Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Hi everyone!

Well, the kids opened up their last advent bag this morning and we're ready for the big night.  I've had a great time sharing my holiday décor and ideas with you and love that you shared them with me. Thank you. I'll be taking a bit of a break from blogging over the next week or so but I will definitely have a little New Year's Eve special. 

I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas. Tis the season to drink too many candy cane martinis, eat one too many cookies and steal a kiss (or many) under the mistletoe!

From my family to yours...a very Merry Christmas!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

613 Holiday Special - Holiday Traditions!

Hi everyone,

Soooo...are you ready? All decorated, shopped, wrapped, cleaned and ready to face the big day? Oh my! In the mix of everything to do, I'm sure you have holiday traditions that get included in your holiday love. I'm a bit of a cheesy/hokey kinda gal and love holiday traditions. I grew up with a mum and dad who loved the "cheese" factor. Especially my dad, that guy is the only person I know that cries opening every card he receives...even the funny joke ones. I digress.

I've compiled a few holiday traditions that we've done in the past and some we do now. I always love hearing other's traditions and getting ideas for new ones. Please, please share yours with me in the comment section.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Every year my Dad, brother and I would lay in front of the fire under a warm blanket and read the Night Before Christmas. The book we had was ancient and each page had some sort of tear in it. As we got older, my parents would have our family friends over for Christmas Eve so mucho drinks were consumed by the parents, which meant Dad's rendition of the story got funnier and funnier. We now have a new Night Before Christmas book that Mr. Fix-It reads to our kids in front of the fire, but the original torn book has a special place in my brother's home all ready to be read to his babies.

Christmas Jammies

In our house, Santa leaves Christmas jammies at the end of your bed (Santa's elves sent me this pic above to let me know these are the ones that are being left for the kids this year ;)  When you wake up on Christmas morning, the jammies are at the side of your bed in a gift bag, all ready to put on before you come downstairs. This is one of my faves!!
Speaking of Christmas jammies, have you seen this amazing video? It's hilarious!

Advent Calendars

Do your kiddies have them? Did you have them growing up? Mr. Fix-It and I have fond memories of opening our chocolate calendars up every morning as kids.  Now they come in all styles. Our kids have the Kinder Surprise calendars this year (thank you Nana) and inhale their breaky every morning at warp speed so they can bust open their calendars! They also double up on the Advent calendar I made this year.

Happy Birthday

Although I didn't grow up in a super religious family, we did go to church every Sunday and one tradition that we did was sing "Happy Birthday" to the baby Jesus on Christmas Eve after church. My mum even had cupcakes for the event. Yup, my brother and I would belt out "Happy Birthday baby Jesus" and eat cupcakes. Remember...the hokeyness. This was hokey!! I'm not sure if we'll be singing "Happy Birthday" this year but my boys are shepherds in the Christmas Eve pageant. Total cuteness factor!

Christmas Dishes
On December 1st our Christmas dishes come out. We have the dishes that I grew up with (super retro) and we use them till about mid January. They're fun, festive and retro.


Mr. Fix-It and his brother always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve before they went to bed. A little excitement before the big day.

Joy to the World

As a kid, a bunch of families would get together for a carolling party. It started with just a few families, a "boom box" (remember those?) and a few carolling sheets... but over the years it grew to a large carolling group, accompanied by a fun evening party where the kids were wild on sugar and the parents, wild on spiked eggnog. Fun times! This past weekend, our friend's hosted a fun party that mimicked the wild kids on sugar and parents on the spiked eggnog ;) Let the tradition continue!

Elf on the Shelf
Yup, you know that little elf. Our kids love our elf and all the little surprises she does every morning. Although I do often find myself in this situation, do you?

I hope that you have holiday traditions and looking to start new ones. Check out the Ottawa ladies' holiday traditions for fantastic ideas...
Meredith & Sue @ Newberry Sykes

And...head over to the Inspired Home to see tons of blogger's holiday mantles. Look for Keep it Beautiful's. It's being featured!

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, December 16, 2013

613 Holiday Special - O Christmas Tree!

Hi everyone,
How was your weekend? Do you have your tree up? Real tree vs. faux tree...what's your stance? Both Mr. Fix-It and I grew up with real trees and have great memories of going to pick out the perfect tree with our families. 

While we always go real, we have a faux tree in our house too. It's in the breakfast room and we call it "the kids' tree". Do you have more than one tree? I love it. A perfect place for all the ornaments that Mr. Fix-It and I had as kids, mixed with all the adorable ornaments that the kids make. Plus, I'll be honest, the real theory behind it...it means I get to have the pretty tree all matchy in the living room ;) Here is our tree this year.

This Monday is the third week of the 613 Holiday Special - O Christmas Tree! We're all sharing our trees today so check out their beauties!

Last week we packed the kids into the car and hunted for the perfect tree.  Do you long to have your tree look like the ones in the store? Real or faux, here are a few tips to get your tree looking oh.so.gorgeous!!

1. Lights.

- Your tree doesn't need just a couple strings of lights. It needs mucho lights!! The pre-lit trees that you buy have like a 1000 lights. So look for those sales and hook yourself up.

- Say NO to the twinklers, the flashers and any lights that move to the beat of the music. Just say NO!

- Don't forget about the middle of your tree. When you're putting the lights on (which by the way, they should go on first) make sure you wrap them in through, and out of the tree. This will create dimension.

- Is your tree in a corner? Don't just light the front of the tree or the part of the tree that faces the corner is going to be really dark. You don't have to put as many lights back there but give the back some love!

2. Ornaments.

- Create cohesion with your ornaments. Absolutely put on your fav ornaments, they don't have to match at all. Then go buy a box of whatever colour you want and add those as your base. The big box stores sell a box of 50 ornaments that are really inexpensive.

- Buy different sized ornaments. This will create depth and dimension to your tree.

- Have ornaments that shine? Place them close to a bulb and they'll sparkle.
- Just like your lights, place some of your ornaments inside the tree. This will create major impact.

3. Fill the holes.

- If your tree is real, having random holes (I call them "wowies") is common. Don't fret. All you need to do is go to the dollar store and buy their sticks in the flower section. You can get any colour under the sun. Place them in the holes of your tree and they will look gorgeous and finish off your tree beautifully. I promise.

A Christmas tree can make any room look fresh.fabulous.sophisticated. Don't you just love relaxing by the tree? We did a whole lot of that this weekend.

Please send me photos of your decorated trees. I would love to see them! Also, you should definitely check out the Ottawa bloggers' trees. They are just beauty and you'll get some great ideas!

Don't forget to check out the Ottawa bloggers gorg trees...
Meredith & Sue @ Newberry Sykes
Lisa Goulet @ Lisa Goulet Design

Keep it Beautiful.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fabulous Friday: A Little Bit of Friday Love! AND Winner!

Hi Friday everyone,

I hope you had a great week. Plans for the weekend? We're having a few friends over tonight for some holiday cocktails and yummies and hopefully will finish our shopping. Fingers crossed.

Today there are a few things I wanted to share with you...

1. The Canvas 'n Décor contest for the 20 X 24 Photo Canvas Gallery Wrap, closed last night. Thank you to all who entered, it's an awesome giveaway! Have you ordered your canvas yet? How can you not with such a fab discount?!

Drum roll please...the WINNER IS...

Congratulations! Enjoy your fresh.fabulous.sophisticated canvas Susan! Don't forget, this canvas makes a fantastic gift for the holidays. Canvas 'n Décor ships really fast and have fantastic deals. Click here to get your promo codes when ordering your 50% off canvas.

2. Whatelse...you guys have done such a fantastic job on your monogram wreaths.  Thanks for sending me your photos.
This wreath was done by Kate. Fantastic!
Germaine, sent me a photo of her monogrammed stocking. Love it!
3. Do you have an "Elf on the Shelf"? We do, her name is Mary and the kids love her! How many times has this happened to you?
If you need ideas. Check out this Pinterest board. Some of them are hilarious!!!
4. I want to give a shout out to Staples. They sent me this...
Yup, can you believe it? It's the Nexus 7 tablet! How nice is that? Super generous, thank you Staples. I've had about a week to figure out this little gizmo and it's awesome. It's user friendly, fits perfectly in my bag, has really cool aps and it allows me to chat with you more :) It's priced right and so far, I'm diggin' it!
5.. Does your home need a little pick-me-up? Want to do a reno or re-paint? Maybe all you need is to freshen your accessories? I CAN HELP YOU!
If you are in the Ottawa area, I would be happy to do a consultation.  I can also do online consultations for those of you who are not close by. Giving your loved one or yourself a design consultation is a fantastic gift. Contact me at: keepitbeautifultoday1@gmail.com or you can contact me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KeepItBeautifulDesigns All spaces should be beautiful and I would love to help you make it yours.
Don't forget to come back on Monday for the third week of the 613 Holiday Special. I'll give you a clue on what we'll be talking about..."Rockin' Around the..."
Have a great weekend.

Keep it Beautiful.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Matina's Fudge

Hey everyone!

Maybe because it's Christmas, I'm feeling really nostalgic and wanting to get out all the recipes I have that have been passed down to us. Last week it was Garra's Nuts 'n Bolts and this week it's Matina's Fudge!

Matina was Mr. Fix-It's mom.  She was a wonderful woman, loving, beautiful and a really good Mommy. She passed away when Mr. Fix-It was only 19.

Nick's Aunt Jennifer wrote out many of Matina's famous recipes and her fudge is one of them. So, yesterday I whipped up a batch with my little guy. Do you love to bake with your kids or little ones? I've always loved to bake, have memories of baking with my mum and always have one of my kiddies sitting on the counter as we bake up a treat.

This recipe is easy peasy and AMAZING! Nope, there's nothing light about this but it is so good and perfect for the holidays :)

Here's What You Need:

- 2 cups sugar
- 2/3 cups milk
- 13 large marshmallows
- 1/4 lb butter
- 1 pkg of chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp. vanilla

Here's What You Do:
1. Add the first 4 ingredients to a pot and cook on medium heat and bring to boil. Boil for 5 mins, stirring constantly. (You may have to squeeze the marshmallows with a spatula against the side of the pot to melt them).

2. Take off heat and add the package of chocolate chips and vanilla.

3. Stir until mixture begins to fudge and pour into greased square pan.  Okay so the recipe says to add to greased square pan. NOPE! DON'T DO IT! First of all, I couldn't find my square pan so I used a round one and second my fudge is now stuck to the bottom of my pan. So, definitely line your pan with wax paper. This way you'll be able to get the fudge out! Then cool in the fridge.
So, here's my finished photo....gulp!

Pretty sad looking I know. But, if I had lined the pan with wax paper then my fudge would look oh so pretty. Oh well, it may not be presentation worthy but it's melt.in.your.mouth delicious, we've been eating it right out of the pan, my kids, and of course, Mr. Fix-It are in heaven, it's easy to make and I love that it came from Matina.

Keep it Beautiful.

Monday, December 9, 2013

613 Holiday Special: Holiday Decorating!

Hey everyone!

Did you have a good weekend? How's your holiday décor going? Almost finished? Do you have your tree all set up? We're getting our tree next weekend but the rest of the house is ready to go.

It's week 2 of the "613 Holiday Special" and this week the Ottawa ladies and I are talking holiday decorating. Yeah!

Everywhere you look, in every store, there are tons of options for decorating your home for the holidays. Silver, gold, blue, purple, black...you name it. 

I wanted to share my mantle décor with you. I typically have a relatively shiny silver and/or gold tree that stands in the corner right next to the mantle so I didn't want anything too fussy on it.  I always usually go glam, I just love all that sparkle and glitter. At first I wanted to go white and feathery with lots of sparkle.  However, I'm really digging the classic, yet country cozy feel.  Remember my monogram wreath? I wanted to carry that traditional feel onto the mantle.

So, here we go...

Before you go out and look for something to put on your mantle for the holidays, take a look around your house first and see what you already have. You would be surprised what you can work with....

Essentially, the only new thing I bought this year for the mantle were the flanking Ikea lanterns. I love that I can use them on the holiday mantle but also move them around the house throughout the year. Look around your house, I know you have items you can use.

Don't forget, a glass bowl or vase with similar colour ornaments is always classic.

I would love to see your fresh.fabulous.sophisticated mantles. Please share them with me. Did you go glam? Traditional? Outside the box?

Check out the Ottawa bloggers today for their fabulouso holiday decorating. You'll get some great ideas and keep you inspired!

Meredith & Sue @ Newberry Sykes

Keep it Beautiful.

This post has been linked with:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fabulous Friday: Say Cheese and Giveaway!!

Happy Fabulous Friday!

Did you have a good week? Started your Christmas shopping? Please don't tell me you're finished already, I've only bought 1 present so far. Ugh! This weekend I'll be shop.shop.shopping!

I have a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated gift idea for you! A company called Canvas and Décor sent me this fabulous canvas of our family.  Wasn't that nice of them? Yup, I think so.  {Sorry for the snowflakes and holly. I added those on there for the privacy of my kiddies}.

We're going to hang it in our new Bunkie at the cottage. There's a perfect empty wall that has this canvas' name on it. The quality is fabulous and their website is very user friendly. There are a zillion things you can do on canvas and Canvas and Décor has tons of ideas. What a perfect gift!!

And guess what? WE HAVE A GIVEAWAY!!
Canvas and Décor want you to have a 20X24 Canvas Gallery Wrap. Yup, how amazing is that?  And yes, my American friends...you can get in on this too. They ground ship in Canada and USA UPS too. Wicked!


WIN!! a 20X24 Gallery Canvas Wrap from Canvas and Decor!!!

WIN!! a 20X24 Gallery Canvas Wrap from Canvas and Decor!!!

AND...Canvas and Décor is also giving you all a fab discount...

Canadian customers receive: 50% off all products + no tax + free custom text/photo effects + free shipping within Canada . Umm...this is awesome!

USA customers: 50% of all products + no tax + free custom text/photo effects + free shipping for orders $150+ (or $12 flat rate for smaller orders). Also awesome!

Just click on their website and order:
www.canvasndecor.ca  (Canadian customers)
www.canvasndecor.com  (USA customers)


MYPHOTO50 (expires Dec 31/2013)

Canvas and Décor is also running discounts on their site monthly. Don't you love when you find a great company to work with? This is definitely one of them.

Have plans for the weekend? I have a couple of clients this weekend and will hopefully finish decorating the house for Christmas (minus the tree). Stay tuned for Monday where the Ottawa bloggers will team up again and bring you more holiday ideas!

Have a great weekend.
Keep it Beautiful.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Yummies: Garra's Nuts 'n Bolts!

Hey everyone,

Is there something special that you make at Christmas every year? Does someone in your life always make you a fabulous meal that you look forward to at the holidays?  Do you look forward to special cookies at this time?

This is my Nana. She's holding my first born. 4 generations = amazing.

She was one of the most important people in my life and every year at Christmas she would make her famous Nuts 'n Bolts.  When Nana's parcel arrived for Christmas it was the first thing I looked for buried amongst all the presents.  Nana has passed away and one of my most treasured possessions now is her Nuts 'n Bolts recipe and what's even better is that I have the recipe in her writing! Love that.   Hard to make out? Yes. But, I think I figured it out.

So, I want to share it with you today. You've probably had nuts n' bolts before out of the package but this recipe is AMAZING! This is what it looks like when you're all done. A perfect snack and my kids love it!

So, this recipe makes a TON! Feel free to half it. Although I would definitely still use lots of butter to coat everything.

What You Need:
- 3/4 bag of pretzels (the store didn't have any of the mini pretzels, which is what I would suggest. I ended up getting the sticks)
- 3/4 box of Shreddies
- 3/4 box of Cheerios
- 2 cups of mixed nuts
- 1 lb butter (yup, an entire pound...who diets at Christmas time anyway?!)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp worcesteshire sauce
- 2 tsp onion juice (okay what the heck is this? never heard of it, neither had the grocery clerk. It sounds pretty gross though. Either my nana juiced an onion or she meant onion powder. I dunno. I just substituted it for onion powder)
- 2 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp salt

What You Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Pour the pretzels, shreddies, cheerios and nuts into a roasting pan.
3. Add the other ingredients to a large sauce pan and boil for 8-10 minutes. She said to use a double boiler, I think so that you don't burn your butter. I just boiled it on low and stirred it a lot.
4. While the liquid is still hot, pour over your mixture in the roasting pan and stir it up.
5. Bake for 2 hours, stirring every 15 mins or so.

These nuts 'n bolts are great to have in little dishes around the house for people to grab a handful of, or wrap them up in a little cellophane bag, or container and attach them to a hostess gift this year. 

Long story short, my kid's called my Nana, "Garra".  Essentially, it was what my mum called her Grandfather and is what my Nana wanted to be called as a "Great Grandmother" when our oldest son was born.  So, we now call them Garra's Nuts 'n Bolts. They're fresh.fabulous.sophisticated and she would love that we're still making them.

Keep it Beautiful.
Linked with: Satori Design for Living, A Pretty Life in the Suburbs, The Dedicated House

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