Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Birthday Hat For Charlotte!

My youngest daughter is turning 2 next week... so in my attempt to make it extra special because its so close to Christmas (and she was 9 days late) I have decided to make her a special fabric birthday hat. I searched lots of different tutorials online...but the one I finally settled on is this one from i make stuff It seems like an easy enough tutorial and its sewn which I like.

Here are the results of the hats. First... the almost birthday girl Charlotte wearing her new hat and showing me her "cheese" face.

And of course her sister needed a hat as well... here are the two of them with their hats.

Overall the hats were really fun to make. Each hat took about 30min to make from start to finish. I will definitely be making some more of these. So fun.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

i heart faces - Silhouette


This is my week's entry for the i heart faces photo challenge. This picture was taken at the Ontario Science Centre this summer. If you would like to participate in this weeks challenge check it out here

Friday, August 6, 2010

NOT a bellydancing queen.

(click on the picture to make it larger)

This picture takes us back to 2003... when I was able to take classes for fun that didn't include a diaper bag full of diapers, wipes and bum creams. Back in 2003 a group of girls and I decided to take bellydancing classes. They were fun, but I was no bellydancing queen. I'm probably one of the only people that can make the dance look awkward and NOT sexy at all. These pictures were taking at out can see me in the left picture at the far right. I don't look happy do I... must be because I HATE performing in front of people! I still enjoy watching bellydancing and sometimes I'll break out some of the moves for the girls... and some of the moves have even showed up in my Zumba class...but I don't think I'll be going back. Sometimes its best to leave a good thing alone. I'll leave the sexy bellydancing to others who are good at it, and I'll stick to my own dance recitals in my kitchen for the girls.

If you have a flashback friday come and join along. Post your link at Christopher and Tia by clicking on the link below.

Flashback Friday Button

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - Happy 28th Birthday Martin!

On August 3rd, 1982 something unexpected happened; my baby brother was born at just 24 weeks gestation. I'm not sure how it happened or where I was as I was only 6 years old and barely remember... but I do remember the next year and a half pretty well. Martin Franz Phillip Frei was born into this world too early, but we were so blessed to have had his company for a year and a half.

I could show you pictures of how my brothers skin was translucent or how he spent a lot of his life in an incubator, but out of respect for my mother and her disliking of airing personal stuff on the internet... I won't. Come over to my house for some coffee and cookies and I'll bring out the photos! What I will show you are a few pictures of us enjoying our time with my brother. The top picture is of my brother in hospital, I think he was around 8 or 10 months old. The middle picture is my sister and I with Martin at Christmas when he was 16 months old and the bottom picture was with us on his first birthday in Hospital with him (I'm on the left with the pig tails).

My brother spent most of his life in hospital, and when I think back to it I am amazed at how amazing my mother was. Since Martin was born so premature he had to be in a special hospital that was a hour away from us. My mother used to drive twice a day to pump (can you imagine how hard it is to get milk at only 24 weeks gestation? Its hard... very very hard) and visit Martin... could you imagine spending 4 hours a day driving... taking care of a sick child and still taking care of two girls at home that needed your attention; I couldn't imagine it. I have a hard enough time being at home with my two girls and giving them all the love they need. My mother truly is a hero in my eyes. There were times that my brother was at home. During this time, my mother had to have Martin hooked up to oxygen, she had nurses coming in to help with therapies. It was a difficult time, but my mom never seemed to mind (or she hid it well) and she always had time for us. She is amazing. I can remember my mother even coming on field trips with us and bringing my brother and his portable oxygen tank... she did so much while there were other parents with way less responsibility that did WAY less. People came in to clean our house, cut my mums hair and some friends brought groceries. And while I tell you about how hard it was... there were also a lot of great times. Times that I shared smiles and babbles with Martin.

I remember this day so clearly... on March 3rd 1984 I was playing at my friends parents were visiting Martin and were late coming home... we had sensed something was wrong. Upon my parents picking us up, they took us home and gave us the news of the passing of Martin. They sat us down in the kitchen and told us that Martin had died. That it was his time, and he was now with God and the angels...somehow knowing that had made it better. My husband and I are not religious anymore, but having experienced a death while being a child, I am thankful that I believed God to be at our sides. It brought me peace and comfort. I remember the days that passed after that...seeing my mother in agony and pain... I hope I never have to experience that. The death of a child is possibly the hardest thing ever, no matter how long they have been with you. Mothers are strong and beautiful people...and I'm thankful I can still see mine any day I'd like.

As I sit here 28 years later... its still makes me teary eyed...I miss Martin so much. I day dream of how he might have turned he would look...would we be close (I'd like to think so)... would my family still be together?...the possibilities are endless. I am a firm believer of everything happening for a reason, this is what keeps me going when bad things happen...I believe we learn from everything. I like to think I learned a lot from my brother and his life and the events that happened following his death.

So... Happy 28th Birthday Martin! We miss you and love you forever!

Love your sister,
Vanessa xo

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

i heart faces - Photo Challenge - Bundled up

hearts in the snow

This is my submission for this weeks photo challenge at i heart faces. Come and check out the other entries and submit one too if you have a photo.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flashback Friday - Friends


I realize that I should be posting an older picture then this...but truth is... I'm a Libra and I don't like to hurt anyones feelings... and I don't want to pick a best friend. I've had a lot of my girlfriends as friends for a very long time. My two oldest friends are Rebecca and Krista... and they are both in this picture, so I'm happy :)

This picture was taken last year for my what is now a tradition... birthday walk. This will be the third year that I ask my friends for no gifts... just to join me in a birthday hike and then a pot luck dinner and drinks at my house. Having my birthday in October is wonderful for birthday hikes. The fall in Canada is beautiful... so many different colours and picture perfect moments.

So there we go... my flashback friday for this week... To all my best friends... I love you all and couldn't choose just one... so you all get a spot on my blog for this week.

If you have a Flashback Friday you would like to share. Please stop by Christopher and Tia's blog and submit your link.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Week 8 - “Hands-On Fun” Photo Challenge

little hand

This is my submission for this weeks photo challenge over at i heart faces. It is a picture of my youngest Charlotte Juniper when she was 5 months old. This weeks challenge is a hands theme. Head over to i heart faces and add your own photo, or check out all of the other lovely submissions.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday - Schmutzli ... I miss you.

schmutzli - Flashback Friday

This weeks Flashback Friday is pet themed... so I decided to go with my last pet we had. A black & white cat named Schmutzli. I loved Schmutzli a lot, but things with her didn't end well, and it still brings me to tears when I think about it. The relationship I had with Schmutzli was always a little off right from the beginning. I got her the same day I had to put my cat of 15 years down... that was the first thing I did wrong. I should have waited, I wasn't ready to get another cat, but my mom sort of talked me into it. I know she was just trying to help me because I was heartbroken...but I really wasn't ready and I should have listened to my heart. Schmutzli was born a wild cat (another mistake, I should have gotten a domestic cat) ... we found her outside of a restaurant my mom was working at. Schmutzli was skidderish from the beginning. The problems with her didn't start for about 4 or 5 months after we had her... what did she do? She Peed... she peed everywhere. To make a long long story short.. I put up with it for 4 years! I tried everything, different litter box techniques, homeopathic remedies... and YES I even tried a pet Psychic... and still get teased for that from this day. Finally right before our wedding I had had enough of being stressed ALL the time. It was literally effecting my health, and I decided to put her down. I tried to find her a good home... and decided not to take her to the shelter because I know they would have put her down anyways because of the peeing :( So one day I asked my husband to take her to the vet to put her down. I couldn't bring myself to bring her and still get tears thinking about it. I think it really scarred my husband too... I wonder if he will ever forgive me? We decided to not have any pets after Schmutzli... It really really hurt us to have to put her down. I think we are afraid we'll have to do it again... and quite frankly, we aren't ready to do that any time soon. Schmutzli is now resting in a plot out on my dad's farm... at least I can visit her whenever I want.

Rest well my Sweet Schmutzli!

schmutzli Flashback Friday

If you have an old pet themed Flashback Friday... visit Christopher and Tia and add your link... or read some other blog posts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday - The Love Of My Life


This Flashback Friday is a little different for me this week. I know we are supposed to do pictures of ourselves, but in a sense it is because my husband is the love of my life, and takes up a HUGE part of my heart.

It was Valentines Day 2002 when Kevin asked me to marry him. I was sick as a dog, but he knelt down in front of me and asked me anyways... I was thrilled. I know it must have been a hard thing for him to do (as it is for lots of men) and I appreciated it a lot. We ended up getting married in September of 2004...and we haven't looked back since. I can honestly say that after 5 years of marriage I love Kevin just as much today (if not more) then I did 8 years ago when we first got engaged.

Kevin is my friend, husband, father and the most special adult person to me in my life.


I love you Kevin... may we have many many more years together again!

If you have a Flashback Friday or would like to see more, visit Christopher and Tia

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We heart Reading.

We heart Reading

We love reading in our house. A couple weeks back I decided that we needed a few new books for the girls so I went out and purchased some on my night out. I headed down to our local Chapters, got a Starbucks and started to look through the kids section. I ended up with the 3 books seen in the above picture.

1. I love you Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
2. The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson
3. Lost & Found by Oliver Jeffers

I actually went with the thought of purchasing Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo's Child, but the book store was out of it, so I ended up ordering it along with Room on the Broom. Julia Donaldson's books are great. We got The Gruffalo from the mom of one of my best friends when Charlotte was born and it instantly became a favorite in our house. Any of you that have read it know that it is a fun book that flows well while reading it. It starts off...

"A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.
A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.
Where are you going to little brown mouse?
Come and have lunch in my underground house.

It's terribly kind of you, Fox, but no--
I'm going to have lunch with a gruffalo."

The story continues on like that. It is a fun book to read and all children love it. If you haven't read the book then I suggest getting it from your local library or purchasing it. We have many many favorites in our house but here is a list of our top 10 kids books.

1. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
2. Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munch
3. The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
4. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo
5. Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson
6. The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson
7. All Strawberry Shortcake Books
8. Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee
9. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
10.Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

I am patiently awaiting the warmer weather again so we can make regular trips to the library (sometimes it sucks only having one car). I would love to hear what your favorite children's books are so that we can add them to our list of books to borrow from the library.

Happy Reading.

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.”

- Anthony Trollope

Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 6 - We ♥ Kisses


Here is Sophia Lilly... she loves to kiss the Buddha! My dad has this Buddha in his garden at his home, while visiting I found Sophia having a right good old chat with him, and then she planted this kiss on him. Makes me giggle everytime I see this shot. Come and see more kisses over at i heart faces.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Small Token of Thanks!

small token of thanks

Two Sunday's ago we finally had our Christmas gift exchange with our friends...yes, I know its a month too late, but with all of us having children and families and obligations; it just didn't happen until now. We have decided that since we all have children, and we are all in our thirties and pretty much have everything we need we would only do gift exchanges for the children. We all pick a child and then buy one present for them for $20. Seems like a good idea...and the kids love it. This year as a small thank you for our friends I also made some mini loafs of Banana and Cranberry/Mandarin bread.
They turned out great, even though I was frazzled in the kitchen and forgot to put the butter in the Banana bread... D'oh! After I was finished I packaged them all up in brown paper bags with a touch of ribbon. They looked very simple but pretty. I think my friends enjoyed them (only one got back to me to say they enjoyed the bread) and I enjoyed making them which I guess is the best part. It seems these days baking is the one thing that Sophia and I can agree on doing together... we'll see what we come up with next.

Here are the recipes in case any of you would like to try them.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Canadian Living Magazine 2002
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 mL) sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips
2 cups (500 mL) mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter , melted
1/4 cup (50 mL) milk
2 eggs
In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt ; add chocolate chips. In separate bowl, whisk together bananas, butter, milk and eggs; pour over flour mixture and stir just until blended. Spread in greased 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)


Cranberry Mandarin Bread
Lennie's Cranberry Mandarin Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (if using frozen, no need to thaw)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
1 (10 ounce) can mandarin segments , 1/4 cup juice reserved

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt); add cranberries to flour mixture and stir so berries are somewhat coated in flour-- this helps prevent the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the loaves when baking.
  2. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk (I used lowfat milk) with a mixer on low, then beat in 1/4 cup juice reserved from tinned oranges, the oil, the extract and the orange zest.
  4. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened; do not overmix.
  5. Make sure tinned oranges are well drained, then stir into batter.
  6. Divide batter between 4 mini loaf pans (you'll find they'll be about 3/4 full)
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes; a tester will come out clean.
  8. Cool on rack in tins for about 15 minutes, then remove from tins and let sit on rack until completely cool.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 4 - “Texture” Photo Challenge!

week 4: i heart faces - texture

This is my entry for week 4 of iheartfaces photo challenge. I liked the way the texture of the sidewalk came through. Please take a look at some of the other entries or submit your own photo at

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flashback Friday - My BFF


This flashback Friday takes us all the way back to 1995... when I spent most of my waking hours with my now husband Kevin. We met back in Grade 10 computer class, but didn't start hanging out until the next year during Grade 11 art class. From then on, it seemed as though we just clicked and understood all of each others weird qwerks... best friends forever! This picture was taken in our local park when myself, Kevin and another friend went out one Saturday and took funny photo's... this was the most tasteful one. Kevin and I didn't actually get together as a couple until 1998.

Everyday I wake up and I am thankful that I am one of those lucky people that was fortunate enough to marry their best friend. Corny... yes I know - but it really is true. Kevin and I have always had an understanding of how to love and respect each other. We pretty much know everything about each other, the good and the bad (although I'm sure there are some things we don't know about... everyone needs some secrets). We have traveled together, spent weeks alone with each other... and somehow we hardly ever get on each others nerves (although sometimes we do..that's just normal). We have spent the last 17 years (wow it's been that long) as friends, husband and wife, parents and the journey is still continuing.... I hope to have another 40+ years ahead of us.

Thank you Kevin for being my best friend!

If you have a Flashback Friday to share or if you'd like to read others... stop over at Christopher and Tia's blog and add your name.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 2: Photo Challenge - “Best Face Photo”

Our Pamplemousse.


Here is my entry for best face photo challenge for the I heart Faces weekly photo challenge. Come and submit your best face photo.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Flashback Friday- 2002 Last visit with Granny


This picture was taken in August 2002... it was my last time in Switzerland (I won't be back till the girls are much older, and can at least hike one mountain with me) and also my last visit with my Granny. This was one hectic trip, and a sad one. I went over with my family to celebrate my Granny's 90th birthday and it was filled with so many day trips and time with Granny that I barely got to see some of my friends and visit with the family that I was an AuPair for. For some background info... from August 1996-1998 I lived in Switzerland and was an AuPair (nanny)... the first 3 months of my stay in Switzerland was spent living with my Granny and trying to learn German (which I was never very good at)

My Granny was born Beryl Betty Warburg on August 10th, 1912 in England. She spent much of her privileged life being taken care of by nannies and servants. She never went to conventional school but was extremely well read (still reading French books to keep her mind sharp well into her late 80s). Growing up, I never knew my Granny that well because she lived so far away. I was always jealous of my friends who got to visit their grandparents every weekend. I never realized until I was much older that this was a plus for me because I got to travel lots when I was young. She lived in Switzerland (she married my Grandfather who was Swiss and moved there before she was married to teach gymnastics) Anyhoo... living with my granny was difficult at times because I was young and she was old... our lives and goals were different, but she tried her best and in the end I learned a lot from her. The picture above was taken on one of the last mornings I was in Switzerland. I had painted and given her the plate she was holding for her 90th birthday (what do you give an old lady that has everything?) I still remember when I left Switzerland... I remember standing in the train station in Basel with my granny, dad and Kevin... I hugged my granny, kissed her and said goodbye for the last time. I remember getting on the train with Kevin to start the rest of our vacation off to Germany and Amsterdam... I cried like a little baby knowing that it was the last time I would see her. To this day, it breaks my heart... its really hard to say goodbye to someone when you know its literally the last time you would see them. A little over one year later my granny passed away on December 12th 2003 from heart failure after she had an operation on an intestinal blockage.

Here are 10 things I remember about my Granny
  1. Her favorite colour was purple (she said it was a spiritual colour)
  2. She loved chocolate as much as I do!
  3. She was fluent in french, German, English
  4. She hated when I wore jeans (ladies don't wear jeans)
  5. She loved Switzerland, Basel was her true home
  6. She met with her British friends on the first Monday of every month at a restaurant (she had lots of friends young and old)
  7. She was proud of climbing the Matterhorn
  8. She had 4 siblings
  9. She always sent us money for new shoes when we were growing up
  10. She had meditation meetings every week at her home up until shortly before she passed away
I miss you and love you Granny... you will always hold a special place in my heart! May I grow up to be as loving and kind as you were.

If you would like to see more Flashback Friday's or would like to add one of your own. Visit Christopher and Tia to see more or add your link.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My baby turns 1 today!

happy birthday baby girl

On January 5th, 2009 the Kennedy family welcomed a new addition to our family... making us a family of four. At 2:14am in the morning baby Charlotte Juniper was born at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener. And to all started with a meal at Taco Bell..yes, being pregnant makes you crave gross things :) In short... this is how it went.
  • 5pm... eating Taco Bell with Kevin and Sophia... first contractions started.
  • 7pm... sent Sophia off to Grandma & Grandpa's house for the night cause we new baby K was coming. (contractions 7min apart)
  • 10pm... called midwife because contractions were 3min apart
  • 11:30... midwife arrived at home... contractions were 1-2min apart
  • 12am...arrived at hospital
  • 12:30am...had a jacuzzi bath to help contractions and waiting for second midwife to come.
  • 1:45am...water broke
  • 2:14am... after what seemed like an eternity of pushes and labor pains... Charlotte Juniper came relatively quickly into this world... and we were thrilled. The midwife was impressed, because within 30min we were already talking about having another baby :)
Jan 5th 2009

At 12pm the next day... Kevin, Charlotte and myself went home to rest and wait for Sophia to come home. When Sophia met Charlotte for the first time... she looked at us all perplexed and said " Mommy... she doesn't talk!" we giggled and told her that she would help teach Charlotte how to talk and walk... Sophia has been a great help over the last year. Other then snitching her toys and sometimes being a little rough, she's been an A+ sister.

Here are a few pictures taken one for each month showing the growth of my little girls adventure to becoming One!

12 months at a glance

We Love You Charlotte!
Happy First Birthday!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodmorning 2010


Goodbye 2009... Hello 2010!
Wishing everyone a wonderful happy and healthy 2010. 2010 brings new and exciting things for the Kennedy family this year. Little Charlotte will be one years old in a few days... Sophia will be starting school this year and I am on an adventure to find a new job or to re-invent myself so that I may be lucky enough to stay home with my children. We aren't sure of where our lives will bring us in the next year...but I'm hoping it will be great and that I can share it all with you.

I welcome 2010 in with open arms.... Happy January 1st!