taking a blogging break

Many of you have probably already assumed that I'm taking a break from the blogosphere since I haven't written in weeks. If not, I'm logging onto Blogger (for the first time in ages!) to let you all know that I'm stepping down from my dear blog indefinitely.

I always wondered if a day would come where I no longer had the capacity to blog, the desire to do so, or the words to type. For four years I've maintained two blogs (the other being one where I recorded my pregnancies and our on-going journey to one day adopt) and it's never felt like "work". Never ever ever. Until now. In reality, it was as soon as Chloé was born. For a short time I felt like I had a handle on things enough to keep up with blogging (and felt I still had so much to say and share), but then the older two stopped napping and it all just became too much.

I've loved having a place to share my ideas, experiences, and creations, and the feedback and relationships I've gained through my readers. I'll miss that and I'm eager to blog again some day in the future to have it again. But right now, I simply can't maintain a blog and keep up with everything else in my life that I desire to put first.

With three kids, three and under, and one awake at all times until evening, my only time to blog is 8-11pm. And since Chloé has joined our family, those few hours have become practically sacred. They're my only waking hours to myself, and even then are easily filled with highly important things - serving our church, keeping a home, maintaining friendships and relationships with extended family, and loving my husband. Nurturing my mind and soul (and let's be honest, simply putting my feet up!) is something I've neglected and blogging is a very practical thing taking up "me time". Cutting blogging out has freed me up to better serve the top priorities in my life, and still have time to build into myself. It's been a good thing.

I still have so many things to blog about that at one time felt "pressing" - finishing Chloé's birth story, sharing our recent family pictures, writing about our massive DIY dining room projects, and even some giveaways. But they all can wait. Indeed, they have to wait.

Soon Chloé will be sleeping through the night, and I'll be a different person. Maybe then I'll pick up with blogging again? In a couple short years Lily will be off to full-day kindergarten. Maybe then I'll pick up with blogging again? It's hard to know when exactly I'll have the time and mind space to blog again. I tend to assume it'll either be when I'm not waking up at 4:30am every morning with our baby, or when I don't have all three kids at home with me, but in the end I really don't know.

I still find inspiration, encouragement, and creativity in other blogs, but it's time for me to step back from this one for a while. My new favourite (and way easier!) way to document my ideas and days is Instagram so feel free to follow me there (@emmorrice).

Thank you all for reading along these past four years! I promise, I'll be back some day :-)


2013 Christmas Card

Every year I waffle over whether or not to send a Christmas card. It's a lot of work to send them, not to mention getting a half decent picture of the whole famjam together. This year since we added a new member, sending out a Christmas card was a definite. Especially since we stopped sending out birth announcements after our first child. Thankfully my friend Morgan was willing to take some pictures of us there other day at one of our favourite nearby cafes. I have a whole other post set aside for describing the stresses, appearing idols, and utter chaos of that day, don't worry. But the important thing is we have a generous and lovely friend and finally, we have family pictures that are worthy of a holiday card.

I played around at picmonkey.com and made these three potentials. We decided on the final one :)

Are you sending out holiday cards? I totally considered sending HAPPY NEW YEAR cards just because I was running late on Christmas. Ha! Such is my life these days :-)


make your own s'mores!

In keeping with my call to love winter, I thought I'd share some of my favourite hibernation treats with you. S'mores are traditionally a wummer, make-by-the-campfire treat, but that's why they're so great in the dead of winter! They're warm and googy and sweet and packed with calories (all a must for winter treats, no?), plus they're ironic.

I made my own marshmallows (no corn syrup!) following this recipe and home-made graham crackers following this recipe, then bought some chocolate.

I made my s'mores open-faced, so one huge graham cracker makes the base of the s'more and there's no top. Assemble your s'more graham cracker, then chocolate, then marshmallow, and then broil in the oven for 1-3 minutes. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM! The broiler is crazy powerful and hearts up really quickly. Toast them however you like your s'mores :)


how to love winter.

Winter is here and as any Montealer knows, it's not leaving 'til April. So we've got five months ahead of us to endure and enjoy. And every year I think it's a pretty balanced dose of both. Since moving to Montreal though, I have become more of a fan of winter. I always hated the cold living in Ontario, so you'd think moving to Quebec (that is usually 5-10 degrees colder), I'd be really bummed come December. But I think here the only option is to embrace the cold, since spending five months in misery isn't really too appealing.

So how did I fall for the long, dark season of winter after moving to an only colder province? Here's some tips based on my experience:

  1. Invest in excellent winter gear. Yes it will feel like you're spending an arm and a leg. You will. But if you live in a cold climate and buy quality equipment for the cold, you won't regret it and you'll enjoy winters for years to come. I'm talking about water proof, tall, lined winter boots (I own these) and wind-blocking, long, down-filled parkas (I own this one and found this one for $10 at a Salvation Army!). This year I got our kids down-filled parkas from Gap Kids. I only ever shop there when there's a huge sale (usually they're so expensive!), which luckily is quite often. When I bought their parkas this year, they were 40% off which brought them down to the same price the kid's coats were at Joe Fresh, though they feel much warmer/thicker/quality.
  2. Get cute mittens + toques. If you're going to be outside every day, you might as well be cute. And mittens and toques/hats are pretty affordable. I love the bright tuques from Joe Fresh and outrageous furry ones!
  3. Get into winter sports! I never watched hockey when I moved to Montreal, and I hadn't skied in about 10 years. One year in I owned a pair of skis and went regularly (this was before kids though, and sadly I never go now) and became a die hard hockey fan. My husband plays on a hockey team indoors and plays pond hockey outdoors, plus snowboards. People in cold climates need to make the best of winter! GO HABS.
  4. Enjoy hibernation. If you're already a homebody like me, this isn't so hard. It's more enjoying what you have to do anyway. With kids especially, winters can be isolating. During the colder months I try to make our home especially inviting since we don't get to leave often! More candles (or my new favourite, wax warmers), cooking hearty meals and baking yummy treats, hot coffee, slippers, blanket forts, and cuddling. Doesn't sound so terrible, right?
  5. Make indoor play fun. It's often too cold to take them out to play and if you live in the city there's no easy back yard option. In the summer I hide half of their toys and books since we're out every day but in the winter we read, pay, build forts, bake, colour... all day long. To keep it interesting I swap toys out every couple days so they don't get bored of the same ones. I also hit up Dollarama for inexpensive craft supplies. Lately Lily is so eager to be independent and help with everything I do. In the end it takes way longer for her to "help" but it kills time and she loves it plus develops skills while doing it, so I let her help wash the dishes, empty the dishwasher, put away laundry, etc.
 And when all else fails, keep in mind that less daylight means the kids tend to go to bed earlier! 


TWO giveaway winners [un petit mouton + carma collection!]

Hey friends! I'm here to announce the winner of the two most recent giveaways here on {our nest in the city}. Why the two most recent? Well, the first winner never claimed her prize! I always say something to the effect of "contact me by next week to claim your prize" and I mean it... I haven't heard from our lucky lady from last week, so on to winner #2 of the $25 store credit to Carma Collection

Tweeted about the giveaway and linked it to the blog and the etsy shop 

And the winner of the Montreal-based Etsy shop Un Petit Mouton's adorable booties is...

Favorited on etsy !!!!



for the locals [Chez Boris]

Montreal is known as a city with cafés on every corner, and I think it's most true in the Plateau/Mile-End neighbourhoods. Great coffee and unique yummy snacks are EVERYWHERE. A new favourite of mine is Chez Boris in Mile-End on Ave Parc.

Chez Boris has amazing donuts made by Boris himself to order! Meaning they're still hot when you get them, also meaning you'll die when you taste them. He makes fancy donuts (think Lime Juniper or Pomegranate glaze), but his famous hot, delicious, tiny sugar dusted donuts are my favourite (and only $0.80 each!). They have board games, a small library for book exchange, and of course free wifi. I've never had lunch there, but rumor has it they have something called beignewiches. For non-French speakers, that's sandwiches with donuts instead of bread (donuts in french = beignes). Incredible.

Also, high five to Chez Boris for being the only café I've seen in this neighbourhood with almond milk as a non-dairy option for lattes. Everywhere you go they have soy, sure, but usually nothing other than that. The more news I read about the dangers of soy milk, the more I appreciate this. Go, Boris!


DIY abstract mini canvases

I bought 9 mini canvases at Michael's for $19.99, with the intention of letting the kids do some painting for Christmas gifts. I had many left over so we also made something for our home and I'm so happy with the results!

Full disclosure: I heavily coached the kids here. I chose the brush sizes and colours, and I more or less told them what to do, while letting them add their own personality (read: they didn't obey and kept painting after I said stop). I'd say "OK, Oli you draw one big orange line" or "Lily, why not add some pink, where there is no paint already?" but my hand never touched a brush.

Of course, afterwards they were given a huge stack of recycled paper and allowed to go nuts, but this project was for a specific purpose. I like that the kids essentially painted the canvases, but I wanted them to look a certain way. And not everything a kid paints is frame-worthy amiright? Or just me? Worst parent of the year award recipient over here.

Each little canvas was about $2.25 and I already had the paints on hand. Lily loves saying she did these paintings and I love how they look in our living room. Win win.


un petit mouton [review + giveaway]

Guys, it's cozy season! So today, I'm happy to introduce you to Un Petit Mouton, a Montreal-based Etsy shop that makes the sweetest crochet booties for little ones.

This summer I received an adorable pair of booties for Chloé and have been waiting for her to grow into them and for weather to require them. Happily, both occasions are upon us and she's been rocking hers daily.

Aside from being beautiful, these booties are super thick and warm. I love how they can be rolled up to cover almost her entire leg! They have double lined soles too. I wish I had a pair in my size!

OK, who wants a pair for their little one? Or for a gift for someone else's little one? Un Petit Mouton is giving away one made to order pair of moccasin booties to a lucky reader. Merci merci merci!

Here's how to enter:
1st ENTRY > Favourite Shop on Etsy (+ leave a comment below saying you've done so)
2nd ENTRY > Write about this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, linking to this giveaway and the Etsy shop (+ leave a 2nd comment below saying you've done so)

Winner will be drawn on Friday. Good Luck!

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