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Christmas Gifts

Buying christmas presents can kind of take the joy out of Christmas. It feels like a fun magical task to me until I enter the mall and see every other stressed out person doing the exact same “magical” task and realize how grossly materialistic and wasteful it is.

Don’t get me wrong I LOVE buying and giving presents, if money was no object my favourite thing would be giving everyone gifts that blow their minds. I’d be like Oprah every time I come over to your house (so if you’re my friend you can pray I win the lottery).

And if you’re a parent you know how quickly kids get over toys and the feeling of please don’t give my kids anymore stuff, even though it really is the best watching them open presents.

Obviously you’re not going to be the lame-o aunt that doesn’t believe in buying more gifts. So how do you give ethically? Secondhand stuff from somewhere like shoppok is awesome but there’s a fine line between giving something creative & personal and being cheap, so buy your gifts carefully. If you don’t want to go down the second-hand route you can always try and get a little more creative with your purchases. Think a little outside the box, and maybe buy something that will make them laugh today, and in 10 years when they dig it out a cardboard box of old toys! How about getting the whole family made into custom bobbleheads, it may well just bring a smile to more than your niece or nephew’s face and if they throw them away, Mum and Dad could probably find a shelf for them!

Still not on-board, well here’s some more ideas for ya.

Craigslist: Giving used toys can feel kind of weird, but not if they are unique & old. On Craigslist I’ve found nice handmade wooden trucks, vintage fisher-price toys, rocking horses, dollhouses, search “vintage playmobil” there are some cool camper vans. You can use a Craigslist Search Engine to find loads of different types of toys so it’s well worth a look!

Dress up box: Last year I did this for my nieces. I went to the thrift store and found a vintage suitcase and some funny old lady hats, glasses, and jewelry. Went to a kids consignment store and got fairy wings, a tutu, & some animal masks and put it all inside the suitcase.

Outdoor Equipment: After Christmas is over, we don’t have too long until the sun is upon us again. Instead of buying your children gadgets that will keep them away from their source of vitamin D and significantly reduce their activity, look at some fun trampolines or swing sets for sale. This is sure to entertain them for hours outside and guarantee a good nights sleep after being worn out from outdoor fun.

Waitress: For my niece who loved to play restaurant at the time I got her a little apron (can’t remember where from, probably the thrift store…) then I got a receipt book from the dollar store & a pen the size of her forearm. I ironed on felt letters to the front of the apron that said “Elisabeth’s Diner”.

DIY Crown: If you know little girls that are anything like Poppy, you seriously can’t go wrong with an extravagant princess crown & magic wand. I know this isn’t everyones strength but if you enjoy getting your DIY on, here is a great crown DIY. Poppy and I made something similar 3 years ago (using elastic instead of a ribbon and we added obnoxious jewels) and she stillllll uses it when she plays princess. You could easily make this wand with felt, a glue glue, and a dowel (they sell tiny wooden dowels like this at Home Depot).

Craft Supplies: I always appreciate this gift because it’s not another toy in their bedrooms. Construction paper and markers or watercolour paints is a great gift. If you want to get extra thrifty thrift stores (around me at least) always have unopened packs of coloured paper or envelopes (kids freaking love envelopes). If you don’t want it to look so “secondhand-esc” take the paper (or whatever) out of the package and tie some twine around it and make a box full of random craft supplies.

These are mostly girly idea, because I haven’t bought many boy gifts before, so if you have fun ideas for boys, please share them! But hopefully either way this just gets your mind thinking outside the box.

Realistically, not everything you own is going to be used or homemade. Here some of my favourite toys that our kids haven’t gotten sick of yet and I know they wont for a long time:

Kids Digital Camera

Wooden Blocks (this set is expensive but they are good quality large blocks and they come in a nice wood box, the only toy I let stay out in the family room haha)

Magnetic Tiles (we lost our set of these, I kept them in a little metal lunchbox to take with us to restaurants and we must have left them there! So their on the list this year.)

Garage (my friends 2 year old son was obsessed with this, so I bought it for Skip and he is equally obsessed.)

Animals (also on the list for this year, we had a big box in Mexico and they both loved them. I liked that Poppy could be super creative playing with them.)

MP3 player (We got an Mp3 player for Poppy in Mexico when we were spending hours in the car (and because you can buy a knock off iPod Shuffle for $4) We loaded it with disney songs and she uses it all the time.)

Bedroom Refresh Reveal

This past month we teamed up with Canadian Tire for the CANVAS Room Refresh in our bedroom using all furniture and decor from their fall/winter Living Collection. Changing up spaces in our home is something I do on the regular, so I was pretty excited to tackle this space. Our bedroom has this nook in it that I use as my office and it never got set up properly because it wasn’t a priority since I was the only person using that space. Now that we’ve refreshed it with CANVAS I feel like it better reflects my style and it’s a space that I really enjoy being in! I absolutely love all the new office furniture that I managed to find online. Let me share the details with you on what we did.

First we covered up that old fake wood paneling with a shiplap wall, and left its natural wood colour, which ended up going well with the wood details on the furniture. It took us a while to decide if we wanted to stick with the wooden theme. At one point a peel and stick mural wallpaper was on the table, but we fell in love with how this shiplap blended into the room. We used 1X8 pine boards screwed into the wall. Honestly, this has to be the easiest way to do a feature wall, especially since we decided not to paint it. We just added moldings on the sides to keep it looking tidy.

Then the furniture was moved in. Storage space was a priority to me so I chose the CANVAS Copenhagen Desk and 2 CANVAS Copenhagen Bookcases to arrange together almost like a unit. This gives me tons of drawer space and the shelves fit my printer perfectly (not included in the picture because it’s not photogenic haha).

I had my followers on Instagram vote on whether the CANVAS Rope Mirror should hang by a rope for a more rustic look, or if it should be more modern without. The majority decided it should have the rope and I love it!

Product links for this area:

The other area in our room that we wanted to refresh is the wall opposite of our bed that has the TV on it (I would take the TV out altogether, but David likes to watch movies here every once in a while). If we’re going to have the TV in our room we can at least have it on a nice looking unit and CANVAS had one we both really liked that is super practical with all of the storage for electronics and cords.

Before, we had this coffee table and rocking chairs here that I liked but they just weren’t practical. We never sat in them and they took up a lot of space. Taking them out so we could bring the TV lower onto the unit made a lot more space in our room.

We covered up the pocket door with a curtain which makes the area look cleaner and more relaxing. Also, because we need a light in this corner of the room, I feel like it’s not as weird to have a floor lamp in front of a curtain, as floor lamps are very flexible and can be positioned anyhow, whereas before it felt a little strange to place a lamp in front of a door.

I decorated with more of these CANVAS Market Baskets because, well, I love the look of them and they are great storage for remotes and other things we want to hide.

This area just feels cleaner and more modern now. It was some simple changes that really made us enjoy our bedroom a lot more!

Product list for this area:

You can see more CANVAS Room Refreshes with Jillian Harris at

This blog post was sponsored by Canadian Tire, I’m always pleased to get to work with companies that I’ve loved for years.

Skookum Festival

We spent this past weekend at SKOOKUM Festival in Vancouver with Virgin Mobile. It was the first year for this 3 day festival and it was such a fun one! A great lineup of bands, lots of art installations, a kids zone, vendors, and tons of options for food from legit local restaurants.

What really made it top notch was being there as a Virgin Mobile VIP Member. It let us skip the lines, have a private bar in the Member’s Lounge which was covered from the rain and had an awesome view of the stage. Also free pedicabs to and from the festival (which was a long walk to parking) basically just the royal treatment. So now I’m spoiled and won’t be able to do a festival without it 😉 Now I’m convinced it’s definitely better to be a member.

David and I have always been into music and seeing bands live, he is in a band and lots of his friends were performing so that made it extra fun to go spend time there seeing everyone.

We decide to bring the kids on Saturday and they had a blast! It was totally a kid friendly environment, room for strollers, games to play, and obviously lots of room to run around. We’ll be back next year for sure!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nice Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough “Nice Cream”

So nice cream is just a banana version of ice cream, basically ice cream you don’t have to feel guilty about.

For the Nice Cream:

3 Bananas Frozen

1 tsp Vanilla

Chocolate Chips

-Break apart 3 bananas and freeze.

-Once frozen blend bananas + vanilla until smooth, you can add a touch of milk if your blender needs help. I blended mine in the Vitamix (using the tamp) without any liquid no problem. I let the bananas sit in the blender 5 minutes before blending.

-Stir in a handful of chocolate chips, you can either eat immediately or freeze it in a container.

For the Cookie Dough:

-I just followed this cookie dough ball recipe with a couple modifications (Replaces butter with half the amount of greek yogurt, and added less sugar)

-But instead of rolling into balls I flattened it on a cookie sheet and froze it.

-Once frozen I cut it into small squares and topped the ice cream with it.

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