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March is a Waiting Month

 

march is a waiting month

The second day of March started with a snow storm. Big, fluffy flakes were coming down before we even woke up and covering the heaps of snow with a fresh, fluffy blanket.

In a winter of more snow then I can remember in any of my winters, this new snow gave a whole new fresh look to the landscape.

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I delighted at the flakes. They were so pretty and I don’t think I’ll have get tired of watching snow fall. But I also sighed. It was the second day of March and I wasn’t expecting an overnight thaw complete with daffodils blooming but I was hoping for a little sign that Spring was coming.

The girls begged to go outside and I said yes. Why not? This winter will end and we’ll be glad we played in the snow.

We’ve gotten a ton of snow this winter (have I said that already?) but this snow was different. It was fluffy and wet, the perfect snowman building snow. We took some toys out, the girls mimicking the heavy equipment they’ve watched from the living room window. Shovels, dump trucks and tractors.

 

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march is a waiting month

I started rolling balls. We made an Olaf, we made a snow bear and we threw many snowballs. I started a snow house. The wind was quiet and we stayed warm, shedding layers as the morning went on.

If February is a month of cozy days and fighting the winter gloom then March is a month of waiting and looking for Spring.

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Waiting isn’t fun. Just ask any woman in her last trimester of pregnancy or anyone waiting to hear back about a job interview or sitting in the room, waiting for a doctor. Waiting for a wound to heal, for the wind to change, for the phone to ring.

The thing about waiting is that you can’t rush it. You can’t skip it. You can’t go around. You’ve got to wait. You’ve got to go through it.

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Sometimes it can be a dragging of the feet and heavy sighs. And sometimes it can be saying yes to what is right in front of you and living in the right now. A looking for something good about this moment. I’ve done plenty of both this winter. But  even in all the waiting, there is always good. Because God is good and I believe that He is orchestrating my days. Even the waiting. And yes, even the snow storms.

Tell me how you wait, for Spring or the other events in your life?

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15 Date Nights to Jazz Up Your Marriage

The night was crisp and cold, the kind of night that makes you glad you wore an extra pair of socks especially when slipping your feet into skates.

We laced up and hit the ice, hand in hand. I know I smiled like a Cheshire cat for most of the evening. We glided along for awhile, just holding hands and keeping pace. Occasionally looking over at each other and saying “isn’t this SO nice?”

We took some pictures and then split up. Our legs remembering how to skate backwards and do crossovers from years ago. We shared memories of how and when we learned to skate and went for a couple more laps around the oval before finding a cozy cafe with hot cider to warm up.

It was one of my favourite date nights this year.

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We’ve sat down at the beginning of each month to plot out our goals and that includes scheduling our date nights.We plan two dates out and two dates in each month, tweaking it according to needs and budget. It’s kept things fresh and fun and has actually inspired a whole section of our 30 before 30 bucket list.

For most of our marriage we’ve stayed in the safe zone of date nights with dinner out or a movie or a coffee shop. Call it parents of small children fog but I didn’t really think out of the box for these evenings together until this winter. It may be due to the fact that my children are old enough to sleep consistently and don’t cry every time I leave.

As long as there’s ice on the Oval in Halifax, we’ll be there. But I’m not sad (at all!) about the warmer temperatures coming because we have a whole list of super fun, out of the box date night ideas for the rest of the year.

Lucky you, we’ve done all the brainstorming. Book your babysitter and choose your own fun adventure!

Date Night Out 

Swimming – no one needs to watch the children; so swim, soak in the hot tub and do the slides if that’s your thing.

Skating- whether it’s an indoor or outdoor rink; this can be a super fun and active date. Warm up after with hot cider or mulled wine.

Skiing or Snowshoeing- Nova Scotia has one ski hill in the province and while it’s not the mountains I grew up around, it’s still a ski hill. We’re going to try to make it there while the snow lasts.

Rent bikes along the harbourfront or wherever your city has them – I have always wanted to do this and it’s a fun way to play tourist in your own town.

Rock Wall Climbing- out of the box? Totally! I’ve never been but I think it could be super fun and relationship building.

Kayaking/Canoeing- obviously this one requires a little bit of forethought and planning, it’s our list for the year so it may be a date afternoon.

Airport Date- we’re travel junkies so this may only appeal to us but head to the airport, find a good vantage point (with a good drink) and watch the people. Make up stories about them or get lost in your own travel memories.

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Live Theatre – this is something we’ve never really done together but we found a play to see and it will be so great! Check out local theatres or high schools, some of my favourite dramas were by high school students.

Sports Event – neither of us is a big sports person and we’ve only been to one football game together but we’re going to find something to go to and make it an event.

Ethnic Food Hop Night – some of these are tailored for us and this is one of them. We’re going to try as many different types of ethnic food in one evening, small portions and plenty of sharing bites.

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Of course some nights we’ll stay in and we’ve learned the secret to making those nights special- plan an intentional evening together.

Date Night In

Indoor picnic – get some nice cheese, bread, a good bottle of wine, charcuterie and a picnic blanket. Birdsong soundtrack, optional.

Foreign Film night- pick a couple foreign films, and order takeout from that country of origin. We did this with Indian food and film and it’s super fun!

Games night- we’ve played the NewlyWed game and a couple other ‘get to know’ you games. It’s fun and sparks good conversation.

Make dinner together – put the children to bed and make a special dinner together. Simple and classic.

Music video night - pick your favourites off Youtube or just watch a concert. Coldplay? Yes. Please.

And now, I’d love to hear how you keep your date nights fresh and what out of the box ideas you’ve come up with! 

 

 

 

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Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

February ended with a little more of a longer week, we were almost all sick this week. Starting at midnight one night with vomit. Not my ideal midnight wake up call. But lots of sleep and rest and restocking of some natural remedies, we’re all on the mend again and I’m so grateful. Here’s a few good reads for your weekend, hope it’s filled with health and sunshine!

11 Ways We Embrace Traveling with Kids // The Art of Simple Travel -we have a big dream of traveling with our girls one day and posts like this just spur it on. World-schooling, hands on history lessons? Yes. Please.

Way to Go Mom // Under the Sycamore- Just all the amens for this post.

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When You Don’t Know What Your Thing Is // Jones Design Company – a good word on keeping on even when it doesn’t feel clear to you. Maybe it’s mid-winter fog but this has been me lately.

Where You Should Live based on Your Meyers Briggs Personality// Thought Catalog -if you need me, I’ll be in Paris. It makes so much sense.

Happy weekend, friends!

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What I’ve Learned in February

I’m linking up with Emily of Chatting at the Sky to share the things we learned this month from the fun to the deep to the helpful. It’s a great way to review the month and I like looking back over circumstances to see what I’ve learned from them. Not just that they were fun or stressful or just plain hard. It’s my way to put a positive spin on things like winter funk.

February is the shortest month yet it  feels like the longest month 

January actually flew by and then February has dragged her feet, wanting me to make sure I made my peace with winter and these cold, cozy days. There’s lots of reasons for this month being so long – our area has been buffeted by a weekly storm which means that normal plans are put on hold or canceled. Jared has stayed home from work a couple days because his work closed down due to the snow and ice. It’s been fun, we’ve had some cozy days and I’ve tried to make the most of it all but I’m ready for a new month.

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A new bedspread can spark a whole room overhaul 

We took advantage of Target’s closing sales and bought a new duvet for our room. We are slowly making over our room and buying a white bedspread was the best decision yet. It brightens the whole room and makes it feel like a hotel. It also makes me want to keep the room neat and tidy- emptying the piles that accumulate on the dresser and the floor to keep the restful hotel feeling. We’ve plans for some canvas art and some curtains and some paint on the night tables but for now I’ll keep my room clean and enjoy the peaceful whites.

You can make lists on Netflix and make the time you watch something worth it by watching a good film. 

I have seen the little ‘add to my list’ button but never utilized it until this month. We’ll add a film that comes up in our browsing and then there will be several recommendations of similar films. This seems so basic to type out but it’s been so fun. We love a good travel and food film/documentary and something that makes us think. We’ve watched a couple Bollywood films which are just fun and a little quirky because of the different cultures. We’ve added several French and Italian films, a couple period films and a few documentaries. We’ve also discovered a favourite show called Departures – 2 Canadian guys travel the world for year- absolutely fascinating and such a good winter watch even if we do want to click over to Expedia when the credits roll.

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Saying yes to the children helping can be so empowering for them and for you

I’ve long been a fan of children in the kitchen but it’s taken me awhile to invite the girls into this kitchen. It’s an awkward shape for multiple people and their stools. But this month, my five year old has flipped pancakes and made scrambled eggs basically all by herself (I poured the milk and heated the pan). After months of asking to help, I have finally said yes and it’s been the best decision for both of us. I can foresee a lot of scrambled eggs in our future but I’m totally okay with that. Now just to figure out something just as empowering for her little sister.

What have you learned this month? Do your children cook with you? What are you watching?

 

**thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway for Brown Eggs and Jam Jars- the winner is Caleigh C! Caleigh, I’ll be in touch with you.**

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Be Kind: A Winter Sanity Saver

I made cookies last week. It was a completely spontaneous decision made at 5 pm. I am neither a regular cookie baker or a spontaneous decision maker. It was yet another snow day and the weather was so bad, my husband’s work closed down.  We had all been having naps and quiet time and I needed to do something with my hands and with my girls. We made these ones from Joy the Baker  and there are precisely the kind of cookie that I’m going to keep all the ingredients on hand at all times.

It was so fun except that I didn’t read the recipe all the way through before starting and the dough needed to chill for two hours before baking.

No matter, we mixed butter and sugar and we all sniffed the vanilla before adding it to the dough. My girls dumped sprinkles and rolled the dough in the sprinkles and I couldn’t stop smiling.

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We had a great big salad for supper to offset the cookies and the general heavy feeling that comes after days of being snowed in. We snuggled on the couch and watched a movie with our salads and then I baked the cookies. I poured fresh milk and played around with taking a billon shots of confetti cookies stacked up.

It’s been a bit of a long winter. I use that phrase lightly because it is nothing like The Long Winter, we have netflix and libraries and running water. Nonetheless I’m ready for spring.

It’s been a series of winter storms, nothing horrible just a lot of snow and ice that has cancelled plans and kept us home for days. It’s been a gradual coming out of survival mode after my miscarriage and its been a re-learning on how to deal with stress as we are working through a difficult situation.

Some days I do want to bake all the cookies and then hide in my closet with them and a good book. But as Fraulein Maria says, we can’t run from our problems, we need to face them.

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So I’ve been facing my problems and putting my own positive spin on this winter. Its been rough but it has also been lovely. This is the first winter that my girls can get ready for snow play almost all by themselves. They love being outside and will play for hours. We’ve discovered a new sledding hill right near our house and we get to the skating oval as often as we can. We’ve spent long hours at the library and I’ve been able to actually read books while the girls play and play.

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This winter will not last forever. This crazy schedule will not last forever. This rebuilding season will not last forever.

I’ll be here baking cookies and going sledding with my girls. I’ll be remembering to be kind, to myself as much as others. I’ll be reading stories and teaching my daughter to read and letting them be little. And I’ll be ready for the season of spring and new growth.

How are you making the most of these winter days? Are you prone to spontaneous cookie baking?

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Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

We’re still living in a snow globe in Halifax but we’re on the homeward stretch of February and I’ve started to make friends with winter. A little bit. Enjoy these reads with a hot cuppa of your favourite (mine is hot cider or orange pekoe tea). Cheers!

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How to host a crappy dinner (and see your friends more often) //Mothering Magazine – “Crappy dinner is all about placing priority on what truly matters, and about accepting life –and motherhood – for all of the beautiful, crappy things it throws your way. Beans and wieners, anyone?” A friend shared this on Facebook and a week later, I’m still thinking about the conversation it sparked and how to make hospitality more of a habit.

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On Burnout // Modern Mrs. Darcy - “I’ve experienced circumstantial burnout: I’ve gone to bed a weepy mess because I didn’t want to face another impossible day at work. I’ve had whole seasons when the intense mothering was just too much. There have been whole years when I felt pushed to the very edge—when I consistently lacked the rest I needed.” I appreciate Anne’s wisdom in the post so much, she speaks from experience and she shares helpful habits to build.

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Women from 37 countries were photographed to prove that diversity is beauty // Hello Giggles – “The project is admittedly not perfect, since a woman’s looks should never reflect on her identity as a whole, nor should it represent her value. However, these efforts to celebrate diversity on an international scale, support authenticity and challenge the traditional notions of “beauty” are valuable and worth examining.” I love, love these kind of projects (HONY, anyone?) this one made me tear up. People are so beautiful.

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Wishing you the most restful sort of weekend with lots of reading, drinking, eating and good restorative play!

(all pictures from my instagram feed this last week, find me there @breannemosher!)

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Just Eat Real Food (and a giveaway!)

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The conversation happened years ago in the garden. The plants were all at their peak, requiring all the tasks to be accomplished before the sun got too high in the sky. We were weeding and picking peas and setting up the sprinkler system for late in the afternoon.

In my grumpy, tired of doing chores way, I told my Mum that when I grew up I was going to buy all my food and most definitely buy all my bread and cereal.

I was ten.

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I did grow up and I did go through a phase where I bought a lot more processed food then I had ever had in my childhood. Soup from a can and mac and cheese from a box. It was cheap, it was fast but my Mum was right.

It didn’t taste nearly as good as soup made from tomatoes made ripe by a late summer’s sun or fresh bread with melty butter and honey from friends’ beehives. 

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She chose Chocolate Sheet Beet Cake when I asked her to pick out a favourite one to try. Girl has good taste.

 

 Baby step by baby step, we’ve changed and relearned good food habits. It’s a lot of work to reshape a food culture even when you’re going back to your roots. 

And during that whole time I’ve relied on the blog Simple Bites written by Aimee Bourque. It’s real food, shared around the family table. There’s gardening tips and recipes for picky eaters and the most beautiful stories of family adventures.

On one of their family adventures, my family and I got to share lattes and playground time with her family  while we chatted about their Nova Scotia road trip and our mutual childhood growing up in BC.

We’ve had dinner in their warm Montreal home, love and such good food served up after a snowy drive through busy Montreal traffic. I’ve drooled over her Instagram feed (who doesn’t?) and I recommend her recipes all.the.time to friends.

And now, I’m recommending her cookbook to everyone I know. It is a beautiful volume and is packed with over 100 recipes that embrace seasonal cooking with a healthy family food culture. It’s inspirational for cooking with your kids and helpful tips to include them in the meal prep.  And with a canning basics section, making jam is totally doable. You’ll want to make her scones and invite friends over for a jam swap. I’ve bookmarked her Rich Holiday Eggnog for next Christmas and am dreaming of hosting a Harvest Party complete with blueberry-peach mascarpone trifle for dessert.

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Because I think everyone can use some new kitchen and garden inspiration, I’m giving one of you lucky readers a copy of Brown Eggs and Jam Jars!! To enter just follow the steps with the Rafflecopter, I hope you win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Motherhood and Adventure Reading

Every now and then, I’ll realize that all the books I read in a course of a month or so have a common theme. The last few weeks a lot of the books have had underlying themes of motherhood and big adventure (which are actually synonyms, if you ask me). I spend my days at home with my little loves, knee deep in motherhood and I actually love this season right now. It’s crazy but it’s manageable crazy. I’ve had some big adventures and I’m content to be home with my littles, planning meals and outings and playdates. I know this sweet time won’t last forever and these books helped give perspective to this season and then there were a few that gave a little escape on those long, hard days.

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Here are the books I’ve read recently, joining in with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit Picks. Head there for many more titles!

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

I’ve had this book on my to read list for years and finally I read it. And I’m so glad I did. It gives insight into the Asian parenting culture, addresses the clash between cultures and generations and paints a picture of one mom trying to do the very best for her children. It’s a very  personal read, Amy shares many of her shortcomings but it’s also inspirational as she worked with her girls to achieve some great musical milestones.

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

My first novel by this prolific author and one I requested on a whim. Without giving too much away, it’s a story of how everything you want is right in front of you and sometimes a little perspective shift is needed to see that- in a chick-lit format.

There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith

This book in a nutshell- there are no shortcuts and rewards come to those who work hard and invest in others. Rafe is a teacher in an inner-city school that doesn’t have a great success rate, he tells his students his motto and expects them to work hard and rise to the challenge. It’s inspiring as a parent to see his expectations and how he guides their education- 12 weeks spent learning all there is to learn about baseball before a class outing to a baseball game.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I can never resist a story about the World War II and I nerd out a little when the story focuses on women during that time. This book tells the story of two sisters, the relationship between them and the very different ways they both fought back with the French Resistance. It’s a great winter read and one that will have you holding your babies close at the end.

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford

I appreciate what this book is about, I’m a big fan of living in the present and savouring the right now. I was a little afraid that the book would be like the blog which always leaves me feeling a little guilty and regretful. And it kinda did.  I wanted to love this book and fist bump my way through reading it but I didn’t. (don’t hate me)

Sisterhood Everlasting: A Novel (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) By Ann Brashares

I grabbed this book on a whim for a good light novel  to read before bed on a winter’s evening. I love this series and was excited to read the conclusion to the story. I read it in 24 hours and sobbed my way through the last half of the book. It’s deep and beautiful and made me want to pack my bags, invite my girlfriends and go to Greece.

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod

What would happen if you could save enough to live on while traveling for the next year and then not ever return to your old life? What if Paris became your new home and you re-created a lost form of art to sustain your life there? This book was such  great read from the inspiration (with details and plans) to make the very most of this one life that we all have and the gutsy jump into the unknown. It’s a beautiful read- both the words and the illustrations. And fun fact, she started her whole adventure with a blog and one goal of writing every day.

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The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.

Clearly, I’m attracted to the kind of books that tell the story of someone (or in this case, a group of someones) who asks ‘is this all there is? What if we were to do something crazy and go traveling?’. In this case, three friends broached a tentative plan to take a year off their normal lives and travel the world. It’s a long book and for that case, I think mostly attractive to those who like reading travel memoir and stories of adventure. Most of their trip mirrored the one my husband and I took after we were married and I loved reading their encounters of places I have actually been.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I was delighted to read this classic out loud to my girls. It’s on my list for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge and it’s on my personal list to start this series with my girls. I found myself so impressed with all that Ma did on a daily basis, so much of it was for daily survival and yet she made it special for her family. I am so grateful for my modern conveniences and for friends I can stay in touch with more then just a visit once a year.

 

Do you read your books with themes? What are you reading lately?

 

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A Valentine’s Day Party Plan

It started a few weeks ago, after a shopping trip where all the Christmasy merchandise was replaced by all things pink, red and white. My girls asked if we were going to do a party again this year, if we were going to use the red tablecloth and have cupcakes with the little red hearts on them.

And I said yes. 

Because there is nothing more delightful then saying yes to a party in the middle of winter and having every excuse to pause over the pink displays and decide just what delectable goods you’ll bake up this year.

I admit to a bit of cynicism about the marketing of Valentine’s Day and after one trip to any of the big box stores, I want to curl up in a dark closet. But then I brew some tea and open Pinterest with my girls on other side of me and I see their excitement and I remember the real point of Valentine’s Day.

It’s kind of wonderful to have a day to celebrate love and in the middle of a cold winter, is there anything better? 

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Maybe you are planning a small sorriee for your children and their friends or you have grand plans for  a late dinner or maybe you need some inspiration to start an annual tradition.

On the crafty side:

We’ve made foxes out of hearts and then they decorated and cut and I stood back and let them be creative. We’ve done some painting where I finally used the canvases I bought years ago  and tried the toilet paper roll heart painting. And as with everything, sometimes it looks like how I think it will end up and most of the time it doesn’t. And that’s okay.

I love this printable to put on as table settings and I bought some cute accessories at Michaels for the girls. Heart-shaped sunglasses, anyone?

We’ll read some stories about Valentine’s Day and we’ll leave up the decor for a few weeks because splashes of red and love banners are what we all need as we hunker down and make the most of these winter days.

On the menu plan:

We’ll be having love-themed food all day on the 14th and it’s been so fun finding dishes that will delight my girls.

Heart-shaped pancakes are an obvious choice for breakfast, with strawberries. Or these egg and toast cut outs. And a strawberry smoothie.

My girls prefer to graze rather then eat meals so this cheese plate will thrill them to no end. Mini tomatoes,red peppers and cucumber hearts will make munching fun but also healthy.

Strawberry pops will satisfy all of us- they’re adorable, they’re chocolate and they are finger food.  February is the one month I buy out of season strawberries because they look like hearts and are more kid-friendly then cranberries.

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I’ll save some of the strawberries and chocolate for an evening fondue date with my husband. Along with a bottle of red wine and a baked brie with cranberries. It’s rich, simple and love day themed without being too cliche and cheesy. We’ll go out for our Valentine’s date a few days after the 14th, when the wait staff isn’t exhausted, the crowds aren’t crazy and the food is fantastic.

We might make this confetti as neighbour gifts, or we might just save it for a special movie night.

Do you have Valentine’s Day celebrations planned? What are your favourite ways to celebrate?

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Ten on Ten :: February 2015

One of my favourite ways to stop and celebrate the everyday extraordinary by taking ten pictures over the course of ten hours, joining in with Rebekah of A Bit of Sunshine.

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A home day with my girls, while the snow fell all day long and we were glad to be home and cozy.

1. A slow morning called for pancakes and coffee, lots of coffee.

2. My little sous chef checking out a recipe book for future breakfasts and celebrations.

3. I will never tire of their little toes and fingers and I will never stop taking pictures of them.

4. An empty box is always the best new toy for a wintry day.

5. A little Valentine decor, an owl and a favourite picture of my man and I.

6. I love catching them in their own little worlds.

7. My view at quiet time- more coffee and emails.

8. Straightening her cozy spot, a girl after my own heart.

9. Create your own play meant turning the living room into a circus fair for the stuffs.

10. Evening and lighting of the candles.

Hope your day was full of cozy and warm moments!

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