Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Christmas is my favourite season of the year! It is a time to reflect upon the birth of our Saviour Jesus and the hope of salvation He brought to the world. I also savour the happy music, pretty decorations, sparkly lights, yummy food and special times with friends and family. And I can't forget to mention the smells. Oh, the smells! Whether it's freshly baked cookies just out of the oven, a scrumptiously scented candle, a freshly cut Christmas tree or spiced apple cider brewing on the stove, the smells of Christmas are divine! Last year I saw a friend put together what I have come to call a 'Christmas smelly pot'  – for lack of a better term – and let it simmer on her stove top. "Brilliant!" I thought, "I must do this." So I went about creating my own 'smelly pot', modifying it a bit to make the recipe my own. Now my house can smell like Christmas everyday of the festive season!  Here's how to create your own 'Christmas smelly pot'.

Half an orange;
1 apple;
2 bay leaves;
2 to 3 tablespoons of whole cloves;
2 cinnamon sticks;
Splash of lemon juice.

1. Cut the apple in half so that the core makes a pretty star. Stud the orange with some of the cloves. If the skin of the orange is particularly tough, pre-make some holes in the orange with a pointy object (I used a chop stick).

2. Fill a small crock pot with 4-6 cups of water, add all the ingredients listed above.

3. Set the crock pot on low and let simmer away, uncovered. After a few hours the mixture will begin to darken in colour and fill your house with its lovely Christmas aroma. As the pot simmers the water will begin to evaporate. I just add more water a few times a day to keep it topped up.

4. At the end of the day you can place your pot in the fridge overnight. Take it out the next day and reheat for more smelly goodness. I usually use my smelly pot for 3 to 5 days before making a new one.

Note: Although all of these ingredients are edible, I have not tried tasting this concoction, nor would I recommend it – even though it does smell good enough to eat!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A room for baby

Well it's hard to believe my due date has come and gone! Still no baby in sight, but my husband and I are easy-going people so we are patiently, yet excitedly awaiting his arrival. In the mean time, I've had lots of time to create a special little spot in our home for baby to call his own.

Even before we were expecting, I knew I wanted white furniture. It is so fresh and clean-looking. Also, being that the room isn't very big, I didn't want to overpower it with dark, heavy furniture. The white crib and change table we found at Baby Shack, a boutique baby store in Whitby, Ontario. I think it was the most affordable set they had on display, but it was exactly what I wanted!

The inspiration for the room started with the artwork below. I discovered the artandphilanthropy shop at and fell in love! The also have a great website and online store here.
I love the colour scheme and the woodland creatures! So adorable. I got a great deal on the frames with some coupons at Michael's.

Next I went shopping for coordinating accents. I found lots of great stuff at Bouclair (polka dotted pillow, drapes, teal lamp shade, teal basket, wicker hamper and garbage pail). The leafy pillows and polka dotted crib sheet are from Zellers – sometimes you find great things in unexpected places!

The rocking chair is a treasure from my mother-in-law. She rocked all four of her babies in this chair and I love that I will rock our baby in it too. The beautiful afghan on the back of the chair is a hand-made gift from a talented woman I work with. The sweet pea water colour on the wall is painted by a dear friend. Her nickname for me is sweet pea and she made this for me a few year ago. It fits perfectly into the colour scheme of the room! So many special treasures.

And the treasures continue. The side table and milk glass lamp are keepsakes from my grandparents' farm house. They just recently sold the farm and moved into a retirement home. I am thankful to have these pieces from the homestead where they raised their family. My husband repainted the table to a brighter white and added a new handle on the drawer. He also spray painted the base of the lamp from brass to white and I purchased a new lamp shade to match the room.

The wall shelf holds more memorable keepsakes. Paddington bear is my husband's from when he was a child. The red and green wooden music box is an adorable gift my friend brought back for baby from her trip to Rome. The Bible verse (Psalm 25:4-5) mounted on wood is a special verse from my days at Bible College. It is a life verse for me and I hope it will be a meaningful verse for our baby too as he grows up. 

The white picture frame isn't so much a special treasure, but it is a pretty cool garage sale find! I bought it for 10 cents and had my husband spray paint it white. Turned out well I think!

So, come on out little baby, your bedroom is waiting and your mom and dad can't wait to meet you!