Turning ONE…

I cannot believe how fast a year goes by.  It literally feels like I just launched this little passion project and here we are…ONE YEAR OLD!  I’m proud of myself for sticking to it and I’m proud of all of you for sticking it out with me.  I have to admit I’ve struggled getting solid posts up on the blog consistently…I vow to work on that!  As E grows so does his need for even more activity and learning and flat out busy-ness.  (I am well aware that this is only the tip of the iceberg as far as being busy with kids!)

This year I’ve learned a lot.  I’ve learned some ‘techy stuff’ as I fumble my way through the blog and the book-keeping I do on the side.  I’m not naturally a left-brainer, numbers and formulas are not my strong suit.  Neither is computing.  I prefer to be more creative, and imaginative. Having said this I am definitely more left-brained in my thought processing, I’m analytical and I tend to be more logical in problem solving.  Either way, I’m enjoying testing my brain and learning this new scope of things.

I’m also learning to be more conscious of my time.  This works two ways. One, I try to not waste time.  I’m typically efficient and I do a lot in a day…I’m trying to do more, specifically where “A Simple Living” is concerned.  I’m learning the value of time management (blech!).  Having said this though, I’m led to number two, I’m learning to live in the moment more and appreciate every minute in the day.  Time is truly so fleeting and what is here today can so easily be gone tomorrow.  The other night my husband and I spent a good portion of the evening scrolling through old videos of E.  I was nearly tearful at how much he’s grown and changed and how idiotic I was to think that “he was so grown-up and big” then…my word what is gonna happen to my when he treks off to kindergarten (somebody better come hold me!).

I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I’m impatient, stubborn, overly organized, rigid and thorough.  I think WAY to much.  I’m not nearly outspoken enough and yet I don’t listen nearly enough.  Basically I need to just breathe!  One of my goals for the new year this year was to be more spontaneous…I’m trying.  Having said all this my stubborn-ness has led me to push myself to try and retry new things.  My organization has made this possible and my over-thinking has created so many new projects and different methods for learning.  I’m still a work in progress after all…and so is this blog!

I look forward to sharing more tips, tricks, creative projects, yummy ideas for the kitchen to share with your littles and celebrate with your loves, and so much more.  This next year has a lot in store for “A Simple Living” and I hope you continue to travel on this journey with me and that you continue to remember to appreciate the simple things! From the bottom of my heart I thank you for coming this far!

Cheers! (I really should have baked a cake or something!)

xo  Rhea


Sweet Treats for your Sweeties…


I love making home-made treats to give to people during the holidays and valentines is no exception! Cookies, brownies and small cakes are easy ways to say I love you and with a few heart-shaped cookie cutters or small baking tins you can easily give a gift that comes straight from the heart!


My go-to, absolutely hands-down favourite sugar cookie recipe is so easy to make.  It is fail-proof and the cookies are always so yummy.  I love the dough as it’s easy to roll out and my little guy likes to help me use cookie cutters of many styles to form the cookies.  I generally use royal icing with a hint of almond extract to ice my cookies and then enlist the help of small hands to help me decorate.  This year we went with a traditional conversation heart theme for our Valentine’s Day treats and I love how they turned out!

Here’s the recipe I use (which I typically half):

  • 1 lb butter, softened to room temp.
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I usually add more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • Mix butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy (5 mins).  Add vanilla and salt and then add the flour in two batches.  Mix until just incorporated. Chill 2 hours (this step I often eliminate due to my impatient nature), cut or roll into desired shapes and bake at 325* until golden on the edges.  Cool then ice if desired.

Mix up a quick batch of your own and share them with your loves this holiday!  I’m telling you, nothing says I love you like something made with your own two hands (and especially with the help of two more little hands!)


An Unconventional Valentine…


Years ago (five to be exact) my siblings and their significant others, my hubby and I decided to forego the hype of a “romantic (over-priced) dinner for two” and instead create a sushi feast together and truly celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one(s) we love!  It was a hit, and although that first we crazily decided to make sushi AND steak, way too much food, this year will be our fifth annual “Sibling Sushi Valentine’s Night”.  We split the list and roll sushi together, sip champagne (and ale) and usually get out some sort of board game or crazy, dancing, fool-making video game!  I look forward to it immensely and this year is no different!

Here’s some feast pics from the past…

Through the years we’ve experimented with different rolls, usually some sort of edamame, steamed pork potsticker style dumplings, crab dip filled egg rolls and this year we’re planning on sushi and chicken wings!  It’s fun to get creative in the kitchen with my sisters and it’s even more fun to get to share this with my little guy.


So think outside that commercialized box and throw caution to the wind…get a group together and experiment in the kitchen or order take-out and grab some of those fool-making video games!  It’s sure to be something you’ll love just as much as we do!


Love Bugs…

Valentine’s Day with all it’s pink and red hearted glory is one of my favourite holidays.  It’s fun to come up with projects and activities that reflect all the loving we can handle.  Last year E and I kept with a “Love Bug” theme and here are some easy projects to do with your little loves…


Cut out hearts in all different sizes from colored construction paper.  Using a large pink or red (or any color for that matter) upside down heart as the body, glue a smaller heart to the top as a head and then even smaller hearts on the body for the dots.  Add a face and some antennas as desired. We hung ours up on our windows for some festive cheer!


We also spent an afternoon making cute little ‘love bugs’ out of heart-shaped sugar cookies.  I used black royal icing to outline the bug and then pink icing to flood the body.  E had fun adding mini chocolate chips to the cookies for dots (complete with a tractor and trailer haul!).  After the icing had set we packaged them up in little cello bags and made some tags with lady bug stickers for our valentines!




Love is quite obviously a verb.  We feel love and we act out love.  Have you ever thought of love as a noun? To get to that place of true love? Love for yourself, love for your family, love for your friends, love for your foes?  It’s a tricky word, love.  Flippantly used it loses emphasis, yet not used enough and we lose joy.

Finding the love in our everyday lives and cherishing that which we love and treasure is so utterly important. (It’s the base of my blog in all reality.) Valentine’s Day amid all the hearts, chocolate and flowers is a day to truly think about LOVE.  To tell those we appreciate and treasure that we love them.  To find the courage to unabashedly love ourselves.  To forgive and move forward with those who have wronged us. To find the things in our lives that bring us joy, that we truly love.

It’s easy to lose sight of the deep meaning behind the day and get swept up in the glitz and the commercialism of Valentine’s Day but I challenge you all to take a step further and think of love from a different view.  Challenge yourself to release and appreciate your struggles, appreciate the efforts of those around you, to receive the help, kindness, and affection from those in your life who try, and to relish in and appreciate the beauty that is LOVE!

 < I love my little family, especially my little man.  On a lighter note, I love matchy matchy with him… Here’s a couple ways to make matching shirts for the festive day… To visibly spread some love! >


(Bend an empty paper towel roll into a heart shape and dip into acrylic paint mixed with a textile medium for cute little hearts stamped onto plain white shirts and emphasize with a sassy or sweet hashtag! This is a great project for little hands.)


(To match mommy’s striped, puffy heart sweater, (From Old Navy Old Navy Canada   Old Navy US ) I bought a plain navy and white raglan T and sewed a red heart onto the centre…easy peasy and super festive.)

*Stay tuned on the blog for some more fun projects to do with your little (and big) loves!*