I love …

I love fall hikes. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago and even though the leaves were past their prime the day was near perfect in my mind. Even on a day when the sun isn’t at its brightest the colours of the leaves make the woods a happy place. Add to that the sound of leaves on the ground underfoot and the shrieks of kids running around and this lady has a big smile on her face.

My boys … especially when they are acting like goofs!

I recently celebrated a birthday (my 29th, again) and my darling husband gave me a vintage Miriam Haskell necklace. I’ve drooled over her designs before but was so surprised that he remembered. So … for next time I’d like one of these:

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Or, this …

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I love my husband dearly but what’s not to love when he gives me jewlery!

And, finally, my girl. She was the best pal ever.

I will be back next week in regular blogging mode – how I’ve missed writing!

Have an excellent weekend.

Fall Projects & A Giveaway!

Fall has definitely arrived.

Kids have started their second week back at school, activities are in full swing and I have been a machine around the house trying to restore order after the chaos of summer holidays.

September has always been a month of new beginnings for me. I remember the first few years of working after graduating university I felt like I should be going back to school or starting something new after Labour Day.

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One project around the house that will satisfy me to no end is to figure out how to get the kid crap under control. This includes a creating a landing spot for school notices, sports equipment, library books and all the little artwork “treasures”. With three kids in various activities creating a wall calendar for the week is key to ensure everyone knows who is going where. My goal is to have this more or less in place this week. If I don’t I might never surface under the mountain of stuff!

Once I have restored order to the house we can start tackling other projects on our list! Things like ….

– creating functional storage in my older boys shared room (they currently call the closet a dressing room – intelligent storage is non-existent!).

– third floor washroom mini-re-do (combine better functionality for storage with a lot of pretty … right now it’s a horror show!)

– backyard shed (we want to expand it – this is likely a spring project but will take the winter to map out a plan)

– maybe a little master bedroom zhush?!

I will keep you posted with the progress. The list will likely get updated as we go but here’s a start!

One of the places I like to go for inspiration on home projects is the Fall Home Show.

In addition to a variety of exhibitors there is also a great line-up of speakers covering everything from renovation planning, to colour inspiration to maximizing your renovation dollar. This year the Fall Home Show runs from September 20-23 at the Better Living Centre in Exhibition Place.

I’ve got two pairs of tickets up for grabs to anyone living in the GTA. To be eligible simply leave me a comment telling me what projects you have going on for your home this fall! Contest closes at noon EST on Saturday September 15th.

So there you have it … some insight into what projects I’ve got coming up around my house and a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Fall Home Show.

Happy Monday!

New Blinds for the Kids – Finally!

Remember ages ago when I posted about fabrics I was considering for the my kids rooms? Well, I finally made a decision and lordy-be – installed the blinds! I had Roman blinds made because I like how they sit flush with the window. I also had blackout lining added to darken the room (as they get the bright morning sun) and to prevent damage to the fabric from harmful UV rays.

I’m not sure it’s helping the kids sleep any later in the morning but they sure do look pretty!

Here is room #1:

and up close!

And in room #2 …

I love how well they turned out! They were made by Tonic Living and were super easy to install too!

I’m a huge fan of Roman blinds. What about you?

Space for Kids

Check out these super cute kids rooms I came across …

I love the colour scheme and use of natural materials – very subtle and calming. Look at all the storage at little people height including the orange chairs!

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This space is so bright and cheery with windows on one side and a chalkboard wall on the other. I wonder if it’s used for homeschooling? Hopefully lessons in design with those funky green Eames chair as inspiration.

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Wouldn’t these spaces be perfect for a family home in the country?

Today I Remember …

Today I’m thankful for the simple things in life …

A warm bed

Being able to walk my boys to school

Being able to find inspiration from around the world and know that I have the freedom to travel there if I can

And I am thankful for being able to say what I want without fear of punishment.

Thank you to everyone (especially you, Papa) who fought and are fighting today. I dearly treasure my peaceful country and my freedom. I am eternally grateful.

Please take a moment to Remember today.

 

images 1, 4 via here, images 2, 3, 5 via moi

The Tuesday after Labour Day …

I think it should be renamed the best day in the world. Better than Christmas? Yup. Better than my birthday? Yup. Birth of kids? Yup!

Why do you think I am jumping up and down on a Tuesday morning?

Because it is the day that the kids go back to school and today ROUTINE! returns to our home.

Don’t get me wrong. I love summer holidays. We had an amazing holiday in Vermont, tonnes of fun at the cottage, excursions around town and lots of visiting with friends and family.

But I am ready for routine to return to my life. The kids are ready too.

I learned a lot this summer about myself and how much I crave a predictable routine for our family. It was tougher to create than I thought. Much of this was driven by my work schedule being busier than I had anticipated. This created an ongoing scramble to find childcare and figure out when I was going to get stuff done. At the start of the summer I had it all figured out but … alas.

With every project I like to do a lessons learned to reflect on where I’ve been, what worked and what I can improve in the future. Here are the three key lessons I have learned from this summer:

Get up early to work when the house is still quiet

I shifted some of my workday to start at 5:30am and was very productive in the early hours of the day and even enjoyed stunning sunrises from my third floor home office. Getting up early meant that I got a lot of what I needed to do done and could focus on the day without stressing about finding more time.

Slow down multi-tasking

This is admittedly still a work in progress but what I have found is that when I stop trying to do 5,000 things at once I actually get more accomplished by making a focused effort on one thing at a time. The kids benefit too as I am not constantly distracted when we are together.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

If it is truly critical to do it will get done. It’s seeing through the noise of the to-do list that makes this hard to remember.

As I celebrate back to school and the return of routine one of the things on my to-do list this week is to blast through my house and return it to pre-summer levels of organization! Let’s see how this goes …

Anyone else pumped for the first Tuesday after Labour Day?

images via here

summer holidays … 9 weeks of fun (and some work)

The kids have been out of school for almost two weeks now. They are happy to have the time off and the break so far has been good for all (yes, if you know my kids, I will likely eat those words by mid-August!).

However, the school break for holidays brings a whole new meaning to figuring out how to get work done while keeping things running on the home front.

It was easy when the kids were in daycare. The school calendar meant nothing – the only time daycare closed was on stat holidays.

Now that my older two kids are in school full-time dealing with school holidays (especially 9 weeks in the summer!) has become a bit more of a juggling act. And by juggling, some days, I mean throw all the balls up in the air and hope I catch some.

I thrive on structure. I love knowing when I have time set aside to do what I need to do. The school year is great for this because I can map out work time, school (for me) time, volunteer time, home stuff time etc. There is never enough time to get everything I want done but I generally subscribe to the theory that the important things always happen … somehow.

This Steven Covey matrix is a helpful way to prioritize.

Summer is a bit more of a scheduling challenge. July & August. 9 weeks. I need to figure out how to keep the kids occupied, get my own work done AND enjoy our all-too short summer.

Camps are expensive to put the kids in all summer. Grandparents are an option for some help. But what it really boils down to is a colourful cocktail with a little bit of this and a little bit of that (is it inappropriate to use a cocktail analogy when referring to your children?).

So, here’s what I’ve got figured out for this summer in an attempt to keep my own sanity and get it all done!

Week 1 we took a family holiday and did lots of this …

That’s swimming, 6 year old style, in case you weren’t sure what you were looking at.

The kids are signed up for a few camps, some time with their Grandparents and family time at the cottage.

Then I’ve got a laundry list of field trips like trips to the zoo, berry picking, the beach, the Toronto Islands and Niagara Falls.

All this means that while I’ve managed to eek out some time during regular business hours to work … I’ve shifted a portion of my workday to the evenings after the kids go to bed. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

All great plans, right?! Of course, my original plan to dial back my project work during the summer months might have been made when I was dreaming or something. Best laid plans …

I know it will all get done (mostly, somehow) … the key to making it all work will be to clearly set client expectations, be realistic about what I can and cannot do and make time for fun.

Will see how it all works out and let you know.

If you are a working parent, how do you manage the school break for summer holidays?

Images via here, here, here, moi & moi

Elements of Design … in an Excavator?

I had a bunch of things I wanted to write about but since the kids started summer holidays this week I haven’t been as focused as usual.

Our street is currently under major construction. New pipes, sewers, sidewalks and road. It’s loud, dirty and the kids are completely obsessed with it.

My Street

Once I acclimatized to the deafening noise while breaking up a few fights over Pokemon cards, I started randomly thinking about elements of design in road construction.

There’s the texture of the concrete and the dirt. There’s repetition in the tracks on the excavator. But the element of design that stood out to me the most was shapes in the heavy construction machines.

Round (massive) wheels

Triangular shaped tracks & scoop

Oval shaped tracks

Rectangular-ish windows

It’s quite possible that I am losing my mind by writing a post about construction machines but I am quite fascinated by the process, the power of the machines and how they dominate the space they are working in.

Everything happens in a certain order, all the trades on the job know their role and it is all designed to ensure that water, gas, sewage are all working as they should … things I certainly take for granted on a daily basis.

It’s no different than the process of renovating a room or designing a house. The process is messy but the end result can be quite fantastic.

Then there is a certain little someone in my life who thinks the “chines” are the best thing in the world.

He is just over half the height of the wheel!

I’m sure the novelty of road construction right in front of my house will wear off.

Anyone else fascinated by the design elements of heavy construction machines?

 

all images via moi

Adding Personality to a Shared Boys Room

I’ve got boys bedrooms on the brain these days.

Today I’m thinking about my older two boys (they are 6 and a half – yes, twins). Other than moving them into bunk beds a few months back, we haven’t done much to their room since it was painted just before we moved into our current house.

I generally like the overall colour scheme of reds and blues with some green thrown in. However, it needs more clothes storage (more on that later) and I’d say it’s time we got something up on the walls!

The Challenge:

How to finish the room with whimsical accents that are tailored to the individual. My two older boys couldn’t be any different. One likes (read: LOVES) sports, the other likes Star Wars and more fantasy-like play.

Here’s a shot of what the room currently looks like (yes, in the glory of everyday living):

The view from the doorway

Bunk Beds!

A quiet reading corner

Lego - nuff said

Consistent elements such as colour, bedding and furnishings is key – the fun is in the accents and where they are placed.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come across recently that I am using for inspiration in my efforts to personalize the room.

The goalie net could be raised over the headboard (on the top bunk) and use a combo of posters & wall decals to finish it off - maybe have a personalize duvet made?

This isn't the right size but would envision wrapping it around the corner to fit the bottom bunk bed

I still need to source out wall art and I am thinking of swapping the curtains out for a solid colour – a denim Roman blind perhaps?

Then again … boys are so hard on the house I wonder why I am going to any effort at all to decorate their room.

This wall decal sums it up for me:

How would you personalize a shared bedroom when the occupants are soooo different?

images 1 – 4 via moi, here, here, and here