Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflection: Top Ten Home Projects

(Disclaimer - i have no idea why my html is all screwy and shows me using a variety of fonts, colours, etc - I apologize, I simply do not have the time...I've already spent over two hours trying to fix this... sincerely T)

Ah, the time of year for serious reflection. All over the blog-sphere, there are these "Top Ten" party or linky-links. So in my efforts to blog more frequently, I shall attempt a few of these top tens over the next few days. Here are my favorite home projects from 2010, the ones that gave me the most satisfaction, taught me something new, or simply made my world a better place.

Last Winter

I had a lot of "internal" design work between January and March last year... it was very healthy, but it was an emotionally, physically and spiritually demanding therefore, not much got done around the house. I did however add to our ever-expanding home library.

I think it's in dire need of a do-over in 2011 for sure.

Last Spring

The work that God and I were doing together inspired a strong desire for order. Order in areas that were "dark" and scary in the home needed to be brought to the light.

Like our craft/activity closet. (1)

Thanks to a trip to IKEA and some elbow grease, it is no longer dark or scary.

We turned our attention to our "outdoor rooms" in the late spring.

As a family we did some demo on the eyesore of a brick oven (2) in the CENTER of the backyard. I have no idea WHY it was built there,

but it needed to go.

We cleaned up all the flower beds, walkways and the sunroom (3) got a makeover (for now, new paint on the floor and replacing the roof are in the plans for 2011)

I added a bistro table (4) onto our balcony for breakfasts

and late afternoon iced teas.

Last Summer

Our home took a backseat to all of our activities outside the home - camping, travelling, soccer, etc. We weren't home long enough each day to do more than eat, play and work in the veggie garden. Due to my summer hour switcharoo, at work, the kids’ clubhouse (5) got a face lift. We painted a faux rock design on the floor, added the wooden staging area and painted the walls with leaves and a sky scape. The nursery and preschooler rooms were re-organized as well.

The one indoor project that I did get to, thanks to a house-guests unexpected help, was uncovering my stairs (6) - they still have to be finished, but this still looks WAY better than the nasty hospital green carpet they were covered with.

Last Autumn

In preparing for the new school year, I decided that mom needed a work area too.
This is MOM CENTRAL (7) - yes it is in our kitchen, and yes it doesn't really go with the decor, but it goes with our life and a saner mom, so, I love it. I simply moved the desk that was not being used in our guest room (formerly where our border stayed), added the Accountable Kids plaques andcalendar that I made at the OEYC and voila.

In the late fall, our master bedroom (8) finally got a do-over. My love, for my birthday (in Feb) told me to re-do the bedroom, so took my time, gathered bargains and a plan and voila – I picked a shade of grey called “overcoat” – I found the bedframe and head/footboards on Kijiji, the bedding at HomeSense on clearance, the iron décor piece at Winners for $10; the lamps at Bouclair for $5 each on clearance, pulled pieces from other rooms and goodwill, rearranged the furniture – I found the yellow chair buried in our office, added the purple accents (the feather fronds are from Indonesia) and there you have it, a new room.

On the heels of the bedroom and just before the holidays our front entrance (9) got paintedfinally. (It had never been finished after we installed a door to the basement apartment… so the decor for 3 years includeddrywall/plaster splotches mismtached everything.)


Just as the holiday season began, I took a couple hours and seriously purged and cleaned my china hutch (10) - what a difference!

I only kept clear glass and white pieces (that we actually use) - and tada!

What a year! After going through all my old posts and pictures, wow, a lot of work really did get done in 2010. I realized how inspired I have been by this online community, and I look forward to much more growth andinspiration in the New Year too!

Viva!!! (Greek) to yet another amazing year in 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tears were streaming down my face reading this. I've only been reading this blog for a few months, and of course I don't know Edie, though I feel like I do, her blog has blessed me tremendously in the short time I've been reading it...

I can't imagine going through what she has gone through this week, but she is in my prayers, and i hope if you choose to read her story, it helps bring the reality of this Christ-walk, and Christ-mas to you as much as it did me...
Blessings, t

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


On Boxing Day, my love and I were enjoying a quiet moment with the boys were playing in the playroom with their new acquisitions, i glanced out the window and look what I saw...

that's right, thousands....I'm not exaggerating...thousands and thousands of birds. everytime a car drove by this happened...

it was so weird, they were flying in the sky like this, then landing on the wires and/or the giant trees in alternating patterns for hours.

And then they were gone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

I loved this year. It was peaceful, low-key, relaxing, Christ-centered and Merry. This Christmas we spent time on what matters most to us...

Putting the Focus on "GIVING" rather than receiving. Preparation for the Toy Give Away at our church...

Enjoying the "Sounds of the Season"...The kindergarten class played the First Noel on handbells for the school Christmas Chapel.

Spending time doing things together...We forwent the gingerbread house to make yummy dough cookies - not so yummy - but it was fun anyways. We also played Uno with Geema, Christmas Eve at my sisters, yaya's Greek Donuts, cards, games, the Nativity movie, played with our new gifts like the XBox Kinect and Zhu Zhu's. We snuggled together and loved on each other lots-especially on Boxing Day, celebrating Max's 5th Birthday with Geepa Jim and Nana Jo at home, and a shopping trip in the USA, and a buffet lunch, cupcakes, presents and a movie at home after...

Like spending time with loved ones who couldn't come celebrate at home with us... we went to see Great Aunt Fern on Christmas Eve Day at Albright Manor (after a lunch at McDonald's on the way)

and spending time with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents who could...

matching PJ's (sigh)

Celebrating the Saviour First... we decided not to attend the Candlelight service because the boys have a hard time sitting still for even an hour and dear hubby and I for the past three years have left angry and frustrated with the boys, ourselves and each other. So we had our own beautiful little service at home with the Reading from Luke, the advent wreath and a hymn sing.

Making Christmas Magic...

Sitting down to a big family dinner... (or two)... One of my favourite things to do on Christmas Day is set the table for dinner... and I love having guests that appreciate it :) This year Dear Hubby suggested plastic plates (gasp - but I thought about it and realized, it made perfect sense - thank-you DH.

Making Merry... We had lots of laughter, watched favourite Christmas movies, ate lots of sweets, drank lots of coffee, snuggled lots and kissed under the many kissing balls.

Family Traditions that help us to remember the REASON for the Season... This year my boys got to participate in the "passing of the Christ Candle" when we take turns sharing and reflecting on the past year, God's goodness and our gratitude.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tammara's Plan for 2010

This is the basic plan I'm following for the Week before Christmas to save my sanity and to be able to just relax and enjoy the people and the Season of Christ(mas) in my home. It also helps me to be able to take the quiet moments and reflect on my Saviour, my blessings and my hope. As to the plan, I'm right on track... just need to get ready to head out to visit Great Aunt Fern. My kids are currently "quiet" - a welcome calm in the midst of very hyper-hardly able to control themselves- noisy boy behaviour exasperated by the fact that "It's Christmas Eve Mommy! can you believe it?".. Merry Christmas Everyone!

The Week Before Christmas To Do


þ Wrap Remaining Gifts

þ Finalize Christmas Menus

þ Laundry


þ Last Minute Shopping for Stockings

þ Visit with “Geema”


þ Work Day

þ Costco without Boys

þ Activity with Boys – Advent Books

þ “Date Night”


þ Laundry

þ Make Turkey Noodle Soup

þ Clean: Kitchen; Light Fixtures; Vacuum & Dust/Glass

þ Activity with Boys – Yummy Dough

þ Last Minute grocery Shop for Buns, etc.

Christmas Eve Day

þ Clean: Bathrooms; Kitchen Floor; Bedrooms

þ Take Monica’s Bread; Beef and Bacon out of Freezer

Visit Great Aunt Fern

Activity with Boys: Gingerbread House

Advent Wreath/ Read Luke 2

Candlelight Service

Family Night at Sisters (Andrea)

Letter to Santa; Cooies, etc; Stockings

Menus: The Week Before Christmas

þ Monday – Roast Turkey

þ Tuesday – Italian Restaurant (Big Marco’s Gift Certificate)

þ Wednesday – Chris’ Ham & Cheese Omlette’s with Veggies

þ Thursday – Beef Stroganoff with Steamed Broccoli & Cauliflower

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

þ = Prepped/ Have on Hand

þ Turkey Noodle Soup (made from Monday’s turkey)

þ Croissants with Ham and Cheese

Christmas Breakfast Menu

þ Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee

þ Monica’s Christmas Bread – from Baking Exchange

þ Fruit Platter – Fresh Pineapple, Cantaloupe, Raspberries & Blueberries

þ Tammara’s Home-style French Toast

þ Scrambled Eggs

þ Oven baked Bacon and Sausage

Christmas Appetizers

þ Vegetable Tray

þ Cheese Tray w 5 year old Cheddar; Double Cream Brie & Goat Cheese

þ Jalapeño Poppers

þ Sausage Rolls

þ Shrimp & Seafood Sauce

Christmas Dinner Menu

þ Roasted Turkey with Gravy & Cranberry Sauce

þ Rosemary Beef with Creamed Horseradish

þ Mashed Garlic Potatoes

þ Sweet Potato Casserole – My sister Andrea

þ Christmassy Broccoli Salad – sister Stephanie

þ Pumpkin Pie; Apple Pie w/ Whip Cream

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Home Tour

Well, I know I'm a little late, that most of the holiday home tours are finished, but I'm going to tag onto one anyways :) It's not that I wasn't finished in time, it's the fact that my boys finish school a whole week before Christmas. I don't mind at all, however it means that the busyness of school concerts, and teas, and gifts for teachers and get togethers all happen earlier too. Whew! but now here I am on December 21st and the house is clean, the kitchen is stocked, the gifts are wrapped (mostly) and i have time to sit and blog. :) I've started with the small nativity i have right beside our main tree. It's a simple reminder of what all the fuss is about.

I gave a sneak peak of my decor here back in November just after I had started, but of course I've been "tweaking" all the way! hey! (sad i know). So here's the grand tour...

The Front Step

I got the idea for the lamps from a magazine (maybe style at home?); they used really pretty silver ones. I used what I had, our camping lanterns - still a very festive red. I used some curly willow and have actually tweaked since I took this pick, adding glittery red spikes of hydrangea leaves. I collected the greens from our property and next year, maybe I'll just pull out one or two rather than the vast array of a little of this and a little of everything we have. I liked this mish mash look for this year though. In cutting them down I found the birds nest and added it in.

The Front Entrance

Playing off the naturals and whites of the formal living room, I continued it in the front hall.

I found this wreath at Goodwill for $5 and love it just the way it is, it is hanging right inside the door. The set up for my dresser in the front hall came together over time. I love the natural look of the boughs with white ribbon and ornaments. I also love the way my new Scentsy looks here. The kissing ball I found a few years back and love it here in the foyer.

The Living Room

This was the best pic I could get of the livingroom tree. It does not do it justice. I've collected feather boas from thrift stores for 2 years, and love how this look is coming. So soft and cozy, especially against the browns in the room. I added a boa to our nativity on top of the TV hutch. I'm especially happy with how the garland in the window turned out.

The Family Bathroom

I didn't do a whole lot in the bathrooms. I add my bath and body works holiday soaps, a wreath in the window, a few topiary trees and voila!

The Master Bedroom

Again, since the master bedroom is finally finished it's reno - i didn't need to do much, just add some flourishes (this time purple). Notice how Mary's dress is purple in the globe nativity too?

The Older Boys' Room

Yes, they have there own tree (we inherited it from Aunt Fern). It is full of the mismatched decorations that they've made, the ones we collect for each of them each year, and even a few from when Chris and I were kids.

The "Baby's" Room

Carter gets a fiber optic tree.

The Guest Room

The guest room inherited our old bedding which again looks so nice in here. I added a few blue and copper bulbs and the room is ready for our company on Christmas eve.

The Family Room

The central hub of our celebrating, I aim for cozy and warm. The red and brown and gold is successful for sure. I love the stars on the curtain rod in place of a garland, and the kissing ball (we're a very kissy family).

I love the butterflies (they're throughout the house in little touches here and there) a reminder that we have Christmas because of the rebirth that Jesus provided for us. I pulled out grandpa's ceramic tree, and the garland on the stair rail has butterflies, red and gold and the non santa stockings.

Love the arrangement my mom made for the sofa table, love the niches on the bookshelf behind the tree, another scentsy, my sister's holiday poem and the mask she bought me in Italy this fall.

Love the berry wreath by the wing chair (also goodwill, also $5).

Our "Mantle"

Since we don't have a fire place yet, I've created my own mantle under the TV on the cabinet. I love it, love the birds, love our baby pics in fold frames, I love that the coziness is within view even while watching our holiday favs, and the Sing Off.

The Kitchen

Again, flourishes of Christmas. I made this centerpiece from what I had, will probably make a different one for Christmas dinner. I cleaned my hutch and added some bling, and in the kitchen area I have a wreath in the window, my snowman cookie jar, the holiday cube gift light and a bowl of ornaments - that's enough. Oh and another kissing ball :) I have a rod iron card holder, you can't see it because of the cards though.

The Guest Bathroom

I went with simple green and gold in here. Again, the holiday soap, evergreen scentsy, and a reindeer from Dollar Tree. I found the tree/bowl thingy at goodwill for a dollar, and havent' decided what to do with it yet.

Anyways, that's the jist of it. I'm done, including tweaking. It's time to start enjoying the boys' vacation, before it's all gone. Happy Holidays!

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