Valentine Day wall hanging

Valentine's Day is not my favourite holiday. Before we had the kiddos, our celebration involved our favourite take-away meal and a film, a plan that really did not deviate from our standard weekend evenings in. I am a big believer that acts of love and kindness should happen every day with your loved ones. 

My attitude did change slightly when Monkey and Little Bean came along. I am still of the mind that love should be expressed on a daily basis, but now I embrace any holiday or excuse to focus our crafting energies. Taking inspiration from this Christmas decoration, Little Bean and I made this Valentine wall hanging yesterday. She was tickled pink! 

Valentine's Day craft

It's an easy craft with the added opportunity to go outside hunting for a stick. Here's a quick step-by-step guide ...

1. Using one piece of twine, tie a knot at one end of the branch and a second knot at the other end.
2. Draw (or trace if you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter) hearts on construction paper.
3. Cut out the hearts and with a needle, make a small hole at the top to feed through the white thread.
4. Tie the white thread to the branch at varying lengths.

Have fun!

(Source of inspiration)



Sing Street film

Last weekend we watched Sing Street, a musical comedy-drama that will have you smiling and tapping your toes. It follows the same timeless story of a teenager trying to win over a crush by taking up music to impress and woe her, but the film is given an edge by being set in Dublin during the 1980s. It embraces the musical scene of the era -- think Duran Duran and The Cure -- and offers a glimpse of the struggles of Irish society during that time. It is believable, uplifting and worth watching.

So, without further ado, let's start the weekend off with an original song from the film, Drive it Like you Stole It. I dare you to sit still while listening!

Happy Friday!



Owl pumpkin

The pumpkin is carved, the candles are lit and the costumes are ready. Halloween is here! Wishing you safe and fun trick-or-treating this evening ... hoot, hoot!



oat chocolate energy balls

These energy balls have become my favourite afternoon pick-me-ups -- they are so tasty that I can rarely have just one. My friend introduced me to these satisfying little gems, and the recipe is originally from Natural Nutrition.

1 cup oats
1 cup flaxseeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries (I've used dried cherries and dried blueberries too)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup raw honey

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into golf-sized balls and freeze until firm. Keep in the freezer to easily find whenever you need an afternoon boost.




Mint herb

Mint is the best. The best herb that is in my humble opinion. I add fresh mint leaves to my green smoothies for a burst of flavour, toss in a salad for a little je ne sais quoi that is delicious and unexpected, and boil in hot water for a soothing after dinner drink.

Mint is healthy too. Not only does it aid in digestion, it is an antioxidant that contains trace amounts of iron, fibre, vitamin A and potassium.




This week was Monkey's first day at big kid school. He started Year 1, which is the equivalent to Senior Kindergarten in Canada. It was a big deal with a new school, new teachers and new classmates.

This week was also Little Bean's first day at nursery school. She's now going three mornings a week to the same nursery school that Monkey went to, and she's so very excited to be a big girl.

The first day of school photos 

This week was also the first in almost six years that I found myself alone with no children to play with or coax along during errands. It was a strange sensation. I felt light, as though something was missing, but I accomplished a lot in just two short hours -- my grocery shop was extremely efficient and the search for a birthday gift was executed with military precision.

With new school routines, it does feel like a fresh new year is upon us. With my new-found solo time, I'm eager to handle chores and errands so that the majority of our time together after school can be spent doing the fun stuff. Wait! Is it possible that I might catch and match John with the claim of being the 'fun parent' now?!



 S'well bottles

It has become my mission to rid our family of plastic in all its forms. The child-friendly melamine dishes were replaced with bamboo, plastic cups were replaced by glass, storage containers were replaced with glass or stainless steel and drinking bottles with any trace of plastic were replaced by stainless steel.

S'well bottle is a must in our family. Made from non-leaching and non-toxic 18/8 stainless steel, these fun bottles come in three sizes (9oz, 17oz and 25oz, which holds a bottle of wine!) and keep your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. And, the kiddos love to pick their favourite designs.

S'well bottles

You can feel good about supporting this company too. S'well has teamed up with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to provide good, clean drinking water to children around the world.

Next on my plastic-free mission is helping Little Bean say goodbye to her pacifiers, which she so loving calls her 'soo-soos'. This will be tough ... for us all.



Margaret Atwood

My most recent read with my book club was Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood. It is a collection of nine stories, three of which are related and one of which is a treat for Atwood readers as it is a sequel to her novel The Robber Bride. The stories are unusual and thought-provoking with the expertly crafted characters I so love to meet in Atwood's fiction. Aging is a theme that ties the majority of the stories together, creating a slightly darker undertone.

This was a pivotal read for my book club (since moving to Bermuda our pub time has morphed to FaceTime). At the start of our club, one bookclubber, who shall remain nameless, was steadfast in the rule that we never read a Margaret Atwood book. He was not a fan like me. It took me a decade, but finally we cracked the spine of an Atwood. The second rule of our club is that we never read an author twice, so this was the chance for Atwood to charm him with her delightful storytelling.

In the end, only two of three book club members praised the book. Atwood is a polarizing author with equal fans to critics, and I was unable to change my fellow bookclubber's opinion. At least he didn't despise the book, giving it instead a so-so rating.

I highly recommend it, but then again, I have been known to praise every Atwood book I read.



Everlane shirt dress

This shirt dress by Everlane has quickly become my favourite summer travel dress. It's a simple dress that can be worn with sandals or runners, and with a sweatshirt or light sweater, you're ready for warm or cool weather (or those air-conditioned planes and trains). It even has pockets, a most coveted detail when travelling!



Enamel Copenhagen

These beautifully-designed earrings are my new favourite. I discovered the jewellery line Enamel Copenhagen on our family trip to Denmark this past Spring, and was instantly drawn to the clean designs and use of metals mixed with colour. I've been wearing the gold and ivory combination day in, day out ever since.

Enamel Copenhagen


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