Playing dress up begins at age 5 and never truly ends

Today is December 30th, which means there is only one day left to the year and also to Dressember. When I started this crazy month of dresses, I thought there would be days where I cheated, or maybe that I would run out of dresses. Surprisingly, other than a long-shirt-that-counts-as-a-dress incident on day 9, I’ve worn a dress or a skirt every day! I even have dresses left over!

Day 22

This is my Minnie Mouse look.

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Day 23

I was going last-minute shopping so I opted for a black dress as my coat was pink and my boots were beige. I felt if I added more colour, I might look like Rainbow Brite.

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Day 24

When I was little, I would always get a new outfit to wear on Christmas eve. I like having a new dress to wear even now that I’m an adult. It brings back some of the Christmas magic.

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Day 25

I wanted something colourful and comfortable for Christmas day, so I “winterized” this dress with black tights and a black ribbon belt.

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Day 26

Day after Christmas poker game. I didn’t win, but I looked pretty!

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Day 27

Perfectly comfortable outfit to watch a full mini-series with my mom. Holidays are awesome! Also, there was a snowstorm, so I wasn’t going anywhere.

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Day 28

Super comfortable skirt. I thought I would miss spending the days between Christmas and New Year’s in  my pyjamas, but this is just as comfy!

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Day 29

I don’t usually wear patterned tights. I like them on other people, but I always feel like my legs stretch out the patterns. I’ve had these forever and I figured Dressember was the perfect time to try them out.

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Day 30

This dress is a little fancy for an afternoon of browsing at a bookstore with a latte and a friend, but I don’t have that many dresses left to choose from!

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Only one more dress to go!

Check out more dresses on ModaMama’s link-up!

Every day is the best day of the year

This past year has been filled with so many wonderful experiences and memories. I’ve started this blog and tried new things. I’ve met new people, lost good people and held many babies. I’ve played in the snow, the ocean and the forest. I have tried, although it was not always easy, to enjoy each and every moment life has given me. Here is my year in photos.

January

January

February

February

March

March

April

April

May

May

June

June

July

July

August

August

September

September

October

October

November

November

December

December

I was inspired by this week’s photo challenge, which was “My 2012 in photos”. The suggestion was to use one photo per month, but that was impossible! There were so many wonderful moments to share, 12 photos would never have been enough. Even with all these pictures, I feel like there are important moments missing. It’s just a snapshot of my life. I’m happy I take so many pictures!

Don’t lose your Christmas spirit!

When I was a little girl, I was always sad when Christmas was over. I waited so long for it, and after a quick blur of hugs, laughter, presents, Santa, cookies and family, it was gone. I knew I would have to wait very long for it to be Christmas again.

Now that I’m an adult, I know it won’t be long until Christmas comes again, because time seems to speed up the older you get, but it still makes me sad that it’s over. People are nicer around the holidays and I miss that when the world goes back to normal. To help people be happy, smiley and nice to each other, I’ve compiled a list of 10 ways to hold on to your Chirstmas spirit for a whole year!

1. Play

We play during the holidays, so why not play all year? Play whatever you want. Play a board game or play with your Barbies (you know you want to). Build a fort or go on a scavenger hunt. In my family, we play cards. The day after Christmas, we play poker. I dont usually win (ok, never), but that’s not the point. It’s fun! This year I made it to the final six (out of 13). Yay me!

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2. Sing

People who say they never sing can be heard singing Christmas carols if you listen closely enough. They smile while they’re doing it. If you recognize yourself here, then this message is for you: Sing!

3. Eat

At Christmas time, we let ourselves eat what we want to without feeling guilty. What if we did that all year? Now I’m not saying go nuts on the brownies or the french fries every day, but if you have a cupcake, eat it, enjoy it, then forget about it. That is all.

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4. Be nice

Being nice to people is not just biting your tongue when someone who got a really bad haircut asks for your opinion. We give to those in need around Christmas, but they need us to be nice all year round, too. We can’t give to everyone, all the time, but sometimes, we can give time, patience and love without it costing us anything at all.

5. Get excited

I love Christmas as much for the time spent with family and friends as for the days leading up to it. Baking, finding gifts for people I love, decorating, all this makes me happy. It’s good to get excited, to look forward to something we know will bring us joy. I’m still enjoying Christmas time, but I’m also looking forward to going snowboarding!

6. Love

We all have people we love, and we love being with them, but sometimes life gets in the way of us remembering how important that is. Spending time with loved ones is not just a Christmas thing, it’s a guaranteed-to-make-you-happy thing.

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7. Read

Maybe this one isn’t a Christmas thing, but more of a time-off thing, but curling up with a good book and forgetting the world for a couple of hours is magical. Bonus points if there is a snowstorm or a thunderstorm. When you finally tear yourself away from your book, you feel as if you’ve been on an incredible adventure. Unless your book is boring. Find a new book.

8. Watch TV

This is like the reading thing and the eating thing. It’s like reading because it’s not necessarily a Christmas thing, but if you have time, I recommend you watch several hours of television without feeling guilty (like the food thing). My mom and I spent a good amout of time (ok, 439 minutes) watching The Pillars of the Earth mini-series yesterday. Last year, it was The Thorn Birds. I don’t think it’s a good idea to this every week or anything, as you might lose all your friends, maybe your job and probably your dog, but once in a while, go for it. Enjoy it. Then go for a walk, you’ll need it!

9. Sleep

Ahh, sleep. For most of us, functioning on very little sleep is like wearing a badge of honnor. It might not be possible to sleep as much as you like, but we tend to indulge ourselves and sleep in during the Christmas holidays. Do this as often as you can. Well rested-people are 38% happier than other people (yes, I made that up, but it sounds good.)

10. See the magic

If you’re lucky enough to have children in your life, you get to see Christmas through their eyes. It’s magical. Santa might only come once a year, but kids are amazed daily. Imagine if seeing a butterfly take flight or finding the perfect snowflake still brought you the same joy it once did. You might have to find new ways to see the magic, but it’s there, if you look hard enough.

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Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress

Week three of Dressember is already over! December always goes by in a flash, but it feels like this year, it was even flashier. I’ve been wearing dresses every day, even though it’s getting colder and colder! Also, we got a lot of snow yesterday. But I’m still dressembering.

Day 15

My first skirt of the month, and also my new hair! It’s quite the change, but I love it.

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Day 16

I was thinking this would be a nice picture next to the river, but it was really windy and cold!

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Day 17

Another skirt. I really wanted to wear this top, because it’s new!

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Day 18

Even though this dress is grey, it doesn’t make me feel blah like grey sometimes does. I think it might be the little pink flowers.

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Day 19

My hedgehog sweater, also new. My class is the hedgehog class, so I just had to buy this and wear it before the Christmas holidays.

Day 19

Day 20

This is usually a summer dress, but I winterized it!

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Day 21

My ballerina skirt. I don’t wear it much, just around Christmas time!

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Work days are the easiest, because I always dress up. Weekends are sometimes spent in my sweats or pyjamas, so those are the hardest days! I’m on holidays until January 7th, so I’m not sure how the days between Christmas and New Year’s will be. We’ll have to wait and see!

If you want to check out more Dressember blog posts, head on over to ModaMama’s link-up.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

When in doubt, just add glitter

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the classroom, all the students were stirring, driving their teacher crazy. So the teacher thought to herself “why not add glitter, can only make it better.”

That crazy teacher is me, and glitter does make everything better, even if I now have sparkles everywhere, even in my ears, I think.

When I was little, we made Christmas decorations for our tree every year. One Christmas, we covered pinecones in glitter. They turned out great and my parents still have them. They’re my dad’s favourite. (Allô Pop!) A few weeks ago while walking through the woods with my mom, we gathered a bunch of pinecones so I could do the same with my students.

It’s pretty simple. Give the kids glue, a paintbrush and some glitter, then close your eyes so you can’t see your classroom transform itself into a disco ball.

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Add a little sparkle to your day!

I feel pretty

Today is December 14th, wich means it’s the 14th day of Dressember. It’s like the 12 days of Christmas, but with dresses. And for 31 days. I love it!

I’m having fun wearing all my dresses. I haven’t worn the same thing twice and I only bought one new dress. I think that demonstrates a lot of self-control. Also, I have a lot of really cool shoes, but usually just wear the same pairs over and over again. Since I’ve been feeling so pretty in all my dresses, or frocks, as the British Dressemberites call them, I decided I wanted my feet to feel pretty too!

Day 8

Well, this is not my best look. I love this dress, but I look very tired. It was cookie day, and I was exhausted by the end of it!

Day 8 apron Day 8

Day 9

Ok. I admit, this is kind of cheating. It’s not a dress, but it is a long top, so I say it counts. I was on  my way to yoga, and it was cold, so this was my dress for the day.

Day 9

Day 10

My favourite look of the week! My new dress, which I bought while in Montreal last week, birds and my red shoes. Bliss.

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Day 11

On this day, I would have worn sweats to work if possible. Or maybe even my pyjamas. This was what I came up with. Photo by a student, so it’s a little crooked.

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Day 12

This is more of a summer-type dress, but my school is in the same building as a residence home for the elderly, and they like the heat turned way up!

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Day 13

Another purple dress. I didn’t realize I had so many.

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Day 14

I bought this dress a couple of years ago, wore it once and put it in the back of my closet. Turns out, I love it!

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I think I might wear some skirts next week. Not because I’m out of dresses, but because I have some great skirts and tops I want to wear!

What does a gingerbread man put on his bed?

I once answered this question with “a gingerbread woman?” but the correct answer is… cookie sheets! Ah, cookie jokes.

To add to the four kinds of Christmas cookies I already made, I decided to make gingerbread cookies today. This recipe is easy and makes a lot of cookies. Also, it’s low fat. Not something I usually look for in a cookie recipe, but hey, bonus!

First, I had to go to 3 different stores to find molasses. I’m not sure if the stores are the problem, or if I just couldn’t find it. It might be me.

I mixed all the wet ingredients together, and at this point, I admit it does not look very appetizing. But this soupy mess will become delicious cookies, I promise.

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What I like about this recipe is that it only uses one bowl. I’m a messy baker, so the less dishes to wash, the better! Dump in all the dry ingredients.

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Mix until it looks like graham cracker crumbs.

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Take big handfuls and squeeze into weird, flat, squished ball shapes. Refrigerate while you have a snack of corn chips and guacamole. Well, that’s what I did, but whatever makes you happy.

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Roll out the dough and cut out whatever shapes you like. Keep adding flour so it doesn’t stick.

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I used stars, trees and of course, gingerbread men!

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I made baby gingerbread with the dough I had left and stuck them in with the stars, hoping they wouldn’t burn.

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Bake and decorate! I iced the cookies with a simple frosting of icing sugar and water, to wich I added some meringue powder. I added it so the frosting would set and the cookies wouldn’t all stick together. I tried to keep all the cookies on the trays, but they ran away from me and took over the table!

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Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup shortening or butter

1 1/2 cups dark molasses

2/3 cup cold water

7 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

Mix wet ingredients with sugar. Add dry ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes. Bake at 350 for 6 to 7 minutes.

Enjoy!

A partridge in a pear tree

I’m not very crafty. I bake and I can sew, but I rarely do crafty things. When I see things that other people make, I think “I want to do that!” But sometimes trying to figure out where to start is intimidating.

This year, I decided I wanted to make one crafty Christmas thing. I saw a beautiful white branch with lights on it at the store, but there was no way I was paying for a branch. I’m from the country and that’s just crazyness! I decided this was something I could do.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was visiting my family, my mom and I went for a walk in the woods on a quest to find the perfect branch. There were lots to chose from, but it had to be the right one. I even saw a white rabbit! Actually, it was a hare, but that doesn’t sound as cute as a bunny. I wanted to take his picture, but he hopped away.

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Finally, I found it. The perfect branch!

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It was almost flat on one side, meaning there were no little branches sticking out. This is what made it perfect because it was going on the wall.

Then came the messy part. I had to paint it because I wanted it to be white. I got a can of spray-paint and went at it on the tiny back step on a very cold evening. I came inside between coats to thaw out my fingers. It came out a little uneven in some spots, but you can’t really tell.

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I wasn’t sure how to get it to stay on the wall, since I didn’t want to make any holes. I went with those 3M sticky hooks that you can just peel off when you’re done with them. I added lights and birds. I can’t remember if the branch I saw had birds on it, but I had a few little birds in my Christmas decorations and I thought they would look perfect on my branch. I bought a few more and voilà!

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I’m so crafty!

C is for Cookie

I’ve just had a weekend that Cookie Monster would approve of. Cookies, cookies and more cookies!

My friend Suzanne and I have a cookie day every year before Christmas. The first time, we really went for it and made tons of cookies. We were also exhausted by the end of the day! Now, we just make one or two batches and enjoy the day. Yesterday was a perfect day for cookies. It was cold and snowing, making it wonderful to be indoors looking out.

We started with some chocolate and vanilla sugar cookies. They turned out pretty, but the dough was horrible to work with. It was sticky and dry at the same time. It tore and stuck to the rolling pin. Not a recipe worth sharing.

Here I am having a moment with my butter, while Suzanne tries to get her chocolate dough to cooperate.

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We also posed with our rolling pins. They kind of look like weapons.

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And here is Suzanne with the final product. Pretty and tasty, but not worth the trouble! If you want to make these, just use your favourite sugar cookie recipe, divide it in half, and add cacao to part of it.

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After that, we made lemon cookies. These are my favourite “cheat” cookies. Super easy and fast, but so delicious! After they cooled, I drizzled them with lemon icing. Little clouds of lemon bliss.

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We then proceeded to eat the cookies we made while watching corny made-for-tv Christmas movies. Perfect day!

Today, after a long-overdue yoga class, I put my apron back on and make two more kinds of cookies.

The first ones were orange cookies. These have a cake-like texture and it is very difficult to eat just one! Once they’ve cooled, I frost them with a melted chocolate orange. Tastes like Christmas to me!

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And finally, I made shortbread cookies. This dough was a dream to work with! The complete opposite of yesterday’s terrible sticky mess. I always make my shortbread cookies small, because they’re so rich. A small bite is perfect. For some reason, they came out yellow-looking in the picture, but they’re nice and white!

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I’m not done with my Christmas baking, but it’s a good start. I like to make several kinds of cookies and give them as gifts. I still want to make sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies and maybe one more kind, if I have time!

Lemon cookies

1 lemon cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 8 ounce package cream cheese

Mix softened cream cheese, butter and egg. Add cake mix. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 6-10 minutes, depending on size. For icing, mix lemon juice with powdered sugar and drizzle over cooled cookies. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Orange cookies

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup buttermilk

Grated rind and juice of two oranges (1/2 cup of juice)

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

5 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, then juice and rinds. Add baking soda to milk. Combine dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to the cream mixture alternately with the milk. Drop on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on size. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Shortbread cookies

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg yolk

Mix icing sugar with softened butter. Add egg yolg. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick onto floured surface, adding flour as needed (dough might be sticky). Cut out shapes and place on parchement-lines cookie sheet. Bake 4-8 minutes at 350.

Dressember

I have a dress addiction. I’ve mentionned it before. There’s something special about dresses. They can be just as comfortable as sweats, especially if worn with leggings, but they are so much prettier! I like skirts as well, but dresses are my favourite.

Last week, I read about dressember. It’s like movember for girls. (But not really. Boys have a cause, girls doing dressember just want to feel pretty. Although some people use it as a fundraiser.)

The rules are pretty simple. Wear a dress every day in December. Post pictures. Now I’m not sure what the rules are about skirts. Some say no skirts. Some say skirts are ok, but only over dresses (which sounds dumb to me), and some say skirts are fine. I have some skirts I only wear around Christmas time, so I’m going with the “skirts are a-ok” part of the rules!

When I started, I wasn’t sure if I was going to commit, because 31 days is a long time. Also, it’s cold here in Canada. But so far, so good! I’m enjoying wearing all my dresses and trying to create new looks with pieces I already have. I’m trying really hard not to use this as an excuse to buy more dresses!

Here is a recap of my first week.

Day 1

Comfy sweatshirt-like dress for lunch and a movie. This picture was taken at Chapters, one of my favourite places ever!

Day 1

Day 2

Going to see a Christmas concert. It was raining, so the boots were not a great idea, but I didn’t want to wear heels in case I fell!

Day 2

Day 3

Some colour for my Monday morning. I just love this dress!

Day 3

Day 4

Just an ordinary Tuesday. The sun was definitely shining!

Day 4-

Day 5

We were doing a project on Van Gogh’s “Starry Nite” so of course I had to wear this dress. Also, I love these shoes. Photo by a student!

Day 5

Day 6

I was at a conference in Montreal. There are tunnels everywhere so I didn’t even have to go outside to get from my hotel to the conference center. I love these pink chairs.

Day 6

Day 7

Second day at the conference. Posing next to one of the many fireplaces.

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So there you have it, my first week of Dressember! I like the way it makes me feel, so I think I’ll keep going!