Wednesday 31 December 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- New Year's Eve at the Cabin

Happy New Year's Eve!  We are heading to my parent's cabin to celebrate with fun in the snow!  This outfit is super warm and easy to move in (for cross country skiing).  I wish you all a pleasant and safe evening!  See you in 2015!

Monday 29 December 2014

Back to Normal- Sort of...

After the rush of Christmas, I didn't get much done in the way of minimizing projects.  I thought that I would tell you about Christmas in regards to our minimalism.

Before Christmas, we each asked our families to not do adult gifts (or at least to not include us in them!).  This was fairly well-received.  We also asked that anyone buying for Miss. E keep the gifts minimal and mostly practical.

I was petrified that we would end up with a mountain of toys and things that Miss. E truly doesn't need.  I also did not want Hubby and I to end up with a bunch of things that we didn't need.

Everyone was very respectful of our minimalism requests.  Miss. E received outfits (so great!), socks, and books (always welcome!).  She received a handful of toys, but nothing outrageous.  It was so nice that our families respected our wishes and it took away a lot of stress for us.  We will definitely do the minimalist Christmas again!

If you are feeling like your holiday season is becoming overwhelmed with "things", you may want to consider this approach.  Even just cutting back can feel freeing.  It worked well for our families.  We got to focus on family and enjoying our time with one another.  It was wonderful!  And truth be told, Miss E. just wanted time with her family, to play with the wrapping paper (and try to eat it!) and to play with the large plastic ladle that someone handed her.  I hope that we can raise her to know meaningful holidays.  Holidays that focus on family and laughter, not on stuff.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday.

Friday 26 December 2014


Hi Everyone!

I usually link up with Lauren Elizabeth's blog, but I see she hasn't posted today.  So, I have decided to say the five things that I was most grateful for over this holiday season!

1.)  A perfect Christmas morning with Hubby and Miss. E.  It was a beautiful way to start the day.  We had breakfast and opened gifts.  Miss. E was quite enamored with her new toy!

2.) Safe travels.  My in-laws made it to our house safe and sound.  The weather was great for traveling!

3.)  All of the grandparents.   Elizabeth is so very lucky to have two sets of grandparents who love her very much!  It was wonderful to watch them spend time with her, cuddling, playing and even napping!

4.)  The uncles (and aunt!).  Our brothers and my brother's girlfriend are fantastic with Miss. E and they all make her so happy.  They are always willing to play and make faces!

5.)  Peace.  I felt such a deep peace this holiday season.  I am so blessed and I am loving every moment.  I thank God every day for blessing me with Miss. E.  I am so thankful to be a mother.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- Christmas Eve Edition

Merry Christmas (Eve)!  I have two outfits for you today.  One is a more casual outfit that I wore shopping last weekend.  I think it would go well with casual Christmas events, as well.  Especially if your family isn't the type to dress up!  My second outfit is a bit dressier.  I love to wear dresses and skirts, so Christmas is that perfect excuse!

Outfit #1:

Remember how I said I threw my black faux leather jacket back into the rotation?  Well, here it is!  It adds shape to outfits and in this unusually warm weather, it is all the jacket I need!  This outfit is super easy to wear (comfortable!), but still looks put together!  I love the red!  So festive at this time of year!

Outfit #2:  (Please excuse the terrible selfies.  Hubby had to work and couldn't take pictures for me!)

I love this outfit.  In the second picture I was trying to show you how cute this skirt is!  Pleats!  I love it!  It is flowy and fun to wear.  It also seems to do a good job masking the leftover baby belly that I am still working on.  The sleeveless top is nice because it always seems to get so hot when we have a ton of people over!  The black shooties blend nicely and polish of the outfit.

Do you have an outfit to share?  Perhaps your holiday outfit?  Tweet me @peacefulsimple with your #wardrobewednesday outfit!

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  I wish you all a wonderful Christmas.  May it be filled with love, laughter and peace.  Please be safe out there!  We will see you on Friday!

Monday 22 December 2014

Handmade Christmas Gifts

I made my handmade gifts this weekend (talk about last minute!).  They were very simple and I am really happy with how they turned out.  Both Hubby's family and my family decided not to do gifts for the adults, this year.  BUT, I know that they are all planning to buy for our daughter.  I decided to make a simple, sentimental gift for the family that would be "from" Elizabeth.  I made each set of Grandparents a Christmas ornament and each Uncle a fridge magnet.

Christmas Ornaments:

You will need a clear plastic ornament, a photo, scrapbook paper, photo safe adhesive and an object that you want to enclose.

I used the scrapbook paper to make a "barrier" between the photo and the baby sock.  I cut the paper and photo to size and inserted it into the ornament.  I had to roll the paper and photo to insert and then I unrolled them once they were in the ornament.  On the other side, I put in one of Miss. E's socks from her newborn stage (I can't believe these were too big on her at first!).

This gift is extremely easy to customize.  You could include a picture of your honey and you at a concert and include the ticket stubs.  You could do a pet themed one for the pet lover in your life.  The possibilities are endless!

Here is my final result (front & back).  The total cost of this gift was about $2.30 each.

 I made magnets for the Uncles using 4" X 4" mini canvas panels.  I used the canvas panels, infant safe ink (be sure to buy ink that is specifically designed for use on infant skin) and magnetic adhesive dots.

I first painted Miss. E's foot with the ink and, with Hubby's help (help is important if you don't want ink absolutely everywhere!), stamped her foot on the canvas panels.

I washed her foot while the canvas panels were drying.  It didn't take long for them to dry!

I added her birth date and her name.  (I put her full name, but for privacy I only included her first in the photo.)

I stuck the magnets on the back and presto!  All done!  Super easy!  This craft cost about $3.48 for each panel.

I was pleased with how the gifts turned out.  I hope my recipients like them!

I will be back on Wednesday for a double edition of #wardrobewednesday to make up for last week's lack of planning!

Thursday 18 December 2014

High Five For Friday!

Oh, what a week it has been!  I have been suffering with severe nasal congestion and sinus pain.  I also threw my neck out of whack.  It has been an uncomfortable week, to say the least.  I am on the mend and feel much better today!  I am always thankful when these ailments pass quickly.  It truly makes me appreciate how good I usually feel!  Here is my High Five For Friday:

1.)  Feeling better! (see above.  Enough said.)

2.)  My daughter had a 6 month follow-up appointment with her cardiologist.  I was worried sick going into the appointment.  She had some issues with her heart when she was born.  People have a valve that is open in utero that is supposed to snap closed when they are born.  Miss. E's valve didn't close when she was born, nor was it closed when we left the NICU.  The doctors thought that it might be contributing to some of the problems she had after birth.  Miss. E's cardiologist informed us that everything now looks "perfectly normal".  It was music to my ears.  I am so happy that the valve closed and that we can carry on.

3.)  My parents kept our dog when we went to the cardiologist appointment (it was an overnight trip to the city).  They were so wonderful to take the dog when I couldn't find her any other accommodation for the night.  We appreciate them helping us out!

4.)  My husband was able to elicit fits of giggles out of our daughter.  He was making funny noises and faces at her.  She was laughing so hard!  That got me laughing pretty hard, as well.  Who can resist a child's laughter?  It was a beautiful moment!

5.)  Our Christmas cards are done and dusted.  Er.... Written and sent away!  Everyone got pretty much the same message because I was trying to get them done as quickly as possible.  I left them to the last minute this year, so here is hoping that they make it on time!

How was your week?  Link up at to join in!

Whew! What a Week!

I missed doing ALL of my posts this week!  I apologize if you came to read and were disappointed.  My daughter had follow-up appointments and I was sick (great combo, eh?).  I will do the regular Friday post and try to make up the other posts next week with my holiday crafts (2 more!) and 2 outfits for "Wardrobe Wednesday".

I apologize for the lack of posts.  I didn't plan in advance.  I feel a New Year's resolution coming on!

Friday 12 December 2014

High Five for Friday!

Okay, so I am super late, as per usual.  Fridays seem to be crazy!  Here is my week's highlights!

1.) We got our Christmas tree and decorations up this week!  It looks so festive and Miss E. loves the tree lights.  Unfortunately, so does the cat!  It has been interesting, to say the least!

2.). Our photographer held a "Santa Day" and Miss. E got her photo taken with Santa.  It was so much fun!

3.) Miss E. Has taken to rolling all over the place. She has a look of pure glee when she gets from point A to point B.

4.) The weather has been absolutely gorgeous!  We got out and enjoyed the sunshine.

5.) I created a new gallery wall in my living room and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!  It looks awesome!

How was your week?  Link up at to join in!

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday- Casual and Cozy

I  was telling you how cold it is here lately.  The weather has decided to give us a break.  It is above 0 degrees Celsius again!  Practically tropical in these parts!  This outfit today is both warm and easy to get around in.  The wool shawl is super warm and the belt helps keep it closed when I am out in the wind.

The outfit looks good, even without the shawl on and is super practical.  I love my boots!  They are cute and easy to walk around in.  The low, chunky heel keeps me upright.  

I have added my faux leather jacket back into the mix.  I needed to have something to help add shape to outfits and I needed a jacket for these warmer temperatures, where my big winter coats are just too warm.

I hope you are all having a great week!  Tweet me @peacefulsimple and show me your #wardrobewednesdays look!

Monday 8 December 2014

Handmade Gifts for The Holidays- Part 1

I decided to try out the Pinterest idea of "Sharpie" mugs.  I made a mug for Hubby's stocking.  I also made two other mugs for fun!  I used a quote from my hubby's favourite show on his mug.  I made a "romantic" mug with a heart and a nerdy mug featuring one of my favourite fictional characters.  Sharpie mugs are super easy, especially if you have any artistic talent.  (Which I don't!)

You will need to buy a plain mug.  I bought white mugs, but I am sure that any colour would work, as long as your Sharpie colour contrasts with the mug colour.  You will also need oil-based Sharpie paint pen.  (Not a regular Sharpie.)  I found mine at Michael's.

Step #1:  Draw your design or write your message on the mug.

Step#2:  Allow the mug to cure for 48 hours.

Step #3:  This is a step that I skipped for now.  I won't be putting mugs in the dishwasher and I read that if you let the mugs cure for 48 hours they will hold up just fine.  Many people suggested baking the mugs to set the design.  Apparently, this will make your mugs stand the use of the dishwasher.  Place the mugs into a COLD oven.  Set your temperature to 450 degrees fahrenheit.  Allow the mugs to "preheat" along with the oven and then bake for 45 minutes.  When the mugs are baked, turn the oven off.  Let the mugs cool down inside the oven.  After the mugs and oven are completely cooled, remove the mugs.

Here are my mugs:

The mugs were fun to make.  If I were to do it again, I would fit the quote on one "side" of the mug.  I wrapped my quotes around and I don't love the effect!  I would also take more time planning my mugs and executing the plan.  I was "winging it" and I think it shows!  I know Hubby will get a kick out of his mug and it was a fun craft to try.  I would definitely do it again!

Have you done the Sharpie mugs?  What worked best for you?

Friday 5 December 2014

High Five For Friday!

It has been a lovely week!  I am so excited for the weekend!  Here is my week's top 5 highlights:

1.)  I won a gift bag of goodies from my local grocery store.  It is all junk food, but it was exciting to win something!  I may have indulged a bit... 

2.)  I ordered my daughter's 6 month photos.  The photographer who did them is so fantastic!  It was hard to narrow down the choices.

3.)  Miss. E is rolling over and back, now.  She is also starting to attempt crawling.  It isn't working so far, but it is amazing to watch her grow and develop!

4.)  I have kept all of my "health" goals this week.  I am trying to challenge myself because I tend to forget to keep up my healthy habits.  I find that making one easy goal a week is a good way make sure I am living a healthy lifestyle.  Hopefully it will all become second nature, soon!

5.)  We got to celebrate my Mom's birthday with her last Friday and it was a lot of fun!  Elizabeth loves spending time with her grandparents and I love seeing them with her.  My Mom is an amazing woman and I am so happy that we are as close as we are!  I am grateful to have such an awesome lady in my life!

How was your week?  Link up at to join in!

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Errand Running Outfit- Wardrobe Wednesdays

Every time I put on leggings I think, "Why do people hate the legging trend?".  And then I go out into the world and see people wearing nearly see through leggings.  I can see all of their lumps, bumps (we all have them!) and their underwear!  That's when I realized that not all leggings are created equal.  If you want to jump on the legging bandwagon you should check that the leggings you purchase are made from thick material that is not see through once they are on your body.  I also suggest sticking to neutral colours, unless you are normally crazy for patterns.  It is easier to pass leggings off as regular pants if they are black, grey or dark brown.

This outfit is super comfortable and warm!  It consists of my black, long-sleeved breastfeeding top, black leggings, riding boots, plaid scarf and a black skinny belt.  The belted scarf elevates these clothes into an "outfit" looks put together when you are running around grabbing groceries or the mail.  The scarf adds a layer of coziness and it can be adjusted to add more warmth.  Basically, it is the appropriate way to wear a blanket in public!  I was out for lunch the other day and there was a nasty draft coming through the window.  I was wearing this outfit so I just tugged the sides of the scarf down over my arms and I stayed warm!

I apologize for the crappy picture.  I plan to get Hubby to take the next one so that it is easier to see the outfit!  I also went back to my "accessories" post and added in the belts that I wear with my outfits.  i missed them, somehow!

What is your favourite errand running outfit?  Use #wardrobewednesdays and tweet me @peacefulsimple!  I would love to see your outfits!

Monday 1 December 2014

Winter Capsule Wardrobe-Accessories

I went through my winter accessories and selected the ones that would become part of my winter capsule wardrobe.  I kept two coats.  A long black coat and a short, grey, plaid coat.  My black one is dressy enough for an occasion, but also warm.  It has been cold here!  Over the past weekend it was -30 degrees Celcius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit), therefore, function has to come before fashion (although I like the look of both jackets).  I have 4 pairs of boots, 4 scarves, 2 pairs of gloves, 1 pair of mitts, and 2 toques (Canadian lingo for winter hat).  I also selected a few pieces of jewelry and 5 belts to wear with my winter wardrobes.  These pieces will be added to my regular jewelry (wedding ring set, E ring, and diamond stud earrings).

My jackets:


Left to Right:
Sorel Winter walking boots, Hush Puppies lace up brown booties (they have a convenient zipper on the side) , black shooties from Reitmans and black Henri Pierre riding boots

I have ordered a replacement for my riding boots.  They were fantastic, but they are 5 years old and my pregnant feet stretched them out last year!

Scarves, Mitts, and Toques:

Since having my daughter last May, I feel like half of my brain left for an extended vacation!  I also have a pair of black Isotoner gloves (just like the red ones above), but they are not in the picture above because I managed to misplace them over the weekend!  Hopefully they turn up soon!

I tried to pick sparkly jewelry for the holidays.  I feel like the holidays simply beg for sparkle!  I also included some simple hoops, my Cross necklace, my Fossil watch and two dainty bracelets.

Belts are super important for certain outfits.  They can pull a look together and they can give you a defined shape!  These are the belts that I own:

These are the accessories that I will be sticking with for the Winter season.  I certainly hope I planned well!  On Wednesday I will reveal my first Winter outfit!  

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Reveal!

My closet now consists of only the pieces in my capsule wardrobe!  It feels so empty, but in a good way!  I open my closet and I no longer have to dig through the crammed clothes to find what I want!  I feel light and free!  Isn't that what minimalism is really about?  Freedom from things?  I truly think that we underestimate how things can weigh us down.  My closet has 28 "curated" pieces that I feel I can build good, functional outfits out of!

I am going to share the clothing pieces with you, now.  I will not be showing my footwear, as I am still waiting for a pair of boots to arrive (joys of living in a rural area!).  I also will not be showing my coats in this post.  I will share those with my footwear.  I have tried to include the "brand" of the item and where I bought it.  A few of these items are "old stand-by" items so there is no guarantee that they are still available.  I don't spend a lot of money on my clothes, usually.  Most of the items are in the $30-$40 range, which I find to be affordable.

I will show you my pants and skirts first.  I have 5 pairs of pants and 2 skirts in my wardrobe, for a total of 7 "bottoms".

From left to right:
-Reitmans black legging in petite length.
-Old Navy 'Sweetheart' skinny jeans
-Old Navy Grey Ponte leggings
-Reitmans black straight leg dress pant in petite length.
-'Silver' jeans. (Bought at Ricki's a lifetime ago!)

Left: Denim skirt 
Right: Black pleated skirt
Both from Joe Fresh

I included 15 tops in my wardrobe.  This was the hardest one for me to pare down.  I tried to create a cohesive colour palette, with some variation for fun.  Here are the "tops"

From left to right:
-Oatmeal wool cape from Moose Creek Hat Co. 
-Oatmeal Denver Hayes sweater from Mark's Work Wearhouse
-White sweater from Joe Fresh

From left to right:
-Black cardigan from Joe Fresh
-Red cable knit sweater from Joe Fresh
-Plum sweater from Reitmans
-Dark green cardigan from Old Navy

From left to right:
-White sleeveless top from Old Navy
-Black and White sleeveless top from Winners (Philosophy)
-Plum breastfeeding top from Thyme Maternity
-Blue breastfeeding top from Thyme Maternity

From left to right:
-Black long sleeve breastfeeding top from Thyme Maternity
-Black and Red checked top from Joe Fresh
-Black long sleeve top, Brand: Wilfred Free from Aritzia
-Black and grey striped shirt from Reitmans

I think I have some great pieces to work with.  As you can tell, I love to shop at Joe Fresh and Reitmans.  I think that I get decent clothing and good prices.  Reitmans has some fabulous sales and I rarely pay full price for anything.  My colour palette is mostly neutral with the odd pop of colour in my tops.  I am excited to start creating outfits from my pieces and sharing them with you.

I will share my outerwear next week, along with my first wardrobe "outfit".  I hope you are all having a great week! 

Monday 24 November 2014

Minimalism Week #13- Capsule Wardrobe

I have been fascinated by the idea of a capsule wardrobe for some time now.  I never really "needed" to implement it in my own life, however.  I was a health care worker who spent the majority of my time in scrubs.  When I came home, I would either wear athletic wear or lounge wear.  I owned some clothes to wear out, but I was good at only purchasing what I needed, picking only a few items per season (2-3).  When I became pregnant, I purchased a few essential maternity clothes and pretty much wore the same 5 outfits over and over again.  I am now on maternity leave and I have the opportunity to wear "real" clothes everyday.  I found that I was purchasing a lot of items to build my new wardrobe.  At first, this wasn't so bad.  I was buying a few key items here and there.  I started to notice, however, that I was buying a lot of new clothes every time my husband and I went shopping.  I love to shop and I was using my new role as "stay at home, nursing mother" as an excuse to purchase new clothes every shopping trip.  I decided that I needed to rein myself in.  I acknowledge that the change in my lifestyle required new clothing.  I just don't want to get carried away.

I looked at a few blogs about capsule wardrobes like Un-Fancy and Into Mind.  I wanted to make sure that I built a wardrobe that would be functional and suit my personal sense of style.  I do not claim to be "fashionable".  This is a wardrobe for my every day life as a mom.

Things that I took into consideration:

I am currently at home with my (almost) 6 month old daughter.  I am still nursing.  The holidays are coming up and we will have some Christmas celebrations to attend.

I live on the prairies in Canada.  It is cold here!  I need my clothes to be cozy and warm.  I want to be comfortable, but still look "put together".

My tops have to be accessible for nursing.  Everything must be machine washable and should be able to go in the dryer.  The clothes I choose must not require a lot of extra care.

My style icons are Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton.  They both have a beautiful, classic style that I love!

I want to have a lot neutral colours for ease of outfit building.  I do like some colour.  I want some red (a classic Christmas colour) and some jewel tones.  I find that jewel tones complement my skin tone and look refined.  I like plum, royal blue and deep green.

I practically live in skinny jeans and sweaters.

I spent some time on Pinterest.  I pinned outfits that I wanted to have in my wardrobe.  I built the wardrobe virtually, until I had a clear vision of what I wanted.  After I knew what I wanted, I made my wardrobe list.  I was happy to see that I only had 5 items to purchase outside of what I already owned.  I found the items over the past weekend and my wardrobe is finally complete.  I have 4 pairs of shoes, 7 bottoms, 15 tops and 2 coats.  In total, my wardrobe is comprised of 28 items.  I didn't include my nursing tank tops in this count as they act as underwear, not as stand-alone tops.  I also did not include my athletic wear or lounge wear.  I didn't add accessories into my total number, but I plan to curate a small number of accessories for the season.  I will do a post about accessories next week.

My winter capsule wardrobe will be worn from the December 1st to February 28th.  I will not do any shopping during this time (eek!).  I will share outfits and discuss the capsule wardrobe on Wednesdays.  Once again, I am definitely NOT a fashion maven, but I hope that my style is something that the average person can relate to.   I will "reveal" all of the capsule pieces this Wednesday.

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe?  What tips do you have to share about building a wardrobe?  I would love to hear from you!

Friday 21 November 2014

Hello Friday!!! (High Five For Friday!)

So Hubby is off work and it is Friday!  I am doing my happy dance!  My husband made breakfast (yummy!) and we are off to start our busy weekend.  I am going to grab the last few items for my capsule wardrobe, which I hope to share with you soon.  I had an awesome week!  Here is my high five for Friday:

1.)  I got to visit with two lovely friends this week and their children.  I love getting together with my girlfriends and their kids!  We can talk and the kids get to interact.  Each of my girlfriends has a daughter close to the age of my daughter.  It is fun to see them interact.  It is as if they have their own language!

2.)  I started my cleaning schedule at home.  It worked great!  We will see if it becomes habit.  I certainly hope so!

3.)  Miss. E had her first bites of food!  It was funny to watch.  The faces she made were priceless!

4.)  My pup, Penny, had a good vet appointment.  She has a sore tail and they were able to help her out with it.  She seems much happier, now!

5.)  It was beautiful outside, yesterday.  Miss. E, Penny and I enjoyed a long walk!  We all came home very happy to have spent time outside.  It has been quite cool lately, so it was nice to have a reprieve.

How was your week?  Link up at to join in!

Monday 17 November 2014

Week # 12- Tea and Coffee Cupboard

I went through my tea and coffee cupboard today.  I wanted to clear out the items that were out of date and the items that we no longer use.  We have already gone through this cupboard once.  Minimalism is a process, my friends.  I was able to part with a few things that I wasn't ready to let go of last time.  I said good bye to a few travel mugs and a tea pot (I owned three!).  I reorganized a few things.  I took tea out of boxes and put it into an open container so that it is easy to see the selection.  I tried to group "like" things on the same shelf for ease of use.

Here is the before:

And the after:

P.S.  I don't think that super sugary drinks are a good choice for your health.  Iced tea mix is one of my vices and I have it once and a while as a treat.  The other sugary syrups belong to my hubby.  Old habits die hard. 

I am working on some homemade crafts for holiday gifts for family from "Miss. E".  I hope to share some of the crafts on this blog.  I think that handmade gifts lend themselves well to the minimalist lifestyle.  They can be inexpensive, thoughtful and meaningful.  I am also eager to try the capsule wardrobe idea as done on the Un-Fancy blog.  I am finding it very difficult to maintain minimalism within my wardrobe.  I hope to share that journey with you as well.  Have a wonderful week!

Friday 14 November 2014

High Five for Friday!

Hello Everyone!

Recently I wrote that Fridays are really Fridays to me because my husband is off on the weekends.  When he is home I get to have a few "Mommy" breaks.  This is no longer true.  He has been put on a 10 and 4 shift (10 days on, 4 days off).  So... I am also on a 10 and 4 shift.  It will be business as usual this weekend.  I am looking forward to it, as last weekend was action packed and I am still getting Miss. E back to "normal".

High Five for Friday:

1.)  We spent the weekend with my hubby's Godmother and Oma.  They were wonderful hosts!  They make their home feel like our home when we are there!

2.)  We saw my husband's parents and brothers over the weekend.  They are all so wonderful with Miss E. and it was fantastic to see them!

3.)  We attended a fantastic craft show.  I bought a beautiful, hand-bound book.  I plan to read it with Miss. E when she is older.  I have always had a strong love affair with books and I hope that she has the same love for reading.  Books can transport us and reading comprehension makes life so much easier.

4.)  Caramel apples.  I had two (!) over the weekend.  They are one of my favourite treats!

5.) Miss. E is sitting unassisted for quite some time!  It is so much fun to watch her grow and develop!  She loves sitting!  It provides a better view of the world, I suppose!

How was your week?  Link up at to join in!

Monday 3 November 2014

Minimalism Week # 11- Broom Closet

My broom closet has become one of those closets that you open with one hand up to shield you from whatever may fall.  It is my minimalism project for the week.

 My husband and I radically changed our cleaning products when we were going through infertility.  We opted for basic cleaners like baking soda, vinegar and mild detergent.  I do keep a hydrogen based cleaner on hand for those moments when I don't trust "just" vinegar (pretty much anything to do with raw chicken or turkey).  I went through the broom closet and kept only the cleaning implements that we truly use.  I said goodbye to the steam mop (I like my old sponge mop better), Swiffer sweeper (I have a Swiffer Vac and a broom) and my large reusable lint roller.  I plan to part ways with the Swiffer Vac when my new Dyson stick vac arrives.  I am so excited!  I donated my cleaning caddy, as it took up a lot of space and I never used it!  I would just grab whatever I needed out of the closet and the caddy always stayed put!  I also donated my scented wax items, as we don't like to use fragrance in our home.

I went through my cookbooks.  When I was getting married, I mentioned to the odd person that I didn't have many cookbooks.  Well, ask and you shall receive! (And receive and receive...)  I kept the cookbooks that my husband and I use frequently and parted ways with the ones that we never look at or open.  I pared down the "magazine" recipes and photocopies.  One day, for minimalism's sake, I plan to write the recipes into the cookbook my Mom made for me.  Then I can get rid of the millions of papers I have folded in my recipe box.

Here is the before:

Yikes!  It looks way better (and is much more functional) now!


I hope you are all having a fantastic week!  Take care!

Monday 27 October 2014

Minimalism Week #10- "Catch All" Closet Part 2

When I started to tackle the closet today, I discovered two things.  Number 1: My 5 month old daughter is not a happy camper when she isn't the center of Mommy's attention.  Number 2:  The one shelf almost exclusively stores caulk, car wipes and other things that I can't identify.  This would be my husband's department and I plan to set him to work this coming weekend.  The very top shelf houses a box of replacement light bulbs and an old dog blanket.  I kept the light bulbs and will pitch the dirty/torn blanket the next time we take a drive to the dump.

I didn't remember to take a before photo.  My apologies.  My sewing and craft shelf took an overhaul.  I pitched a bunch of fabric scraps and old buttons off of outfits that are no longer in my possession.  It looks so much better and it feels good to have everything organized and ready to go.

Here is the "after":

Like I said, the top two shelves should be dealt with over the weekend, thanks to Hubby.  I am sorry for the short post.  I am still learning to manage my time with Miss. E.  Have a wonderful week!

Friday 24 October 2014

High Five For Friday!

Ahhhhh..... It is Friday, at last!  I see a lot of Moms saying that weekends don't "mean anything" to them now that they are at home with a baby.  I feel completely different!  My husband is a wonderful man and a very hands-on Dad.  He is happy to be on "Daddy Duty" and I can relax a bit.  I still have to do her feeds (unless I have been ambitious and pumped).  I don't have to do diaper duty or work to keep Miss E. entertained/happy.  Weekends are also wonderful because I get to see my husband truly enjoy our daughter and bond with her.  It is fun to watch!

Nationally, it was a tragic week with two episodes of terrorism happening on Canadian soil.  My heart goes out to the family and friends of the deceased soldiers.  May they rest in peace.

In general, (excluding the aforementioned tragedy) I had a good week.  I was super productive yesterday which was fantastic!  My house is clean and my laundry is (nearly) caught up!  I have been working hard to stay on track with eating healthy and exercising.  I was super terrible last weekend (laid on the couch all weekend and ate pure junk), so it was time to shape up.  Here are the best things from my week:

1.)  I managed to eat healthfully this week.  I feel so much better when I mind what I eat.  I made peanut butter oatmeal balls for a snack to grab when I am hungry.  They are delicious (and handy)!

2.)  I was able to get a bunch of sorting done.  My basement bedroom has to be ready for guests over Christmas and I have been storing a few things in there.  I moved along quite a few items and I threw away some items that were beyond repair.  My awesome Mom came over and watched over Miss. E while I got my sorting done.

3.)  Butternut squash soup.  Need I say more?  YUM!  I made a batch and froze a few containers for lunches in the coming weeks.

4.)  Clean house. (I yapped about it above so we will move on...)

5.)  Miss. E has decided that she LOVES the cat!  This is so much fun to watch, albeit a little scary.  We are lucky, though. As Miss. E's affection grows toward our tuxedo cat, the cat's affection for Miss. E wanes.  The cat stays out of her reach.  When I am supervising it is amusing to watch Miss. E call out for the cat and reach for her.  She has "petted" the cat a few times and gives a bunch of happy squeals.  I love it!

I hope you all had a wonderful week!  Link up at!

Monday 20 October 2014

Minimalism Week #9- "Catch All" Closet: Part 1

Every house has one of those places.  That place that you put things when you don't know where they ought to go.  Things that don't have a home.  It is sometimes a junk drawer, a room, a basement, or, in my case, a closet.  (Well, actually... the basement is starting to apply to me, but that is a post for another time!)  I admire people who can keep the "junk spot" to just a drawer or somewhere small.  I am hoping that, with our move to minimalism, my husband and I won't have any need for a "junk spot".  That would be the ultimate goal.

I am the proud mother of a nearly five month old daughter who refuses to nap!  This really limits my time for minimizing projects.  I started working on this closet for this week's project and I will finish next week.  This closet is used for many things.  It stores all of our pet supplies, overflow from our tiny kitchen, tools, sewing/craft supplies and many other things.  I tackled the floor and first two shelves today.

Here is the before:


What you can't see is the loads of stuff behind the large bag of dog food.  I wasn't really thinking when I took that picture!

This closet isn't horrible, but it does cause me to shudder every single time I open it.  I can never quite get to what I want and there are a lot of items in the closet that are pure garbage.  I started by pulling everything out.  I made a bag dedicated to my dog's apparel.  She has a winter coat, a Halloween costume (much to my husband's dismay), a life jacket and a few handkerchiefs (for pretty puppy pictures!).  I then put her travel dishes into the backpack we always take with us.  I sorted through her toys and gave them a designated basket.  I folded her towels and stacked them.  

I then tackled the second shelf.  I threw away a lot of items such as: an expired bottled of ear drops for the dog, some expired cat and dog treats, a dog shampoo that doesn't agree with my dog, and a bone that my pup has no interest in.  I donated my dogs "winter booties" and one of her hair brushes.  

The third shelf was easier than I expected.  I had room in my kitchen for a few of the items since my husband and I had gone through the kitchen several months ago.  I donated a few vases (they really start to pile up!).  I also found a home for the phone book (beside the phone, of course!).

Here is the after photo:

Ahhhhhhh.... much better!  Everything is easier to find and my closet has a lot more space.  It is a beautiful thing.

Do you have a junk spot in your house?  One of those places that "things" seem to accumulate?  What strategies do you use to combat this?

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Minimalism Week #8- Christmas Conundrum

We celebrated Thanksgiving this past weekend.  (It was Canada's Thanksgiving weekend.)  Hubby was home so we enjoyed a ton of family time and we were able to get a few things done around the house.  We spent Thanksgiving with family, talking to Hubby's family on Skype and enjoying dinner with my parents at their house.  It was such a lovely weekend and I was thankful to be surrounded by the people that we love.

Thanksgiving brought us to the realization that Christmas is fast approaching.  My husband and I have discussed the obstacles to our minimalism that we encounter with the holidays.  When we discussed the "important" aspects of the holidays, gift giving never came up.  The most important thing to us is spending time with our families and celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We both agreed that we didn't need gifts in order to enjoy our holiday.  Miss. E is far too young to understand the holidays and she won't notice an absence of gifts.

We decided to speak to our families.  I broached the subject with my family and my husband with his.  We requested that we not do adult gifts this year.  We did note that this is Miss. E's first Christmas and acknowledged that the Grandparents would likely want to do a bit of shopping for her.  We requested "practical" gifts, like clothes.  She will definitely get use out of clothes!  We also would appreciate books, as we are avid readers and read to Miss. E often.  We were surprised that we were met with relief over the prospect of no gifts.  It truly adds stress to the holidays for most people.

I also broached the subject with our adult friends that we have exchanged gifts with in the past.  We decided on a set gift for the children (one pair of jammies and one book) and we also decided to not do Christmas gifts with the adults.

My husband and I are excited for the holidays, knowing that our minimalism will be respected.  We want to put the emphasis on the important parts of Christmas: faith, family and fellowship.  We plan to make donations to a few causes close to our hearts.  I look forward to the holidays and embracing the "true" spirit of Christmas.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Minimalism Week #7- Miss. E's Room

I went through my daughter's room this week.  We received so many lovely gifts when she was born.  I was not expecting this.  People were extremely generous.  That being said, there were a few gifts that didn't fit our parenting style, didn't fit Miss. E, and items that were sweet but not very useful.

I started with the clothes that she has already worn and is currently wearing.  I pitched a sleeper that was flame-resistant.  It was cute, but the chemicals used to make an item flame resistant are linked to cancer.  I donated items that would be best on a short, chubby baby.  Miss. E is very long and quite lean. Some of the onesies simply did not fit her. There is such a wide range of body types with babies (as there are with adults), so not everything works on every baby.

Miss. E received a ton of toys.  She was given a small army of pink stuffed animals and dolls.  While these gifts are sweet, they are not "useful" or in line with our move to minimalism.  I kept three stuffies (one from each set of grandparents and one from a great-grandmother).  I kept two dolls (one from a great-grandma and one from my best friend).  Every other stuffed animal was donated in hopes of making another child's day.  She received a few rattles that were exactly the same.  I kept one and donated the rest.  I also donated some toys that I didn't feel fit our parenting style.  I tend to lean toward toys made from natural materials (wood, cotton, etc.).  Anything made from plastic has to be from a reputable company and BPA free.

Miss. E was given a lot of sentimental gifts, such as frames and plaques.  While these are nice, they aren't in line with our minimalism and are really not useful.  Most of these items were donated with the exception of a few, which were kept because of sentimental value.

Gifts are a difficult thing to minimize.  Most of us feel large amounts of guilt when it comes to things that other people have given to us.  We know that the giver has spent money on the gift and has taken the time to select something just for us.  We must remember that a gift is not given with the intention to burden.  I don't think that someone gives us a gift, hoping that it will sit in a drawer or closet, unused and forgotten.  Knowing this, I feel that it is okay to pass on items that can be used by someone else.

There were gifts that we received that we love and use.  Miss. E loves her "Sophie" giraffe, activity mat, cloth rattles and her noise-making book.  I love the Aden & Anais blankets that we received, the children's books and the many sleepers that I have put to good use.  We also received money, which was a lovely gift.  We started Miss. E's college fund with it.  It is never to soon to start saving for college!  My best suggestion for a baby gift is money or gift cards.  The parent can then select whatever works for them.  If you want to give an actual gift, you could consult with the parents and see what they might need.  Some parents even set up a registry.

How do you deal with your children's growing stash of items?  Do you have any suggestions as how to keep their things to a minimum?  Comment below with your ideas!

Monday 29 September 2014

Minimalism Week #6- Purging Pants

I went through my pant collection this week.  I have gone through my closet several times over the past year.  I am always surprised that I can get rid of more!  I keep saying that minimalism is a process and that is proving to be true over and over again.

I moved all of my summer clothes downstairs into my summer storage.  I know that I won't be needing my shorts or capri pants any time soon!  It has been downright frosty in the mornings for the past few weeks.

Here is my before:


I got rid of two pairs of stained sweatpants (so not flattering).  I donated a pair of black leggings and a pair of black dress pants.  I also put a pair of two pairs of pants into my maternity clothes box, as they fit well when I was expecting.  I kept two pairs of yoga pants (perfect for going for walks), one pair of sweat pants (for movie nights on the couch and lazy Saturday mornings), one pair of grey leggings, one pair of black dress pants, and two pairs of jeans (only one pictured here).

I feel confident that I am only keeping the clothes that I wear.  I have actually worn all of the pants I kept in the last ten days.

I left my Summer pants for now.  I plan to go through them next year.  I will try everything on and decide from there.

Have a fantastic week!

Friday 26 September 2014

High Five For Friday! Better Late Than Never!

Hello Everyone!  Happy Friday!

I had a wonderful, busy week!  I hope you all had a great week, as well!

1.)  I had the privilege of attending my cousin's wedding in beautiful Banff, Alberta!  The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was so much fun!

2.)  I got to meet my friend's new daughter and received an invitation to visit her and her family in France.  We are seriously considering the offer and I couldn't be more excited!

3.)  I hit a great sale and scored an awesome Coach cross-body bag!  I needed a black one (so practical) and there it was!  I used a gift card from my birthday so it was free (to me)!  What a great find!  

4.)  I got to see my best friend and her two kids yesterday.  I love them all so much it and it is always awesome to spend time with them!  We only see each other every couple months so we enjoy getting together!

5.)  My hubby and family treated me to a special birthday over the weekend.  They were all so wonderful and I am thankful to be surrounded by such great people!

Happy Friday!  Link up at  Have a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Minimalism Week #5- Throwing the Throw Pillows

I am back from a beautiful wedding in Banff, Alberta.  I totally enjoyed myself and therefore my minimizing was not so impressive this week.  I did visit with a good friend in Calgary and her condo made me feel very inspired to get back to paring down.

Throw pillows.  That is where we are at this week.  After Miss. E was born, I shoved all the pillows into my linen closet and hope chest.  They were just one more thing I didn't want to deal with.  Between the laundry and feeding my daughter, there was no time to arrange the pillows.  As a result, my linen closet looked (even more) terrible!  I made a decision.  Did I gain anything from these pillows?  Did they really enhance my life?  The short answer is no.  I originally bought them as a way to bring colour into my home. As I developed my interior design, the pillows became less important to the overall look.  I have decided to get rid of them completely.  My husband is doing a happy dance as I write.



The linen closet and hope chest have room again!  I will have to tackle the linen closet one day, but that is for another time!

Friday 19 September 2014

High Five For Friday- Birthday Edition!

Hello Everyone!  I hope you all had a pleasant week.  Today is my birthday and I am feeling so grateful.  I have the best gift of all this year- my daughter.  The past few years most of my prayers and all of my birthday wishes were for a child.  My husband and I struggled for three years before we had Miss. E.  Last year, I was about six weeks pregnant on my birthday and praying that the pregnancy would go well and give us the child we had yearned for.  I can not tell you what a blessing it is to wake up and know that my every prayer and wish has been fulfilled.  I am so excited to watch my daughter grow and discover the world around her.

Here is my High Five For Friday:

1.)  Today I get to meet my friend's brand new baby daughter!  I am so excited!

2.)  We are heading out to Banff, Alberta for my cousin's wedding.  I have been there many times, but never with Miss. E and never for a wedding.  I am looking forward to the nuptials and all the sight-seeing we are going to do!  My cousin and her husband-to-be are such a wonderful match and I could not be happier for them!

3.)  I got to see my brother over the past weekend.  He moved away recently, so it is nice to see him when we can.  I will get to see him and his girlfriend at the wedding this weekend.  I am so looking forward to it!

4.)  Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back!  Need I say more?  Yum.  Simply... yum.

5.)  Sleep.  Miss E got moved to her crib (we still have her in our room) and she wasn't a fan for a few days.  She has finally settled in and is sleeping again.  Yay!  I love my sleep.

How was your week?  Link up at!

Take care and have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Minimalism Week #4-Dress Dilemma

If you are like me, you like to buy a new dress for an occasion, be it a wedding, party or baptism.  I don't love wearing the same dress twice.  Dresses are a big money suck.  I don't need a new dress for every occasion, yet I seem to buy them.  I also like wearing dresses in my every day life as well.

I went through my dresses today and asked myself some questions:

1.)  Does it fit?
2.)  Do I like how it looks?
3.)  Is it functional? (ie. Does it work for breastfeeding?  Can I wear it to more than one type of occasion?)
4.)  Do I wear it?

There are a few dresses that I kept that don't work for breastfeeding, but I did wear them a LOT before I was breastfeeding.  I hung onto these dresses, knowing that they have classic styling and I will wear them again.

Here is my before:


It has occurred to me that I should really learn how to use my dresses for both fancy and casual occasions.  I will put more effort into learning how to dress up and dress down my dresses.  Any tips?  Do you try to use your dresses/dress clothes in more than one aspect of your life?  I would love to hear your ideas!

Friday 12 September 2014

High Five For Friday!

Another week has come and gone.  I can hardly believe it!  Time is flying!  It has been a bit of a difficult week.  The woman who taught my prenatal classes and breastfeeding class has passed away.  It was an unexpected tragedy.  I also knew her through work.  It breaks my heart.  She was a truly lovely, positive, encouraging woman and she will be deeply missed.  When I found out that I was finally pregnant, the thing that worried me most was breastfeeding.  I really wanted to breastfeed, but I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do it.  The breastfeeding class that this woman taught made me confident that I could breastfeed.  She also told us that we could call her if we needed any help.  She was an amazing lady.

Here is my High Five For Friday:

1.)  Good vet checks.  I took my furbabies in for their vaccinations and check ups.  Both pets (one canine and one feline) are doing fantastic!  I know that they are "just pets", but they are truly furry family members to me!  Neither pet attacked the vet, which is always wonderful!  I worry a little about my cat, as she has "cattitude".  To my delight, she did not try to claw the vet or take out the dog.

2.)  Hair cut!  I left Miss. E with my mom and went for my first trim since I had my daughter.  My hair has been doing some crazy things so I was happy to talk to my stylist about them.  Hormones!  I tell you!  My hair has been falling out.  Not in clumps or anything, but I seem to be shedding like crazy.  This is totally normal, by the way.  Thank goodness!  My hair has also been super oily.  My hairdresser was able to recommend a cleansing cream to help me with this and a dry shampoo.

3.)  Last Sunday was eventful!  Before church on Sunday morning, I was folding laundry.  I had Miss. E laying on the floor on a blanket.  She was playing with her toy and I was rushing around putting away clothes.  I entered the room as she rolled to her side.  Not a big deal, as she has done this since birth.  That was when it happened!  She rolled over to her tummy!  I was super excited!  I called Hubby who was working.  I texted the grandparents.  I know this is not exciting to anyone else but it is to me!

4.)  I ran into a high school friend at church.  I don't get to see her very often, so it was a lovely surprise!  She is currently expecting her first child so it was fun to see her "bump".  She also got to meet Miss. E for the first time.  We had a nice chat.

5.)  No snow...  I have been watching the news and the cities that many of my family members and friends live in got pelted with snow this week.  It has been dubbed "Snowtember".  Although I am looking forward to cooler weather, I am not ready for snow.  I am thankful that I don't have to break out my parka just yet.

How was your week?  Link up at!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Minimalism- Week #3-Shirts & Sweaters

I dove into my closet this week.  I decided to begin my purging with shirts and sweaters.  I have been getting a pretty good feel for what works for me and what doesn't.  I am currently breastfeeding and hope to continue to breastfeed until my daughter is a year old.  I only want to keep shirts that work for this purpose.  I didn't include my nursing tank tops in the pictures/purge because I wear them constantly.  I often layer them under my other tops.  I also didn't include my workout tops.  I only own three and I don't feel that I need to pare them down.  There were some shirts in the laundry when I did my clean out.  I didn't worry about those shirts, as I obviously wear them.

Here are some "Before" and "After" photos:







I donated most of the tops that I no longer want.  I put a few of the tops into my maternity clothes collection, as I wore them a lot in my pregnancy.  Hubby and I hope to have more children so I will hang onto the maternity clothes for now.

Here are questions to ask yourself when going through your clothing:

1.) Does this fit?  Do not keep clothes that do not fit.  The exception, of course, is when you are pregnant or when you have just had a baby.  Those weight fluctuations are often temporary.  Clothes that are too big or too small are not flattering.  They are taking up prime real estate in your closet.  Let them go.

2.)  Do I like this?  If you don't like the item or how it looks on you, don't keep it!  I think that sometimes we hang onto clothes because they look good in theory, but not so much in real life.  If something doesn't sit on you properly, has an odd colour or simply isn't your taste, let it go.

3.)  Have I worn this in the past six months?  With the exception of dress clothes and seasonal items, this rule should apply.  It is a pretty good indicator of what you like to wear.  There doesn't have to be anything wrong with an item for you to choose not to wear it.  Let the item go.  Someone else can get use out of it.

What are your rules when going through your closet?  How do you decide on what to keep?