no-spend Christmas + a two happy results from the experiment

This year I wanted to try something new as we prepare our home and hearts for Christmas. I've always loved an Advent reading plan (see here and here and here for past Advent examples) and steering our attentions away from gifts and Santa Claus and towards Christ (see here for why we don't do Santa), but there was one area I was still letting get away - our budget. 

This year I decided to spend nothing on Christmas-themed things and non-essentials. Brad and I have never given each other gifts for Christmas and we've always made sure that the gifts weren't our kid's favourite part about the holiday, but the over-spending in other areas needed to stop. 

Vowing not to spend anything beyond a modest gift budget this season I'm realizing how much I overspend every year on all things Christmas - new décor, ornaments, wrapping supplies, Christmas themed books, Advent-related materials, and more. All the things I spend money on during the holidays are good things. We are Christmas people! Of course we can justify another Advent book ($25), the tradition of giving the kids a new ornament every year ($30), some new decorations ($40), and supplies ($50) for all the festivities.  But do we need any of it? In fact, I wonder if sometimes these good things have distracted me.

It's not even about the money at the end of the day. Sure, this experiment has probably saved me $150 or more, but it's been more about stepping away from consuming at a time of year when my attentions so easily drift from the manger in Bethlehem towards materialism. The conscious decision to not allow for extra spending this year has reminded me that the joy of the season isn't because of a beautifully decorated house or the latest Advent book, or the sweetest new ornaments. Christmas joy comes from Christ, God who became man to come and save us. The rest - the traditions and decorations and goods that come together to create the background for this joy are meaningful, but they aren't the true source of our joy. 

Apart from our focus being off consuming this season, which is reason enough to celebrate, I've noticed two lovely results in this experiment - flourishing creativity and bolstered minimalism. I used to get a real thrill out of creating but over the years, and after three kids, I find I rarely have time to create with my hands. Sure, I exercise creativity on my Instagram account and in cooking or decorating my home, but actual DIY projects are hard to come by in our home these days. Well not having the ability to buy anything new, but still loving change, has lead to a few little DIY projects this year using only things we already have. The nativity set above is an example - it was the barn of another set which has really colourful plastic figurines, and the white ceramic set never had a barn. I love the white and wood pairing and would never have thought of it if I weren't stretching my creativity as a result of this spending freeze. 

A fresh resolve towards minimalism is another welcome change. As I've slowly been taking out all of our Christmas decor this week, I've actually come across various pieces that we don't need and given them to friends. I'm so tempted all the time to buy new things (even from thrift stores or Dollarama which cost next to nothing), when in reality I have too much and would do better to work with what I have and pare down. One purging trick I always use is to bring everything out of my closet and really examine it before putting it back in my closet. Looking at my closet I may think I wear everything, but in taking everything out, trying pieces on, taking a closer look, I almost always set aside a few pieces for charity before putting everything back. It's the same with Christmas decorations, I've learned! Even before looking through our Christmas stock I was finding myself tempted at the shops to buy a few more pieces to deck our halls, and instead we have fewer goods than before. 

I'm not saying I'll stick to the spending ban every Christmas, but this year it's been so refreshing and helpful. It's helped us break poor spending habits, organize and minimize our holiday goods, create meaningful decorations with what we have, save money, and mostly, not focus on our stuff but on Immanuel - God with us. Maybe our wallets will be a bit freer to open and give, our home will be less cluttered to invite others in, and our hearts will be more focused on what really matters. 



Hi friends! There are so many things that have interested me or inspired me online lately, so I thought I'd share a few favourites, plus some random thoughts and updates from me!
  • How did you feel about your childbirth experience? I loved this brave question and the thoughtful article which answers it - Are We Asking Too Much of Our Birth Stories?
  • Why you should stop wearing shoes in your house! I find most Canadians are shoes off people, but every once in a while a guest will stroll in with their shoes on and I kind of die a little inside!
  • Do you put any faith in the Enneagram? Several well informed friends have been talking about this personality test for over a year, so finally I figured I'd take a few free tests that I could find online. I took four tests and every one said I was equal parts 1 and 3 with an 8 wing. A really beautiful resource for learning more is the Sleeping At Last podcast, where he shares interesting facts and fears and strengths of each type but then fully elaborates with a bespoke song for each type. I cried listening to the One song because I felt so completely understood! Even that Ones have trouble accepting grace and are tempted to earn God's favour. I can't wait to learn more and see how this understanding can help me better know myself and others. 
  • I'm so excited that this sweet family is adopting again! Elsie gives a thorough Q + A for their second adoption that I enjoyed reading. 
  • Oli and Chloe are wearing these sweaters every few days and they look so darn cute!
  • This soup is out of this world. I've made it a few times recently! And in the Instantpot too - so easy. 


Plaid for Fall!

Maybe it's my British soul, or my new found love for Harry Potter and his house head, Professor McgGonagall, or maybe plaid is just timeless and has always been perfect for Fall? Either way, I am obsessed with plaid and jumped at the chance to partner with Vero Moda this Autumn to try some of their gorgeous transition coats.

Montreal, and really all of Canada is so diverse in it's weather that it's really tricky to limit outerwear. Even someone like me who has a capsule wardrobe for myself and my kids can easily justify several coats for all the types of weather we experience. I have a jean jacket and a beige trench coat and love both, but come late October, early November, they aren't warm enough. My winter parka is also too warm for these transition months. Vero Moda asked me if I'd like to try a few of their coats this season and I was looking for that exact coat - the one which would take me from late October until just before Christmas, and then again in late February until early April. Those awkward months where a thin jacket won't do and a down-filled coat is over-kill. 

I absolutely love this plaid coat! The rest of my outfit was thrifted - the bright blue denim skirt, braided belt, and ribbed stripe top. I'll be sharing the other choices I made in the following weeks. Thank you, Vero Moda for partnering with me on this series! 


Shop Québec - Daily Story + Kid's Story

Daily Story is a company I discovered on Instagram a few months ago and I immediately knew their sweaters would be perfect for our Fall capsule wardrobes. This Montreal-based company has a small collection every season of the perfect wardrobe staples, and recently they launched Kid's Story, their adorable kid's line!

When I had the opportunity to collaborate with Daily Story recently, I was so excited. Their sweaters are my favourite! As many of you saw on my Instagram stories, I chose the over-sized crew neck with stripes that had a tiny message if you look closely - you're not the only one. I love that! Looks like a classic Fall sweater, with a little hint of empathy too. 

For the kids I knew the second I saw their Bel humain de demain sweaters that I wanted them for my beautiful little humans. They stock up to size 8, but heads up they do run a bit small. In some stores Lily can wear a size 8, but here Oli is wearing an 8 and Chloe is wearing a 6. My sweater is the perfect over-sized fit in a small, but the kids fit snug, which I don't mind at all - it looks like a very thick and cozy long sleeve tee, which is fun!


Oli is 7 and Harry Potter!

Since Oli's birthday and Halloween are within a couple days of each other, I give you THE BOY WHO LIVED! 

I can't believe our boy has turned seven! I probably say that every year with all of my kids, but we really have seen Oli thrive this past year and seven feels like a big step. He is an awesome boy and our girls are so blessed to have him as the Oreo to their cookie! It's quite amazing to think back to that ultrasound seven years ago when I found out we were having a boy and how disappointed I was. I had always wanted all girls - that was my family growing up and I was frankly terrified of boys. I've never been more thankful for unanswered prayer. 

I thank God regularly for not giving me what I had asked for, what I thought I wanted. Oli is a living example of God's ways being better than our own. And in the end, he's the sweetest, most caring and gentle boy I know. He is still fun and rough and active and he needs way less sleep than his sisters (in short, he's a mini-Brad through and through), but he's not anything close to what I feared when I imagined having boys. He is such a gift and we just love him to pieces! He loves Harry Potter (obviously), robotics, building and creating, swimming, tennis, and giving back rubs. I'm serious! Brad will be working in his office and Oli will sneak up and start rubbing his back, or I'll be washing the dishes and I'll suddenly have a stool behind me and Oli standing atop of it ready to massage. This boy! How did we get so lucky? 


A Weekend in Montreal with my BFF (and mini BFFs)

Last week my BFF (and E and E) Morgan and her three kiddos came up to Montreal to spend a few days with us. We were all in heaven! Both of our husbands work long hours and couldn't join in for the festivities but neither us of has ever shied away from a solo eight hour drive with kids. Not an easy trip, but worth it to see your dearest friend and her children who are also your God-children. You may remember our twelve hour road trip that she and I (and our combined five kids) took two summers ago to PEI as proof of our craziness.

My kids were in school during the days, so I was able to invest fully in Morgan and the kids, which was a real treat. For the first few years that I had kids, Morgan was an enormous help to me, as she was at the time new to Montreal and only working part time. She would join me for those long parenting days, jump in and wash the dishes or fold the laundry, she would always have one of my kids on her hip, and together she and I (and my babies) explored and fell in love with Montreal. It was complete heartbreak when her husband's work transferred them to Hamilton, Ontario (eight hours away!), and just when they had started their own little family, too. But this friendship is one for the ages, and we don't let eight hours get in our way. And when we are together, now it's not only our relationship that we nurture but our relationship with one another's kids, and the sweet friendships that our kids share. 

Since Morgan's three are much younger than mine (her oldest is a year younger than Clover), I have absolutely zero baby things to lend them when they come. Thankfully Snuggle Bugz, my life-long go-to for all things baby, sent me a few things to help with my house guests, and it was perfect timing too as the weather just started dipping below zero in Montreal the week they arrived! They sent us the warmest (Hottest? Seriously they're that toasty) all-gear foot muffs from 7 AM Enfant for the boys and a Moby wrap for baby Honey. It's always a bit worrisome once the weather gets cold where little ones are concerned. It's hard to know if they're warm enough, but yet I'm also a huge advocate for getting outside every day, especially with kids, which is why I love gear like the 7 AM Enfant foot muff. It fits in almost any stroller or car seat, which is super handy! I can't think of any gear that would have been put to better use for their visit as our absolute favourite thing to do is get out with our kids and explore, no matter the temperatures. Especially in a city like Montreal where there's always a fun park to explore and a warm cafe to tuck into nearby once you need some warming up. It reminded me of Morgan and I's early days exploring Montreal with my three, except this time it was with hers. 

We stopped by Parc Laurier and a new cafe on Laurier Est called Méchants Pinsons that was lovely. The staff were so knowledgeable, heaps of beans to choose from, and delicious food options. A lot of cafes only have croissants to nibble on with your latte, and while I love a croissant sometimes you want something sweet or more substantial. I chose a few sweet treats for us to share - a pumpkin tart, a chocolate ravioli, and a lemon scone (the scone was the winner but they were all delicious), and Morgan grabbed a sandwich and some cookies for Ace and Finn. I kept Honey in the Moby wrap the whole time, just savouring my snuggles with her. I loved babywearing all of my kids and we did so straight through the toddler years. When we were in Iceland, Chloe was three and we were so glad to have a carrier for hiking and cave exploring! But those days are long gone for me, so I loved being able to relive them with Morgan's little babe. 

Of course we didn't manage a single picture of the two of us, but that's to be expected with six kids and wanting to spend our short time together away from our phones! Morgan's visit was such a treat but of course, way too short! We loved having her and her darling children with us for a few days and everyone cried as they drove off, but we're already planning the next trip and of course we keep in touch with audio and video messages on Whatsapp almost daily. Sigh. Friendships like this one don't come along every day. 

(By the way, Honey's bibs that she was wearing all week were also from Snuggle Bugz for those who have asked!)
This post was in collaboration with Snuggle Bugz
a company I've supported personally for years.
All opinions are 100% my own. 
To book a collaboration, contact me. 


VEGAN Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Ok so let me start by saying I'm not a fan of *most* vegan recipes. There always seems to be something missing - a richness, a smoothness, a girth that animal fats so aptly bring to the table. The secret here is silken tofu (the extra soft kind). It covers for eggs and cream and has the perfect texture without even trying! Every other vegan dessert I've had uses coconut oil for this purpose, and I find coconut oil to be too dominate of a flavour - it just takes over in the vegan recipes I've tried, such that if there were coconut oil in this recipe you'd hardly taste the chocolate or peanut butter. Coconut is fine and all, but vegan recipes that use coconut oil just taste like pure coconut even when that's not the flavour profile of the recipe at all. All that to say, I've tried many vegan recipes over the years even though I'm not a vegan, and this one is the FIRST that I can hands down say tastes legitimately amazing - the same or maybe even better than a dairy infused counterpart. Are you ready to be convinced that not all vegan desserts taste like coconutty health foods? Good! Here we go.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

The recipe is so darn easy, you really just need a good blender (or food processor). Blend together the following ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups silken tofu
  • 1.5 cups melted chocolate (I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate and melted it using the double boiler method)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate soy milk (but any milk would do - vanilla, dairy, almond, cashew, etc)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (but any nut butter would do - almond, cashew, etc)
Blend up that goodness and pour it into a prepared pie dish and then let it sit for a good while - ideally make it a day in advance but if you can't wait that long, pop it in the freezer for an hour and then the fridge for another hour and you're probably set. 

As for pie crust, I chose the non-vegan option of blending a package of oatmeal cookies together with 1/3 cup melted butter (because remember I have a thing against coconut oil), which I baked at 375 with pie weights for 10 minutes, then chilled before adding my delicious chocolate peanut butter pie filling. By pie weights, I mean I poured some dry lentils onto a piece of parchment paper which was placed on top of the pie. This helps the sides of the pie crust cook in place instead of melting down towards the middle. You can actually buy pie weights, but any dry pasta or bean will work perfectly. To be truly vegan I think the store-bought graham cracker crusts are made with oil, so you could go that route. 

The texture of this no-bake pie is uh-mazing and it's so rich, you'd swear it was full of 35% cream. Let me know if you try it!



As of yesterday, our marriage is ten whole years old and I'm proud of how far we've come as a couple. We did not have an easy first few years having dated long distance and for not very long. We didn't live together until we were married and both have very strong personalities, so there was a lot of learning and forgiving to do in those early years! We had explosive arguments and said things that fill us with regret to this day, but all along we held fast to the vows we made on that cold October morning and trusted that God knit us together and wouldn't desert us.

We aren't married today because it's the easiest option, or because marriage always makes us happy, or because the person we married treats us like gold every day of our lives (I'm sadly not that great of a wife, I'm afraid).  God's design for marriage is to mimic his deep, abiding, forgiving, protective love for his "bride", the church. We fail at representing that symbolism on a daily basis, but it still keeps us with our eyes off of ourselves and onto a greater thing, with a greater purpose. I can tell you this; I'm a better woman for being Brad's wife and he's a better man for being my husband. We are better together, and that's the whole point. Today I'm so thankful for marriage and for my groom, and for ten years of sharpening and bettering and supporting one another. As the old exhortation goes, what God has joined together let no man put asunder.


Shop Québec - Maison Tess Linens

I'll admit, I've fallen hard for the linen trend sweeping the home decor world. For a couple of years now, I've had my eye on linen clothing and housewares for the sheer appearance of it all - the texture that's visible to the eye, the rawness to it, the typical rich colours and natural look to linen, it all took me in. But I soon learned that all linen is not on equal footing. I purchased a big box store linen dress pillow and a linen dress from the Internet and both disappointed me. The dress was extremely harsh and not at all soft, even after several washings, the cushion, so thin that it had none of the texture that linen is known for and will likely wear out within a year. Both were cheap short cuts and neither satisfied, so in the end my money-saving attempts were money wasted. Lesson learned. It's worth investigating the ethics behind a company, the sourcing of their materials, and the quality of their linens before investing. That's exactly what I did with Maison Tess and why I'm writing this post - to sing the praises of this little Montreal linen start up until I lose my voice! Not hard, since I'm just getting over a bout of Tonsillitis, but you get my point. I love love love these linens and find their quality to be high above that of the big box linens I've seen for near the same price. Let me introduce you to Maison Tess.

I'm writing this post at an ideal time to be reviewing bed linens. As you know from my stories, I spent all last week in my bed (if not at the hospital) with a terrible throat infection. Finally some super strong antibiotics and steroids by way of IV brought me back to the road to health but not after logging more hours in my bed that week than is normal for two. And oh how I love my bed!! It's always been comfortable, but these linens kick things up to a whole new level.

Here's what we went with, from the bottom, up. For starters, we chose the chrome linen fitted sheet.  It's a very generous size, so will definitely fit any style of mattress which I especially appreciated, since our other cotton fitted sheet is always really hard to put on our very thick mattress. I loved sleeping on the fitted sheet right away but after a few washes, even more so. It just gets softer and softer, and has this super cozy feel, like flannel, but without overheating you, as that material tends to do.

Then we went with Maison Tess's cotton pillowcases, which feel nothing like any cotton pillowcase I've felt. I wanted to go with cotton for pillowcases as I'm less a texture fan when it comes to something on my face.  I can't say if there's even a right or wrong answer here, because these sensory preferences are so personal, but I have to say I love the texture and feel of their cotton pillowcases! They use 100% long staple percale woven cotton, which explains why these feel worlds away from our other cotton pillowcases, even those that boast a high thread count. It would be really hard to choose if I had to pick one piece of our bedding that I love the most, but it *might* be these percale cotton pillowcases...

We chose the Maison Tess signature linen duvet cover (which is on sale right now!), and I went with midnight blue which is totally not my usual style but I'm so pleased with it! I'm usually someone who sticks with white or light grey, hence the chrome pillowcases and linen fitted sheet, and right, the entire rest of my house! But when I saw the midnight blue it almost struck me as a bold neutral. It's cool but also warm, depending on the decor around it. It's a statement to add to my very neutral bedroom, but I think it's just right, especially since we usually fold the duvet at the foot of our bed, so it's just that touch of boldness. On Instagram, I asked you all in a poll a while back if adding the midnight blue would be the way to go or if I should stick with light neutrals in my bedroom and after hundreds of opinions, the voting was 60/40 for adding a touch of boldness. It just goes to show that while many of you were with me on my choice, a lot of you prefer colours more like Maison Tess's chrome (a cool, soft grey), or their rose (the perfect dusty pink), and that's cool too!
I'm so excited to share this brand with you, because they seem like one of the only ethical, affordable linen companies out there, and plus, they're based here in Canada, in my city no less. Linen is a pricier material than others, and for good reason - it's more durable, gets better with every wash, has a timeless look and higher quality than basic cottons. And while it's an investment to buy linen anything, Maison Tess's prices are very close to big box linen prices I've seen (H&M, for example), even though they make everything ethically and in small batches! They often share videos from their factories in their Instagram stories and it's such a relief to see that some companies still care about making their products the right way that values people and protects the planet. Their linens are European made and OEKO-TEX certified, and you're supporting a small female-run business instead of a huge corporation with Maison Tess. if you're looking for bedding, or any linen household items (they have beautiful dining room items, too!), definitely check out this amazing company!

Also if you use this link, or any other link within this blog post to buy Maison Tess items, you'll get 10% off on top of their already great sale prices (like my duvet cover which is $75 off right now!).


32 Things About Me!

Today I'm 32 years old and thought it might be a fun time to share a bit about myself for all of you new readers. I feel my interests change fairly frequently (that'll be on the list, lol) so I want to write these things down so I can look back and remember what I was like and what interested me at 32 years old. It's a great privilege to live and age in health and comfort and I don't take this or any birthday for granted! Life is precious and I'm thankful for mine today :)

Every post needs a few pictures I think, so here are a few of Lilygirl and I playing downtown. They're from several months ago but I hadn't shared them yet, so now seems as good a time as any!

  1. I'm the youngest of my family and growing up I always felt very much the baby of the family. I'm not sure if I'm the quintessential younger sibling or my sister is the quintessential elder sibling or both, but we fit the classic roles to a tee!
  2. I used to run track and field and cross country competitively. I also swam competitively for a few years. I loved swimming, didn't ever really love running (more so I loved being great at something, which I was for a time), but quit both in highschool. Sports have always been part of my life though.
  3. My family calls me Embo to this day, which I used to dislike but learned to love over the years (and now I cherish it, funny how that works eh?)
  4. I love eggplant but Brad hates it so I make it almost every week when he has hockey games and is out for the night.
  5. I always wanted three or more kids, even as child though I knew almost no families with more than two kids and I came from a very happy home of two children. I'm truly living my dream as a mom to my three!
  6. I have a major sweet tooth and while I don't tend to gain much weight when I binge on sweets, I do get crazy pimples and my mouth fills with canker sores, so I really do need to keep it in check. No Sweets November is always a good re-fresh, coming up in a few weeks.

  7. I didn't start reading for pleasure until about ten years ago. As a kid I read basic series like The Babysitters Club and Goose Bumps but as soon as reading became work (read: high school English) I lost all love for it for several years. My English teachers would be surprised to know I read about a book a week these days and am even paid to write!
  8. My first serious novel that I read and absolutely loved (as in cried at the end simply because it was over) was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer, and that was only a few years ago! Since then I've had that stirring feeling of sadness and accomplishment when finishing a great book many times.
  9. I don't read just anything though - my favourite works are classics (Austen, Bronte Sisters), Historical Fiction (Edward Rutherford), Biographies, and Victorian/Edwardian/Regency/Wartime era books, preferably British (Julian Fellowes, P G Wodehouse, L M Montgomery)
  10. I rarely watch TV and even less often watch movies. I get too sleepy and would rather read! We also have many nights each week given to having people over for supper or church activities. If I do watch a movie, it's usually piecemeal, 20-40 minutes at a time. My favourite things to watch are the BBC versions of Austen films (they're from the 90's but are still soooo good!), Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, Victoria, and This Is Us. 
  11. I make pizza at least once per week. I have the dough down to a science and always have frozen dough balls and shredded cheese in the freezer. If you eat supper at our house, it will probably be pizza.
  12. Mornings are my favourite. My alarm goes off at 5:30am every morning, except for weekends when it goes off at 6:30am. Unless I'm up very late the night before, I'm always awake at those times because that stillness in the morning is just too precious to me. I love having some time before the kids wake to be in the Bible, in prayer, and just to have some time to myself over a hot cup of Early Grey.

  13. Speaking of Earl Grey, I officially stopped drinking coffee two years ago! Crazy eh? I'm not against it, but I want without it for three weeks (accidentally) and found I'd broken the habit by the time I was able to get my hands on some good coffee again. It's an expensive habit if you only like really good coffee (probably about $15-20 per week here in Montreal!) so I was happy to swap coffee for tea, a much more affordable option (and it doesn't give me the jitters after too many cups either!)
  14. I started learning French five years ago and today can communicate and function completely in French! Even as I type this I can't believe it. Just as my English teachers would be shocked to know I'm an avid reader and writer today, my poor French teachers would be shocked to learn I now live in Quebec and spend much of my life in French. I still have a very far way to go though, I assure you. I can communicate clearly and get my point across (and I could survive in France with no English speakers for miles) but I make a million mistakes and my grammar is atrocious. I've never taken official courses and have only learned by ear, but this year have started studying in my free time and am already noticing gains.
  15. Brad and I met while we were both on a missions trip in North Africa. I've also been to Tanzania and Malawi on missions trips in the past. Tanzania and Malawi was six weeks combined and we've been back to North Africa many times over the years for months at a time, twice when I was pregnant with Lily.
  16. Brad and I started dating after only knowing each other a couple of months, dated for six months long-distance and then were engaged for five months. It was a whirlwind but we were very intentional and had many trusted friends in common who counseled us both along the way. Still, our first year of marriage was a huge adjustment and difficult to say the least!
  17. I was engaged at 21 and married a few weeks after my 22nd birthday, which means were coming up on a decade of marriage this month!
  18. My favourite food in the whole world is High Tea. I love it all - the scones and cakes and sandwiches, and of course never-ending pots of tea.

  19. I became a Christian in my teens even though I'm not from a religious family. It was a couple of years before I had any Christian friends or a solid church and was very much in the wilderness those first few years. God held me fast by his Word alone. If it weren't for the Bible I doubt I'd love Jesus today.
  20. For years Brad and I seriously considered adoption, but that is finally off the table for us. I love adoption and everything it stands for, but the life we've chosen didn't seem to be compatible with that way of growing our family. We didn't have the energy, time, or space to add a child by way of adoption and still don't today, but if God ever changes our certainty on that, I'll be very happy too. 
  21. Together with our kids we've traveled to France, The USA, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Austria, and Japan. We're planning to go to Bulgaria and Geece next summer!
  22. Pumpkin is one of my favourite flavours ever. I love pumpkin pie and soup (see my recipe for jarred pumpkin here) and it was the first puree that all three of my babies tasted!
  23. Even though today I'm so in love with the city life, I was a small town girl for most of my life. I grew up in a village in Southern Ontario with under 5,000 people. I always thought I'd stay there and loved it so much, even when my friends were dreaming of living in Toronto some day. I left home at 17 for McMaster University which is in Hamilton, just over an hour away. Hamilton is a city but can feel very much like a small town too, especially in the student bubble. It was a good place to live for four years to prepare me for the big city life though! After four years in Hamilton I graduated and married Brad within a couple of months and we were off to Montreal!
  24. I never foresaw myself as a stay-at-home-mom. Growing up I only knew two kids who's mothers stayed home and both of them were very wealthy. I thought it was a rich person choice, and while I understand that I am privileged to get to work very part time hours and stay home with my kids, we get by on a modest salary and made big sacrifices to make this our reality. The bottom line is I love the pace it allows for our family - I love that we can pick our kids up from school at the bell instead of hours later, I love that I can have home cooked meals most nights for our family, I love that I can invest in women in my church during the day now that my kids are at school. It's a lifestyle that we're all thriving in and one I never saw as likely for me. I love when plans change for the better!

  25. I've never liked pop, except for a couple of years in high school when I was all about Diet Coke, and we never have juice in our home either. Brad and I are big water drinkers and as a result, so are the kids. I have, however, begun a slight addition to grapefruit Perrier (or any generic brand of the same flavouring). 
  26. I buy so many things second hand! It started as a way to save money when we were newlyweds with debt and very small pay cheques, but turned into a passion over the years. I do it to save money but also for the environmental benefits or not producing more goods. I also love finding things that aren't available at every big box store or website - thrifting is cheap and eco-friendly, and finds you the most unique things! Currently I'd say about 1/3 of my wardrobe, 2/3 of our home decor, and 1/2 of our books are all thrifted.
  27. I've never had braces or a retainer but I started wearing glasses in high school and today can't see without contacts or glasses. Most people are surprised when they see me in my glasses and ask if they're real lol. They're a fun accessory but very much real!
  28. Fav Reads: My favourite Jane Austen book is Pride & Prejudice, my favourite Bronte sister book is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, my favourite C S Lewis is The Weight of Glory, my favourite book of the Bible is Hebrews
  29. Pop Culture Favs: My favourite Royal is QE2, my favourite Spice Girl is Baby, my favourite Pearson is Randal, my favourite Crawley is Isobel, my favourite wizard is Hermoine, my favourite midwife is Chummy  
  30. I look a lot like my dad. As a girl I hated this observation because what little girl wants to look like an adult man!? But now I see it and love it. Lily looks like him too :) 
  31. If I could go anywhere in the world it would be Scotland. I long to see where my ancestors grew up and lived and where much of my roots come from. Plus I love the UK! Working on Brad, who prefers more exotic locations for holidays (read: non-English speaking)
  32. My middle name is Anne, yes, with an E. Just like my homegirl Anne Shirley :)