Scenes From Around the House


Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm pretty sure I perfected one of my muffin recipes this morning. I tweaked the spices a bit, and used some mini chocolate chips instead of cream cheese icing. I had quite a few cans of pumpkin in the pantry so I decided to use some up. They're not very "Christmas-y" but they're still delicious.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
The tweaked recipe can be found here.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
I went to the grocery store in the afternoon to get some ingredients for the Coopster. Over the next two weeks we'll be trying: Banana and Blueberry Medley, Zucchini and Pea Soup, and Salmon with Carrots and Tomatoes. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love making food for him? It's how we start almost every morning.
While I was at the store I picked up a box of mandarin oranges. Alex calls them Christmas oranges and always puts them in my stocking.

I put them on the beautiful white ceramic tray that Cooper got me for Christmas. He must have been listening when I pointed to it on one of our Homesense trips. What a good little shopper he is. {Thanks, Al!}

I've been on a mad hunt to find Cooper another snowsuit. He's almost outgrown his current one already! We tried three different stores online (The Children's Place, Old Navy, and The Gap) on Boxing Day but they were all sold out. 
I finally found one on the clearance rack at the Superstore for $19. Phew. We'll be able to leave the house in January and February now. ;)

Baby snowsuits are cute.
It was snowing just a wee bit today. Roary sat out on the deck for awhile enjoying the snow. Then he started barking like a lunatic dog and I had to bring him back in the house.

I had to swap toy baskets in the living room. The little basket wasn't cutting it anymore. I'm still really happy with the amount of toys that Cooper got for Christmas. He has just enough new ones to keep him engaged but not so many that he is overwhelmed or that our house looks like a toy store.

The little guy turned 8 months old on Christmas Day. I'm hoping to share an update soon.

P.S. I've got a few posts lined up about our new bed AND the basement AND the Fixer Upper. So exciting!
P.S.S. I finally cleaned out the spice cupboard. No more bay leaves from 2006. I'm so proud.
P.S.S.S. All the other bloggity blogs are doing posts about their top ten projects / posts of 2012. I feel like I should join in the fun but don't want to bore you guys with old stuff that you've already seen. Hmmmm, what to do what to do.
P.S.S.S.S. Is it too early to start switching up Cooper's Nursery?

P.S.S.S.S.S. I guess I just broke my 'No Taking Pictures of Muffins' rule. Doh.

Hi and Merry Christmas to Youuuuu


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

HI and merry, merry Christmas from Alex, Cooper, Roary, Lexie, and I. 
I really hope that you were so busy stuffing yourselves with turkey and sweets (and spending time with your loved ones)(maybe I should have those two activities reversed, haha) that you didn't notice my lack of posts over the last few weeks. It was pretty much Crazytown over here.
We were on a roll with the whole holiday preparation business, even shopping for gifts in November (a first time for us procrastinators). However, Cooper got his very first cold two weeks ago (boo hoo) and we ended up hiding in the house for over a week watching all three seasons of The United States of Tara and reversing all of the progress we made on the crib-sleeping. Whoopsie. Long story short, we got a bit behind. 
We hosted two Christmas dinners this year, one dinner for twelve on the Saturday night before Christmas and then one dinner for eighteen on Christmas Eve. Needless to say it was a little haywire trying to get everything ready on time. We couldn't have done it without the help of Cooper's two grandmas who took turns entertaining him while we vacuumed dust bunnies and made creamy vegetable casseroles.
There were so many times when I wanted to stop and take some photos (of our Christmas tree with the gifts all wrapped underneath it, or the mint chocolate cheesecake that I baked for dessert, etc.) but it was just too chaotic this year (in a good way of course)!
I thought I would share some randoms from our Christmas this year:
- The power went out on our street at 5:30 p.m. during Christmas Dinner #1. Luckily everything was cooked by then but we had to light about 5000 candles and we still couldn't see what we were doing. It was pretty fun though, I have to admit. Oh yeah, and my candle collection came in very handy.
- My aunt brought over a box of cocoa-dusted truffles that Alex and I have been looking for for the last two years! (She gave some to us when we hosted Christmas in 2009 and we've been obsessing about them ever since.) We both squealed in delight when we saw them, then hid the box at the back of a cupboard so we wouldn't have to share. Muhahaha!
- I tried a brand new-to-me recipe for Sweet Potato Pie and it was a hit! I got the recipe from a friend who brought it to a potluck last year. I finally tried making it myself and I'm in love. My new favorite holiday recipe. 
- All Alex wanted for Christmas was snow machine gear. He's wanted a used machine for the last few years and finally bit the bullet and got one. We had a winter storm with 25 cm of snow in 24 hours on the weekend so he begged me to open his helmet early so that he could go for a ride. I caved. ;)
- Alex surprised me with some fridge organizers. I guess I made a bit of a scene when I saw them in the aisle at Costco a few weeks ago. What a good husband to indulge in my extreme nerdiness! 
Image - Crate and Barrel
- Alex's best bud at work made some absolutely delicious homemade Pulla (Finnish dessert bread). Since it's tradition at our house to have some every Christmas, we let Cooper try it for the first time. Let's just say that he smooshed every last bit into that little belly of his.
- Cooper got two toboggans for Christmas, an awesome wooden one with skis that converts to a wagon for the spring / summer and a plastic one that he can use for now while he still needs a bit of support to sit up. He went for his first little sleigh ride on Christmas day and he babbled away the whole time. Score 1 for Santa!
I'm off to clean up my wrapping paper mess and drink another cup of coffee. Other than that we are doing absolutely nothing for the next few days. Dreamy.
P.S. How was your Christmas??? Did Santa bring you anything fun like, you know, fridge organizers? ;)

DIY Christmas Decorating Project E-Book + Christmas Wrapping


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A few weeks ago I promised a digital download of easy DIY Christmas projects created by myself as well as six other fab bloggers. Today I am here to deliver!

To download your free digital copy, simply click here to open the PDF. Once open you can save the file to your own computer. 

*Please only use the e-book for yourself or to print out to give as gifts. Using this digital download for commercial purposes or to make any profit is not allowed.

If you haven't had a chance to visit the other participating blogs, you really should. Very talented ladies indeed. :)  

Shannon from AKA Design
Allison from House of Hepworth’s
Heather from Things That Are Pretty
KariAnne from Thistlewood Farm
Laura from Finding Home


I'm hoping to have another post for you tomorrow on how I wrapped my Christmas gifts this year. I'm not sure if I'll be able to top my packaging from two years ago but we'll see:
Holiday Gift Wrapping

Simple Homemade Christmas Gift Tags

{Last year at this time we were out of town and had our upstairs floors refinished so last minute wrapping was all I could manage!!!}


December Sponsor Love


Thursday, December 13, 2012

I am truly honoured to be partnered with such amazing small businesses. These shops are SOOOO CUTE! With Christmas still a few weeks away, it's not too late to sneak in an order for a unique gift for someone special. Or, if you're anything like me, it's not too late send these links to your hubs so that YOU can get something fun for yourself on Christmas morning. :)

Vintage Red Coleman Safety Gasoline Can
Vintage Teal Blue Metal Tackle Box Rusted Tool Case
Vintage Rusted Metal Milk Crate Silverwood Dairy Basket
Vintage London Toy No 16 Firetruck Die Cast Red Truck 

I just had to highlight the four above items from Coco & Bear. I'm almost afraid to publish this post because I really want all of those goodies for myself. Although the above-pictured items are my favorite, any of the items in Kim's shop could be used to add a unique vintage feel to a spot or vignette in your home. The little red trucks remind me of the vintage cars that I framed for my little guy's nursery. How cute would they look on a crisp, white shelf in a little boy's room? And that metal milk crate!?!?! There are just so many possibilities: beside the fireplace with fresh-cut logs, beside a comfy chair with favourite magazines, or on a shelf with stuffed animals or toys in a playroom. What I love about this shop is that it is owned by one of my very own real-life friends! Kim and I actually went to high school together, can you believe that? She's got great taste so make sure to take a peek at her other awesome finds. 

Under the Wishing Tree
Love Beneath the Chili Pepper Tree
 I Carry Your Heart II

Enrouge had me at hello. I just love the colors and textures in these sweet, sweet prints. There are so many sizes and colors to choose from, that you are bound to find a picture to suit just your tastes. I keep hoping that one of my friends will get pregnant so that I can buy one of these for a baby shower gift!!! I know I've mentioned this before but I have purchased the Ever Ours picture to frame in my living room and I absolutely love it! For the holidays, Karla is offering to ship directly to a recipient with a bird family notecard filled with your sentiments.

Vintage Window Re-purposed into Jewelry Organizer - Light Blue
 Up-cycled Vintage Window Chalkboard - Mint Green

Jennifer at The Bungalow Boutique repurposes vintage windows into beautiful mirrors, jewelry displays, and chalkboards. The chalkboard window would add so much charm (and function!) to a wall in a kitchen or in a child's playroom. The windowpane mirrors, especially the ones with hooks, would make the perfect cottage addition to an entry or mudroom. The beauty about Jennifer's shop is that she takes custom orders! If you have a specific size or color in mind, she will create an upcycled window just for you. The Bungalow Boutique will be shipping up until December 17th - just in time to get your Christmas order in.
Once again, I want to thank my lovely sponsors for their support. If you are interested in promoting your small business on Cozy.Cottage.Cute., you can send me a quick email at or take a quick look at my Sponsors page for more information. :)

A Little Christmas Shelf


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been really into the simple, natural Christmas look the last few years. You know, the look where you plunk a plain little tree into a metal bucket and call it a day? That's totally a style, right? I've been trying to make up a name for it but they all sound silly. Cottage minimalist Christmas? Simple Scandinavian Christmas? Au natural Christmas? Anti-bling Christmas? Scandinavian Country Christmas?   Bare-Naked Cottage Christmas? (All name ideas welcome in the comments.)

So, we have a little shelf in our front entry that is so teeny I thought it would be the perfect place to start some decorating.


Wall shelf - Muskoka Living Interiors
Framed Doorknob Plates - DIY Project
Small White Jug - Homesense
Fir Branches - The Great Outdoors
Bell - Antique Store
Pine Cones - Michael's
Bells - Michael's
Twine - Michael's
Cinnamon Heart - Local Craft Show

Since I had almost all of the items already, this little spot cost less than $10 to whip up. I couldn't find my stash of bells so I had to go and buy a small container for $7.99. Since I only used three of them, I have quite a bit left for another project or two.
Next up: Christmas Treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Oh yeah, on the home front I am so sad to share that we were out and about all weekend (Christmas Party, Christmas shopping, etc.) and my little Coopie-Doopie caught his first ever cold. He has been sniffling and coughing for the last few days (meanwhile my little heart has been breaking). We are locking ourselves in the house for the rest of the week and I am officially on baby-booger duty. That involves quite a bit of rocking, snuggling, steamy baths, and watching t.v. in bed.
Here is my little sicky. Don't worry about the lack of clothes in the picture. I've been turning the heat up to 75 degrees in here as soon as Alex leaves for work in the morning. Hee hee hee! 
P.S. Is that a new bed you see in the background? Details to follow. :)
For More Inspiration:
Christmas Mantle Link Party @ Uncommon Designs, Mantle Link Party @ Ten June, Home for the Holidays Mantle Link Party @ Finding Silver Pennies, Christmas Junk Décor Link Party @ Funky Junk Interiors, Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest, Link Up With Me, Liz Marie @ Liz Marie Blog
, Happy Hour Link Party @ Design, Dining, and Diapers

An Honest Email from a Reader


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A few days ago, I got one of the best emails I've ever received from a reader. It's not because the author complimented me on my blog, my house, or on cute pictures of Cooper. (Although trust me I love those emails, haha.) Her email was a actually a series of constructive criticisms from the perspective of a new reader. She shared that after spending several hours reading my blog she enjoyed it, but was thoroughly confused about the state of our renovations, our two houses, the adoption, and our little man Cooper. She suggested that I create some sort of timeline for new readers or for people stopping by to check things out.
She was so right.
Right then and there I clicked on over to my "About" page and started rewriting it. I'm pretty sure that I now qualify as a total over-sharer. But at least my new readers or new peeps dropping by can get a little taste of the crazy before they click away screaming.
If you have been one of my dear blogging friends for awhile, you can obviously skip this post because it might be old news for you. However, if you have recently signed on to read Cozy.Cottage.Cute. then here is some updated information about our family and the blog.
P.S. This is copy and pasted straight from my new About page.

Well hi there. I'm Sarah. Just a girl with an unhealthy obsession with anything white, cottage-y, and/or cute. I'm so glad you've taken the time to visit my little blog that I pretend is big. Now here is where I bribe you to stick around with an imaginary sprinkle cupcake. If you do, stick around that is, I promise that you'll grow to love my ADD type personality and frequent grammatical errors. 
Here goes.
The Boy Situation
Aren't overexposed photos just magical for the complexion?
I met a boy named Alex when I was in University. He wooed me with his charming ways and now he's my boyfriend. (Really we're married but I like to call him my boyfriend so that we sound like young hipsters.) We dated for a long time, we were engaged for a long time, and then we took off to Jamaica and got hitched on the beach. I keep teasing my loyal readers that I will share a wedding picture. And I totally will. Pinky swear.
Alex is a cutie-patootie. Before we started dating, I told him that I liked when boys wore hoodies with backwards hats and drove standard cars. I found out later that he went to the mall and bought a stack of hoodies and begged his dad to borrow their manual Honda Civic for our first date. Well of course I kept him around after that. ;)
Alex works for a mining company in the IT field. Translation: computer wizard. He wears collared shirts and pleated pants to work so I assume his job is important. I've been debating whether or not to buy him a pocket protector for his next birthday. (Just kidding honey! I think it is really cute when you attach your Blackberry to your belt on your way out the door in the morning!) Alex is SO supportive of my blogging addiction and always helps me with my annoying computer questions and problems. He even bought my domain name ( as a surprise one day.  
At night and on weekends, he turns into some sort of renovation superhero. He has taught himself how to do almost everything: tiling, electrical, plumbing, drywall, you name it. Alex has recently taken up cooking as a hobby (score, right?) and has started making things like "Brandy Peppercorn Sauce" and "Grilled Portobello Mushroom Brushetta". (Dear Boyfriend: You're making my frozen chicken finger and frozen peas dinners look bad.) Seriously though, he is getting really good. Just don't tell him that I have to sneak into the pantry for granola bars while I'm waiting for dinner because his fancy schmancy meals take hours to prepare. ;) 
Oh yeah, and he likes basketball.
The House Situation
House #1
Our house.
Back in 2006, we bought the old, outdated house of our dreams. It was built in the 1940's in a small mining town just a few minutes outside of the city. We love it. We've been taking our dear sweet time renovating it - 6 1/2 years and we're still not done!!! Yes, we are the pokiest renovators of all time. It doesn't help that both of us suffer from what we like to call...... Project ADD. We'll work on the master bedroom for awhile, then the side entry, then the back deck, then the basement, then back to the bedroom, and so on and so on. I like to think that we keep things interesting that way.
The house still needs major overhauls in the kitchen, second-floor bathroom, and basement. While two rooms have been fully renovated and decorated (Cooper's nursery and the main floor powder room), all of the remaining rooms have the basics but need finishing touches like furniture, wall art, and accessories. 
So that's why all of my house tour photos say "In Progress".
House #2
The Fixer Upper.
This past spring, we did something a little bit wild and crazy and bought a second house. Not only did we buy another house, but we bought the ugliest house on the street next to ours. While I like to think we are building a real-estate empire, really we bought the house so that Alex's parents could move here from out-of-town. We are the owners. They are the renters.
We've called the second house "The Fixer Upper" and Alex and his dad have been renovating it for the last several months. I am way behind in posting updates from the other house, but I hope to share some of the progress we've made when things start to slow down over here. Please tell me that things are going to slow down sometime. Please.
{If you are interested in hearing more about our ugly duckling house purchase you can find the related posts under the heading "Fixer Upper" in my sidebar. Be forewarned. When I say ugly I mean oooooogly.}
The Dog Situation
We have two badly behaved dogs that we love to bits.  
Roary is our 6-year old Golden Retriever and his personality is a lot like Eeyore's from Winnie the Pooh. He mopes around like he has the worst life ever, even though we feed him excessive amounts of people food and let him on the furniture.
Lexie is our 2-year old Short-Haired Collie mix. She was a rescue dog from an abusive home. We didn't plan on keeping her at first but then she pretty much licked our faces off until we changed our minds. She is high-energy, high-anxiety, and extremely loyal. And once she ate a giant raw steak right off of the counter.
The Baby Situation
Alex and I chose to start our family through international adoption in the spring of 2009. We have been on the waitlist in the Ethiopian Adoption Program for four long years. Even though the process has been a difficult one, we are still hopeful that things will work out and that someday soon we will fly halfway around the world to bring a wee little boy or girl home to his/her forever family. 
Since the timeline for our adoption basically quadrupled in length with no end in sight, we decided to switch up the plan and try for a biological child first. POOF! Cooper was delivered by stork (cause childbirth is gross) in April of 2012. He has about a hundred nicknames, and just as many facial expressions. I could just squish his little cheeks all day because they are so darn cute. Okay, okay, I'm a bit obsessed with him. Trust me, the proof is on my Pinterest feed. ;)
The Me Situation

I always stand in the grass staring off into the distance. It's what I do.
Basically, I'm a big nerd.
Things I kind of love a lot include: old houses, pretending I know how to decorate, white powdered mini donuts, furniture and antique shopping, downloading too many fonts on my computer, repurposing salvaged goods, watching girl movies (hello Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal), road trips, watching How I Met Your Mother, hoodies, freshly brewed coffee in the mornings, knitted mittens, making soup on a cold day, taking wannabe good photos of inanimate objects, Etsy, baking sweet treats, getting snail mail, and writing posts for the ol' bloggity blog.
I am employed full-time as a JK/SK teacher, although I am currently off on maternity leave with the Coopster. Ohmygad staying home is the best thing of LIFE. I just may have to convince the hubs that doing more of it is in his belly's best interests.
Oh yeah, and I bought my first ever pair of skinny jeans this year. I'm kind of proud of myself.
The Blog Situation
After discovering the world of DIY and home décor blogs and becoming the biggest blog stalker of all time, I decided to start up my own tiny blog in 2009. While in the beginning my posts were strictly related to paint and craft projects, I gradually started including more and more about my other hobbies and our little life in general. Nowadays you will find a mish mash of posts related to DIY projects, renovations, decorating, adoption, photography, the Coopster, our puppies, cooking, baking, or random stuff that proves just how dorky I really am. 
I am honoured to be a guest blogger on Bob Vila Nation and Cooper's nursery was recently featured on Apartment Therapy. I pretty much ran down the street kicking my heels like a crazy person when both of those opportunities went down. 
Anywayssss, I'm glad you're here. Let's be friends. I'm making you a giant mug of coffee as we speak.

My Winter Window Box - A Simple Tutorial


Saturday, December 8, 2012

I finished adding some winter greenery to my front window box this morning. I worked on it all week in small 20-30 minutes intervals while Cooper was napping. As soon as he would close his eyes I would run downstairs, throw on my winter gear, and head outside with the baby monitor. It worked out because breaking it up into small chunks of time ensured that I didn't die of hypothermia while I was out there. It's soooo cold out already. Brrrrrrrrrr.
The first thing I did was empty my window box of all the dead summer plants. I pulled out the root balls where I could but made sure to leave enough soil along the bottom of the box to stick the evergreen branches in.
Once the window box was cleaned up, I bundled up in about ten layers of clothing and headed out into the bush to practice my lumberjack skills. I brought some extra large leaf bags and some tree snips with me. I went to a secret location (heh heh heh) near my house that has an abundance of pine and fir trees. I filled up about three extra large leaf bags with pine and fir branches. Don't worry, I made sure to trim only a few branches per tree so that I wouldn't damage them!
Next, I brought out a step ladder and started filling up the box with the pine branches. I started with a row along the back of the window box. I was really selective with these and made sure to choose ones that were really sturdy and upright.
Once I filled the box with a row of pine branches all along the back, I added another row along the front. This time I chose branches that were a bit curved, or droopy so that they would hang over the edge a bit. Once I had a both rows finished, I added a few extra branches here and there where it was a little bit sparse. 
Once I had the box quite filled up with pine branches, I added some fir branches. Similarly, I went along and added some tall, sturdy pieces about 3/4 of the way from the front of the box. Then I added some smaller fir pieces about 1/4 of the way from the front of the box.

Even though my neighbours have some giant cedar trees, I decided not to give their bushes a haircut and went to a local greenhouse to purchase a small bundle  of cedar branches for $6.99.

Since I only had a few pieces of cedar, I spread them out evenly and tucked them in amongst the rest of the greenery. I like how they add a little bit of contrast with the dark greens.
Once all of my branches were in place I took a trip to Michael's and purchased a roll of burlap garland for $7.99.
I wanted to wrap the burlap around the window box like a present! I tried to use a roll of Alex's super duper strength tuck tape to tape the garland to the window box but the cold and wet snow were working against me.
Since I think I was getting frostbite by this point, I went inside and found a hammer and some finishing nails.
 I used the finishing nails to secure two long pieces of burlap garland to each side of the window box.
I tried to bring both pieces of burlap together at the front of the box to tie a giant bow but the garland kept drooping all over the place.

Instead, I used the extra-sticky, red tuck tape to secure both pieces of garland together in the front of the box. Next, I made a big bow with an extra piece of burlap and secured it in front of the red tuck tape with some more finishing nails.


I am still trying to decide if I want to add some lights to the box or not. I know they will look pretty at night but I'm afraid the wires will be too obvious during the day. What do you think? Lights or no lights?

Updated to Add:

The hydrangea bushes underneath the window box usually look really full and pretty with all of the dried blooms but alas the freakiest hailstorm ever smashed them to bits. That's why they look so strange.

Also, I've been really into holiday decorating with natural elements in shades of white, green, and brown lately. So I purposefully left out any red berries, ornaments, or bling in general. :)
Sharing Here:
Handmade Christmas Link Party @ Clean and Scentsible, Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest, Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things, DIY Project Parade @ The DIY Show-Off, The Sunday Showcase Party @ Under the Table and Dreaming, Tutorials and Tips Link Party @ Home Stories A to Z, Transformation Tuesday @ The Ironstone Nest, Show Me What Ya Got @ Not Just a Housewife, Outdoor Holiday Decorations Link Party @ The Ironstone Nest
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