Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Thoughts on Perfectionism and Living in the Moment {with a dash of DIY Throw Back Thursday})

In my thirty one years of life (countdown to 32 has officially begun, Shhhhhh.) I have learned that we ourselves, can be our own worst critic. 

From my experience, I have found that as I have aged and mellowed out, that I no longer feel the need to compete with the person next to me but only with that person staring back at me from the mirror. 

This of course, could be amazing if every day I woke up challenging myself to do 100 more sit ups then I did the day before (Which most days would be zero) Or, it could be amazing if I woke up every day thinking, "I'm gonna love people better then I did the day before!" 

I am all about setting goals, and becoming a better person, but sometimes it becomes a juggling act so big that I end up looking like a clown ready to drop all the balls.

Maybe you are like me too?

 Maybe you are tired of struggling to be perfect in every way as well. The perfect employee, the perfect wife, the perfect friend, the perfect mom, the perfect housekeeper, etc, etc, etc...

I'm pooped just thinking about all the things I will have to DO to be the perfect me.

Sometimes I look around me and realize that by competing with myself I actually end up feeling like I'm not loving the moment, or today or myself.

Does that even make sense?

I look at my to do list, the emails I need to respond to, the friends I haven't seen in a year, and the dishes I still need to do and I get overwhelmed trying to be the best me.

They say the only person you should compete with is the person you were yesterday, and yet what if that still isn't good enough for recovering perfectionists?

 Although, I understand the sentiments of that saying, I am all too aware that that way of thinking can be Kryptonite for all of us recovering perfectionists out there in this "do-more-be-more-world".

Ironically, striving, can be debilitating after a while.

A long time ago I decided that I didn't want to be "perfect" by society's standards, but for some reason, at times, these terribly high expectations for myself creep up and into my life.

For example, I want to have a drop-in-any-time-kind-of-house and I want to have that natural-and-effortless-makeup-and-hair but I also really, really, really want to be that doting Mama and loving wife, while juggling being a dedicated business woman who miraculously quits work in time to tuck the babies in to bed at night. Not for society, not for anyone else, but just for me.

For all of you who can relate, Im pretty sure the the problem lies in never being satisfied in who we are today, if we are constantly in competition with who we were yesterday.

So today, I am here, saying that I'm done with the subconscious competition with myself and the constant striving to be "perfect". I don't want to be better then the "Me" I was the day before, because that girl, the one yesterday, she tried her very best. 

I'm certain of it.

She worked hard and loved hard and gave Life and loving her all

If She tried to outdo herself every dang day, she would one day wake up 80 years old and be so perfect She would finally wish to smudge at her perfect-flawless-effortless-makeup and finally yell at the perfectly-raised-children-for-once-in-her-whole-long-lovely-luxurious-perfect-life. 

See, because, by then She would have had so many days to be better then the She who She was the day before. ;)

Following still?

Instead, I have decided, that I want to focus on embodying grace every day.

Instead, I want to celebrate my accomplishments more. Both in my personal life, and my home life and my career life. I want to focus on how much I have done and how much I have loved when I was the yesterday "Me". I want to give the Me of the past, the present and the future, the gift of unlimited grace. 

Today I am starting here. 

I am throwing away the idea that I have to DO so much around here in this house. Other then the love of "doing" for others, I am tossing out my to do list. Besides, I have a back up copy in a file, tucked away in my over thinking perfectionist brain. ;)  

Today I am focusing on the past and how great it has been. 

Care to join me? 

Today I am looking back and high fiving the Me from yesterday and last year and the year before that.  

I invite you to do the same! It is sooooo liberating!

I promise you'll look back and really like that person who has made it through life's trials and hardships.

 Today I am celebrating my personal journey.

Today I am looking back and smiling at the girl who found bravery, courage, determination, kindness and all the other lovely attributes that make me "Me". I don't want to compete with her, I just want to embrace her. To celebrate her and to offer myself then and now, so much grace.

Grace not perfection.

In honor of looking back, I wanted to share some pictures with you. Pictures of our home and our hard work, but mostly to show you that things take time. I wish I had of enjoyed the reno journey more instead of looking forward to the next day, the next step, the next project and who I would be the next day.

Projects are so much better when you enjoy and embrace the moment. 
Building a house takes time, building a family takes time, building a career takes time and building the you that you want to be takes time. 

Things don't happen overnight.

THAT I believe in.

Sometimes we have to look back to see how far we have come. Sometimes we have to look back to high five that person we were and that truly awesome person we have always been. Sometimes we have to celebrate the accomplishments.

Perfectionism is not the goal. Competing is not the goal. 

Enjoying the journey is the goal while loving who we are; and offering grace in the moment, is the ultimate goal.

So without further ado and self exploration, here is a glimpse into our DIY journey. Here are some proof in pictures that time and perseverance are amazing things and that the past needs to be celebrated to truly appreciate the present.


March 2011 

(Before we moved in)

April 2011 

(Front entry way - down to the bones)


May 2011 

(Thrifted mirror and table just waiting to be beautified. New light, new door hardware.)

September 2012 

(New floor, new paint, new door trim, new crown molding)

May 2013

(Refurbished banister, newly painted trim and crown molding and a new reflection in that mirror. ;))

Today (Jan 2015) 

(New painted doors, sealed banister, Spring decor and a new attitude on enjoying the here and now.)

Will you join me in living in the moment? In really embracing today? In loving the you of this moment? In leaving personal perfectionism at the front door and not allowing it to take up space in your heart and home? In believing in grace? In being content? 

I really feel that if we loved our circumstances, our family, our home and ourselves more today that we will inadvertently end up being a better person tomorrow anyways.

Irony at it's finest.

"But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. " 2 Corinthians 8:7

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hearty Vegan Soup {All natural, allergen free, gluten free, dairy free}

Its cold here, realllllly cold. 

If you have been following along here for a while, then you know around here, we like to warm up with a big pot of soup.

Since we are only in our first month of the year, we are also still trying to eat as healthy as possible. (Remember all those new years resolutions we all made to feel better, eat better and to get healthy?)

Well the soup we made most recently can help you meet all of those goals, and its yummy enough that I may have even had some for breakfast this morning.

To make this hearty vegan soup, fist find two small children who like to peel and chop and enroll them as your handy sous chefs. If you cant find any, you can always borrow my two apron donning cooks. 

Next, fill a stock pot with six cups of vegetable broth (Add more at the end depending on how you like your soups.)

Then gather the following:

2 tablespoons of Vegeta (or soup flavoring of your choice)
2 medium sized potatoes, NOT peeled, just chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and whole
1 cup of green and yellow beans
I cup of frozen/ or fresh peas
1 large can of drained chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of baby spinach
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Fill your pot with your vegetable broth, soup flavoring and then add your potatoes and carrots, bring to a boil.

Next toss in all other veggies. (beans, spinach, peas and tomatoes) Boil until veggies are starting to get soft and then turn your stove down to a simmer.  Lastly add your crushed garlic, dried oregano and chopped parsley and simmer on low heat for three minutes.

TIP: To turn your soup into a beautifully textured hearty soup, without overcooking, take a hand press (like a potato masher) and lightly press your veggies until they break apart slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then, sit back, get snuggled down, stay warm and enjoy bowl after bowl of this healthy and hearty vegan soup. 

No guilt, just delicious natural flavoring that will keep you coming back for more --even if it is at breakfast time.

PS: Only 52 days and 8 hours until spring, but who's counting? ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Adding Moulding and Trim Work. {A diy adventure in wall paneling}

 I have forever been smitten by moulding and trim work.

Traditional Powder Room by Seattle Architects & Building Designers Goforth Gill Architects

I love how it adds character and interest to any home.
Traditional Dining Room by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Fiorella Design

With a few simple steps, a lot of measuring, cutting, puttying and painting, a room can go from plain Jane to pretty freaking amazing, if you ask me.

Traditional Home Office by Atlanta Interior Designers & Decorators Debby Hall


Now, because I love all types of mill work, it has been hard to decide which kind is my favorite and which kind I can talk the hubs into and add to the walls in This Little Estate. 

Some style of wall treatments feel more relaxed and famhouse-like and others give a traditional feeling to a room and have the amazing capability of making a space feel regal and custom.
Traditional Staircase by Danbury General Contractors Blansfield Builders, Inc.

And then, there is beautifully, bright painted moulding that can add texture and drama to a space.
Rustic Entry by Traverse City General Contractors MAC Custom Homes

That blue!!!!

When searching the internet for inspiration, I have found so many different types of beautiful moulding ideas, that all the pretty has had me inspired, motivated and very confused.
Transitional Dining Room by London Interior Designers & Decorators Interior Desires UK

Dramatic and rich, or understated and pretty? Which did we want?

We have known forever that we wanted to add some more interest to our builder grade home in the form of trim work, but deciding on what kind has been holding us back from actually moving forward with our trim work dreams.

We have all ready replaced all the baseboards in our home from the one inch type we inherited when we purchaced it three years ago, and we slowly added crown moulding to most rooms as well.

Traditional Entry by Edina Design-Build Firms Great Neighborhood Homes 

Finally, after taking into account that our crown moulding is more traditional and our personal style is more laid back, we decided that this kind of moulding suited our style and home best.
Traditional Hall


That was a hard decision!

The first room we wanted to tackle was our family room.

(And obviously, cause we are crazy and stuff, we decided to start this project late one Sunday night -- on a whim. Please excuse the dark mobile phone pic and pics to come in following posts. Night time is DIY time in this house. ;))

 This is the room that gets a lot of use from our busy family.

 We kick up our feet and watch tv here in the evenings. The kids destroy this room with toys and crafts and there are usually balled up socks and Barbie paraphernalia in every corner of this big open space.

Because this room is a hard working one, we are married to our well loved leather sofas. 

Hello! Spilled drinks and messy hands don't stand a chance to worn in leather!

Even though our furniture might not fit the exact style we love, we knew that by adding moulding to this room, we would make a big impact and give the room much more character.

win win!

We decided on taller moulding for this room. Basically 5 feet high. Our thought is that by adding height to our big empty television wall, we will in turn balance the other side of the room where we added this dual built in desk.

We also figure that by adding five foot high moulding, we could take it right to the edge of where our walls shoot up to our second story.

We are presently in the middle of this project and have been sharing our mess and triumphs on Instagram. 

But this little gem, I saved for you guys to enjoy, right here, large and in charge on your big computer screen.

Isn't he sweet?

We cant wait to show you how this room is transforming and to share all the tips and tricks we have learned along the way. 

Now, back to the saw and the on going job of painting, painting and more painting!

Im so excited! 
or that could be the paint fumes.

What kind of moulding and wall treatment is YOUR favorite?? :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

A journal/diary/recap of our 2014-2015 Holiday!

Hey there! Long time no talk!

Christmas has long come and gone at this point and we have been busy as ever over here enjoying some much needed down time.

 We swept up, vacuumed up  as well as endlessly and carefully collecting all of the little needles from our Christmas greenery and then we quickly and haphazardly stuffed it all away in bins marked "Christmas".

You know you do it toooooo!

And then, because we were so exhausted after doing THAT, I took another few weeks off from doing anything "extra" or anything more strenuous then doing up my pants.

I'm trying to get back into the swing of responsibility but my bed keeps calling me to hit snooze and those darn Ferrero Roche's keep begging me to dig them out from the depths of the freezer where I hid them from the ravenous-chocolate-loving-Mama of the house.

So, to counteract this post holidaze thing I have going on, I thought I would do something productive and share with you what we did with our subsequent-three-days-off-in-a-row/the-most-time-we-have-spent-together-since last-year/Christmas-vacation.

A little recap of our lives and the things I want to remember most of all.

Firstly, I got all enlightened after during the busiest months of my career. I decided to enroll my awesome hubby as my assistant and to try my hand at coloring my own locks. 

Everyone wants to look good for Santa. ;)

My bald husband may have just landed himself a new job as "hair holder". 

We started off the holiday season  by visiting every toy store within an hour radius to ensure that we knew what Santa's stock of 2014 would be like.

Mama wanted a gift of her own....

And the whole famjam pitched in!


We cant wait to show you what we were up to! A little farmhouse feeling is coming to This Little Estate! Yahhh!

Other then teaching the kids the importance of hard work, I have also been trying, all year long, to teach our children the value of some values we hold dear to us.

#1 How to work together as a family. The kids nailed it in our above project.
#2 How to look on the bright side in all circumstances.

 We had snow come down in heaps in mid November before we were prepared for it. After we had all gotten some whining out, we decided quickly to "Choose JOY!" instead of complaining.

"I choose joy" was written all over our home lately to remind us.

Please ignore the above booty shaking photobomb.


Our Christmas elf: Lloyd, came to visit us on the first day of December . 

He brought with him his sister who we named "Lucy" and they had way too much fun causing mischief throughout the holiday season. 

And yes, even though we love our dear little elves, we do think they have a creepy attribute about them. ;)

I really hope Santa doesnt read blogs. 


During the month of December we showed you our CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR, but as always wanted to keep it real here too.

So here you go. This is what my days off looked like in the month of Decemeber! Catching up on six days worth of layers and laundry! 

See? You and I live parallel lives..


We tried to teach our five year old daughter the concept of subtraction this year.

Somehow I can hear my husband laughing quietly to himself somewhere as he reads this. Truth be told, I am not amazing at math.

Every morning though, my little girl would hurry downstairs to our kitchen chalk board where she would subtract another day from the month of December. The count down to Christmas day was such fun this year. 

I feel an annual tradition coming on!

 Speaking of traditions, this right here is becoming more of a habit and one I hope sticks as a mother and son tradition.

I am always aiming to share the outdoors with my children and to establish a love in them for getting out and enjoying what this world has to offer us. This month we endured a blessing in disguise when one of our two vehicles broke down and we were left to really enjoy the mild month of November... with two feet and a heart beat.


We ran all over town in December and found ourselves enjoying corners of our city that were the absolute best.

It wouldn't be December without every store in town handing out candy canes. We didnt mind. 

In fact, who knew that candy canes were in such high demand?

I think my favorite part about the weeks leading up to Christmas was the time, though fleeting, where we got to reflect on the reason for the season and to fill our hearts with gratitude for all of our many blessings.
 (Candy canes included)

During the month of December we gorged on all kinds of sweets and treats and candy canes and worked it all off with long walks and daily walks to our near bye pond.

Some mornings were eerily foggy and mild.

And other mornings were crisp and cold.

We loved seeing how with every passing week the weather and landscape changed at our beloved spot.

Whatever magical weather the day time brought, the evenings tried to outdo it.

I remember climbing to the highest window in our house to snap this picture. I recall the kids laughing as I teeter tottered on the back of our couch trying to capture this beauty too. But when I look at this picture today I mostly remember how in awe I was (and still am!) at the breath taking colours that we get to experience when the sun says farewell in the evenings.

There were so many beautiful sunsets, that it made the early night times much more endurable.

For some reason, my creativity grows wild when darkness starts at 5pm every night. Maybe it is the length of the evening, maybe it is the time spent on Pinterest? I really couldn't tell you. All I know is, I finally got my lovely husband on board to go cut some boards so we could pursue some new projects in 2015 together.

The whole holiday season reminded me that our lives would be so much more boring without these three little adventure seekers by our sides.

(Don't even get me started on the COST of this blurry-fake-smile-filled-photo from our local mall)

Cause remember? I'm choosing joy over here and everything surrounding the taking of this blurry picture was anything but joyFULL.

Sometimes traditions have no dollar sign or sanity marker attached to them.

 PS: Thankyou to all the people in line who ignored the way I bribed my children with Halloween candy and promises of every gift they put on their Christmas list.

Santa was great and all, but we have been trying to relay to our children the importance of this holiday season and why.

Luckily, they attend a lovely school and they were involved in a tear inducing performance that had Jesus's birth at the center of it all.

I mean, we cant really help what their grandparents do.

I had another chance on Christmas eve to teach the children that this time of year should be about giving, not necessarily receiving.

We followed The porch project  ideal and left some gifts on some unsuspecting door steps. 

Goodness knows we were blessed back with so much giving on our own front porch this year. Thank you friends!!

At this rate, neighbors around here are going to soon think that we are robbing Purolator trucks.

On Christmas Eve I put all reason behind me and took the children to our churches Xmas eve performance..alone.

 We survived on a string of good luck (ie: I found more Halloween candy at the bottom of my purse to bribe them with) and everyone sitting around us was gracious enough to turn a blind eye to my three very excited wiggly hooligans.)

Every Christmas eve we go to my in laws for a feast. One we  look forward to all year long. They are Polish, and I swear that "Polish" translates into "the best darn cooks on planet earth".  

Cause guys, seriously, they are.

Which in turn means we always go to bed super late on Christmas eve, completely stuffed to boot!

The kids hit the sack at 11pm, too excited after opening all their gifts at the grandparents, and the hubs and I stay up till 2am eating Santa's cookies bringing up the wrapped gifts from the hiding spots all over the house.

I love soaking in those early hour mornings when it is just my main man and I. Those are probably some of my favorite memories through the year. Just us and our tired excitement as we put out gits and discuss Christmases past.


This year the brother and sister combo of Lloyd and Lucy stayed an extra few days after Christmas to return to the North Pole/ mommy and daddy suck and forgot to make them go home to Santa.

The kids thought is was great that the elves got to hang out for the whole Christmas day!

Because we stay up so late the night before, the kids generally sleep in till 9:30 -10am.  

Yes, that is heavenly!!!

They know that on Christmas morning they are allowed to open their stockings but have to wait till after a leisurely brunch to open the rest.

 It is like a pajama day all day, and that is another favorite part about our traditions.

We recreate this picture every year and it is my favorite of the slew of pics I have on every photo taking device we own.

Once they are done playing with their new toys and wondering aloud about the toothbrushes and oranges they got in their stockings (we call this "parent-filler-gifts". They are lucky they didnt get paper towel and cleaning supplies again. Stuffing stockings at 2am is daunting work people.) after finally dressing ourselves we pack up the gifts for my side of the famjam and head to my parents house.

My mom always has every square inch of her home decorated for any given holiday.

It is lovely and exciting and so worth the time to look around and see what you can discover on my parents beautiful tree.

(If you want to follow along on a day to day basis you can check out my IG HERE . I've written all about my mama's tree in a past past.)

On boxing day we decided to embrace the fabulous, unusually mild Canadian temperatures and so we embarked on an adventure. 

Me, the three kids, my sister her husband and their family dog.

 It was absolutely lovely.

We even experienced a rare moment where a chickadee ate seeds right off of my sons hat!!

I feel like the kids are finally understanding that by embracing nature they are actually embracing
 peace and joy and a plethora of other amazing emotions.

Nature DOES that.

Beauty and peace is everywhere if you look close enough....

While the kids had a few more days off from school we attempted to embark on some Boxing Day sales.

See? Even Target can give you feelings of peace if you let it.

We planned a new years party for this year that involved our adult friends but also involved their children. That meant, that this year, if everyone invited did indeed bring their sweet babies we would be experiencing 20 kids in our humble abode.

We got this fantastic idea to meet at our local (AMAZING) park to enjoy the light show they had going on. The only issue was, the day of new years was the coldest day of the year --yet!

 We braved the temps though everyone else decided to stay warm (I DONT BLAME THEM)


We saw alllll the lights and experiened the crazy happiness of having every child in our city crammed into one park. We then scat-tattled out of there and came right home to our lovely new year guests.

New years eve is also the day of my sweet friend's 3oth birthday, which means we celebrate both!

A pretty bar cart all decked out in twinkling lights and new years banners is just what we needed to add some pretty to our party.


I love that for the last three years I have gotten the chance to ring in the new year with this beauty in my life. Happy thirtieth birthday once again sweet friend!


Somehow on the last day of the year I get very sentimental.   

You too??

I love mentally looking back at the
past year and remembering all that I am grateful for. 

All that I am grateful for begins with our little family, with this guy and God's grace.

There was nothing better then ringing in the new year with a bunch of excited kiddies and our friends and family who we are undoubtedly grateful for.

Some of my favorite ladies shared the evening with us.

We celebrated "Kids New Year" at 9:30 pm with sound makers (which the parents soon stole and hid out of sight.)

Then we celebrated with copious amounts of food, sips of spirits, good conversation and big hugs after the strike of midnight.


And just a few days after the new year we got heaps of snow that made it finally "feel" like Christmas.


All the children rejoiced.

The last few months of 2014 were a crazy blur of working lots of over time, getting ready for down time spent with family and friends and planning projects for this coming year.

I cant wait to share another year of projects and adventures with you guys.

Here is to hoping your new year is off to a fabulously beautiful and heath filled start and that you are back into the swing of life, wearing pants again and tackling adult hood responsibilities without an afternoon nap. ;)

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