I'm trying to clear out all of my "save for later" posts on Feedly but there are just SO MANY. I love the internet, plain and simple. Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving Monday. Moms be like "what day off?", but at least there's pumpkin pie :)

I definitely want to try these DIY light fixtures. They look so much like the WAY more expensive versions!

Talking to your kids about death.

This whole house is, just, wow.

c/o Apartment Therapy

Do you do meal planning? I've thought about it but it feels too rigid. Here's a cool template to shake things up. Might try!

I dream of an all-white house but I'm so stressed about choosing the wrong shade of white! How not to.

I appreciated these 5 strategies to raising pastor's kids who love the church.

Dessert crush: Green tea and white chocolate tiramisu! What the what!

c/o A Beautiful Mess
 Every parent I know laments that they have too many toys, or that their kids rarely play with the toys they have. Here's 10 toys every kid should have. Hint: they're simple and timeless and you can throw the rest away!

ps - 10 tips for toys in condos


saving ALL THE MONEY - personal upkeep

Once upon a time I was the girl with the expensive shampoo. Really, the expensive everything within the realm of toiletries, but the shampoo was really the defining moment. I was leaving home for university and of course defining myself and I distinctly remember buying the $30 bottle of shampoo and thinking THIS IS WHO I AM NOW. Scary, right? But I think some of you know what I'm talking about. Something about becoming mature, living on my own, starting a fresh chapter, becoming an independent woman (who was still solely dependent on her parents and student loans, but hey!), suggested that I start paying the big bucks for my shampoo. And my make up. And my hair cuts and colour. And my everything.

Why was I suddenly only satisfied with $28 concealer from a department store and $150 highlights from the nicest salon? Because culture tells us that being a woman means having and doing expensive things and I bought that lie hook line and sinker. Somehow I felt more grown up and more valuable because I had these expensive things. If I'm honest, the vast majority of the expensive personal products I had were no better than their affordable counterparts, but they felt better. What does the Bible say to these notions?

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness

1 Timothy 6:6-12 covers it all. Why was I buying these expensive things? I was looking for contentment in them. Desiring to be rich. Senseless and harmful desires. Loving money. And God says FLEE. 

There are always idols to worship, on any side of any debate, so I won't pretend that minimalism is the solution to the world's problems or to sin in general. It's not. Saving money is great, but that can be obsessive for some people. Some people reading this need to hold their finances with a looser hand, to give more than they're saving, to stop putting their every hope in their savings account. 

But that was definitely not my problem when I cut myself off from expensive personal items, so for me it was freeing to let them go. The added bonus was that we saved a whole lot of money! And along the way, in my heart, I saw the idols I was worshiping. My makeup bag was not my identity, Jesus was! Here's a break down, if you're interested in saving money in the realm of personal upkeep. As always, what works for me may not work for you and this is just one girl's journey.

Shampoo/Conditioner (Savings: $180/year) 
Before: Salon brand products $20/month.  Now: grocery store, cheapo bottle. $5/month.
Hair still seems healthy, soft, smells nice, easy to brush through after a shower.

Other Hair Products (Savings: $40/year)
Before: Salon brand products $50/year. Now: Aussie products $10/year.  
Hair seems identical, and I love the smell of Aussie. Can't tell a difference at all.

Makeup (Savings $80/year) 
Before: MAC makeup: $100/year. Now: Joe Fresh makeup: $20/year. 
The MAC concealer was great, especially for acne which I no longer have, but everything else is identical in quality.

Highlights/Hair colour (Savings: $550/year)
Before: approximately $100 every 2 months. Now: I'm back to my natural colour with ombre tips ($50, once) to lighten things up which were a one-time-only expense as I don't cut my hair often. Ombre is the most low maintenance hair style out there, aside from doing nothing to your hair. It gives colour and interest and brightens up your hair, but as your hair grows you don't need to keep it up. I loved being a bleach blonde, but it was too expensive!

Manicure/Pedicure (Savings: $100/year)
I have never paid for these but I know they're popular, so I figured I'd throw them in. Even if you only get them a couple times a year, you could save a lot by cutting them out!

Eyebrow Waxing (Savings: $50/year)
Before: $8 every other month. After: I do them at home.
At $8 per visit this seemed super affordable, until I started waxing my eyebrows at home. $45/year isn't the largest savings but it's still a nice dinner out!

These are just some ideas to cut back. There are a million ways to save, but I found I was consistently spending a lot of money on personal upkeep even once I began cutting back in other areas. So much of the spending was careless and tired to the root lie that it was more womanly or mature to have these expensive products. On top of this beautiful realization, I also saved $1,000/year by making these changes!




It's been a while since I've shared a mélange post (or any post, really), so if you're still here, thanks for your patience! Turns out when I imagined my schedule suddenly freeing up as my kids began school, I was looking at a mirage. The schedule doesn't clear out, their needs don't disappear, and intentional life at home doesn't become simpler. But once in a blue moon the kids still go to bed at a decent hour and my hubby has hockey and I'm not exhausted, so binge-blogging! First up, links to love from around the web:

Parenting in Sweden. This post reminds me of everything we loved about Stockholm this summer (and how I'm behind on posting our vacation pics!). Long live Scandinavia!

I love when Apartment Therapy house tours feature homes near us! I want to be neighbour buddies with this beautiful apartment (heart eye emoji)

I have such a black thumb when it comes to gardening, so I loved reading about Zerographica. aka AIR PLANTS. Where can I buy some in Montreal!?

c/o Little Green Notebook

Hockey season is just around the corner! Here's 10 Canadiens story lines to follow.

I don't have teens yet, but I'm a fan girl of anything Rhonda writes on parenting, and this post on Staying Connected To Your Teen caught my eye.

As a pastor couple, B and I do a fair bit of counseling. 5 Ways to Minister to Women in Crisis was a great read.

Michelle over at Roasted did a great article on a new local paper shop called Boucle & Papier and I can vouch for this shop as being one of the sweetest most inspiring spaces! And the owner, Jessyca, is lovely. We've already bonded over being moms of three in 2 bedroom condos and once you've got that, well, what else do you need? Visit Boucle & Papier @ St. Laurent and Fairmont.

c/o Boucle & Papier
I ask Lily every day how school went, and I usually get a bland answer. This article gave me some tips on getting better conversations about school going.

I'm biased as we pastor a small church and have only every wanted a small church (not that we don't want growth! but as growth happens, let's plant more churches!), so of course, I loved this article on the large need for small churches.

This asian chicken salad looks great for lunches!

c/o Baked Bree


parents kissing! ewwwww!


A little while ago during a long family outing the kids ended up with my phone. It happens! Especially when long days are drawing to a close. Usually it's 30 pictures of Lily's arm or ultra close ups of Oli's Rainbow Monkey, but I really loved what they captured this time. Especially the picture in the middle ;)

I remember as kids, friends talking about walking in on their parents kissing and how traumatizing it was and another friend chiming in with wisdom beyond her teenage years. I'd rather walk in on that than them fighting. True words. Long live the public makeout!


YUL EAT Food Festival

Last Monday we packed up the kids and headed to Old Port for the YUL EAT food festival. Any time Brad is off we aim to do something as a family, and we always try to find events with free admission. This was an awesome combination of both. We took the metro - an event in itself as our kids love the subway - and set out to have a fun, hot day.

Champ de Mars is such a beautiful metro station. Go figure, it's the entry to one of the most beautiful parts of Montreal!

There were some incredible food trucks at YUL EAT. They even had one with a wood burning oven for pizzas inside! We got fried duck legs from Au Pied du Cochon's truck (only $4!) and Grumman tacos. So delicious. We fed the kids before we left and gave them tastes of ours and then treated them to a $1 baby cone at Noble Cafe on the way home.

The lines weren't too bad at all for a food truck festival, though the heat was probably the reason. But they had these incredible stations with fans blowing cold mist all over the place so we survived happily!

This September has been outrageously hot for Montreal standards and I'm not complaining. We've loved the extra taste of summer and long weekends. Now that I have a kid in school I really see the weekends as a precious time whereas before it was just like any other day.

To quote Bridget Hunt, "men in uniform? pshhhhh. men pushing a stroller! ". Yep. Hubba hubba.

I used to worry about lighting and making sure everyone was looking, but now I'm just thankful for a picture with all five of us in it. Before long it will be winter and we'll look back on this hot hot month with smiles.