Friday, November 30, 2018

What's Your Holiday Motto?

On Gretchen Ruben's Happier podcast the other day, her try this at home strategy was 'find a holiday motto'. Find a theme that resonates with you, and find ways to build your holidays around it.

The holidays are most of our very favourites. It's such a beautiful time of year filled with  goodness, festivity and cheer. However, it can overwhelm  us if we're not careful and we can find it stressful to immerse ourselves in all the possibilities and activities. By choosing a motto, we  focus our holiday time and energies on the theme or motto and allows us to weed out any activities that aren't in line with it.

After careful consideration, my holiday motto for this year is:

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I am choosing to focus this holiday season on extending that Christmas joy outside of my own world. This will be through giving a combination of both time and things to those in need in our community to bring them joy. We have a couple things in the works and we are loving treasuring the season of giving. 

Joy to the World in our world will also be through deciding what things as a family will bring us joy and really not doing every  Christmas thing that we've done through the years. I asked the girls what their top five Christmas things to do was and their little lists were so simple and pure.   It made me more resolute that something doesn't bring us the joy it once used to, it's probably not going to happen if we can help it. I'm probably not going to  host  as much stuff or  take the kids to every single holiday event we've signed up in the past... We will choose the events and activities we've loved most in the past, try some new ones and soak in the spirit of the season.  Instead of baking hundreds of cookies, I might bake a few dozen.... and that's enough to bring us joy! And no mall Santa for us most likely, ha!

It will be great to focus on the spirit of the season and what really matters to us. Less stress, less doing and more en-joy-ing.  This year, the girls want to do a little get together for their school friends and it is bringing them so much joy to plan it. Their excitement is infectious. They cannot stop talking about it.  Our joy also is as simple just hanging out, just us four in our comfy clothes at home under the twinkling lights and listening to carols. Or go see the twinkling lights in our neighbourhood. This weekend, we are heading to an event that our mortgage broker hosts-- kiddie crafts, a santa visit, snacks and a trolley ride- incidentally it's on A's top 5 Christmas list as well.. so much joy!

What's your holiday motto going to be this year? It could be a word, a sentence or phrase. It could be even part of a song. Whatever it is, may it bring your peace and lots of joy :-)

And a few irreverent funnies for Friday

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THey're back this weekend!!

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Can you imagine?

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Lol, red Christmas for me!

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Cracking up!

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Happy weekending!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday- November 2018

Hello, lovelies! Here's what's going on with us in November...

What we're eating this week?
Monday: Grilled chicken breast, broccoli and chick pea pasta for the kids. 
Tuesday: We have a zoup fundraiser for swimming so we'll do dinner then.
Wednesday: Turkey burgers (on lettuce for the adults)
Thursday: meatless, I'm thinking a soup of some sort
Friday: dinner with my cousin who will be visiting. ,, maybe some Mediterranean
Not sure of our weekend plans yet. 

Low (ish) carb and low sugar with some little treats thrown, tis' being the holidays coming up. 

What I'm reminiscing about
Christmases past! 
Oh my heart!

What I'm loving
Online shopping... I went into a couple of stores and it's so weird all the lines and the looking for something and not finding it!! LOL.

What we've been up to…
Extra curricular has us busy every single day of the week. On weekends, we have been hunkering down and just spending time as a family... when we are not going to a swim meet that is. Speaking of swim meets, girlfriend crushed it again, getting 3 ribbons for improving her personal best times. 

And I'm trying to get all of my shopping done before the season gets very hectic. So far,  I'm in a good place. Now December will be lots of wrapping!
And here below also is the story of my Christmas life.

What I'm dreading…
It is so cold these days... and it's only November. 

What I'm working on
Getting my nine year old to pick up after herself without losing my mind--- mamas out there- any tips?

What I'm excited about…
 A little holiday cheer! Tis the season.

What I'm watching/reading…
All of the fall finales and then Christmas movies in the background while I'm working/cooking. 
O, The Oprah Magazine
I also love reading the holiday editions of magazines so I download my free copies that are available with my prime membership!

What I'm listening to..
So much holiday music... google music is crushing it. And the radio stations are slowly starting to play as well. 

What I'm wearing…
My real winter jacket already! Can you believe?!

What I'm doing this weekend…
My cousin is coming and he prefers more low key hanging out. We have a holiday trolley ride and santa visit with the kids, maybe a dinner or two out and some gingerbread decorating!

What I'm looking forward to next month..
All of the holidaying-- my in laws come to visit. Will be great to see them. And a whole lot of family time, baking, carolling, fun and christmas cheer!!

What else is new?
C is doing a neighbourhood food drive and the verbal response has been overwhelming! We collect next week but so far almost everyone has been so supportive. We have an awesome neighbourhood!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends!
 Linking up with Mel, Shay and Shaeffer

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Happy Place

Happy Monday, friends! Since this weekend was filled with hygge, christmas cheer and a swim meet (of course), I thought I'd share some pics of the awesome Happy Place, a special place where everyone is surrounded by all things... you guessed it... happy! 

Such beautiful installations and so many multi sensorial experiences!

My bestie and I captured our happy as best as we could and left The Happy Place smiling just a little bit more. Here's about 1/10 of the pics we took.

Clearly, I think I'm a rockstar!

May your week be the happiest!!

Linking up with Biana for weekending!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Best Pumpkin Pie

Confession, I was never the biggest pumpkin pie- until I had this one. My friend Kathryn made this one year for Thanksgiving and it was simply the best! So light, fluffy and not overly spices with a delicate crust!  All of us love it!

Just in time for the American Thanksgiving, here's one of the very best Thanksgiving recipes!


For the crust:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

For the pie:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie mix)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

(whipped cream for serving)

For the crust:
  • Stir the butter, oil, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl until evenly combined. Add the measured flour and stir until a soft dough forms.
  • Sprinkle the dough in small clumps over the bottom of a 9-1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. 
  • Using a measuring cup, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the plate (flour the cup or your fingers occasionally to prevent sticking). 
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For the pie:
  • Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the lower third. Place a baking sheet on the rack while the oven is heating.
  • Place ingredients  for the filling in a large bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. Pour into the chilled pie crust.
  • Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake until the top starts to brown and the filling is set but still jiggles slightly in the center, about 50 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool completely before serving. 
  • Top slices of the pie with whipped cream, if desired.
Soooooooooo good! If you are looking for a last minute pie recipe here it is!

Monday, November 19, 2018


Yay for a weekend filled with lots of family time. After a week of an unintentional mid semester break for A with a fever that just wouldn't quit, everyone was healthy and enjoying each other's company...

This weekend, after a huge snowfall on Thursday, we:

- Went to the doctor on Friday for her to check A out and simultaneously get our flu shots

- Had Mexican for dinner. C and D went to see a movie while I did laundry, chatted with an aunt and A slept

- Did a mini photo shoot for the girls. We got a sneak peek this am and we were thrilled.

- Headed to Oakville for the first swim meet of the season but got there early so of course, we did some shopping to kill some time. Girlfriend improved all three of her times, especially with her free-style shaving ten seconds off her previous best!!!

- Went to a tasting restaurant after to celebrate.

-  Did some lunch and shopping at the mall for stockings for people in need. Both of my girls were responsible for choosing things for a girl their own age... they looooved it and both declared how much fun giving is!

- Saw the Nutcracker-The Four Realms in 3D with the most comfy reclining seats... Such a good one to see in 3D

-  Came home for our tree decorating party. We dominated a cheese platter, drank some juice (grown up grape juice for the adults) and had fun listening to carols, chatting with my cousin, playing cards and decorating. D and I stayed up way too late for a Sunday night chatting. 

My neighbour took these marvelous winter shots with her nice camera!
Image may contain: plant, flower, tree, sky, outdoor and nature

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Happy Monday, friends!! American friends, I'm a tiny bit jealous of your short week!

Linking up with Biana for weekending!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season!

Yay for the holiday season that is creeping up on us. This weekend with all this snow we have, we intend to slowly start decorating and getting things ready for Christmas- we don't have Thanksgiving in Canada but for sure I'm going to prepare a little turkey feast with my family in solidarity with my American peeps. We love the Christmas Tree in the background though and it is often the start to our holiday season.

As well as Friday Favourites, I'm linking with Sierra and some other lovelies for Girl Chat on Tips on Juggling the Holiday Season. I changed the title here from juggling to enjoying. So much media I'm looking at these days are talking about how stressful the season is and  tips for reducing the mayhem or surviving the season. And I get stressed too at times so I'm hoping by changing the word, I'm changing my mindset, ha! Here are my tips...

1- Start early!
I know that lots of people groan when they see holiday decorations up in November. (I groan when they are up in October, LOL) but by doing my tree and my decor early, I have more time to enjoy all the decor that we take our time to put up. I also try to do some of my holiday shopping for presents, holiday baking and meals early too either when they are too good to pass up or on sale. 

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2- Make a List and Check It Twice
Love my lists-- and my holiday lists are my favourite. I make several and get great satisfaction, checking them off!

3- Entertain easily
It doesn't have to be an extravagant event! My girls' nights in off past have been tons of fun as have my holiday parties. Finger food and a serve yourself party are my favourites. However, if I don't feel like it gets to be more work than fun, I will probably take a little break and reassess doing it in the future. 

At this party, everyone brought an app. 

4- Delegate
Don't be a martyr. Husbands, kids, grandparents and store staff can do things as well. Not everything has to be hand done and home made. 

5- Eat real food as well!
Tons of sugar, alcohol, white flour and other carbs at this time of year have us feeling bloated and those carbs creeping up. Let's face it, the 80-20 rule is non existent during the holidays. I sneak as much real food as possible in there.... but some of our favourite healthy  dishes so we don't feel it as much. Like this chicken tortilla soup or my white turkey chili. And I make a large batch as well so it lasts for a few meals. 

6- Keep Moving
Exercise or even a walk is good for boosting energy levels even when we do overindulge. 

7- Don't overspend
We all do it. Try to set a budget, or at least look for some sales!

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8- Say no
Sometimes if an event doesn't spark joy, we decide to opt out. We've declined parties in the past because of snow storms or the stress of driving in the snow or the distance or opted out of events because of the weather. It's okay to say no! 

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Be generous. So many great causes and charities out there that need both physical or monetary help. All year round of course!

10- Enjoy the tiny calm moments of Christmas beauty
Those twinkling tree lights in the morning, those family movies, the christmas carols on the radio, the eggnog with my person... enjoy it as it only comes once a year. 

Have a wonderful weekend! And yay for the Holidays!

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