Chocolate Mint Smoothie #MyVega

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Chocolate and mint.

One of my most favourite combinations – especially around Christmas time! I still remember sneaking away with a box of After Eight chocolates when I was little! I adore thin mints, chocolate mint Girl Guide cookies, peppermint patties, and now they even make chocolate mint Oreo’s! And please don’t get me started on Peppermint Mochas or Candy Cane Hot Chocolates. YUM!

It’s a lot of indulgence, and I have to remind myself to keep my diet balanced this time of year. Chocolates are great, but seventeen too many and I’ll need to go up a pant size! So what better way to experience the delicious flavours of chocolate and mint than in a nutritious smoothie?

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Gremlins, the Not-So-Awesome Holiday Movie for Kids

Gizmo from the movie Gremlins via What Culture

Gizmo from the movie Gremlins via What Culture

Some Sunday nights we plop our family down in front of the television and watch a movie. Complete with dark chocolate drizzled sea salt popcorn and orange Jones soda pop in the glass bottles, we decided to watch Gremlins. Apparently, it’s a Christmas movie that even beat out Home Alone on this site’s list of top 50 holiday movies.

Neither I nor my husband could fully remember this movie, though both of us had watched it sometime in our childhoods, and remembered that it had a cute Gremlin and some scary ones. So, we had ourselves a family movie night, complete with a scary 80’s movie that made our kids laugh, giggle, roar, cover their eyes, and then cry at bedtime because they were terrified of the red-eyed creatures that might pop out in the dark.

Of course, our two-year old was sound asleep by 8:30 pm, but our eight-year old had decided to sleep with the lights on and come out of her room every ten minutes to use the bathroom, or get a drink, or simply cry that she couldn’t sleep. My heart was breaking because I, too, was a scaredy cat growing up and was scared of movies like E.T. and couldn’t sleep without being scared for years!

It was almost 10 pm, so I pulled her out of the room so we could watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers, our favourite cartoon, just so it could take her mind off of cute furry creatures who multiply with water to terrorize the world. Next time, we’ll just stick to Home Alone 1 & 2 for our movie nights. Merry Christmas to us all, indeed.

The Perfect Kids Christmas Tree #TreeClassicsChristmas

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I love a beautiful Christmas tree full of sparkling ornaments and bright lights. Every year I see new and different themes and colours used on trees, and I get so inspired to create the most perfect tree.

This year we decorated a tree for the kids, using homemade ornaments in bright, colourful felt and painted cardboard stars. This tree brings a smile to my face every time I look at it! The simplicity of the shapes and colours gives the tree such a joyful feel. This lovely faux Spruce is made by Tree Classics, a maker of the world’s finest artificial Christmas Trees.

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Underneath the tree we’ve placed a small wooden train track for our Thomas trains, and created a mini Lego village, filled with people and animals! My daughter and I had so much fun creating our little town, while my son gets easily distracted by the train set.

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Montage Easily Creates Impressive Custom Photo Books

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I take hundreds and hundreds of pictures each year, and I’m sure you do, too! I take the time to upload them, sort through them, and keep them filed digitally by year and month. I do this all with the intention of creating photo albums for each year, but I’m about 8 years behind in doing so! I have folders full of pictures dating back to 2006!

Montage creates beautiful and impressive custom photo books, that are super easy to make. The hardest part will be choosing which photos will be displayed inside these thick, leather-bound books. (And my apartment smells of rich mahogany.) A Montage photo book arrives in a simple and classic white box, while the book itself is bound with soft, buttery Italian leather.

It’s so easy to make a custom photo book with Montage. Simply choose your photos (up to 180) and Montage effortlessly creates a book for you! After choosing from one of the many different themes (rustic, chalkboard, geometric, art deco, portfolio, and more!) you can then edit your photo book to make it just the way you like it! 

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A Gift for the Bearded Man: Wisdom Beard Oil #CanYouHandlebar

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When my man gets busy with work, he tends to skip shaving his face, and after a couple of weeks of not tending to his face, I joked that he should grow a beard. I think that little comment, along with my fondness for bearded tv characters (Hello, Rick Grimes…), motivated my husband to grow a beard.

The West Coast is full of men with facial hair – from groomed goatees, handlebar moustaches, and lumberjack beards. What may have started as a fashion statement has now become a mainstay look for many guys. Beards are sexy. Don’t believe me?

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Have a Merry, Stress-Free Christmas

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…

The days and weeks leading up to Christmas are full of anticipation and excitement. Our family watches holiday movies with extra large cups of hot chocolate, we listen to Christmas music and make our own ornaments for the tree! The Christmas shopping is all done and ready to be wrapped up in pretty silver and gold paper, and I finally sat down to write out the Christmas cards today!

I’m really taking the time to slow down, and truly enjoy the Christmas season this year. I feel like I have this year’s Christmas somewhat under control – or rather, I don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of all things merry this year. It hasn’t always been this way though! Perfectionism and anxiety would make me pore over every single detail, and used to paralyze me with a constant feeling of dread – I would overspend, stress myself out, and really take the joy out of the holiday.

What’s changed this year? I’ve done more planning for Christmas, but I’ve also learned to let go when things don’t exactly go my way. That is HARD, especially for me, a Type A, Perfectionist. What else has helped? The 12 Days to a Stress Free Christmas  from Ruth Soukup at Living Well Spending Less

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$25 Starbucks Card Giveaway

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…It’s that time of year
When the world falls in love
Every song you hear seems to say
Merry Christmas
May your New Year dreams come true…

The Christmas Waltz is one of my favourite holiday songs, no matter who performs it, it’s one of those classic tunes that I will never stop listening to. I’m very much in the Christmas spirit this year – is that cheesy? I think it’s because we’re finally in our new home and truly beginning to settle down here. I can already imagine all the Christmases to come, celebrated here in this home.

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DIY Felt Ball Wreath

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I am so excited to be sharing this Felt Ball Wreath tutorial with you! If you’re stopping by from the #Countdown2Xmas blog hop I’m waving a HUGE hello all of you right now! Like I said a few days ago, I don’t normally claim to be crafty, but I’ve gotten bit with a crafting bug and I’m sharing my fun with you!

My upstairs Christmas decor is bright, fun, colourful – and homemade! I’ve been lusting over felt ball wreaths on pinterest for a while now, and have finally made my own whimsical masterpiece. I really adore how this turned out, even if it wasn’t exactly as I planned it! I had originally planned on making this wreath on a styrofoam wreath form and just hot-glueing it on. Michael’s didn’t have the right size, I visited and called every local store I could think of and found nothing, and so I ordered it online but after two weeks it still hadn’t arrived! Time to put my thinking cap on… how will I make a wreath with NO wreath form?...

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DIY Mid-Century Modern Felt Ornaments

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For many years, it’s been my dream to have two Christmas trees. I wouldn’t mind having a tree in every room, but I think my family would think I was bonkers if I did that! Instead, I’ve decided to have only two, one on each floor, and create two completely different themes.

While the one downstairs is more neutral, with a snow-filled woodsy, natural theme, the one upstairs is bright, fun and whimsical! My upstairs tree is a tall and narrow faux spruce from Tree Classics. It is dense, full of branches, and a gorgeous dark green – ready for colourful ornaments of all shapes and sizes, all homemade by my daughter and myself!

I love the shape of this ornament, and I’ve seen it done so many times, but never in felt. This is easy to do with coloured paper, and I’ve also seen them in metals, such as copper. Making them in felt is just as easy, however you may find yourself re-shaping the ornament when it’s on the tree so it doesn’t droop too much! Ready for the tutorial?

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2014’s Best eBooks and a $100 Kobo Gift Card #ReadMore

kobo-ebook-readerReading a book has become quite the luxury for me. I grew up with a love of reading, I devoured whole series of books and was always hungry for more. I would lose myself in different worlds and the lives of characters. Then I had children and suddenly novels lost their appeal, and I was reading parenting books and trying to discover why French kids eat everything on their plate. Don’t fret, my love for a good story hadn’t vanished, but my time to read was definitely challenged. First by the needs of my family, then by my need to sleep! As my children get older, and finally sleep through the nights (most nights, that is!), I have more time to immerse myself into a delicious book.

I love using my Kobo eReader, as well as the free Kobo App on my iPhone and iPad, to read books. It’s easy and simple, it always saves my page, and it goes with me everywhere. So if I find myself in a waiting room with nothing to do – I read! My favourite time to read is first thing in the morning, before everyone wakes up. The house is quiet, the tea is hot, and for a good 45 minutes, I can lose myself in a story. Below is a screen shot of some of the parenting and French-inspired books I’ve read!

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My favourite recent novels have been Gone Girl, The Rosie Project, and The Fault in Our Stars. All of these books were very different but appealed to me, just the same. I was so enamoured with these stories that I was almost upset when I completed them! Do you ever feel the way? Pissed off that a book finished far too early in my opinion? 

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