Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 in Review

2014 was a different kind of year. My father's death at the end of 2013 meant a lot of firsts for us this year. We managed, but 2014 was a sadder, more reflective, and slower paced year. I didn't have the energy to tackle any major projects. I just puttered along. 

It was a miserable winter with snowstorm after snowstorm. I have endless photos (and memories too) of piles of snow, shoveling snow, sun on snow etc. The snowstorms always seemed to hit on weekends which thankfully meant we didn't have to drive to work in the snow, but did mean we were housebound. We just kind of hibernated and licked our wounds (and shoveled snow).

In the midst of all those snowstorms our dear dog Juno passed away.

At the end of February, we embraced the crazy snow and cold temperatures and went to Niagara Falls to see some of the best ice mounds I have ever seen.

We went to the cottage lots this year - beginning in the March Break; then for Easter; often in the summer; with a friend in September to paint clouds and water; with friends and family for Thanksgiving in October; and with my mom in November. Here's a years worth of cottage photos to scroll through.


I never really gave up blogging, but I posted far less often for the first half of 2014 than ever before. By September I had regained my energy and hit my stride and rediscovered the joy of blogging which I wrote a blog post about (here) (By the way, the husband thinks it is one of my best blog posts).

I did get a few things accomplished during the year - even some things that were on my 2014 New Year's resolutions list.  

I painted our dining room chairs navy and still love the colour.

I baked bread.

In the summer, I went on a fantastic trip with the husband and my mother to Newfoundland. We had perfect weather and saw such amazing beautiful sites. We all want to go back.

I painted a large painting (well large for me).

And finally, although I don't have a photo of it, I kept the stairs clear of clutter. all. year. long. (which is a complete first for me).  I decided it would be part of my fitness plan to actually take the items up or down the stairs rather than putting them on a step to wait for me to take them later. I love having the stairs clear and now can't stand having anything on them. Oh and speaking of my fitness plan, I did a little self-improvement and made some changes to my diet and fitness regime and have lost 10 pounds (more about that later).

I also got my crafting on this year - well a little bit anyway.

Kate was off at the University of Bath in England for the spring semester and did lots and lots of traveling (lucky girl). Since she was away for her birthday I made her a set of pop-up cards showing three of the places she had visited by that point.

I made little Hallowe'en treats to send to our son and daughter who were away at university.

I made personalized advent calendars for the same son and daughter (here)

 We made twig Santas at my annual Christmas craft party (here).

I decorated our mantel in a Scandinavian style (here).

We decorated our woodland Christmas tree with owls made from toilet paper rolls (here).

And I sketched and painted some scenes from my daughter's travels as a Christmas present for her (I also did one of the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal for my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas, but forgot to get a photo of it before they went home).

The husband had a significant birthday at the beginning of December which meant a significant present was in order.

And so we end the year with a new family member - the significant present and presence of Ruggles. 

I'm still pondering what resolutions to make for 2015. I can assure you that they won't be anything too wild, but I'll post about them later (when I know what they are, haha!)

I'm wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year, my friends!

Linked to Best Projects of 2014 party at Southern Hospitality

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

I'm just emerging from the family and food frenzy that is Christmas.  It is always a fun and intense blast of activities and feasts and treats and traditions. Here's how it went down this year.

Christmas Eve
The fun starts on Christmas Eve day with our annual family outing. This year we decided to go to the Royal Ontario Museum as we hadn't been in awhile. There was a special exhibit of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year which was wonderful (and in case you don't live near a museum hosting this exhibit you can see the photos here). 

An addition was put on the ROM several years ago which serves as the main entrance. I still have a soft spot in my heart for the old entrance, though, with the grand doors and beautiful windows and inside the gold mosaic ceiling in the rotunda. I don't love the new addition - commonly referred to as the crystal - but it sure makes interesting photos with reflections in it of the city - old and new.


We always have tourtière for Christmas Eve dinner and this year it was made by my dear friend Kim (we did a trade-off - I made Christmas cookies for her and she made a tourtière for me).  It was delicious and just the right amount for all of our hungry selves after the museum. We had the tourtière with salads and pickles and relishes so it is a pretty simple meal, but oh so delicious.

Christmas Day
Santa visited and left some beer for all (well except Ruggles and me as we don't like beer - well, truthfully Ruggles has never tried it). Ruggles had some special dog food in her stocking instead.

Does your house end up looking like this every Christmas morning.  I thought it would be a little tamer as everyone got older, but there are still eight of us congregating for gift opening so that makes lots of mess. Everyone got stacks of books this year along with loads of chocolate (and beer!)

For Christmas lunch we used the tablecloth I bought in Bangladesh. It is hot pink with an orange and black design that certainly deviates from the Scandinavian look I was going for this year, but I love it so we use it anyway. 

Christmas lunch consists of fancy breads and cheeses and meats and we make the best sandwiches of the year. Of course, we start off the meal by popping Christmas crackers and then wearing silly hats and telling bad jokes in English and French.

We have Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle's house in Toronto with all my relatives, but I didn't take my camera so there are no photos. I always take a cookie tray for dessert and my mom brings the Christmas pudding with its requisite hard sauce and hot brandy sauce. Dinner is followed by a magic show (my uncle is a magician ... and a lawyer) and a gift exchange.

Boxing Day
December 26th is a pretty quiet day around our house. We don't partake in the shopping frenzy, but instead just relax for the day. We did go for a walk at a nearby park and then came home and made sushi for dinner. 


How was your Christmas? I hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends. We are getting ready to go to the cottage in a few days time for New Years. We've had a warm Christmas this year so even up north they don't have much snow left and the lakes are not fully frozen.  It is supposed to get colder just before we go up and snow is predicted so we shall see.