The best laid plans doesn’t always work, do they?  We had a session booked for family pictures last fall but things weren’t working in our favour that day and the shoot never happened. So, I made other plans, on the sly!

While Michael was away for work, Christine of Wonkyeye Photography came over one VERY windy afternoon and captured our girls and a couple of their four-legged friends on camera.  And I have to say just how awesome the pictures turned out, like they always do with Christine behind the camera!!

We started out with both girls and the pony.  Hannah wasn’t into that so much but we did manage to capture a good one!!

Then it was Lena’s turn with just Ebony.  They have a funny relationship, they both love each other as long as the other is doing what they want and if not, wellllll…..  Ebony looks so short here, and yes, she is little, but not as little as she appears here.

We tried to get Ebony, Buttecat and the girls in one picture but the cat wanted nothing to do with the pony.  And yet he would wander into the pictures at random.  Buttercat is used to being photographed by Christine as he used to belong to them, which you can read about HERE.  Hannah thinks the world of that cat, everything is about BB.

And finally, just our two sweet girlies together!!  I love Hannah’s legs stretched out and their boots and how Hannah is leaning into Lena.  They aren’t very lovey dovey towards each other, and by that I mean that they aren’t affectionate so this rare display is extra cute to me.

So those are my favourites but some of the outtakes make me laugh, too.  I feel like I should share them and I’m so thankful Christine included them with all the rest.  They show the personalities of the girls even more.  For example, what exactly is Hannah doing here??

And the four of them together….Buttercat is making his exit from Hannah’s arms…and Lena is sternly speaking to the pony, trying so hard to get everyone to cooperate!  And there’s Hannah’s muddy knees, I think she gets her inability to stay clean from me, just ask my Dad.

Michael loved unwrapping pictures of his two favourite girls { I don’t stand a chance against them 😉 } and the grandparents loved getting pictures, too, this past Christmas.  I mean, how could they not, right?

Some of my favourite pictures of our family are ones that Christine took over the years.  She has such a gift at capturing us, just living real life together.  The pictures aren’t forced, we feel very at ease in front of her camera.  And hopefully this spring weather and life will cooperate and allow us to get all of us together.

To be continued,


  • RUBY Mackenzie - February 16, 2018 - 8:58 pm

    Christibe takes the absolute best pics…I always love ours …She captures the normal parts of life…Love yours too .Pretty darn sweet!ReplyCancel

    • - February 16, 2018 - 9:22 pm

      She is amazing!! I love how she captures the normal day to day interactions! ReplyCancel

As parents, we are faced with all sorts of decisions to make in regards to our children.  It is never-ending….what shows can they watch, what time is bedtime, are sleepovers ok…the list goes on and on.  The question we find ourselves facing with our kids now is in regards to phones and social media.

I’ll start by stating that I am probably over-protective of my kids. Not full-on helicopter mom mode, but still… I was pretty sheltered growing up and I think I’m better off for it. So that is probably influencing my parenting style.  There were shows we weren’t allowed to watch – Saturday Night Live, Three’s Company are a couple that come to mind right away.  And I think that taught me to have some discretion about what I am entertaining myself with.  The old Sunday School song, ‘Oh, Be careful little eyes’ comes to mind.  So, that is the standard that I’m trying to raise my kids by.  Am I perfect? No, my eldest sings way too many country songs that make me cringe by times.  Do they watch a few shows with ‘bad words’ in them? Yes.  And you should see them whip their heads over to me whenever they hear one in a show they love….probably for fear that I’ll shut them down.

But as they age and grow up, quickly before my eyes, I might add, the social media/phone thing has come up.  A few years back, I think they were the only ones in their classes without iPods.  And that was fine by me.  Then Michael and I both upgraded our phones and everything changed when there were extra phones in the house.  It started off that they’d play games on them, games about horses or spacial relations like ‘Draw the Line’ or something like that.  Then we set Lena up to text, but with very clear rules and the right to read every last word.  And I do read through them….but wow, what a lot of pointless messages flying around out there 😉

At some point we created a Pinterest account for Lena and she loves to pin horse pictures and craft projects.  I realize that she could find tons of trouble on there, if she went looking….but I believe that she doesn’t and is pretty innocent in what she’s looking out. Again, I have the right to look at her account, searches, etc.

But now the begging for Instagram has started.  And I’m probably to blame.  I rave about how much I love Instagram.  And a few of her friends are on it, some of them follow me and I follow them, mostly to keep tabs on what ‘kids’ are posting these days.  Sometimes I let her go on my account and look at her friends’ accounts or other accounts she’d be interested in, like Amber Marshall or the like.  I get why she wants to join Instagram but we honestly aren’t ready to take the leap into the realm of social media with our little pre-teen.

I’m sure I’m like most of you and have heard horror stories about the bullying and inappropriate things that happen on these platforms in the school age circles.  Friends who aren’t nice, people who act friendly but have ulterior motives, etc. etc….  And those are the reasons that make me hesitate.

This conversation comes up from time to time within my ‘mom’ friends as we navigate growing children and the things they ask for.  Some times it’s easy to say yes – you want to take riding lessons, ok, let’s make that happen { read that story HERE }  You want to bake cookies, sure thing.  You want to have a friend over, ok, let’s ask their mom.  But I come to a grinding halt when they ask for Instagram.  I check in with the handsome Mr. Byrne and we’re on the same page, too young, not yet.  They’ll grow up fast enough, let’s not hurry it along.

I know that eventually we will say yes.  My hope is that we have taught and modelled in a way that if the occasion arises that they find themselves in a difficult situation on social media, they’ll talk to us about it right away or have the compassion/knowledge/ability to deal with it in a responsible way.  We are raising these kids to send off into a scary world and I know that it has to start somewhere, the letting go and trust, but now?  No, not yet. Not on social media.

And I realize this may be strange, coming from me, the one with a blog and social media accounts on several platforms.  I realize I share parts of our lives here.  But, I also recognize that as the girls grow, they have a say in what I put out there.  I almost always check in with them before I post a picture or tell a story about them.  I respect their privacy.  If I happen to snap a picture, they’ll ask if it’s for the blog or sometimes they say, you can post that wherever you want or they tell me not to share it. And I have to go with what they say.

So, all this begs the question – how old is old enough?  How old should they be before they are allowed to wade into the waters of social media?  And what platforms should they be allowed on?  What platforms do you let your children on and how old were they?  Any insight is appreciated!

To be continued,



  • Alena - February 6, 2018 - 12:57 pm

    It’s a hard no for me as well. 11 year old boy in grade 6 and 9 year old girl in grade 4. My son just got his first email account and I Only has family so far. And he can only access it at home on the 42″ tv in the living room. They have no hand held anything. Any time they have asked my response is “what do you need it for?” And they don’t have and answer. I do not think they are able to comprehend that this will follow them forever. That any one who goes to interview them will find them on social media first. For me it’s a hard noReplyCancel

    • - February 6, 2018 - 12:59 pm

      It’s easy to say no right now for us, too. But for how long? ReplyCancel

  • Marian - February 6, 2018 - 1:07 pm


    My son is 17 and I struggled with this since he was 11. When our family separated I needed him to have phone so we could stay connected. Until he was 13 he was not a latch key kid but even at before and after school programs he wanted to be able to reach me. So we both had smart phones with our own numbers but shared data. So he has had access since 11 years of age. I monitored his progression through social media: face time to Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat. He posts his new haircuts and hats. The girls he knows post half naked pictures and duck faces. I think the whole girl culture is not a very positive thing. All this to say it depends. On you, them and the culture in which they are raised. Their generation is fully digital. Ours was not nor was yours. You will do what’s right for you.ReplyCancel

    • - February 6, 2018 - 1:09 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Marian! ReplyCancel

One would think that a trip to the beach is more of a summer event.  But, honestly, I think a winter’s beach is even more captivating.  Chillier, yes, but worth it.

Last weekend when Michael and I escaped to Oceanstone Seaside Resort {which you can read about HERE } we spent some time on the beach below our cottage. It was cold out but with mitts and a toque, we were just fine.  I, of course, ended up carrying my mitts a lot so I could use my camera and capture some of the beauty I found on the beach that morning.  Pictures to share with you, of course!

I’m always amazed at the variety of geography that makes up our province.  The beaches on the North Shore are very different from the beach at Oceanstone.  Ours are sandy, whereas this was made up of small pebbles and big rocks.  And different seaweeds, too.  But enough about that, here’s a whole series of pictures to show you just how pretty it was!

See?  Isn’t it beautiful?  I love everything coated in a layer of ice, like it’s protecting it from the harshness of winter.

To be continued,


  • Pamela Gordon - February 1, 2018 - 1:15 pm

    Wow. I love these photos, Lori. So many pretty colours. I’ve never walked on a beach in winter (well, I did at Myrtle Beach one April lol). It would be fascinating and I love beach combing looking for shells and beach glass.ReplyCancel

    • - February 1, 2018 - 2:36 pm

      I’m a total beach comber, too! I can’t NOT look for beach glass! ReplyCancel

  • Cathy - February 2, 2018 - 6:36 pm

    Wow beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Rose - February 4, 2018 - 4:10 am

    Gorgeous pics, Lori! I do think Winter really is the prettiest season!ReplyCancel

Michael and I escaped this past weekend to Oceanstone Seaside Resort.  And we never wanted to leave.  Have you been there? Did you have the same problem?

I first went to Oceanstone for a blogging workshop back in June { which you can read about HERE } and had fallen in love with the seaside cottages, the sweet interiors and nestled-among-the-trees location.  I knew I wanted to go to spend the night with the handsome Mr. Byrne.  Between work schedules, raising kids and life in general, it had been quite some time since he and I had a night away.  In fact, on our drive to Oceanstone, we determined that our romantic getaway to Beef Expo back in 2012 was our last solo, kid-free trip {which you can read about HERE}

Michael picked me up Friday afternoon and we headed south.  The sun was setting, the roads were clear, it was all good.  I knew my girls were in good hands with Heidi and her girls and Dad was in charge of the menagerie of animals we left behind.  We could relax and enjoy ourselves.  Just us.  Phew.

We had planned to grab supper along the way and happened across Vernon’s T-Bird Diner in Hammonds Plains.  There was a line-up for the restaurant so we grabbed take-out and continued on our way.  We drove the winding road towards Peggy’s Cove and Oceanstone, keeping an eye out for our stop since by this time it was dark.  But the well-lit sign welcomed us and we pulled into the wooded oasis and went to check in.

Guys – we all love an up-grade, right?  Well, due to a slight water issue, we got upgraded to the Captain’s House.  I had been through the Captain’s House on our tour in June, I knew how lovely that cottage was and I had been showing Michael the various cottages, too, so he knew what a great upgrade that was, too! Wahooooo!!  We let ourselves into the cottage, to find chilled wine, Lure Caramels and a nice note waiting for us.  Michael unloaded our bags and got right to work of lighting a fire in the woodstove.

I have to say, I love wood heat.  I laid on that couch and did very little.  Wood heat makes me drowsy and lazy, which is exactly how I wanted to spend my time away.  I’m not one to sit still and do nothing.  But give me a wood stove and I’ll turn into a lazy lump.  I miss the wood heat from our past houses, but I probably accomplish more now without it 😉  But relaxing was the name of the game this weekend!!

I snapped some pictures from around the cottage to share with you.  This cottage has lots of room and could sleep up to 8. And all the rooms had a lovely view of the water, too!  When it was getting light in the morning, I raised the blinds and crawled back in that king-sized bed and enjoyed the ocean-view.

After some coffee, we took a walk down to the beach and around the resort.  It was a beautiful morning even though it was fresh out, but thankfully there was no wind.  I took a ton of pictures on the beach, but I’ll save those for another post!

I love this picture of Michael, you can take the boy out of the fishing boat, but it is never far from his mind or heart.  He also spent lots of time watching a fishing boat checking his traps just out in the cove.

It was so nice to have the chance to explore Oceanstone together and have a relaxing time away from kids, home and life in general.  We left reluctantly, but it helps to know that we’ll be back some day again, but probably with the girls in tow!  Or maybe a bloggers retreat is in order?? Hmmmm – so many options and I’m looking for any excuse!

To be continued,


Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary night’s stay at Oceanstone, but my take on it is just that 😉

Want to book your own stay?  Click HERE for their website!


With Valentine’s Day around the corner and my love of barn board, this project makes me happy.  Plus, it’s always fun to switch up the decor a little from season to season.

When I started chatting with Rose of Phillips and Chestnut about the project for this month, she suggested I do something for Valentine’s Day.  So we brainstormed a little and I picked up some barn board and got to work making a heart out of the old, textured wood.

I love the history and age of barn board.  Our family barn had wood on it and it was so weathered and grayed from being exposed to the elements for over a century.  And even though that barn is still standing, it’s neat to think that the boards I was using for this project had been around for so long, had seen the world change so much and get to continue on in a much different form.

Barn board is such a great way to add texture and character to a space, whether you are just doing a shelf or two, or covering an entire wall with it.  I’ve suggested that to a few clients and I’m so happy they’ve gone through with it.  It’s so nice that we can source an authentic product like the real deal from Phillips and Chestnut.

But anyway, we aren’t here to talk about accent walls!  I want to show you what I made with the barn board in the studio!  I knew I wanted the boards to run in different directions and I knew I wanted to showcase some of the fabulous textures, knots, nail holes and the such, that comes on the aged barn board.  I sketched out a large heart on paper, this one is close to 2′ wide.  Then I laid out the wood on my pattern and rough cut the length of board I needed for each piece of the puzzle.  I backed my heart with a small sheet of MDF that I had kicking around the studio.  I glued and nailed the boards to it.  Once the glue was dry, I traced my heart pattern on the boards and cut it out.

Then came the fun part….painting it!  I decided I wanted to dry brush paint on it so that the textures would really show through.  I had some tester posts of Fusion paint that were the right colours, Casement and Fort York!  I watered the paint down a little and dipped my brush in and got just a tiny bit on the bristles and then I started brushing that along the grain of the wood, blending the colours together so that there was variation in the pink tone I was creating.  I keep layering and mixing the colours as I worked the paint onto the boards.  I recalled the advice from an artist friend who told me to take it further than you think you need to.  So when I thought I was done, I added more red, then more white, working the colours into the pretty shade of pink.   Then, I stepped back and knew it was done and time to let it dry.

Since Valentine’s Day is nearby, I thought I would do up a little corner in the living room to celebrate.  The barn board heart took center stage on the cabinet.  Then I added a cute little house I picked up on sale after Christmas, crocheted hearts my friend made for me, a spool of velvet ribbon and a cluster of candles.  Perfect.

So, tell me – have you used barn board before?  Do you love it as much as I do? What’s your favourite way to use barn board?

To be continued,


Disclaimer: I was given the barn board by Phillips and Chestnut but my take on it is just that 😉

  • KAyla - January 30, 2018 - 4:52 pm

    This is so cute!! I absolutely adore it.ReplyCancel