14.5.19

Books I Read 04/19

This month I read a bit of fiction, a bit of biographical, a bit of Classics, and a bit of theology. The ideal month! I love having a variety on the good all the time so I can read whatever inspired at the moment.



Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott

I finished this book on April 1st and was really tempted to just add it into last month's summary but I love rules so I couldn't, haha! This last installment of the Little Women series was very sweet but not my favourite of the trilogy. It was fun to read about Meg, Jo, Amy and Laurie all grown up and even with teen and adult children of their own. When I read good fiction I'm so absorbed into the world, so when there are subsequent books including those same original characters, I'm happy as ever. This was a lovely way to finish off the tales of the March family, but I think it was my least favourite of the three books by Alcott.

Women & God by Kathleen Nielson

I read this book with my friend Vanessa in a sort of penpal book club, since we live far apart and discussed each chapter over Whatsapp. I hope as I share these many books each month it inspired you to read and to remember that there are so many ways to do it - in a book club, with a friend over Whatsapp, on an eReader, from the library, as an audiobook, etc. I really loved chewing on each chapter and having a friend to compare notes with for this one!

Kathleen Nielson is extremely well-verse and thorough but also one of the most gracious authors I've read. In light of #metoo and modern feminism, Nielson kindly and diligently addresses the beauty of the distinctness between the sexes, our roles and privileges as women, and the honour of womanhood. Reading this book I felt honoured and seen as a woman, and God's word came alive in new ways. She teaches straight through the Bible from the garden of Eden right through to Jesus' ministry to women and is faithful to the Word and us women on every page. This is the best book out there on Biblical Womanhood to date. I can't recommend it enough to anyone interested in delving into issues of gender and roles and I suggest reading it in a group or with a friend as I did!

Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle

This seems to be the month to finish series! Toujours Provence was the second part of A Year in Provence which I read and loved last month. Toujours wasn't as great as the first installment if I'm honest. I still loved reading of the sights and happenings in the Luberon Region of one of my favourite countries, but the stories were less endearing this time around. I still recommend it as it's an easy and charming read, but it can't hold a candle to Mayle's first book.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

I've already read this book in paper form (I enjoyed it with my book club two years ago) but I recently bought it as an audiobook narrated by Rosamund Pike when it was on sale for $5 in the Audible Daily Deal e-mail. It's such a dream to have on in the background of whatever I'm doing around the city or house. I mean, anything by Jane Austen is bound to be a win (minus Emma which I did not like!!). Marianne is so emo and tragic I have to laugh at her, and no one writes overly permissive and unwise mothers like Austen! I can't help but think Marianne is so unworthy of Brandon though!

Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II by Darlene Deibler Rose

You may know I have a strong interest in WWII, and that biographies are my favourite genre of book. I should add that missionary biographies are one of my favourite ways to learn and grow in my faith. They're like theology with skin on! The books that have impacted my faith the most are mostly biographies of faithful men and women throughout history. Evidence Not Seen was harrowing - the things Diebler Rose lived through are unbelievable and at times hard to read, but also her faith was such a precious jewel throughout and evidenced on every page. I borrowed this book from a friend but intend to buy it so I may read it again and again in years to come. I highly recommend it, and can't wait to one day meet her in heaven!

29.4.19

Sourdough-ish Bread Recipe (aka THE BEST BREAD EVER)

Stop everything and make this bread! Does that sound too demanding? Too urgent? I must be understating things. YOU NEED THIS BREAD. 

I've promised my recipe for months now but I hesitated to post anything until I felt I had a really solid grasp on it and could answer any of your questions about the process from experience. Well, after about three months and over 30 kilograms of flour, I'm happy to report that I've found it... one bread recipe to rule them all. You can tell this is epic if I'm dusting off LOTR jokes ;) 


Here's the origin story of this perfect bread: I was determined to make sourdough bread from scratch. The sort where you make your own yeast, essentially. You mix flour and water, let it ferment (sour as a verb) over weeks, and then use it in a high hydration (read: very wet) dough that makes angels sing. Except after weeks and a massive Costco-size bag of flour there was no singing. Just a lot of muttered choice words as I put boule after boule in the compost bin because it never rose (did I mention the rising time for most of these recipes was 24 hours? Who has time for that?!). I had made some classic country boules before using Pinch of Yum's no-knead recipe and found it easy and good, but I'd never go on record saying it was incredible. The reason everyone loves sourdough is the complexity and depth of flavour. My country boule recipe was more Wonderbread than Sourdough, but it was still a treat to pull out of the oven. 

This recipe combines the ease of my old basic bread recipe (with it's use of commercial yeast and guarenteed rise) and the flavour of sourdough (deep, rich, sour, yeasty - all good things I promise, even if they sound like questionable adjectives). It's the best of both worlds and has become our hands down favourite thing to build a meal off of. With jam and tea. Topped with curry chicken salad for lunch. Warmed in the oven with almond butter, sliced bananas, and chocolate chips for dessert. Or just plain, this bread is perfection. Want the recipe? OF COURSE YOU DO. 


Ingredients
6.5 cups (2lbs) all purpose flour
1 tb yeast
1 tb salt
3 cups (1.5lbs) luke warm water

First tip: get a kitchen scale! They cost $10 at Canadian Tire, Walmart, etc. and are so useful for baking! Measuring by weight is especially helpful if you're playing around with different flours which will have different densities, plus most measuring cups are slightly off. 

STEP 1

In a giant bowl, add all of your ingredients at once. So easy, you can't mess this step up. 

STEP 2

Stir together all of the ingredients until a shaggy ball forms. It won't look pretty, don't worry. 

STEP 3

Cover your shaggy form of dough and let sit to initially rise for 2 hours. Completely hands off, no stress. If you leave it a bit longer or shorter, again, no stress. This recipe is insanely forgiving!

STEP 4

Using your scale ideally, but you could eyeball it, cut the dough into three equal portions. You'll need a good amount of extra flour for this part. Form three unique balls of dough coated in flour.

Now for the choose your own adventure bit. You can bake right away after this step or store the dough balls in the fridge for a week or so. 

Bake Today

If you're baking today, take your ball of dough and shape it into a neat ball with a good amount of flour. Once you have the shape you want, let it rest for 30-60 minutes in the vessel you're cooking it in (see notes), then slash the top (see notes), then place on parchement paper in the vessel and bake at 450 for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid to brown the top for 5-10 minutes more. Let cool fully before cutting. I know it's hard to wait, but trust me, the bread is at it's best when cooled, I promise!

Fridge Rise

This recipe makes three small sized boules or two medium sized boules, so either way you'll have an extra ball or two of dough that you're not baking straight away. Place dough balls in individual containers with lids in your fridge for up to one week. Though it's cold in there, they will continue to rise! They'll probably double in size or maybe even more, so make sure you choose a container that has room for your expanding dough. When you're ready to bake, take the dough out of the fridge, shape the dough with heavily floured hands, slash, and bake with the same instructions above. You don't need to let this dough rest for 30-60 minutes, only as long as it takes for your oven to preheat (for me this is around 15 minutes). 

right after making the dough, ready for the fridge
after 12 hours in the fridge
The Vessel

I use a dutch oven, and I'm convinced they're the best option. You can find these cast iron heavy duty casserole dishes with lids almost anywhere. I have one from Cuisinart that I found at Winners, another Le Creuset which was a thrift store find. I've used this recipe in IKEA dutch ovens too. All you need is an ovenproof vessel with a lid. 

Slashing

After forming your dough ball with heavily floured hands, slash the top with a sharp knife (serrated works best). Slashing adds air to the boule so more bubbles form in the dough (little holes in your bread). It's supposed to help with rising and texture but honestly, I just do it because it looks pretty. The cuts may seem deep but once the boule bakes they are usually filled completely, adding only very slight dimension. 


12.4.19

a day in HER life - Laura Wifler

Hi friends! My name is Laura Wifler. I’m the co-founder and Executive Director of Risen Motherhood, a nonprofit ministry that brings gospel-hope to moms. I’m a wife to Mike and momma to three young children, Eli (6), Colette (4), and Eden (21 months) and we live in middle of the cornfields of central Iowa.


My days start pretty early—I typically wake up around 4:30 a.m. I get dressed, but don’t do my hair or makeup. I just shuffle downstairs to grab a cup of coffee. I bring the entire coffee carafe with me into the library as I camp out for nearly three hours each morning, and I’m too lazy to go back to the kitchen for refills. I always start with Bible study. Right now I’m in Precepts at my local church, which means I’m sitting at the table, rather than the big overstuffed chair in the corner. I spread out my papers and pens and start underlining and researching.

After about 30-45 minutes, I switch to work. As the ED of R|M, I do a bit of everything. Most people know me as the co-host of the weekly Risen Motherhood podcast, but that’s only a small part of my job. This morning, I answer emails, create a new webpage for our new book releasing in September, rework and edit the content calendar, look over contracts and tax forms, and edit a few documents.


By 7:15 a.m. my kids are up and we start moving to get ready for school. I finish getting ready while my older kiddos get dressed and brush their teeth. I like to keep breakfast as easy as possible, so today we have left over biscuits. My sister-in-law, Becca, is also my neighbor and she brought them over for dinner last night. To my children’s delight, we slather them in raspberry jam and they gobble them up. Each morning we do a family devotional together during breakfast. Right now we’re working though “What Every Child Should Know About Prayer,” by Nancy Guthrie. We talk through 3-4 pages at a time and my kids love it.


From there we leave for school. My son is in kindergarten and my middle daughter is in preschool for three hours, two mornings a week. My youngest, Eden has special needs, but I have a rare day where she has no therapy, so we head out on some errands. I drop off tax documents at the account (I’m writing this in March, so I have an unusual amount of tax work—thank goodness that’s not normal!), swing through Target for a birthday present, and pick up some groceries.


Eventually, we’re back at the school to pick up Colette, then we head home for lunch. Afterward, the girls and I play for a bit together. I try to make this intentional time, so I put my phone on silent in a drawer so I’m not tempted to look at it. We read, play pretend farm animals and princesses, and chase the balls from Eden’s favorite toy, her ball popper.


(I promise they don’t normally play with bike helmets on. We recently received them as hand-me-downs, so the girls are very into them today.)

Soon, both girls go down for a nap. While I like to maximize this time as much as possible, I also try to read 20 minutes or so of a book at the very beginning of nap time. Slowing down is hard for me in every area of life, and this practice reminds me that I don’t need to move so fast. So most days, in the middle of the toys and mess, I sit and read.

 

Next, it’s back to work. But before I do, I pull some dough out of the fridge to make crusty bread for dinner tonight. It’s an easy thing to make while I work, and it gives me a few forced mental breaks as I keep it moving through the rising and baking process. When I sit back down to the computer in the library, I do all sorts of things. Today I’m working on outlining a new video project to promote the book, writing a blog post for our upcoming pledge drive in April, and outlining the next show for the podcast that my sister-in-law, Emily, and I will record in a couple weeks. Side note: A lot of people wonder if our shows are scripted. They’re not, but they are heavily outlined. We never practice before we record, but we have thought through the material ahead of time and written the main points down. Which means the show really is a conversation, just like it sounds.


Soon the girls wake up. Colette changes her outfit (she gets one outfit change a day) and I give my youngest daughter her medication. Quickly, we’re out the door to pick up my son from school. When we’re all back home again, I start soup for dinner while the three kids play together. Today Eli and Colette have rediscovered their boogie boards, so I’m enjoying a few minutes actually hearing the music I’m playing while I cook. (And no, I didn’t pose them like this.)

 

My husband gets home around 5:45 p.m. and we have dinner soon after. We typically clean up the kitchen together, then he goes upstairs to wrestle with and read to the kids. Eden goes down first around 6:30 p.m., then the bigs go down a bit after 7 p.m. I prep coffee for the morning and make lunches for Mike and Eli, then head to the couch.

Typically I do something more “personal” in the evening, and tonight it’s finally making Eden’s one year photo album, which is nearly a year overdue. When my husband comes down, we chat for a little bit about our days, swapping stories and talking schedules. Then we watch a few episodes of the Office. We’re rewatching it as we haven't seen it since our college days—which means it’s basically all brand-new to us! I forgot how funny it is! At 9:30 p.m. we head upstairs. I read a chapter of another book, we pray together, and it’s lights out for the day.


It’s a crazy life, but I love it. Everyday is different, but I’m thankful for the flexibility my job affords and the gift it is to be able to do what I love, while still be home with my children most of the day. If you’d like to follow along and see more peeks of my life, check out www.laurawifler.com, or on Instagram, @laurawifler.

4.4.19

Storage in the Kid's Room (+ a few other changes there!)

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we've been struggling a wee bit in the kid's shared room. It's a good sized room, but when you add three growing kids and all of their books, toys, art, collections, clothes... it's a bit packed, even for this minimalist fam. For the last year or so I've had a long white bench in their room (you can see it in this post) that housed a few things on top and a few baskets underneath.

I love a good basket (can't leave a thrift store without one apparently!), but I felt their room was starting to feel cluttered with so many baskets on the floor. We had them everywhere! Holding Calico Critters, books, Playmobil, doll clothes, and more. And if when the kids mixed up the contents, having separate baskets was no longer helpful and clean up became even more work (and this Enneagram 1 was having none of it!).



I started shopping around for something larger and with closed storage (drawers!) because the many baskets and open storage was starting to feel too cluttered for one bedroom with three crazy kids. Most dressers I found were far too big for their space, but when I looked for small dressers they were all too small (like three shallow drawers). I started to feel like Goldilocks, especially when I found a dresser that was juuuuuuust right! 

I found this white campaign-style dresser at Goldtex, a family-owned business here in Montreal. Because it's designed for a child's room, it's not overly bulky, but honestly, we'll use this piece until our kids are grown, and it could work in an adult's bedroom (or maybe even living space!) too. For apartment living and kid's spaces, huge furniture just doesn't work, but most smaller-scale furniture is cheaply made and doesn't seem solid in my opinion. This piece really fits exactly what we've been looking for. Solid, large enough to provide ample storage, but not too bulky in our small space. I love it!



We gave each kid their own drawer and it's been hilarious watching them fill it with their own precious things (plus lots of their personal toys that were crowding up their room). In the other three drawers I put small boardgames and card games, Calico Critters, and Playmobil. The room feels way less cluttered and I'm glad to have the bench back in the dining room. 

Spy any other changes? The British pillow is probably my favourite thing in our house haha! It was $4 at a thrift store and I couldn't not get it. I wondered what Brad would think since he's certainly no Anglophile and loves to mock my love for all-things British on a daily basis, but even he likes it! I think having the Quebec flag + map and two globes in their room helped me make the argument that it was just one of many cultures being represented ;)



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

2.4.19

Books I Read 03/19

With March Break this month and three additional days off school, I was with my littles quite a lot this month! We had many moments of snuggling up with our favourite books, but also a lot of time spent out and about, so I'm not sure if I had extra time or less than usual time this month to actually read. I guess we'll see based on what I finished this month!



C S Lewis - A Life by Alister McGrath

This was a long biography that I listened to on Christian Audio and was able to knock back thanks to a March Break drive to and from Ontario. The kids, knowing who C S Lewis is, didn't mind it on in the background of our drive, though I doubt they enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. It was very detailed covering the world and British history around his life (Irish politics, WWI, etc.), his personal life, and his works. I loved hearing about his relationship with J R R Tolkein so much that ti spurred me to give The Lord Of The Rings a second try. When I first watched the movies ten years ago I was heavily pregnant with Lily and not interested at all. I was couch-bound so Brad asked me to give them a go, since he loves them so. Well, at the time I hated them - too violent! not my genre! too medieval! All I can say is if this biography did nothing else, it opened the door to LOTR and for that I'm thankful. I'll aim to read LOTR this summer, but it's all thanks to the impressive life of C S Lewis and this biography that primed me. Seriously though, Lewis was a fascinating man who I very much respect and I loved reading about his life in more detail.

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

I read this simultaneously with Oli, and I don't mind saying he finished before I did! As I was finishing he also finished Jo's Boys which I'll be reading most of this month and probably won't finish until next month. You know when you read a great book and grieve that it's over? That was me after Little Women last month, and lo and behold, Little Men was the perfect cure. I love seeing Jo grow up to be a mother and headmistress of Plumfield School For Boys (and later Girls too!). Back in January, I said Marmee was Mom Goals, but I need to add that Jo, or Mother Beahr, absolutely is too. This book is full of harsh realities, faithful friendship, and saccharine hope. I usually don't like a book of just one or two of these themes, but all three together is perfection. Alcott's writing is lovely but she never shies away from hard themes such as poverty and death. I think the best children's literature faces these realities with care for their reader, but faces them nonetheless. I guess that's why Louisa May Alcott is one of the greats in children's literature! I finished this with tears streaming down my face while the kids were at tennis one Saturday and was so wrapped up in the book world that I didn't realize how I probably looked (comepletely distraught), until a kind fellow parent asked, Madame, Ça va? Oh yes, just a great book, haha!

A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

This was one of the Daily Deals on Audible so I grabbed it this month when I saw it on sale for under $5 (remember, most audiobooks are over $30 normally so this is a huge way to save). Our first big trip as a family of five was to Copenhagen if you recall, and Denmark left a beautiful impression on us as an extremely beautiful, modern, and family-friendly place. Having been to Denmark and loving this sort of book in general (those here's-what-I-learned told from the first person and delving into culture sorts), I really enjoyed this book. It's narrated beautifully but at times was a little drawn out. If you have read French Women Don't Get Fat or Bringing Up Bebe, it's similar to those (and I loved those both as well!).

Five Things To Pray For Your Kids by Melissa Kruger

This month I was lucky enough to receive some gifted books from The Good Book Company, one of the publishers I read the most. The other books pictured above were also from The Good Book Company and I'm still working through those, so keep an eye out for those summaries in the months to come.  Melissa Kruger is one of my favourite TGC ladies, having listened to her speak many times and enjoyed countless articles of hers over there. It is concise and to the point (perfect for a busy parent) and very helpful. If you ever struggle to pray authentically and purposefully with and for your children, this book will help you and not overwhelm you. I pray with my kids on the way to school each morning, before every meal, and before bed, but still I fall into rote prayers sometimes. This book reminded me of the many things I could be intentionally praying for and has enriched my prayer life! I also really loved how it was a small book and quick read. A busy mom's dream!

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!