Yay for Friday! Thank you for the well wishes on my Instagram pic this week. I’ve been offline the last few days while I dealt with some blurry eyes. I somehow got an infection in my right eye (not pink eye, thank goodness!) and have been using some drops that make my vision pretty blurry. Combine that with the headaches from the strain of my eyes and I really haven’t been able to be on the computer that much this week. Thankfully it seems to be on the mend now and I’ve been taking it easy with bright lights and screens. Not using your eyes is way harder than you’d think!

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I rarely use my computer glasses, but this week I needed to dig them out. Thankfully they covered up the fact that I wasn’t wearing any eye makeup, ha!

Seeing as I couldn’t write posts or edit photos, I used my time to get cooking in the kitchen, which was helpful with Garrett’s birthday this week! I made this wonderfully decadent creation that Garrett came up with – a dense coconut vanilla cake with thick white chocolate cream cheese frosting with toasted coconut.

For his birthday cakes he always makes up a flavour and I do my best to try and bring his idea to life:

He was pretty excited to see the finished results, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

We did a quiet little dinner at his parents’ place this year. I made my Great Aunt’s Lasagna recipe, with cheesy garlic bread and caesar salad.

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I started decorating the apartment for Christmas this weekend, which I know is early for some people but I like the idea of taking my time over the next couple of weeks to do it. One evening I might put up my miniature village, while another afternoon I’ll clean the windows and string up our wreaths. It breaks up the work and let’s me take the time to enjoy each step, instead of rushing through to get it all decorated in time. I’ll be sharing little bits and pieces over the next couple of weeks and then do the final holiday home tour on Monday December 1st, which I hope you’ll stop by and see! For now, here is a little preview of one of the simple handmade decorations I was working on this weekend.

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dried-orange-slice-ornaments
Lately, I haven’t been able to get the idea of Dried Orange Slice Ornaments out of my head. I wanted to decorate the apartment in simple, rustic Christmas elements this year and the thought of creating something easy, with things I already have on hand, stuck with me.

black-creek-pioneer-village-christmas-tree
The idea to decorate with dried fruit came from our visit to the Black Creek Pioneer Village last Christmas. They had beautiful trees decorated throughout the village, showing the different holiday customs of the 1800s.

balck-creek-pioneer-village-christmas-tree-closeup
This tree decorated with pinecones, dried flowers, fruit and nuts really stood out for me. Back then people used what they had on hand, rather than buying fancy decorations. It was a celebration of the things they were fortunate enough to have (including treats like dried fruit and nuts) and less so about what they didn’t have.

In an effort to try to be more positive this year, that’s what I wanted our Christmas tree to focus on too. We’re decorating it with all things that we already had or could make by hand using things from the kitchen or pantry. We started working on the tree last night and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favourite trees ever. I’ll be sharing more if it soon.

dried-orange-slice-ornaments
I’ve always loved the look of dried oranges on trees – they look like little stained glass windows and give off a faint orange smell.

slicing-oranges

I started by carefully slicing some oranges into 1/4″ thick slices with a sharp knife.

orange-slices-dehydrator
A few years ago we bought this dehydrator and it’s been great at making beef jerky and banana chips, so I thought it would be perfect for this project too.

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Christmas decorating is in full swing at our little apartment. I was baking this weekend, making some new handmade ornaments and finishing up a project that I’ve been really excited about – refinishing an antique children’s sled.

When I started talking about looking for a new project to do for the holidays, my mom asked if I wanted to do something with the old sled in the backyard shed. I’ve been in that shed hundreds of times over the years and I’d never noticed the sled. How did I miss it?

antique-christmas-sled
I love the idea of incorporating older family heirlooms into Christmas decor, whether it’s small glass ornaments, ceramic trees or any old sled that just needed a little TLC.

behr-holiday-hues
I’m sharing this festive holiday project today as part of the Behr Holiday Hues blog hop, with my fellow Behr DIY Experts. All their projects are linked at the end of the post, so be sure to check them out….and there is a giveaway too! One lucky reader will get three gallons of Behr paint for their next project.

antique-christmas-sled-before
I dug my way through to the back of the shed and there hanging on the wall was this antique sled. My mom wasn’t quite sure who’s it was, but she knew it came from my great grandfather’s farm. I called my great aunt and she said she remembered the sled. It was her younger brother’s, who was born in 1938, meaning this sled was from some time in the 1940s.

kalamazoo-sled-company
I was able to make out some of the markings to find out that it is a Champion F-38 sled made by the Kalamazoo Sled Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which dates back to the 1870’s and at one time was one of the largest children’s sled manufacturers in the world.

Aside from some rusting and this one broken piece on the left plank, the sled was in good condition. Over time it had become bleached and there was no finish left protecting it, so I wanted to make sure that I put something on there to make sure I could use it without causing any more damage to it.

Refinishing an antique like this will take away from its value (I found this model in it’s condition going for about $120 online), but this is a family heirloom, which we intend to keep in the family for a very long time. Preserving it in it’s current state was more important than worrying about how it would change its value.

Behr-PremiumTransparent-Weatherproofing All-In-One-Wood-Finish
Behr has a number of wood stains in transparent, semi-transparent and solid finishes. There were so many colours to chose from, but I decided to go with the Behr Premium Transparent Weatherproofing All-In-One Wood Finish in “Natural”. The acrylic formula seals out the elements and the sun’s harmful UV rays. It would bring out the natural tones in the wood and be transparent enough for what was left of the original paint job to shine through. The stain also had a nice satin finish to it, which would help minimize any blemishes in the wood.

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Happy Friday! I’ve got some time to myself this weekend, which can only mean one thing – holiday crafting! I tried to resist jumping into Christmas mode for as long as I could, but I started to hear the music in shops and in radio commercials the last couple of days and it’s a lost cause now. Bring on the tinsel and ribbon!

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Part of what got me into the festive spirit, was the trip we took to our friends’ cottage last weekend. We got there after dark on Friday night and woke up to our first real snowfall of the year.

I’d never been up to the cottage in the fall or winter and I couldn’t get over how lovely it was. Very quiet and still (and no boats driving by with water-skiers!)

We bundled up and took the dogs for a walk along the country road. It was such a beautiful sight to see.

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For as long as I can remember, my family has always wrapped our turkeys in bacon. No need for basting, because the fat from the bacon does it for you! It makes the skin and meat perfectly seasoned without really much work involved. As we start to think about holiday dinners soon (and American Thanksgiving is right around the corner), I thought I’d share my family’s tradition with all of you!

bacon-wrapped-turkey

When I started going through the blog archives, it looks like I’ve posted lots of photos of our bacon covered turkeys over the last five years.

 

bacon-wrapped-turkey

bacon-wrapped-turkey-carving

As I mentioned in this year’s Thanksgiving post, my dad is an expert turkey carver.

bacon-wrapped-turkey-carved

He does it with an electric carving knife, which makes it go quickly – and much more evenly than if you slice it by hand!

roast-turkey-dinner

This past weekend, I made a little roast turkey dinner for Garrett and me. I found a frozen turkey on sale after Thanksgiving and tucked it away in the freezer for a Sunday night dinner. I let it thaw during the week and then got to work on Sunday morning prepping everything. It was a good chance to test out some new recipes – and do some old tried-and-true ones too. We had turkey, homemade gravy and cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, carrots drizzled with honey (leftover from the wedding favours!), balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and homemade vegetarian stuffing.

I used the Holiday Meal Cooking Schedule I posted earlier this week as my guide.

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Bacon Wrapped Turkey

What you need:

  • a fresh or thawed turkey
  • bacon
  • roasting pan
  • aluminum foil

Whenever I’m working with raw poultry, I completely clean the counter and sink area first, and then repeat the process again after the bird is in the oven. I can’t stand the thought of gross turkey germs anywhere.

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