20.3.19

What Do Your Kids Call Their Grandparents?

I'm always so curious to find out what names for grandparents other families use. How did you come up with the names, who chose them, and which names stuck (kids are notorious for nicknaming grandparents I've learned!)?


When I was pregnant with Lily we put it to the grandparents (all six of them in our case). What would they like to be called? I had my hidden hopes, but ultimately I do believe it's the decision of the grandparents to choose the name they'll be called. I think that's what I'll want if the day comes when I have grandchildren, so it seems fair. Plus we already get to choose baby's name. Ultimately, it feels like a way to honour our parents and give them that power as they step into a new role as well. 


My parents began as Grandma and Grandpa - the names we grew up using for my dad's parents. I liked the familiarity, but it didn't stick. Before long my dad was being called Papa by the kids and so it stuck, and then when my sister's kids started talking, my niece started calling my mom Mimi, thus Grandma and Grandpa became Papa and Mimi. Brad's mom and her husband Bruce created their names - Granna and Papa Bo (B O for his initials) and they've stayed the same ever since. Brad's dad and his wife Deb chose the names Papa and Nana Deb, but my father-in-law became Papa Jim (because they kept saying "Papa what?" to match Nana Deb). 

And am I the only one who's thought about what they'd like to be called if they ever become grandparents? I know I know, my kids are 5, 7, and 8, so it's not something to really wonder at for another two decades, but I've full on decided, haha! I want to be Granny, like my mom's British grandmother was :)

12.3.19

SHOP QUEBEC - Lou Wolf

As one of the only Quebec retailers that carries some of my favourite European brands, and often marked down to up to 50% off, Lou Wolf is certainly a must mention in my SHOP QUEBEC series. I first discovered Lou Wolf online, but later learned that it's a local business, based in my own neighbourhood! Run completely from their Plateau Condo, Lou Wolf carries pieces which are not only playful and unique but extremely high quality and ethically made. 

Oli in a Whistle & Flute, Lily in Hugo Loves Tiki, and Clover in Mini Rodini, all from Lou Wolf.

Most of the brands are difficult if not impossible to find in shops in Canada, but I recognize from our trips to Europe. The thing with these admirable brands is that they're often way beyond our budget, but that's why I am especially fond of Lou Wolf - they have insane sales!! Every day in Instagram stories, Lou Wolf posts a few pieces that they'll offer at a deep discount for one day only. We're talking Mini Rodini, Hugo Loves Tiki, Huxbaby; often at almost half their retail value. 

They ship everywhere (I've already had Instagram followers let me know they've ordered from all over the USA), but local shoppers will have their packages delivered by bike messenger. Swoon! Their packaging is eco-friendly too. Check out this fun kid's shop on Instagram and online!

This post was in collaboration with Lou Wolf,
a shop I love for my own children. 
All opinions are 100% my own. 
To book a collaboration, contact me

9.3.19

Books I Read 02/19

As suspected, I didn't have as much time to read this month as I did in January (I miss you Christmas holidays!), so I finished fewer books than last month, but some gems nonetheless!


A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle

This book was such a pleasure. It was a very light read - one you can pick up out of nowhere and get into easily - but still transported you to the world of the author, which I think only the best books do well. I felt like I was in Provence as I read this book, and boy do I long to go back after having finished it. We have actually been to the exact place Mayle writes of (Aix-en-Provence in the Luberon Region) and it's exactly as splendid as he describes. The author is British so two fancies were met in one book for this French-living Anglophile. He compared their southern French life to that of busy London, and writes like a true Brit, so I obviously enjoyed those aspects immensely, but how he writes of France you can't help but fall in love with the food, the customs (even the frustrating ones!), the language, in short, all things French. He has several other books about their years in Provence and I can't wait to get my hands on them in due course. 

The Livegiving Table by Sally Clarkson

This was a natural followup from last month's The Livegiving Home by the same author, and I enjoyed it just as much. It's not a deep theological read, it's lifestyle meets hospitality meets recipes meets encouragement from the word. A really lovely read and really spurred me on in setting the table of fellowship and discipleship before my children, friends, and neighbours. Clarkson says again and again, "it's not what's on the table, it's what happens at the table" to remind us that it's not about homemade bread or a perfectly laid table (though those things are wonderful and add beauty and comfort to our lives!) but about making the most of mealtimes and using food and drink to bring merriment and welcome. 

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan 

I've wanted to read this books for a very long time after having heard countless historical Christians state it as one of the most influential books in their lives. Queen Elizabeth II says it opened her eyes to true religion and read it to the world on her first Christmas Broadcast. Charles Spurgeon gave it away liberally, including to his wife Susie, who credits it as having won her to Jesus. It was written in 1675 and is one of the most published books in history, and still today I have to say, it's a treasure. The story of Pilgrim, later named Christian, as he journeys to the celestial city encountering all numbers of snairs and evils on the way is an allegory for the Christian life. It's poetic and pointed and goes to show how there really is nothing new under the sun. The same challenges we face today, at their core, were the same 350 years ago, and long before that. I listened to this book on Christian Audio and delighted in every word! I will say it was a bit hard to follow at times if I wasn't giving the audiobook my full attention. I highly recommend the audiobook over the paper copy simply because there are so many characters to keep track of, and the performer does a great job giving them all distinct voices to help you differentiate. 

28.2.19

Storing + Valuing Kid's Curiosities in a Small Space

With three kids to a room I have a lot of trouble keeping EVERYTHING minimal. Without the space for various dressers, we put everything in their shared closet and keep capsule wardrobes. Without the space for three beds, we use the triple bunk leaving the footprint of just one. But when it comes to art work and curiosities, I am sometimes at a loss. They come home from school with handfuls of art weekly and we seem to continually be collecting little trinkets that are "so special" to them. Keeping these in order and deciding what to keep has been a continuous learning process and work in progress, but we have developed a few systems that help a lot!


With art, we take digital copies of things they really like and then recycle them. Pieces the kids really love get hung on the wall in their room for a week or so and then we swap them out for the next batch of art.The very rare piece that we all love and attach meaning to might be framed, maybe. With a small rope to hang art on, they can see the limited space and don't insist on keeping everything. Minimalism in a larger home would be a challenge because you don't have the built in excuse that we did: we simply don't have the room! 

With little trinkets, models, figurines, etc, we needed a plan because I swear ours were mating! Especially when one of our kid's has a particular interest such as Lily right now with horses and Chloe with owls, penguins, and cats, those figurines hold special value. In the past I might have been more cut throat with their little curiosities as their interests changes with the weather, but at my kid's ages (5.5, 7.5, 8.5) they are maintaining interests for longer seasons now (years!) so I want to value them out of respect for them.


Having a set spot for things you're going to store really helps things stay minimal, because in theory, as the space runs out, the things must stop coming (or be traded for new things). With the help of the kids, I decided on a random number of stuffed animals last year, so every time the kids want a new stuffed animal (basically every visit to a thrift store this comes up!) they have to decide if they want it enough to replace one they already have. We don't just add on to infinity, we swap out, donate, and maintain the same numbers. Same goes with trinkets. Now that I have this little shelf, they know they can fill it with special things in their three shelves each, but they will need to donate something to make room for new items if at some point they have the hankering. The shelf was a thrifted find for under $4 and I love how it limits what we keep, while still valuing their little collections of special things. 

8.2.19

Thrifting Inspo + Some New Friends

As I mentioned in a post last month, I've been keen to make Instagram worth my while and as such have stopped following loads of accounts that either made me feel frustrated, left me playing the comparison game, or didn't spur me on. I'm not saying all of life needs to be this way. In real life, there are hard people we need to love and bear with and stick by. Relationships take work and aren't easy. But this is an app, people. It's supposed to serve us, or it's not worth our time.

courtesy of @kimberly.stavros
I've been a life long thrifter, but I realized I didn't follow many people on Instagram who build their wardrobes and beautify their homes by shopping secondhand. So, last week I set out to find them. By searching a few thrift-centric hashtags I found a truly lovely group of ladies, and in keeping with my idea that Instagram needs to be interactive to be worthwhile, I reached out to all of them! The odd account didn't get back to me, but the vast majority wrote back with enthusiasm and since then we've been messaging one another and enjoying one another's accounts. 

courtesy of @houseonchestnut
I think we need to follow people that encourage and inspire us, but I realized I had been following one too many accounts with designer outfits and high end homes for my liking. This is personal, and you may not be like me, but I do find I'm influenced by the things I see and hear. Following more local and affinity accounts has helped me take back the 'gram in a sense. 

I'm looking for more Montreal accounts, more Canadian accounts, more accounts by women doing hard things, serving God, investing joyfully in their families, getting courageous in the kitchen, reading rich literature, and creating lovely homes from secondhand treasures. Almost no account covers all of these affinities, but any one of these topics is what excites me and makes the app fun again. 

Here are the women I've started following recently in the thrifting category. Check them out! 

6.2.19

Kondo-ing My Kid's Shared Closet

We've all watched the show, read the book, seen the memes, and heard the phrase "spark joy", but have you attempted the folding techniques? I hadn't! I've been purging items as a self-proclaimed minimalist for the last three years or so, so when Marie Kindo came on the scene, it was more been-there-done-that than life-changing, but recently I employed her folding techniques not only for my own drawers but also for my three kids' shared closet and I have to say, it's glorious!


After only keeping clothing that you truly love and wear, you still may have cluttered drawers. In our case, it's not because we own too many items (read more about our kid's capsule wardrobes here), but because we have very limited storage space. With three kids in one bedroom, sharing one closet (and no other clothing storage such as a dresser), even our petite wardrobes feel chaotic sometimes.


Last week I tried Marie Kondo's folding style to display every piece of clothing and not only did it save a ton of space, but it's also made choosing outfits a breeze. My kids typically grab the tops and bottoms on the top of the piles in their drawers, so they cycle through the same three outfits (basically the amount of time it takes dirty clothes to be cleaned and returned) unless I intervene. I was so frustrated that my favourite pieces they own wouldn't be worn, and sometimes outgrown before much use. The folding solves that!



 (from the top: Oli's drawers, Lily's drawers, Chloe's drawers)

I found the kid's bottoms in particular took up so little of their drawer space with this new folding style that for the girls I was able to incorporate their dresses and skirts too (except the dressier pieces that I didn't want to wrinkle), leaving a ton of extra hanging space for out of season outerwear, halloween costumes, etc. 

Our kids all share one drawer for their socks and underwear, one drawer for their pyjamas, and they each have two personal drawers; one for tops, another for bottoms. It's not a lot of space, even for a child, but with this new folding it feels like more than enough. I love seeing some new variety in their clothing choices too! And before you think I'm crazy, I promise, this doesn't take more time than regular folding! Seriously it's a matter of folding maybe once more per item, so seconds are added. And surprisingly, the kids haven't destroyed their drawers! In fact, this method seems easier for them to keep tidy than when I used to put folded laundry in stacks. Go figure. 

1.2.19

Books I Read 1/19

Every year I've tried different methods of tracking what I read but I always get lost somewhere in July and the rest is history. I loosely keep track of the thirty or so books I read each year, but I want a better system, so now I'll be doing a quick monthly blog post about the books I've read and my brief impressions. Each month I'll write about the books I've completed that month, which may mean I began them the following month. I also include audiobooks here, even though I still prefer turning real paper pages. Audiobooks are brilliant for people who spend any length of time in transit, commuting to work, running errands, etc. I buy most of my audiobooks from the Daily Deals e-mail which I receive daily from Audible. I'm not actually an Audible member, but you don't have to be to receive their daily e-mails. I'd say once per month they have an excellent classic (such as Jane Austen's Northhanger Abbey narrated by Emma Thompson) for under $5. I also use Christian Audio which also has incredible sales (most books I own from there were $7 or less) as well as a free audiobook every month. You can be a member at Christian Audio, but it's not the route I've taken since their sales are so good. 

For those who want to make reading a more substantial part of lives, check out this article I wrote last year, Reading for Pleasure + How to Get There. I didn't grow up as an avid bookworm and aside from mandatory texts for my degree and the odd book to grow in my faith, I didn't read, and certainly never just for fun. Everything changed after having Chloe when I found myself with three children under the age of three in desperate need of self care. With so many small children, I was rather house bound, which brought me to the fork in the road between endless television, or cultivating a love for reading. Happily, in the winter of 2014, I picked up a novel, and the first great work of fiction I'd probably ever read (for those wondering, it was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer). I was hooked. 


Here's what I finished reading in January, 2019

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I started reading Jane Eyre in December 2018 with my Book Club and finished it just in time for our meeting on the first week of January. It wasn't my favourite Bronte book but it was still beautiful to read (and listen to - I actually did both simultaneously). I found Jane hard to like as a protagonist, though I admired her boldness, courage to stick with her convictions, and generosity of spirit even after being so hard done by in her early life. The book pushes the reader to consider how our morals interface with our desires, as in Lord Rochester’s desire to marry Jane, to consider if we might face death as bravely as Helen Burns, and if we could forgive a cousin like John, and for that it’s an excellent book club read (such good discussions!) as well as a thought provoking personal study. I watched the 2011 film before reading the book and have promised myself I’ll never make that mistake again – always always read the book first!

Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry

I have admired Jackie Hill Perry for a few years and saw her speak in person last summer. I first chose to buy this audiobook on Christian Audio simply because of my respect for the author as a poet and writer, not because of the subject, though she shares her personal story, laced with Biblical truth with incredible depth and beauty. She is best known as a spoken word poet, which made the audiobook an obvious choice as its read by Jackie HillPerry herself. She doesn’t just read, she performs. It’s not just a book, it’s historical biography, profound apologetics, and a theology text book all in one. Highly recommend.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I started this book between Christmas and New Years and fell hard, fast, for those charming March sisters. I absolutely loved their antics, which reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, but multiplied by four – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. These characters are so sweet it hurts, but they aren’t one dimensional. They still have great sorrows, taste death, experience jealousy, and require forgiveness. I loved that the book took place over many years and we got to see the girls grow into women, eventually leaving Marmee’s nest for a world of their own. Lily had since read the Jr. Classics version of Little Women and Oli is on the second half of the official version and we all agree – it’s a delight. I rewarded myself with the 1994 film adaptation which was on Netflix over Christmas once I’d finished the book and have to say I was hugely disappointed. Laurie was all wrong, Marmee wasn’t nurturing and warm enough, and many of the best bits were left out. There’s a new movie coming out this year though, so I’m interested to see how it goes!

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes Jr.


I listened to this Audiobook for part of December and into January, including part of my leg of driving to Ontario. It was beautifully written and lengthy, but every detail seemed worthy. I love biographies and especially those of people I can somehow relate to. Though Susannah Spurgeon was married to a renowned man and did more good than I'll ever do, she was also a simple pastor's wife and passionate church planter, so I drew particular inspiration from that. I love how as a new believer, her pastor, Charles Spurgeon who would many years later become her husband, gave her The Pilgrim's Progress to help her in her fledgling faith journey. That's one of the reasons that I'll be reading that work next month (ps - it's the FREE book of the month with Christian Audio for those who want to read - or listen - along with me)

The Life-giving Home by Sally Clarkson

I just finished this book under the wire and really enjoyed it. Over all, the book gives a lofty vision for what home can be – a refuge from the world, a place for belonging and becoming. I’m inspired by Sally Clarkson to make my home such a place for our children but also guests, friends, and neighbours. Having read The Gospel Comes With A House Key by Rosaria Butterfield last summer, hospitality has been on my mind in recent months, so this book was a natural choice. I’ve loved Sally Clarkson’s parenting books over the years, but appreciate how she turns the focus on the home. It’s co-authored by her eldest daughter Sarah, and I found myself especially liking Sarah’s chapters as an adult who lived through a home experience like what’s written about in the book. Some parts of the books interested me less because they were heavy on examples from their home, which in many ways won’t fit with the Morrice family or our rhythms. Clarkson is quick to note that not every example will work for every reader, and that their interests and favourites aren’t prescriptive for the audience, so it didn’t irk me, I just wasn’t underlining those parts very often.  I still recommend it and learned a lot!

5 books down for 2019! And a stack awaits me for February. I'll report back soon :)

31.1.19

Screen-free Play For 7-10 Year Olds

With the long winter months, we're spending a lot more time playing inside and as a result, I notice screens creeping into our daily rhythms more than usual. We have a Weekends-Only rule with television/films but we do allow the kids to play math computer games and do How To Draw videos on Youtube occasionally, that is to say, we aren't against screens, though we don't like to rely on them too much. Experts agree that excessive screen time can limit a child's ability to delay gratification, build strong interpersonal connections, and communicate and listen well, but I find as my children are getting older more and more activities tend to be centred around screens. This is worrisome for us and we're actively working against it with heaps of reading and our favourite board games, but those are both calm activities. What about kids who love to be loud and move? Video games are usually the answer, and not something we're choosing to have in our home in this season. To fill the gaming void, I've been on the look out for exciting games for our older two that allow for high energy and creativity and as a result we now have a new favourite new game!



HEXBUG is a STEM learning toy company creating amazing products for kids without screens! STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths for those who aren't familiar, and all of their games and toys reflect that focus. We have the HEXBUG Battlebots and the VEX Robotics Battling Robots and our older two are obsessed with playing with these! I love how interactive, intense, and fun these games are. More than once we've had friends over who have seen the kids playing with the Battlebots who have commented that they're "just like a video game without the screen!", which to us is high praise for an activity.


Come summer we'll be biking around our city and swimming in the local pool every day, but for now we really rely on creative games and toys like these. I highly recommend HEXBUG creations, in fact, we already owned several of their toys before we began this collaboration!  

This post was in collaboration with HEXBUG
All opinions are 100% my own. 
To book a collab, contact me

30.1.19

Thrifting Heaven!

As an avid thrifter, I'm asked all the time where I go to score all of the treasures that dot our home and fill our wardrobes. One of my all-time favourite spots just opened a spacious, beautiful new location so I had to write about it! Value Village, or as it's known in Quebec, Village des Valeurs, is my haunt and has a shiny new home! Last weekend we stopped by 4912 Jean-Talon West to check out the new space which opened on January 3rd, and I have to say it's lovely. I'm not above rummaging through racks upon racks of unorganized clothing or books to find a treasure (hey, it's part of the fun of thrifting!) but something that I've always appreciated about Village des Valeurs is that their stores are always professional, organized, and clean spaces.


The book sections are divided up into languages and genres, the clothing is arranged by type and size, and the home wares are neat and easy to navigate. Village des Valeurs is definitely the thrifting spot where I buy all of my second-hand books for this reason. There's an English biography section that I always make a bee line to, and lo and behold, I found one on C. W. Lewis just begging to be taken back to my bookshelf. On the same trip we also found the Narnia DVD and all of his Chronicles of Narnia books in perfect condition. Especially if you love to read classics, you'll always find what you're looking for there. I have found every Brontë sister and Jane Austen novel written at Village des Valeurs as well as every Harry Potter in French and English! When you consider the price and ecological impact of buying books new and compare that to the very same previously-read books, usually for $5 or less, it's a no-brainer. 


On our most recent trip to Village des Valeurs I found a massive stainless-steel bowl for bread making for $4, a pair of handmade in Canada children's moccasins for my God Daughter Beatrice for $4, and a few great books. Oli's eyes lit up when he found this realistic looking tiger and he asked if he could spend some of his pocket money from Christmas on it. Of course I said yes, and Oli promptly named him Hobbs. Melt my heart! My kids are die-hard stuffed animal lovers but we have a one-in-one-out rule so they don't buy them often, and when they do an older one gets donated. Lily found a pair of dressy shoes in a style she's been pining for, so she proudly bought them for herself. I love bringing the kids shopping second-hand to use their little spending money because they can get quality items (unlike at Dollar Stores) for even a very little amount. 


I've been shopping at Village des Valeur's locations all over Canada since I was thirteen, so I'm thrilled to be partnering with them this month! I love the eclectic styles I can find there and the unique pieces for my home that I know no one else will have. I love the thrill of finding something I absolutely love for just a few dollars, and I love knowing I'm making an eco-friendly choice when I buy used (and donate my used things too!) In fact, Village des Valeurs has become one of the largest recyclers of used goods in the world, keeping more than 700 million pounds of reusable items from landfills each year! 


This post was written in collaboration with Village des Valeurs, 
part of the Savers® family of thrift stores.
All thoughts here are 100% my own, and I've been a proud customer for almost twenty years!
For more thrifting finds, see my archived stories under the category THRIFT on Instagram.
To book a collaboration, feel free to contact me here

23.1.19

Chocolate Mousse Tea Cups + A Better Way To Instagram and Live

Today I have a fun story about connections and community, about motivation and getting going, and about, of all things, surprise ingredients. 

Let me start with Instagram. Many are "over" the overly curated feeds and unrealistic images and want to stop mindless scrolling, because let's be honest, there are a lot more fruitful ways to spend our time (baking bread! reading! fulfilling our goals for 2019!) And while I'm right there with you in many ways and just did a big following purge myself where I stopped following accounts I found left me feeling frustrated, playing the comparison game, or just weren't worth my time, I still love the 'gram. This recipe is one reason why. 


One of my favourite local girls I have been following for a while, @fleurmaison, posted some chocolate mousse in her stories. I'm a big believer that the 'gram needs to be interactive to be worthwhile, and I've started following more local and shared affinity accounts lately to promote this on my end. Van is local and hilarious and a brilliant creative. As soon as I saw her story I wrote her right away asking for the recipe, and she promptly sent me the link. I have this happen often as well and I love it, but every time the DMs begin with apologies or shy introductions. "Are you willing to share the recipe?" and "I feel weird asking, but I love ___ in your home, and I'd love to know where you got it if you're open to sharing". My response is always the same, "SURE! HAPPY TOO! THANKS FOR SAYING HI!" Somewhere along the line I think we believed the lie that to admire someone is shameful, or to want to learn from someone else means you're somehow less than. Instagram can promote that if we let every following relationship be one sided or spend our days scrolling through accounts of people we'd never be friends with in real life. 


So first moral: Get interactive and don't be ashamed to reach out to the people you follow on the 'gram. Or unfollow those who you feel would respond offended or coldly. Next one is easier said than done I realize, but it's January and we're all looking to better ourselves, so bear with me. If you find you want to do something, DO IT. Make the things you want to do a priority, so long as it depends on you. Of course, my goal to go to the gym is thwarted when I have a sick child at home from school, or a work deadline, or a friend needs a hand. I'm not saying to make everything your top priority - there's only space for one of those! But so long as you're able, actually DO the things you want to. Set the alarm earlier, don't waste time (scrolling cold strangers on the 'gram!), and don't be afraid to fail. I've started baking sourdough bread this month but have yet to actually make a proper boule because it's actually quite difficult! But I'm trying. And when I saw Van's mousse in her stories, I thought "oh my goodness that seems easy enough and so good... I should make that sometime..." but then I remembered that I had a spare 15 minutes and could actually put down my phone and make it RIGHT THEN AND THERE. So I did, and here's my version of the altered recipe. 


Chocolate Tofu Mousse (serves 4, 15 minutes work, 2+ hours to chill before ready)
  • In a bowl atop of a small pit of boiling water, melt 200 grams of your favourite chocolate. If you don't have a kitchen scale, the ikea chocolate bars are 100 grams, so use two. We had lots of leftover chocolate from Christmas, so I mixed a variety of Ikea and Laura Secord, dark and milk. 
  • Place 250 grams (approx 1 cup) or soft tofu in the blender and blend.
  • Add a few pinches of sea salt.
  • Slowly pour in melted chocolate to blended tofu and blend until mixed and smooth
  • Put mousse into the fridge for a couple of hours with plastic wrap pressed down on top of the mousse (to prevent a skin forming on top of your mousse)/
  • Serve in tea cups, or small ramekins, top with more sea salt

I love that this recipe is vegan and sneaks in protein but still tastes completely delicious. I served it in tea cups for the kids after school this week and only told them afterwards that it was tofu. Despite my best attempts, they don't love tofu, but they were all for this mousse! 

Hope you'll try this recipe and the other ideas too. Let's make 2019 one where we connect more with others, toss distractions and temptations in favour of productivity and enrichment. And more chocolate mousse and pretty tea cups too - that's always a good idea!