Saturday, September 15, 2012


The end of school was not photographed. Everyone in the family took turns with a stomach virus. Everyone except me, that is. Lucky, right? I just got to take care of everyone else. So that meant missing Logan's pre-school graduation, Avery's end of the year piano recital, (he was able to go, but no else in the immediate family did), Jacob threw up on his class trip and Avery and Izzy missed their last days of school. Thankfully it was a pretty short lived virus. 
July consisted of beach days, Seafest festivities, and playground fun. 
In August, the Southwest exhibition rolled around. I'd been wanting to put Izzy in the beauty pageant they have, and to my delight, they had added a baby pageant as well. So I entered Meghan, and she WON! She was the cutest 13-24 month old. So fun! She won a huge ribbon, a TupperWare snack container (LOVE TupperWare) and a J.R.Watkins baby care set. Not a bad haul.

Meghan with her ribbon.
 Izzy's pageant consisted of a modeling segment, where they had to model their favorite hockey jersey or school team colors. Brian has jerseys of all sizes for Pittsburgh, so that was the obvious choice.
Izzy in her Penguins get up
 Then there was a talent portion. I debated long and hard about this one, and almost didn't enter her. Not to say she's not talented, but the things she IS talented in are hard to showcase. She doing really well in figure skating, but hat's not really an option on stage. She is a bit shy, so singing was not something she would do. She quit dance lessons after a season, she didn't love it, but she loves to draw and paint, so I made her an artist's beret, and smock, picked up a palette and some easels at Dollarama, and had her showcase some of her best drawings, set to classical music. I thought it was original.
                                Artist Izzy                                    

The last part of the pageant was a party/formal dress. I chose a bright red number. She looks best in bright cheery colors (she's a type 1), and found hair accessories to match and painted her nails. I took her to have her hair done, but it was so humid, by the time the pageant rolled around, most of her curls had fallen out. But she still looked pretty cute, I must say.
 There was also a photogenic competition, where you had to submit photos in advance. Izzy ended up winning "Miss Photogenic", but was disappointed that she didn't win a crown or sash. I must say, I was disappointed too. She won some cash and a gift card though. She said she had fun and liked it. Not sure if we'll do it again next year. I found it pretty stressful, and it wasn't well organized, but we'll see.
The winning photo

The winners
 We had a university student living with us from April to August to help out with the kids. I can't find any pictures of her. I can't believe it! We took her to the city so she could catch her train home, and made a pit stop at the temple to take some pics.
Halifax Temple
 Logan turned 5 on August 18th, but we celebrated on the 13th, because we were going to be on our roadtrip. More on that later. He wanted a Mario cake, so I found this idea on Pinterest. 144 mini cupcakes, assembled to look like an 8 bit Mario. I liked the fact that there would be no cake cutting.
Mario cake

Opening presents
 I found a ton of ideas, but one can only do so much, especially for a five year old's birthday. The kids won't really care or notice , so why go through a ton of work. I created this "wall" on the clothesline though. The kids had fun running through the coins, and beating up the boo balloons.
Boos and coin wall

Finley, Emmy and Meghan on the trampoline
My sister and her twins as well as my parents came down to celebrate with us. Thank you, thank for all your help!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bon Voyage! (Trip to Paris)

Last month, Brian, Avery, Meghan and I took a little trip to Paris, France. Brian had a conference, so I decided to tag along. Meghan is still pretty attached to me, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for Avery to use his French and have some one on one time with us. Well, as one on one as you can get with a toddler in tow.  My good mother and a friend of hers, as well as our new mother`s helper, manned the fort and kept the other children.
The trip started off well, when Brian used some upgrade credits from his Aeroplan Elite account, to upgrade us to First Class on our Montreal to Paris flight. It was heavenly! The lay flat seats allowed us to get some sleep. Here's a pic of Avery in his first class seat, with Brian in the background.

 When we arrived, (on a Wednesday) we checked into our hotel, and decided to head out to do some sightseeing. Our hotel was in an excellent location. About 50m from the subway stop, and the the Arc de Triomphe. We walked to the Eiffel Tower. It was a longer walk then we bargained for. (Tourist maps are deceiving) We waited two hours, yes TWO hours to go up in the tower. There was only one of two elevators in service. Thankfully Meghan fell asleep on the walk there, so it was totally bearable. 

I am not a fan of heights, so I just went up to the first level. That was high enough for me. Brian and Avery went all the way to the top.

After the Tower, we took a little break in a park nearby. Meghan enjoyed her freedom from the stroller.

On Thursday, Brian headed out to his conference. I had to wake Avery and Meghan up around 10am. We got breakfast, and were ready to head out, when the manager of the hotel came and apologized profusely to us. You see, we had booked our hotel through Expedia. We chose "The Belfast" hotel, because of the location, but primarily because 2 adults and 2 children could fit there. If you've ever travelled in Europe, you know that hotel rooms there are SMALL. Most only accomodate two people. When we first checked in, the had only received a reservation for two adults. It was a small room, but they managed to fit a cot in for Avery. They couldn't even fit a playpen in for Meghan. I made her a little "bed" on the floor. So anyway, the manager offered to move us to a bigger room. She explained that they had been having a lot of problems like ours with Expedia, and they don't work with them anymore. I said sure, but we had to go back up to our room, and pack everything up in our suitcases, so they could move them for us. So needless to say, we got off to a late start. We took the subway to Notre Dame.

Avery in front of Notre Dame

Stained glass window

After Notre Dame, where we lost Avery's hat, we walked along the Seine to the Orsay Museum. We browsed the little kiosks selling every tourist trinket imaginable. I purchased some prints of Paris, that matched some prints that I got the last time we were here, ten years ago. I was pretty excited to go to this museum because they have an exhibition on Impressionist Art. I love this style! I got to see the originals of a few of my favorites. Unfortunately, you were not allowed to take any pictures. Meghan fell asleep on the walk there, and slept the whole while I gazed at the works of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Manet, and van Gogh, among others. It was awesome. Avery did not share my enthusiasm however.We could not get out of there fast enough.
Avery, sitting on some weird seat, waiting impatiently for  me
We got back to the hotel, and Brian was there waiting for us. Our new room was great. A lot bigger, with plenty of room, well, according to European standards. We all fit in fine though. We  had made plans to meet up with a girl Brian had known from his mission. Brian served in the France Bordeaux Mission, but this woman now works in Paris, about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. She met us, and we walked to a cafe to eat supper and catch up. Unfortunately, I didn't remember to get a picture. Oops. We stopped on the way back at a grocery store to pick up a few things, including 1L Yop. Oh yeah. One. Whole. Litre. of yummy yogurt goodness. This one`s for you, Keah.

Friday, we walked down the Champs Elysees. We went in a few stores, including a toy store, where Avery got some French Pokemon cards. I saw a Louis Vuitton store, and an Abercrombie & Fitch that were out of this world. Should have taken a picture.

Then we headed to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur Basilica. See all those stairs.
Avery at the bottom.

Yep. We went to the top. It was soooooo hot there too. You can`t see in the picture, but off to both sides, there are more steps. They are very wide, short and curve around each level. We decided to go up the east steps. Did I mention that Meghan was sleeping. In her stroller. Just as we were starting our ascent, we were bombarded by some African men, asking us to hold out our finger. They had embroidery thread to make bracelets. I was like ``Non, non, non`` and shaking my head. I looked back at Avery, and he had put his finger out, so I had to stop. I ended up sticking my finger out too, and we each ended up with bracelets. Man, are they persistent. They`re all chatty and interested where we`re from. When I said Canada, they said `Toronto or Montreal`` Um, neither. As soon as they finish, the one guy gets all serious, and says, `contribution, please. It was a little unnerving, but I gave them a few euros and we were on our way. Avery took the front bar of the stroller, and I supported the back, and slowly but surely, we made our way. Stopping to enjoy the view at each ``level``. 

View from the top.
When we got to the top, we took the funiculaire down. Too bad we didn`t see that on the way up. After we got down, we walked around a bit, and I discovered we were in the garment district. So many fabric stores. As far as the eye could see. I went in a few, but as you can imagine, Avery wasn`t really into it. It was quite overwhelming, so many colors, textures and types, I didn`t get anything. I didn`t really need anything anyway. We got back on the subway to meet Brian at the Louvre. When we stepped off, we saw Brian get off. He had been on the same subway, just two cars back. That worked out well.

Entrance to the Louvre
The Louvre was very frustrating. We saw the Mona Lisa, but if you ask me, the whole museum is overrated.

Mona Lisa from a distance
 That opinion may have something to do with the fact the elevator didn`t seem to be working, my feet and legs were aching, Meghan was sick and tired of her stroller and wanted to walk, the darned museum is on so many levels and sublevels, it drove me nuts. The guide and map (if you can call it a map)that they give you is so hard to follow it`s ridiculous. We had such a hard time trying to leave, to find the exit. We went up a level, down a half level, around in a circle, down another half level. I couldn`t wait to get out of there.

Mona Lisa close up
 Saturday was a bit of a rough day. Avery didn`t want to do much of anything. But I dragged him halfway across the city, (well, not quite, but it was a bit of a ride) to a store I wanted to go to. It wasn`t as good shopping as I`d hoped, but I don`t regret it. We got some pain au chocolat for lunch (a pastry like a croissant, with chunks of chocolate baked in. Can you say YUM), and sat in a park to eat it. Then we headed to the Musee d`Àrmee (Army Museum) which was the best museum we went to. It was amazing. I wasn`t particularly looking forward to it, but I thought Avery would like it. It did not disappoint. There were so many artifacts, Avery filled up the memory card, with pictures of guns, chain mail, armour, guns and swords.  They seemed to have something from every major conflict in history. It was quite something. Next to the museum, there was a church that housed the burial sites of some major French people.We went in to see Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pretty neat.

Avery in front of a canon

Napoleon`s tomb

That evening, when Brian got back, we went to the Arc de Triomphe. I didn`t realize that you can actually go up inside of it, and come out on top. Before we went, I suggested that we leave the stroller behind, beacuse Meghan had had enough of it. I had brought my babywrap, and put her in that instead. She was not thrilled, but it`s a good thing we did, because the elevator was out of order. So up we trudged, up, up, up the spiral staircase. There were people in front and behind, so you couldn`t stop to rest. You just had to keep moving. Fortunately it wasn`t as bad as I expected. The view from the top was amazing. I kept my distance from the edge though.  

The Arc
See the Eiffel Tower behind us

View of the Champs Elysees
I can`t remember which Bourne Identity movie it was in, the second or third, but the pic below is La Defense, at a distance of course. Jason Bourne goes into the square building at one point. Anyway, I`ve wanted to see that building ever since. It it pretty impressive, even from a distance. 
The Grande Arche (square building)
On Sunday, we planned to go to the Palace of Versailles. This has been a dream of mine since I wrote a paper on it in high school. I couldn`t wait!! We started the morning off by going to church. We were planning just to stay for Sacrament meeting, but it just so happened that it was their ward conference that week, and they were doing things backwards. Figures. So we stay, but leave right after we had the sacrament. We got to Versailles early afternoon, and boy is it HOT! 

Poor little Meghan fell asleep with a piece of her baguette sandwich sticking out of her mouth.
Versailles is a sweet little town, and the palace was amazing. But boy, what a lineup. We must have waited over an hour to get tickets and then get in the front gate. We were packed like sardines, and moving shufflesteps through the whole palace. It was so packed, and so gorgeous.  After we went through the palace, we decided not to walk around the gardens, for two reasons. There was a lineup there too, and we`d have to get another ticket to view the gardens, and secondly, Meghan was CRANKY. The stroller was at the front gate (can`t bring strollers inside the palace) so we would have had to backtrack, etc. It just wasn`t worth it at that point. Did I mention how bloody hot it was too. We`ll have to save that for another trip, someday. 

Me, in front of Versailles

The Hall of Mirrors

The ceiling in Marie Antoinette`s salon, I think.

Monday, we headed home. It was nice to get home. We had a great trip.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lookee what I've been making!

I've been in a re purposing mood lately. I found this blog via pinterest the other week. She sews, among other things, and had a couple of tutorials that re purposed t-shirts. So I decided to try a few, and then things got out of hand, and I did a google search and got a few more tutorials to try out.

The first one, is pretty cute. I forgot to take before pics, but just imagine a plain white t-shirt, that you've had for a few years. Looking a bit dingy, and you don't wear it as much as you used to.

The Ruffled Tee
 For the ruffles. I cut up one of my "painting shirts" An old t-shirt, way too big for me, that had paint on the front, but the back was fine, so I cut it up in strips, sewed a basting stitch along the edge and ruffled it. Then you pin and sew, pin and sew, etc. For the tutorial, go here.
A little closer
 This next shirt used to have long sleeves. I cut them off, made a ruffle, and sewed it on around the neck. I found this one in a google search. It was pretty easy, so I decided to try this out two different ways. I used to absolutely LOVE this shirt. The sleeves were actually long enough for my monkey arms, and it is so comfortable. I used to love this shirt, that is, until I got paint on the sleeve. Sometimes I think "oh, I'm just painting a little bit. I won't get any on me." Famous last words. Anyway, I only wear it to bed, or around the house, but now it has new life.
The tutorial for this and the pink one can be found here.
Purple shirt
 The pink shirt was a long sleeved tee that I got at Frenchy's quite a while ago. It's originally from Mark's Work Wearhouse, and it's very comfy. I often wear it to bed, but no more. I did the same thing that I did with the purple shirt, except that I sewed the ruffle down the middle with the pink shirt instead of around the edge, with the purple shirt. You get a bit of a different look. I really like how this one turned out. It has relaxed a bit after it was washed. Not quite so clownlike.

Neck of pink shirt

This puple one, we'll call it purple #2, is probably my favorite thus far. I am wild about ruffles, if you haven't already gathered as much.
 This one used two shirts. I got them for $2.50 and $3, at different times, on clearance at Zellers. Luckily I was able to get two the same. The only problem is, they are a size too small, as evidenced by my protruding abdomen. Yeah, I'm working on that, so hopefully by summer, it'll fit a lot better. You can find the tutorial for this one, here.  I didn't love the bottom of the tutorial shirt, so I left that part out.
Purple shirt #2

I  have gone through all of my shirts, and have a lot more projects in mind. I'll probably go through my daughters shirts as well and dress up some plain tees for them too!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Games Room Complete

I don't know what it is about anything a few inches off the ground,
 but boy, it's like a magnet for kids.
Brian's just completed a small project to finish off the Man Cave, um, I mean Games Room. Well, I guess we still need a few things on the wall, but that'll come. I was thinking movie posters maybe, but I'm open to suggestions. Okay, so last year we purchased four theatre seats, and a pool table.  This year, we decided we could fit four more seats in if we made a second row. Ideally they would be on a platform of some sort, to be able to maximize viewing pleasure, so a few Saturdays ago, he (I helped a little) did it up. I think it turned out pretty good.
Left side
Right side

I got a staple gun for Christmas, which came in quite handy when we attached the carpet. The platform is made from 2x8x12s and 2x8x8s (cut to 4' long) to support underneath. Then 3/4" plywood on top, covered in brown tip shear industrial carpet, just in case you were wondering. 
View from the front

View of the screen from the back row
If you're also wondering, the screen size is 104" if I'm not mistaken. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Family Silhouette Picture

Just had to share this little crafty project I recently completed. I saw this on a blog I regularly check in on - LOVE this blog. So glad I came across it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make one. I'm not good at doing tutorials, so I'm not even gonna try. The short version is:
 1)Take profile pics of kids 2) print out on paper 3)Glue to black cardstock 4) cut out 5)glue to background of your choice (I pieced together some pretty srapbook paper that matched the room)
6) Frame and hang Voila!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

True Friend Shop, Look and Feel Confident

This is a great offer. I have recently done this course, and have loved it!  Takes all the guesswork out of shopping. Take a look. See if it's for you.

True Friend Shop, Look and Feel Confident

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chandelier re-fashion

Here's a little DIY project I just completed. My Mom had an old chandelier hanging in her entryway, and got a new fixture. She asked me if I wanted it, so I gladly took it off her hands. This thing is old. It's been hanging in our house since I was maybe 8, and actually came from the home of a friend of hers. When this friend moved into their hundred year old house, this chandelier was there. I guess it didn't suit their tastes, and gave it to my parents. In any case, I think I really scored.


I wrestled for a few days, where I would put it, and what color I would paint it. I decided on my fancy powder room, and therefore decided to spray paint it black.


I love how it turned out. It really ups the glamour factor. Now, if we could just get the crown moulding up, you wouldn't be able to see the wallpaper gaps, and this room would be complete!!