Thursday, January 31, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} on January 31

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Brought to you by Like Mother, Like Daughter


The morning sun, my daughter being creative. . .


Our first try making homemade paint! It wasn't an ideal consistency, but Arden didn't know the difference. (I may have messed it up by adding the dish soap before the cornstarch mixture was cooled down, which made it bubbly instead of smooth.) Anyone have any good recipes for homemade, washable paint?

And here is Jack at 9 months - he is growing fast, and is such a happy little boy. 


Jack and the cats!

We recently acquired two new cats from the humane society. (Our dear Scratchy went to cat heaven back in September, and we figured it was time for a feline presence in the house again.) They pulled on our heartstrings with their "Mommy and Me" program, in which you buy a kitten and get the mother for free!

Arden loves the cats (and they put up with her attentions very well, I might add!), but Jack has also taken a keen interest in them.

Here he is crawling over to the mother cat, Milly.

And here he is  crawling as fast as he can after the kitten, Pickwick!

Pickwick. When I first saw him I thought he looked like he'd had a jar of
black ink spilled on him! I simply had to give him a literary name.

It's so nice to have cats in the house again! Two feels just right, and these are lively without being crazy. They were strays and had been in the pound since November, so I think they were grateful for a home. We are happy to have them!


I am at my wits' end with the living room. Maybe it's cabin fever, I don't know, but I am just so dissatisfied with it. It's never really felt like me. I've been able to arrange second hand furniture and bits and pieces of things in every other room in the house, but this one is just not coming together. (You can see its various versions over the last three years in these posts.)

I moved the furniture last night so that the couch isn't blocking the traffic and view from the main door. But this room has three doors, which makes it quite tricky for furniture arrangement.

This is the view from the door we use to enter the room most often.

The couch is now on the far window wall, instead of facing the window as you come in the room. I like how it opens up the room. That organ, which is currently being used as a tv stand, has to go! It's too dark and big for this room. I have to figure out another tv option that is also babyproof! One of the other issues is that the far corner is the only place we can put the tv (due to the cables and location of power outlets) if we want to keep it in this room.

There are so many doors! Any ideas for furniture placement?

This room, and the adjoining music room, also desperately need a coat of paint. But how do I choose a colour?? I don't want to pick the colour based on these couches. I find them too dark and busy, especially at this time of year, so I am thinking of putting our other old set (currently in the basement) back into the room. But I struggled with finding a paint colour to go with them too.

View into music room. 

Since taking these photos this morning, I went to town and bought a big, neutral drop cloth. I am going to experiment with the drop cloth as a couch cover on our other set of couches. Then I can add colour with other fabrics and cushions, and maybe paint the walls a colour I like! I don't know if it's going to work - it might look a little rumpled. But at this point I am willing to risk rumpled to see if I can get a look that I feel at home in! Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? :)

round button chicken


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Queen of the Realm

I come downstairs after both kids are tucked snugly into bed, one-and-a-half out of two asleep. The house has that disheveled look of a day well lived.

Peepo, one of our favourite books, pulled off the shelf. The table strewn with after-supper artwork and bowls of homemade paint. Pickwick, our new kitten, chasing cheerios and peas across the dining room floor. More socks than the number of children’s feet in this house dropped in diverse places. (They multiply on the floor and disappear in the dryer – oh the strange magic of socks.) One last pile of laundry waiting for a bath. A stray, sticky pot. Bits and pieces of our little life, the evidence of moments spent and shared and sewn together, stitching us together.

For today I’ve held little hands and whole squirming bodies of babies and what seems like a dozen things at once, yet somehow it’s all holding me, and it’s all here.

A sense of accomplishment sneaks up on me, as that of a sovereign surveying her domain with the satisfaction of a realm at rest. The cat looks at me as if I’m being ridiculous.

Yes, I am still going to have to finish the dishes, do that laundry, pick up those socks, sweep the floor, put the hedgehog family (and all their miniature friends and relations) back in the play barn, and otherwise tidy up.

But by some special grace, I am able to see this to-do list tonight as a to-thank list. To take joy in this quiet moment of messy contentment.

To feel somehow like a queen in the midst of a maidservant’s work.



Inspired by my amazing sister over at Backwoods Wife to be thankful. . . .

For the moments, however few, that both children are napping at the same time!
For freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee
For the sun shining on the snow
For the cute girl who fits into these cute pajamas that are hanging to dry
For a hardworking husband
For the cuddles that only a nine-month old can give
For friends who pray
For chocolate, of course!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Once upon a thought

I know it's hard to think, let alone write, in the midst of napless children and sticky tabletops. I'm not even sure why I try, especially when it feels like I have nothing to say. I don't write out of expertise, or completion, or even inspiration. I don't have many "thoughts" about life and home these days, as the subtitle of this blog suggests - I'm too busy living life in this home to think much about it! And maybe that's ok.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Fort Smith Edition!

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Brought to you by Like Mother, Like Daughter

It's been over two months since my last {p, h, f, r} post! Ridiculous!

We spent our holidays over Christmas and into the New Year in my hometown of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories! (For Christmas pictures in particular, see here.) It was a wonderful time with lots of family and lots of fun in the great white north.


Pretty is the winter view from Mom's kitchen window. This is the view that I know so well, from the frosty glass to the ever-present squirrel on the birdfeeder, and the "high noon" sun that just makes it above the peak of the garage roof.

And pretty are these Arden-sized moccasins, a northern gift for a northern Christmas. They are made of moosehide, with rabbit fur trim and traditional native beading.

Of course, the model is quite pretty too!


Happy are the children playing in the snow, despite the cold temperatures.

(I think it was only in the -20s celsius this day, which is why we decided it was nice enough to take everyone out for a walk! It had been in the -30s a few days earlier.)

Arden and her cousins are enjoying a most satisfying game of "Jump, Jump, Splat."

The Jump. And yes, both feet are up in the air in this one!
The Splat. Best part, of course!

Getting up giggling, ready for another round or four. 

Here is Arden in her "I know you're taking my picture and I'm ignoring you for that very reason" pose!

And happy is the Mom who gets to see her daughter having such fun with her cousins!


Funny is the attempt to take a picture (five minutes before we have to leave for the airport) of all the cousins at the same time. Here are just a few of the takes!

Child wrangling. Should be an Olympic sport!

Emma was the one deciding not to cooperate this time! Jack seems most amused. 

I laugh out loud at this one!
Riley is not impressed. Jack is focusing on whatever Hendrik is holding in such an unenthused fashion. Arden just wants to eat her apple and Abby is valiantly struggling to hold a screaming Emma. Priceless!

She escapes, to laugher all round! 
And now for the best shot of the bunch, which is actually quite good, all things considered. . . .

Mostly smiles! These cousins sure do love each other. 


Real is winter in the NWT. I still love it better than the wet, unsettled version we get here on the east coast!

The house I grew up in. Still feels like home to come back. 

The Slave River, frozen solid except for the very powerful Rapids of the Drowned. 

Such beautiful hoar frost.

There you have it, a little taste of contentment from the Northwest Territories! We are so blessed by the people and places that have shaped our lives, and by the love that links us all together.

Happy New Year to everyone!

round button chicken


Christmas in Fort Smith!

We spent a lovely Christmas surrounded by family in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories!

The jellybean queen!
(Counting beans to go in the goodie bags for church)
Good times with coffee
Decorating the Christmas tree

Double-barrelled coffee king!

Getting ready to go the Christmas Eve service

Candlelight service at Fort Smith Pentecostal Church
(Christen on the piano, me on the drum, back with the angels, of course!)

This little boy slept in Grandma's arms during the service

A tired little girl came running up to see me when the service was over

My cute boy!

Family photo on Christmas Eve

Some fun before bedtime with Auntie Christen

Late night, last minute stocking sewing!

Our humble spruce tree, looking quite its best
Guess who came to visit Christmas morning? (This little set travelled with us from PEI, as it was Arden's favourite thing to play with in the weeks before Christmas.)

Jack's first experience with Christmas presents! (The shiny paper was a big hit.)

She wasn't feeling her best that day, but a snuggle with Grandma's big dolly helped.

Don't even think about taking these toys away!

Chief turkey carver!

Just some of the present opening. I had to include this picture because of the bugle on the table, Hendrik's prized present! We had a grand carol sing later in the evening accompanied by this bugle and a few kazoos! 

Shall we gather round the WiiU?
Arden's northern gift

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