Wednesday, April 16, 2014

5 Ways to Welcome Spring To Your Front Steps

Hey everyone,

So just when we thought Spring was here, Mother Nature decided to throw us another wintery blast. What? How can it be mid-April and snowing? Total craziness. Fingers crossed that my kids will be hunting for their Easter eggs in short sleeves this weekend, not snow suits!!

Even if there is a bit of white stuff on the ground I’m ready to ditch the winter décor and bring out the colour and lighter textures.  Here are 5 ways to welcome Spring to your door step.

1.       Replace your winter urn décor with fresh new love
I really like the layers of this urn
Serendipity Refined
 

2.       Good bye winter wreath, hello Spring cheer
SheKnows


3.       Decorate your front hall.
Common Ground
 
4.       Tulips.Tulips.Tulips.
Censational Girl

 
5.       Clear out the winter boot tray.
April showers, brings May flowers. Put away those winter, salty boots and get out those Wellys. I love this river rock boot tray. I'm thinking a DIY is on the radar.
SavvySugar
 
Have you decorated your entry way for Spring yet?

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kidoodle.TV is awesome, fun & safe!

Hey everyone!
I don’t know about you, but when my kids are getting a little “harry” and need some down time, I either turn on the TV or whip out the iPad to let them play games. I know, I know, it’s an easy fix but honestly, sometimes it just needs to happen.  For example, the weekend before I had to go back to work, Mr. Fix-It had a wicked flu bug so I had to hold down the fort solo. With three little ones, a sick hubby and lots on my list to get done I needed the kids to have some down time.  Kidoodle.TV saved the day!
 
Heard of Kidoodle.TV? Essentially, it’s a website filled with shows that kids love and parents have control over. There are kids’ sitcoms, nature and wildlife shows and an educational series from a variety of sources.  The parents create a profile for each child and can select which shows their children can watch or not watch. Another thing that I really liked was zero ads. No commercials telling my kids that they need every toy under the sun!  You can also determine the length of viewing time. So, if 45 mins is all you want them to have, then you can set it at the limit. Pretty cool eh?

My kids love to use the iPad, so this way I know they are watching appropriate shows and they can work it themselves.  Oh, and not only do they have some of my kids’ fav shows but there are some retro shows on there too. Remember Inspector Gadget? Jem?

You can sign up for free to try it for 14 days. Wouldn’t this be great for travelling? Yes please! If you like it, you can enter in this promo code MCC25 and get 25% off a year subscription (offer expires June 30, 2014).

Ooh, and Kidoodle.TV is giving away a tablet and a 1 year subscription on their Facebook page this month. Woot! Woot! Check it out via the link.

And, I wouldn’t leave you without the chance to...
WIN A 1 YEAR SUBSCRIPTION TO KIDOODLE.TV
- To enter, leave me a comment below why you would love to win-
Contest closes April 20, 2014
 
Keep it Beautiful.
Alicia

“Disclosure: I am part of the Kidoodle.TV blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday Yummies: Spring Into Food!

Hey guys!

How’s the week going? It’s day 3 of being back to the office and so far so good. We’re all still transitioning into the new routine but it’s going to take some time. One of the hardest things has been getting dinner on the table before the kids melt! Meal planning and having food ready to go is definitely key to keeping everyone smiling. Need to put my thinking cap on. Have any suggestions?
In the meantime, I’ve been on the lookout for Spring recipes. The snow is melting (thank God!) and soon the tulips will be peaking out, so I’m feeling the need to find some new recipes and feel refreshed. Seeing how it’s Wednesday Yummies today I thought I would share some that I definitely want to try:

 Is your mouth watering? Here is where you can find them all…
Honey Balsamic Ham

Rack of Lamb with Mustard Sauce

Roasted Beets & Pearl Onions with Pistachio Vinaigrette
 
Let me know if you make any of these! That roasted beets recipe is sounding like a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated side dish at Easter! Delish.
Also want to say a Happy Birthday to my gorgeous girlfriend Robyn! XO you!
Keep it Beautiful.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Back to Work...Here We Go!

Hey everyone,

This morning is my first day back to work. Thirteen months ago, I left the office feeling like my return date was eons away.  Well, here I am and my third maternity leave has flown by in a blink of an eye. What an incredible year it has been.  With our two little ones being so close in age, I've really been home for almost two years in a row. 

Last week, we started to practice our new routine of getting ready in the morning, pick ups at night. It's hard. Yup, it's really hard. I love being an at-home mummy. I really do. Not only do I love being with our babies but it's allowed me to talk to you so often and not only grow my blog but my Interior Decorating business.

Yes, I feel mummy guilt, leaving my babies all day. However, I know they are in loving arms and learning so much. To be honest, they learn more at daycare then they learn with me at home ;) They sing, they play, they dance, they colour, they learn their numbers/letters, to be independent, socialize and learn how to share from an early age. While these are all things that I teach my children at home, being at daycare immerses them in it all. I have wonderful memories of my mum staying home with my brother and I, but I also believe, from being an at-home mummy and a working mummy, that children end up at the same place and perfectly well adjusted whether they are home or in a loving daycare.

So, as I trade in my lululemons and flats for pantyhose and heels this morning, I will definitely have a few tears and the ache for my babies will stay in my gut all day. But, I'm looking forward to seeing my co-workers, doing a job that I studied years to get, sitting down to eating lunch, leaning into the board room table, having the financial resources to buy pretty things and take fabulous family vacations and most definitely seeing my babies' infectious smiles at the end of the work day.


So, please bear with me. As a working mama, it's going to take a little while to juggle all the balls. Blogging to all of you is one of my greatest passions and working with fabulous clients keep my desire to create beautiful spaces alive.  

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...it's off to work I go! Wish me luck.

Keep it Beautiful.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Perfect Cupcake Recipe for A Perfect Baby Girl

Hey everyone,

Today is a special day in our house. Our baby girl is one! How did that happen? How did a whole year go by in a blink of an eye? She is beautiful, delicious, happy, snuggly, feisty, soulful, feminine, loves her brothers, attached to my hip and melts her Daddy's heart. She is perfect.

To celebrate her big day, I made these cupcakes. They are easy as 1 2 3!  If you are looking for the easiest cupcake and icing recipe, then tuck this in your recipe book!
 
What You Need
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cold coffee or water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
What You Do:
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in coffee, oil and vanilla; stir in vinegar. Spoon into paper-lined or greased muffin cups.

Bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool on rack. (Make-ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
Vanilla Buttercream Icing:

What You Need:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 5 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
What You Do:

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)

Isn't she a beauty?

Keep it Beautiful.








Monday, March 31, 2014

10 Things You Need from the Dollar Store!

Hey everyone!

How was your weekend? We had a rough one. At one point, all 5 of us were down and out with the stomach bug. B.R.U.T.A.L! I think Mr. Fix-It and I washed the sheets from various beds 4 times throughout the night on Saturday. Yup, glad it's over! Hope your weekend was better than ours.

So you know how much I love the dollar store. How can you not? I go in there for one or two things and come out with bags of what? Of awesomeness! I've compiled a list...

1. Gift wrap, bows, party plates...oh my!

For real, who buys expensive gift bags anymore? If you are still paying $5 for a gift bag then seriously, you need to enter the dollar store and stock up on every colour gift bag and bow they have. Need plates for a party? Napkins? They've got it.

2. Batteries

We're always looking for batteries in our house. Always! It's hard to find a toy in this house that doesn't ring, beep or have a siren on it. They all need batteries. The dollar store will hook you up!

3. Baskets & Bins
Baskets and bins keep your life organized, tidy, clean and sane.

4. Crafts
Whether you're looking for a craft to do with the kids or you want to paint a wooden box, the dollar store has tons of options for $1 - $3. Awesome.

5. Household Stuff

Sponges, spatulas, kitchen timers...the list goes on. One of my fav items is the foil that comes in individual squares (perfect size for a baked potato)

6. Seasonal Items

Easter is coming...

7. Toiletries and First Aid



Toothbrushes, small shampoo bottles, cotton balls, band aids. Perfect spot to make a first aid kit for the car and to stock up on toiletries for your guests or vacationing.

8. Party Items
 Having a party? Need to fill some loot bags? The dollar store has tons of glow sticks, hats, necklaces...anything to make a fun costume or light up your night.  Kids love these glow sticks, bracelets and necklaces.

9. Stationary
Where's my pen? Paper, pencils, binders, folders, staples. You name it.

10. Kids Stuff

 Toys, trinkets, loot bag fillers. I definitely don't suggest letting your baby put any of these things in their mouths, but there are some cute toys in the dollar store that I call "keep them happy in the grocery store" kind of toys. I usually try to have a few of these stashed in the car.
 
What are your fav items at the dollar store? Is there something there that you always go in for? Do you have a top 10?
 
Keep it Beautiful.





*This is not a sponsored post. I just love a good dollar store and wanted to pass my love on to you.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Home Office TLC!

Hey guys,

Do you have a home office? Does it consist of you parked on the couch with your laptop? The kitchen table? Or are you lucky enough to have an entire room dedicated to a home office? Oooh, I would so love my very own room.  However, we just don't have that luxury of extra space in our home so my home office is shared with our guest room. You've seen our guest room before as well as my desk makeovers here and here.


Because my office is shared with the guest room, it needs to be creative because of space issues.  While I've loved working at this desk, it's definitely time to move on to something more functional, something that will fit into a small space, match the style of the room, allow for some creative storage and inspire creativity. So, I decided to enter into the Staples "Make More Happen" Contest and create my wishlist of office furniture and supplies that would help make working and blogging to you all a whole lot easier! Here is what I've come up with...

Desk: This desk would fit perfectly (I measured!) This desk definitely has more surface space then my current desk and I love the look of the white and chrome. The storage drawers could hold my fabric samples, paint chits etc as well as the usual paper, pens and daytimer. Oh how I need storage!
Chair: Me likey! Not only do I love the look but the fact that it's armless is a great space saver. I found the yellow chair at the cottage in a corner and while I love the colour, its really not very comfortable. This white armless desk chair would tuck nicely under the desk, look fab and be a lot more comfortable for those late night blogging fests!
Printer: I totally need a printer. To save precious desk space, this wireless one would be oh-so-perfect on a shelf above the desk.
Lamp: Let there be light! Most of my work is done at night so my current lamp that I'm using is across the room and not very effective. This desk lamp would be so much better, looks nice on the desk and be easier on my eyes. Maybe that's why my eye prescription keeps changing!?
Board: Dry-erase board to keep important notes with a pocket to store receipts/invoices, client appointments and upcoming events.
Label Maker: Oh the possibilities are endless! Labels keep you organized and you know how much I love a good organizing challenge!
Clock: I love that this clock doesn't take up a lot of real estate desk space and will keep me on time.
Sticky Notes: How fresh.fabulous.sophisticated is this diamond sticky notes holder. Perfect!

Whatcha think?

I love it and would love to win. Fingers crossed!

Keep it Beautiful.

 
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