My Super Cute Homesense Christmas Finds


Friday, November 14, 2014

For the last few years I've been really into the natural, neutral, less-is-more Christmas decorating approach. In the past I've had a hard time finding store-bought Christmas decor items that fit my style and so I would rely heavily on real greenery and, well, that's about it.

When I walked into Homesense a few weeks ago I almost had a panic attack. MUST HAVE ALL THE THINGS! I could have easily dropped at least $500 during that shopping trip. I tried to keep things under control though and limited my purchases to items that cost less than $30 each. {Alex, you should be so proud.} 

So here is my little collection of recent, Christmas-y Homesense finds:

Well, how did I do? Would any of these little trinkets have made it home with you? I am excited to visit a local greenhouse tomorrow to get some fresh greenery. I seriously doubt I'll be trekking through the bush with tree clippers and garbage bags to chop down my own pine boughs this year. :)

Big Boy Room Ideas + A Big Purchase


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Almost five years ago, back in February of 2010, I painted horizontal stripes in one of our spare bedrooms. At the time we were heavily invested (emotionally I mean) in our Ethiopian adoption process. I was so gung-ho to paint those stripes - just hoping and wishing to start our family with a sweet little boy or girl from a land far away. Sigh. International adoption in Ontario moves at the slowest pace of all time. Just sayin'.  

Fast forward to today. We've got Coopaloops in our teeny bedroom and Little Diego on the way. We're still on the wait list for adoption (with no end in sight) but we're running out of room! For now,I've decided to move Cooper into the empty, stripey room. I don't have the heart to paint over the stripes though, so I'll be working with those in my little design plan. :) 

Here's what I have so far:

I know it's nothing too exciting but I think it's a nice, neutral start. I can always add some colour and interest with a quilt, pillows, wall art, and toys. 

Since I was basically out of commission for the past 3 1/2 months (brutal morning sickness + my gimpy leg) I'm kind of running out of time to get things done. 

So, when Restoration Hardware Baby advertised that everything in their online store was 20% off I went ahead and ordered two items on my wishlist:

It's the Millbrook Iron Bed and the Henley Stripe Duvet Cover. Since I just love the lamps that I bought from RH, I'm super duper excited to get these items in the mail next week. 

And three cheers to me for deciding on something quickly for once. A due date deadline certainly helps!

What do you think of my choices so far? Any other suggestions for the Coopster's new room?

New Kitchen Cabinet Hardware


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Back in the summer I decided on a whim that I just couldn't live another day with crusty, old, never-been-painted-since-we-moved-in kitchen cabinets.

The handles on the cabinets were doing bad things to my brain. I really wasn't a fan.


We tried on several occasions to find same-sized handles so we could just swap them out, but the old ones were such an odd size we couldn't find a single style that we liked to replace them with!

So, we had to wait until we were ready to patch, sand, prime, and paint all of the old holes. I am so happy to say that the prep work is finally done.

The only thing left to do is to figure out the measurements and install the hardware. I'm guessing that in a newer home this job would be a little bit easier. You see, in our older-than-old house the drawers and cabinets are all slightly different lengths and widths. I'm trying to remember that it's, ahem, charming and not annoying. ;)

In the meantime, I thought I'd share what we chose for new hardware. After shopping around at all of our local home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe's, Home Hardware) I was having a hard time finding a choice that I loved. (Since this is just a quickie fix for our old kitchen, there was no way that I would be ordering any fancy schmancy hardware from Lee Valley or anywhere.)

It was quite a surprise when we went to our local Canadian Tire and found some really nice, chunky, brushed nickel cabinet hardware. Sold!

We chose knobs for the cabinet doors and bin pulls for the drawers. They don't look the greatest in the packaging but check out the picture of them up close!

Pretty, right? I can't wait to get them on our cabinets! I'll make sure to share a picture once we get them all installed. 

Now, the only bad part about painting the cabinets and getting new hardware, is that now we are talking about possibly replacing the laminate counter with some butcher block and maybe installing an inexpensive beadboard backsplash. Uh oh.


And the Muffin Obsession Continues


Saturday, November 8, 2014

I think this calls for a mini-celebration. One, I baked muffins. Two, I finished painting the kitchen cabinets that I started painting in August. I've accomplished more in the last two days than I have in the last two months. Awww, yeahhhhhh.

(It's probably not a good thing to celebrate that I ate half of the muffin tray within a few hours of baking them but let's just focus on the positive for today.)

So I took an old boringly-named recipe (Classic Bran Muffins) and gave it a new name. And some chocolate chips. And then they were the best things ever because they were healthy (uh, bran?) and they tasted scrumptious especially once slathered with generous smears of butter. Mmmmm, butter.

The new recipe is called "Raspberry Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Bran Muffins". Apparently according to Pinterest if you title something with 10 of the ingredients it sounds a lot fancier.

Raspberry Chocolate Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Ready In: 40 min


1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk*
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar**
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raspberries***
1/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

* If you don't have buttermilk on hand, pour 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar into a 1 cup measure. Add milk until you have 1 cup total liquid. Let stand for 10 minutes.
** Loosely packed
*** Chopped into pieces


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla. Add to buttermilk/bran mixture.
4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended.
5. Gently stir in berries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom. Cooper loved these muffins. He even ate TWO in one sitting. The next day though, he turned his nose up in disgust. Sigh. Toddlers. ;)


Oh, and did you want to see some cute pictures of my kid with bedhead? Of course you do. 

In other news, I finally got a new hard-drive and got most of my programs re-installed. I'm still waiting to hear if the data recovery place can restore any of my photos and files from my old one. Fingers crossed!!!!

Have a great day, and hopefully a muffin.

One More Little, Big Thing


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The number one reason I quit blogging, neglected my dearest Homesense, and made zero progress on the home front for the last three months?

I was queasy. And when I say "queasy" I really mean "trying-not-to-puke-my-brains-out-every-second-while-lying-incapacitated-on-the-couch."

Say hi to Little Diego (according to Cooper).

I am relieved to say that the nausea seems to be letting up a bit and I can now eat semi-normal foods instead of what I've been living on for weeks on end: buttered noodles, English muffins, and saltines.

So much for my vow to eat super healthy and exercise like an all-star. ;)

There. That's all my happy (woot, woot!) news for today. It's almost afternoon nap-time (for me and the Coopster) so I've gotta run.


Oh, hi. And 10 Things.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hello, friends. I've missed you.

1. I disappeared.

Thank you so much to those of you who wrote me an email or a little message to check in and see if I was okay. I'm okay! I'm alive! I'm back!

2. I decorated for fall.

Brace yourself. I went wild and crazy with the fall decorating this year. I bought an owl. Then I put it on a shelf.

I really outdid myself this year, yes I know.

3. I tore stuff in my knee.

Yup, busted. I wish I could say that I was break-dancing when I did it. Instead all I can say is that I have wobbly bones and stood up in a weird way. I've been on crutches for the past four weeks and am currently on a wait list to see a specialist. Let me just say that chasing a toddler with only one good leg is mentally and physically challenging.

4. I've made absolutely no progress on any home related projects since August.

Not one iota of progress, people. You know what, though? I'm okay with it. After a nice long break I can feel the motivation starting to kick back in a little bit.

5. I went to Homesense for the first time in three months.

It was magical, really. I bought a cartload of Christmas stuff just to make up for my long, heart-wrenching absence. Alex was thrilled when he brought all the bags in from the car. Hee hee!

6. I took a break from offering photography sessions until at least the New Year.

By the end of the summer I was pretty overwhelmed. I was working on photo sessions every nap time and every night and still couldn't keep up. I finally realized two things. A) My workflow is way too slow. I need to take some time to learn some shortcuts, and B) I was not charging nearly enough money for the amount of time I was putting in. So, I made the super hard decision to take a break. I'm finally catching my breathe and learning some new, technical, kinda boring (but super helpful) things.

7. I'm pretty sure my kid is a creative genius.

I will let the following pumpkin speak for itself. ;)

8. We had our own family pictures taken.

This is huge. HUGE. Since I am the world's least photogenic person I usually avoid being in pictures at all costs. After my hard-drive crashed (see #9, boo hoo) I realized that I had not one good photo of our little family. So I bit the bullet and hired my talented friend to take our pictures. We had the session a few weeks ago and should be getting the final gallery later today. Eeeeeeeek!

9. My hard-drive crashed and burned.

Remember how I have computer tech-y hubby? Remember how I was taking a break from photography to get organized and become more efficient? Well, one of the things on my list of to-do's was to back up all of my stuff. I'm pretty sure Alex nattered at me a thousand times to back up my pictures on this giant box he has in the basement. I kept replying, "Yeah, yeah. I'll get to it later." Well. Guess what happened my friends? While I was working on organizing some folders on my desktop one innocent Wednesday afternoon, my screen went completely black. And then everything was gone. Yup, all my photos of my dearest little Coopster. Yup, all my school work from the last few years. Yup, all of my family photo sessions. Yup, all of my everything. I pretty much cried for three days. Then, I gave myself a pep talk and told myself that there are way worse things than a fried hard-drive. It was a major lesson learned for me and a major I-told-you-so for Alex. ;)

P.S. We sent it away to see if any of the data can be recovered. It may cost a small fortune but I'm willing to try anything. Fingers crossed!

10. We've been doing fun things.

Despite the busted knee and the fried computer, we've been really happy just enjoying the little things.

Like: Halloween crafts, birthday parties, Coop's first ring pop (guess which picture?), a hockey game, a trip to the pumpkin patch, and of course trick-or-treating!

Thanks so much for dropping by. I'll see you again soon. :)
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