Monday, 30 April 2012

a little decadence

My mom and I made these super yummy, easy and decadent lovelies when I was last in Montreal.  All it takes are small chocolate cups, some creme fraiche and berries. That's it!  This time when I went to make them I couldn't find any creme fraiche, so I just mixed mascarpone cheese with some whipped cream instead. YUM!

These chocolate cups were purchased at Cook's Fine Foods and Coffee but can also be found at your local grocery store.  If you are the Martha Stewart/super ambitious/avid do-it-yourselfer, a)what are you doing reading my blog? and b)you can obviously make your own cups.

I love the taste of both creme fraiche and mascarpone cheese by themselves, but for a touch of sweetness you can add some sugar or whipped cream to the mix.  And of course, choose whatever berries or any other fruit you like to top it all off. Voila!

Whatever you choose, I guarantee the end result will be delicious.  My husband loved it so much he automatically assumed that they were store bought! I took that as a hit to my culinary skills and as a compliment. {But mostly a hit}

Note: although the image above depicts what was left over from my daughter, rest assured it found a wonderful home in my belly.

How awesome and easy is that?!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012



Bookmarks. This is what you get when you google bookmarks:   You can save bookmarks by:

Adding bookmarks through the "Add bookmark" link on the left hand side of this page.
Adding bookmarks through the Google Bookmarks gadget on iGoogle.
Clicking on the star button on your Google Toolbar when you are browsing the web.
Clicking on the star icon next to any item in your Web History.

Things have changed since I was little girl.

What used to be front and centre in a book store, are now, somewhere in the back, forgotten. Maybe that's why my girls are so fascinated by them. That and the fact that they are glossy, have beautiful images and usually have a tassel or two! So in the name of keeping bookmarks (you know, the tangible kind that save your place in a book) alive - and reading for that matter - we decided to make some.

Perfect timing, since their cousins have their birthdays coming up and these would make excellent gifts!

We purchased some colourful paper. Beads and charms. And plastic coating to laminate the bookmarks.

This one was made by Ryan. 

A really simple and sweet bracelet.

The finished product. A bookmark for each cousin. A sweet little bracelet and a key chain. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall...

It was just another day at the beach.
Ryan put on her own suit and even helped Andy with hers!

The aftermath! This is relatively mild compared to what they usually do. At least this time they didn't pull a runner!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pattern Play

Most women are tentative when it comes to adding pattern into their wardrobes.  There are so many prints and colours to choose from, that it can definitely become overwhelming or headache-inducing (especially if there are too many patterns mixed together!).  

 A great way to slowly introduce pattern is to wear two of the same prints but in different sizes. Try a blouse with a large vertical stripe on it, and then pair it with a smaller pinstriped skirt. 

If you're afraid of going too crazy when mixing prints, try prints that are in similar colour groups. It will look visually less jarring, since there is something in common among the patterns you are wearing.
What's the easiest way to mix and match patterns?  Stick to prints in black and white or navy and white. 

Playing with patterns and colours should be fun! Here's some inspiration.

Spring/Summer runway 2012
Wonder what I'll mix together today?! With this unpredictable weather - I might be opting for something a little warmer.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dream Catcher

Two beautiful dream catchers made by Wendy. She used Willow tree branches for the circle.

My daughter Ryan used to have night terrors.  My husband and I will never forget the first time it happened. She was 16 months old. We had NO IDEA what was going on. She would wake up in the middle of the night (usually when we were just about to fall into a deep sleep) screaming, kicking, crying, and she wouldn't stop flailing around. We tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING!!  We tried to be calm, but seriously, if you have witnessed your child having a night terror, the LAST thing you are going to be is calm. We tried talking to her - that didn't work, so we tried yelling. You guessed it, that didn't work either. We were so afraid that she was going to hurt herself - and sometimes she did.  When we tried to get in the middle of it, we even ended up with a few bruises. Her first night terror lasted almost two hours.  She finally stopped when we were five minutes away from the hospital. Yes, we were taking her to the hospital. We thought there was something wrong with her. Our other option was to search for an exorcist!

These night terrors continued for quite a few more months. When we finally realized what they were, we were better prepared to help her get back to sleep. That being said, it wasn't easy. And it was quite stressful for all of us.  Now, she no longer has night terrors - thank goodness! But of course, as kids get older, it's almost inevitable that nightmares start.

At least now, Ryan is able to talk to us about it. And in turn, we are able to talk about them. Finding ways to make sure bad dreams don't enter her head.  We talk about all the things that make her happy. That make her laugh. What she loves.  Then we got on to the topic of dream catchers.  For Ryan, having something near her, that "caught" bad dreams, was a great idea.

So, we decided to make dream catchers.  With the help from Wendy and this Dream Catcher tutorial, we made some really great ones!

Dreamcatchers are an authentic Native American tradition from the Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe.  It is a Native American object based of a small hoop covered with string, yarn, or horsehair mesh and decorated with feathers and beads and believed to give its owner good dreams.
There is a traditional belief that the Dreamcatchers filtering a person's dreams by trapping the bad dreams and catch the good ones. 

Made by our friend and neighbour, Wendy

my first attempt

Made by Ryan - with some help of course.
Side bar:  OK, nothing ever really goes as planned!  As most of you know, the attention span of a 3 year old and a 2 year old are quite short.  Once Ryan was finished working on her dream catcher  - that was it. She was done! While Wendy and I were finishing up ours, Ryan and Andy went in the back yard to play. When it was eerily quiet back there, Wendy got up to check on them.  I really wish I had a picture to share with you, but there was Andy sitting happily in the wagon, while Ryan pulled her along, on their way to the park.  Yes, they "escaped" via our back gate, along the back alley, towards the park!  Talk about a mother's worst nightmare!  Thankfully they were still in the lane way. Safe. And we all went to the park.

For more information about Night Terrors click here.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Stand Tall

Posture. Proper posture is important in helping you look and feel good.  I can't say that I agree that if you have good posture you will look 10lbs lighter, but what I can agree with is that you will look much better. Taller, more confident and ultimately, you will look better in your clothes.  

I came upon this excerpt from A Guide to Elegance, by Genevieve A Dariaux.

When a woman is trying on clothes, she almost always holds herself beautifully erect in front of the dressing room mirrors. If afterward she hollows her chest and lets her entire body slump, she should not be surprised to find that her new dress does not look at all as chic as it did when she tried it on in the shop.

I couldn't agree more.

J Crew model hunched shoulders - increasingly popular to see models in awkward poses

The way you carry yourself, the way you walk, sit, stand and move can make or break your look! No one will remember your killer outfit if you carry yourself poorly.  

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn is a classic example of good posture. Which was attributed to her ballet background.

I have recently discovered that my posture wasn't perfect (gasp!) and the small adjustments that I have been instructed to make have already made a HUGE difference. (I never thought I'd be told to "fill my pants", especially at my age. Don't worry - just keep reading.) It's no easy task, but I am definitely more aware of how I sit and stand.  This advice was given to me by Kinesiologist Michelle McCalpin from the Live Well Centre in Kingston. I thought it would be a good idea to have her share some words or wisdom on the subject. So here it is!  

Getting Straight and Strong With Posture 
If there were one thing you could do to look taller, have a more defined rear end, while strengthening your core with barely any work, wouldn’t we all do it? Well here it is: proper posture! Correct posture is not just important so that we appear tall (yet let’s face it, who wants to look like the little old lady with the hunch back)? By standing and sitting in correct posture we are aligning our body to form our natural spinal curvature to keep our back safe and have minimal tension in our upper back, shoulders and neck. Our head is right on top of our shoulders, our rib cage is directly over our pelvis and our bum is apparent. And let’s face it, we look good in our clothes! 

Posture really is where it all starts. For strengthening your core, relieving back stress or tension, to “filling our pants” with our newly defined rear, it is essential for everyone to ensure they are standing and sitting correctly! 

So how do we get this correct posture?
5 Quick and Easy Steps to Align Yourself and Get Your Core Muscles and Pelvic Floor Firing All Day, Everyday.


  1. Feel for your front ribs, right below your chest. Now imagine yourself drawing a line down from the ribs to the floor. Would you hit your hips along the way? Our rib cage should be directly stacked on top of our pelvis, and therefore we should be able to ever so slightly tell that our front ribs are anterior to our hips. If they are not, imagine someone is pulling a string out from your chest, until they are in front of your hips. 
  2. We should all have a noticeable bum! Do you have loose material in your pants where your bum should be? Just with movement through your hips (not your torso) perform a pelvic tilt as if someone tied a string to your tailbone and pulled up on it. Or how I like to say it, “Fill your pants”. You should notice an instant perkiness in your rear. This is how we should stand! Not with a tucked under bum that leaves us with bagginess in our pants! 
  3. After performing steps 1 and 2, you should notice your head and shoulders fall into place. To make sure of this, look in a mirror. Our ears should be right over top of our shoulders and we should not feel like our shoulders are rolling forward. You should also feel that your weight is distributed over the balls and arches of your feet, not all on your toes or heels. If your weight is not in the middle of your feet, adjust accordingly. 
  4. Breathe properly! Place your hands on your side ribs nice and firmly. As you inhale, think about your ribs expanding and pushing your hands out. Therefore as you exhale your ribs should go back in. Don’t be afraid to push the ribs back in with your hands to help with the movement. Do not breathe with your chest! This is just creating upper back, shoulder and neck stress. 

Good Posture


With how much on average we sit as a society, it is crucial that we sit properly and safely to not put any extra stress on our lower backs, upper backs and shoulders. Just like when we are standing, we should sit with a pelvic tilt that ensures we have our natural spinal curve through the lower back. However it is so common to sit in the tucked under position, which forces the lower back to round, shoulders to roll forward, head to lean forward and therefore much stress on the shoulders and neck. Sound familiar?

    5. To ensure you are sitting in the proper position roll a towel, bed sheet, or even article of clothing so it forms a long tube shape. Place this at the back of your seat. Sit on the material with the “big” part of your bum. You will notice it creates a wedge and props your bum up high, forcing the pelvic tilt we always want to have. Now try to lean back? Not only does this wedge help with proper pelvic alignment but it also forces us to lean slightly forward which you will notice makes it very uncomfortable to lean back and slouch! Grab something to wedge underneath you and notice the difference it will make!!  

Proper Sitting Posture

It just takes 5 simple steps to get yourself aligned correctly, strengthening core muscles, protecting your back, looking taller and filling your jeans with your more defined bum.

For more information about posture or to make an appointment with me please email me at or contact The Live Well Centre at (613) 549-0866

Now, sit up and stop slouching!  Thanks Michelle.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Thanks to sites like Pinterest and various craft-astic blogs, I am bombarded with amazing projects that I would LOVE to attempt.  I probably will never tackle most of them 1) I lack patience - just ask my girls! and 2) I truly don't have the time.  Besides, I am pretty happy to pay for things rather than make them. Except for pillows. I have a fondness for making pillows.  Of course, it's no surprise, since sewing a pillow takes absolutely no skill, and satisfies my need for instant gratification. They make great gifts for friends or family and since I tend to change my mind and style frequently (my husband would call it annoying), it's a easy way to play with fabrics, colours and textures.


For my musician friend


for one funky friend

my latest project

the girls approve!
Next time you are on the hunt for a throw pillow, look at the price tag, then go home and make one instead!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Easter Gift Bags

It's no surprise that Easter was, by far, one of my favourite holidays when I was a little girl. It probably kick-started my addiction to candy! There are so many good memories that come to mind. Of course, I LOVED the whole idea of the hunt for chocolate, but we also used to get Flipsiders (anyone else remember these?). They were almost as good as finding the candy. 
This year, since my girls are at an age to participate in the hunt, I decided to make a small treat bag for them, and a few to give to their friends. 
Something simple, handmade and one of a kind.


Have a wonderful Easter weekend. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A fairy garden

Both of my girls LOVE fairies.  I must admit, I love them too.  They evoke mystery, magic and intrigue.  What little girl wouldn't want to discover a tiny fairy resting on a flower petal?  Or perhaps find one in the garden?  To invite some fairy friends to our house, we created a magical and colourful miniature village.

This was a fun and easy project that cost next to nothing to make.  The small bird houses were purchased from the dollar store along with the paint.  Everything else, we had on hand.

all decorated and ready to go

Our little fairy garden

Now we wait for our little fairy friends to visit.