Monday, November 26, 2012

:: Cyber Monday - save 40% on Photography Concentrate ::

where are all the deals hiding?

If one of your goals is to learn how to use your DSLR camera better before the holidays, you will want to visit Photography Concentrate to nab a few of their awesome e-book tutorials for 40% off! Sale ends tomorrow. I absolutely loved Essential Camera Skills, and I am now working through the Lightroom Tutorial. Such a great way to support Canadian small business too (they are from Edmonton).

Happy online shopping. Have you found any great deals today?

p.s if you are all shopped out (or maxed out), check out some of the great free stuff on Photography Concentrate's site. I am especially loving the presets for Lightroom they just added :)

disclosure: this post contains affiliate links to Photography Concentrate. Any income I make from them goes into my camera bag & lens fund :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

:: no time to blog - too busy nesting ::

a few things I have ready to put up in the nursery!

After dealing with a man cold and then a mom cold (which one was worse? guess!) over the last two weeks, it only seems natural that my nesting instinct would kick in as soon as I felt remotely better. My drive to purge, clean & organize has been ridiculous this week and I've accomplished many random tasks and seem to lay awake at night thinking of more! So far I have:

- cleaned out and organized all the under-sink cabinets (kitchen, bathrooms)
- organized all my craft supplies into clear containers (for all the crafting I'll have time to do once the baby is born - ha!)
- organized all the christmas presents I have already bought into piles and made lists of what is left to buy
- cleaned out our files (that was a huge one!)
- made one of these pinterest binders with all of our manuals & reciepts for items.
- cleaned & organized our fridge and freezer.
- put together Hunter's new double bed in his room with the most awesome plaid sheets ever.
- put up some of our Christmas decorations....the snowy weather tempted me and I couldn't wait any longer!

H's new bed

But most importantly....we painted the nursery the most beautiful pale pale blue (Promise by Sarah Richardson for Para Paints) and today we will be putting together the crib and hanging a few things on the walls. Our vintage storybook theme is coming together nicely and I think it's going to be the perfect gender-neutral room for this librarian mommy.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! I hope to be back with some nursery sneak peeks soon :)

p.s Just so you can appreciate how huge I am while scrubbing & organizing my house, here is a comparison picture between 40 weeks with Hunter, and 35 weeks with this baby. I'm hoping I don't get much bigger in the next weeks!

Friday, November 16, 2012

:: sick days ::

There goes my post a day for November! I caught a terrible man-cold from my hubs and I've been feeling yucky all week. I'm on the mend now but I have no voice. Little H keeps telling me to "talk louder mommy!", but I'm trying to stick to whispering so my voice will come back.

We got to have lots of cuddles this week though. Hunter is loving playing doctor lately, and also "mivwives" where he checks my belly and listens to the baby. I just love this boy.

Plan for the weekend is to start on the nursery finally. Only 5 more weeks to go!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

:: a poppy is to remember:

If your kids are wondering what Remembrance Day means, and you are looking for a simple book to start the conversation, I would highly recommend taking this one out from the library. The illustrations are ambiguous enough to not be too scary, and the message is perfect for young readers.

Will you be attending any services tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

:: crafty friends ::

We've had a standing playdate with H's best mate for almost 3 years now. We all look forward to our sanity-saving Wednesday lunch and coffee while the kids play. I had to snap a picture of their Pinterest-worthy pumpkin today as we needed to be remembered before it got sent to the compost. Isn't it awesome? Love my crafty friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

:: cutest little elf ::

Thank you Old Navy for making such cute Christmas pajamas (they come in a Santa suit too). We are totally in the Christmas spirit already!

We received our elf on the shelf this week too, named him Jinx, and are already enjoying his hiding places each morning. I'm hoping Pinterest won't let me down and I'll have plenty of ideas to last until Christmas!

Tell me I'm not the only crazy Christmas lady out there? No lights, decorations or tree yet (probably after H's birthday in early December) but we are already excited and planning for our favourite time of year....oh, and the baby thats coming then too! :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

:: the instagram pregnancy ::

Definite lack of real camera pics this time around. Thank goodness for instagram :) where have the last 33 weeks gone?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

:: a house where everything has a home ::

I think I might have started nesting today.

I started the day with a to-do list...a bit of cleaning, laundry and paper filing, and ended the day feeling tired and sore after hours of re-organizing kitchen cupboards, dusting blinds, organizing and labelling toy bins, vacuuming dust bunnies and gathering old baby stuff for a sale later this month.

The extra hour was very helpful in getting all these things done - thank you Daylight Savings :)

In the last few years, my Hubs and I have been trying to unclutter, organize and keep our tiny little living spaces relaxing to look at and spend time in. We've found that it takes many (many!) cycles of purge/re-organize in order to finally get a space to work. The kitchen cupboards that I worked on today have been organized in a few different ways and I am hoping this latest one will be the one that helps them stay tidy.

In preparation for the chaos of a new baby, I'm determined to get the last few areas of our house organized. When everything has a "home", I find it's so much easier to have H help out (he loves to put things away in the "right spot" or labelled bins) and avoid the clutter build-up of random stuff that doesn't belong anywhere.

I'm a bit of a sucker for organizational books, but the two I like the most are Unclutter Your Life in One Week
by Erin Rooney Doland (editor in chief of the awesome blog Unclutterer) and Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider (founder of SimpleMom Media). Doland's book is a practical one week approach to simplifying and organizing your time and space at work and at home, and it's one I can read once a year for fresh inspiration, and Oxenreider's book is a more wholistic approach to living a simpler (and more organized) life. Both are immensely helpful when you are feeling ready to purge/organize/simplify....which always hits me once the weather turns cold.

The plan for next weekend is to do some more organizing in our basement, creating a little play area, laundry area, seasonal storage, and craft area. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, here are some inspiring images from the Queen of Organization - Martha Stewart.

craft closet

stairwell pantry - love this!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

:: in praise of the public library + 4 ways to find the elusive good book ::

best place to be, surrounded by books on mommy & daddy's bed 

I grew up within walking distance to a public library, and having my own library card gave me such a sense of freedom. I remember going there multiple times a week in the summers, taking out as many books as I could carry, and returning days later for more. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that I could take out so many books for free, especially because money was always tight when I was growing up.

I still get a sense of glee when I walk into the library. So many books! So many movies! So many options......and I can try them all if I want! Hunter loves going "shopping" at the library too, because I always say yes to his suggestions, unlike the "no" he hears so often in the toy section of the supermarket (why did he have to figure out where that is??)

As a teacher-librarian, a big part of my job is helping my students find the elusive "good book". Not everyone feels a sense of glee at the library.....I find many of my students feel overwhelmed and anxious by all the options, and need a few strategies so they don't end up leaving empty-handed.

We love visiting the public library as often as we can to grab a bag full of new books. Here are a few of my favourite strategies to find a good book when you don't really know what you are looking for:

- choose a letter from the alphabet (your first name or child's first name) and browse that section in the picture book section looking for some new gems. I'm always amazed by what I find when I concentrate on one letter/section. You could work your way through the alphabet weekly this way too - a fun project!

- don't forget about the non-fiction section. We love to take out books about animals these days and there are some really awesome ones to be found in the non-fiction area.

- see what else there is by a favourite author. You can go for a classic author like Margaret Wise Brown, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak or Eric Carle. Or, try and find something new by a contemporary children's author, like Peter Brown, Mo Willems, Jon Klassen, David Shannon or Melanie Watt. We also love the gorgeous non-fiction books by Steve Jenkins.

- ask a friend, or the librarian, for a recommendation. There are lots of great blogs and booklists floating around the internet. I especially like the Children's Book a Day Almanac, and her recommendations found here....or print off a list like this one of 100 picture books from the New York Public Library.

- and then, once you have a bag full of books to enjoy at home.....find a good book for you to read and let your kid play with the huge chess set to his heart's content!

All this being said....I must admit that on an average trip to the library, we take out 20-25 books and of those, there might be 3-5 that we love enough to consider buying for our own personal collection. There are lots of wonderful books out there, but it takes trial and error and many full library bags to find them!

Do you and your little one like to visit your public library? Was it a big part of your life growing up?

Friday, November 2, 2012

:: things i love friday ::

- taking my little wild thing to school for the Halloween parade, and then reading with him in the library. (thanks again to Pottery Barn Kids for the costume. He just loved it and my students especially adored it!)

- this gorgeous newborn/family photoshoot on bleubird blog

- the giftaways going on at my friend Sara's blog Saige Wisdom

- feeling so inspired by this book. The author, Brene Brown (of TEDx viral video fame) is hosting a read-along on her blog here.

- looking forward to a Starbucks red cup treat (I'm unabashedly in Christmas mode already!) and a pedicure tomorrow morning after a long week.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

:: nablopomo - National Blog Post Month 2012 ::

Hello out there.

After a long, beautiful summer and a short, but gorgeous fall, we have entered into the snowy & cold months and with it, for me, comes a new desire to be creative and connect with others (and drink hot cocoa in front of warm fires with a cozy blanket - perfection!)

I heard about NaBloPoMo (that crazy mouthful means National Blog Post Month) through an online forum, and I thought it might just be the perfect way for me to get back into the groove of blogging again.

All you have to do is blog every day for the month of November. It can be about anything you want, or you can use some of the writing prompts found here or here.

My blog has always been a bit of a mish-mash. Some personal posts, some mommy stuff, some product and book reviews, some recipes and all sorts of miscellany. I'm thinking this month will be more of the same, just with a bit more frequency. I'm hoping to finally post a few things that I have scrawled in my notebook and catch up on a few giveaways that have been on the back burner.

If you blog, I'd love a link to your site - leave it in the comments....because I am hoping to also be a better blog reader/commenter to my bloggy friends :) #1 - done! Wish me luck as I endeavour to type my heart out this month :)

(NaBloPoMo is run by BlogHer, and seems to be inspired by NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month.....another project I've always wanted to try....though I'd probably rather write a picture book!)

NaBloPoMo November 2012