≡ Menu

Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

Be inspired by the space you live in, get creative and messy with your kids and then curl up with a good flick- happy weekend, friends!

Brooklyn Apartment Tour // A Cup of Jo “Even though they have only two bedrooms for five people, they manage to carve out clever spaces for everyone.”

12 of the Most Fun Activities You can Do with Children “When Asia Citro realized her children didn’t exactly “believe in sleeping,” she set out on a mission to keep them entertained in a healthy way. That mission was to create a fun, educational environment for her children at home, and to do it in a way that was fun for her, too.”

Favourite Chick Flicks for All Seasons // Nicole Bennett “I love a good chick flick for the same reasons I love Jane Austen– happy endings, heart-warming romance, witty dialogue, funny & flawed characters– and I realized recently that I tend to watch certain ones at certain times of the year.”

And for those who aren’t following me on instagram (find me @breannemosher), here’s our week in review through a few captured shots.

weekendlinks1

A few quiet moments.

weekendlinks2

Right before they mixed it all together- rainbow rice with a few drops of Joy EO because we can all use colour and joy in the winter.

weekendlinks3

We were all dreaming of warmer places while enjoying a cozy snow day with Jared home from work. Hurrah for sweaters and coffee and snuggles!

weekendlinks4

Change of plans and unpredictable wi-fi threw me off but this latte and cookie and forced off-screen time is exactly what I needed. And a coffee bar in the library is brilliant.

weekendlinks5

These mini-crossiants from Joy the Baker’s cookbook, Homemade Decadence (thanks, Mom!!), were my most liked post of the week. They were just as tasty as they look.

weekendlinks6

Stove-top popcorn, sliced Honeycrisp apples and a square of dark chocolate after a busy day of outings.

And there’s our week in little captured moments! Hope your weekend is full of lovely moments, captured or not.

{ 1 comment }

Winter Menu Planning

It happens every winter around this time. After the thrill of squash and sweet potatoes, the warmth of  soups and stews simmering all day, my kitchen inspiration wanes. I start looking at pictures and recipes of fresh berries and stone fruit, dreaming about summer picnics and sandy feet.

And so every winter I revamp my menu planning system. We’ve still got a few months of braises and slow cookers ahead of us, I want to enjoy the hours I spend in the kitchen.

Here is last year’s plan- so simple and effective.

And on to this year’s plan – a little more ambitious but thus far serving me very well. I sat down with my favourite cookbooks, Pinterest and blogs. I brainstormed about 27 meals (I like to leave room for spontaneity and new ideas) and I draw my week’s meals from that master list.

menuplanning

I’ve learned that too many choices leave me overwhelmed and unable to start so here’s how I keep it within boundaries but have lots of flexibility.

We have a weekly pizza night- this has turned into a full family affair just like we hoped it would and we have it on one of our weekend nights.

We have a meatless meal once a week and a mexican inspired meal another night. I make a big pot of soup, because it’s still winter, and that serves us for lunches or freezes for a quick meal in the future. We have pasta or a pasta type meal once a week and then I fill in the gaps for the other days.

menuplanning2

We’ll eat each meal three times or so and then it will be Spring! I love this idea so much, I may continue it throughout the year. Although there is something wonderful about throwing together a salad from whatever is in season, adding some bread and sunshine and calling it dinner.

Here’s what we’re eating this week:

Meatloaves and Root Vegetable Mash

Butternut Squash, Bacon and Onion Mac and Cheese (I use this as a starting point but its different every time I make it based on time/cheese/pasta)

Savoury Beef with Rice and Carrots (a childhood favourite- stewing beef cooked all day with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and beef broth- served over rice)

Ham and Pineapple Pizza

Baked Potatoes with Broccoli

Pancakes (because sometimes you just need too!)

French Onion Soup (so many different ways to make this recipe, here is my go-to)

menuplanning3

And that is what is keeping me in the kitchen, feeling happy and inspired.

What are some of your go-to meals? Do you get winter cooking doldrums?

{ 3 comments }

Winter Rituals and Embracing the Slow Season

It’s 5 o clock and I’m lighting the candles. I put the kettle on and tidy up the living room while I wait for it to boil.

I call the girls to the couch and we read for a little while before supper is ready. Rituals, tea, blankets and candles- it’s how we’re doing winter.

January is when all of my winter survival plans come out and I settle into hibernation mode. And from my real-life conversations and online reading, I’m not alone.

Here is a few ways  I’m settling in to winter and rituals I’m establishing to make this a cozy season for our family.

1. Fill the house with greenery – nearly every room in our house has a plant in it even my kitchen counter and desk space. It’s a bright splash of green in contrast to the dormant plants outside. Most grocery stores and markets are selling house plants this time of year from small ivy plants to flourishing Boston ferns. I need a plant for our bathroom and the girls bedroom, I think perhaps a hanging plant for their room. There are specific air-improving plants (here’s a list!) and I think all plants help increase happiness.

2. Light the candles – I keep all our candles out all winter and light them in the late afternoon, it’s a visual reminder to me to slow down and be quiet inside.

wintersurvivaltips2

3. Cozy the house- I bring out the afghans and blankets, encouraging cozy reading times and blanket forts. I’ve set up a cozy spot for the girls in their bedroom which consists of cushions and blankets perfect for reading or watching a movie or building a mountain. I make sure we all have warm socks and make copious cups of tea or coffee throughout the day. I keep our library basket full to overflowing (literally! I need a bigger basket) and start reading chapter books aloud to the girls again.

4. Make plans and schedules – menu plans, ambitious house project plans, schooling plans, reading plans. I get idealistic and visionary in January. I also get overwhelmed and tired. Menu plans help me stay on track with our budget and gives me the freedom to read for half an hour in the late afternoon when it’s typically crazy town. I love hibernation days but we all go a little crazy with too many long hours at home. Having a weekly plan with days at home and the occasional outing help stave off the cabin fever.

wintersurvivaltips

5. Remember this is a season of hibernation and slow – this is the big one for me. All of the above are  reminders to me to slow down, to not rush the process and just enjoy the right now. Last year was one of  loss, big changes and survival mode. This year is one of re-establishing home habits and routines and those take time to build. And as much as I want to jump ahead six months, winter is a time to cozy up with my loves and keep things simple around the home.

{ 10 comments }

Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

Good reads for the weekend- grab a few minutes and a hot cup of something delicious and join me.

weekendlinksocean

the beach…in January. I kinda love it here.

 

Hey Moms, I believe in You // Sarah Mae – I needed this encouragement, maybe you do too. And hey, it’s good even if you’re not a mum.

The Sweats Feeling // Lindsey Kubly- Getting dressed in an outfit that feels good makes me want to be a good mum, a good home manager, a good whatever my role is for that day. This post is spot on.

Flora Forager// Shop and Instagram - I fell in love with this instagram feed and now with her shop, she makes beautiful images out of items from nature. It’s imaginative and beautiful.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Release Date and Bonus Recipes // Simple Bites - So excited to see this book in just a short time, I already know it will be well-loved in our kitchen. Pre-order and get these 8 bonus recipes. I recommend Aimee’s recipes all.the.time and now am so excited for her cookbook. Go order your copy!

 

Have a great weekend, friends!!

 

{ 0 comments }

Saying No to Doing It All

A couple of months ago, I did something that to me felt risky and bold.

I got rid of my sewing machine.

It went to a good home where it will be well-loved and better yet, well-used.

The machine was a gift, a hand me down. When I got it, I tried to ditch my fears and frustration and just learn how to use it. I’ve used it twice in the last four years. The first time was to make a diaper (now library) bag for my second daughter. My sister helped me and by helped, I mean she did everything except picking out the fabric and sewing a few straight seams.

My second project was a flannel rag quilt, again for my second daughter. It only got finished through many video texts and phone calls to my Mom.

I see gorgeous projects on Pinterest all the time. Some of them I even pin, thinking that they look easy enough for me to attempt. But I pin and pin and don’t make.

sayingno

I bought bedding for the girls’ new room- pillow sham and quilt and decorative cushions. All of which would be a breeze for someone else to sew up. That’s not one of my strengths and instead of trying to be someone I’m not, I let the sewing machine and the guilt go. I bought the pretty cushions.

My mom and sisters are excellent sewistas- my Mom designed and sewed my wedding dress, my sister had a business selling bags and my other sister sewed costumes when she was seven months pregnant. My mother in law sews the girls pyjamas for Christmas and completely saved another wedding by whipping up a dress when I could find nothing in the stores.

I love them all for their gifts and I love that we can all have different gifts. Give me a party to plan, a house to decorate or a meal to make and I’m your girl!

sayingno

I have friends who sew the most wonderful creations, check out this cozy space shared here on the blog. And I have other friends who write books about sewing and even though I’ve now gotten rid of my machine, I’m still glad I have this book. 

We don’t do it all. Sometimes our pins reflect a wide range of interests and ideas. Sometimes I wish I could do it all simply because it’s all so interesting. But I would rather do a few things well then fail at a lot of things. In this season, that means scaling back and saying yes to just a few things. Playing to my strengths rather then learning new skills.

In celebration of the freedom of saying no, tell me one thing you don’t do and one thing you do well!

 

{ 10 comments }

Super Simple Cup Shelf DIY

If you’ve read this blog for any length or time, or follow me on Instagram, you know of my love for tea and coffee.

It’s shared with my husband, in fact he’s the real coffee geek of the two of us. Our girls have been drinking coffee (with plenty of milk!) for most of their young lives.

cupshelf4

We love our hot drinks around here.  I’ve been eyeing up coffee bars on Pinterest and friends’ houses for quite some time. We’ve discussed what we liked about certain ones and rabbit trailed doing espresso machine research.

cupshelf1

 

And then in keeping with my current favourite phrase, we just started.

I wanted to show you the complete project, staged with adorable little tea canisters and our collection of coffee pots but there’s something real and honest about sharing part one of a project.

It’s a super simple DIY. It took half an hour at Home Depot and an hour of varnishing the wood, cutting it and fastening it to the wall.

cupshelf3

And it makes me so happy every time I see it.

Here’s what you need:

- a collection of mugs (or really anything- pictures or books or plants or whatever you fancy)

- wall space

- a board cut to measure (Home Depot does this if you’re like us and don’t have access to a shop) or a couple of boards if you want to go crazy and have lots of shelves

- two shelf brackets for every shelf

- time to varnish or paint according to your colour preference

Measure, nail and put it up.

cupshelf2

It’s the simplest of house projects but one that is super practical and beautiful. It frees up cupboard space which is key for us and is a great conversation starter.

Tell me about YOUR super simple but super satisfying DIY projects?

{ 6 comments }

Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

On Breaking // The Nester - anything that talks about burnout, margin and rebuilding is big for me right now so if you’re not in this space, I’m sorry. But if you are, this is good. And if you aren’t, be aware of building margin so you don’t break.

Wellness Recipe// K. Elizabeth Fleck – “I’m not high maintenance BUT (and this is a big one) that doesn’t mean I’m no maintenance. That’s where the wellness recipe and having a reminder of what I need to give myself comes in.” Yes and yes.

The 2015 Reading Challenge // Modern Mrs Darcy  – 12 months to read 12 books, a Pinterest board to share those titles (and explode your reading list), it’s fantastic and a great kick starter for anyone wanting to read more this year. And it’s definitely not to late to join!

pizzamaking

a favourite of mine (and yours!) from Instagram this week- making pizza together!

 

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

 

{ 2 comments }

Armchair Travel to Paris, Bhutan and Germany, 1939

It feels so good to be back sharing what I’ve been reading lately, inspired by and linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy. It was called Twitterature but it’s now Quick Lit- short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. Keep reading for my titles then hit the link to read many more titles and reviews!

We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir by Jennifer Coburn

As someone who writes a blog about savouring the moment, celebrating the everyday extraordinary and as a mother of two girls, this book resonated with me. It’s a memoir of a mother and her daughter and their travels, a perfect armchair travel companion. The travels start with a worry and a fear on the mother’s part, ‘what if I die young?’. She takes her then eight year old to Paris to start filling her memory bank. It’s honest as she shares her motherhood journey through the lens of overseas travel and it’s inspiring to me to make memories with my own daughters. It’s draggy in a few places but the descriptions of Paris and Amsterdam and Spain make up for that.

Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli

Another armchair travel book, one of my favourite kind of winter reading. Lisa is in her early forties and at a crossroads in her life, she meets a friend of a friend and a short while later is on her way to Bhutan to help get their radio station going. The story follows the growth of Bhutan as a nation which is fascinating as TV was only allowed in the country in the last fifty years. It’s a country familiar with certain phrases because of watching Sex and the City but it’s also a country who monitors the level of happiness. Bhutanese and Lisa and anyone who has searched for happiness come to realize that it is contentment and gratefulness that lead to happiness. Not stuff and progress and brand names and expensive travel. An excellent read.

stackofbooks

the day all my holds came in at the library

 

Shopaholic to the Stars: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

This falls slightly under the category of armchair travel and definitely under the category of seeking true happiness with a big chick lit twist. It’s the seventh book in the Shopaholic series and my favourite of the ones I’ve read. Becky Brandon is living in LA with her family and living the dream or at least on the cusp of breaking through to total happiness and life satisfaction when every relationship starts to sour. She has a timely wake up call and starts to see the value in her closest relationships. It’s chick lit at it’s finest (fluffiest?) and her commentary on the preschool moms was my favourite part.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

We started this book turned movie on a stormy evening and quickly turned it off. It was just too sad right from the beginning with its setting in Germany in 1939. But it’s gotten a lot of buzz and is on a lot of lists to read so I gave the story in the form of the book another go. I’m so glad I did. It’s a sad story but there is no story set in WW2 that does not make one want to weep. But it’s also a beautiful story of the love of reading and family and doing what is right even when it’s socially wrong. It took me a third of the way to really get into the story and then it was hard to put down.

 What have you been reading lately? 

{ 6 comments }

Self-Care for Parents of Littles

It’s been yet another long night. You pour the coffee and by the time you need to press it down, its getting cold and very strong. There’s been a stack of towels emptied from the bathroom cupboard and your three year old is on her third outfit of the day. 

You boil the water for some tea, hoping the caffeine will help you keep up with the energy levels of your four year old. They seem to be non-ending and in fact, grow stronger as yours slowly disappears. 

Or your baby won’t stop crying unless she is being held by you so you set her carseat in the bathroom and have a shower. With a good cry yourself. 

 

self-care for parents of littles

You know this is a season. That one day you will wish for the sweet moments again but some days the meltdowns outweigh the sweet moments.

You know you need a break, to take some time to care for yourself, but you don’t know how to make that happen.

Can we have an honest talk? Over some virtual, always hot coffee ? 

It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated but, friend, it does need to happen. 

When I go too long without taking care of myself, I break. I have used up my reserve and life becomes very overwhelming, very fast. This last year I used up all of my reserve and am slowly building it back up again. This post started as a list for myself of things I want to do again and I thought that maybe some of you could use a similar list.

self-care for parents of littles

I have five simple go-tos that I try to incorporate into our weekly schedule. When I am taken care of,  I can then take care of all that I need too. Call it self-care, call it mother-yourself, call it whatever you need too. And make it happen. Not as yet another thing to add to your list but as something that will enable you to better tackle that list.

Ready?

Take a hot bath (or shower) with an essential oil (lavender is my favourite) or bubble bath. Light some candles or read a book, reminding yourself to let everything go. You may need to push the bath toys out of the way or light the candles so that you don’t see  the messy bathroom. Once a week, for half an hour- its doable and affordable.

Take a break. Brew yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and give yourself fifteen minutes to just sit and sip. Try it twice a day or just before the crazy hour of prepping supper and getting ready for bed. Save a special snack for the kiddos to have at this time.

self-care for parents of littles

Get out of the house by yourself. Or with your little baby, if you need too. Get a simple coffee or tea, journal a few words, read a few pages or just sit in the quiet.

Have a few go-to outfits that you love. It’s much easier to get dressed when you don’t have to think about the process. I’ve shared about my ‘uniform’ here and did a capsule wardrobe over the summer. I’m hoping to share a few of my go-to outfits in the next couple of weeks.

It’s okay to say no. To finishing the Whole30, to hosting and organizing a Christmas cookie swap, to multiple playdates/outings in one week.  Or to anything else that is just too much for you. This is an intense season of raising littles for me, maybe for you too. Or maybe it’s an intense time at work or parenting older children. Sometimes getting up and making it to the end of the day is a big accomplishment on its own, know your own limits and strengths.

Interact with other people

One of the most long-lasting ways I can care for myself and my family is to interact with other mums, other families, and other friends who aren’t mums. We have invigorating conversation at the library while our littles play together, we share food and good words while also feeding our children. The conversations carry on throughout the week as I read a book that was recommended or try a new recipe  or way of doing something. Hosting friends for dinner makes me tidy the house, put together a fun menu and wear something nice. Picking up the phone to text or call a friend reminds me that I’m not alone. It’s a deliberate seeking out of encouragement and then also to give an encouraging word. 

There’s so much more I could say but for now, let’s care for ourselves so that we can better care for those around us.

Do you practice self-care? What are your go-tos?

 

 

 

{ 5 comments }

Just Start (and share a cuppa with me)

I’m sitting at a cozy coffee shop, warm fire at my back and my favourite espresso drink at the ready. It’s a Flat White, I first loved these drinks during our time in New Zealand and was delighted when a local coffee shop made an authentic version.

My drink today comes in a red cup and it’s from a place that rhymes with Warbucks but I’m putting aside my coffee snobbery, enjoying the quiet and the feeling of my fingers on the keyboard again. There’s the faint streaks of pink still in the sky, the last remains of a winter sunrise.

When I write, this is what I picture- hot cups between us, good conversation punctuated by the needs and cries of little ones or not so little ones. We pick up where we left up, sometimes needing several conversations to finish our thoughts.

sayingno

Thank-you all so much for your kind, kind words on my last post. I wish I could reach through the screen and just hug each of you. You make this space special and I’m glad I can share it again with you.

I hope your Christmas was peaceful and lovely and that you’re going into the New Year with a fresh start and new inspiration. If you’re not, I get it.

I looked forward so much to the start of 2015 , 2014 was a brutal year and I just wanted to start afresh.

There’s no magic in changing habits and getting out of survival mode, there’s just one step in front of another.

Making plans, writing down ideas, sketching out goals. And then- just start.

So here I am, with muscles sore from my first workout in a very long time, fingers and thoughts rusty from this hiatus, starting.

I’ll be blogging again, consistently but not as frequently. I’ll be here a couple times a week, sharing thoughts to celebrate the everyday extraordinary. Because I need it as much as anyone. I’ll be talking about what I’m reading, wearing and cooking and I hope you’ll chime in with your recommendations and ideas.

There’ll be words on home and how I’ve learned to love our cozy city apartment. There’ll be thoughts on simplifying our lives so we can notice the beautiful and just be quiet in this noisy world.

Thanks for being here, for continuing the conversations despite the hiatuses. Let’s start again with full cups and good conversation.

My flat white is nearly finished and the sky is a brilliant blue, there’s room at the table for more cups and mess and good words.

Join me?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

{ 19 comments }