This Christmas had the lovely added feature that I had bronchitis, and Christmas Eve was touch and go (seriously thought about cancelling at various parts of the day - the morning when I was trying to whip non-heavy cream into stiff peaks - it will not work - you need more than 18%, and when I had to dry my hair sitting on the floor in my bedroom amidst sweating and crying because I was so weak), but we pulled through! My parents, Adam and Jessica came over on Christmas Eve. Matt really did all the work because I was trying to sleep and recover for most of the days leading up to it, and if not I was cleaning the house. We made some delicious brie, cranberry, pecan crostini for appetizers, along with the chili-sweet nut mix we did last year, for dinner we had roasted duck with a maple bourbon glaze with root mash, and for dessert I made a chocolate mousse trifle (hence the whipping of cream earlier on in the day). It went pretty well - opened presents, ate good food, and enjoyed entertaining my family.
Our little tree - all owled up (there are now 3 owls on the tree thanks to my family)
Playing with my new 50 mm lens - West Elm Hedwig owl
Table ready for dinner
Runner and log votives from West Elm, Star napkin holder from Ikea!
These cranberries have now been rehydrated...I do not look forward to cleaning this out...
I added some sparkly branches and a bow to make this spring-branch arrangement a bit more festive
Planned to do a gallery wall in this room but didn't have pictures yet - so I improvised with wrapping paper
I will post more on this when I change the frames to real pictures!
The table before dinner - votives filled with candles and lots of light
Time to eat and open presents!
Taking mom to see the World Figure Skating Championships in London (Ontario) in March
Dad opening our gift (Cycling Store Gift Card)
Adam looking very scary with tinsel on his head
Lego Empire State Building - Classic present for Adam
Sisters pose just before dinner
Mmmm festive salads and cranberry juice
Mom and Dad
Ohhh those two are photogenic!
Must have been awkward lighting for me to make this B&W
Crowns from the Christmas Crackers!
Matt opened a present that night - "I Am A Pole" by Stephen Colbert (looks like a Children's book...but not so much)
Christmas morning is Matt and I time. We don't have anyone else over - we open our presents, we made a delicious breakfast, and we just relax. This year we made a french toast casserole with a brown sugar strudel glaze and apple and craisins. It was so good. The antibiotics prevented the typical ice wine drinking, but I'll make that up on New Year's Eve!
I guessed most of my presents before I opened them (and there was only 2 I didn't get - this table is a lie!)
One of my gifts - Paloma Picasso hammered ring - looks like a girly version of Matt's iron ring, but needs to be resized. I wanted this because I used to wear his iron ring when he first got it if he was wakeboarding at the cottage or any other time he may have lost it. Just a cute little reminder of those days.
Delicious baked french toast - and so easy (we prepped it the night before)
I gave George the gift of all the acorns I collected in the fall that never ended up dip-dying (I'll try again next year)
Christmas Day was spent with Matt's family, both at his parents' house in Oakville to open gifts, and then to his aunt and uncle's place in Ancaster for dinner. We only had to make a vegetable dish, so it was an easy day, and I was starting to feel better luckily! It was nice seeing the whole family (we see his dad's side far less often), and all the food was incredible! His cousin's wife is starting her own catering company and she made all the appetizers - wow! Look out Peterborough!!!
Christmas afternoon at the in-laws - what a beautiful tree!
I look like I'm in pain...I was probably about to cough...
Pete with his kids - all grown up!
In Ancaster with Buppa - great face Jamie!
Kisses from the granddaughters
Matt probably being a smart-ass
Boxing Day we always go to my aunt and uncle's place in Bowmanville. My dad has a huge family so it is always a fun gathering. On the way home we went to see Les Miserables with Adam and Jess - it was SOOO good (although Russell Crowe really shouldn't sing). Highly recommended Christmas break movie, although very sad (hence the title). Bring Kleenex - you will cry at 3 different spots!
If you think I wouldn't post this Adam, you were wrong.
Singing Christmas carols to get gifts (although it turns out that now that I'm married Santa can't find me anymore)
Pretty much sat here the entire time
Came home to this. Merry and bright.
A few days later some of the same family ladies meet at Marche downtown for lunch.
Yes, I have not blogged in over a month, and even then, the posts were sparse. I honestly have been incredibly busy with a new course I'm teaching at school, with the play, and with the Christian Band. This past week alone I was at school until 10 pm 4 of the 5 weeks. On the weekends we have been doing various projects, and if I'm not doing that, I'm seeing family or more school prep. I feel like I am sleeping, working, or house working 90% of the time. That doesn't leave a lot of room for blogging, but with Christmas break coming up in one week (choirs of angels are singing here), I'm hoping to fire off quite a few posts. Here are some sneak peaks of the projects we have done in the past month or so, along with random events:
1. The Great Railing Demo (which was actually quite a brief process)
2. The Even Greater Railing Reconstruction (which, proportional to its greatness, took much longer)
3. The Stair Stripping (much less sexy than it sounds...)
4. Christian Band Events (aka the best kids in the world singing and playing their hearts out)
5. My Grandpa is 88 and AWESOME (self-explanatory)
6. 50+ Reasons Why I Love My Husband (but since I have yet to make this list, it could be less, or more, depending on the day and time...)
7. Surprise - I Painted The Living Room Again!
8. Pure Bliss Sofa (with and without its legs, and no more falling between couch cushions)
9. What? Christmas is in 10 Days? (Better decorate that tree we've had over a week...)
10. Post-Stripping Stairs (plus staining, painting, and taking them two at a time...)
Not Pictured Above:
- Putting some back into the living room console (pictured above beside the stairs, currently happening as we speak)
- The teacher's strike (depending on if I'm in a rant-y mood or not that day - my board already settled in the summer)
- Distillery Christmas Market (going to tonight, along with dinner at Archeo)
- Go Go Go JOE! (our school play this year)
- Going Purple (in the bedroom decor)
- Top Home Projects of 2012 (90% happened in this above post, I think)
- House Goals for 2013 (the projects never end!)
- Personal Goals & Resolutions for 2013 (oh yeah...I have a gym membership)
- And of course all the Christmas festivity-related posts in the next few weeks!
Hope's first wedding shower - we did it early because her mom was visiting from England!
Ohhh Canadian bridal traditions
Cozy September weekend at the cottage
One of the last summer sunsets
Butters and I hanging out
Matt had a course in Niagara so I went with him for the weekend for a little getaway
Reading my uncle's books and drinking the first salted caramel hot chocolate of the season in Niagara
By the way - the books are awesome! Buy them on Amazon HERE
Butters trying to get in
He loves me more than the squirrel a few feet away
Hope and Meg out for a rainy day adventure at the cottage on Thanksgiving weekend
Rainbow landed in the lake - quick - dive in and get the pot o' gold!
Bye bye cottage! See you at Easter at the end of March!
Matt about to cross the finish line for his second marathon. So proud of him!
Mmmm fajitas and guacamole!
Trying out a new recipe!
Using the herbs from France (from Adam and Jessica's honeymoon)
The finished (delicious) product!
Butters blending into the foliage
*By the way I found out his real name is Bib...I don't like it. I'm going to keep calling him Butters.*
Me and my brother like to be goofy and run at the camera. We did so yesterday at the farm, and last night I learned how to make GIF animations. I used Picasion, and it took just a minute. You need to resize your pictures so that they are less than 1MB, and then just upload them, and choose the size and speed. Mine are 450, and the speed is "faster". Enjoy!
Adam running like a monkey man, with Jessica looking on incredulously in the background
Me running like a person with crazy eyes, and Matt laughing at me in the background.
Yep, we're weird. I love it.
School's out for summer!
Anyway, this is about Canada Day weekend at the cottage with the family - here are some pictures from all the relaxation, eating, and drinking we did!
Friday night - finally done school and enjoying a glass of wine with the in-laws.
Matt playing in the water after a Saturday of golf for the boys
Jamie totally got in trouble for jumping off the boathouse...
Some of a lot of food we ate that Saturday night -asparagus bundles, salmon, flank steak
Matt with friends Lynn and Sandie
Lynn with her boys
Matt with his wine
Jamie with his cat. Tabby does not look impressed.
This would have been a very appropriate picture had we been in the city this long weekend...
Happy Canada Day!
Great Canadian decor
The family friends all around to celebrate
Jamie forced to wear something "Canadian" - he eventually borrowed one of Pete's golf shirts
Red and white food, including the caprese skewers we made!
Group shot in our red and white!
Best of the multiple pictures I took of these three...oh boys...
The boys - Pete, Jim, Bruce, and Jay
The boys talking sports
Singing Oh Canada before dinner
Matt making me laugh and who knows what!
Matt...and the amazing boathouse of the neighbours behind!
Enjoying the sunset
Very artistic, Matty
This past weekend was great for so many reasons - Matt came home from Vancouver for a long weekend, we went to the cottage, we were with family, we ate good food, and had such nice weather - it couldn't have been better! I picked Matt up late Thursday night from the airport and went straight to the cottage. After sleeping in, Matt and I went for a run - I ran 6km followed by a 3km walk (while Matt ran the other 6km) - I think 6km is the most I've ever run without walking breaks in between, and it was very hilly - I was so proud! After that we did a lot of relaxing and reading, and had dinner with the family.
Friday afternoon - the brief period before Tabby tries to bike Matt...
Friday sunset - cottage weekends are BACK!
Saturday the boys went golfing, and us girls went for a walk - this one had more hills and was probably a bad idea considering how badly my legs hurt from Friday, but over 6km later we felt great (sort of - I also was staggering and a bit sunburnt on the face, but at least we could eat Easter dinner without guilt). We spent the afternoon baking (Meg, and Martha Stewart helped) - made carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and little "nests" on top (toasted coconut and mini-eggs). I was very proud of them - they turned out great! After some photo shoots outside, dinner was good - family and wine and food = perfection. That night we used the "night sky" app to see what constellations were out in the very starry sky.
Table set for Easter dinner - Matt's mom made this centerpiece!
Carrot cupcake "nests" with cream cheese frosting
Matt set a big fire - he watched it all afternoon
Sun-facing pictures = squinty...
Like father, like son, with equally awkward smiles
The matriarch - Momma
Meg and Jeff
Cream cheese, pesto, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts = delicious!
Meglet creeping through the window
Conner is getting so big!
Copper-green flames within the fire
Matt's artsy-photography moment
Jeff's idea of photography is taking 100 pictures in rapid succession...this was the only half-decent one
Cute and smiley!
Playing yahtzee with cards - they were pretty hardcore about this game...
Such a nice day!
The love wood is still there after the winter!
Reds of fall mixing with the greens of spring
New dock in progress!
Almost time to go!
But first a few more pictures...
I was NOT going to climb onto that wood pile...even for a good picture
Sunday was the 3rd sleep-in (felt so good), nice family breakfast, and relaxing. We left that afternoon and headed to my parents' house. Had a small gathering of my parents and grandpa, watched the end of the masters, and caught up with everyone.
Grandpa watching golf
Mother & daughter on Easter
Lilac for Easter dinner
New "Mad Men" inspired lights in the living room
More cupcakes for dessert!
Today Matt left really early, and I slept in for the 4th day (and last day for a while). Did some marking and school work, sorted through my pictures, cleaned up the house, and relaxed. It was such a nice day, and I should have gone outside, but instead I lounged in my PJs and drank tea. Excellent weekend!
Yesterday I spent the day with three lovely brides-to-be at SweetGrass Spa in Toronto at Queen & Jarvis. We had some water therapy time in the pool and hot tubs, a great lunch, and manicures. I actually WON this day for us through Bridetastic Canada. They contacted me a while ago through my blog and let me know about a contest. I just had to add some vendor reviews from my wedding onto their site, and like them and the spa on Facebook. That was easy, since I already had vendor reviews done, and I completely forgot about it after.
Just before Christmas, they contacted me to let me know I won! I never win ANYTHING! So since I wasn't really a bride, and I knew that lots of brides are stressed out, especially around the holidays with friends and family bombarding them with planning questions, I would take three brides I knew in the family. My brother is getting married in July, so I took his fiancee, Jessica, Matt's brother is getting married next year, so I took his fiancee Hope, and Matt's cousin Joni is getting married in June, so I took her too! We all know each other, so it was a fun afternoon. Thanks so much to SweetGrass Spa and Bridetastic Canada!
SweetGrass Spa - Queen & Jarvis
Main floor entryway, but entire spa is below ground
Jessica enjoying a soak
Joni getting her nails done - Poppy Red
Hope chose a raspberry colour
Her final product!
Jessica enjoying some Prosecco with me
One of the walls had velvet wallpaper...so amazing and soft!
My final product - bright pink, still going strong a day later
After the spa afternoon, Hope and I met up with Jamie and went to Balzacs in the Distillery to grab a hot drink and cookie, and look at it as a potential wedding venue for them next year. It was beautiful, but small, and had great hot chocolate. After that, we went to the Drake Hotel where Matt joined us for some dinner and drinks, and we looked at the place as a wedding venue as well - it is much larger and very versatile. Glad to help them with some wedding ideas and inspiration. I love vacation time! Only 3 days left before I'm back to reality...*sigh*
Love in the sky lounge at the Drake Hotel
Yep...there's a snowmobile on the patio...I wonder what will be there in the summer...
Photo of the Drake Dining Room - sorry for the blurry photo...
Photo of the Drake Lounge & Bar - more blurry photos...
Fun photo booth - typical Jamie & Hope photo-ruin faces...
Happy (Almost) New Year! Matt and I are keeping it low key...like every year, lol. Making a great dinner: herb crusted beef tenderloin with gruyere mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables, plus something yummy and chocolate for dessert! Last year we watched started watching Dexter over New Years, and this year we are doing Mad Men. I know, so boring, but I'm not a big NYE party fan - I'd rather just drink wine and eat great food and be with my amazing husband. I hope everyone has a safe and happy night, and a great start to 2012. Here are some NYE inspiration pictures I found on Pinterest and had on file from last year:
Up tomorrow? Ohhhh those resolutions...