Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 : The Biggest Moments

Whew! 2014, you have been quite the year. The past 365 days have been some of the best, but hardest days of my life. I can honestly say that it's been my most challenging year and full of my greatest adventures. From the way 2015 is looking, it's going to be full of new experiences that will continue to shape and amaze me. Here's a look back at some of my biggest moments of 2014:

My girls and I during our grad photo shoot
Completing my final year of college while pregnant and graduating from my graphic design program with honours

Getting discharged from the hospital

Having my gallbladder attacks behind me by getting the offending organ removed

Dan and I on a summer adventure
Celebrating seven years of being married to Daniel and a decade of being a couple

My darling girl and I apple picking
Going apple-picking and corn-mazing down the valley for the first time

Before and after a month of whole30
Completing my first round of Whole30, as well as not only losing the baby weight, but getting to my lowest body weight since high-school - I'm almost 30 lbs lighter than before I got pregnant

Moments old, little (big!) scrunchy Violet
My biggest accomplishment - giving birth to our precious baby girl, Violet Raine

Daddy and his girl in matching colours
Watching my husband become an amazing father

Violet brings them so much joy
Watching my parents become incredible grandparents for the first time, and Dan's parents continuing to be great grandparents

Our first Christmas as a family of three
Learning how to become a mother and a better wife

Thanks for an incredible year, 2014. I can't wait to see what happens in 2015!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Gallery Wall

This year, I forbid myself from spending on Christmas decor, save for a few items that were $5 or less. We live in a small one-bedroom apartment, and with three totes full of Christmas decor stored in the basement, I couldn't bear the thought of more stuff. Oh, and I wanted to save money ;)

Our living room has a gallery wall arranged around our television. It seemed like a great place to decorate, since I would simply be replacing items on the wall, instead of cluttering up our space. Here's what our wall looks like normally:

… and after a little holiday spruce up:

The only item that I purchased was the "happy holidays" sign from our local grocery store for beans. I snagged the wreath from our bedroom and replaced it with a simple framed image. The skating Santa and Mrs. Claus (who's crazy thin, eh?) came from a Mary Englebrit journal from 2007 and I tacked the page up with a couple of strips of washi tape. I always have a stack of canvasses on hand, and I had one that I was stuck on. I covered it over entirely and started fresh, and made the simple red canvas. I think I may keep it up for longer than just December!

I stuck an artificial evergreen garland and white lights on the top of the bookshelf, along with a set of three wooden white trees that came from Wicker Emporium a year or two ago that I purchased with birthday money. The red "joy" marquee sign was purchased at Target a couple of weeks ago with this year's birthday money. Simple, plain, but jazzes up our space just enough.

Side note: I'm attempting to learn how to use my dSLR in manual mode, so forgive my blurry pictures, would you? There's a learning curve that I'm desperately clinging to and it's taking some serious time.

How about you? What approach do you take to decorating for the holidays? Do share!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Invitation

I'm popping in to extend an invitation to you for this upcoming Sunday. Our church is putting on a community Christmas carolling event that all are welcome to attend. I had fun designing the mailbox stuffer invitation for the event. Please join us if you're in the area!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Ornament Swap

This year, I participated in a fun blog swap organized by Leigh of All You Need Is Love . It was for Canadian bloggers (score!) to exchange Christmas ornaments - great idea, right?

For the swap, I was paired up with Jen of Daydreams & Shoestrings. (You can see what I sent to her in Jen's post on the exchange.) We were encouraged to share our decorating style or theme with our partners. I told Jen that at Christmas, I love to decorate with white, red and natural ornaments and decor. She took that and ran with it! Look at the goodies that she sent me:

Such sweet choices! Two little owls made out of natural fibres, and a wooden tree with the year and occasion written on the back. Even the red bag with the vines and moose was spot on with my decorating style (a bigger shot of it is back at the top of the post). A package of peppermint sticks was a fun addition. The Christmas card was cheery and sweet, too:

To top things off, Jen had checked out my blog and noticed our little nugget. She sent the sweetest little soft penguin for Violet! Thanks Jen, Violet snuggled up to him right away. He's a new favourite around here. V only let me snap one picture before Mr. Penguin started being swung around for dear life.

If you have the opportunity to participate in a blogger swap of any kind, I highly recommend it. I've enjoyed my experience every time that I've been involved in a swap. Canadian shipping is a real downer, with the cost and speed, but the benefits of the swap outweigh that.

Thanks for the swap, Leigh and Jen! Those ornaments are getting me one step closer to being decorated for Christmas :)
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