The Monday​ Mail

Hello loves, I hope everyone is having a fabulous fall. I thought I would share some updates with you.  Here’s a little Monday mail to keep you in the loop.

Kate Travels

If you haven’t heard, get excited!!! I am headed across the beautiful sea in search of Christmas spirit.

gold Eifel tower ornament with blurred pink Christmas ornament balls in the background

I AM PARIS BOUND!!!

This will be my very first trip to Europe. (You: GASP!) I know, I know! I had this silly notion/lifelong dream. I hoped the first time I travel to Europe that I would fly myself there. In a plane. With people. With me, as the Pilot. But it seems that my neck surgery did not heal in a way that is likely to ever allow that. (See how I phrased that so eloquently? That’s a couple years of therapy there!! lol)  I do think it’s time to let go of another piece of the past. I see so many people in pain or with injuries who are waiting for a good time to travel. There is no good time, my loves. Feel crummy at home or feel crummy in Europe, sipping mulled wine at German Christmas Markets. This is the thing, it’s not a one-step process. It’s little steps and learning. I am honestly so excited to share this journey with you. We leave in 8 days. If you don’t have Instagram, now is the time to get it. Make sure you’re checking out the stories.

What are Instagram stories? Instagram stories are split into 2 parts. Live and story. Both stay up for 24 hours and then disappear. Stories are little snippets, photos, snapshots, 15-second videos. I post stories daily. Tonight the small humans and I did a live video unboxing an LOL Little Sister. I’m so sorry we did it directly on Instagram and I can’t save this one. Hurry and you can see it!! Our doll is soo cute!

Lily is a master of LOL’s. In case I don’t get the gift guide out in time, if you have any little girls 4-9ish, this is the gift to get. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the background all over our feed. We adore them. They are going to sell out in a heartbeat. I happen to know Indigo still has them online as we googled today. 035051548430

Another thing in the works is:

Kate Travels with THE FAM

We are a family of 5 undertaking the courageous act of family travel. Just kidding, our smalls tend to travel really well. Family travel is super easy, once you figure it out. What’s worth paying more for, and what’s NOT! If you’re looking to travel before the posts get out, it’s an insane busy next two weeks here, but if you want to book before my posts are up, please message me, email, Instagram me, anything. I’d be so happy to help you find the right spot. I also found an amazing travel advisor who was so essential for this booking. She was so honest and she really cared about what I was looking for. And we’re looking for a very niche market. This trip is all about relaxing on the beach with my beautiful family, taking photos, not caring about my weight, my future, just loving the moment. I can’t wait to share this with you, too. If anyone wants to spend New Years in Cuba…..

Kate and the FAM @ home

This post is honestly twelve posts in one, but I really want to share and catch people up. I feel I’ve been working so hard lately but completely neglecting sharing of the plan No one likes to be out of the loop.

So you probably noticed last week, Ben had dental surgery. My poor Benny has some pain related PTSD, unfortunately, due to the nature of his injuries, he has some tooth damage as a result (the pins made it hard for him to brush his teeth for about 3 months.  This combo makes the dentist a real challenge. It was unanimously decided that Ben needed to be put under for the surgery, they want to be as gentle as possible repairing it and he gets so upset touching it. He did fabulously, one tooth couldn’t be saved but it was a baby.  He has a little pain still but is amazing. 7 year old orange haired boy sleeping after surgery. Covered with soft blue blanket, bandage on wrist covering spot IV was.

They’re too young for all this. It breaks my heart.

Luckily, they recover faster than we do. I didn’t know when I became a parent that I would feel everything they feel. Sometimes it’s too much feeling. And then they randomly snuggle and you catch a photo.

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And my heart melts.

Have a beautiful week. Check back for some awesome cookie recipes I’ve been sourcing out from the very best of the best! And this weekend we visited the Toronto Christmas Market! I’m still in awe. It was pouring rain and we still loved it. It might just be the most magical place in Canada. It’s time to dive into the holiday spirit, if you’re worried its too soon, it’s never too early to embrace joy.

little red booth, almost like a large red European phone booth, serving hot apple cider, cocoa and beer, Christmas greenery and red ribbon in black pots in front on a cobble stone street. So beautiful .

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

With Love Kate

beautiful serene white room with 4 foot Christmas tree on white table, decorated with multi colour ornaments, pink, gold, turquoise, gold star on top, beautiful

The most wonderful tree ever

Holiday decor in a tiny condo. What do we do? It’s been years since I decorated a space of this size. I’m used to being able to spread holiday decor inside and out. What does an avid Christmas lover do in a tiny home? I have no idea, but it’s going to be INCREDIBLE! (Note the use of giant red font, let’s get excited here!)

My big problem ~ THE TREE

beautiful serene white room with 4 foot Christmas tree on white table, decorated with multi colour ornaments, pink, gold, turquoise, gold star on top, beautiful

I’ve been crushing on this adorable tree for ever!

The tree issue has been on my mind for some time now. What do we do about this tree situation? I am a real tree type of gal. Every year we gather the family on a freezing cold Saturday morning, remember we’ve been living in the great Canadian Prairies, and it was FREEZING! Every. Single. Year. Freezing. We would bundle up and head out to our favorite tree shop. We’d hope it was warm enough for a horse-drawn sleigh ride and we’d argue over how big of a tree we could possibly fit. My favorite tree was following that disastrous deployment where I had three small humans under 5 and I almost lost my ever-loving mind. I won the battle that year. Hard!

view from in the house looking out on a snowy yard, 2 men carrying an 18 foot Christmas tree

Yep, that’s about right!

Base of 18 foot tree filling the living room, it's light up with a million white lights, pink red and silver ball ornaments, presents under the tree,  chair tucked in corner blocked by tree,

Furniture is overrated. I think it’s a perfect fit!

taken from the street at night, three story tree lit up with white lights, sticking out the roof of a house. Oversize Christmas balls hanging from pergola, best Christmas tree ever!

Yep, thats a perfect fit!

I asked if we could do it again this year. We’re so high up, I thought we could maybe…..I was shot down pretty quick. Maybe I should have been pretending to dislike this short posting. Darn!

So what are we planning here? I have some ideas, but I’m not exactly sure. This week we really started rolling out the holidays. I discovered that although we “downsized” and I gave up soo much holiday decor, it still turns out that most of our storage locker is in fact Christmas. I guess when it came time to decide what was important I made my priorities clear. I loved opening all the bins and seeing ‘our things.’ It brought that feeling of home. Most of it will not be used this year, but turning over every ornament and seeing all our years of kid-crafted ornaments, hand-painted ornaments, and Santa photos. It reminded me that home is home, no matter where we go.

As for what’s going up? I’m trying to keep the minimalist, elegant feel in our home. I am really quite smitten with this home. We’ve been here only three months, we have only 7 months left, but it feels like home. We’re settling in. We’re finding happy here. Home really is where the heart is.

Check back and see what we’ve decided on! I think it will be a very fluid project. We may have to try a few things out and see where it goes. The stockings in the video have come down already, it wasn’t the feel I wanted. Now, where should that sled go? I’m thinking we could swap the sled in where the stockings were hanging. Husband is going to be quite thrilled when I ask him to mount the sled horizontally 7 feet in the air. I also need a little shelf or hooks just above the sled so I can mount boxwood, greenery and berries. I can see his face now. This will be my view! We all have important jobs, I take mine seriously!

Woman drinking wine in a chair fairly smushed into the Christmas tree shown above

See, that chair was still totally usable!

One thing I know for sure, the Santa photos are keepers! Have you seen our Santa photos? Epic. OMG. Epic. That’s a post for another day. For a sneak peak check out @withlovekate on Instagram and Facebook! Have a fabulous day!!!

With love Kate

 

tiny house condo, living room, dining room, open concept area. Red roses, white walls, large tv on glass Ikea cabinet with Christmas lego and pretty tea set. Beautiful mirror and Shelley vanderbuild art.

3 months tiny house living

Can you believe we have been tiny house living for three months now?! I thought we’d do a little check in on how it’s going. If you’re new here, we are a family of 5 and a super pretentious puppy. We sold our three-story century home in the prairies and moved to the amazing city of Toronto for ONE year. Where we go next? I have no idea yet. For this year we are living in a 968 sqft tiny glass condo midtown in the city.

 

cocker-spaniel wearing a Hudson's Bay sweater laying on white sofa with head on pink pillow. woman's feet in bottom of photo as if she's taking photo from top down.

I swear I found him this way

 

So, how do I feel about tiny house living?

tiny house condo, living room, dining room, open concept area. Red roses, white walls, large tv on glass Ikea cabinet with Christmas lego and pretty tea set. Beautiful mirror and Shelley vanderbuild art.

A touch messy but okay

I love it! We have adapted so well. We had a rocky start with the move and settling into schools.

adorable ginger little girl, making grumpy scowl beautiful skyscraper view of the city, girl holding pink pillow saying, Early mornings, big shirts, messy hair, and books!

Yep! That about sums it up.

Husband took a wee bit longer to adapt to the smaller space, but even he is now settled in. We have got our groove back and overall we are doing pretty amazing.

Some things I’ve learned. Think about colour. This is a tiny home and I am a bit minimalist by nature. Not in that I don’t want stuff, but in that, I don’t want to see the stuff when I’m not using it. Storage space is at a premium in our home. We actually downsized really well and I had plans on how to increase our storage space, a flip-up bed, for example, but I found I didn’t need it. When we moved we had to downsize our bed and since this is only for a year, I’m breaking the mold and I skipped buying a headboard. Instead, I think I’d like to travel! Paris perhaps? Maybe Germany too, I hear they have fabulous Christmas markets!

Art. Again I love white walls, so we went minimal with the artwork. Like this!  Instead, I keep my favorite decor tucked away and I rotate it out. Where do I find the space? Under the bed! Fabulous use of space and no one has to see it.

Adhesive hooks and picture hanging strips are a godsend! I have used them to hang almost all of our decor. Pictures, artwork, towels. This is not my forever home. I don’t want to spend money on pretty hooks when I don’t get to keep them. I also don’t want to repaint when we leave so these are spot on.

You only need one. Everyone has 1 towel. I got tired of washing towels. With the amount of effort it takes to convince my small humans to bathe I should not have to wash that many towels. So everyone gets one! The kids each have their own colour. I know! Colour!! I chose these ones because I find them pleasing to the eye and that makes them sooo worth it! When you have to see everything all the time, you want it to be pleasing to you.

 

The boys have their own bathroom, which works out nicely for me. PBKids.

 

Everything has a home. This is a work in progress. As far as I’m concerned everything in our condo should have a home. If it doesn’t have a home, find it one! Bits of stuff all over the place drives me nuts. Inside the bins and drawers, I have given up. Let them be messy, I throw in the towel, but at least put it in the bin. This goes for everyone, not just children. Like… we don’t have anything to drill. Soooo…. why is that drill still be sitting in the closet? She asked with just a hint of displeasure.

Photo of the foot of the bed with buffalo plaid laundry bin, in the background Ikea 1X5 cube shelf with wicker baskets. minimalist scandinavian feel.

Bins! Laundry bins, wicker bins, all the bins!!!

We’re still learning, we’ll get this. This weekend I finally broke down and bought a shoe rack, very simple, all black,  and a dish soap dispenser, also all black. I tried to do without but the shoes need a home other than the living room and although I don’t want things to hang out on the counter, I also really like to have soap handy. Compromise, right?

Now to figure out how to decorate this beautiful space for the holidays! I’m thinking lots of traditional bright red, real greenery, and twinkle lights galore! If you lived here how would you decorate it? I love to hear your opinions!!!

With Love Kate

Nobody Quits The Gym

How is everyone doing style-wise? For the most part, I think I’m getting a groove on how to dress the body have. I’ve found the style I like. It feels minimalist, Mennonite, country, 80’s. So . . . basically a black and white wardrobe with hints of tulle. BUT, here’s the thing. That’s still not the body I want!!! Nope, not happening. Did you catch yesterdays video with Kristen? She is our new BFF!! Get excited! She’s a fitness trainer specialized in programs for injured members. Kristen is going to visit us every two weeks and I was thinking that if you want, you can come too!! It’s always more fun to work out with a bestie, even if it is over the big world wide web. What do you think? Want to lose 20 pounds with me? I think we got this!

This weeks workout can be adapted and done absolutely anywhere. Kristen is going to send detailed instructions for the exercises tomorrow. I’ll update as soon as I get them. That or else I can take embarrassing video and photos of myself at the gym here, let your imagination run wild. I’m sure the building already thinks I’m crazy living here with three kids. For equipment, let’s try and keep it super minimal, no gym membership required.

For tomorrow you will need:

5 and 10 pound weights. If you don’t have them use anything in your house; a bag of flour, a kids backpack, a kid, anything you bought at Costco.
And a balance ball
And that’s it!

Tomorrow when Kristen emails the workout I’ll post Part 2. Maybe we will include silly gym photos after all, something for you to look forward to, lol!

Wishing you a cozy little evening, happy dreaming and seriously, think about joining me on this journey. Spend the evening browsing for holiday party outfits and winter vacation swimsuits! We’re going to rock this, with ease!

With Love Kate

EASY Holiday Art 

Today’s post is 100% knock off inspired! We spend so much time trying to be perfect, original, amazing . . . but is it always best investment of time? I don’t know. Holidays should be fun and amazing. Let’s make them simple, easy and beautiful again. This DIY took more time to edit than it did to make!! I absolutely love the result. Feel free to tweak in any way you want. Pick your favourite print saved from years past or go ahead, splurge!! Even the most expensive wrap is worth it here.

So I can’t really take credit, I saw this wall in Chapters Indigo and fell a little in love. 

But . . . where to put it?  When we moved into the tiny house I struggled with how much to keep. I mean, what about art? I adore our family photos, holiday decor, all the art the small humans have made over the years. I was okay with condensing our family into a space a third the size. I was okay with letting go of most of our belongings. I, however, was not okay with letting go of our photos and artwork. Out of everything we own, these are my memories. The moments of my life. Stuff is just stuff, but these? These are my memories. Its hard to downsize from 3000 sq ft of wallspace to 900 sq ft. This is a whole new ballgame. So what does one do?

You keep it!!

I kept it all. No photos or magnificent art pieces were harmed during the making of this move. How you ask? I have no idea who said it but along the way someone very smart suggested to swap out our artwork. Save it all and rotate it. What an amazing idea!!  So now tucked safely under our bed is stash of art and photos. Now added to my collection is this one.

This project is as easy as picking your favourite wrap, a print or DIY artwork. Anything that makes you feel joyful and go for it! I’ve always been a huge fan of Buffalo plaid, it feels so Canadian and Christmas-y to me. In 2 easy seconds you can create your very own masterpiece.Grab any frame you have and sub in something festive for the holiday season. This is is honestly the cheapest and easiest project. The best part being after the holidays, slip that paper out and your original artwork is still good to go!

I hope you have a beautiful week planned. We are quite busy with appointments this week.  I think I have something every day, too much! I was hoping to sip tea, lounge about and think about decorating.  But alas no, the real world calls. Thursday I have a visit to the Pain Clinic. Check out my Instagram @withlove__kate , I’ll ask if we can video the nerve block, I find it super fascinating. I hope I haven’t grossed you out!  Friday we have a meeting with a child Psychologist about Benny as he still has PTSD from his accident. I mean we all do really, that was a big thing. I’m hoping for great tips on coping strategies,  I’ll share any good parenting/adjustment tips!

Until then, let’s focus! FOCUS!! We are all about decorations and DIY’s. Stay tuned for more holiday magic.

With love Kate

Birthday Celebrations

Last week I celebrated what has to be one of my favorite birthdays of all times. I may have mentioned to husband that I only want hand-drawn cards from now on. (Adamantly mentioned) Buuuut then almost immediately saw this one and reassessed my stance and said ‘If I were to get a birthday card, this is the card I would want.’ He said he tried really hard to remember which card it was but still ended up in Chapters for about 20 minutes going, shit, shit which one is it?

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He got it right!!! Cutest card ever. It now lives in a picture frame as bedroom decor

 

Everyone should be so lucky as to start their day like this.

 

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Not my most glamorous of looks but I was so happy to wake up to giggling whispery voices ‘Is she awake, shhh, shh, lets all sing to mommy’. Sooo cute you guys!

 

I feel like they really pulled out all the stops this year.

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Seems about right. Classic.

Lily cried the entire time they sang to me. She wanted to sing in French but the boys began in English. We had to stop and do a full reset where I pretended like nothing happened. This is actually the less disastrous second round. She’s like a little bitty old Jewish lady, often she reminds me of my great Aunt Lillian, ‘Do you know how much a pack of gum cost?! Oy Vey!’

 

But in fun and exciting news, I had no idea where we were going.  Husband kept it a secret right up until we left, which I totally loved and was probably a really good idea. It was so much fun anticipating! I was given directions to dress up a little and think 80’s.

So where did we go???

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DINNER THEATER!

Oh gosh you guys it was so much fun. We went to a murder mystery dinner theater. There is a whole series of videos we made that day. I’m going to try and link them all to youtube. If you were watching them you may have seen that my reaction upon finding out where we were going was less than ideal. Watching it after A. That’s a terrible camera angle and b. Super funny! I completely dropped any game face and was actually pretty rude. That would be why he knew he had to keep it a secret. If you know anything about me you should probably know I am not into scary things, at all! Not even movie previews. I immediately thought we were going to be locked in an old creepy theater, the lights would go out, something would brush against the back of my leg and all you would hear would be screaming. That would be me screaming, just so we’re clear.   Let’s talk outfit for a second.  When he said dress 80’s I didn’t actually take it to heart. This is legitimately what I wore. I love wearing tulle and my little denim jacket. Looking at it now..it has a fairly strong 80’s vibe to it. This caused me to take a look at my clothes in general and I’ve noticed my go-to personal style seems to be a Mennonite 80’s cross. Little House on the Prarie meets Saved By The Bell?

Let’s talk outfit for a second.  When he said dress 80’s I didn’t actually take it to heart. This is legitimately what I wore. I love wearing tulle and my little denim jacket. Looking at it now..it has a fairly strong 80’s vibe to it. This caused me to take a look at my clothes in general and I’ve noticed my go-to personal style seems to be a Mennonite 80’s cross. Little House on the Prarie meets Saved By The Bell?

The show was very funny and cute, I completely enjoyed myself. Good job husband. And good job grandma, I loved these balloons!

I hope you all have birthdays as fabulous as I, and that you feel as loved as I do.

(I’ll post those video links as well)

With Love Kate