Christmas Movie Lovin'

We love ourselves some Christmas movies around here...
and Disney's short films are hands down our favourite.

My all time favourite doesn't happen to be available on a christmas DVD,
but you can find it in Walt Disney's Treasure Donald Volume 2 or just watch it on Youtube.
It kills me ev.er.y.time Donald comes racing down the hill again to destroy the boys snowman,
only to sadly discover they'd hid a giant rock behind their creation.
I love that he loses every stitch of hair on his fur coat from the wallop.


Easy Peasy...

Yet another thing I'd seen quite some time ago and thought "maybe I'll make that"...
months went by...
and then I got to thinking that I needed a new Christmas wreath.
One without little berries that will freeze and fracture.
This seemed like the perfect option.
It's super easy and super cheap
(like maybe $7 total (but obviously that's if you use synthetic felt))

It will certainly do in a pinch...


Are you kidding me?

How had I never heard of this show before?
Apparently this is the second season?
Doesn't matter...
now I have... and...
I love it...
love love love.
Amazing Talent.


My Handy Man.

So I'd seen a tutorial a while ago on how to make these shelves
and just kind of stored it in the back of my brain.
Once we began pulling out Christmas,
I knew it was the perfect time to tackle the "shelf project".

I got the tutorial from here on a super cute blog called House of Smiths.

This project started out as a team effort but soon became Joel's perfection obsession...
story of my life... but I'm not complaining.

The finished product...

Love them... and love the man that made them...


Warm Fuzzies...

That's what I get when I think of this soup...
make this soup...
and most definitely when I eat this soup.

Tyler's Ultimate Chicken and Dumplings

I had saved the episode when he made this probably over a year ago.
But time and energy weren't at their best last winter
so I waited for the cold to set in this year to give it a try.

I've made it twice since...

The chicken stock that you make is more than enough for two kicks at this recipe.
I just froze the remaining stock after making it the first time.
For the second time around...
thaw the stock...
and take skinless/boneless chicken breasts, trim them and butterfly them,
then simmer them in a pot with water/salt/peppercorns/thyme/bay leaves for about an hour.

Also... mine didn't thicken enough with the flour that he called for,
so I made a little flour/stock solution to add for a thicker consistency.


Bah! Boots...

Every winter I begin a new great debate...
what do I warm my toes with?
And every year...
I don't end up buying anything and my toes suffer.

Not this year...
I've found a few options I'm considering...

These little cuties are from Sorel

The obvious Hunter boot
(if I'm being honest... these aren't even in debate... I just need to go and get them)
(and invest in some warm wool socks)

I just love the hunter plaid on these ones I saw in the new Jcrew catalog.

I technically wouldn't have considered these winter/snow boots...
but because they have the cozy top, I've thrown them in the mix.
They are from lovely and dependable Aldo.

Now (in no offense) I'm not usually a UGG boot fan...
but these may have won over my heart a tad.

As for these boots...
to each their own on what you want to sport this winter,
but don't expect a sympathetic look from me if you slip and break a hip...


I'm starting to hear the bells...

Christmas is not going to catch me by surprise this year...
so I just started my Christmas music downloading.
To kick things off...
I bought these two albums.

One for mellow time...

And one for Christmas dance parties with the kidlits.
(Mags is going to die for Deck the Rooftop, We Need a Little Christmas and Jingle Bells)


Love this book...

.... and so does Joel and my kiddos.
Grandma Sharon got it for Anderson's birthday, and the whole family has been getting a kick out of it.
(especially when I really get into the drama while reading)
It reminded me so much of when I was little (and my Mom will know exactly what I'm talking about)
The story is just adorable and the illustrations are hysterical.

I might just have to get this one for Christmas...


The Great Debate

It all began with this cover over a year ago...
a year ago.

I thought "hmmm... maybe I should cut a soft subtle bang"
and it's turned into a year debate of...

to cut or not to cut
to cut a lot or not cut a lot
to cut short or not cut short

you get the idea.

In the mean time... I haven't done anything.

I feel tortured by it, and I'm sure my friends do too...
I can bet money they wish I'd stop bringing it up and just do something...
but what?

The subtle bang?

The short side swept.

The long side swept.

Joel rarely has an opinion, but he may have begged me not to do a heavy blunt bang.
And really, what's the point if the guy that matters the most likes it the least?
I feel like it's a big decision...
there's nothing worst than regretting cutting hair that you can't immediately get back.
I've witnessed some bad bangs in my day.

time will tell... I mean more time... because obviously time has already gone by...
like a lot of time... but I'm on the brink of a decision... I can just feel it...
really... like next hair cut there will be a final decision.


Beats the Chill.

It's that time of year...
when nothing beats walking in from the chilly outside
and you can feel and smell the warmth of something simmering on the stove.

I made this stew (with a few changes) the other night for dinner and it was a gooder.

If you have this cookbook it's on pg. 489... Polenta Beef Stew

Prep Time : 25 Min.
Cooking Time : min. of 2 Hrs.

1/4 c. All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Dried Thyme
2 tsp. Dried Basil
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
2 lbs. Boneless Beef Chuck Steak / 1 inch pieces.
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 c. Chopped Onion (1 Medium)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp. Dried Rosemary
6 Cloves of Garlic / minced
1 14 oz. can of Beef Broth
1 1/2 c. Dry Red Wine / a.k.a cooking red wine
8 oz. Boiling Onions (peeled)
5 medium Carrots / cut into 1 inch chunks
1 Turnip / cut and cubed
Mashed Potatoes
(I used red potatoes this time, but I prefer russet potatoes with stew)
(and... I don't believe in peeling... rarely do I peel a potato)

Combine flour, garlic powder, thyme, basil, salt and pepper in a large plastic freezer bag. Add meat pieces, a few at a time, shaking to coat. In a Dutch oven brown meat, half at a time, in the hot oil; drain fat (but if you watch you oil amounts, you probably won't have to). Have a plate ready covered with paper towel to rest the browned meat on. Return all meat to Dutch oven; add chopped onion, dried rosemary and garlic. Cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in broth, wine and worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered for at least 1 1/2 hours (I simmered for 2 1/2 hrs.)

Stir in boiling onions, carrots, and turnips. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Meanwhile prepare mashed potatoes (or polenta)

Just before serving,
I added a little bit of flour and water mixture to give it a slightly more gravy like texture.
And salt and pepper to taste.

I didn't have fresh parsley or tomato paste on hand when I made this,
but I think I'll try adding it next time with some cinnamon as well.
My friend Kera made us some stew right after my surgery
and had added cinnamon in it just for fun...
immediately after my first bite I tasted it and loved it.
It made it taste so fallish to me.

Also... you don't have to use the vegetables I did...
I'd definitely throw some parsnips/squash in there if I had had any in my fridge.


Thank-you Kwynners.

For introducing me to Sarah's House.
I don't normally watch HGTV, because quite honestly I'm not in love with most of the designer's taste.
But I think I've found love in Sarah Richardson.
And she's Canadian so I could listen to her say "house" all day...

I know I'm a little late in the game, so I've set my DVR to all her old episodes.
I love watching something old... turned into something new... love love love.

So... just in case you've been living under a rock (or building a lot teeny tiny painful rocks) like I have.
Go take a look... I think she's got a lot of charm and great ideas.


Just in case...

... you were interested...

JCrew is having an extra 30% off final sale

I may have just gotten this little beauty for miss Mags.


Coming soon...

Just wrapped up Canadian Thanksgiving...

Turkey and stuffing instructions on there way!
(mostly for you Kera and Addi)


Occupying my mind.

So here I am.

I've been crawling my way through this last year,
while attempting very few things...

raising happy healthy children

being aware to always let Joel know how much I adore, appreciate and love him

and trying not to be in constant fear of my next kidney/gall bladder episode.

I've decided to live in fear no longer,
and start enjoying all things again.

I'm going to cook more
try new activities
be a better friend and neighbor
finish my ba-ga-zillion refinishing projects and craft projects
and find beauty in all kinds of things.

What better way to motivate myself than to document and share.

So here's what's currently on my mind...

Stripes... stripes and more stripes...
I love stripes on me, on my kids, on my husband, and pretty much any where else.

I love/hate Burberry
I can't help but look, because I love them.
But I can't help but hate them, because the little girl's dress above is $260.
Jocelyn says it perfectly... "it puts me in a bad mood".

We're going to try this for dinner this week.
I love walking into Williams - Sonoma in the fall... it smells so fallish.
It will be interesting to try.
I don't love pumpkin (the man of the house LOVES it), but I do love pasta.

I want to make a circle blanket soooo badly.
I first saw them on Whitney's blog
and fell in love instantly.
She and her Mom make them for her little boys for each season...
seriously... they do.
After being inspired,
I hinted at a sewing machine for months (I had friends hint too),
when one happily showed up for Mother's day.
Now... I just have to figure out how to thread the thing and go from there.

I've owned this lipstick for awhile...
but I'm just now really starting to appreciate and love it.

Love sequins...
and it's everywhere right now.

I feel like it's my eternal conquest to find the perfect pomodoro sauce.
I've got a quick go-to one that Maggie loves,
which I will post some time,
but I want one that simmers all day and tastes divine with the perfect hint of basil.

I've always loved the military look
and this year (since I've lost my very favorite winter coat)
I may just have to make a new investment.