Friday, 29 November 2013

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

A New Life Celebration

Last night was a night of pure joy. Lots of family, friends and a big celebration of new life.
Both our pregnant mamas had their ultrasounds this week, so we got to see pictures of our new nieces and nephews!! So exciting to see their tiny faces!! We can't wait to meet them.

Our sister Elese and brother-in-law Shaun announced the gender of their new baby, and they did in the cutest way we just had to share!

Elese walked in carrying a huge basket of homemade party crackers! If you are looking to make your own check out how here.
Inside was the special news of our future niece or nephew and a few sweet treats.

We set the dinner table and Elese placed a little cracker on each setting...

Everyone excitedly sat down to dinner and anxiously tugged away to discover:

They had to ask the new Nana and Poppa who looked in their cracker and read:

It's a GIRL!!!

We are so thrilled and excited for our new niece to arrive in April! Loved Elese and Shaun's creative announcement!

Our Mama also made a special surprise dinner theme:

A Baby Dinner! Do you remember Full House and the episode where Becky tells Jesse they are expecting? If not she decides to announce it to him by throwing a baby themed meal..we loved the idea and so had some fun with it:

Timfam's Baby Dinner Menu was: 

Baby backed ribs
Baby carrots
Baby green salad with baby tomatoes and baby cucumbers
Roasted Baby Potatoes
Baby green peas mixed with jasmine rice
and baked beans just for fun!

Dessert was mini cupcakes iced in pink and blue.

What about you? Do you have a creative way of announcing a new life? Share with us!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A grateful heart

"Rest and be thankful" William Wordsworth

It's coming up to American Thanksgiving, and so for all our American friends we wish you and your family a safe and happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.
In the spirit of thankfulness we thought today we would concentrate on gratitude.
What are you grateful for today? Share with us!

We are grateful for...

The blanket of snow that fell last night here in Ottawa. All the trees are covered in inches of heavy snow. As our neighbour said: "It's magical isn't it?" Their is always something special about the first big snowfall.

We are grateful for...

Charlotte's first official Etsy sale! A lovely lady in Toronto ordered one of her adorable kitties! We are all so excited to see it kick off!

We are grateful for...

Being able to walk to daily mass. Our local parish has daily mass, and it is a special treat for those at home to be able to attend daily mass before school. John, Charlotte and Leah all take turns reading and serving.

We are grateful for...

Black Friday sales here in Canada! While we don't have American Thanksgiving to celebrate, we now have the famous and best shopping time of the year! Black Friday! It makes a big difference buying an expensive dress much much cheaper..not to mention all the Christmas here we come!

We are grateful for...

Fresh flannel sheets! We love love love new flannel sheets straight out of the dryer. There is nothing like crawling into bed with soft, warm flannel sheets. It's like being

We are grateful for...

Christmas music on the radio! In our stressed out moments of traffic, hectic driving, busyness etc, it is such a treat to turn to the radio and listen to our favourite Christmas tunes.

We are grateful for...

The new life in our family! Tonight we are celebrating finding out what the gender of our new niece and nephew. We CANNOT wait and are so excited!! We will share with you tomorrow the creative way our sister Elese and brother Shaun plan on sharing the very thankful for our family.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A knitted hat love affair

Winter is fast approaching and with that comes the cleaning, sorting and washing of all our knitted items. One of our favourite knitted hats that we love and wear to pieces is The Olena Hat. It's easy to make, knits up well and looks amazing. What more can you ask of in a knitted hat? We like to make ours in super soft wool, like Cascades merino, or alpaca. Nothing itchy or scratchy for our sensitive scalps. There's nothing like a soft, warm woolly hat on a cold day. It's also a great bad hair day cover up : )

We love the slouchy look of the Olena Hat, and how it looks great with your hair up or your hair down.
One Christmas Leah, Charlotte and our Mama surprised us all with Olena Hats in different colours! Charlotte spun the blue wool in Renee's hat and Leah knit it up. They make amazing gifts and were very well loved. Time for new ones Mama and Leah? wink wink

The Olena hat pattern can be found here
and you might just recognize the styling model!

Do you have a favourite knitted hat pattern? Share with us! 

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Cutest Gingerbread Reindeer

This weekend our papa and brother John spent most of Saturday putting up the outdoor Christmas lights. The result: our A-frame red roofed house is decked out in LED glory. In honour of the debut of the Christmas lights, Charlotte and I decided to make our favourite gingerbread cookies. They are made with Spelt and of course are dairy free. The spin on these cookies is that they aren't just your plain old gingerbread: they are reindeer gingerbread!

All you have to do is take a regular gingerbread cookie cutter and flip it upside down! They are just the cutest and of course taste delicious. 

Timfam's Favourite Gingerbread: 
(adapted from Mrs. Field's Cookie Book) 

4 1/2 cups of spelt flour 
1/2 tsp of baking soda 
1/4 tsp of salt 
1 tsp of ground cinnamon 
2 tsp of ground ginger 
1/4 tsp of ground cloves 
1 cup of margarine 
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1/2 cup of dark molasses 

Preheat oven to 325 ' F
Step 1: Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a medium sized bowl 
Step 2: Using your electric mixer, blend margarine and brown sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat until smooth. 
Step 3: Scrape the bowl and add the flour mixture, blend on low until just combined. 
Step 4: Separate dough into 2 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. 
Step 5: On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll dough out until 1/4 inch thick. With floured cookie cutters cut into gingerbread. Gather, scrape and re-roll dough until all is used. 
Step 6: Bake 9-11 minutes being careful not to brown. Let cookies cool before icing. 

Royal Icing: 

3 tbsp of meringue powder
4 cups of icing sugar
3 tbsp of warm water. 

Mix all together until smooth. If icing is too thick, add more warm water. 

To make brown icing: Use red, yellow, blue and a bit of green food dye. 

Flip the gingerbread man so he's upside down. Using a spoon and brown icing, ice the head and ears. Use a toothpick to drag out the ears a tiny bit. Pipe the antlers, nose and eyes. 

Have fun! 

Friday, 22 November 2013

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Tired of plain old braids?

We love braids in all shapes and forms, but sometimes we just need a little pizzazz, a hairstyle that's new and different. Last night we turned to our studying- hairstylist Leah, and asked if she had learned anything new and exciting. Thank the Lord she did and in a matter of minutes whipped up a fabulous and easy updo. It's perfect for the end of the week, a weekend out, or just because. : ) This updo doesn't have any braids, instead involves knotting your hair.

Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!

Leah's Knotted Updo

Step 1: Part your hair into two sections.

Step 2: Take one of the sections of hair and separate into two. Tie the hair into lose a knot, as if it were ribbon.

Step 3: Keep tying knots until you get to the end of the hair.

Step 4: Repeat with the other section of hair (It will look messy).

Step 5: Cross one section over top of the other and pin in place. Cross over the other knotted braid and bobby pin in place. Tuck any stray or loose ends in with bobby pins.

Voila! Finished!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Christmas gift for a little person? (or little person at heart?)

Miss Charlotte just received great news! It's so very wonderful, we just had to share! In the summer Charlotte sent away a box of her Truly Charlotte softie friends on a journey all the way to the sunny land of California. The destination was Stuffed magazine, a twice a year publication devoted entirely to softies and the artists that create them. After months of waiting an exciting email was opened  and Charlotte told us:

Her cutie pie Viking softie shown here and his lady friend  here are going to be featured in the upcoming Stuffed magazine!!!!!!! : )  : ) We are so very proud!! Happy Dance Time!

Stuffed magazine features fiber artists all across North America. It is a great magazine to look at for ideas, inspiration and gives you info on how and where to find the artists. We will keep you posted when it is published in case you feel like checking it out at Chapters. 


In the meantime, are you looking to get a few items off your Christmas list? Need to find something for that special little one? Check out Charlotte's shop on Etsy and today here is a sneak peek of a few friends, if you are interested in one of these adorable friends, send her a message on Etsy.


Way to go Charstar! 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Beautiful Words

It's a cold, dreary day and it's November. It's not yet Advent, not yet Christmas and we find it so easy to just want to go to bed early and sleep. Instead we have to work, go to school, make dinner, do chores and so how to cope? As you know we love our quotes and they are a huge inspiration to get us through dreary moments. So today we look to words of beauty to guide us through these dark November days.

A few of our favourites..

"Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house"
Henry Ward Beecher

"Faith fills a man with love for the beauty of its truth, with faith in the truth of its beauty" St Francis de Sales

"Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same" Helen Keller

“I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” Anne Frank  

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.” Louisa May Alcott  

"There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness of proportion." Edgar Allan Poe

"Makeup can only make you look pretty on the outside, but it doesn't help if you are ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the makeup" Audrey Hepburn :) haha

"I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect, they are much more interesting." Marc Jacobs

“She walks in beauty, like the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies/ And all that's best of dark and bright /Meet in her aspect and her eyes...” Lord Byron  

Monday, 18 November 2013

The BEST Quinoa Gluten Free Chocolate Cake!

When we first heard about using quinoa for baking, we were grossed out. Yuck! Quinoa is like rice right? How can that possibly work in a dessert? We kind of stayed away from the whole baking with quinoa thing, and it wasn't until Charlotte's friend that we decided to try it. Her art school buddy convinced Charlotte that quinoa makes a DELICIOUS dessert without using any flour, and it is oh so moist! Miss Charlotte was tempted, and so the other night whipped up this recipe. She didn't tell the rest of us what was in the cupcakes, but made us sample and guess. Of course we couldn't tell, and were shocked when she said it was quinoa. Turns out all those other food bloggers were right, baking with quinoa is the best ever and we plan on trying a whole new bunch of recipes!

Benefits of baking with quinoa:
It's a protein, so better for you
It's gluten free
It makes your baking very very very moist!

Give it a shot, you will love it, we promise! : )
Have you tried baking with quinoa? Share with us!

Charlotte scoured the web and found the recipe here: The Best Chocolate Gluten Free Cake

Friday, 15 November 2013

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

What we are into these days..

What are you into lately friends? There is so much out there on the huge interweb that sometimes it's a little daunting. Who honestly has hours upon hours scouting around for the next best item? We don't, but we do have a few items that have been open on our tabs, saved in our Esy, posted on our Fcebook...
We thought we would share a few of them of interest. Check them out and let us know if you are looking/reading/laughing at anything fun these days!

What the Crazy Daisies are into Lately:

Videos we are watching:

When we need a pick me up we watch this amazing video of love that we promise will inspire you. It made us tear up a teensy bit. So beautiful!

This video of a little superstar dancing queen has been played on my (Renee's) computer a few times. She is so adorable and a little bit excited to dance her heart out. So cute!

On our wish list of fun items to one day buy:

this amazing pottery by Jessica Teesdale, we love the woodland and owl mugs

this funny card for all you booklovers! Check it cute.

Rob Ryan's 2014 calendar, we love love his paper cut-outs!

Charlotte has been dreaming of being the next best Ukulele star and so is hoping for one day owning this baby! Who knows maybe she can learn and sing this great song by the lovely Jojo Worthington.

Blogs, articles, things we are reading online:

whatever, Martha, can you believe Martha Stewart dissed the bloggers? Take a read...

Did you know sulfates are really that bad for your hair? Yes we have said it before, but this article explains it again..and I (Renee) was at the hair salon and the stylists all made me promise to never wash my hair with sulfate shampoo again. Sulfates are unnecessary, unwanted and they damage your hair. Leah you are right, oh so right, and I promise to listen to you : )

Our fellow blog reader Duchess of York found this blog The Modern Mrs. Darcy and we say thank you DY! This is a neat blog for booklovers, moms and basically creative gals. Full of smart articles and inspiration, worth taking a peek.

On Pinetrest

sparkly dress is lovely, pretty and Christmasey!

A funny laugh is always needed, and this one is great.

Unsure about making or buying your gifts, check out: Make it or Buy it?

What about you? Share with us!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A filling vegan dinner: Twice Baked Potatoes

We are always on the lookout for an easy meal, as the weeknights are a flurry of getting home from work and school and all of us are met with: exhaustion. Who really feels like cooking a great dinner in the middle of the week? It's a hard challenge, but one our food sensitivities force us to do. Sometimes we don't feel like going to the store and buying more exotic ingredients, we just want to make something easy, fast and delicious. Our papa found the cookbook Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty You Won't Miss the Meat and in it we discovered this recipe:

Twice Baked Potatoes 
(adapted from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores) 

You will need:

5 Russet Potatoes 
12 tbsp of margarine (3/4 cup)
1 bunch of chives-or green shallots 
2 tbs of nutritional yeast
1 clove of chopped garlic 

How to make them: 

Preheat oven to 475' F 

Step 1: Cut 5 pieces of parchament paper, about 12 x5 inches each. Hold each one under running water, then gently squeeze to remove excess water. Wrap 1 potato up in the wet paper and then in aluminum foil. Repeat with the others.
Step 2: Bake the potaotes for 25 minutes. Flip them over and bake another 20 minutes. Remove them from oven and let cool 10 minutes. 
Step 3: Increase the oven to 500'F. Remove the potaotes from the paper and cut them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the filling with a spoon, leaving about a 1/2 inch shell. Place all the potato pulp in a bowl 
Step 4: Add to the potato pulp: Chives or green shallots, margarine, nutirional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper. Mash together until smooth 
Step 5: Spoon the filling into the best looking potato halves and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until nice and golden brown. 

Enjoy with caesar salad!

Check out the great cookbook here:

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Looking for some gift making inspiration?

In our home a fury a gift making happens mid November and doesn't end until December 24. Everyone gets inspired and gets involved. Over the years we have all been surprised by each other's creativity, even our little brother John has made some amazing gifts. When he was ten, John told our Mama that he wanted to tie dye all his siblings t-shirts. And not just the one colour kinda tie-dye, but the multicoloured and vibrant sixty's tie-dye. After finding a lovely friend from WabiSabi to teach them how to do it, John and our Mama surprised us all that Christmas, with colourful tie-dyed wares.
One year I (Renee) walked into a knitting shop mid November and after feeling all kinds of soft and pretty wool, decided on a whim to knit all my gifts. I managed to whip up cowls and hats, finishing them all Christmas Eve. It took many hours of knitting, but was such a joy to see all of my family and friends wearing handmade items.

Last year Leah and Charlotte took a silk screening course, and made us all lovely silk screened and quilted bookmarks and pillows. They are so beautiful and original! Hand drawn images silk screened onto quilted pillow covers. We promise to show pictures soon. : )
What about you? Any creative gift ideas to share?

If you are looking for a bit of early inspiration to get cracking check out these amazing books:

Twinkle Sews is full of beautiful patterns that any stylish girl would love. From party dresses to lovely skirts and tops, this book has it all. It also comes with a CD and printable patterns for sizes 0-16.

Little Birds has over twenty projects that are sure to bring any child or child at heart smile. The projects are all sewn, quilted or stitched. The best part is that each one is by a different artist, and it links to their websites, blogs and etsy.

How to Make Stuffed Animals is a great book full of many projects that are much easier then you think. Sewing the stuffies is easy and great for beginners. This book has over eighteen projects, with patterns and detailed illustrations. Creating stuffed animals is a perfect way to use up any fat quarters or scraps of fabric!

The Party Dress Book is for all those ladies you know who are always looking for that perfect dress. If you aren't into sewing, this book along with a beautiful selection of fabric, makes for a great book for your avid young sewer. It has many different sewing tips and techniques, like how to make pintucks. All the patterns are included in the back pink envelope.

Monday, 11 November 2013

We remember and are grateful...

It's November 11th, and here in Canada we remember and honour all those who fought for our freedom. The first week of November we all start pinning poppies to our left lapel on our coats, a tiny gesture to show that we carry our veterans over our hearts.

In our own family, our dad's grandfather Melford Parcels was in WWI and his sons Delbert and Les Parcels fought in WWII.
A friend of our's from our parish, the lovely Vicki La Prairie, was a visual signaler during WWII and shares her experiences here: The Memory Project. If you have a few moments take a listen as she shares her adventures. The website is definitely worth checking out.

We can't even fathom what it was like for these brave men and women, to risk their lives, their futures, their everything, in hope of a better world.
All we can do is be silent at 11:00 and be grateful, oh so very grateful.

Friday, 8 November 2013

A Friday Ritual

One photo without explanation. A moment captured- a time to be still, to breathe and remember.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Our Ravishing Renee...

First: A list of thankfulness for Miss Renee Mary Michelle as we prepare to celebrate her birthday. :)
We also want to give a special send out to our dear friend the Duchess of York who is also celebrating her birthday today! Happy Birthday, we love you lots!! <3 :) xoxo

We are grateful for

The inner joy Renee possesses, her creative ideas, her amazing writing skills, and her ability to love everyone around her.

We are grateful for...

Renee's faith and how she shares what is on her mind and heart, as well as her constant witness to God's love.

We are grateful for ...

Her ability to try anything, even though it may not be perfect the first couple times. Her persistence is impeccable.  :)

We are grateful for..

Her desire to share her  "wise knowledge "with the people around her (especially with her younger sisters). Where would we be without you? :)  

We are grateful for..

Her generous heart and willingness to give of herself at work, at church, and at home.

We love you Renee!  We are praying that God's joy and light may radiate through you on this very special day! <3


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Our ten tips for homeschooling...

We sat down with our parents and asked them their advice for we give you:

The Timfam's  Ten Tips for Homeschooling! 

1. Find a support group, and if there isn't one-make one! Our Mama was in three different homeschooling groups and then in a neat kind of circumstances, five moms on our street all decided to homeschool and so an Aylmer homeschooling group was born.

2. Research. It does take alot of work, but our parents read plenty of different books on how to educate. They also observed us learning, and directed their teaching style to all our different ways of learning. 

3. Ask for help if needed.  A few of us struggled with learning how to read, do math formulas etc. and instead of getting us tested for learning disabilities, they decided to hire a tutor to help them teach us. They learned that it is okay for kids to not read until ten, it's not the end of the world if multiplication doesn't happen overnight, learning takes time and lots of patience. The tutor was a huge help and stress relief for our parents, as she taught them lots of neat tricks.

4. Create a positive learning environment. We didn't have our t.v. on the main floor of our home, instead it was in the family room, away from where we did school. Our whole main floor became a learning center. Books were and still are everywhere. Our parents created science corners, art centers, and projects galore. At one time we did a huge unit study on the Amazon, and our whole family room wall became an Amazon collage. Even thought we were all at five different grades, our parents just gave us specific work on the Amazon for our level of learning. The dining room table is used for much more then just eating! 

5. Buddy system. Since there were so many of us at different levels, older and younger, our parents led us to peer-teach. Elese and I would help Leah and Charlotte with their assignments, Zac would help them with Math, we all took turns reading etc. We became a unit. We all had chores, charts, and responsibilities to help the other. A big kid and little kid would be on dishes, etc. 

6. Start the day with a family meeting/prayer time. Some morning were rough, we kids wouldn't always get along, but we all knew that the day started in the living room, with our Mama leading us in prayer. We would do the readings for the day, say our intentions and then that would lead us into our lessons. Looking back now, we learned not just prayer on that couch, but how to work through our relationships. We weren't always very friendly first thing in the morning, and so forgiveness was taught. 

7. Look for activities, groups, social events for homeschooling. We took swimming lessons, art lessons, French, music etc. There are so many possibilities! Just be careful to not be too busy, home time is important. 

8. Make time. If you are homeschooling parents, it can be hard to have couple time. Our parents worked at making time for themselves together. Plus it helped having live in babysitters! 

9. Go to homeschooling conferences. They usually happen in the Spring, and offer so much knowledge and support. There are plenty of vendors, with different curriculum, books, unit studies etc. 

10. Enjoy being with your children. Our parents had a lot of fun with us, and we are grateful. We would go on spontaneous nature walks, they cooked and baked with us, played games, did puzzles, did Christmas plays, Holy week activities etc. Looking back, our parents realize that time does go by so fast.Those moments with your busy, young kids might seem like decades when your are in it, but they go by oh so quick. Try to just be in the moment and enjoy your lovely kiddies! 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Delicious Easy Dessert: Jewish Apple Cake

Growing up our Mama made dessert for us all on a regular basis. We would have cookies, different cakes, fruit-there would always be something nice for us kiddies after dinner. Now that we are all older and busy and are either at work or school, dessert is more of a weekend affair. We all take turns making different sweets, and this Jewish Apple Cake is one of our favourites. Our mama makes this in loaves, but it also makes a great bundt cake.
This recipe is easy, quick, and can be made in less than an hour. Plus the best, it can be made with spelt flour and so makes it great for our tummies. If you are looking to make it gluten free, try using a gluten free flour mix.

Our Favourite Jewish Apple Cake
adapted from 


3 and 1/2 cups of spelt flour or gluten free flour mix
1/2 tsp of salt 
2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder 
2 cups of white sugar 
1 cup of vegetable oil 
4 beaten eggs 
1/4 cup orange juice 
2 tsp of vanilla extract 
3 apples- peeled, cored and sliced 
2 tsp of ground cinnamon 
5 tsp white sugar 


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350'F. Grease and flour one 10 inch tube pan. Combine cinnamon and sugar together and set aside. 
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and the 2 cups of sugar. Stir in the vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla. Mix well. 
Step 3:  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with half of the sliced apples and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and cinnamon/ sugar. 
Step 4: Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Super Easy Top Knot

The Top Knot is everywhere these days, and we know why. It's a super easy hairstyle that works great with messy, kinda not clean hair. The top knot also looks artsy and shows that you cared about your messy hair. This hairstyle has been seen on many celebs, hair bloggers and people on the streets. You can wear it to work, to school, on the weekend etc.
Leah discovered a great way of knotting your hair, to create an easy bun. Even Charlotte and I can do it on ourselves, which means you can too : )
 Leah rocks those updos like no other hair stylist we know. 

It's so easy it only takes three steps! Much like our friend the Sock Bun, this is the a great last minute hair do.

Step 1: Gather hair into a ponytail at the top of your head.

Step 2: Separate the ponytail in half and each lightly tease each section.

Step 3: Tie your hair into a knot. Repeat until you reach the ends.

Step 4: Twist knotted tail into a ball, and pin the ends! 

Voila! Have fun!